Ford Sierra Tuning

"Sierra problem mate?"

When you look at the mighty RS Cosworth and RS 500 you start to appreciate the potential of the Sierra Chassis.

Ignore the 1.6 as this is seriously underpowered. The XR4 and XR4x4 models give a good amount of power and handling.

Any of the 2.0 engine models offer a good tuning base with engine swaps being the ultimate way forward but the sporty models have the uprated brakes and sporty equipment so will be better suited as project cars.

The breakers yards provide a treasure trove of parts for the Sierra with many drivers going for engine swaps from the high performance models.

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

Tuning tips and articles

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

The Sierra Cosworth Box mated to an MTX80 gearbox provides the power for many kit cars.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for car enthusiasts first priority in your Sierra tuning project.

Putting slight negative camber to the front and a degree or two of toe in to improve stability or toe out for better cornering, will often improve your Sierra in handling and cornering.

We would go to a maximum drop of 21mm - 37 mm on most models. You risk handling compromises if you go lower than this.

A nice wide torque band and sweet spot of peak power at one third of your RPM range is optimum.

With our guides your Sierra can be a track day fun car and prove to be 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.

Ford Sierra Tuning modifications.

This list of the stages and sports mods are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

The Cosworth block is a tuners dream as it has spare fuel injector slots, and the standard block can handle  a lot more power, just drop on a modern twinscroll turbo and you'll have one of the finest road cars out there.

Since the original engine was released we have seen increases in engine management, turbos, fuel injection and traction control, all make great additions to this light and nimble car, allowing you to make something truly special.

Getting the correct grade of modified modifications for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won'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 mods for your Sierra

  1. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  2. Low mass flywheel - a reduced weight flywheel will significantly improve the engines rev changes. But not always beneficial for all Sierra engines.
  3. Intake Mods and high flowing exhausts - Be aware on their own these mods won't ADD POWER on most cars, but they enable you to enhance power after other upgrades by losing a restriction.
  4. Fast road Camshafts are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but TorqueCars recommend they be fitted by someone who knows what they are doing and some cams are hard to find but there might be a local firm to regrind a stock cam .
  5. Engine Tunes - Sierra engine tuning/remapping offers the biggest gains with respect to your investment, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  6. Sierra Suspension - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit radically improves your Sierra handling Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  7. Forced induction upgrades - A New Turbo is the most efficient approach to raise the intake air supply, this means you are able to utilize more fuel and make power gains. Although one of the most expensive mods you'll see massive gains.
  8. Brake Upgrades - Stopping your Sierra ought to be somewhere in your mods list.

Sierra Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Sports exhaust, Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Panel air filter, Remap.

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

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

You need to keep as much low end torque as possible and aim for a long power band across the rev range rather than a narrow top end power spike.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world to the best mods for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance modification.One of the best mechanical upgrades you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road cam .

The intake & 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 impossible 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 look at the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Frequently power losses, and erratic idling after uprated upgrades are done can usually be traced to timing or fuelling issues.Improving 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 Sierras uprated injectors.

Ford Sierra Intake and Exhaust.

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 if any power gain got by fitting an induction kit, they only become beneficial and are recommended after you raise the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

For most Sierra engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of supplying cold air.

Sports exhausts can help balance the flow of gases through the engine. But if your exhaust is too large, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose much of your flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Head work including a polish and port and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. When you heavily modify your Sierra you will discover that the standard clutch starts to fail so get an uprated clutch.

The best mods we recommend for your Sierra are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements - Remaps offer significant power gains on all turbo charged cars.

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. 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.

The nice steady boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. Alternatively you could perhaps fit water injection to minimise knock.

Ford Sierra Wheel modifications.

Because alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. Large Sierra alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio. 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 17 inches.

The Cosworth alloy wheels will always look nice and if you are lucky enough to track down a set from a breakers yard we would recommend that you snap them up quickly.

Please join us in our forum to discuss the Sierra options in more detail with our Sierra owners. It would also be worth reading our Ford tuning articles to get a full grasp of the pros and cons of each type of modification.

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