Mercedes M200 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the Mercedes M200 engine!"

TorqueCars will review M200 tuning and report on the greatest mods that work. Mercedes M200 are popular engines and with carefully chosen tuning parts like remaps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will substantially enhance your driving fun.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

M200 DE12 LA

  • 84 kW (114 PS; 113 hp) at 4,500 rpm 190 Nm (140 lbft) at 2,000–4,000 rpm
  • W415 Citan 112 BlueEFFICIENCY

Tuning the Mercedes M200 and best M200 performance parts.

Best M200 upgrades

When talking about the best modifications for your M200 engine, we are going to concentrate on the tuning mods that give the best value for money.

Altering your M200 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the power band accordingly.

Fast road camshafts normally boost the performance across the rpm band, you could sacrifice a little low down torque but your higher rpm power will be lifted.

Motorsport camshafts, boost the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport and race camshaft won't do well if 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 optimize your torque band to your usage of the car so for a car used daily stick with a shorter duration M200 camshaft

Each engine responds better to extreme cam durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also have a large bearing on the torque gains you'll hit.

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.

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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 header/manifold, Intake manifolds, drilled & smoothed airboxPanel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft.

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

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

 

Plan your options and then acquire your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

 

remap should help to release the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your M200.

(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 NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but your results often vary depending on the modifications you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Getting fuel and air into the M200 engine is the aim to any car tuning job.

The intake manifolds take the air from the air filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifold can make a noticeable improvement to fuel engine efficiency on the M200.

It's not uncommon that intake manifold are crying out for an upgrade, although some car makers provide decently flowing intake manifold.

Adding a M200 larger valve kit, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also raise performance, and significantly will permit a greater performance increase on other tuning mods.

Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) 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 M200

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.

If your car is fitted with a turbo upgrades are giving better power gains and we find turbo charged engines use strengthened components.

However every engine has limitations on how much power it can handle.

See where you'll find these limits and install more solid crank and pistons to handle the power.

It's not unheard of car owners spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the M200 only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the whole thing literally blow up when it's used in anger.

Large turbochargers will usually suffer no power at low rpm, and small turbochargers spool up really quickly but do not have the peak rpm bhp gains.

Over the last 20 years the world of turbos is always evolving and we now see variable vane turbos, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and flow these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the M200 when considerably more air is being fed into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large torque gains, although more challenging to setup. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't forget to boost the fuel system when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. We strongly recommend you to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

 

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% when buying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and gives some spare capacity should the engine require 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 NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp

Exhaust

You may need to upgrade your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually causing a restriction.

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

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow out of the engine but do not go 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 as a rule of thumb.

Usual exhaust restrictions are in the emissions filters installed, so adding a higher flowing high performance aftermarket one will improve air flow, and rather than doing an illegal decat, will keep the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the M200

The M200 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 M200, 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 M200 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our M200 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which parts 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 M200 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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