Honda CR-V Tuning

"Tuning guide to the best Honda CR-V modifications."

The CR-V is a good car modification project to execute. We see many tuners wasting money on their CR-V doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our pointers to avoid ruining your car.

It was a family sized crossover SUV, and each generation has built upon the strengths of it's predecessors.

The CR-V is reliable, well build and satisfying to drive, but many feel they could do with a little more power, which is why you're here on our car tuning site.

So let's get into the best Honda CR-V mods and tuning options.

Tuning tips and articles

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

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 Engine Mods for your Honda CR-V

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings, on the Hondas an aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are generally your best options with Hondata being a popular upgrade.
  2. Fast road camshafts 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 - 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 primarily on the Diesel variants.
  5. Suspension and brake mods - the stock setup on the Honda CR-V can be dramatically improved.

Honda CR-V Tuning Stages

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

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

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

Can you tune a CR-V

Yes you can, so let's look at the many upgrade options, and first off we'll iron out a couple of common problem areas and misconceptions.

A decent multi plate uprated fast road clutch will help retain that power where it belongs. Never take shortcuts or assume that a basic OEM clutch would suffice.

Turbocharged engines beg to be remapped. Most current turbocharged automobiles, including diesels, will experience considerable power boosts, making a remap one of the most cost-effective and significant changes you can do.

Upgrades to the CR-V's Handling and suspension

Improving the handling for many people first priority in your CR-V tuning project.

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you CR-V substantially improving your drive.

Your CR-V tuning effort should prioritise improving the handling for vehicle owners.

Cornering will improve dramatically if you put the front toe out to 0.8 to 1.3 degrees and add some negative camber.

Quick turns are critical on the racetrack, and suspension plays a key part in this. Because the track is forgiving and well-maintained, you may adjust your suspension more dramatically and lower your vehicle to make it more aerodynamic and less prone to roll over. On the journey, we must consider comfort and practicality.

Because the rubber suspension bushings don't last as long as they used to, you'll hear squeaks, rattles, and bumps on the road, especially if your suspension is old. The suspension becomes sloppy, and the handling suffers as a result.

As a result, your initial action should be to upgrade the fundamental setup by switching out rubber bushings with polyurethane ones.

Suspension recommendations for the Honda CR-V

When setting up and selecting the suspension for your daily driver, it's critical to consider these factors.

Engineers must consider speed bumps, uneven terrain, passenger comfort, and road noise while designing a car's suspension.

The majority of factory-built automobiles, including the CR-V, have soft, comfy suspensions that make driving harder and less enjoyable. The optimum configuration is not just a function of personal desire, but also of how the circuit is built up, since track vehicles are set up to meet the driver's preferences and style.

A good suspension system maintains the tyres at the proper angle on the road to maximise ground contact. Body roll must be minimal, and the car's centre of gravity must be low. For CR-Vs with S line suspension, the drop should be 30mm, while for those with stock springs, it should be 40mm.

Suspension Myths and Mistakes in the Honda CR-V

No way should you purchase a suspension upgrade that lowers the vehicle by 30mm and expect it to perform well.

Many kits are fairly broad, and many of them state that they may be used on any or many different sorts of vehicles.

Is it true that the same suspension can be utilised on all CR-V models, regardless of engine type, wheel size, or weight?

Unfortunately, diesel engines are relatively heavy, and the newer 1.4 Turbos are very light, which has a significant impact on the suspension settings.

If the drive shaft and gearbox are not at the correct angle, difficulties may arise. It's possible that lowering the suspension may exacerbate the difficulties.

When the suspension is strained, a varied ride height modifies how it travels, which may cause scraping and premature tyre wear.

Another stupid option is to purchase lowered springs and using normal size dampers, or to buy performance dampers and use standard springs. The suspension system as a whole should be examined.

So what CR-C suspension mods do we recommend?

According to TorqueCars, most CR-V road vehicles should be dropped roughly 40mm. Some individuals recommend lowering your automobile by 30mm if you have a car with superior suspension (sporty versions which already have lower suspension).

When the automobile is on the ground and the wheels are on, those who drive ordinary cars with 17-inch wheels may have a lot less room for mistake. Then, particularly on bigger metals, it might produce a slew of issues.

Ideally, you should acquire a suspension kit for your CR-V that you can alter simply and rapidly to meet your driving style. On the CR-V, adjustable coilover kits are a good match.

Because you may adjust coilovers to meet your driving style, a decent pair of well-made coilovers will assist. Some of the CR-V suspension packages from Koni, Bilstein, Eibach, and KW are very good.

We suggest that you fit sports suspension and lower the car by 25mm - 37 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Our aim in engine tuning should be to increase peak power at the top end.

Keep your car looking standard and remove the badges to make an awesome sleeper!

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

CR-V Engine Tuning.

The CR-V 1995-2001 came with 2 engines.

  • 2.0 L B20B I4
  • 2.0 L B20Z I4

The 2001-2006 engine range was expanded

  • 2.0 L K20A1 I4
  • 2.0 L K20A4 I4
  • 2.2 L N22A2 turbodiesel I4
  • 2.4 L K24A1 I4

Then the current CR-V from 2016 engine lineup was revised a little to include

  • 2.4 L K24W I4
  • 1.5 L L15B7 i4 (turbo)
  • 2.0 L R20A I4
  • 2.0 L LFA1 i-VTEC i4 PGM-Fi twin Electric Motors
  • 1.6 L N16 i-DTEC i4 (turbo-diesel)

Typically these tuning kits are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you start.

The newer CR-Vs, especially ones with turbocharged engines, are superb, and there are a plethora of tuning choices available. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to improve the performance of the early carbureted 1.4 and smaller engines. The later fuel-injected 'hi torque version' was designed for economy and will feel underpowered, so you'll want to swap out the intake, cams, and exhaust on that model).

A fast road cam, along with an induction kit and a free-flowing sports exhaust, will benefit most CR-V engines. The benefits of the latter two on smaller engines are disputed, but they are obvious on the bigger 1.6 and 2.0 engines.

It's critical to have the correct tuning changes for your car's intended use. Stage 3 motorsport components just do not perform well in stop-and-go traffic.

You should maintain as much low-end power as possible and strive for a broad power spectrum rather than a limited top-end power spike.

Getting the right motorsport upgrade kits 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.

Your aims when modding your car should be a wide torque band. You don't want all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The whole aim of our articles is to give a starting base of car tuning upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best performance parts and all aspects of modding cars.One of the biggest mechanical performance upgrades you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

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

Using high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Honda project after fitting other modifications. 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 CR-Vs uprated injectors.

CR-V Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Induction kits are only beneficial to boost performance if the air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most low power 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.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for CR-V engines you should go with a sports panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Modifications to the head are generally the next step.

More air will enter each cylinder if the head is polished and ported. This is definitely a task for a flow bench expert.

When you heavily modify your CR-V you will see that the standard clutch starts to slip so get an uprated clutch. The best mods in our opinion for your CR-V are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Induction Kits for the CR-V

Induction kits may also help you improve your car's performance.

Induction kits are only useful for improving performance if the vehicle's air intake is clogged! Adding an induction system to a regular engine will result in NO POWER GAIN.

If your engine has been significantly changed and its requirement for air has increased dramatically, an induction kit is the solution and will assist in removing this constraint. Induction kits may work well on turbo engines and bigger engines (assuming they come with a proper cold air feed or air box), but for CR-V engines, we suggest using a high-performance panel air filter, ideally made of cotton.

Because air intakes are such a vital element of any performance enhancements, you'll nearly never see a vehicle modified without some form of improved air intake.

They increased the amount of air in the engine. The flow rises as the restriction is removed and you get more air combined with fuel allowing you to make more power.

Air intake systems with a high price tag are beneficial because they allow the engine to obtain more air while also keeping the hot air from the air filter away from the engine.

These kits also don't need any cutting or drilling, and they can be fitted in under an hour.

Even while these enhancements might cost upwards of $400, the performance bump they provide is unparalleled if you have a restricted air intake as is commonly the case with a heavily tuned CR-V.

The more air there is, the more gasoline is mixed in, resulting in a significant increase in the car's horsepower and torque.

Performance air filters are also beneficial since they let more air into the engine because they are less restrictive. This allows the automobile to operate more efficiently.

CR-V Performance Exhausts

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can buy this will slow the exhaust 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.

The more hot air the vehicle's engine produces, the better. This heated air boosts the engine's temperature, preventing it from performing at its optimum. The flow of gases through the engine is increased with sports exhausts. However, if your exhaust pipe is too large, such as over 2.5 inches in diameter, you will lose a significant amount of exhaust flow rate, resulting in a loss of power and torque.

This isn't the only consideration to make. Backfire is less common when the exhaust system is less restrictive. It improves the intake and exhaust flow and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a competition cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A remapped turbo will give impressive power gains and fully release the potential power of the engine. The most impressive power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is generally cheaper to bolt on a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

The nice steady boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them more straight forward to map. Alternatively you could perhaps add water injection to cut down knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloys are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a soft compound tire. Large CR-V alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Due to this fact try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the OEM setup. In all cases avoid going over 17 inches, newer models can cope well with 18's but you'll find the ride harsh and thrashy and even more so with 19's.

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

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2 Responses to “CR-V Tuning”

  1. Neil says:

    I have an automatic Crv B20b. Does the auto preclude me from improving performance

  2. TorqueCars says:

    It may limit your peak torque target a little, but you can spread the torque through more of the rev range so the car will perform better but not strain the transmission. Gains of around 20-30% are usually ok on most Auto transmissions but I’m not a Honda man so don’t know the specifics of your setup.

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