I have to say, I’m loving this. First it was Nissan and Nismo slowly putting old parts for the RB26 generation of GT-R back into production as part of their Heritage program, and since then we’ve been seeing tuners follow suit.
Now HKS is getting right into it with what has to be one of the most tantalizing propositions in recent years for R32, R33 and R34 GT-R owners the world over – a complete 2.8-liter ‘RB28′ engine. What sets this motor apart from what Nismo has been offering for years is the innovation within.
When I took these pictures a few days after Tokyo Auto Salon, some of the final pre-production tests were being made on HKS’s in-house engine dyno.
‘H-Response’ on the numbered HKS plaque is short for ‘High Response’, in reference to the lightweight bottom end components that HKS are using in these engines.
We took a glimpse of these at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon, where HKS unveiled their new Step 3 2.8L stroker kit, alongside a lighter variation for those who crave the best response from their highly tuned RBs. The kit sports a lightweight yet still exceptionally strong fully counter-weighted crankshaft with a 77.7mm stroke, H-section connecting rods with 22mm titanium gudgeon pins, and lightweight 87mm pistons machined ft A2618 forged aluminum billets.
Everything sits inside a prepped N1 (24U) block that’s been bored to accept the 1mm oversized pistons. The cylinder head is CNC ported, has recut valve seats, HKS valve springs and titanium retainers, and gets fitted with HKS 264-degree cams with 10mm lift for both intake and exhaust. HKS bolts secure the head to the block with an HKS grommet-type head gasket sandwiched in between to ensure an optimal seal is formed. As you may have noticed, HKS has also developed a new cam angle sensor with a flush anodized mount.
That works in conjunction with the new crank angle sensor mounted to the HKS oil pump. An ATI crank damper ensures nasty harmonics are filtered out, because this engine is able to rev to 9,000rpm.
Finishing things off is a new HKS coil pack kit (based on R35 coils) mounted on a clean HKS-branded black anodized plate. Meanwhile, then original Nissan cam and front covers are painted in a sparkling silver.
We’ll have to wait and see if this engine will be offered in short block only form, or as a complete drop-in kit with hot and cold side ancillaries fitted and a fuel system to boot. However it comes, though, this will surely be a dream upgrade for many owners of RB26-powered GT-Rs.
As for pricing, that will be announced at release, but as with most top-of-the-line hardware, it won’t be cheap. I’m just excited to see more attention being given to older GT-Rs. That said, included in HKS’s new complete engine catalog will also be a 4.3L VR38, so R35 owners have one more option to play around with, too.