Hyundai Nu Tuning

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

The Hyundai Nu really good project engines and with a few sensible motorsport mods like remapping, turbo improvements and camshafts you will substantially maximize your driving pleasure.

The Nu blocks appeared in 2011 and replace the earlier Beta engines. They fit into the Hyundai engine lineup between the Gamma and Theta engines.

The Atkinson Cycle version offered better economy and ran cooler thanks to improved thermal efficiency.

This pages aim is look at Nu tuning and report on the greatest modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

  • 1.8 L 148 hp @6500 rpm 131 lbft  @4700 rpm
  • 2.0 L MPi 164 hp @6500 rpm 148 lbft @4800 rpm
  • 2.0L  MPR (Atkinson Cycle) 147–154 hp @5200 rpm 144lbft @4500 rpm
  • 2.0 L GDI 174 hp @6500 rpm 157 lbft @4700 rpm

Nu MPi 1.8L

  • 2011–2016 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011–2017 Hyundai i30
  • 2013–2016 Kia Forte LX
  • 2014– Hyundai Mistra

Nu MPi 2.0L

  • 2014–2015 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2012–2019 Kia Soul
  • 2012– Hyundai i40
  • 2013–2019 Kia Forte
  • 2014– Kia Sportage
  • 2014– Hyundai Mistra
  • 2014– Kia Optima
  • 2014– Hyundai Sonata
  • 2015–Hyundai Tucson
  • 2016– Hyundai Creta
  • 2019– Kia Seltos

Nu MPi 2.0L Atkinson cycle

  • 2018– Hyundai Kona
  • 2019– Hyundai Veloster
  • 2017– Hyundai Elantra
  • 2019– Kia Forte
  • 2020– Kia Soul
  • 2020– Kia Seltos

GDi 2.0L

Best Nu upgrades

Just because particular upgrades are popular with Nu owners it doesn't mean it is good, we shall concentrate on the top upgrades that will give your Nu the best power gain for you spend.

Instead of us falling into the common "if it's shiny and makes more noise it must be good" mentality of many car sites and tuning magazines.

Significant gains on the Nu 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 usually bump the power throughout the rev range, you may sacrifice a little low down bhp but your high end rpm power will be lifted.

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

A Motorsport camshaft won't do well if 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.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your usage of the car so for a car driven daily stick with a fast road Nu camshaft

Each engine responds better to less aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The engine timing and fuelling also have a large bearing on the torque gains you'll make.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the torque 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: Intake manifolds, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Panel air filters, Fast road camshaft, drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

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

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

Review your options and then buy your upgrades and set yourself a power target to void expensive mistakes.

ECU flashing should help to fully realize the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your Nu.

(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 your results often vary depending on the parts you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

It is the whole point to any performance tuning task to get fuel and air into the Nu engine

The intake plenum flow the air during the suck phase from the air filter and allow it to be fed into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and flow characteristics of the Intake manifolds can make a substantial effect on to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the Nu.

Commonly we find the intake manifolds are in desperate need of performance upgrades, although a few makers provide well optimised intake manifolds.

Big valve conversions on the Nu, getting port work and head flowing will also raise power, the fantastic side effect is it will afford you a better power increase on other mods.

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 Nu

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

When your motor is turbocharged, tuning mods are going to make more power and we find turbo charged engines are made using many forged and stronger components.

There are tuning limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some only able to handle stock power

Discover these restrictions and install stronger pistons, crank and engine components to cope with the power.

We see many mechanics spending a lots of money on turbocharger upgrades on the Nu only to watch the engine throw a rod soon after it's been completed.

Bigger capacity turbo chargers commonly suffer low end lag, and small turbo chargers spool up really quickly but don't have the peak end power band gains.

We are pleased that the selection of turbos is always developing and we now see variable vane turbos, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

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

It is not unusual that there is a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on these engines when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped power at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although harder to get working. 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 should ramp up the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a power increase.We would recommend you to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and provides a little 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.

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

4 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 340cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 511cc/min 300hp

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

  • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 468cc/min 300hp

Exhaust

Only look to uprate your exhaust if your exhaust is creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll see your flow rate is good 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 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.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be located the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a better 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 Nu

The Nu 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 Nu, 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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