Cadillac CTS Tuning

"Cheers for reading our Cadillac CTS tuning guide."

We review CTS tuning and provide tips on the best modifications. Cadillac CTSs make a good tuning project and with the right sports upgrades you can dramatically increase your driving experience.

The CTS is a brilliant car tuning project to play with. Sit down first and research CTS tuning to save yourself making the usual common mistakes we regularly see.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for people often first priority in your CTS tuning project.

Good suspension tweaks that often benefit handling for the CTS include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe in or out on the front wheels. 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 modified suspension and lower the car by 27mm - 35 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Don't just look at the peak power figures, you need to see the whole torque curve when determining if a mod is right for you CTS.

With our advice your CTS can make some decent track times and still be a reliable daily run around.

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.

Engine Tuning.

First generation (2003–2007)

  • 2.6 L LY9 V6 (gasoline)
  • 2.8 L LP1 V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.2 L LA3 V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.6 L LY7 V6 (gasoline)
  • 5.7 L LS6 V8 (gasoline)
  • 6.0 L LS2 V8 (gasoline)

Second generation (2008–2013)

  • 2.8 L LP1 V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.0 L LF1 V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.0 L LFW V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.6 L LY7 V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.6 L LLT V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.6 L LFX V6 (gasoline)
  • 6.2 L LSA V8 (supercharged gasoline)

Third generation (2014–2019)

  • 2.0 L LTG Ecotec i4 (turbocharged gasoline)
  • 3.6 L LFX V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.6 L LGX V6 (gasoline)
  • 3.6 L LF3 V6 (Twin-turbocharged gasoline)
  • 6.2 L LT4 V8 (supercharged gasoline)

CTS-V Second generation (2008–2014)

  • 2004–2005: 5.7 L LS6 V8
  • 2006–2007: 6.0 L LS2 V8

CTS-V Third generation (2016–2019)

  • 6.2 L LT4 V8 (supercharged gasoline)

These mods sports kits are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

Getting the best modified upgrades for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport parts just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

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 Engine Mods for your car

  1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  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.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Panel air filter, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 27mm - 35 mm.), Alloy wheels.

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

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

Your aim when tuning the engine should be a nice flat torque range. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The whole aim of our hints is to give a starting base of modifying upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your tuning project, the best uprated modifications and all aspects of modding cars.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest bhp gains for your money as far as a stand alone modifications goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

It maximises the intake and exhaust flow and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a remap. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a competition cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

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

Frequently power losses, and erratic idling after sports parts are done can usually be traced to fuel delivery or timing issues. Increasing the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned CTS's uprated injectors.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Please note that WE DO NOT RECOMMEND INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car massively and are finding that the standard air intake has become limited.

Derestricting the flow of air into the engine is a primary goal of tuning so get a freer flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and actually rob you of power.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can get this will slow the exhaust rate - the best 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 polished and ported head with larger valves can fully maximise your power gains. Your clutch can lose you loads of power as you increase the power if it starts to break and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 48%. Fit a competition clutch to avoid power loss through the transmission. The best mods in our experience for your CTS are a tune/remap especially on a turbo, a fast road camshaft and sports exhaust, with a good air intake.

NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you tune/remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A tuned/remapped turbo will give massive power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block.

We've also come across some owners toying with twincharging conversions and making some very high power hikes.

Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will give large power gains. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it harder to map.

It is more straightforward to map a supercharger because the boost is correlating to engine speed on a linear curve. Alternatively you could install water injection to cut down knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloys are lighter they improve performance and they will 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. soft compound tires work well on CTS, and make a big difference over budget tires. Please note although they can look cool on the CTS 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 fact aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases not going over 18 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 CTS options in more detail with our CTS owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Cadillac tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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2 Responses to “CTS Tuning”

  1. Charles Thomas Davis says:

    I have a 2017 cts amd i cant find and cams or forced induction products available for it like nothing i have a intake and chip amd installing and performance exhaust next week but that’s all I can find available.please reference why your getting the parts for the modifications you were talking about in the article amd advice on any other performance parts available for my gen3 3.6

  2. TorqueCars says:

    It depends where you are in the world, which is why we don’t mention suppliers or cost. Here in the UK I’d go to Piper or Kent Cams for a custom grind at around 210 degree duration on intake and exhaust, I think Mace in the AU region do a few cam options. A good engine shop should be able to machine the cams, flow the head and offer turbos and supercharger upgrades, although these require more work. Rotrex superchargers are quite well suited to this block, with a low boost setting of course. We do try to revisit all of our articles and add new tips and info. If you find any good parts or suppliers, please shout out here in the comments and we can pass these on to others.

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