Buick Enclave Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Buick Enclave engine!"

We were asked for more information on tuning and building a modified Enclave and particularly which turbo upgrades work best, so we've created this page that covers our go-to modifications for this engine and what we feel are the best value modifications you can do.

The Enclave was released for sale in 2008 after its launch in 2007. It was based on the GM Lambda platform and is a mid-sized SUV crossover. Primarily aimed at families it ticked all the boxes it needed to.

Here we detail the best approach to Enclave tuning and provide tips on the best modifications for your car. Buick Enclave make a good tuning project and with the right modified modifications like ECU maps, turbo kits and camshafts you will positively enhance your driving fun.

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 Enclave

  1. Fast road Camshafts are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  2. Brake Mods - Enhancing your stopping power should be high on your agenda.
  3. Intake Mods and Exhaust - Please note that on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. ECU Tunes - Enclave engine tuning/remapping provides the most power compared to cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  6. Enclave Handling Mods (suspension) - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit greatly enhances your Enclave road holding and cornering. Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this

Enclave Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Intake manifolds, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: induction kit, high flow fuel injectors, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, fuel pump upgrades, Ported and polished head, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Twin charging conversions, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Engine balancing & blueprinting, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression.

Review your options and then buy your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

History of the Enclave Engine

First generation (2008) 6-speed 6T75

3.6 L LY7 V6 275 hp (205 kW; 279 PS) @ 6600 rpm 251 lbft (340 Nm) @ 3200 rpm
3.6 L LLT V6 310 hp (231 kW; 314 PS) @ 6800 rpm 266 lbft (361 Nm) @ 2800 rpm

Second Generation North America (2018)

3.6 L LFY V6 (gasoline) GM 9-speed 9T65 310 hp (231 kW; 314 PS) @ 6800 rpm
266 lb⋅ft (361 N⋅m) @ 2800 rpm

There was also a version released for the Chinese market.

Tuning the Buick Enclave and best Enclave performance parts.

Best Enclave tuning parts

Just because particular tuning mods are popular with Enclave owners it doesn't mean its worth having, so we'll focus on the best tuning mods that will give your Enclave the biggest power gain return for your cash.

Fast road cams come into their own at top end power and are better suited on petrol engines, than diesels. You will usually get a peak power increases through performance camshafts on most engines

The cam profile plays a big part in the engines power output so cam upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake & exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen cam profile, so large engines power gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

Fast road camshafts usually raise the bhp and torque across the rev range, you may sacrifice a little bottom end bhp but the top end will be better.

Motorsport and race camshafts, raise the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Race camshaft makes it harder when driving around busy urban areas.

You should ideally match your torque band to your preferences so for a typical daily driver stick with a shorter duration Enclave camshaft

Each engine responds better to more or less aggressive cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also have an effect on the bhp gains you'll make.

Longer valve durations can alter the bhp band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Enclave Remapping

A remap helps fully realize the full potential of all the mods you've done to your Enclave.

(Sometimes flashing the ECU is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.) It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but your results will differs on the mods you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Enclave intake Mods

It is the whole point to any engine upgrade task to shove more air into the Enclave engine

The intake plenum take the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders.

Shape and rate of flow of the Plenum can make a big improvement to fuel engine efficiency on the Enclave.

Commonly we find the air intake manifolds are ripe for a performance upgrade, although a few makers provide reasonably good air intake manifolds.

Adding a Enclave larger valve kit, doing a bit of Enclave port enlargement and head flowing will also boost bhp, and more importantly will permit an improved bhp increase on other upgrades.

Enclave Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your Enclave

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes significant power gains.

If a car is turbo charged parts are going to make more power and most turbo engines are made with stronger components.

However engines have weakspots. Research these restrictions and install better quality crank and pistons to utilize the power.

There are many car owners spending a lots of money on turbo upgrades on the Enclave only to suffer the indignity of watching the car catastrophically fail on it's first outing after it's been completed.

Bigger upgraded turbochargers tend to experience a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbochargers spool up really quickly but do not have the top end power band gains.

In the last 10 years the selection of turbo units is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and push these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the Enclave when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although harder to setup. We have this article covering twinchargers if you want to read more.

Enclave Fuelling Upgrades

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to uprate the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a torque increase. We would recommend you to be generous with your injector's flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when buying an injector, which helps cope with injector deterioration and allows a bit of spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

Enclave Performance Exhausts

You should look to update your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts can usually airflow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you may end up stuff up the flow rate. Stay at around 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer-flowing race aftermarket one improves flow, and without resorting to doing an illegal cat removal, will keep the car road legal.

We should explain that performance catalysts perform a similar power improvement to test pipe mod and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decat or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars

A sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed.

This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to its higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal.

The alternative decat or catless exhaust should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the Enclave

The Enclave engines are generally reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained. Expect a good 100,000 miles before you start to see any common issues.

Electrical problems and faulty relays have been regularly reported, but this affects most car makers and no single pattern of issues have become apparent.

Regular oil changes are vital on the Enclave, especially when tuned, and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

Timing chain issues, the chain tends to stretch and this affects timing as it connects the cam to crankshaft. Initially, you'll get rough running, dash warnings and vibrations, and rattles. We would suggest replacing the chain every few years, with some issues becoming evident in as little as 50,000 miles.

Transmission problems have been reported on early models, with issues shifting and transmission noise. The transmission was revised in 2009 by Buick so hopefully, this will be a thing of the past.

Power steering issues have become apparent as the car approaches the 100,000-mile mark. The steering becomes very heavy but can be expensive to repair. This seems more prevalent in early models, but as these tend to have covered a higher mileage it remains to be seen if this is an issue that affects other models.

If you want to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your Enclave engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Enclave tuning options in more detail with our Enclave owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Buick tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be.

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

We love to hear what our members have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these Enclave tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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