Chevrolet Monte Carlo Z34 Tuning

"Thank you for reading my Z34 tuning tips"

We review and look at Monte Carlo Z34 tuning and provide tips on the best modifications. The Z35 is fantastic to work on and with carefully picked performance tuning mods you can positively maximise your driving pleasure.

A popular car for tuning up is the Monte Carlo Z34 and our members have some interesting projects on the go. With the right mods your Monte Carlo Z34 can be transformed into a stunning project. Don't waste money, do your homework and follow our unbiased guides to each performance upgrade to avoid wasting money.

Tuning tips and articles

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


Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many Monte Carlo Z34 owners uprate the handling of their cars with sports suspension upgrades as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to 1 to 2 degrees on the front, and add some negative camber then cornering will substantially improve.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 33mm - 47 mm and fit motorsport grade stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Our aim in Monte Carlo Z34 engine tuning should be to increase peak power and Torque at the top end.

Monte Carlo Z34 make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine upgrades and handling upgrades you can !

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.

For those that want power figures on this engine bone stock:
210 HP @ 5200 RPM
215 ft-lbs of torque @ 4,000 RPM
redline: 7,000 RPM
Power band: 3500-6500 RPM

This engine was heavily detuned from the factory so the automatic transmissions would survive behind it. advance the intake timing by 6 degrees, retard the exhaust by 6 degrees and you're good for 20-30 more horsepower.

Play with the computer tuning (spark advance tables and such) and you can gain the same.

A forged crankshaft is available from the newer GM 3500 pushrod V6 used in Chevy Malibu's and Impala's. Forged connecting rods can be used from the old school Chevy small block V8 (need slight modification to work. WOT-Tech offers already modified ones for use in the 60* V6 engine family).

Forged Pistons can be versions of those used in Cadillac Northstar V8 engines. Lightweight lifters and heavy duty valve springs are available from WOT-tech. Headers have to be custom made (unless you own a 1996-1997 LQ1 car.

Then you can order a set from Milzy Motorsports. The head design was changed in 1996.). These engines take very well to forced induction.

LQ1 Fiero vs L67 Fiero (The supercharged one is obviously faster):

Typically these uprated parts are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you start.

Getting the best uprated parts for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 (competition) mods just won'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 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: Alloy wheels, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Panel air filter.

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

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

Your aim when modding your car should be a flat and wide torque range. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a motor sport car.

One guy I know took an Eaton M90 roots type supercharger from a GM 3800 L67 V6 and mounted it on his LQ1 (It was a 1996 Monte Carlo Z34. He had to cut a hole in the hood for the supercharger to stick up through.) and with just a computer tune, had over 300 FWHP.

No internals or anything. Stock pistons and connecting rods. He did have to swap transmissions though as he blew through 5 of them very quick.

I know of another LQ1 owner, a 1991 Lumina Z34 5 speed, where the owner turbocharged it, along with a few other things, to the tune of 536 FWHP. These engines take to modification very well, but you have to use parts from other engines to do it because not many aftermarket parts are available specifically for this engine.

The lack of aftermarket support is why many people look down on this engine and prefer the L67 supercharged 3800 pushrod 12 valve V6.

That's not to say this engine doesn't have potential, it's just a lot more work. And money. As such, this engine (and the L67 3800 supercharged) are popular swaps into the back of Pontiac Fieros.

The whole point of our advice is to give a little insight into the world of modifying performance parts and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best uprated upgrades and all aspects of modding cars.One of the most cost effective mechanical modified parts you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sports profile cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

Don't forget to increase the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

If you find you have flat spots and power surges after your upgrades you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. Upgrading the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

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.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Contrary to popular belief there is generally a small power gain got by fitting an induction kit, they only work well and are recommended after you raise the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Derestricting the flow of air into the engine is the primary part of tuning so get a better 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 do much to increase power and actually rob you of power on most cars.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow through the engine but do not go too large or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Getting the head gas flowed will assist in flowing more air into each cylinder. This is definitely a job for a professional with a flow bench. In nearly all cases of Monte Carlo Z34 tuning your clutch will start to complain and this needs to be uprated - read our tips on clutches for more information. The best mods that we recommend for your Monte Carlo Z34 are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspensionNA (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. The most impressive power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is usually simpler to bolt on a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working. It is harder to map a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed.

The nice proportional 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.

The benefits of alloys include reducing your unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a directional tread pattern tire. Large Monte Carlo Z34 alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

With this in mind we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 16 inches, although we know some of our members have with bigger wheels with no problems.

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 Monte Carlo Z34 options in more detail with our Monte Carlo Z34 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Chevrolet tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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