What Cars Have a KA24DE Engine: Comprehensive Model List

The KA24DE engine is a robust, inline four-cylinder engine that became popular due to its use in a variety of Nissan cars. Developed by Nissan, it features a cast-iron block and an aluminum cylinder head, catalyzing a reputation for reliability and potential for performance tuning.

The engine showcased Nissan’s engineering prowess, with a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) setup and four valves per cylinder, elements that contribute to its efficiency and power output.

What Cars Have a KA24DE Engine: Comprehensive Model List

We have found that the KA24DE engine was primarily recognized in the automotive industry for its presence in light trucks and SUVs. Although it was originally intended to serve workhorse vehicles—where weight saving was not pivotal—this engine’s durability and solid construction have endeared it to a wider audience.

Nissan’s strategic placement of the KA24DE in various models has led to its cult-like status among enthusiasts. This engine is not only a testament to Nissan’s philosophy of engineering versatile and lasting engines but also exemplifies how a powertrain can create a legacy that extends well beyond its initial market segment.

Historical Overview of Nissan’s KA-Series Engines

Our examination of Nissan’s esteemed KA-series engines unveils a strategic evolution in design and a wide-reaching impact on the global automotive market.

Evolution from SOHC to DOHC

The adventure began with the robust KA24E, a SOHC engine known for its iron block and aluminum head.
This unit paved the way for the advanced KA24DE, which leveraged a DOHC configuration for enhanced breathing and better efficiency.

Our KA24DE produced appreciable improvements in both torque and power, over its predecessors. The caliber of these engines earmarked them as reliable and hardworking; naturally, they became fixtures in an assortment of Nissan cars and trucks.

Global Deployments and Variants

We witnessed the **KA24** family’s versatility through its application across a diverse spectrum of vehicles.
The celebrated **KA24DE**, for instance, found a home in models like the Nissan Altima and the hardy Nissan Xterra, illustrating its adaptability from sedans to SUVs.

The engines’ displacement— a substantial 2.4 liters—coupled with their reputation for durability inspired confidence in markets internationally.

Nissan’s Bluebird, Terrano II, Bassara, R’nessa, and Presage are just a sample of the breadth covered, as each leveraged the KA’s merits, be it the low-end grunt or its cruising stamina.

Model Engine Type Displacement Notable Features
Nissan Altima KA24DE 2.4L DOHC, Robust Torque
Nissan Xterra KA24DE 2.4L Durable, Off-Road Capability
Nissan Bluebird KA24DE 2.4L Performance Stability

Technical Specifications and Performance

In this section, we’ll explore the technicalities and performance aspects of the KA24DE engine, highlighting design materials, metrics like power and torque, as well as advanced features that align with emission standards.

Engine Design and Material Use

The KA24DE, an inline 4-cylinder engine, optimizes longevity and sturdiness by integrating a cast iron cylinder block with an aluminum cylinder head. The iron block provides robustness while the aluminum head saves weight, enhancing the overall balance of the engine.

This engine design is complemented by a dual overhead camshaft, which facilitates better airflow through the engine.

Power, Torque, and Compression

The KA24DE engine showcases a commendable balance of power and torque.

Featuring a compression ratio that generally lies in the 9.0:1 to 9.5:1 range, it produces enough force to cater to the needs of light trucks as well as performance vehicles.

These engines generate a horsepower output that varies depending on the model and application, while the peak torque provides a steady pull characteristic of well-rounded naturally aspirated engines.

Advanced Features and Emission Standards

Considering advances in engine technology and stringent emission norms, the KA24DE was equipped with electronic fuel injection and improved knock sensors, ensuring cleaner combustion and adherence to emission regulations.

This engine also saw various iterations to enhance its efficiency and performance throughout its production life, illustrating Nissan’s commitment to quality and environmental responsibility.

Applications and Vehicle Integration

The Nissan KA24DE engine boasts versatile applications across various models. It has left a notable mark in both day-to-day driving machines and the racing scene.

Mainstream Models and Racing Adaptations

Mainstream Vehicle Models:

The KA24DE engine has powered several mainstream Nissan models. Notably, the engine found its home in the Nissan 240sx, a vehicle celebrated for its balance and potential in motorsport.

  • Nissan Frontier – Utilizing the KA24DE for reliable performance in a compact pickup.
  • Nissan Altima/Stanza – Serving as a dependable powertrain for sedans.
  • Nissan Hardbody (D21 Truck series) – Enhancing the utility vehicles with its robust output.
  • Nissan Xterra – Employing the engine in their rugged SUV design.

Within the racing realm, the Nissan 240SX became particularly popular among drifters and track enthusiasts. Thanks to the KA24DE’s strong internals and the car’s rear-wheel-drive layout, it became a canvas for turbocharged adaptations, drastically increasing performance capabilities.

Racing Scene:
The Nissan 240SX with a turbocharged KA24DE engine has earned its reputation on the tracks and streets for substantial power gains.

Retrofitting and Aftermarket Enhancements


Our experience shows that retrofitting the KA24DE into a variety of chassis is indeed feasible due to its adaptable nature.

  • RWD configurations – Primarily into Nissan S13 and S14 chassis for drifting and racing applications.
  • Trucks and SUVs – Engine swaps into Nissan Frontier and other compatible models.

The aftermarket scene embraces the KA24DE for its upgradable nature.

From replacing the factory intake with a performance-oriented one to installing a **turbo kit**, these modifications unlock the engine’s performance potential.

Maintaining and Upgrading the KA24DE

Maintaining the KA24DE engine requires regular attention to ensure its reliability and performance.

We emphasize timely oil changes, using a quality oil pan and oil pickup to maintain proper lubrication.

To avoid common issues like a leaking valve cover gasket, we recommend routine inspections and replacements as necessary.

Upgrading the KA24DE often involves installing a turbo kit to boost the power output of the 2.4L cast aluminum engine block.

Proper tuning of the ECU is vital to manage the additional power and ensure engine longevity.

For effective upgrades, we consider optimizing air flow with a

Cold Air Intake (CAI)

and a high-quality exhaust system.

This combination ensures the engine breathes better and enhances performance, crucial for applications like drifting, where power and reliability are non-negotiable.

Upgrading the connecting rods and pistons can fortify the engine’s internals to withstand the increased stress from turbocharging.

After adding a turbocharger, the need for reliable piston oil squirters becomes more apparent, as they play a vital role in cooling and lubricating the engine under high performance.

⚠️ A Warning

While investing in upgrades, we don’t forget the essentials.

Regular checks on the dipstick location, swapping out faulty headers, or addressing any ECU discrepancies maintain engine integrity.

Each step enhances the KA’s performance, whether it’s the heart of an SUV or a lightweight flywheel tucked within a sprightly drift car.

We also understand the importance of matching fuel upgrades with performance needs.

Upgrading the fuel injectors and employing an Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) system compatible with the new performance level ensures the KA24DE receives the right amount of fuel, complementing its gasoline engine specifications for maximum efficiency and power gains.

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