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5 Excellent Nissan 5.6 V8 Engine Reliability & Nissan 5.6 V8 Engine Problems

The Nissan 5.6 v8 Engine reliability is a critical piece of information if you own a car with this engine.

Knowing about this car engine will help you take better care of it. On the other hand, if you are getting a Nissan with this particular engine, you will need to know if it is the right fit for you.

Understanding the reliability of this engine means knowing what it is all about. Also, it means knowing its problems, solutions and learning the tips and tricks to get the best out of it.


What is a 5.6 v8 Engine?

Nissan first released the 5.6 v8 engine in 2004. The Armada was the first car to have this engine under its hood.

Subsequently, the Titan and Infiniti QX56 got it within the same year. Since then, this engine type has appeared in several large vans, SUVs, and big trucks.

The Nissan 5.6 v8 engine comes in two types, which are the VK56DE and the VK56VD. These engines have similar structures with slight differences in dimensions.

Each of these machines is a 5.6-liter 338.8 cu engine. However, in 2016, VK56DE was discontinued while the modified version of VK56VD came into use.

Specifications of Nissan 5.6 v8 Engine

What are the specifications of a Nissan 5.6 v8 engine? This engine has several specifications, which are:

  • v8 layout,
  • An aluminum engine block,
  • 5552cc (5.6L) displacement,
  • Natural aspiration.

All other specifications like horsepower and torque are dependent on the specific type of car the engine runs on.

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Top 5 Nissan 5.6 v8 Engine Reliability

So, how reliable is the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine? Although this engine has a handful of issues, it is still quite reliable.

It is capable of delivering a significant amount of output power and torque. As a result, cars that handle a considerable amount of weight mostly come with this engine.

Nonetheless, luxury cars such as the Nissan Altima and Infiniti Q70 come with both versions of this engine.

The Nissan 5.6 v8 engine has an average reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5, a reasonable value above average. Therefore, there are no severe design issues associated with this engine.

01. Total Mileage

Many Nissan Titan owners actually consider the engine as the best part of the car. However, regardless of the type of car you own, the reliability of this engine is directly linked to how well you take care of it.

Checking and servicing your engine can extend its life way beyond the average.

How many miles can you get out of a Nissan 5.6 v8 engine? A well-maintained Nissan 5.6 v8 engine can drive past 400,000 km – 250,000 miles – before the performance of the engine begins to drop.

Only at such a high mileage will you begin to experience significant engine problems. Therefore, the total mileage of this range is decent for any car.

02. Output Power and Torque

Beyond the longevity of this engine, the Nissan 5.6 v8 is a powerful machine. The VK56DE version of the engine has a horsepower of between 305 to 320 hp for vans, SUVs, and trucks.

With a Nissan race car like the GT-R, the horsepower can reach up to 650 hp. As for the VK56VD version of the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine, you will expect a maximum horsepower of 420 hp on the Infiniti Q70 and Infiniti M56.

Overall, you are sure to get a towing capacity of almost 9,400 pounds (4260 kg) out of the engine when connected to a 9-speed automatic transmission system.

With a toque that can easily exceed 500 Nm, a Nissan 5.6 v8 engine can not only pull heavy loads, but it can carry large amounts of dead weight.

03. Fuel Efficiency

The VK565DE version of the 5.6 v8 engine is not as fuel-efficient as the VK56VD.

The need for a car engine with improved fuel economy, safer emissions, and better performance led to the development of the VK56VD engine.

What makes the VK56VD engine efficient? At the heart of this engine is the direct injection gas (DIG) technology.

This technology allows for the direct injection of fuel into the combustion chamber via injectors.

Similarly, fresh air flows via the intake valve directly into the cylinders to create the appropriate mixture of air and fuel.

Also, the continuous variable valve event and lift system for intake and outtake valves allow efficient airflow throughout the combustion chamber.

This new setting reduces the overall fuel requirement by improving the performance of the throttle.

Ultimately, with the later versions of the engine, you will experience better fuel economy while reducing emissions.

At the same time, with a better combustion process, the likelihood of your engine knocking unexpectedly decreases significantly.

04. Piston Design

For the newer engine to accommodate the direct injection gas technology, the pistons were redesigned. The older version of the engine had a compression ratio of 9.8:1.

The improved pistons provide the required balance by increasing the compression ratio to 11.2:1.

05. Cooling System

The earlier version of the 5.6 v8 engine had a thermostat cooling system. The job of this device is to control the flow of the coolant depending on the temperature of the engine.

Therefore, when you start your car in the morning, the thermostat doesn’t allow the coolant to flow through the engine until its temperature becomes high enough to do so.

The failure of the thermostat can lead to leaky coolant and overheating of your car engine.

To reduce the likelihood of failure, newer versions of the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine come with an advanced thermostat called the Multi Control Valve.

This device is the better version of a thermostat, and it ensures better coolant flow to your car engine.

The 5 Most Nissan 5.6 v8 Engine Problems

As discussed earlier, the Nissan 5.6 v8 is quite a reliable machine. However, like any mechanical device, it has a few problems.

What are the most common problems of a Nissan 5.6 v8 engine?

The most common engine problems on a Nissan 5.6 v8 engine are:

  • Oil leaks,
  • Timing chain issue,
  • Exhaust manifold issue,
  • Fuel sensitivity,
  • Cooling system problem.

01. Oil Leaks

In general, the 5.6 v8 engine doesn’t have any flaw that allows for oil leaks. However, if the engine runs for more than 10 years, it becomes prone to oil leaks.

At the moment, most cars that have VK56DE installed pretty much leak oil in one form or the other.

The valve cover gaskets are the main points through which oil leaks from the 5.6 v8 engine.

As the engine ages, the seal of the gasket weakens, and its rubbery feel becomes hard. Slowly, this now hard material cracks out and allows oil to sip out when the engine is running.

If oil leaks out of your car, you will likely see it underneath the vehicle when you park. Similarly, you can smell burning oil or see light smoke coming out of the hood when the engine is running.

02. Timing Chain Issue

The issue of the timing chain is a common problem of the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine. In most cases, the timing chain of the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine usually stretches over time as you drive.

Excessive stretching of the timing chain damages the tensioners of the machine, which creates an even bigger problem.

However, the timing chain issue is a problem with the VK56DE model of the engine. On the other hand, the VK56VD engine doesn’t have this problem.

03. Exhaust Manifold Issue

Another common issue of the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine is the exhaust manifold. Most vehicles with this engine have this peculiar problem.

Due to poor design, the exhaust manifold considerably expands due to heat when the car is running. Eventually, this continuous expansion and contraction of the metal cause it to crack.

04. Fuel Sensitivity

All versions of this engine have fuel sensitivity issues. Whenever you use the wrong fuel in your car, it slowly destroys the car’s catalytic converters.

In addition, the accumulation of dirt and dust add to the problem. The debris that builds gradually gets into the engine. Eventually, these fragments destroy the bearings, cylinders, and piston rings of the machine.

05. Cooling System Problem

The VK56DE version of the engine has a problematic cooling fan when the car AC (air condition) is running.

The AC cooling fan frequently jams, which causes the vehicle to overheat. Continuous overheating of the car engine weakens it by steadily destroying head gaskets.

Over time, the car engine eventually knocks due to persistent overheating.

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The Solutions of Nissan 5.6 v8 Engine Problems

The engine problems earlier discussed are solvable. Below are details of each solution.

# The solution to oil leaks of your engine is easy. All you need to do is to replace all the gaskets where the oil leaks out from.

If your car has high mileage, you may also want to replace the valve cover. Although doing this can be expensive, this will almost completely stop the oil leakage.

# The best solution to a timing chain problem is to change it periodically before it wears out. It is a good idea to change the timing chain every 6 months.

If allowed to break down, it can cost you a lot of money. Nonetheless, frequent replacement of the timing chain is also expensive.

You are likely to spend a minimum of $500 for each replacement if there isn’t any complication. You may want to DIY if you can.

# The exhaust manifold problem has two solutions. Many mechanics try to cover the manifold with an extra metal around it. However, this solution is often not very good.

The second solution is the best solution you should opt for. Your mechanic will install for you an aftermarket exhaust manifold, which completely fixes the problem.

# The problems associated with fuel sensitivity can be addressed by changing the catalytic converter to another with a high flow rate together with the reflash of the engine computer unit.

This solution is only possible if the components of the engine are in good condition. However, if the engine has become weak, you will need to change the entire car engine.

# The cooling system is the easiest problem to solve. All you need to do is regularly check the coolant level, radiator condition, and the conditions of both the engine and AC fan.

Pros & Cons of Nissan 5.6 v8 Engine

Like any engine, the Nissan 5.6 v8 has a couple of pros and cons. The pros are:

  • Reasonable engine mileage, which can cover close to half a million kilometers before its efficiency drops,
  • A large enough output power and torque that allows a vehicle to carry or pull a lot of weight,
  • The newer version of the engine is quite fuel-efficient.

Some of the flaws of the engine are:

  • Timing chain problem that can lead to the destruction of the engine or its parts,
  • Exhaust manifold issue that is capable of destroying the engine,
  • Fuel sensitivity issues can ruin the catalytic converter and the car engine.

Maintenance Tips

The maintenance of the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine is similar to what you can do to all other cars. Below are some tips you can follow to keep your car engine in top condition.

# Frequently inspect both the engine and the AC fans to ensure all are functioning effectively.

# You should change the engine oil of your car frequently. Make sure you do so after every 8,000 km – 5,000 miles. Also, ensure that your oil filter is replaced during every service session.

# After about 160,000 km (100,000 miles), ask your mechanic to swap the engine spark plugs for new ones.

# Check the coolant level of your car every day before starting the engine. After about 120,000 km (75,000 miles), make sure to change the entire coolant for a new one.

If you drive in a cold environment, make sure you use a coolant together with antifreeze to prevent the coolant from freezing.

Check out this video for more information about engine maintenance tips.

Final Say

By all accounts, the Nissan 5.6 v8 engine is a powerful mechanical device with a long lifespan.

It has two versions, which are VK56DE and VK56VD. Each engine works best on vans, trucks, and other vehicles that can drag or carry heavy loads.

This engine is generally reliable, and it is fuel-efficient. However, it has a couple of problems, which are solvable.

If you can properly maintain this engine, you can extend its lifespan beyond the average mileage.