Alfa Romeo 146 Tuning

"Thanks for reading my 146 tuning guide."

A popular car for tuning up is the Alfa Romeo 146 and our members have some interesting projects on the go.

We see people often wasting money on their Alfa Romeo 146 doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our advice to avoid wasting your money.

A popular car, and it came with a wide choice of engines including the lovely sounding Boxer engines.

  • 1.4 L Boxer
  • 1.6 L Boxer
  • 1.7 L Boxer
  • 1.4 L Twin Spark
  • 1.6 L Twin Spark
  • 1.8 L Twin Spark
  • 2.0 L Twin Spark
  • 1.9 L turbocharged diesel)
  • 1.9 L JTD (turbocharged diesel)

The 1.4 feels a little underpowered here and is crying out for some upgrades and mods.

All engines respond well when tuned and a few select performance upgrades are added.

We love the handling of the 146 but even this will benefit from suspension upgrades.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Many Alfa Romeo 146 owners uprate the handling of their cars with uprated suspension mods as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car. We would go to a maximum drop of 35mm on most models. You risk rubbing on the arches if you go lower than this.

Turning our attention to the Alfa Romeo 146s engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

With performance tips you can turn your Alfa Romeo 146 into a really fun car, beating more powerful cars on the track.

Sadly with smaller engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Power mods.

Typically these modified modifications are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get started.

Getting the right uprated modifications for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Panel air filter, Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Remap, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 35-40mm).

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

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

You should keep as much low end power as you can and aim to get a long power band rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give your a good starting base 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 part.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains for your money as far as a bolt on sports modifications goes on a NASP engine.

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 hard to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a reflashed ECU to fully realise your gains.You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to look at the fuelling.

Using higher octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from detonation or premature ignition on your Alfa Romeo project after fitting other modified parts. Uprated injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine. Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned Alfa Romeo 146s uprated injectors.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Induction kits only help to add performance if the cars air intake is restricted! Adding an induction kit to most standard engines will see NO POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction. For most Alfa Romeo 146 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 supplying cold air.

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can get this will slow the exhaust rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Getting a professionally ported and polished head with larger valves can fully maximise your power gains. Your clutch can lose you loads of power if it starts to slip and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 48%. Fit a competition clutch to avoid power leak through the transmission. NASP engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story.

remapped turbo will give impressive power gains and fully release the potential power of the engine.

The most significant power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Turbo and Superchargers kits are the way to go here.

Superchargers are usually easier to add than a turbo. Turbos increase power in exponential proportion to the engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice steady boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them more straight forward to map. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine .

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they can help to cool the brake disks. Large Alfa Romeo 146 alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Due to this try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the recommended OEM sizes. In all cases not going above 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 Alfa Romeo 146 options in more detail with our Alfa Romeo 146 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Alfa Romeo tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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