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#5124355 - 10/24/10 02:04 AM Nissan S13 SR20DET swap
KenNN Offline
Post Master

Registered: 03/17/01
Posts: 2948
Loc: Virginia, USA
I'll walk through some of the common issues with this swap.

The most common swaps for S-chassis is the S13 SR20DET redtop and blacktop. These engines are pretty much identical minus any cosmetic appearance. I prefer the blacktop since they tend to be a little bit newer.

Engine Info

Company: Nissan
Code: SR20DET (Red Top)
Year: 89-91
Valve Train: DOHC
Displacement: 1998 cc
Horse Power: 205 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 203 ft/lbs @ 4000 rpm
Compression: 8.5 :1
Red Line: 7500
Transmission: 5 spd RWD

Company: Nissan
Code: SR20DET S13 (Blacktop)
Year: 90-93
Valve Train: DOHC
Displacement: 1998 cc
Horse Power: 205 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 203 ft/lbs @ 4000 rpm
Compression: 8.5 :1
Red Line: 7500
Transmission: 5 spd RWD

Recommended Preparations

I recommend these things be done with the engine out of the car because they're harder to do with the engine in the car.


1. Remove the entire turbo assembly and inspect all components.

2. Perform at least the following repairs:

a) Replace head-to-turbo-manifold gasket with S15 multilayer metal manifold gasket (the metal gasket is reusable and doesn't break like the paper gasket).

b) Replace the manifold-to-turbo gasket. You can use one for a Z32 TT.

c) Throw away the stock locking plates and tack-weld the nuts holding the turbo onto the manifold (these nuts tend to back off the turbo over time).

d) Replace the turbo to elbow gasket.

e) Remove the Air Injection Valve (AIV) system (does not help reliability or performance) and weld up the hole left in the turbo elbow, or ideally replace the turbo elbow with an aftermarket unit.

f) Replace the O2 sensor. Skinny and fatty O2 sensors are interchangeable. Use what the turbo elbow requires. Skinny O2 sensors can be bought new for an S12 RWD 200SX. Fatty O2 sensors can be bought new for a Z32 300ZX.

g) Replace the turbo-elbow-to-downpipe gasket.

h) Replace the downpipe-to-catalytic-converter gasket.

i) Inspect the catalytic converter and catback and repair/replace as needed.


1. Replace the gasket that goes between the head and the waterneck where the upper radiator hose goes. You can use the gasket from a FWD B13 Sentra SE-R with FWD SR20DET.

2. Inspect the oil and coolant lines on the turbo. I recommend replacing the OEM oil and coolant lines with a braided line kit for an S14/S15 SR20DET. Tap the waterneck where the upper radiator hose or ideally replace the waterneck with one from an S14/s15. Reroute the coolant return line to the waterneck. Block off the return line on the back of the engine or weld shut.

3. Replace the stock radiator with one meant for the SR for best results.

4. Ideally use the fan shroud from the SR with clutch fan for best cooling. If the shroud is not available, use electric fan(s) with proper relay and thermoswitch.

5. Cut/reroute/weld the heater fittings on the engine. Ideally you would resize these fittings from 3/4" to 5/8" and angle them towards the heater core fittings for easy plumbing using a 90-degree 5/8" heater hose.


1. Replace the valve cover gasket.

2. Install rocker arm stopper to protect from overreving.

3. Replace spark plugs with BKR6E.

4. Replace PCV valve. You can use one for a B13 Sentra SE-R with SR20DE.

Front side of engine

1. Replace the front cover and oil pump assembly.

2. Replace timing chain with a kit with new chain and tensioner.

3. Replace the front crankshaft oil seal.

4. Replace all accessory belts.

5. Optionally replace all pulleys with underdrive pulleys.


1. Replace intake manifold gasket.

2. Inspect and replace all hoses as necessary.

3. Replace oil filter. You can use one from the B13 Sentra SE-R with SR20DE.

4. Replace fuel filter. You can use one from the Z32.

5. Inspect all fuel injector o-rings and replace as necessary.

Edited by G6CivCX (10/24/10 02:31 AM)

#8594665 - 03/20/16 03:41 PM Re: Nissan S13 SR20DET swap [Re: KenNN]
RG2LEM1 Offline
Jr Poster

Registered: 03/15/16
Posts: 96
Nice list. Very thorough. I would add a catch can. I have a built red top: sleeved, forged internals, greddy intake, tomei cams, 800 cc injectors, and AEM ECU. These engines are fun and have tremendous potential even though they are 25 years old.
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