Nissan KA20DE Engine | All You Need to Know

Nissan KA20DE Engine is 86×86 bore stroke, which may mean we could run an 89.5×86 in KAs for 2.2L. This would be a very nice bore-stroke ratio and could mean much in getting NA SR20DET – like response out of a KA24DE Engine. KA20DE is a DOHC Engine with 16-valve and produced in range 1999 through 2007 by Nissan.

Engine breakdown code:
KA – Engine Family
20 – 2.0 Liter Displacement
D – DOHC (dual overhead camshafts)
E – Multi Point Fuel Injection

When you think about reliability, durability, and the dependable legacy of Nissan, the KA20DE engine inevitably comes up. Manufactured from 1999 to 2007, the Nissan KA20DE engine has made its mark in the automotive world. Incorporated in multiple Nissan vehicles such as the Nissan Sunny, Nissan Bluebird, and the Nissan Caravan, this 2.0L DOHC 16-valve inline-four gasoline engine has earned accolades for its steadfast performance and endurance.


While the KA20DE engine isn’t always hailed for its raw power, especially compared to powerhouses like Nissan’s SR20DE, it has been a favorite for its ease of maintenance, consistency, and longevity.

KA20DE Specifications

  • Valve Configuration : DOHC, 16-valve In-line 4
  • Bore × Stroke: 86 mm × 86 mm (3.39 in × 3.39 in)
  • Max power: 120 PS (88 kW) at 5200 rpm (Caravan E24/E25, Atlas F23); 125 PS (92 kW) at 5600 rpm (Datsun Truck D22)
  • Max torque: 169 N⋅m (125 lb⋅ft) at 2800 rpm (Caravan E24/Atlas F23); 171 N⋅m (126 lb⋅ft) at 2800 rpm (Caravan E25); 175 N⋅m (129 lb⋅ft) at 3200 rpm (Datsun Truck D22)
  • Compression ratio: 9.5:1

From what i know, it has the same head, block and just different in pistons (uses the same rod as well). The reason for the ka20de is for fuel economy without sacrificing the drivability in a 4 wheel drive as the hp is rated at 145 tq 140 vrs the sr20de motor which is alot less.

This information i got from a friend who lives in Japan. He said insurance is a little less in this engine then the year older one with the ka24de. He was not sure if it is the reason or just to added safety features.

The important information I don’t have yet about this Nissan KA Engine is, what years and trim levels had that KA20DE. As the Nissan KA42E and KA24DE are real motors that come in the 240sx. KA20DE does not exist in some cars models or is in some irrelavent truck that nobody cares about.

The best Nissan ka Engine are still the early model os SR20DET that came in Japanese silvias and 180sx’s.

Common Problems with the KA20DE

While the KA20DE engine is synonymous with reliability, no engine is without its occasional hiccups. A few challenges owners might face include:

  1. Oil Leaks: A common complaint is that oil leakage often originates from the valve cover gasket and camshaft seals.
  2. Overheating Issues: Proper maintenance of the cooling system is pivotal. Neglecting this could result in the KA20DE engine overheating.
  3. Timing Chain Woes: Over prolonged usage, the timing chain can stretch or break, leading to compromised engine performance or a complete breakdown.

Regular maintenance is non-negotiable to ensure the KA20DE engine remains in tip-top shape. Here are the essentials:

  1. Oil Change: Every 5,000-7,500 miles is the sweet spot, though those driving under extreme conditions might need more frequent changes.
  2. Air Filter Replacement: Every 12,000-15,000 miles or sooner, especially if driving in dust-laden environments.
  3. Spark Plug Swap: Replacements are advised every 30,000-45,000 miles for optimal functioning.
  4. Timing Chain Switch: With a broad window of 60,000-90,000 miles, paying attention to this is crucial, especially if there are signs of wear and tear.

Cars Used KA20DE Engine

Nissan KA20DE Engine was mainly used in Japanese Domestic Market commercial vehicles. Not much is known about the use of this Engines, as I know they are in work trucks too, and can be found in South AFRICA. So far the KA20 has been used in the Nissan Hardbody, the Nissan Caravan, and the Isuzu COMO.

KA24DE Applications
1999.06-2007.06 Nissan Atlas
1999.06-2001.04 Nissan Caravan
2001.04-2007.08 Nissan Caravan
1999.06-2002.08 Nissan Datsun Truck

Popular Modifications

The KA20DE might not be the most powerful out of the box, but it’s a favorite canvas for car enthusiasts. Common modifications to elevate its performance include:

  1. Intake and Exhaust Upgrades: To allow the engine to breathe better and release exhaust gases more efficiently.
  2. Camshaft Enhancements: Boosting the engine’s power output.
  3. Turbocharger/Supercharger: Giving it the extra oomph many seek.
  4. EMS Uplift: An Engine Management System tweak to optimize performance.

The Nissan KA20DE engine stands as a testament to Nissan’s ability to produce robust and reliable machinery. While it may not roar with the intensity of some other engines, its reliability, and ease of maintenance have cemented its position as a favorite for many car enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike. Whether you’re a tuner looking for a solid base or seeking a steadfast ride, the KA20DE won’t disappoint.