Project Nissan Skyline R33 GT-R – Part 6: Clutch, Diverter valves, catch cans, and Dyno testing. Going from terrible.

…it worked! MKC’s tuner Chad Charlton was able to safely get 409 WHP with a very safe 332 lb-ft of torque on 93 octane by letting the turbo initially hit 14 PSI and feeding it to 17 PSI up top like a supercharger, so torque would stay the same and keep engine longevity happy (red line). With a splash of E85 (bringing the total ethanol content up to around E35-40), Chad played with a little more ignition timing and boost, brining the grand total to 476 WHP, while still keeping the torque at just over 360 lb-ft, which was about where I wanted to be. Boost here was between 15 PSI to 19 PSI up top.

Apologies for not having the old blue 67mm baseline graph overlayed with these, but at 4600 RPM–where were were hitting 240 lb-ft of torque before, we were seeing 300 and 330 lb-ft with the new turbo on 93 octane and E85, respectively! I got to drive the car at this 476 WHP level and it was simply intoxicating. The turbo hit much smoothly, and sooner.  But if I kept my foot in it throughout each gear, that top end was like no other turbocharged car I’d driven before. Like a centrifugal supercharger that doesn’t give up, it really felt like I was tossing 1000 lb of weight out the window with every impremental  1000 RPM. It was so smooth, but yet plenty fast. And the sound at nearly 8000 RPM with the MKC-fabricated Vibrant exhaust system brought a smile to my and my passengers’ faces every time. What I was experiencing was nothing short of awesome–this is why I’d always wanted a Skyline GT-R!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and, well, as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, I started to see increased smoking from my catch can, and so much so that I could clearly smell it in the cabin. This killed the fun in driving the R33 GT-R. The car had always had this burnt oil smell a little bit anyway, but now it was noticeably and visibly worse.

With the engine performing well, and continuing to do so over the course of the next few weeks, I was hoping to curtail the issue with the installation of a Radium Engineering dual catch can, which was originally designed for the R32! Radium couldn’t guarantee it would fit, but the guys at MKC made it work relatively easy, and the smoke was eliminated from the engine bay.
Anytime I receive a Radium Engineering part, I’m truly amazed at the quality, fit, and finish. These guys’ products are top notch. The mesh inside works to trap the vapors inside these cans that that interface with both the crankcase vent line and PCV line. We’ll have more detailed pictures of all the Radium stuff installed next time.
While the Radium unit did its job keeping vapors from escaping into the engine bay, unfortunately the smoking from the engine was such that now it was coming out of the tailpipe. In order to investigate, MKC pulled the head and discovered that at some point—most likely during prior ownership—that something went through one of the original turbos (which is why it was single turbo when I got it) and went through the motor.
There was always a little smoking I could see before, through the open-vent breather the car came with, but nearly doubling the horsepower only exasperated it. Notice the scuff there on the cylinder wall from whatever got trapped there.
Did I say “nearly double” the horsepower? Why yes I did. After installing the Radium dual catch setup, MKC had gone to work with my desired “final” tune of maximizing horsepower while keep the torque “around” 360 lb-ft. Chad bumped the torque another 15-or-so lb-ft (about 1 PSI in the midrange) but that equated to a whopping 40 more horsepower up top, netting us 517 WHP! Notice the increments in power without changing the actual cylinder pressures (torque)—this is what I wanted in order to ensure engine longevity. This Borg Warner turbo and Full Race Engineering manifold setup is awesome!

I’m sad to report that I haven’t experienced the car at 517WHP because they went ahead and pulled the head the very next day to investigate the smoke. We decided to go ahead and do a fresh build, so I can drive the car smoke-free, and with confidence. Stay tuned, MOTOIQ’s Mike Kojima and Martin Gonzales already have the new pistons and rods in their hands at the Southern California headquarters, and they’ll be going through these highly anticipated components in detail via video! Stay tuned.




  1. Hi Dustin, keeping the Borg Warner 8374 for sure! It’s good for 700whp so no need to go bigger and it’s just a great-responding and robust turbo that fits my needs for this car. Thanks

  2. I’ve always known that speed is a question of capital. It would be interesting to see what kind of investment you currently have.

  3. Appreciate the comment/question, Tim. I would have to go on a limb and say I wouldn’t really agree with that saying. As an example, I could have simply kept the old 67mm turbo/manifold setup, which was good for even more HP than this BW8374 is, and simply needed to upgrade my clutch, injectors, and fuel pumps to get to a similar hp level, vs all that I did. But I was going for a more refined package overall, which will take more money, yes. I don’t know exactly how much yet. But once you start to get into an engine build, simply add $10k to whatever parts you’ve already got going on.
    But if tuned correctly, an RB26 should be able to withstand up to 500whp on the top end if you limit the torque (because 500whp at 7800 rpm is just 337 lb-ft of torque at 7800 RPM), all you need to choose is your turbo, have enough fuel (injectors/pump), a decent clutch, and a preferably a 3-in exhaust. And then lastly your tuning or EMS. So the costs will depend on what you use, as it will vary greatly. And for anything well over 400 lb-ft of torque (which is 600+whp if torque is held at 8000 RPM), I’d start to think about an engine build (so, add $10k plus to that previous build).

  4. Hey Pablo, another awesome project, thanks for the updates! Your Supra series was so inspiring I took another(dirtbag cheap) way (is300) to hear some similar turbo noises. Also going to try my hand at writing an article about it. Good taste is cars and mods , it’s all about a fun ride for me too

  5. This is so funny. I also have a black r33, 8374 and the same te37s on mine. Loving the write up on the fuel system as I could use more fuel to hit my goals. Love these hope you keep it going!!!

  6. Looking forward to seeing the results, great format to follow the project through.

    Funny enough, i’m also nearing the completion of my own project after way too many years inside the garage, also a R33 GTR, painted in KN6 from factory, running a BW8374. Although running a 30/26 combo and external gates.

    It’s nice to see what solutions other people have decided to go with, looking forward to the next update!


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