Skip to Content

Tuning a Car Engine

Tuning a Car Engine

How to tune a Car Engine

What does engine tuning mean? Let’s go have a look at the ways on how to tune a car engine and find out what exactly engine tuning is.

First thing that we must learn is that there are various types of engines. In this article, we will be able to tackle the generic theory on engine tuning. If you wish to acquire further information and much more specific details, we strongly suggest you sign up with our car forums section where our team and experienced, very helpful members can assist you further.

For most people, a tuned car is one that runs at optimal efficiency and which can be achieved through getting a full service and making necessary adjustments to factory specifications. For some, the idea is to get the car perform and run better than its original purpose. The low cost production techniques and methods used by manufacturers and their conservative settings opened up vast opportunities of improving your engine.

Most of people wish to maximize their car’s performance which can also be effective in maximizing the economy by setting up the car to its utmost efficiency.

Your first step would be ensuring the car is running as intended. Change the filter and oil, fit new spark plugs and perform a full service for old leads which also need replacing. Next is to test the engine compression and correct major issues such as broken or worn valves which can lose power, and also checking for worn and piston rings.

READ ALSO:  How to Remove Oil Filter: Know-How Essentials for the Road Runners

 Engine tuning modifications for your Carburettor, Fuel Injection, Turbo Engines and other ways to tune your engine:

 How to tune a Carburettor Engine

To distribute the spark, these rely on a breaker with a crude mechanical advance while the RPM rises. Timing the spark to take place a fraction earlier will help execute a more complete burn cycle and to efficiently convert both the air and fuel mix into power.

Often, a trial and error approach can be used. Too much advance is not good, so you must gradually advance until your engine starts knocking, and then back it off for a bit to achieve a good setup. The right timing and duration of spark makes the engine run efficiently and benefits both power and the economy.

Connecting a strobe light to the spark plug pulse allows you to freeze the engine so you can see the timing mark. This mark is located on the pulley, at the bottom of the cambelt, and would usually have a small groove and a little notch marked on the engine. If you mark this with some white paint, it will appear when the stobe light reaches it which enables you to better adjust engine timing.

If you rotate the distributor housing, you can adjust the timing through advancing or retarding it. Any adjustment must be done gradually and the car must be tested under load at the full range of RPM. A rolling road dynometer lets you make adjustments live.

To increase the fuel such that it matches the intake air, you will need to get a larger jet, which some mistakenly refer to as needles. Carb setup can require great skills and art and having two makes the job complicated and harder. These come with the right jet sizes and will make dramatic and significant changes to the engine and intake air charge, so the key point here is to match the fuel with the air delivery.

READ ALSO:  How to Make Car AC Colder: Simple Hacks

How to tune a Fuel Injection Engine

These are a lot more sophisticated, where both the fuel amount and spark timing is adjusted.

Spark timing must vary way more than a simple linear curve allows. This is achieved now by computers installed in cars which stores fuel and timing maps covering a myriad of loads and intake conditions designed for optimal running. With this technology, there is little a home tuner can do now, but add a piggy back device or replace the chip. Modern engines typically operate in a loop, meaning the next combustion cycle’s parameters are determined by the previous cycle. It sniffs the exhaust for oxygen which gauges if the car runs rich or lean and then adjusts intake fueling to match. Popular engines learn optimum settings over time and adjust the map every 200 miles, taking into account the driving style, seasonal adjustments in temperature and different grades of fuel. A naturally aspirated engine would probably let you wire an additional 10 percent power out of it by tightening up both the fuel and timing map.

How to tune a Turbo Engine

The same points on fuel delivery and spark timing are essential for tuning a turbo engine. Gains are more evident because of the turbo effect, since turbo pushes more air towards the engine and makes more power. It is the heart of the engine.

Matching exhaust and intake compression to your air needs make significant alterations to the power band. You can create a hybrid by uprating the internals and using stock OEM turbo casing. You can also replace the turbo with a larger unit or fit a second one. this all depends on your power needs.

READ ALSO:  How To Change Your Vehicle’s Spark Plugs

The pre 2000 engines are typically difficult to remap which gives you no option but a piggy back device or chip change. After the year 2000, most cars possessed OBDII ports or similar parts that allow uploading and reflashing the car’s computer with ease. The computer controls boost and wastegate. A simple remap yields a 40 percent power gain.

Other ways to tune an Engine

There are a myriad of ways to tune an engine such as balancing your engine, letting it run at higher RPM, adding a camshaft to further increase power band and alter duration and timing of the engine’s induction, compression, and its bang and exhaust cycles. Moving air faster through the engine is a priority. A set of performance headers like a sport catalyst and exhaust, some porting and polishing headwork further raised the power band.