Acura ZDX Tuning

"Thanks for reading my ZDX tuning guide."

The ZDX came with the 3.7L J37A5 V6 engine, a great package in the ZDX's SUV body. It came to fruition in 2009 and was a very good attempt by Acura to blur the lines between Coupe, Family sedan and the SUV.

The ZDX is a good car tuning project to play with. With the right mods your ZDX can be transformed into a fun car. Don't waste money, do your homework and follow our unbiased guides to each performance upgrade to avoid disappointment.

The handling is usually the main thing our members and readers are looking to upgrade but we've seen some impressive engine swap and supercharger upgrades fitted to the J37A5.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Engine tuning mods.

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

Following our guidance for modding your ZDX you will attain a practical but scorching car that will potentially embarrass bigger cars.

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.

This list of the stages and modified kits are usually installed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get started.

Getting the correct grade of sports parts for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

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 ZDX

  1. Acura ZDX Suspension Upgrades - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit dramatically improves Acura ZDX handling Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  2. Fast road Camshafts are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but we recommend they be fitted by someone qualified to set them up and they are not always easy to source but we are sure you'l; find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft for you.
  3. Intake Mods and Exhaust Upgrades - Please note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD HP on most cars, but they permit you to release power after other upgrades by lessening the restriction.
  4. Internal engine mods - crank, pistons, conrods & compression ratio including balancing and blueprinting
  5. Brake Mods - Improve your Acura ZDX's stopping power needs to be near the top of your Mods list.
  6. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - Adding a turbocharger is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to use more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most complex modifications you'll see massive gains.
  7. Flywheel lightening - a lower weight flywheel will significantly improve the engines ability to rev freely. Not always not a great upgrade for all Acura ZDX engines.
  8. Engine Tunes - A Remapped Acura ZDX ECU ensures the most advantage compared to cost, aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives. Hondata is used a lot on these engines to fine tune the ECU parameters and VTEC.

Acura ZDX Tuning Stages

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

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

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

Your targets when tuning should be a wide torque output. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a competition car.

In this article we shall give a limited introduction to the best performance parts for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.One of the most cost effective mechanical performance modifications you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

The intake and exhaust flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car impossible to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a tune/remap to fully release the power gain.When pushing up the power you will need to increase to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after motorsport kits are done can usually be traced to fuelling or timing issues.To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine. If you've uprated your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Acura ZDX Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for car owners first priority in your Acura ZDX tuning project. Many ZDX owners uprate the handling of their cars with motorsport suspension upgrades as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

Good suspension tweaks that radically benefit handling for the ZDX include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe in or out on the front wheels.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 30 - 35 and fit modified stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the Acura ZDX.Adjusting the Acura ZDX's handling is often the first step in modifying it.

Handling upgrades are often the initial step for the Acura ZDX.

Coilovers allow you to set a ride hight and this allows you to tweak your cornering performance.

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

Uprated Bushes

Enhancements to the bushings: Things you need to know

Bushings, which are rubber mounts, allow the Acura ZDX's suspension components to be connected with the car's chassis. The rubber ones will deteriorate with time.

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

Because polyurethane bushes are stiffer, the ride may be firmer, but the bushes will last longer and maintain the car's handling over a longer time.

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

A new set of poly bushes will assist in reduce the excessive play associated with rubber bushes.

Toe in for stability, or Toe out to improve cornering. It would also pay to improve the brakes, by adding larger discs and or higher friction pads..

We suggest that you fit uprated suspension and lower the car by 21mm - 38 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with performance suspension.

Handling modifications are often a priority for the ZDX. We would go to a maximum drop of 38mm on most models. You risk rubbing on the arches if you go lower than this.

ZDX Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Contrary to popular belief there is generally a small if any power gain to be had by fitting an induction kit, they only become beneficial and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope! For most ZDX engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of needing cold air.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional polishing and ported. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. When you tune up your ZDX you will see that the standard clutch starts to slip so get an uprated clutch. Turbo engines are just pleading to be flashed. You will see phenomenal power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective and phenomenal modifications for your money.Adding forced induction will see phenomenal power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are usually harder to add than a supercharger. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the engines compression ratio .

ZDX Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels can help the brakes cool down and are generally lighter than steel ones. We'd like to point out although they can look cool on the ZDX big alloy wheels will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

Due to this try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the OEM setup. In all cases we do not recommend going bigger than 16 inches.

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 ZDX options in more detail with our ZDX 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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