Hyundai Santa Fe Tuning

"Thank you for reading our Hyundai Santa Fe tuning guide."

The Santa Fe is a good car tuning project to execute. Sit down first and research Santa Fe tuning to avoid making the usual expensive slip ups we often come across.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Top end power should be your overall aim with a nice fat wide peak torque band.

Santa Fe make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine upgrades and handling mods you can find!

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Power mods.

Typically these sports mods are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get started.

Getting the correct grade of tuning modifications for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motor sport mods just don't work well on the road and will make the car undrivable.

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 mods for your Santa Fe

  1. Brake Upgrades - Improve your Santa Fe's stopping power needs to be listed in your priority list.
  2. Santa Fe Suspension Upgrades - Upgrading your suspension radically improves your Santa Fe handling Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this
  3. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be fitted by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  4. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  5. Turbo upgrades - A New Turbo is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most costly upgrades you'll see massive gains.
  6. Intake Mods and Performance Exhausts - NB: 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.
  7. Tunes - Santa Fe remapping provides the biggest gains compared to cost, aftermarket ECUs, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.

Santa Fe Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Sports exhaust, Remap, Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Suspension upgrade (drop 23mm - 36 mm.), Panel air filter.

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

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

Peak power is nice in motorsport but for a drivable and fun car you need a wide torque band and perhaps extending the rev range.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world to the best upgrades for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance part.A fast road camshaft will be one of the best NASP power mods you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

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 remap. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a competition cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

When pushing up the power you will need to look at to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Using high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from detonation or premature ignition on your Hyundai project after fitting other performance upgrades. To get sufficient fuel you may need to upgrade the injectors on your engine.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Please note that WE DO NOT FEEL YOU GET POWER GAINS FROM INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car massively and are finding that the standard air intake has become limited.

Derestricting the air feed into the engine is a primary goal of tuning so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not really increase power and actually rob you of power on most cars.

Sports exhausts can help equal out the flow of air through the engine. But if your exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the flow rate and end up lacking power and torque.

Getting the head gas flowed will help get more air into each cylinder. This is definitely a job for a pro with a flow bench. When you start tuning your Santa Fe you will often find that the standard clutch starts to fail so get an uprated clutch. The best mods in our opinion for your Santa Fe are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspension.

Remaps offer significant power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a remapped ECU on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

We've also seen some tuners playing with twin charging conversions and making some impressively high power hikes.

The most significant power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Superchargers are generally easier to add than a turbo. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

The nice directly proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them more straight forward to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Santa Fe Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are top of many to do lists for the Santa Fe.

Handling/Suspension upgrade advice

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you Santa Fe radically benefitting your drive.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 23mm - 36 mm, and fit performance stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

We suggest that you fit modified suspension and lower the car by 28 - 44 Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the Santa Fe.Adjusting the Santa Fe's handling is often the first step in tweaking it.

Handling tweaks are often the initial step for the Santa Fe.

Is there anything I should keep in mind while deciding on suspension for my Santa Fe?

Uprated Bushes

Enhancements to the bushings: Things you need to know

The suspension components of the Santa Fe may be mounted and moved around the car's chassis through bushes, which are rotating rubber mounts. The rubber ones will degrade with time.

Installing new OEM rubber bushings may dramatically improve the performance of your car.

It's probable that the ride may be a touch rougher because to the stronger polyurethane bushes, but they'll last longer and maintain tighter handling.

The increased vibration and play may also lead to an increase in the depreciation of other suspension parts.

A new set of poly bushes may be able to eliminate the excessive play that comes with rubber bushes.

To adequately support a diverse variety of vehicles, the "generic one set for all models"approach is obviously a mistake as engine weights and equipment trim levels all affect the cars handling characteristics so spec and buy your suspension components accordingly.

How low should you go on the Santa Fe?

According to TorqueCars research and testing, the maximum amount of suspension drop for most road vehicles is 28 - 44 millimetres, whereas versions that come with lowered suspension already have a maximum suspension drop of 19 millimetres.

Tolerances may be greatly lowered by altering the diameter of the wheels. Lowering a vehicle, even with 17-inch wheels and stock suspension, may create several issues.

While the fact that the Santa Fe being lower allows for less air to travel underneath it may aid in stability, the ultimate goal should always be to enhance handling. When lowering the springs, it is critical to use the proper shocks that match all round.

Good suspension tweaks that usually benefit handling for the Santa Fe include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe (set out to improve cornering or in for better stability) on the front wheels.

Fitting better brake discs and better performance pads will make for sharper improved braking.

Bear in mind that race friction pads can be noisier and will need to be hot before they are effective.

In every day driving the brakes are only applied now and then so won't stop you as well so specify friction pads which don't need to be really hot.

Santa Fe Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloys include lowering your unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. Get a good soft compound tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your Santa Fe. Large Santa Fe alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

With this in mind endeavour to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases not going bigger than 18 inches.

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 Santa Fe options in more detail with our Santa Fe owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Hyundai tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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