Hyundai Sonata Tuning

"Ta for reading our Hyundai Sonata tuning guide."

Hyundai brought back the Sonata brand and certainly made a much better car than the early UK sonatas were.

We hope we see this new version here in the Uk as it is a fantastic car, well designed, nicely setup and a great choice of engines.

The Sonata is a great tuning project to play with. We see lots of DIY modders wasting money on their Sonata doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our articles to avoid ruining your car

Tuning tips and articles

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

Engine Tuning.

Typically these sports modifications are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

Getting the correct grade of motorsport modifications for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 competition upgrades just don't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

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 Sonata

  1. Braking Mods - Enhancing your stopping power should be high on your agenda.
  2. Sonata Handling Mods (suspension) - Replacing worn bushings and shocks greatly enhances your Sonata road holding and cornering. Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  3. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be setup 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. Intake Upgrades and Sports Exhausts - Please note that on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  5. Mapping - Sonata remapping provides the most power for the money, replacement ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  6. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Sonata Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Remap, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel, Suspension upgrade (drop 22mm - 42 mm.), Panel air filter.

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

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

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

In this article we shall give your a good starting base to the best performance parts for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.A fast road cam is one of the best NASP power mods you can do mechanically to your engine.

The intake and exhaust valve timings play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car hard to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip to fully realise your gains.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to look at the fuelling.

Most power losses, and erratic idling after modified upgrades are done can usually be traced to fuelling or timing issues. Uprated injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned Sonata's uprated injectors.

Sonata Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many Sonata owners uprate the handling of their cars with fast road suspension mods as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to 0.8 to 1.3 degrees on the front, and add a small amount of negative camber then cornering will radically be enhanced.

We suggest that you fit motorsport suspension and lower the car by 22mm - 42 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Turning our attention to the Sonata's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Keep the car looking standard and take off the badges to make an awesome sleeper!

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Air induction kits only help to boost power if your cars air intake is restricted! Adding an induction kit to most stock 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.

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a performance panel filter should suffice for most applications. TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Sports exhausts can help increase the flow of gases through the engine. But if the exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of your flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Getting a professionally gas flowed head with larger valves can fully maximise your power gains. In nearly all cases of Sonata tuning your clutch will start to slip and this needs to be uprated - read our article on clutches for more information. The best mods in our opinion for your Sonata are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Remaps offer phenomenal power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NA (naturally aspirated) engines the benefits are doubtful. However a chipped ECU on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods. Adding forced induction will see massive power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are often harder to add than a supercharger. Turbos give boost in exponential proportion to rising engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

Superchargers will give a boost which is correlating to engine speed so is simpler. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the engines compression ratio .

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels can help the brakes cool down and are generally less heavy than steel ones. Don't forget that your choice of rubber greatly affects your cars grip and handling. It is not worth compromising performance with cheap tyres when you can buy soft compound performance tires.The drawback to large rims on your Sonata is that you're changing your final drive ratio and this will have a negative effect on acceleration and performance.

Although some people have gone larger than this we would stick to a 18 inch rim size as the maximum.

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 Sonata options in more detail with our Sonata 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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