Guide to tuning the petrol 2.9 TFSi and 3.0 TFSi EA839 engine from VAG

"Thanks for reading our VAG Group EA839 Tuning tips"

The VAG group replaced the EA837 with this EA839 2.9 and 3.0 TFSi and it only found it's way into a handful of Porsche and Audi cars.

The 2.9 is more powerful thanks to the twin turbo setup handling around 2.5 bar of pressure.

We examine EA839 tuning and summarise the premier modifications for your car. VAG EA839s really good project cars and with the ultimate performance tuning mods you can positively improve your driving opportunities.

History, Power & Specs of the EA839 Engine

3.0 TFSI variants Twinturbo

  • 326 bhp) at 5,400-6,400 rpm; 450 newton metres (332 lbft) at 1,340-4,900 rpm  Porsche Panamera
  • 335 bhp) at 5,000-6,400 rpm; 500 newton metres (369 lbft) at 1,370-4,500 rpm - CZSE(2017-2018)/DR(2019-)
  • 349 bhp) at 5,400-6,400 rpm; 500 newton metres (369 lbft) at 1,370-4,500 rpm - CWGD Audi S4 S5 SQ5

2.9 TFSI variants single turbo

  • 326 bhp) at 5,250-6,500 rpm; 450 newton metres (332 lbft) at 1,750-5,000 rpm Porsche Panamera Porsche Cayenne
  • 434 bhp) at 5,650-6,600 rpm; 550 newton metres (406 lbft) at 1,750-5,500 rpm Audi RS4 RS5
  • 444 bhp) at 5,700-6,700 rpm; 600 newton metres (443 lbft) at 1,900-5,000 rpm - DECA Audi RS4 RS5

Best 2.9 TFSi and 3.0 TFSi parts

The ultimate modifications on an engine are in our opinion the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular EA839 modifications, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your 2.9 TFSi and 3.0 TFS camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine engines power. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the engines power accordingly.

Fast road camshafts commonly increase the bhp throughout the rpm band, you might lose a little low down power but higher rpm power will be lifted.

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

On a car driven daily must carefully try to match your engines power to your preferences.

I'd be shocked if you have found a Motorsport and race cam is a pleasure to live with when 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.

Different EA839 engines respond better to more aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and fuel pump and injectors also have an effect on the power gains you'll achieve on the 2.9 TFSi and 3.0 TFSi.

Longer valve durations can alter the power 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, drilled & smoothed airbox, Panel air filters, Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust header/manifold.

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

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

The EA839 power trains are fantastic to work on and we see that there is a growing number of upgrades and performance parts about.

Mapping helps fully realize the full potential of all the modifications you've fitted to your EA839 2.9 TFSi, 3.0 TFSi.

(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 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but you mileage will vary depending on the modifications you've done and the condition of your engine.

Pushing air into your EA839 is vital to any engine performance tuning task.

Intake manifolds take the air from the air filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Shape and flow characteristics of the Intake manifolds can make a noticeable improvement to fuel delivery on the EA839.

On popular production engines plenum chambers are in desperate need of motorsport parts, although a few makers provide reasonably well designed plenum chambers.

Big valve conversions on the EA839 2.9 TFSi, 3.0 TFSi, getting port matching and head flowing will also lift bhp and torque, & more importantly will allow you to get an improved bhp and torque increase on other modifications.

 2.9 TFSi, 3.0 TFSi Turbo upgrades

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

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 EA839

When a car has a turbo already fitted parts are more reliable and most turbocharged engines use stronger components.

However you will find an engines have limits

It is important to find these limitations and install better quality components to cope with the power.

We see many tuners spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the EA839 only to watch the car throw a rod on it's first outing after it's been finished.

Large turbochargers will usually experience low end lag, and small turbochargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the peak end power band gains.

The world of turbos is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbos, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

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

You'll commonly see there's a limitation in the 2.9 TFSi, 3.0 TFSi air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the 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 and torque at a much lower level than this.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large torque gains, although more challenging to install. We have a twincharger torque adding guide if you want to read more.

EA839 Exhaust

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

On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust flow rate quite well even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can get this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Common exhaust restrictions come around the filters installed, so adding a better flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the 2.9 TFSi, 3.0 TFSi

The EA839 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 EA839, 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 VAG engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss EA839 tuning options in more detail with our EA839 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased VAG tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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