Land Rover Defender 110 Tuning

"Thanks for reading my Land Rover Defender 110 tuning guide."

We examine Defender 110 tuning and outline the best modifications for your car. Land Rover Defender 110's are good project cars and with a few sensible tuning modifications you can substantially enhance your driving opportunities.

The Defender 110 is a good car modification project to execute. Think carefully and research Defender 110 tuning to avoid making the usual tuning errors we often .

Tuning tips and articles

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

 

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are often a priority for the Defender 110.

If you set the toe out to 0.8 to 1.3 degrees on the front, and add some negative camber then cornering will usually improve.

We would go to a maximum drop of 30mm - 36 mm on most models. You risk handling compromises if you go lower than this.

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

With our recommended mods you can change your Defender 110 into a really fun car, beating more powerful cars on the track.

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.

Engine tuning mods.

  • 2.25 L 11H petrol I4 (1983–1985)
  • 2.25 L 10J diesel i4 (1983)
  • 2.5 L 11J/12J diesel i4 (1984–1993)
  • 2.5 L 17H petrol i4 (1985–1993)
  • 2.5 L Diesel Turbo turbodiesel i4 (1986–1990)
  • 3.5 L Rover V8 petrol V8 (1983–1986)
  • 3.5 L Rover V8 petrol V8 (1986–1993)

This list of the stages and uprated mods are usually installed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

Getting the best tuning upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport mods just won'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 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, Alloy wheels, Remap, Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Lighter flywheel.

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

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

You need to keep as much low end torque as possible and aim to get a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power hike.

The aim of our tips is to give a little insight into the world of car tuning upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best modified modifications and all aspects of modding cars.One of the best mechanical modified parts you can do to your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

The exhaust and intake flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car impossible to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a remap to fully release the power gain.

Don't forget to look at the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Using high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Land Rover project after fitting other tuning parts. Bigger 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 Defender 110s uprated injectors.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Contrary to popular belief there is often very little if any power gain achieved by fitting an induction kit, they only help and are recommended after you raise the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

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 usually air flow from the engine but avoid an exhaust that is 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 for best results.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional head porting and polishing. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. In nearly all cases of Defender 110 tuning your clutch will start to complain and this should be improved - read our tips on clutches for more information. The best mods we recommend for your Defender 110 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

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 take full advantage of the strength of the block. Adding forced induction will see impressive power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Superchargers are often easier to add than a turbo. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it harder to map.

It is simpler to map a supercharger because the boost is directly proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Alternatively you could perhaps install water injection to control knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

As alloys are lighter they improve performance and they will help to cool the brake disks. Pay attention to your choice of tyres (tires) for your car, a good directional tread pattern tire can really enhance your cars handling. We should point out that although they can look cool on the Defender 110 large alloys will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

For this reason endeavour to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases not going above 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 Defender 110 options in more detail with our Defender 110 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Land Rover tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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