Welcome to the SR20 Community Forum - The Dash.
SR20 forum logo

Thread: HOWTO: 1.6 GA16DE to 2.0 SR20DET swap

+ Reply To Thread
Posts: 1-3 of 3
2010-12-29 07:20:27
HOWTO: 1.6 GA16DE to 2.0 SR20DET swap
Foward: Before jumping right into this write up, I'd like to make a few comments.

1) I am in no way affiliated with any of the shops and/or websites listed below. The creditability of these shops/websites may or maynot be the best, I can only post my personal expierences with them.

2) This complete swap was done without ANY prior knowledge of the B13/b14/Sentra/NX chasis or SR20 motor. This swap was done in my garage with only a few speciality tools (ie. engine lift, air impact wrench). This also was my first project car involving a motor swap. The swap is completly straight forward, and I feel that anyone with any basic mechanical skills could complete it within a much quicker time frame then it took me. I completly believe that this swap could be completed within a weekend with all of the required tools and parts on hand.

3) This swap is not only for those going from a GA16de to SR20DET. This writeup would be extremely helpful for those just wanting to swap in an SR20DE.

August 2002:

Project Began with the find of an NX1600 for $200 at a small time car dealership. A 1992 NX1600 5spd with 200,000+ miles with the transmission taken appart (and thrown into the backseat). I picked up the car and tow'd it back home, and began the process of cleaning out the car, which eventually led to completely stripping out the interior of the car.

The Plan for my NX1600 was to swap a Japanese BlueBird SR20DET 2.0L Turbo Charged engine into the car, a swap many Sentra SE-R, 200sx SE-R, and NX2000 owners had done and a wealth of information was available via Online Forums, such as www.sr20forum.com . For the SE-R and NX2000 vehicles, which come with SR20DE engines (The Non-Turbo Version) this is a pretty simple swap as everything just bolts over. However it would be slightly different in that the NX1600 has the 1.6L GA16DE, therefore requiring many more parts from SR20DE equiped cars.

This write up was made to help assist other's wanting to swap from the 1.6L GA16de to the BlueBird SR20DET.

Step One: Removing the GA16DE:

Removing the GA16de was pretty straight forward. The transmission was already out from when I purchased it. I removed the exhuast manifold from the block, All the AC lines (Won't Be needing those after the swap!), All PowerSteering lines, the wiring harness, motor-mounts, and anything else attaching the motor to the engine bay. At the time I was removing the engine I had no access to a real engine hoist, so I got a little creative. I bought a 1-Ton Block and Tackle (A System of Pulleys) set and rig'd it up from a tree branch. I position'd the NX1600 under the branch, attached one end of the pulley to the GA16DE, and the other end to my boss's truck. Needless to say, it worked like a charm.

Strip'd Interior

Step Two: Acquiring Parts Needed for the Swap:

Here is my list of parts that I purchased in order to complete the swap:

Item:U12 BlueBird SR20DET
Description: T25 Turbo with Top Mount Intercooler.
Purchased From: JGY Customs Awesome Place, everyone recommmends.
Price: $1800

Item:SE-R 5spd Transmission
Description:Has Limited Slip Diff. Paid to get it welded to prevent case cracking.
Purchased From:JGY Customs Took ~1 month to ship because of the welding.
Price: $450+$50 for welding.

Item:OEM SE-R Axles
Description:Ga16DE Axles won't fit with SE-R Tranny
Purchased From:Sr20Forum Member

Item:Place Racing SE-R Motor Mounts
Description:You need SE-R motor Mounts, I choose these because they are polyeruthan Filled. A cheaper option would be to find a set of OEM motor mounts and purchase the Energy Suspension Front and Rear MotorMount inserts (about $50).
Purchased From: placeracing.com

Item:Passenger Side Motor-Mount Bracket
Description:The Stock Passenger Side motormount bracket on the U12 SR20DET will not work with SE-R motormounts. You need the passenger side bracket from a USDM SR20DE motor.
Purchased From:JGY Customs

Item:Rear Motor Mount BRACKET
Description:the Motor Mount BRACKET from the Ga16de will NOT work. They look VERY similar, but trust me the 1.6 one won't work.
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:Front Motor Mount BRACKET
Description:The DET front "dogbone" mount bracket won't work either. JGY Claims you can use the ga16de bracket if you notch it and force it. I just chose to get one from a USDM SR20DE.
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:SE-R Cross Member
Description:Only needed if swapping from AUTOMATIC to MANUAL! If you are going from a 1.6 5spd to a 2.0 5spd no need to purchase this. There seems to be alot of confusion about this on the forums.
Purchased From:SR20Forum Member

Item:SE-R 5speed Transmission mount BRACKET
Description:Only needed if swapping from AUTOMATIC to MANUAL! If you are going from a 1.6 5spd to a 2.0 5spd no need to purchase this.
Purchased From:

Item:SE-R Clutch Cable BRACKET
Description:This is the bracket that bolts to the SE-R transmission and holds the clutch cable. Trust me, the 1.6 bracket won't work.
Purchased From: Came with SE-R tranny

Item: ECU, either JWT reflashed ECU for SR20DET, or stock SE-R ECU. I got a u12 SR20DET ECU to use with my motor.
Description:Its an automatic ecu, but JWT says it will work just fine ( and it does).
Purchased From:E-Bay

Item:SR20DE Harness
Description:Another area where I had some major delays. The BlueBird wiring harness doesn't match up with your underdash harness. Another forum member apparently wired his GA16DE engine harness to work on a bluebird motor, but had to not only rewire the harness, but also the distributor. Save yourself headaches and just get the SR20DE harness!
Purchased From: Sr20Forum Member

Item: Clutch - Clutch - ACT NX9HDSS
Description:Heavy Duty Pressure Plate - Super Street Disc
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:SE-R Starter
Description:GA16de Starter won't work.
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:Walbro Fuel Pump for BlueBird Sr20det
Description:Make sure you get the kit for the sentra BB Sr20det swap.
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:Spark Plugs - NGK Irridium
Description:New OEM Plugs, most people suggest getting the copper plugs over the Irridium plugs.
Purchased From:www.sparkplugs.com

Item:SE-R Maf
Description:Mass Air Flow Sensor - If you are going to use a b13 SR20DE ECU, then get the b13 MAF. If you are going to use a JDM U12 BlueBird SR20DET ECU, use the b13 MAF. If you are going to use a u13 BlueBird SR20DET ECU, then you need a JDM U13 MAF.
Purchased From:SR20Forum Member

Item:SE-R TPS Sensor
Description:Throttle Position Sensor, my SR20DET Came with an AUTO TPS (6 wires instead of 3) Just find a USDM B13 SE-R TPS Sensor.
Purchased From:Sr20Forum Memeber

Item:JDM BB o2 Sensor / Stock SE-R O2 Sensor
Description:If you use a U12 BB ECU then you need the JDM U12 BB o2 sensor. If you use the USDM b13 SE-R ECU, then you need the USDM o2 sensor + adapter nut that the O2 screws into from a SE-R exhuast manifold.
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:3" Down Pipe
Description:3" Exhuast pipe from turbo outlet to cat. You can get one made localy for about half the cost!
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:U12 SR20DET Plastic Intake Tube
Description:Didn't come with my Engine from JGY, This piece runs from the AirFilter and Maf to the turbo inlet.
Purchased From:JGYCustoms

Item:Modine Radiator
Description:1.6 Radiator Won't Work, Inlet/outlet diameters on the radiator are too small
Purchased From:Local Modine Radiator Dealer

Step Three: Swapping in BlueBird SR20DET:

July 8th:

My engine+tranny finnaly arrived from JGY. Here are a few shots.

Not the cleanest looking engine ever, but I'm assured its pristine on the inside. First step was to swap out the passenger side motor-mount bracket for the SE-R Bracket, it attaches with 4 bolts. I then replaced all the worn and cut looking hoses with new heater or vaccume hoses. My engine did not come with a complete intake tube, so I purchased one from forum member. Replaced the thermostat while it was out with an OEM Nissan Sentra SE-R thermostat. Easier to replace now then later. Hooked up the Alternator belt. Replaced Spark plugs and plug wires. I'd also suggest replacing the rear main seal now while the motor is out. You could also replace the front main seal. The rear main seal is rather time consuming to replace later if it ends up leaking once you got it in the car and running. You may also wish to replace/or just re-seal the water pump for the same reason.

Side of Engine
Top Mount IC
T25 Goodness

July 25-26th:

Had a few friends come out to help drop in the engine. This time I actaully have an engine hoist. Our plan was to drop in just the engine, line up the front, rear, and side mounts and then bring in the transmission from the bottom and bolt that up last. However we did not have such good luck. Both days we spent attempting to line up the mounts, but couldn't do it! They just wouldn't line up.... It appears as tho my rear Motor-mount BRACKET from the ga16de engine is different from the SR20DE bracket. Arrghh.. two days wasted... Although I could not get anyone to verify that these two brackets are different or identical.. so I guess I have to find out myself, purchasing an SE-R Rear MM Bracket from the Forums. Someone mentioned the transmission bracket is different as well....hrm...

July 28th:

Good news... Finnaly found some definate information on the rear motor-mount bracket.... here is the post from Sr20Forum.com...

Tranny mount FYI: On B13's mounts are as follows: The crossmember itself only differs between auto or manual trannies, so the same crossmember is used for both GA and SR autos, or SR and GA manuals. The front crossmember mounts have the same plastic/rubber buffer. The bracket that mounts to the tranny is different between the GA and the SR manual trannies. The rear crossmember mount on both cars is the same for the rubber portion only. The brackets that mount on the engine are different between GA and SR and they differ between manual and auto as well as 3 or 4 speed autos. The driver's side mount on the tranny as well as the brackets, differ between SR and GA as well as between auto and manual. The passenger's side mount and brackets differs between GA and SR.

Thanks Toolapcfan!

I busted one of my Power Steering lines on the NX, and instead of going thru the trouble of replacing it, I decided to just pickup an RTR Power Steering Eliminator kit. I'm surprized I found one for sale on SR20DEForum at all because if I recall these were made custom by a member several months ago, who is no longer making them. Dyno'd for a 2HP gain, 12lbs weight savings, and frees up a ton of space in the engine bay. Why not, plus its one less thing I have to worry about breaking.

August 9th:

Well... progress was finnaly made. I recieved the se-r rear motor-mount BRACKET from JGY. Besides the 1.6 bracket's arm that juts off, the two brackets are only *slightly* different, but more then enough to work like a champ! Found a few posts online describing where I would need to shave the "oil pan" to clear the crossmember. Its not really the oil pan that you must shave but the webbing that is on the underside of the block right before the flywheel. I have a few pictures below:

Side Shot
Direct Shot

I shaved the block with a bench grinding wheel, obviously not the best tool for the job. Probably worked better then a hack saw, but an air cut-off tool would be recommended. I also choose to slightly bash in the cross member to help with clearance.

We drop'd the DET in from the top, bolted the passenger side mount first, then the rear mount. JGY said that my 1.6 front "dog bone" mount bracket would work fine, however I forgot that I nolonger had my 1.6 bracket and was attempting to use the DET bracket, this was obviously a no go. For the time being I just left it off as it does not bear any weight. After bolting those two mounts, I raised the car onto jack stands, and placed the transmission onto my floor jack. Rolled the jack under the car, and raised it up to the engine. Slip'd the transmission on, bolted it up. Bolted up the mount and mouting bracket. The ga16de transmission BRACKET that bolts to the rail of the car does indeed work. However, if you are going from an automatic to 5spd, you will need the NX2000/SE-R Transmission mount BRACKET, as they are different. I started wiring up the car and hooking up other things such as throttle and clutch cables, both of which appear to be too long. Looks like I'll need se-r cables...

DET dog bone mount not fitting
DET dog bone mount Still not fitting
Dropping In DET
Dropping In DET

August 13-14:

Well its been a tough few days for the swap. In first attempts I wired the engine with the BB SR20DET harness. It matches up with the engine plugs perfectly. However you get under the dash where it plugs up to the ECU, and the under-dash plug doesn't match at all. I spent several hours looking thru wiring diagrams and half of an sr20de harness (some guy rip'd me off and only sent me half of a harness!), to come up with a way to splice the correct connector onto it. However the logic I determined for splicing the wires seemed good, but I wasn't convinced.

I swap'd in the walbro fuel pump, fairly easy and straight forward. The bolts on the cover for the access place were a major pain to get off either from being stuck or impossible to get to at such an angle. Once the access plates were off it was an easy job. I used a manual fluid pump to pump the last 2 gallons of gas out of the tank while I was in there, because who knows how long that gas had been sitting in there.

So In a feeble attempt to see what would and wouldn't work I turn'd the ignition key. My 1.6 Electronic Dash lit up, but no fuel pump or starter. It was time for a new harness, due to lack of availability and wanting to save money, I opted to try the 1.6 harness.

At 1pm me and a friend started calling junkyards, the first one we went to had probably 10 91-93 sentra 1.6L, but of coarse they had cut EVERY single harness. So then at 3:30pm we called around again looking, and found a place in shitsville GA about 30-60mins out. Jumped into the car and hauled out there. Arrived at 5pm and had exactly one hour to retrieve the harness before closing time. Wow, it was horrible. Found the Sentra no problem, pop'd the hood and it hadn't even been touched yet. However it was placed directly ontop of a misquoeto breeding ground.... I swear I got more then 100,000 bites. But in 3 mins less then an hour we had the harness out and paid for.

Well returned home, and this harness fit the wiring on the body perfect, under the dash had to be rewired but was a sinch. Several of the plugs matched up fine to the engine, except for the ignition coil, and a few other lesser important sensors. Turning the key now results in the fuel pump pressurizing, and all accessories (well headlights, blinkers etc..) working, except now the dash doesn't light up... found that odd. The motor will turn but without the ignition coil attached, no spark. If anyone knows how to wire the 1.6 harness to the DE/DET igition coil LET ME KNOW!

August 15:

HAH Sucess! The SR20DET is Alive! I found half of an SR20DE harness (The Half that plugs into the ECU) and wired that up, using the GA16DE "Power Harness." Cranked the car and got spark, but then I sprung a leak in my fuel line under the gas tank. A quick hose replacement and I was set to try cranking again. After puzzled why the car would not turn over for a few momments, I realized my fuel lines were reversed... repeat "Fuel Filter goes to fuel rail, FPR goes to return line." Cranked the car and VROOOM cranked right up! W/O any exhuast, she sounded like a lawn mower heh. I decided to source the 2nd half of the SR20DE harness to save me headaches trying to wire the ga16de harness. Should swap right over in 5 mins time. T My oil pan is leaking around the seal, so I have to re-seal that w/ RTV Sealant. The 1.6 Throttle cable and clutch cables are both too long, so time to order SR20DE cables. I presume by next weekend when the parts come in I should be set to drive!

Aug 16->Aug 27th:

Well I got a complete SR20DE harness, clutch, and throttle cables. Harness went on, no problem. Clutch cable likewise. Now the odd part. Everyone who does the 1.6->2.0 swap says the 1.6 throttle cable is too long, which it indeed is. It leaves about an extra 1-2 inches of slack on the cable. I removed my 1.6 cable and held it up next to the 2.0 SR20DE throttle cable and made a startling discovery. The 1.6 throttle cable is SHORTER then the 2.0 throttle cable? I still opted to try the 2.0 throttle cable, and while it is indeed longer in length, it works like a charm! Well time to crank the engine again, this time started right up, still didn't idle but I immediately noticed the OIL LAMP coming on! CRAP! Turned it off immediately.

Well not sure if its a problem w/ the wiring harness or really no oil pressure I decided to be safe about it. A day after I got in my Greddy Oil Filter relocation kit (with ports to hookup oil pressure gauage no doubt!), my 3" JGY downpipe, BB o2 sensor, and front motor-mount bracket.

Front motor-mount bracket hooked up like a champ. O2 sensor hooked up, required a little extension on the wires. Down pipe fit like a champ. The greddy relocation kit, I had to trim the stem where the oil filter hooked up ever so slightly, but no problem. I also purchased an oil pressure gauge from autozone to use with it. I had previously noted the oil pan was leaking, so during this time I dropped the pan, inspected it, and re-sealed it. Filled the engine up with oil turned it over (this time w/o spark!) and still no pressure! DAMNIT!

Well after several days of despair and research, several people mentioned that if the oil pan was ever so slightly dented it would screw the oil pressure. So finally I dropped the oil pan, again. I inspected it and yet again found it to be fine. I left it sitting on my desk for a few days and kept starring at it, when I realized what my problem was.

Aug 28th:

Well... People keep emailing me wanting the rest...so I've decided to stop slacking and continue writing. My problem w/ no oil pressure was because the oil pan was dented, EVER SO SLIGHTLY upwards, and was hitting the oil pickup. It was so very slight. Thanks to a friend (He drives a honda no doubt) who told me that this is a common problem w/ JDM RWD SR20DETs. So now that I had oil pressure... I had to figure out why my clutch pedal would fall to the floor and not re-spring back.

Now the solution to the "clutch pedal not springing back" problem, I'm a bit embarrassed about. In thinking that maybe my TOB pop'd off of the clutch fork. I spent an entire evening dropping the tranny to find everything looked good inside. Frustrated I went back into my garage to clean up some parts. At this time I found my other clutch cable bracket. I could have SWORN I looked at the ga16de clutch cable bracket, and the sr20de bracket, and they were identical. However this time upon examining them I began cursing myself out. They are totaly different. So I spent several hours attempting to reinstall my tranny by myself, failing of coarse. Got a friend to come over, and he single handedly picked it up and installed (He-man style). And of coarse with the proper clutch cable bracket, the clutch pedal worked like a champ.

So In recap.

If you get a JDM SR20DE/T, drop the oil pan and pound it out with a hammer.
Use the SR20DE Tranny Clutch Cable Bracket!!

Aug 28th thru Sept 22:

Well progress has been minimal. Car cranks right up. Definitely doesn't idle right. It hunts for idle between 2000rpm and 25000rpm. I just got the car insursed, and put a tag on it. Driving it over to the exhaust shop was fun. Keeping the car under 4000rpm, it felt pretty peppy. Pulling up to red lights was awesome because I'd slip the car into neutral and it would immediately start hunting between 2k and 2.5k....with no exhaust. People i'm sure were like "WHY IN THE WORLD DOES HE KEEP REVING HIS CAR LIKE THAT?!?" Boost gauge I installed reads ~17in-lbs of vacuum and never reads positive boost. I think I have a wicked vacuum leak somewhere. I've read that you need to swap over a SR20DE USDM AAC/AIRREGULATOR or whatever its called... Attempting to source one to see if it makes it any better. Arr if it would only idle good. Thinking about taking it up to a local performance shop, see if they can figure it out. Tho I'm sure they'll make fun of the car..... as its a TOTAL beater. Oh well, that's half the fun.

IF anyone knows possible causes of a super high idle, shoot me an email!

Sept 25:

Got the NX back from the exhaust shop, put on 3" crush bent. 3" DownPipe from JGY, probably could have gotten a mandrel bent 3" for less or the same price, I saw a seller for em somewhere on the forums. Then I have a 3" CATCO cat, 3" 21" long dynomax resonator (race bullet muffler) and a 3" dynomax (offset inlet - center outlet, this fits the NX perfect!) canister muffler. Seems pretty loud still, but then again my engine doesn't idle still...

Barely diping into boost on the way home was crazy! Torq steer on a 13" tiny tires is scary, pulling all over the place. Gotta find a cheap set of wheels and tires til I can afford something decent. Just purchased an AAC valve from JGY, see if that helps with my idle at all. I'm sort of doubting it will, because I removed the one that came w/ my engine and cleaned it up, and that made no difference.


Well my screwy idle was because I was missing the air regulator valve. Its this small sensor/valve that sits directly under-neath the intake manifold. It has two fairly large (about pinky's diameter) vacuum lines running from the bottom of the intake manifold, into the sensor/valve, and then back out and into the manifold again. With this valve, the motor idles like a champ!

The only issue I still have from this swap, is the fact that my speedometer doesn't work on the 1600 digital dash.

Important notes/Recap on Swap:

1) Bang out the oil pan - Once you have your SR20DET in your car/chasis all bolted up. Drop out the oil pan, its several small 10mm bolts. Remove the oil pan and clean up the mating surface. Then inspect the oil pan. If you see any marking similar to this you HAVE to beat out the pan. This mark is caused by the oil pickup tube making contact with the pan, which will cause oil starvation. Use a block of wood and a hammer to strike the inside of the pan to create space between the bottom of the oil pan and the pickup tube. I'd suggest beating your pan regaurdless if there are marks on it or not. Better to be safe then sorry.

2) Shave bottom of DET Block - This is not covered very much on the forums, surprisingly. You have to cut out/notch a portion of webbing from the underside of the block in order for it to clear the cross member. Otherwise the bottom of the block will rest on the cross member (bad).

3) Reversed fuel lines - It seems that no matter how many times you do this swap, you always seem to get the fuel lines reversed. Fuel Filter goes to fuel rail, FPR goes to return line.
2011-08-17 19:49:40
Thought I'd add a link... When I did my det swap I needed to cross-reference a few write ups to get things straight.

B14 GA16DE - SR20DET swap info
2012-03-23 07:06:09
Ok im in the process of a det swap myself and when i purchased th car it ha a vvl. Well i went to wire up my det and foun that alot was not plugging into anything. Idk if the motor i got was out of a newer gtir but there seems to be no throttle position plug on the harness. Does urs have one? Im debating on trying to figure out whats wrong with the harness or just buying a new harness. And my car is an ser but i dont see why there wouldnt be a tps plug on the harness.
+ Reply To Thread
  • [Type to search users.]
  • Quick Reply
    Thread Information
    There are currently ? users browsing this thread. (? members & ? guests)

    Back to top