Alfa Romeo 164 Tuning

"Thank you for reading my Alfa Romeo 164 tuning guide."

The 164 is a great car modification project to try. The key to 164 tuning is choosing the right mods - a lot of money can be wasted if you do it wrong.

Designed by Pininfarina the Alfa had to fill the shoes of the 90 and Alfa 6. It was made between 1987 and 1998.

Tuning tips and articles

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


Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are often a priority for the 164.

We found that most 164 factory suspension setups need tweaking, a few degrees of toe (set some toe out to improve cornering or use toe in for better stability) and you only need around 0.9 to 1.5 degrees, and a little negative camber will usually enhance your cornering and handling.

We would go to a maximum drop of 23mm - 37 mm. on most models. You risk compromising your handling if you go lower than this.

Fitting larger brake discs and better quality pads should make for sharper improved stopping. (They will brake effectively over longer periods during heavy use than stock brakes will, but grip has more of a bearing on the cars ability to stop).

As a word of warning please note that race friction pads can grind and will need to be hot before they are effective.

On your regular commute to work the brakes are only used rarely, therefore will not stop you as well so choose pads which have a low working temperature.

A nice wide torque band and sweet spot of peak power at one third of your RPM range is optimum.

Following our tips for modding your 164 you will create a practical scorching car that will potentially embarrass bigger cars.

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest 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.

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

Getting the right modified upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport mods just don't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

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 164

  1. Brake Upgrades - Improve your 164's stopping power should be near the top of your Mods list.
  2. Tunes - 164 remapping offers the biggest gains for the money, replacement ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  3. 164 Suspension - Replacing worn bushings and shocks dramatically improves 164 handling Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this
  4. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  5. Air Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods won't ADD TORQUE in most cases, but they enable you to enhance power after other modifications by minimizing the restriction.
  6. Flywheel lightening - a reduced weight flywheel will enhance the engines ability to rev freely. In some cases flywheel lightening is not a great mod for all 164 engines.
  7. Turbo upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most dramatic method to improve intake air supply, allowing you to use more fuel and make higher power. Although one of the most technically difficult modifications it offers big gains.
  8. Fast road Camshafts are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but ideally be fitted by someone qualified to set them up and it is often hard to find a suitable cam near you but you might have a local firm to regrind a stock cam for you.

164 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Alloy wheels, Suspension upgrade (drop 23mm - 37 mm.), Remap, Sports exhaust, Panel air filter.

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

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

Your targets when tuning the engine should be a nice flat torque band. You don't want all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport 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 part.A fast road camshaft usually proves to be one of the best NASP power modifications you can do mechanically to your engine.

The intake and exhaust valve timings play a big role 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 remap to fully release the power gain.

When pushing up the power you will need to ramp up to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after parts are done can usually be traced to timing or fuelling issues. To get sufficient fuel you may need to upgrade the injectors on your engine.

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.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust.  Induction kits only help to add performance if your air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most small engines will see LITTLE LOW END 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.

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 performance 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 balance the flow of air through the engine. But if your exhaust is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of the flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Getting a professionally gas flowed head with larger valves can fully release the engines power. A good multi plate fast road uprated clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never cut corners or think that the standard OEM clutch to cope. The best mods we would do for your 164 are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

Remaps offer impressive power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a remapped ECU on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods. Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will give large power gains. Superchargers are often easier to add than a turbo. Turbos give boost in increasing proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice correlating boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

As alloys are less heavy 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. directional tread pattern tires work well on 164, and make a big difference over budget tires. We should point out that although they can look cool on the 164 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.

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

164 Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are the thing most do first for the 164 when they want to upgrade and tune it. So I recommend a modest drop of the car optimally somewhere in the region of 25 - 44 and fit motorsport grade stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the 164.Adjusting the 164's handling is often the first step in tuning it.

One of the most popular reasons for tuning your 164 suspension is to better its handling. In spite of this, we often witness the same mistakes over and over again.

We would choose a set of Coilovers that permit set a ride hight to set the cars handling to your preference

What considerations must you make when setting up and selecting your suspension if your 164 serves as a daily car as well?

Improvements to the bushings

What factors should you consider when setting up and selecting your bushes if your 164 is also used as a daily driver?

The suspension components of the 164 may be fixed to the car's chassis through bushings, which are rotatable rubber mounts. These rubber ones will degrade as they age.

Brand New OEM rubber bushes may have a major impact on the performance of your vehicle.

Because polyurethane bushings are stiffer, the ride may be less forgiving, but the bushings will last longer and maintain the car's handling for longer.

Increased vibration and play may also speed up the depreciation in other suspension components.

With a new set of poly bushes, the excessive play associated with rubber bushings may be mitigated.

Some poly bushings are hard to locate, but most will find the primary mounts readily available in their local stores Custom poly bushings are often made to your requirements.

How low should you go on the 164?

When it comes to road vehicles, the maximum suspension drop is 25 - 44 mm, but when it comes to hot hatchbacks with lower OEM suspension, the maximum suspension drop is 19 mm, according to TorqueCars.

Tolerances may be greatly diminished 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 164, but the ultimate goal should always be to enhance handling. It is critical to use the right shocks when employing lower springs.

If you set the toe out a little on the front, and add some negative camber then cornering will dramatically benefit. I actually think Alfa did a great job setting up the 164, so you are only looking to personalise the handling to suit your requirements rather than reinventing it completely.

For dramatically improved stopping you should get better high performance brake pads and combine this with meatier brake discs.

Please note that race brake pads can grind and will need to be really hot before they start to work.

On your regular commute to work the brakes are occasionally used so won't be as effective at slowing you up so select friction pads which have a low working temperature.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

If you've enjoyed this page we would be very grateful if you could share a link to it on your favourite forums or on your social media profiles, it helps us keep going.

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 164 options in more detail with our 164 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.

Please Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback - What do You Think?

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.

Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).

BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning

Popular articles

Tuning Diesels
ECU Remapping
Double Clutch
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Chip tuning
Insuring Modified Cars
Track day insurance
Diesel remaps
MPG Calculator
Cleaning a DPF
Forza tuning

Ignition Coils

Sports ignition coils and performance coil packs

Rebore Engine

Reboring engines


Lowering the suspension. Ride height adjustments.

Engine Dress Up

Engine styling dress up kits

Traffic Jams

Surviving and avoiding traffic jams

Tdi Tuning Review

Tdi Tuning box review

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG