VG30e versus VG33e

 Updated 9/11/2017

 If you want to upgrade your vg30 to a vg33 here is some pictures and details of some of the differences I have noticed.

History of the VG3x in the US market only:

Here is some of US market Nissans that came with VG motors:

  • z31 300zx 1984-1989 = vg30e and vg30et
  • z32 300zx 1990-1996 = vg30de
  • pu11 maxima 1985 - 1988 = vg30e
  • j30 maxima 1989 - 1994 = vg30e
  • d21 Hardbody 1986.5-1989 = vg30i
  • d21 Hardbody 1990-1995 = vg30e  (Canada has 1996 also)
  • wd21 Pathfinder 1987-1989 = vg30i (2 door)
  • wd21 Pathfinder 1990-1995 = vg30e (4 door)
  • v40 Quest 1993-1998 = vg30e  (1 sliding door)
  • v41 Quest 1999-2003 = vg33e  (2 sliding doors)
  • r50 Pathfinder 1996-1998 = vg33e
  • d22 Frontier 1999-2003 = vg33e
  • wd22 Xterra 2000-2004 = vg33e

  • i= throttle body injection
  • e = Multiport Injection
  • et = multiport with turbo
  • de = dual cam with multiport injection

The easiest way to put a vg33 in a vg30 w/d21 is get a new harmonic balancer and use ALL the vg30 externals. Mounts, intake, exhaust accessories. The big difference between the 2 is the crank size.

Here is the rare D21 Canada model Vg30e part number 12303-12g03 

Here is a video of 1 I found on my 95 D21 2wd. It came with a Factory reconditioned engine. I did meet a guy that had a 94 Pathfinder he clamed his Dad bought new. It had the larger part also. Apparently Nissan started iusing it earlier on Pathys made in Japan. All the D21 in that time sold in US where made in TN. So only Canada models had this part in 96 only. 95 was last year of d21 v6 in USA due to obdII. Nissan could only afford to get Quest legal with vg30e in 96. 96 Pathy went vg33e, d21 was 4cyl only.


VG30e versus VG33e details

Same intake and exhaust port sizes. Distributor mounts same, valves and lifters are same.


The most popular difference between heads is the exhaust studs. 8mm vs 10mm! 


Same cam gears. 94+ have round tooth on VG30s. All VG33s have round tooth.

The belts are different between all vg33s and some vg30s. The VG30 changed to round teeth in 1994. So that is in the middle of the d21,wd21,v40 model range. So all z31 iss square and all r50 is round but the rest you have to be careful.


There is a water jacket missing on the VG33 head. I guess due to the increased bore size.

The intake manifold has some overlapping.

14003-88G00  w/d21 and early v40 - vg30e
superceded by 14003-88G01 94+ wd21 and r50 - vg33e

14003-1B000-w/d22 vg33e and late v40 vg30e

14003-5S700- vg33er - w/d22

Cranks are same with the exception of the snout. two sizes were used on the vg30. Nissan calls them 25mm and 32mm


Oil pump drive is 34 mm on late VG30 and 41mm on VG33


The harmonic balancer is 25mm on VG30 and 32mm on VG33. This is the dimension used in FAST for all the differences between the early and late vg30. All vg33 are 32mm.

The bolt pattern is the same.

Water pump choices:

Oil pump differences between different vehicles.

Pickup tubes:

Lower timing covers



Rods are labeled at the factory. The pistons are not.

Block tops. Vg30 then vg33,

only difference is the vg33 has a 3.3 CAST in top back. Hard to tell them apart.

right sides, vg30 then vg33

left sides, vg30 then vg33

backs vg30 then vg33

fronts vg30 then vg33



How to install block on engine stand without hoist. Bolt plate to engine on the floor. Lay stand on floor. Slide in plate. Hinge engine up. Block is 135lbs. This way prevents dealing with engine hoist.