The Nissan KA24DE is a 2.4-liter, straight-four, four-stroke cycle gasoline engine from the Nissan KA family. It is a legend among Nissan enthusiasts. Nissan’s final KA engine, the KA24DE, is renowned for its dependability, ease of maintenance, and power potential.
Nearly every Nissan 240SX series in America had the KA24DE engine. You are probably familiar with the Nissan KA24DE engine if you have spent time in the drifting scene, particularly in the US.
In this article, we’ll explore the history of Nissan’s iconic KA24DE motor and discuss the keys to unlocking the KA’s full performance potential.
History of KA24DE Engine
The KA24DE found its way into various Nissan automobiles and pickups. Most KA24DEs imported to the United States were assembled in Aguascalientes, Mexico, except for the 240SX, the 1994–1997 Altima (rebadged Bluebird SSS), and the FWD U13 Bluebird. These came from Fukuoka, Japan, where they were made.
The KA exemplifies the quality and longevity of Japanese automobile engines from the 1990s. Keeping up with its scheduled maintenance and using good quality motor oil will serve you well for many years.
The blocks made in Japan and Mexico are not the same. All DEs outside the 240SX use Mexican blocks, which include a distributor and oil pump drive identical to the L series’s implementation from the crank nose. To complete the upper timing assembly, a single-row chain was also implemented.
They also removed the Mexico head’s last cam log and the above items. Shorter, lower-compression pistons are housed in cylinders with thicker walls than those in the Japanese DE, and the crank rotates on individually capped bearings of a somewhat smaller diameter than those in the Japanese block.
Nissan 240SX And The KA24 Engine
The KA24E engine, a 2.4-liter, 140-horsepower, naturally aspirated unit with a single overhead cam and three valves per cylinder, was standard equipment for the first generation of the Nissan 240SX, which debuted in the North American market in 1988.
Nissan later upgraded the 240SX with a more powerful KA24DE engine, introduced in 1991. The KA24DE engine is unique because it features a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) with four valves per cylinder instead of two.
The intake valves on the KA24DE were more prominent in diameter, the knock sensors were upgraded, the oil pickup was redesigned, and the compression ratio was either 9.0:1 or 9.5:1. That’s because its redline was 6900 rpm, up from 6500 rpm at the 1988 model it replaced.
In addition, the KA24DE naturally aspirated engine produced a maximum of 155 horsepower at 5600 RPM. At 4400 RPM, the torque peaked at 160 lb-ft. The 2.4L displacement remained unchanged, and the cast iron cylinder block and cast aluminum cylinder heads kept the engine running smoothly.
Even though Nissan stopped making 240SXs in 1998, they kept making KA24DE stock engines until 2004.
Break Down Of The KA24DE: Engine Specifications
|Displacement||2.4 L (2,389 cc)|
|Cylinders||Differences between Japanese and Mexican blocks|
|Bore||89.0 mm (3.50 in)|
|Stroke||96.0 mm (3.78 in)|
|Compression Ratio||8.6:1 to 9.5:1|
|Horsepower||134 hp (100 kW) to 155 hp (116 kW)|
|Torque||152 lb-ft (203 N⋅m) to 160 lb-ft (217 N⋅m)|
|Redline||6500 rpm to 6900 rpm|
|Valvetrain||DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Fuel Injection||Hitachi sequential electronic fuel injection|
|Connecting Rods||Cast steel|
|Crankshaft||Cast steel, half-counterweighted|
|Piston Oil Squirters||Yes|
|History||Used in various Nissan cars and trucks from 1988 to 2004|
|Reliability||Considered to be a reliable and durable engine|
|Modifications||Popular for modification, with many aftermarket parts available|
KA24DE Engine Code Deciphered
|24||Displacement, 2.4 L|
|D||Dual Overhead Camshaft(DOHC)|
|E||Multiple Fuel Injection|
How To Upgrade KA24DE
It is essential that the KA’s engine and all of its parts be in good working order before any tweaking is attempted. Spending money on a broken engine is the worst kind of frustration.
You can do a few easy tweaks to stay on the naturally aspirated course and get more horses out of it. To improve the engine’s ability to take in oxygen, a cold air intake should be set up first, followed by a 4-2-1 header and the most open exhaust system possible.
If you add a lightweight flywheel and tune the ECU, you should be able to increase the stock 155 horsepower to roughly 175.
Cars That Came With KA24E/DE Engines
The KA24DE engine was standard equipment for many Nissan vehicles, not only the 240SX. Nissan employed the same engine on several different platforms to cut costs. Vehicles that were factory-equipped with the KA24E/DE engine were:
|Year||Name of Vehicle|
|1989 – 1990||Nissan 240SX|
|1990 – 1992||Nissan Stanza|
|1989 – 1995||Nissan Access / Nissan Prairie|
|1990 – 1995||Nissan Pathfinder|
|1993 – 1996||Nissan Terrano II|
|1989 – 1992||Nissan Pintara / Ford Corsair|
|1990 – 1997||Nissan Hardbody|
|1991 – 1998||Nissan 240SX|
|1993 – 1997||Nissan Bluebird|
|1993 – 2001||Nissan Altima|
|1999 – 2001||Nissan Bassara|
|1997 – 2000||Nissan R’nessa|
|1998 – 2001||Nissan Presage|
|1998 – 2008||Nissan Frontier|
|2000 – 2004||Nissan Xterra|
Installing a turbocharger on your KA will give this underachieving engine a chance to shine. In the KA24DE, Nissan laid the fantastic groundwork for a turbocharged inline-four. Strong connecting rods and a sturdy crankshaft help the KA24DE’s turbochargers reach full spool in record time.
The amount of power gained from a standard engine depends significantly on the type of installed turbo kit. You may get around 250 to 300 hp using a low-cost turbocharger, such as an SR20 T25 or one you find on eBay.
However, if you want to go all out, high-end turbo packages like the Garrett GTX2867R or Tomei MX7960 can increase the power of your KA24DE engine to 400 horsepower.
If you want to increase your stock engine’s power output by roughly 300 horsepower, you’ll need to install a panel air filter, sports exhaust system, high-flow fuel injector, fast road cam, engine control unit, and fuel pump.
The internal engine components (pistons, valves, head) must be upgraded for power outputs above 300 horsepower. Balancing is necessary to lessen vibrations and increase the engine’s durability.
KA24E vs KA24DE Differences
These engines are identical except for a few key details, the most noticeable of which is the cylinder head.
|Valvetrain||SOHC, 3 valves per cylinder||DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Horsepower||134 hp (100 kW) to 155 hp (116 kW)||155 hp (116 kW) to 160 hp (119 kW)|
|Torque||152 lb-ft (203 N⋅m) to 160 lb-ft (217 N⋅m)||160 lb-ft (217 N⋅m)|
|Redline||6500 rpm to 6900 rpm||6900 rpm|
|Fuel Injection||Port fuel injection||Multipoint fuel injection|
|Piston Oil Squirters||No||Yes|
Comparison: SR20DET, KA24DE, & KA24DE-T Engines
- More powerful than the KA24DE and KA24DE-T
- Higher redline
- More advanced valvetrain
- Popular for modification, with many aftermarket parts available
- More complex and expensive to maintain
- More prone to engine knock
- Not as reliable as the KA24DE and KA24DE-T
- The most reliable and fuel-efficient engine of the three
- Simple and easy to maintain
- Relatively affordable to purchase
- Less powerful than the SR20DET and KA24DE-T
- Lower redline
- Less advanced valvetrain
- Not as popular for modification as the SR20DET and KA24DE-T
- A good compromise between power and reliability
- Relatively affordable to maintain
- Famous for modification, with many aftermarket parts available
- Not as powerful as the SR20DET
- Not as reliable as the KA24DE
- More complex and expensive to maintain than the KA24DE
Ultimately, the best engine for you will depend on your needs and preferences. If you are looking for the most powerful engine, the SR20DET is the best option. If you are looking for the most reliable and fuel-efficient engine, the KA24DE is the best option. And if you are looking for a good compromise between power and reliability, the KA24DE-T is the best option.
Issues with the Nissan KA24DE Engine
The KA24DE is well-known as a sturdy stock engine. The KA24DE is quite durable, as its block is cast iron, and its cylinder head is robust aluminum. The KA24DE also benefits from not having excessive internal pressure because of its low compression ratio.
Due to its general resilience, it is no surprise that very little is known about KA24DE’s dependability difficulties or common problems. KA24DEs have a relatively short list of typical problems, even minor ones. Remember that this is the situation with fresh factory KA24DEs; adding substantial performance modifications can introduce new complications.
Several of the most typical KA24DE problems include:
- Damaged Gasket on the Valve Cover
- Faulty Distributor
- Rattling Timer Chain
Valve Cover Gasket Failure
- Oil leaks from the valve cover
- White smoke from the exhaust
- Engine misfires
- Rough idle
- Low oil pressure
The valve cover gasket is a seal that prevents oil from leaking from the engine. If the gasket fails, oil can leak onto the engine and other components, causing damage. A qualified mechanic can replace the valve cover gasket.
The cost to replace a valve cover gasket on a KA24DE engine typically ranges from $100 to $200. The labor cost is typically around $75, while the part costs around $25.
- Engine misfires
- Rough idle
- No start
- Engine stalling
The distributor is a component in the ignition system that distributes the spark to the spark plugs. If the distributor fails, it can cause various problems, including engine misfires, rough idle, and no start. A qualified mechanic can replace the distributor.
The cost to replace a distributor on a KA24DE engine typically ranges from $200 to $300. The labor cost is typically around $150, while the part costs around $50.
Timing Chain Rattle
- Rattle noise from the engine
- Engine misfires
- Rough idle
- Loss of power
The timing chain is a component in the engine that keeps the camshaft and crankshaft in sync. If the timing chain rattles, it is a sign that the chain is worn or damaged. A worn or damaged timing chain can cause various problems, including engine misfires, rough idle, and loss of power. A qualified mechanic can replace the timing chain.
The cost to replace a timing chain on a KA24DE engine typically ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. The labor cost is typically around $800, while the part costs around $200.
It is important to note that these are just some of the symptoms and replacements for these engine problems. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to have your car diagnosed by a qualified mechanic to determine the cause of the problem.
Pros And Cons Of KA24DET Engine
Pros Of KA24DET Engine
- Reliable and powerful
- Well-suited for everyday driving and performance driving
- A popular choice for modification
- Many aftermarket parts are available.
Cons Of KA24DET Engine
- Can be thirsty
- Not as powerful as some other engines
- It can be challenging to find it in good condition
The KA24DET is a reliable and powerful engine well-suited for everyday and performance driving. It is a popular modification choice, and many aftermarket parts are available to improve its performance. With proper maintenance, the KA24DET can last for many years.