more H. P. for an '89 Sentra...and sponsor for "Show Car" for some group in Phx., Az. ???

Asked by Sep 23, 2011 at 01:31 AM about the 1989 Nissan Sentra

Question type: Car Customization

Had rebuilt 1990 single Cam engine in Jan. 2011 and now find that one mechanic, who I can't find now, told me I could get more H.P. by getting high performance fuel pump and metal fuel lines...may be able to keep current injectors ???
He said I could get another 50 horse power with this $500. investment in new parts ???

5 Answers


Wow. Be very glad that you are no longer able to find said 'mechanic' - nothing he said has even the slightest bit of truth to it. The cheapest things you can do to free up a little power that I can think of are as follows: 1. Remove the air cleaner box assembly, and replace with a reusable cone filter (about $25 for the cone filter, maybe $15 for the MAF adapter plate) 2. Replace stock muffler with a less restrictive 'sport' type. ($30 and up for the muffler, depending on your preferences, plus whatever your local exhaust shop charges to weld it on for you) 3. Change ignition timing from 10-15 degrees BTDC to 20-25 degrees BTDC (you should be able to handle this one yourself if you have a timing light) **PLEASE NOTE: ONCE IGNITION TIMING HAS BEEN SET TO 20-25 DEGREES BTDC, YOU MUST RUN PREMIUM FUEL** Combined, you probably won't get more than about 15HP from all three - but they're definitely cheaper and have the added benefit of actually being effective ways to increase horsepower, as opposed to the nonsense the supposed mechanic was feeding you. The downside is that your gas mileage will go down...but that is a side-effect that is universal among modifications designed to increase power. You may also want to think about what you can do to make the car lighter - reducing the vehicle's weight is another way to increase the power-to-weight ratio, which in the end is what you're trying to do anyways. One easy way to reduce your vehicle's weight is by upgrading to a larger wheel size utilizing a lower-profile tire. Believe it or not, the rubber is heavier than the metal of the wheel, so bigger rims and smaller tires can definitely help slim your ride. I also removed the entire A/C system from my car (nearly 100lbs total) but I understand that not everybody is willing to live without A/C... Either way, short of turbocharging your current motor (which is more likely to run you at *least* $3K to $7K) you really aren't going to find much of anything that will give you a 50HP gain on such a small motor. You may want to think about swapping in a larger stock motor, like a 2.0L SR20DE (which *is* 50HP more powerful than the 1.6L GA16DE) or a 2.5L QR25DE (which is more like 75-80HP more powerful). Oh, and don't forget... once the motor swap's done, you can *always* do the same 3 mods I initially listed :)

2 people found this helpful.

Quite helpful...altho, still learning more about 'the wheel and tire part', as to me it seems to mean getting the aluminum rims, like at Discount Tire and going to a '13' size rather than the 14 size tire that I have now....other than that, I will have to go to more tire shops and see what you mean by: "larger wheel size utilizing lower profile tire " Running on a 'nickel and dime' budget here so likely only a 'Sponor' could generate the cash to do other Mods suggested. Actually looking for who and where the "Show Car" folks might 'hang-out' so I can find others doing to same with their Sentras....Do you happen to know another/place in the Phx., Az. area ???? Very GRATEFUL for your I am not of the age/peer group to find out about this mechanical and show car or car club kind of info by word of mouth; I just don't cruise the streets on Fri. and Sat. nite...too tired from work...will be 60 y/o next July...altho, in my heart feel like I am about 29 !!!! Thanks again for CarGurus and Doran


Funny you should say that... I turned 29 this past July. Actually, what I mean is that you should *increase* the diameter of the wheel, and then use a tire with a short sidewall height to keep the same overall diameter of the original tire/wheel combo. For example, my 1998 Sentra came with 175/65R 14 tires (a 14" wheel with overall tire diameter 22.96" and circumference 72.12"). I now use a 205/40ZR17 (a 17" wheel with overall tire diameter 23.46" and circumference 73.69"). The larger wheel sporting the rubber-band tires is noticeably lighter, and the difference in handling is beyond compare, yet the overall diameter/circumference are close enough to stock that the speedometer still reads close enough to true as to not be noticeable at all (when the speedometer displays 65MPH, true speed is actually 66MPH). As far as the whole car club scene, etc. I'm afraid I can't be much help to you there, as I tend to be fairly antisocial, and live in SoCal. I'm actually self-taught both as a mechanic and a custom body and/or fabrication guy, which is how I've been able to bring my Sentra to its current level of customization on a VERY slim budget ($1600 for the car itself, $1000 for the parts to swap in an SR20DE in place of the stock GA16DE, $250 for wheels/tires, $110 for the body kit, $200 for lowering springs, and about $200 worth of bondo/fiberglassing supplies takes care of the rest of the bodywork. Incidentally, I've also put about $500 into the stereo too, which brings us to a grand total of $3860, which I believe to be a meager sum considering I'm about 3 years into this project, and please note that this car *is* my daily driver as well. If you're interested in seeing more pictures of what I've done to my Sentra, feel free to check out the photo gallery in my Car IQ garage.

1 people found this helpful.

Sorry but no movement on these plans and appreciate your feedback...Say, I did go to another more competent mechanic and he suggested finding an adaptor for my fuel a first step to making it a "show car" ..he even attempted to fit a Honda adjustable top on the regulator base that I have, but it would not quite, I wondered if you know how to refit the closed fuel regulator, so it can become adjustable ???


Buy a Nismo adjustable FPR for ~$100. Its a direct replacement for the stock regulator.

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