Chevrolet F16D3 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the Chevrolet F16D3 engine!"

We get emails with people asking us for some recommendations on improving the F16D3 and which tuning modifications we rate as the best, so this guide has been assembled which covers our go to modifications and methods of modifying and tuning on the F16D3 engine.

The GM F16D3 are popular engines and with carefully chosen performance upgrades like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will positively enhance your driving enjoyment.

Here we review and look at F16D3 tuning and point out the optimum modifications.

History, Power & Specs of the F16D3 Engine

The F16D3 shares the 1.4 F14D3 block but was given a larger bore size the forged steel crank and DOHC give a bit of extra headroom for mods and upgrades.

  • 1.6 109hp@5800rpmĀ  110lbft @ 3400

Tuning the Chevrolet F16D3 and best F16D3 performance parts.

Best F16D3 mods

The optimum F16D3 tuning parts on an engine are usually the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular F16D3 tuning parts, they need to be cost-effective.

Getting a fast road cam will helps you to boost upper RPM range power which makes it a best mod for NASP and turbo petrol engines, but not so much on diesels. In most cases you will see top end power benefits through performance camshafts on most engines. So altering your F16D3 cam will make a difference to the engine power band.

Altering your F16D3 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly.

Fast road cams normally bump the torque through the rpm band, you may lose a little low end torque but the top end will be higher.

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

On a road car should ideally to match your torque band to your driving style.

I would be surprised if you have found a F16D3 Motorsport cam is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic because low end power will be very lumpy. Competition cams are designed for maximum power at the top end of the RPM range, a place that most daily commutes will not permit!

Some F16D3 engines respond better to different cam durations than others.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the torque gains you'll make.

Altering valve durations can alter the torque 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.

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

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

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

    Review your options and then source your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

    ECU Mapping Improvements for the F16D3

    ECU flashing will help unlock the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your F16D3.

    (In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing 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 you 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 depend much on the modifications you've applied and the condition of your engine.

    Air Flow improvements on the F16D3

    Feeding more fuel and air into your F16D3 is the main goal to any engine modification task.

    Intake transmit the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

    The bore size, shape and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a large change to fuel mixing and power on the F16D3.

    We often see intake are improved through aftermarket parts, although a few car makers provide reasonably well designed intake.

    Big valve conversions on the F16D3, carrying out 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase power, and as an added benefit will permit a better power increase on other upgrades.

    F16D3 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 F16D3

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

    If a car is fitted with a turbo tuning parts are more reliable and most turbo charged engines are made with uprated components.

    There are weak spots for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some just sufficiently able to handle stock powerDiscover these limitations and upgrade to better quality crank and pistons to handle the power.

    We've seen car owners spending a loads of money on turbo charger upgrades on the F16D3 only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the engine block literally blow up on it's first outing after it's first rolling road session.

    Big capacity turbos will usually suffer low end lag, and small turbos spool up really quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

    We are pleased that the world of turbos is always increasing and we now see variable vane turbos, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

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

    You'll commonly see there's a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the F16D3 when considerably more air is being sucked into the engine.

    You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting performance at a much lower level.

    Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although more difficult to setup. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

    F16D3 Fuelling Upgrades

    You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to look at the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a bhp and torque increase. Boosting the fuel pressure can improve the acceleration responsiveness.

    It makes sense to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

    The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when buying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and gives some 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.

    F16D3 Performance Exhausts

    You should look to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is creating a flow problem.

    On most factory exhausts you'll find 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 increase the flow of gases through the engine.

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

    Common exhaust restrictions are traced to the filters installed, so adding a higher flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

    Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the F16D3

    The F16D3 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

    Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

    Exhaust gas recirculation systems can cause carbon build up in the intake, especially if you only do short journeys, or use poor quality fuel. We don't recommend EGR removal, this really helps an engine warm up and doesn't affect power when the car is warm so there is little to be gained from removing it.

    Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

    Regular oil changes are vital on the F16D3, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

    If you want to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your F16D3 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss F16D3 tuning options in more detail with our F16D3 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased GM 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 readers have got up to and which upgrades work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these F16D3 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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