Chevrolet F16D4 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Chevrolet F16D4 engine!"

The Chevrolet F16D4 are fantastic to work on and with a few sensible sports enhancements like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will maximise your driving experience.

In this article we outline options for your F16D4 tuning and summarise the premier upgrades.

History, Power & Specs of the F16D4 Engine

This replaced the F16D3 and had a few small tweaks

109hp @5800 110lbft @3400

Tuning the Chevrolet F16D4 and best F16D4 performance parts.

Best F16D4 parts

The best F16D4 mods on an engine are as we have found the ones that give the best value for money.

We won't be swayed by popular F16D4 mods, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your F16D4 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine engines power. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the engines power accordingly.

Fast road camshafts usually bump the torque over the rev range, you may sacrifice a little low down power but higher rpm power will be better.

Competition camshafts, bump the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Competition cam is not great driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your engines power to your preferences so for a road car stick with a mild fast road F16D4 cam

Some F16D4 engines respond better to mild camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the power gains you'll get.

Altering valve durations can alter the power 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.

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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:
    Remaps/piggy back ECU, drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake manifolds, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters.

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

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

    The F16D4 power plant are great to work on and thankfully there is an increase of modifications and performance parts out there.

    Remaps should help to fully realize the full potential of all the parts you've done to your F16D4.

    (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 figures achieved may vary depending on the parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

    Feeding more air into each cylinder is the whole point to any engine upgrade task.

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

    The bore size, shape and flow rate of the Intake can make a noticeable difference to fuel mixing and power on the F16D4.

    On popular production engines air intake manifolds are begging for a performance upgrade, although some OEM provide reasonably well designed air intake manifolds.

    Big valve conversions on the F16D4, doing some port matching and head flowing will also increase torque, and importantly will afford you a better torque increase on other parts.

    F16D4 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 F16D4

    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 the engine is fitted with a turbocharger upgrades are going to make more power and most turbo charged engines are made using harder and stronger components.

    There are practical limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some just sufficiently able to handle stock powerDiscover these restrictions and fit stronger pistons, crank and engine components to survive the power.

    There are many people spending a fortune on turbo upgrades on the F16D4 only to have the car throw a rod just after it's finished.

    Large upgraded turbo chargers commonly suffer low end lag, and smaller turbo chargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the peak rpm power band gains.

    Thankfully the range of turbochargers is always improving and we commonly find variable vane turbochargers, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

    Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

    It is not unusual that there is a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the F16D4 when considerably more air is being sucked into the engine.

    Going up you'll find 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 performance gains, although more complex to get working. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.


    When you lift the bhp and torque you will need to ramp up to the fuelling.

    More bhp and torque needs more fuel. Most tuners we speak with say to over specify your injectors flow rate.

    The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and allows 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.

    F16D4 Performance Exhausts

    You only need to increase your exhaust if your exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

    On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still fine 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 can usually air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

    Usual exhaust restrictions can be located the catalyst installed, so adding a better 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 F16D4

    The F16D4 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 F16D4, 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 F16D4 engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss F16D4 tuning options in more detail with our F16D4 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Chevrolet tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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