PSA ES Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the PSA ES engine!"

In this article we consider ES tuning and report on the ultimate modifications for your car. PSA ES great bases for a tuning project and with the ultimate performance tuning mods like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will certainly increase your driving experience.

History, Power & Specs of the ES9 Engine

ES9 — 2.9 L (2,946 cc) from 1997 developed with Renault and PSA.

Tuning the PSA ES and best ES performance parts.

Best ES9 tuning mods

When talking about the top modifications for your ES engine, we are going to concentrate on the ones that give the best value for money.

The camshaft profile plays a big part in the engines power output so camshaft upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake & exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen camshaft profile, so large bhp gains are on offer for camshaft upgrades.

Fast road camshafts commonly raise the power over the rpm range, you might lose a little bottom end bhp but the top end will be higher.

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

A Motorsport camshaft won't do well if driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your engines power to your cars usage so for a road car stick with a shorter duration ES camshaft

Some ES engines respond better to different cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the torque gains you'll make.

Longer valve 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. 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: Remaps/piggy back ECU, Intake manifolds, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox, Fast road camshaft.

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

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

Review your options and then acquire your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

Mapping allows a tuner to unlock the full potential of all the tuning mods you've done to your ES.

(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 outcome may rely on the tuning mods you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is the aim to any engine tuning task to pull more fuel and air into each cylinder

Air Intake manifolds take the air from the filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders.

Shape and flow rate of the Intake can make a large improvement to fuel atomisation on the ES.

We often see plenum chambers are needing performance upgrades, although a few makers provide reasonably well designed plenum chambers.

Fitting big valve kits, doing some port work and head flowing will also lift performance, and significantly will afford you an improved performance increase on other upgrades.

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 ES

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

When the engine is turbo charged tuning parts are giving better power gains and turbo charged engines are built with more solid components.

However engines have weakspots

It is important to find these limits and install better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

It's not unheard of drivers spending a loads on turbocharger upgrades on the ES only to experience the engine block throw a rod just after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Larger upgraded turbo units often suffer no power at low rpm, and little turbo units spool up really quickly but don't have the peak rpm torque gains.

We are pleased that the selection of turbochargers is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and push these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the ES when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting power at a much lower level.

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

Fuelling

When you increase the torque you will need to pay attention to the fuel system.

More torque needs more fuel. It is important to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when fitting an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows a little 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.

Exhaust

Only look to upgrade your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the flow rate is 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 can help increase the flow of gases through the engine.

But if the exhaust is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of the flow rate and end up lacking power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions come around the filters installed, so adding a faster 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 ES9

The ES 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 ES, 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 ES engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our ES 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 to hear what our visitors have got up to and which upgrades 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 ES tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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