1989 Nissan Sentra GA16 motor swap. - Nissan Forum
B11/B12/KN13 82-90 chassis B11 (1982-1985 Sentra), B12 (1986-1990 Sentra), and Pulsar

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post #1 of 16 Old Aug 28th, 2002, 05:45 AM
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1989 Nissan Sentra GA16 motor swap.


I hope you folks can help me. I am now the proud owner of a 1989 Nissan Sentra. I paid one hundred dollars for this car. I knew it needed an engine when I bought it. The guy gave me two motors, I have no idea what they go to. All I know is they are nissan motors. They will not work in my Sentra. I just want to know what year models I can use in this car. I have been told several different things. I don't want to buy a motor that will not work. The guy threw a rod through the block. If you folks could help me it would be greatly appreciated.



I have been reading everybodys threads and now I am totally confused?!.?!.!?!. From reading these it sounds like the 1989 Sentra did not come out with a GA16 motor. But when I had a local salvage run the VIN#1N4GB22SXKC787940, they told me it had a GA16 and the only donor car could be a 1989 or a 1990. I am not looking for perfomance or any type of upgrade. I just want to get it on the road. I really enjoy Nissan products and this little car is very straight and clean. It has a 5 speed transmission and ice cold A/C. The damn radio alone is worth more than I gave for the whole car, no to mention the wheels and tires. I did find a 1992 Sentra in a junkyard with a GA16 motor but I was told that this swap cannot be done. Why? This is why I posted my thread on this board. You guys are the Sentra experts. Just let me know.

Thanks again,


I went to www.vehicleidentificationnumber.com and typed im my VIN#. Here is what it reads:

1.6L L4 16V SEQ MFI

Somebody please deciphor...............

Thanks again,


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post #2 of 16 Old Aug 28th, 2002, 11:16 AM
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well not 2 be rude.. but if your motor is already busted go buy a SR20DET for like a 1000-2000 bux for everything and do a motor transplant. dont worry about the rest of the ish.

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post #3 of 16 Old Aug 28th, 2002, 12:21 PM
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Your car does have a GA16, but specifically it's the GA16i which is a SOHC throttle body injected engine. The 91-99 1.6L Sentras have a GA16DE, which is a DOHC multiport fuel injected engine. The GA16i was only used in 89-90 and I don't think there are too many people here who know much about that engine. I don't know why your VIN gives that description since it sounds like the GA16DE (16 valve sequential multiport fuel injection).

Anyway, sounds like the junkyard is correct and that web site is wrong assuming you live in the US. You could probably install a GA16DE, but it would likely require some fabrication. Installing a duplicate of the original would probably be easiest. Some of the B12 (86-90 Sentra) owners may be able to offer some more insight. I've pretty much exhausted what I know about the car.

You can find more info on LIUSPEED's suggestion by reading the Project B12 SR20DET articles at NissanPerformanceMag.com. But that may be more than you're interested in attempting.
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post #4 of 16 Old Aug 28th, 2002, 04:24 PM
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Thanks so much Scott for your help. Just one more quick question. Will the head off of my GA16i bolt onto the GA16DE block? Like I said the only thing wrong is the connecting rod sticking out of the engine. If the blocks are the same then it might be ok, yes? Any way to answer the LIUSPEED, I am not looking to hot rod it or dump a bunch of money into it, I just want to drive it. I don't have the money you guys do. It is quite expensive to rod one up. Did I understand that the SR20 engines are worth 1 to 2 thousand dollars? If so I think I found 2 of them I will check before I put my foot in my mouth.


post #5 of 16 Old Aug 28th, 2002, 06:57 PM
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I actually don't know if the blocks are the same. I'll move this thread to the B11-B12 Chassis forum. Maybe someone there can offer some opinions.
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post #6 of 16 Old Aug 28th, 2002, 10:43 PM
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OK here's the deal, your car has the GA16i engine. This engine was available in 89-90 Sentras. The GA16DE engine was used from 91-99. You CANNOT use the block from a GA16DE, and swapping in the whole engine is not worth the trouble. You are just going to have to find another GA16i engine from a 89-90 Sentra. The other thing you can do is swap in a CA18DE(T) or SR20DE(T), but neither are bolt in, and will cost ALOT more.

I had a '93 Sentra Classic (B12)
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post #7 of 16 Old Aug 29th, 2002, 12:10 AM
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Swapping in the GA16i is the smarter thing to do if you don't have a lot of money and just want a reliable car to drive around, plus it sounds like your on a budget. I wouldn't buy a junkyard engine if I were you because they will charge you quite a bit, plus some of the numerous components of the engine could be damaged or missing. You'd be better off buying a used japanese engine that would have anywhere from 30,000-60,000 miles on it. These engines are low mileage and are somewhat better taken care of in comparison to junkyard engines. I bought my GA16i motor for $300 from nippon-motors.com. It runs great and it didn't cost me a fortune. Just from my experience though.
post #8 of 16 Old Sep 1st, 2002, 11:02 PM
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Are you within driving distance to upstate, NY? I have a nice complete, [undamaged] GA16i saved from a wrecked '90 Sentra. I carefully removed it myself, and it has 101-K on it. I'll probably never use it, I'd sell it cheaply.

'93 SE-R
'91 SE-R [rallycross]
'89 B12 4WD [GA16DET]
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post #9 of 16 Old Sep 1st, 2002, 11:37 PM
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How much extra performance would a CA18DE give you?

Is it worth the money to swap it in...
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post #10 of 16 Old Sep 2nd, 2002, 10:44 PM
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so what would be the easiest swap in the b12 87, ca ga or sr20

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post #11 of 16 Old Apr 30th, 2004, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 89Sentra
How much extra performance would a CA18DE give you?

Is it worth the money to swap it in...

I own a 87 sentra with nice set of low profile eagle allows and Just swapped an E16 5spd with a 12 valve GA16 89 automatic. It bolted right up to my 5 spd tranmision. Then I noticed that my control box had different power supply. Fortunatly, I seen that an 88 sentra control box had the same power supply. So I took the whole wiring harness out. Every thing from an 89 sentra just fit right into my 87 sentra. Incuding the power steering. I think that the carb was set up for an automatic so it started running good right away with no problems.Everything else including the dash all the gauges, ignition system, and wiring. It was a bit of work with the wiring but worth it in my opinion.

Anyone know where I could maybe get some headers????

87 89 89 sentra
92.9 cents a litre

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post #12 of 16 Old Apr 30th, 2004, 12:59 AM
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The GA16i was a sort of transitional motor. 86-88 had the E16, which produces about 70 hp. The GA16i produces about 90 hp. From what I've gathered, the most bang for your buck motor swap would be a CA18DE, which comes from the 88 Pulsar SE's.

However, if I were you, I would just see if I could get another GA16i. I think in japan they are numbered a little differently. Something like a GA15i, but still essentially the same engine. 1.5L as compared to 1.6L.

In 1991 the sentra was completely remodeled, and the chassis was redesignated from B12 to B13. A new engine was also added to the mix - the GA16DE with dual overhead cams, and multi port fuel injection. www.sentra.net has tons of info on this engine.

If you're a high roller, there's really no substitute for an SR20DE or the turbo version, an SR20DET. These engines came in the 91-94 Sentra SE-R, and have much more aftermarket support. They are expensive, and rightly so. However, it takes quite a bit of doing to make them fit in a B12, as they were designed for the B13.

The way I see it, the CA18DE is to the E16 as the SR20DE is to the GA16DE. The GA16i fits somewhere in the middle there, but shares motor mounts with the E and CA-series motors. The Pulsar and Sentra share chassis designs, and the pulsar even came with GA16i's in 89-90. So the way I see it, the CA18DE is the most convenient solution to boosting the power of a B12. Sure, it doesn't have as much aftermarket support as the SR20, but it's a hell of a lot less time and money that could be spent actually driving. Not to mention that the GA16i is already adequate for most people, so a CA would just be teriffic. Of course any motor swap is going to be a pain in the ass, since there's all that other stuff that needs to be swapped along with the engine. That includes the wiring harness, ECU, sometimes transmission, axles, and in some cases, the fuel pump as well.

I like the GA16i - it does fairly well in the sentra. It's reliable, and a gas-saver to boot. I'm sure you could find one in decent shape around somewhere. I hope this was helpful, and good luck!
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post #13 of 16 Old Jul 8th, 2011, 01:06 AM
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okay i have everything that goes to the GA16DE engine because my cousin just took it out of his 92 nx now what exactly would i have to change to fit it in my 89 sentra? we have the ecu wiring harness drive shafts and engine mounts so would it be pretty easy to just switch everything? time isnt a issue ether please help thanks!
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post #14 of 16 Old Jul 8th, 2011, 06:23 AM
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just switch it from the tranny for first ... wiring is kindda of funny, alternator need a sub harness (or fit it) the ecu will be fun ... youll sit with both harness for a few hours but keep your transmission it will save you lot of time and hassle

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post #15 of 16 Old Jul 8th, 2011, 03:53 PM
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well thank you very much ill tell you how it goes when we start
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