Renault F4R Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Renault F4R engine!"

The F4R came as a NASP and turbo version, and we also saw a 1.8 version the F4P fitted to a few models between 98 and 2002.

The twin scroll turbocharged version offers a lot to the tuner, and it's design means the power comes on at quite low RPM ranges.

Herein we look into F4R tuning and highlight the ultimate modifications. Renault F4R provide a fun base for your project and with the best upgrades like ECU maps, turbo kits and camshafts you will really maximise your driving opportunities.

History, Power & Specs of the F4R Engine

F4R 2.0 L

  • 1993–2000 Renault Laguna I
  • 1996–2014 Renault Espace
  • 2000– Renault Clio Renault Sport (172, 182, 197 and 200)
  • 2002–2007 Renault Laguna II
  • 2003– Renault Mégane
  • 2003– Renault Scenic
  • 2010– Dacia Duster
  • 2013– Praga R1
  • 2015– Sandero R.S. 2.0
  • 2017– Renault Captur (Brazil)

F4Rt 2.0 L

This features a twin scroll turbocharger

  • 2002–2003 Renault Avantime
  • 2002–2009 Renault Vel Satis
  • 2002–2014 Renault Espace
  • 2002– Renault Laguna II - Twin-scroll turbo by Mitsubishi with 165-180 hp (with overboost 190 hp on TCe 180)
  • 2003– Renault Scenic II - Twin-scroll turbo by Mitsubishi with 165-180 hp (overboost 190 hp on TCe 180)
  • 2003– Renault Megane II Sport 225 bhp (168 kW; 228 PS)/230 bhp (172 kW; 233 PS)
  • 2005– Renault Laguna II GT 205 bhp (153 kW; 208 PS)
  • 2007– Renault Laguna III 170 bhp
  • 2008– Renault Laguna III GT 205 bhp
  • 2009– Renault Megane III Sport 250 bhp (186 kW; 253 PS)/265 bhp (198 kW; 269 PS)/275 bhp (205 kW; 279 PS)
  • 2010– Renault Megane III TCe 180

Tuning the Renault F4R and best F4R performance parts.

Best F4R upgrades

Just because particular upgrades are appear in lots of F4R projects it doesn't mean it is good, instead we will concentrate on the top upgrades that will give your F4R the best power gain for you money.

Instead of us falling into the common trap of the "if it's shiny and makes more noise it must be good" mentality of many car sites and tuning magazine

Significant gains on the F4R can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the torque and power output.

Fast road camshafts normally bump the performance through the rev range, you might lose a little low end torque but high end rpm power will be lifted.

Motorsport camshafts, bump the high end 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 bhp range to your usage of the car.

I'd be surprised if you find a F4R Race camshaft 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 F4R engines respond better to different camshaft durations than others.

The ECU mapping and fuelling also have a large bearing 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 mods for your F4R

  1. Engine Tunes - A tune/remap provides the most power compared to cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road Camshafts are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Performance Exhausts - NB: 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. F4R Handling Mods (suspension) - Replacing worn bushings and shocks greatly enhances your F4R road holding and cornering. Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  5. Braking Mods - Enhancing your stopping power needs to be near the top of your Mods list.
  6. Forced induction upgrades - A New Turbo 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 it does provide the largest gains.
  7. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.

F4R Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include:
Remaps/piggy back ECU, drilled & smoothed airbox, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, Intake manifolds.

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

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

The F4R power trains are great to work on and we see that there is a lot of parts and tuning parts out there.

Mapping allows a tuner to release the full potential of all the parts you've done to your F4R.

(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 figures achieved will depend much on the parts you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Pushing fuel and air into the F4R engine is the whole point to any engine upgrade task.

Intake manifold carry the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Structure and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a noticeable difference to fuel engine efficiency on the F4R.

I usually find manifolds are in dire need of a performance upgrade, although some makers provide well optimised headers.

Adding a F4R larger valve kit, getting 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also increase torque, & more importantly will allow you to get a better torque increase on other parts.

F4R 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 F4R

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 the engine is turbo charged parts are going to make more power and turbocharged engines are built using uprated components.

However most engines will need better parts at higher power limits.See where you'll find these restrictions and fit forged components to utilize the power.

We've seen tuners spending a loads on turbocharger upgrades on the F4R only to watch the engine block explode just after it's used in anger.

Bigger turbos tend to suffer no power at low rpm, and little turbos spool up quickly but don't have the high rpm torque gains.

Thanks to progress the market of turbos is always moving on and we commonly find 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 two channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the F4R when loads more air is being pulled 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 performance at a much lower level.

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


Don't dismiss the need uprate the fuel delivery when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. Don't forget to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and affords you 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

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

      • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

      • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp
      • 58 PSI 468cc/min 300hp

F4R Performance Exhausts

You should look to upgrade your exhaust if your exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still fine 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 usually air flow from the engine but do not go too wide 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 are traced to the catalyst and filters 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 F4R

The F4R 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 F4R, 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 F4R engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss F4R tuning options in more detail with our F4R owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Renault tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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