Mercedes M277 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Mercedes M277 engine!"

The Mercedes M277 are popular tuning projects and with the right tuning parts like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will definitely maximize your driving opportunities.

TorqueCars will detail the best approach to M277 tuning and outline the greatest upgrades.

History, Power & Specs of the M277 Engine

M277

390 kW 523 hp 830 Nm 612lbft.

2014–present S600, S600 Maybach and Maybach Pullman

Tuning the Mercedes M277 and best M277 performance parts.

Best M277 upgrades

The best M277 tuning mods on an engine are usually the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular M277 tuning mods, they need to be cost effective.

Significant gains on the M277 can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the power band and power output.

Fast road camshafts commonly increase the performance through the rpm band, you might lose a little low down bhp but your top end will be higher.

Competition camshafts, increase the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport and race cam won't do well if on the daily commute, because the lumpy idle will make the car prone to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

You should ideally optimize your torque band to your typical driving style so for a typical daily driver stick with a shorter duration M277 cam

Different M277 engines respond better to different camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The engine timing and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the bhp gains you'll hit.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the bhp 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.
  6. Typical stage 1 mods often include:
    Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake manifolds, Fast road camshaft.

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

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

    Plan your options and then find your modifications and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

    Remaps helps to establish the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your M277.

    (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 the end result usually vary depending on the modifications you've applied and the condition of your engine.

    It is the aim to any engine performance tuning task to shove more fuel and air into the M277 engine

    Intake manifold flow the air during the suck phase from the air filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

    Design and flow characteristics of the Intake can make a substantial improvement to fuel engine efficiency on the M277.

    We often see intake manifold are crying out for aftermarket tuning parts, although some OEM provide reasonably well designed intake manifold.

    Adding a M277 larger valve kit, doing some 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also improve bhp, and as an added benefit will afford you an improved bhp increase on other parts.

    M277 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 M277

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

    If your car has a turbocharger tuning parts are going to net you a larger power gain and turbocharged engines already contain many forged and stronger components.

    However you'll find engines have limits.It is important to find these restrictions and fit higher quality crank and pistons to handle the power.

    We've seen drivers spending a a stack of money on turbocharger upgrades on the M277 only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine go up in smoke just after it's been enthusiastically driven.

    Larger capacity turbo chargers commonly suffer low end lag, and smaller turbo chargers spool up really quickly but do not have the high rpm bhp gains.

    We are pleased that the world of turbos is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbos, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

    Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust gases into two channels and push these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

    It is not unusual that there is a limit in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the M277 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 sapped bhp and torque at a much lower level.

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

    Fuelling

    When you increase the performance you will need to increase to the fuelling.

    More performance needs more fuel. It makes sense to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

    As a rule of thumb add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and allows some 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.

    M277 Performance Exhausts

    Only look to improve your exhaust if your current exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

    On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust flow rate is ok 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 for best results.

    Common exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer 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 M277

    The M277 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 M277, 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 M277 engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss M277 tuning options in more detail with our M277 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mercedes tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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