Engine Nissan VK56DE / VK56VD

Engine Nissan VK56DE under the hood

5.6-liter V8 Nissan VK56DE engine was produced in US factories from 2003 to 2015 and was installed in the largest and most powerful models, such as Armada, Titan, and Infiniti QX56. In 2007, this unit was seriously upgraded and therefore two generations of it are distinguished.

In 2003, the first version of the VK45DE debuted. By design, this is a V8 with a 90° camber angle, an aluminum block with cast iron liners, two DOHC heads without hydraulic lifters, a multiport fuel injection system, an electronic throttle and a timing chain drive. With the 2007 update, the unit received CVTCS phase shifters on the intake camshafts.

5.6-liter V8 Nissan VK56VD engine has been produced at the Yokohama plant since 2010 and is installed in the largest and most powerful models, such as Armada, Patrol and many Infiniti. There are two different modifications of such a unit: for SUVs and for sports sedans.

At the very end of 2009, the well-known VK56DE engine was replaced by a new power unit, which is distinguished by direct injection systems and variable valve lifts of the VVEL type. Otherwise, it is a similar V8 gasoline engine with an aluminum cylinder block and cast-iron liners, a pair of aluminum DOHC heads without hydraulic lifters, a timing chain and a proprietary CVTCS variable valve timing system, but only on the intake shafts.

Separately, it is worth talking about the version of this engine for the Infiniti M56 and Q70 sports sedans, which is distinguished by a different cylinder block, CVTCS phase shifters on all camshafts, an increased compression ratio from 10.8 to 11.5 and the presence of oil nozzles for cooling pistons.

The VK family also includes internal combustion engines: VK45, VK50VE.

The engine was installed on:

  • Infiniti QX56 1 (JA60) in 2004 – 2010;
  • Infiniti QX56 2 (Z62) in 2010 – 2013;
  • Infiniti QX80 1 (Z62) in 2013 – …;
  • Infiniti Q70 1 (Y51) in 2013 – 2019;
  • Infiniti M 4 (Y51) in 2010 – 2013;
  • Nissan Armada 1 (WA60) in 2003 – 2015;
  • Nissan Armada 2 (Y62) in 2016 – …;
  • Nissan Patrol 6 (Y62) in 2010 – …;
  • Nissan Pathfinder 3 (R51) in 2007 – 2012;
  • Nissan Titan 1 (A60) in 2003 – 2015;
  • Nissan Titan 2 (A61) in 2015 – …


Manufacturer Decherd Plant
Also called VK56
Production years 2003-2015
Cylinder block alloy aluminum
Fuel system distributed injection (VK56DE)
direct injection (VK56VD)
Configuration V8
Valves per cylinder 4
Piston stroke, mm 92
Cylinder bore, mm 98
Compression ratio 9.8 (VK56DE)
10.8 (VK56VD)
11.5 (VK56VD for sports sedans)
Displacement, cc 5552
Power output, hp 305 – 325 (VK56DE)
390 – 405 (VK56VD)
408 – 420 (VK56VD for sports sedans)
Torque output, Nm / rpm 520 – 535 (VK56DE)
530 – 560 (VK56VD)
550 – 565 (VK56VD for sports sedans)
Fuel type petrol
Euro standards EURO 4 (VK56DE)
Weight, kg 240 (VK56DE)
225 (VK56VD)
Fuel consumption, L/100 km (VK56DE for Infiniti QX56 2008)
— city
— highway
— combined
Oil consumption, gr/1000 km up to 1000
Recommended engine oil 5W-30 / 5W-40 / 10W-30 / 10W-40
Engine oil capacity, liter 6.5
Oil change interval, km 10000
Engine lifespan, km ~400 000

Disadvantages of the VK56DE engine

  • The most famous problem of this unit is the formation of scuffing in the cylinders due to the ingress of crumbs from the catalyst into them, which is destroyed by bad fuel. A symptom is the appearance of a diesel sound in the operation of the engine, as well as oil consumption.
  • Timing chains are distinguished by a low resource in this engine, often they are already extended for 100 – 150 thousand kilometers, which is expressed in unstable and noisy operation.
  • We advise you to carefully monitor the condition of the engine cooling system, as it quickly overheats and immediately breaks the gasket or leads to the cylinder head. This problem is exacerbated by the presence of not the most reliable viscous coupling for the fan.
  • In specialized forums, they often complain about the difficult start of the engine in cold weather, lambda probes sensitive to the quality of gasoline, and also an unreliable fuel pump. Also, do not forget about adjusting the valve clearance, because there are no hydraulic lifters here.

Disadvantages of the VK56VD engine

  • The most famous problem of such an engine is the formation of scoring in the cylinders, followed by oil burn and the appearance of a diesel sound. The fault is the suction of crumbs into the combustion chambers from a collapsing catalyst or wear products of the injection pump pusher, as well as the bending of the liners due to overheating. In the American market, a revocable company was even carried out to replace these motors.
  • Many owners have experienced stretching timing chains at less than 100,000 km, and in some markets there has been a recall company to replace them even after warranty.
  • Due to the use of low-quality fuel, the high-pressure fuel pump pusher wears out quickly, and its wear products are carried through the oil system and can enter the cylinders.
  • You need to carefully monitor the condition of the cooling system of your unit, as it is prone to overheating, and then bending the liners and forming scuffs in them.
  • On runs over 200 – 250 thousand km, injector seats often break in this engine, and there are also failures in the operation of the VVEL valve lift system.

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