ILX Tuning

"Thanks for reading my ILX tuning guide."

The ILX was a luxury compact car released in 2012, and proving to be very popular. It had a wide choice of engines:-

  • 1.5 L LDA/LEA15 I4
  • 2.0 L R20A I4
  • 2.4 L K24Z7 I4
  • 2.4 L K24V7 i4 (2016-)

The ILX was facelifted in 2016 with the 2.4 liter earth dreams engine, and in 2019 got a makeover with the new Acura grill design and you can choose red leather!

The ILX is popular among our members for tuning projects We see car owners wasting money on their ILX doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our articles to avoid making the common mistakes

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Many ILX owners uprate the handling of their cars with suspension modifications as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car. We suggest that you fit sports suspension and lower the car by 30-35mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Turning our attention to the ILXs engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Following our guidance for modding your ILX you will attain a practical sporty car that will potentially beat bigger cars.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Engine tuning mods.

This list of the stages and tuning kits are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get going.

  • 2.0 L (DE1) 5-speed Auto: 150 hp  at 6,500 rpm and 140 lbft (190 Nm) of torque at 4,300 rpm
  • 2.4 L (DE2) 6-speed Manual: 201 hp  at 7,000 rpm and 170 lbft (230 Nm) of torque at 4,300 rpm
  • 1.5 L (DE3) CVT Auto: 111 hp at 5,500 rpm and 127 lbft (172 Nm) of torque between 1,000 and 3,000 rpm
  • 2.4 L (DE2) 8-speed DCT: 201 hp  at 6,800 rpm and 180 lbft (244 Nm) of torque at 6,800 rpm

Getting the best sports modifications for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 competition upgrades just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Acura ILX

  1. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  2. Brake Upgrades - Improve your Acura ILX's stopping power ought to be high on your agenda.
  3. Remaps - A Remapped Acura ILX ECU ensures the biggest gains for the money, aftermarket ECUs, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives. Hondata is used a lot on these engines to control VTEC engagement etc...
  4. Air Induction kits and Sports Exhausts - NB: on their own these mods will NOT ADD HP , but they will enable you to lift power after other modifications by lessening the restrictive flow.
  5. Fast road cams are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but ideally be installed by someone competent and tracking one down may be hard but there is usually a local firm to regrind a stock cam for you.
  6. Acura ILX Suspension Upgrades - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit dramatically improves Acura ILX handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  7. Flywheel lightening - a lower weight flywheel will significantly improve the engines free revving nature. Not always not a great upgrade for all Acura ILX engines.
  8. Forced induction upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to improve intake air supply, which permits you to burn more fuel and make power gains. Although one of the most technically difficult modifications it offers big gains.

Acura ILX Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm).

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Ported and polished head, Power/Sport clutch, high flow fuel injector, Fast road cam, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Engine balancing, Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your aim when modding the engine should be a flat and wide torque range. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a competition car.

The aim of our pointers is to give a brief overview of customizing upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your car tuning project, the best motorsport modifications and all aspects of modding cars.One of the most cost effective mechanical uprated modifications you can do to your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a remap. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sports profile cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.Don't forget to pay attention to the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Frequently power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after tuning kits are done can usually be traced to fuelling or timing issues. Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel. A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

ILX Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Contrary to popular belief there is usually very little power gain to be had by fitting an induction kit, they only help and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope! Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for ILX engines you should just fit a sports panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too large or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

flowed (porting and polishing) the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools In nearly all cases of ILX tuning your clutch will start to slip and this should be improved - read our article on clutches for more information. Turbo engines are just pleading to be flashed. You will see large power gains on most modern turbochaged cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective and large modifications for your money.

We've also seen some tuners playing with twincharging applications and making some very high power figures.

The most significant power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Superchargers are generally easier to add than a turbo. Turbos provide boost in exponential proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

It is more straightforward to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Alternatively you could perhaps fit water injection to minimise knock.

ILX Alloy wheel upgrades.

Due to the fact that alloys are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. We can't go into too much detail here about tires but they are how the car puts the power down on the road so are a critical choice.

Soft compound tires work well on Acura ILX, and make a big difference over budget tires.

Large Acura ILX alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Although some people have installed larger rims we would restrict ourselves to a 18 inch rim size as the maximum but the OEM 17's work really well.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss ILX options in more detail with our ILX owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Acura Romeo tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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