Hyundai Mu Tuning

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

The Mu engine shares much in common with the Delta block but it boasts CVVT (continuous variable valve timing).

We review and look at Mu tuning and point out the premier upgrades. Hyundai Mu make a good tuning project and with carefully chosen motorsport modifications like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will greatly maximise your driving enjoyment.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

  • 2.7 L V6 162–200 hp 181–192 lbft

DOHC 24 valve, 6 cylinder with variable intake, and MPi, power was increased when the CVVT was added to the exhaust ports.

  • 2010-2013 Kia Cadenza
  • 2007-2010 Kia Optima
  • 2007-2010 Kia Rondo
  • 2006-2011 Hyundai Azera
  • 2007-2009 Hyundai Santa Fe

Best Mu mods

The best upgrades on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular Mu upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

Significant gains can be made from cam upgrades. Altering the cam profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the power band and power output.

Fast road cams tend to raise the torque through the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little bottom end bhp but your higher rpm power will be higher.

On a relatively low revving V6 engine the benefits of an aggressive cam profile are questionable, but a mild cam should help increase low end torque.

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 used daily, really you should, ideally aim to match your bhp range to your preferences.

I'd be surprised if you have found a Motorsport 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 more aggressive cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the power gains you'll achieve.

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.

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

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

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

The Mu engines are great to work on and we're happy to report there are increasing numbers of modifications and performance parts about.

ECU flashing should help to release the full potential of all the upgrades you've fitted to your Mu.

(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 upgrades you've done and the condition of your engine.

Shoving more fuel and air into each cylinder is vital to any performance tuning task.

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

Design and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a big difference to fuel atomisation on the Mu.

I usually find plenum chambers are begging for performance upgrades, although some OEM provide reasonably well designed plenum chambers.

Increasing the Mu valve size, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also increase power, the fantastic side effect is it will raise potential for an improved power increase on other upgrades.

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 Mu

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 an engine is fitted with a turbocharger parts are going to make more power and you'll see that turbo charged engines will have harder and stronger components.

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

Research these limitations and upgrade to forged components to handle the power.

We've seen guys spending a loads on turbo upgrades on the Mu only to experience the Mu go up in smoke when it's used in anger.

Large turbochargers commonly experience a bottom end lag, and little turbochargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the peak rpm bhp gains.

We are pleased that the market of turbochargers is always increasing and we now see variable vane turbochargers, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

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

It is not unusual that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on these engines when a lot 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 limited torque at a much lower level.

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

Fuelling

When you boost the bhp and torque you will need to uprate to the fuelling.

More bhp and torque needs more fuel. We would recommend you to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows a little 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.

Exhaust

Only look to improve your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the 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 out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is 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 2.5 inches for best results.

Usual exhaust restrictions are in the catalysts 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 Mu

The Mu 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 Mu, 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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