Citroen C3 Tuning

"Tuning guide to the greatest Citroen C3 modifications."

The C3 is fast becoming popular among our members for their tuning projects.

We get asked questions for some tips on improving the C3 and which tuning modifications we rate as the greatest, so we've created this feature which covers our go-to modifications and methods of modifying and tuning on the C3 engine.

As the "family" car in the Citroen line up the car offers a reasonably good platform to work on.

Build quality is very high and Citroen have turned out a stunning car which certainly looks the part.

For NA (naturally aspirated) engines please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your C3. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your C3

  1. Tunes - C3 engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage compared to cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives especially .
  2. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be fitted 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.
  3. Intake Mods and Exhaust - 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. C3 Handling Mods (suspension) - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit dramatically improves C3 handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  5. Brake Upgrades - Improve your C3's stopping power needs to be listed in your priority list.
  6. Internal engine mods - crank, pistons, conrods & compression ratio including balancing and blueprinting

C3 Tuning Stages

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

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

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

C3 Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for many tuners first priority in your C3 tuning project.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 27 - 41 and fit performance stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the C3.Adjusting the C3's handling is often the first step in modifying it.

Handling modifications are high on most peoples lists for the C3. We suggest that you fit modified suspension and lower the car by 30-35mm.

Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with motorsport suspension.

One of the most popular reasons for tweaking your C3 is to improve its handling. However, we see the same mistakes repeated repeated again and over.

Turning our attention to the C3's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end. The smaller 1.1 and 1.4 engines are rather lacklustre and it costs a fortune to get even a noticeable power gain from them.

The 1.6 16v VTi engine gives the best base to work from and the 1.6 HDi also seems well suited to the car.

You can do a lot to improve the performance of your C3 with our step by step tuning tips. Think carefully and research C3 tuning to save yourself making the usual costly slip ups we regularly come across.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Top end power should be your overall aim on the C3 with a nice fat peak torque band.

C3 make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine mods and handling upgrades you can source!

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps to the 1.6Vti or the larger and older 2.0 engines from the Citroen range give a good base for your tuning project.

The intake and exhaust durations play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car hard to drive in traffic.

You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a reflashed ECU for the best performance gains.

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

The small and light C3's excel in Rally, showing the chassis & design is very capable and suited to a hot hatch!

Using high octane fuel is another option if you find you are suffering from detonation or premature ignition on your Citroen project after fitting other uprated kits.

To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine. If you are increasing your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Citroen C3 Tuning Modifications.

You really need to keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a wide power band rather than a top end spike. Fast road cams are probably the best performance mods you can get on the C3 at least as far as a bolt on part goes.

When hiking up power by another 20 or 30bhp you will need to increase and improve the fuelling.

Uprated injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine. 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.

Citroen C3 Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed mated to a sports exhaust. The induction kit should ideally be sited within an air box but a panel filter should suffice for most applications unless you really wanted the "induction roar".

On small engines you will usually lose low down power with an induction kit so TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter instead.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow through the engine but do not go too large or you will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.0 inches for best results.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust.

 Air induction kits are only beneficial to add performance if your air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL.

If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Get a full exhaust rather than just a silencer or cat back system.

Gas flowing the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools.

A 3 or 5 angle valve job will also give fairly good power gains so if you have to take off the head it is worth getting this done whilst you are at it.

Remaps offer significant power gains on all turbo charged cars - in the case of the C3 this only applies to the HDi engine with the 1.4 or the 1.6 DLD derived turbo diesel.

On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a tune/remap on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods, particularly cams and head work.

Adding forced induction will see big power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos and we have seen a few discussions about C3 supercharger kits.

For your engine to cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine.

Citroen C3 Wheel modifications.

The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling.

The downside to large alloy wheels on your C3 is that you alter your effective final drive ratio and this will have a detrimental effect on acceleration and performance.

Aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases we do not recommend going above 15/16 inches.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our car forums where you can discuss C3 options in more detail with our C3 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Citroen tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each

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