Ford Duratorq Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning and performance parts on the Ford Duratorq engine!"

We shall examine Duratorq tuning and outline the optimum mods that work. Ford Duratorq have loads of potential and with the optimum tuning mods like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will really maximise your driving opportunities.

See our video which provides a complete introduction to Ford Tuning, it contains some tips on performance and handling modifications.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

DLD ("Tiger")

2002–present i4 Twin-scroll turbo in 1,6, 110 PS (81 kW; 108 hp) Common Rail DI
1.4 L
1.6 L

Endura-DI ("Lynx")

1.8 L 1998–present i4 turbo intercooled SOHC 8-valve

ZSD ("Puma")

1999–present i4 turbo intercooled 16-valve DI
2.0 L
2.2 L
2.4 L
2.5 L (Mazda Commercial Vehicle engine)
3.0 L (Mazda Commercial Vehicle engine)


2.0 L 2004–present i4 twin-scroll turbo intercooled DOHC 16-valve
2.2 L 2005–present i4 twin-turbo intercooled DOHC 16-valve


3.2 L 2006–present I5 turbo intercooled

AJ ("Lion")

2004–present V6 turbo intercooled DI
2.7 L
3.0 L


2006–present V8 turbo intercooled DI
3.6 L
4.4 L

Best Duratorq tuning mods

The best Duratorq parts on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

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

Significant gains on the Duratorq can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the engines power and power output.

Fast road cams normally increase the performance over the rpm band, you may lose a little low end torque but the high end rpm power will be lifted but this is not really the case on a Diesel engine with a low RPM range such as the Duratorq.

For a road car you need to match your bhp range to your driving style.

The map and fuelling also have an effect on the bhp gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration 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.

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 mods for your Duratorq

  1. Lightened Flywheels - a lower mass flywheel will significantly improve the engines free revving nature. But not always suitable for all Duratorq engines.
  2. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but ideally be fitted by someone familiar with setting them up on your car and it can sometimes be hard to find one but you might have a local firm to regrind a stock cam .
  3. Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.
  4. Tunes - A remap provides the most power for your outlay, aftermarket ECUs, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  5. Air Intake and Sports Exhausts - Please note that on their own these mods won't ADD TORQUE for most setups, but they will enable you to release power after other upgrades by losing a restriction.
  6. Turbo upgrades - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase your intakes air supply, ensuring you are able to use more fuel and make better power figures. It is one of the most technically difficult upgrades it offers big gains.

Duratorq Tuning Stages

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

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

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

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

Mapping will help release the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your Duratorq.

(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 differ on the parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Forcing fuel and air into the Duratorq engine is the aim to any tuning project.

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

Commonly we find the air intake manifolds are crying out for aftermarket parts, although some makers provide well optimised air intake manifolds.

Fitting big valve kits, carrying out 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also boost performance, and as an added benefit will afford you raising the performance increase on other parts.

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 Duratorq

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

When your car has a turbocharger tuning parts are giving better power gains and you'll see that turbo engines are built with strengthened components.

However most engines will need better parts at higher power limits

Research these restrictions and install better quality components to utilize the power.

It's not unheard of mechanics spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the Duratorq only to watch the whole thing throw a rod on it's first outing after it's been completed.

Bigger turbo units will usually experience no power at low rpm, and low capacity turbo units spool up more quickly but won't have the top end engines power gains.

Over the last 20 years the choice of turbochargers is always improving and we commonly find variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and feed these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there is a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on these engines when considerably more air is being fed into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more difficult to configure. We have a twincharger bhp and torque adding guide if you want to read more.


You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should pay attention to the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a bhp increase.It is important to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when fitting an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and gives you some 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.


Only look to uprate your exhaust if the existing exhaust is creating a restriction in flow. Most Duratorq exhaust flow really well.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still ok even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Please dont run with the largest exhaust you can source this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be located the filters installed, so adding a faster flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's 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.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the

The 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.

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 , especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

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

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