sábado, 23 de dezembro de 2023

5 Things Owners Must Know About Nissan’s Problematic VC-Turbo Engine


Nissan wowed the automotive world when it introduced its Variable Compression (VC) Turbo technology in 2016. The innovative engine advancement, which essentially was capable of on-the-fly compression adjustment, promised to improve turbocharged fuel efficiency—something that had been eluding engineers for decades. Nissan's advanced technology made sense on paper, and it was well received by the automotive media who tested new cars: "Our test car was the 2.0-liter variable compression turbo model, so we had a treat for the week. There's plenty of power under your foot, and that makes all the difference," reported The Detroit Bureau. It even won major automotive industry awards, with Nissan's 1.5-liter VC-Turbo engine making the "Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems" list for 2022 — that's a strong accolade.

Yet the newness and celebration were short-lived when owners of Nissan and Infiniti models with VC-Turbo technology began to report problems—stalling and premature engine failures. As a result, the Office of Defects Investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) branch tasked with identifying and correcting safety-related defects in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, recently opened a preliminary evaluation to study Nissan's VC-Turbo.

What is a Nissan VC-Turbo?

The innovative engine architecture, launched on the company's premium 2019 Infiniti QX50, promised to solve a recurrent problem with low-compression turbocharged engines—inefficiency when operating without boost. Nissan's engineers calculated that by actively changing the engine's compression—how much the engine squeezes the fuel and air together—during the driving cycle, they could provide strong engine power around town and fuel efficiency during cruising. The Nissan VC-Turbo essentially "promises the performance of a V-6 at low compression with the efficiency of a diesel-sipping four-cylinder at high compression," summarized Motor Trend.

How Does the Nissan VC-Turbo Work?

The Variable Compression technology utilizes a very complex multi-link system that varies the amount of piston travel (technically speaking, it alters the top dead and bottom dead center positions). Nissan reportedly filed some 300 patents when engineering its VC-Turbo technology. "By using an adjustable crankshaft and actuator arm, this new engine can adjust its compression ratio, allowing for the perfect mix of horsepower and fuel efficiency," says Nissan. "With a variable range between 8:1 and 14:1, this new VC-Turbo works with the onboard engine computer to give V6 performance, with 4-cylinder fuel efficiency."

What Vehicles Have a Nissan VC-Turbo Engine?

Approximately 450,000 vehicles with the Nissan VC-Turbo engine are under review for potential engine issues. Specifically, the 1.5-liter three-cylinder (internal name KR15DDT) and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder (KR20DDET). Those engines were fitted to 2021-2023 Nissan Rogue, 2019-2021 Nissan Altima, and 2019-2021 Infiniti QX50 models.

What do I do if I have a Nissan VC-Turbo Engine?

As of now, there is nothing that owners should be doing other than enjoy their vehicles, follow the automaker's suggested scheduled maintenance, and keep up to date on the latest news.

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