Nissan TD42 Engine

The 4.2-liter Nissan TD42 diesel engine made its debut in 1987, designed for the next generation of the Patrol SUV and its Japanese counterpart, the Safari. Today, this engine remains popular in markets with relaxed environmental standards.

Variants of the Nissan TD42 Engine

Since 1993, Japan has been producing the Nissan TD42T, mainly for commercial vehicles but best known for the local Safari SUV. This unit comes in five versions: TD42T1, TD42T2, TD42T3, TD42T4, and TD42T5.

As for the TD42 engines, there were eight variants, three naturally aspirated and five turbocharged:

  1. TD42 – naturally aspirated, 115 hp
  2. TD42E – naturally aspirated, 135 hp
  3. TD42S – naturally aspirated, 125 hp
  4. TD42T1 – turbocharged, 145 hp
  5. TD42T2 – turbocharged, 155 hp
  6. TD42T3 – turbocharged, 160 hp
  7. TD42T4 – turbocharged, 161 hp
  8. TD42T5 – turbocharged, 130 hp

These engines were introduced at different times, each with its unique applications and specifications.

Timeline of Engine Introduction

  • In 1987, the naturally aspirated TD42 and TD42S made their debut, along with the new Patrol generation.
  • In 1988, the TD42E was introduced, originally designed for the Nissan Civilian passenger delivery bus but later adopted for the Patrol.
  • The turbocharged versions appeared later, with the 145-horsepower TD42T1 developed in 1993 for the Japanese version of the Patrol, known as the Safari.
  • In 1995, the more potent TD42T2 was introduced for the Nissan Civilian delivery bus.
  • In 1997, the fifth-generation Nissan Patrol (Y61) welcomed the TD42T3, boasting 160 hp.
  • In 1999, the turbocharged power unit for the Nissan Civilian was updated and named TD42T4.
  • The last addition, the TD42T5, arrived in 2012 after a long hiatus and is still in production, exclusively for the Nissan Atlas truck in Malaysia.


Property Value
Start of Production 1987
Displacement, cc 4169
Fuel System Vortex Chamber
Power Output, hp 115 – 125 (TD42); 145 – 160 (TD42T)
Torque Output, Nm 265 – 275 (TD42); 330 – 340 (TD42T)
Cylinder Block Cast Iron R6
Block Head Cast Iron 12v
Cylinder Bore, mm 96
Piston Stroke, mm 96
Compression Ratio 22.7 – 23.0 (TD42); 22.0 – 22.8 (TD42T)
Features No
Hydraulic Lifters No
Timing Drive Gears
Phase Regulator No
Turbocharging No (TD42); Hitachi HT18 (TD42T)
Recommended Engine Oil 10W-30
Engine Oil Capacity, Liter 9.4
Fuel Type Diesel
Euro Standards EURO 1/2/3
Fuel Consumption, L/100 km (for Nissan Patrol 1990) City: 16.2; Highway: 10.8; Combined: 13.4
Engine Lifespan, km ~500,000
Weight, kg 340 (TD42); 365 (TD42T)

Choosing the Right Oil for Your TD42 Engine

When it comes to choosing the right oil for a Nissan TD42 engine, remember that these engines are not very demanding in this regard. However, it’s essential to use motor oil designed for diesel engines.

Consider Your Climate

The choice of oil should be influenced by the climate in which your vehicle operates. For colder regions, opt for higher-quality oils with lower viscosity, indicated by the SAE classification.

  • 0W for temperatures down to -35-30°C
  • 5W for temperatures down to -30-25°C
  • 10W for temperatures down to -25-20°C
  • 15W for temperatures down to -20-15°C
  • 20W for temperatures down to -15-10°C

Manufacturer Recommendations

According to Nissan’s recommendations, using branded oils from the same manufacturer is advisable. However, always check the information on the oil canister for specific guidance.

TD42 Engine Common Problems

Despite their many advantages, TD42 engines have some drawbacks, including:

  • Noise and vibrations, despite their reliability.
  • Vulnerability to cutting the vacuum pump drive splines in freezing temperatures.
  • A delicate oil pressure sensor prone to water damage.
  • Leaks and timing gear block gasket issues on long journeys.
  • Timing gear wear and potential phase misalignment.
  • Cracked jumpers between the vortex chambers due to poor diesel fuel quality.

Engine Reliability and Maintainability

Nonetheless, the TD42 engine is renowned for its exceptional reliability. Many of these engines have clocked over a million kilometers without major repairs, and with proper care, they can go even further. They are truly enduring powerplants.

In terms of maintainability, TD42 engines are very reliable, and typically, no major issues occur in the first 300,000 kilometers. However, it’s worth noting that older engines (pre-1994) are less tolerant of fuel quality, which is crucial in some regions. Nevertheless, they still handle subpar diesel fuel better than many competitors.

One unique feature contributing to the engine’s reliability is the absence of a timing belt. Instead, these power units employ a gear drive, which requires no maintenance at all.

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