The firing order of the Nissan 3.5 V6 engine is an important design parameter to ensure its optimum performance with balanced and efficient power transfer from the engine to its driving components. Moreover, it is imperative for its maintenance and troubleshooting of faults involving engine misfires.
What is Firing Order of a 3.5 Nissan V6 Engine? The firing order of a 3.5 Nissan V6 VQ35DE engine is 1-2-3-4-5-6 for all models from 2001-2023. Its variants, like VQ35DD and VQ35HR, also have the same sequential firing order. Other V6 engines from the VQ, VG, and VR family of Nissan engines, including VQ30DE, VR38DETT, VQ37VHR, and VG30E, also share the same firing pattern as Nissan 3.5 V6.
This article will explore the firing order of the 3.5-liter V6 engine, its various model-specific variants, and different vehicles. We will also explain its pattern in other Nissan engines, related fault codes, and other apparent symptoms of incorrect firing order.
Different variants of Nissan 3.5-liter V6 Engine
The 3.5-liter V6 belongs to the VQ engine series by Nissan, having a Dual Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) design. It has 6 cylinders arranged in 2 banks at an angle of 60 degrees with 4 valves for each.
Nissan has manufactured several variants of the 3.5-liter V6 engine, each with slight differences in performance, specifications, and technologically advanced features.
VQ35DE is the base version of the 3.5-liter V6 and is part of models like the Nissan Altima, Maxima, and Murano from 2001-2023 models.
Next in the line, VQ35DD has a direct injection gasoline system and increased power output. You can find it in Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60 models from 2016-present.
VQ35HR is an upgraded version used in the Nissan 350Z and Infiniti G35 for 2007-2008 models. It has improved horsepower and torque figures. Moreover, its hybrid version is also available in later models of various Nissan and Infiniti vehicles.
Location of cylinder #1 on Nissan 3.5 V6 Engine
VQ35DE Nissan 3.5 V6 has a horizontal or transverse orientation for front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles on the engine bay. In that position, its front face is towards the passenger or on your left side while standing in front of the car.
Cylinder #1 is at 1st position on your left on the bank closest to the windshield. Next is cylinder #3 and then #5 on the same bank. While on the bank close to the radiator or on your front, have all even number cylinders starting from #2 followed by #4 in the middle and #6 in the end, counting from left to right.
The VQ35HR engine has a longitudinally-mounted orientation in the engine compartment for rear-wheel (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles. Here, cylinder #1 is on the passenger’s side, followed by #3 and #5.
At the same time, 2nd bank on the driver’s side has cylinders #2, #4, and #6 from front to back. Although cylinder numbering for both variants remains the same, it can sometimes be confusing due to engine orientation changes in some model years according to drive configuration.
Firing order of Nissan 3.5 V6 Engine
Its firing order is 1-2-3-4-5-6. This sequential firing order ensures the ignition in cylinders in a specific sequence, starting with cylinder #1 and proceeding through cylinders #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6.
Nissan has designed this firing order for its V6 engines where alternate cylinders from both banks fire to ensure a balanced power transfer to the crankshaft.
It results in minimum vibrations and reduced wear and tear due to the absence of excessive forces produced if a change in firing order or misfire happens at any cylinder.
Do different variants of the 3.5-liter V6 have the same firing order?
Nissan 3.5-liter V6 is available in multiple variants, with differences in power and torque ratings and other features like fuel injection system, variable valve timing, and change in physical dimensions. Moreover, it has hybrid versions available for Nissan and Infiniti vehicles.
Despite the difference in their mounting position and specifications, all models of Nissan V6 engines have the same firing order. Whether you are working with a VQ35DE or VQ35DD or a VQ35HR, the firing order is 1–2-3-4-5-6.
This uniformity simplifies maintenance and repair procedures as locating the misfiring or faulty cylinder, coil, or spark plugs from the diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) is easier.
Firing order for various 3.5 V6 Nissan vehicles
Nissan 3.5-liter V6 engine has an operational history of over 2 decades in almost all of the Nissan midsize car and SUV segments.
Nissan Pathfinder SUV from 2001-2004, 2013-2016, and 2017-2023 models have VQ35DE and VQ35DD variants of the engine, and it has a sequential firing order of 1-2-3-4-5-6. Nissan Maxima from 2002-2023 models also follow the same firing pattern.
Moreover, both vehicles have identical spark plugs, ignition coils, and wiring. Nissan Murano SUV from 2002-2023 models also have a VQ35DE engine, and its cylinder #1 fires first, followed by #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6 in a sequence.
Nissan 350Z sports car and Infiniti G35 luxury cars have VQ35HR models of 3.5-liter V6, and their spark plugs fire in the same order as the rest of the variants.
Nissan V6 engines having the same firing order as a 3.5 engine
Nissan produces several V6 engines, many of which are in the same VQ family as the 3.5 V6. They have varying displacements from 2.0-liter to 4.0-liter and differ in some of their design features and specifications.
Some examples, including VQ30DE, VQ30DET, and VQ30DETT 3.0-liter V6, have the same firing order as VQ35DE. The 3.7-liter VQ37VHR engine has 1-2-3-4-5-6 firing order despite having different technology.
3.0-liter V6 engines from Nissan VG family including VG30i and VG30E also have identical firing order with 3.5 V6. Nissan 3.8-liter V6 VR38DETT engine has a straightforward firing order of 1-2-3-4-5-6.
In conclusion, we can say that almost all V6 engines from Nissan belonging to different families have the same firing order as that of the 3.5-liter V6.
Common error codes on Nissan 3.5 V6 engine related to firing order
An incorrect firing order can lead to engine misfires and trigger codes within the vehicle’s onboard computer system and check engine light (CEL) on the dashboard.
One of the common codes related to the issue is P0300 for random or multiple-cylinder misfires. Therefore, you have to inspect all cylinders and the ignition system to find the root cause of the fault.
P0301 to P0306 DTCs specify misfires in individual cylinders from #1 to #6, helping pinpoint the source of the problem.
Location of ignition coils on Nissan 3.5 V6 Engine
The Nissan 3.5-liter V6 engine has distributor-less ignition systems in all the latest models of vehicles. Therefore, it performs better to avoid misfires than conventional distributor-based ignition systems where a single coil delivers spark to multiple cylinders through spark plug wires.
You will find the ignition coils on the engine located directly on top of each spark plug. This design, known as the coil-on-plug (COP) configuration, ensures precise ignition timing for each cylinder.
The ignition or computer module of the vehicle sends a signal to each coil according to the firing order sequence.
Symptoms of wrong firing order on Nissan 3.5 V6
When the firing order is incorrect, or there are issues with ignition components, you will experience several noticeable symptoms.
One common symptom is an increased engine vibration, sound change, and power loss during acceleration.
Moreover, it will not perform smoothly as power transfer to the drivetrain components will be abrupt or in pulses.
Fuel inefficiency is another obvious problem from a misfiring cylinder, resulting in reduced miles per gallon (mpg). In extreme cases, the engine will not start at all.
If you observe any of these symptoms with CEL on the dashboard, it’s time to use the OBD-II tool to detect the error codes and diagnose the faulty cylinder. Therefore, you should immediately rectify the associated problem to avoid further aggravating the damage.