Jeep Wrangler Tuning

"Tuning guide to the most effective Jeep Wrangler modifications."

The Wrangler is a great car tuning project to try. If you do your research then you can create an awesome Wrangler but don't be fooled there are lots of performance mods out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are the thing most do first for the Wrangler.

Good suspension tweaks that substantially improve handling for the Wrangler include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe in or out on the front wheels. Toe in for stability, or Toe out to improve cornering. It would also pay to improve the brakes, by adding larger discs and or higher friction pads..

We would go to a maximum drop of 21mm - 37 mm. on most models. You risk grounding out if you go lower than this.

Turning our attention to the engine we need to get a bit more bhp out of the top end.

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

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Power mods.

These are the motorsport parts are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you begin.

Getting the best performance mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 competition upgrades just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

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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: Sports exhaust, Remap, Panel air filter, Alloy wheels, Lighter flywheel, Suspension upgrade (drop 21mm - 37 mm.).

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

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

You should keep as much low end torque as possible and aim to get a long power band across the rev range rather than a narrow top end power hike.

In this article we shall give your a good starting base 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 mod.One of the biggest mechanical motorsport upgrades you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road cam .

The exhaust & intake flow play a major role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car challenging 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.

When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

If you find you get flat spots and surges after your motorsport kits you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine.

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

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Please note that WE DO NOT RECOMMEND INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car extensively and are finding that the standard air intake has become the bottleneck.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for Wrangler engines you should go with a high performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can get this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

gas flowing the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools When you heavily modify your Wrangler you will usally see that the standard clutch starts to suffer so get an uprated clutch. The best mods in our opinion for your Wrangler are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A remapped turbo will give significant power gains and fully release the potential power of the engine.

We've also come across some owners playing with twincharging conversions and making some seriously high power figures.

The most impressive power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos. It is more challenging to map a turbo as the boost increases exponentially with rpm.

It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is directly proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine .

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels can help the brakes cool down and are usually less heavy than the steel ones. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a track legal slick tire. The drawback to large rims on your Wrangler is that you're changing your effective final drive ratio and this will have a negative effect on performance and acceleration.

Although some people have with bigger wheels without problems we would restrict ourselves 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 Wrangler options in more detail with our Wrangler owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Jeep tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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One Response to “Wrangler Tuning”

  1. Tom says:

    Very good article indeed. I have a question though. Where can I have my engine supercharger fitted. Do you know off any jeep running companies that can help me? Thanks Tom

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