MG RV8 Tuning

"Thank you for reading this MG RV8 tuning guide."

The RV8 is an awesome tuning project to have. Take your time and research RV8 tuning to save yourself making the usual costly errors we often.

The RV8 is a heavily modified MGB and tried to retain the original look and feel of the original with modern improvements.

Welcome to our "Tuning the MG RV8" and best RV8 performance parts guide. MG RV8 is a heavily revised MGB powered by a 3.9 liter Rover V8 engine delivering 185bhp.the 0-60 sprint is around 6 seconds the air intake measuring is done courtesy of a hot-wire’ system used widely by Rover for their 3.9litre V8 engine.

Our aim here is to review and look at RV8 tuning and report on the greatest mods that work. MG RV8 offer good returns when tuned and with the optimum tuning upgrades like remapping, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will certainly maximize your driving experience.

Tuning tips and articles

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


Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are the thing most do first for the RV8.

If you set the toe out to 1-1.7 degrees on the front, and add a small amount of negative camber then cornering will usually improve.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 28mm - 36 mm. and fit uprated stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

A nice wide torque band and sweet spot of peak power at one third of your RPM range is optimum.

Keep it looking standard but remove the badges for the ultimate sleeper!

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.

These are the modified kits are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

The RV8 boasts an all alloy V8 cylinder 3947cc engine and 6 second sprint to 60mph.

Mods like head work, porting, 5 angle valve jobs and even light supercharging can all make a decent improvement to your cars power.

Things like cams can be quite hard to track down, I used Motobuild racing on my Rover Tomcat engine for parts.

Getting the right uprated upgrades for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 competition upgrades just don't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

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. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/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: Alloy wheels, Suspension upgrade (drop 28mm - 36 mm.), Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Lighter flywheel.

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

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

Peak power is nice in motorsport but for a daily driven car you need a wide torque band and perhaps extending the rev range.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world 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 modification.One of the most cost effective mechanical sports mods you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road cam .

The exhaust and intake flow play a major role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car challenging to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip to fully realise your gains.

Remapping the Rover 3.9 V8

ECU wise they fitted a 14CUX which was the most sophisticated in a line of Lucas engine management systems (EMS) certainly a step up from the earlier MEMS units.

The ECU in this does not manage the spark, it just controls how all the data from the sensors is interpreted and trims the fuelling as required. Drop in chips seem to be the way to go on these units, with Tornado and Optimax springing to mind. These will offer you an improved part-throttle economy, lower idle speed, and a freer revving engine.

This is a closed-loop system, so as long as it's burning efficiently and you are supplying enough air to match the fuel things work well.

RV8 Fuelling upgrades

When pushing up the power you will need to ramp up to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

If you find you get flat spots and power surges after your modified parts you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well.

Replacing injectors with Bosch units will offer more torque through the rev range, and your choice of plugs also makes a difference with most preferring the Denso VK22 Iridium Tough or NGK 4853 Laser Platinum PDFR7B

Uprating 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.

Breathing mods are usually next up.  Please note that WE DO NOT RECOMMEND INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car with over 30 percent more power and are finding that the standard air intake has become the bottleneck.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for RV8 engines you should just fit a performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts can help equal out the flow of gases through the engine. But if the exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of the flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional gas flowing. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. Your clutch can seriously let you down if it starts to slip and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 48%. Fit an uprated clutch to avoid power loss through the transmission. The best mods in our experience for your RV8 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 tune/remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A tuned/remapped turbo will give phenomenal power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block.

We've also come across some owners toying with twincharged applications and making some impressively high power gains.

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

It is more straightforward to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Adding forced induction will often require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brake cooling and are generally less heavy than the steel ones. Get a good directional tread pattern tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your RV8. Large RV8 alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Because of this try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases not going larger than 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 RV8 options in more detail with our RV8 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased MG tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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