Mazda L5-VE Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Mazda L5-VE engine!"

The Mazda MZR L5-VE have loads of potential and with carefully picked uprated mods like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really increase your driving experience.

Let us consider MZR L5-VE tuning and highlight the optimum mods that work.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

This is a larger capacity verision of the L3-VE 2.3L. The 2.5 L (2,488 cc)  intended for US markets.

It uses the Atkinson cycle and made the top 10 wards best engine in 2010.

Producing 170hp and 167lbft  it is no slouch.

There were a few higher power versions released

Tuning the Mazda MZR L5-VE and best MZR L5-VE performance parts.

Best MZR L5-VE parts

The optimum MZR L5-VE upgrades on an engine are typically the ones that give the best value for money.

We won't be swayed by popular MZR L5-VE upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your MZR L5-VE camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine engines power. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the engines power accordingly.

Fast road cams usually bump the bhp and torque through the rev band, you could drop a little bottom end bhp but the higher rpm power will be lifted.

Competition cams, bump the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Competition cam will just annoy you whilst driving around busy urban areas. This is because a competition cam causes a very lumpy idle, and makes the car more prone to stall or jerk along in stop start traffic, sadly though many ignore this and end up ruining a perfectly good car and having to revert back to a fast road, or OEM cam profile.

You should ideally match your bhp range to your cars usage so for a car driven daily stick with a mild fast road MZR L5-VE cam

Some MZR L5-VE engines respond better to less aggressive cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ecu map and fuelling also have an effect on the torque gains you'll get.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the torque band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake headers, Panel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust manifold.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Twin charging conversions.

 

Plan your options and then find your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

 

Remaps should help to to establish the full potential of all the mods you've done to your MZR L5-VE.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but figures achieved usually differs on the mods you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Feeding air into your MZR L5-VE is vital to any engine tuning task.

Air Intake manifolds transmit the air from the intake filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The size of bore and shape and flow rate of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the MZR L5-VE.

Many mass produced engine plenum chambers are improved through aftermarket parts, although a few makers provide reasonably well designed plenum chambers.

Adding a MZR L5-VE larger valve kit, doing some MZR L5-VE port enlargement and head flowing will also raise torque, and as an added benefit will afford you a better torque increase on other modifications.

Turbo upgrades

NASP engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your MZR L5-VE

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes massive power gains.

When a car is fitted with a turbocharger mods are going to net you a larger power gain and we find turbo charged engines are built with many forged and stronger components.

However every engines will need better parts at higher power limits

It is important to find these restrictions and install more solid crank and pistons to utilize the power.

There are many guys spending a loads on turbocharger upgrades on the MZR L5-VE only to experience the MZR L5-VE literally blow up just after it's completed.

Larger capacity turbo units often experience no power at low rpm, and little turbo units spool up more quickly but do not have the top end engines power gains.

We are pleased that the market of turbo chargers is always moving on and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbo. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the MZR L5-VE when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more challenging to setup. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Fuelling

When you raise the bhp you will need to look at to the fuel delivery.

 

More bhp needs more fuel. We strongly recommend you to be generous with your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and affords a bit of spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 340cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 511cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 682cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 1022cc/min 600hp

4 Cylinder NASP engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 568cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 853cc/min 600hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

  • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 468cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 625cc/min 400hp
  • 58 PSI 937cc/min 600hp

Exhaust

Only look to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust flow rate is still ok even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Please don't run with the largest exhaust you can get you'll 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.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the emissions filters installed, so adding a better flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the MZR L5-VE

The MZR L5-VE engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the MZR L5-VE, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your MZR L5-VE engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our MZR L5-VE owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these MZR L5-VE articles which are continually updated.

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Check out our new YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...

Feedback

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article




Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).


Popular articles

Diesel Tuning
ECU remapping
double clutching
Safety mods
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Chip Tuning
Modified car insurance
Track day insurance cover
Diesel remaps
MPG calc
Cleaning a DPF


Car Modifications

Guide to the best car mods
Read more...

Engine Mods

Engine tuning mods for various engine types
Read more...

Spray Art2

Stunning sprayed art on car body panels
Read more...

Single Wiper

Conversion to a single wiper
Read more...

Drag Techniques

Drag racing techniques, launch and gear changes.
Read more...

Supercharger Kits

Aftermarket supercharger and turbo kits for Audi, Mercedes and BMW
Read more...

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG
Read more...