Buick Encore Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning and performance parts on the Buick Encore engine!"

As many of our readers have asked questions about the Encore and tips on how to modify one, so we've created this page to go over what we feel are the primary areas that make for improvement and tuning success on this great car.

Now we will examine Encore tuning and outline the optimum mods that work. The Buick Encore make awesome project cars and with the ultimate modified parts like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will really maximize your driving opportunities.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your Encore. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Encore

  1. Encore Suspension Upgrades - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit dramatically improves Encore handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  2. Engine Tunes - A Remapped Encore ECU provides the most power compared to cost, replacement ECUs, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  3. Brake Upgrades - Enhancing your stopping power ought to be high on your agenda.
  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. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - A New Turbo is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  6. 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.
  7. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed 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.

Encore Tuning Stages

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

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

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

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

History of the Encore Engine

First generation (2013)

  • 1.4 L A14NET I4 (MPI turbo)
  • 1.4 L B14XFT I4 (DI turbo)
  • 1.6 L A16XER I4 (MPI)
  • 1.8 L A18XER I4 (MPI)

Diesel

  • 1.6 L B16DTN I4
  • 1.6 L B16DTH I4 (turbo diesel)
  • 1.7 L A17DTS I4

Second generation (2020) not be exported to North America

M Gamma II platform

  • 1.0 L B10XFT Ecotec I3 (turbo petrol) 123hp
  • 1.3 L L3T I3 (turbo petrol) 162hp

Transmission

  • 6-speed GM 6T40

Tuning the Buick Encore and best Encore performance parts.

Best Encore upgrades

Just because particular upgrades are are common on Encore it doesn't mean you should fit it, so we'll focus on the ultimate upgrades that will give your Encore the best value for money to power increase.

Sporty camshaft profiles raise the top end power which makes it a best mod for NASP and turbo petrol engines, but not so much on diesels. Most cars will see 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 and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen cam profile, so large power band gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

Fast road cams usually increase the performance across the rpm range, you could sacrifice a little low end power but higher rpm power will be lifted.

Motorsport cams, increase the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport and race camshaft won't do well if in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your power band to your cars usage so for a car driven daily stick with a fast road Encore camshaft

Different Encore engines respond better to more or less aggressive cam durations so view each engine as unique.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences 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.

Encore remapping

ECU mapping allows a tuner to to establish the full potential of all the mods you've done to your Encore.

(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 the end result usually rely on the mods you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any engine upgrade task to pull fuel and air into each cylinder

Your intake manifold will direct the air during the suck phase from the air filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders.

The size of bore and shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable effect on to fuel engine efficiency on the Encore.

Commonly we find the intake manifolds are begging for an upgrade, although some car makers provide well optimised intake manifolds.

Increasing the Encore valve size, doing some Encore port enlargement and head flowing will also improve power, this will raise potential for a better power increase on other tuning mods.

Encore Turbo upgrades

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

When the engine has a turbocharger tuning mods are relatively easy and most turbocharged engines already contain many forged and stronger components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only able to handle stock power so it is important to find these restrictions and install more solid crank and pistons to survive the power.

Please note that turbo upgrades on the Encore can prove to be quite expensive.

It's not unheard of car owners spending a lots of money on turbo charger upgrades on the Encore only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine block go up in smoke just after it's first rolling road session.

Large turbo units tend to suffer a bottom end lag, and smaller turbo units spool up more quickly but won't have the high rpm bhp gains.

We are pleased that the choice of turbos is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbos, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust gases into two channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the Encore when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Encore Fuelling Upgrades

When you increase the power you will need to uprate to the fuel delivery.

More power needs more fuel. We would recommend you to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows a bit of spare capacity should the engine require 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.

Encore Performance Exhausts

You should look to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the flow rate is still 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 equal out the flow of air through the engine.

But if the exhaust pipe is too large, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of the exhaust flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the emissions filters installed, so adding a faster flowing high performance aftermarket one removes the restriction, and instead of doing an illegal cat removal, will keep the car road legal.

We note that performance catalyst and filters perform comparably to catalyst removal 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 its larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

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 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 Encore

The Encore engines are generally reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

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

Throttle body position sensors would fail and cause a lack of power, initially, this will manifest as hesitancy and flat spots or inability to pick up speed, but it gets progressively worse.

There are a number of issues related to sensors that cause the engine check light to come on.

One bad year for Encore production was 2014, as is borne out by the amount of logged issues on car complaint sites, with door locks topping the list but most others related to the electrical systems & battery and charging.

If you want to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your Encore engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Encore tuning options in more detail with our Encore 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 appreciate your taking the time to tell us what our visitors have got up to and which modifications work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these Encore tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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