The new 2016 Nissan Titan XD 5.6 liter V8 is a next-generation of the engine found in the 2015 Titan as well as the current NV-Series vans. Here you see it in prototype form packed into the 2016 Titan XD, I note this because the plastic engine cover isn’t yet textured as a production one would be.

The engine is virtually identical to that of the current Infiniti QX-80, and identical to the Nissan Patrol and Armada SUV that comes here to North America soon. It has new heads, a new intake, a revised block and an entirely new fuel system and variable valve-train.

Giving it now 390 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque is direct fuel-injection and variable valve timing. There is also now variable valve lift in the mix, all of which give it more power and better fuel-efficiency than before.

The plant in Decherd, TN where the 5.6 liter V8 is built is the largest producing automotive engine plant in the United States, building nearly 1.2 million engines a year.

Also built at Decherd are virtually all the engines for North American car and SUV production including the 2.5 liter four-cylinders for Rogue and Altima as well as the 3.5 and 4.0 liter VQ Series V6 for cars, SUVs, and the Frontier pickups.

The 2.0 liter Mercedes-Infiniti joint-venture four-cylinder turbocharged engines and electric motors for the Nissan Leaf are also assembled here.

The 5.6 liter V8 for Titan starts with an updated aluminum block with cast iron liners that comes from an outside supplier. As you can see it’s nearly identical to the previous generation engine block but does have some minor differences.

Its crankshaft is made here, starting with steel billets that are cut, heated red hot and then hot forged on site. The process using a large Sumitomo press creates the crankshafts in a four step process before they are taken to the machine shop for final check and finishing.

The plant also casts aluminum heads on site, machines them, and assembles from kits sent in from suppliers including all the hardware required for its 32-valves and dual-overhead cams. Shavings from the machining process are melted back into fresh aluminum, recycled for casting yet more heads.

The new head design features a third adjuster cam for the variable valve lift function for the intake side. This is added just above the cam on either side with a step motor assembly you can see sticking out of the valve cover.

Through both automated and hand assembly steps, the bottom end of the engine comes together. After the crankshaft is inserted, a station team hand installs the piston and rod assemblies then torques them tight.

The engines then move down the line for additional components including water pump and heads, then valve-train and timing cover installation. In this view you can see a fully assembled long block, the direct fuel-injection system just below the intake ports in the valley.

Toward the end of the process, the engine’s valve lift and clearance is tested on a special machine before the final top out and sealing. At this point the engines are hooked up to high pressure for a leak test to make sure air and fluids aren’t going to seep out anywhere.

Each engine is then hot and cold tested, each and every one. This assures operating quality before the engines leave the plant for their destinations around the world. And if that weren’t enough, an engine is chosen from each production batch and punished in the dynamometer lab for an extended period under load at near redline.