Can The Mass Air Flow Sensor Make The Engine Fail How to Bulletproof Your Nissan Patrol’s ZD30 Engine

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How to Bulletproof Your Nissan Patrol’s ZD30 Engine

If you have a Y61/GU Nissan Patrol with a ZD30 3.0L Turbo Diesel engine, these are invaluable tips to help extend the life expectancy of your engine……

The ZD30 engine was infamous for premature failures including melting/popping pistons and over-revving, mainly due to some common problems. These engines run a variable turbocharger with an ECU-controlled supercharger and use an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system to meet strict European emissions standards. Running fairly high charge rates from the factory makes the ZD30 a hard-breathing engine and oil vapor is forced into the intake tract and fouls the mass air flow (MAF) sensor, making its way through the intercooler and into the intake manifold. The EGR system can turn these oil vapors into a thick, tar-like consistency that blocks the intake passages, which in turn can cause some cylinders to run rich and some to run lean, resulting in melted pistons…

What can be done to prolong the life of the engine?

1. Install the oil/air separator (catch pan). This will reduce the amount of oil vapor/exhaust entering the air intake system.

2. Regularly clean the mass air flow (MAF) sensor located in the intake pipe near the air box. A contaminated MAF sensor can cause false signals to the ECU, resulting in over-boosting. Appropriate MAF cleaners are available at your local auto parts store.

3. Install the boost pressure gauge and the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) gauge. While this won’t prevent anything, it will alert you to potential warning signs.

4. Install a free flow exhaust system, this will lower the EGT dramatically. We install and recommend 3″ curved mandrel exhaust systems.

5. Never install a “chip” without also making the exhaust system. The chip will increase the amount of fuel in the engine, which will increase the temperature of the exhaust gases, so a free-flowing exhaust system is needed to lower the EGT. We use and recommend Steinbauer and DP chips.

6. If you notice boost pressure spikes above 20 psi (up to 25 psi is not uncommon), install a boost pressure limiting device such as a Dawes valve. These can be set so the turbo can’t boost say 18psi…… This is a band aid not a cure as other problems will cause over boost.

7. If your intercooler looks like it’s leaking oil, it could be leaking boost pressure. Replacement units are available where the tanks are welded in place of the factory couplers.

8. Remove and clean the intake manifold. We saw that the inlet ducts closest to the EGR were nearly 50% blocked.

9. Although illegal, their EGR shut-off kits are available.

10. ZD30’s need regular oil changes, every 5000k is recommended.

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