GM Family 0 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the GM Family 0 engine!"

The GM Family 0 are awesome to work on and with the best tuning upgrades like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will positively enhance your driving pleasure.

Created by Opel the Family 0 was the first 3 cylinder engine, although they also made a 4 cylinder version as well. It launched in 1996 and became quite popular being fitted in a wide selection of GM/Opel/Vauxhall branded cars around the world.

We shall provide a guide to Family 0 tuning and provide tips on the optimum upgrades.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

Generation I

  • 1.0 L (973 cc)
    X10XE 40.5 kW (55 PS) 82 Nm (60 lbft) @2800rpm
    Z10XE 42.7 kW (58 PS) 85 Nm (63 lbft
  • 1.2 L (1,199 cc)
    X12XE 48 kW (65 PS) @5600rpm 110 Nm (81 lbft @4000rpm
    Z12XE  55 kW (75 PS) @5600rpm 110 Nm (81 lbft @4000rpm

Generation II

This second generation saw a twin port design, allowing better torque and fuel economy and the crank and oilways were revised.

  • 1.0 L (998 cc)
  • Z10XEP 44 kW (59 hp) @5600rpm 88 Nm (65 lbft @3800rpm
  • 1.2 L (1,229 cc)
  • Z12XEP 59 kW (79 hp) @5600rpm 110 Nm (81 lbft @4000rpm
  • 1.4 L (1,364 cc)
  • Z14XEP 66 kW (89 hp) @5600rpm 125 Nm (92 lbft @4000rpm

Generation III

This third generation EcoFlex engine takes the twin port concept and improves upon it. They added double cam phasing as well and we also saw a turbocharged version added and stop start technology.

1.0 L (998 cc)

  • A10XEP (LDB) 48 kW (64 hp) @5300rpm 90 Nm (66 lbft @4000rpm
    1.2 L (1,229 cc)
  • A12XEL (LWD) 51 kW (68 hp) @5600rpm 115 Nm (85 lbft @4000rpm
  • A12XER (LDC) 62 kW (83 hp) @5600rpm 115 Nm (85 lbft @4000rpm

1.4 L (1,398 cc)

  • A14XFL (LUU) 63 kW (84 hp) @4800rpm 126 Nm (93 lbft @4800rpm
  • A14XEL (L2Z) 64 kW (86 hp) @6000rpm 130 Nm (96 lbft @4000rpm
  • A14XER (LDD) 74 kW (99 hp) @6000rpm 130 Nm (96 lbft @4000rpm
  • A14XFR (L2N) 74 kW (99 hp) @6000rpm 130 Nm (96 lbft @4000rpm

1.4 L (1,364 cc)

  • A14NEL (LUH) 88 kW (118 hp) @4800–6000rpm 200 Nm 148 lbft @1850–4200rpm 220 Nm 162 lbft (Overboost)
  • A14NET (LUJ) 103 kW (138 hp) @4900–6000rpm 200 Nm 148 lbft @1850–4900rpm 220 Nm 162 lbft (Overboost)
  • U14NFT (LUJ) 103 kW (138 hp) @4900–6000rpm 200 Nm (148 lbft @1850–4900rpm 220 Nm 162 lbft (Overboost)
  • U14NFT (LUV) 103 kW (138 hp) @4900rpm 200 Nm 148 lbft @1850 or 2500rpm
    U14NFT (LUV - Vanderhall) 134 kW (180 hp) @4950rpm 250Nm 184 lbft @2450rpm

Tuning the GM Family 0 and best Family 0 performance parts.

Best Family 0 upgrades

The best Family 0 parts on an engine are sensibly the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular Family 0 parts, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your Family 0 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly.

Fast road cams usually bump the torque over the rpm band, you may lose a little bottom end bhp but the higher rpm power will be higher.

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

On a car driven daily must carefully try to optimize your torque band to your driving style.

I'd be shocked if you have ever thought or claimed that a Family 0 Competition cam is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas. This is because a competition cam causes a very lumpy idle, and makes the car more prone to stall or jerk along in stop start traffic, sadly though many ignore this and end up ruining a perfectly good car and having to revert back to a fast road, or OEM cam profile.

Each engine responds better to extreme camshaft durations than others.

The ecu map and fuelling also have a large bearing on the bhp gains you'll make.

Altering valve durations 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.

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

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

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

The Family 0 engines respond well to upgrades and we're happy to report there are increasing numbers of parts and performance parts about.

ECU flashing will help to establish the full potential of all the mods you've fitted to your Family 0.

(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 NASP engines, but the end result may rely on the mods you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Pulling more air into each cylinder is the aim to any car tuning job.

Intake headers take the air during the suck phase from the air filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

Design and flow rate of the Intake manifold can make a large effect on to fuel atomisation on the Family 0.

Commonly we find the intake are improved through aftermarket parts, although some manufacturers provide fairly well optimized intake.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of port work and head flowing will also raise torque, and significantly will afford you raising the torque increase on other parts.

Turbo upgrades

NASP 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 Family 0

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

When your car is fitted with a turbocharger parts are more reliable and turbocharged engines are made with strengthened components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

Research these limitations and fit more solid crank and pistons to handle the power.

We see many car owners spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the Family 0 only to experience the engine block explode on it's first outing after it's finished.

Bigger upgraded turbos often suffer a bottom end lag, and little turbos spool up much more quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

In the last 10 years the range of turbochargers is always evolving and we commonly find variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into two channels and push these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the Family 0 when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting power at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although more complex to setup. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will have to look at the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a performance increase.We would recommend you to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when buying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and affords 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.

Exhaust

You should look to improve your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still good 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 biggest exhaust you can get this will slow the exhaust rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Usual exhaust restrictions are in the filters installed, so adding a freer flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the Family 0

The Family 0 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oilthey 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 Family 0, 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 Family 0 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our Family 0 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which modifications work best for them on each model of car. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these Family 0 articles which are continually updated.

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