Mazda 323 Tuning

"Small but with lots of potential"

The 323 is often sadly overlooked by many tuners and dismissed as a family car.

The 4x4 Turbo 323 really shows what can be achieved with this platform and gives inspiration to all those 323 owners looking for more power.

The car was a rally legend in 4x4 form showing how capable the chassis is. With the right mods, done in the right order you can have great fun on the roads and push hard when you go on a track day.


Tuning tips and articles

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


Our aim in 323 engine tuning should be to increase peak power and Torque at the top end.

323 make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine you can find! Many look for the 4x4 Turbo engine as a suitable candidate although some of the newer 3 engines make excellent candidates for  a swap.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are high on most peoples lists for the 323.

We found that most 323 factory suspension setups need tweaking, a few degrees of toe out for cornering or toe in for stability, -1 to 2, and slight negative camber will radically improve your cornering and handling.

We suggest that you fit sports suspension and lower the car by 25mm - 35 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

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.

323 Engine Tuning modifications.

The following mods are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to go before you begin. For a road car we would stick with stage one mods unless you have deep pockets.

Stage 3 is generally too extreme for road use and the slow traffic speeds can become very tiresome to drive with these mods.

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.
  6. Typical stage 1 mods often include: Exhaust, Panel air filter, Remap, lighter flywheel

    Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, ported and polished head, fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,

    Typical stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), competition cam.

    Your targets when modding your car should be a flat and wide torque curve. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a motor sport car.

    In this article we shall give a limited introduction to the best modifications 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 is generally one of the best NASP power modifications you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

    It improves the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a remap. We'd also 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 ramp up to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

    If you find you suffer from flat spots and power surges after your tuning kits you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. Improving the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

    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 SEE IMPROVEMENTS WITH INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car with over 30 percent more power and are finding that the standard air intake has become limited.

    Derestricting the air flow into the engine is the primary part 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 often rob you of power.

    Sports exhausts can usually air flow out of the engine but do not go too large 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.

    Getting a professionally gas flowed head with larger valves can fully release the engines power.

    Your clutch can seriously let you down as the power goes up if it starts to suffer and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 46%.

    Fit an uprated performance clutch to avoid power leak through the transmission.

    The best mods in our experience for your 323 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

    Turbo engines are just pleading to be flashed. You will see significant power gains on most modern turbo engined cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and significant modifications for your money.

    The most phenomenal power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is usually easier to bolt on a supercharger than it is to bolt on a turbo. Turbos provide boost in exponential proportion to th engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

    Superchargers, however will give a boost which is proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the engine compression ratio .

    Mazda 323 Wheel modifications.

    Alloy wheels will help the brakes cool down and are generally lighter than the steel ones.

    Get a good directional tread pattern tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your 323. Large 323 alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

    The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. Large 323 alloy wheels can decrease performance.

    If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio. For this reason we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 17 inches, although we know some of our members have gone larger than this with no problems.

    If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our car forums where you can discuss 323 options in more detail with our 323 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mazda tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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    6 Responses to “Tuning the Mazda 323”

    1. malcolm says:

      id like to know if anyone nows wear i can get a fast road cam for a mazda 323f 1.6 16v 1992 model

    2. mafisto says:

      How can I stop my mazda 323 sting 2002 modle from killing wheel berrings…I have to change them every month

    3. TorqueCars says:

      Bearings fail due to shock/impact damage or poor installation and eventually just wear. One should last for over 70,000 miles. Check the suspension alignment and geometry first.

    4. louis says:

      I have a fordlaser which I putted a b3 mazda e
      ngine cabarator one so what can I change or upgrate with to have more power and noise over my car?

    5. Doug Bawden says:

      I’m very pleased to see there are people out there who are tuning the 323. I have turbocharged an E5, now I am looking to upgrade the valve train.. Cam, valve springs etc.. Any suggestions?

    6. Airrion M. Bunales says:

      Very helpful, and i like to know more about my 323… its really a big help before i go on upgrading my engine. its also nice to know the factors of having to choose from stages 1,2 and 3… so i would know which is better for my daily driver car. Thanks and i hope to hear more from you… More Horse Power.. ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM

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