Acura TLX Tuning

"Thanks for reading my TLX tuning guide."

Your TLX engine choices, depending on the year, were either a 2.4-liter K24W7 i4 or the 3.5-liter J35Y6 V6, with both having pros and cons but they suit the car really well and we'd plump for the more recent 2.4 litre.

The TLX received a facelift and upgrades in 2017, and a highly acclaimed entertainment system supporting Android auto and Apple Car play. This was when the 2.4 liter engine was introduced, cutting fuel consumption and beating the original 3.5 liter engine with 208ps engine.

In 2020 the car has a new V6 i-VTEC powerplan with a choice of P-AWS or SH-AWD.

We have seen some awesome TLX tuning projects and there seems to be quite a loyal fan base of TLX owners. We see car owners wasting money on their TLX doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our tips to avoid wasting your money

Tuning tips and articles

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


Top end power should be your overall aim on the TLX with a nice fat peak torque band.

TLX make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine upgrades and handling upgrades you can find!

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Engine tuning mods.

These mods modified mods are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you start.

Getting the correct grade of tuning parts for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 (competition) mods just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow 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 TLX

  1. Tunes - A Remapped Acura TLX ECU gives the most power compared to cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, Hondata (used a lot on these engines) and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  2. Intake Upgrades and Sports Exhausts - Please be warned on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most applications, but they enable you to lift power after other mods by losing a restriction.
  3. Acura TLX Suspension - Upgrading your suspension greatly enhances your Acura TLX road holding and cornering. Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  4. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.
  5. Brake Upgrades - Improve your Acura TLX's stopping power should be high on your agenda.
  6. Flywheel lightening - a lower mass flywheel will improve the engines free revving nature. But not always recommended for all Acura TLX engines.
  7. Turbo upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to increase air supply, this means you are able to utilize more fuel and make better power figures. It is one of the most challenging upgrades it does provide the largest gains.
  8. Fast road cams are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but ideally be fitted by someone qualified to set them up and some cams are hard to find but we are sure you'l; find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft for you.

Acura TLX Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Sports exhaust, Alloy wheels, Remap, Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop ).

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

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

You need to keep as much low end power as possible and aim to achieve a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give an overview and introduction to the best mods for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance part.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains for your money as far as a bolt on motorsport mods goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. 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.You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to increase the fuelling.

Frequently power losses, and erratic idling after tuning kits are done can usually be traced to timing or fuel delivery issues.To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine. Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned TLXs uprated injectors.

TLX Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Please note that WE DO NOT FIND IMPROVEMENTS WITH INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car with over 30 percent more power and are finding that the standard air intake has become a restriction.

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a panel filter should suffice for most applications. TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Sports exhausts can usually air flow out of the engine but do not go too big or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Polishing and porting 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 When you tune up your TLX you will usally see that the standard clutch starts to complain so get an uprated clutchRemaps offer impressive power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a flashed ecu on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

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

Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will give large power gains. Turbos are usually harder to add than a supercharger. It is difficult to map fuelling with a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with revs.

It is simpler to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

TLX Brake Upgrades

Putting larger brake discs and better quality pads should make for dramatically enhanced stopping.

Note that motorsport brake pads will be noisy and will have to be hot before they are effective.

On a road car the brakes are occasionally used, therefore won't stop you as well so source friction pads which have a low working temperature.

Acura TLX Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many Acura TLX owners uprate the handling of their cars with tuning suspension modifications as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

We would go to a maximum drop of 29 - 43 on most models. You risk compromising your handling if you go lower than this.

Upgrades to the Acura TLX's suspension and handling

When it comes to tuning your Acura TLX, one of the most often aims and reasons is to better its handling. However, we continue to encounter the same mistakes.

Adjustable Coilovers enable you to lower or raise the car and this allows you to tweak your cars handling to suit your driving style.

What considerations must you make when setting up and selecting your suspension if your Acura TLX serves as a daily car as well?

Upgrading your Bushes

Enhancements to the bushings: Things you need to know

The suspension components of the Acura TLX may be fixed to the car's chassis through bushings, which are rotatable rubber mounts. These rubber ones will lose their shape as they wear out.

Installing new OEM rubber bushings may dramatically improve the performance of your car.

Because the polyurethane bushes are firmer, the ride may be a bit less forgiving, but they will last longer and maintain the handling.

Worn bushes may also accelerate the degradation of other suspension components due to the increased vibration and play.

A new set of poly bushings will assist in lessen the excessive play associated with rubber bushings.

You may struggle to find a full set of polyeyurothane bushes, but most areas have the primary mounts available. You may be able to have custom poly bushes created to suit your needs.

Many people believe that a 80mm lower Acura TLX suspension kit from a franchised component shop would be perfrect. However, this is not the case - suspension design and setup is quite complex.

Claims are often made that all Acura TLX models and years may be able to utilise the same suspension kits sold by vendors.

To adequately support a diverse variety of vehicles, the "generic one set for all models" approach is obviously a mistake as engine weights and equipment trim levels all affect the cars handling characteristics.

How low should you go on the Acura TLX?

TorqueCars research and testing indicate that it is optimal to set the toe out to 0.9 to 1.5 degrees on the front, and add slight negative camber then your TLX's cornering will dramatically improve.

We suggest that you fit performance suspension and lower the car by 24mm - 36 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with performance suspension.

Tolerances may be greatly reduced by altering the diameter of the wheels. Lowering a vehicle, even with 17-inch wheels and stock suspension, can create several complications.

Stability may be improved by lowering the Acura TLX, but the ultimate goal should always be to enhance handling. It is critical to use the right shocks when employing lower springs.

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you Acura TLX often enhancing your drive.

Improving the handling for most drivers, is rated as a top priority mod in your TLX tuning project.

TLX Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloys include lowering your unsprung weight and better brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. The drawback to large alloy wheels on your TLX is that you're altering your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on acceleration and performance.

Due to this we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 16 inches, although we know some of our members have installed larger rims with no problems.

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 TLX options in more detail with our TLX owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Acura tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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