Hyundai Gamma Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Hyundai Gamma engine!"

We examine the options for your Gamma tuning and report on the best upgrades.

Hyundai Gamma blocks make for a really good tuning project  and with the best motorsport parts like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will positively maximise your driving enjoyment.

We review and look at Gamma tuning and summarise the best modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

  •  1.4L G4FA CVVT intake 1396cc
  • (111 PS) 109 hp @6,300 rpm and 101 lbft  @4,200 rpm.
  • (100 PS) 99 hp  @5,500 rpm and 100 lbft  @4,200 rpm - Hyundai i20.
  • 1.6L 
  • 1.6 Gamma GDi G4FD 140 PS (138 hp) @ 6300 rpm (123 lbft) @ 4850 rpm 11.0:1
  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi G4FC 130 PS (128 hp) @ 6000 rpm ( 116 lbft)@ 4850 rpm 10.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi G4FG 132 PS ( 130 hp) @ 6300 rpm (116 lbft)@ 4850 rpm 10.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma T-GDI G4FJ 177 PS (175 hp)@ 5500 rpm  (195 lbft)@ 1500-4500 rpm 9.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma T-GDI G4FJ 204 PS (201 hp) @ 6000 rpm  195 lbft) @ 1750-4500 rpm 9.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma T-GDI G4FJ 204 PS (150 kW; 201 hp) @ 6000 rpm (265 Nm; 195 lbft) @ 1500-4500 rpm
  • 1.6 Gamma LPI L4FC (Hybrid) 138 PS (101 kW; 136 hp) @ 5700 rpm 195 lbft) @ 4000 rpm

The GDI G4FJ came with a twin scroll turbocharger, direct cylinder injection for fuel which allows a relatively high compression ratio and CVVT on the intake and exhaust, making this a dream for the tuner to work on.

The second generation of the Veloster had a version of the G4FJ and improved this engine further by adding higher compression ratio, a fully electronic wastegate and the CPEGD2.20.3 ECU.

Best Gamma parts

The optimum tuning mods on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

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

Altering your Gamma cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road cams usually raise the performance across the rev range, you could sacrifice a little bottom end bhp but the higher rpm power will be lifted.

Competition cams, raise 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, really you should, ideally aim to match your power band to your typical driving style.

I'd be surprised if you have thought a Race cam is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute, because the lumpy idle will make the car prone to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

Different Gamma engines respond better to more or less aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also have a large bearing on the bhp gains you'll get.

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 subscribe and support our new channel.

Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - 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.

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

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

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

The Gamma power trains make great tuning projects and we see that there are increasing numbers of parts and tuning parts about.

ECU flashing should help to establish the full potential of all the tuning mods you've fitted to your Gamma.

(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 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but you mileage will vary depending on the tuning mods you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is vital to any tuning task to get air and fuel into your Gamma

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

The bore size, shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifolds can make a big improvement to fuel mixing and power on the Gamma.

Most manifolds are in dire need of motorsport parts, although a few car makers provide fairly well optimized headers.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of Gamma port enlargement and head flowing will also improve torque, and more importantly will raise potential for a greater torque 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 Gamma

Although there was a turbocharged version of this engine you can't just bolt on a turbo for the same power, you need to setup the dual VVT, uprate the fuelling and get the timing map spot on.

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

If the engine has a turbo already fitted upgrades are relatively easy and you will discover turbo engines are built using uprated components.

However every engines will need better parts at higher power limits

We recommend you find these limits and fit higher quality crank and pistons to survive the power.

There are many car owners spending a a stack of money on turbo charger upgrades on the Gamma only to have the motor go up in smoke when it's used on the roads.

Big turbochargers often experience a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbochargers spool up much more quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

In the last 10 years the selection of turbo units is always evolving and we now see variable vane turbo units, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into two channels and feed these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on these engines when loads more air is being sucked into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped torque at a much lower level.

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

Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will have to uprate the fuelling when you start exceeding 20% of a power increase.Don't forget to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives you some spare capacity should the engine need 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.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58 psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 340cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 511cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 682cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 1022cc/min 600hp

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 568cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 853cc/min 600hp

Exhaust

You should look to improve your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is 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 will certainly help air flow from the engine but do not go too big or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to around 2.5 inches to maximise flow rates, and this should take into account the amount of air your engine is moving.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a higher flowing high performance aftermarket one will improve air flow, and rather than doing an illegal decat, will keep the car road legal.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the Gamma

The Gamma 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 Gamma, 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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