Renault F9Q Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Renault F9Q engine!"

The Renault F9Q are popular engines and with the right modified modifications like a remap, turbo kits and camshafts you will dramatically increase your driving enjoyment.

We shall look at F9Q tuning and provide tips on the greatest modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the F9Q Engine

F9Q 1.9 L 120bhp 130bhp

  • 1995–2012 Renault Mégane
  • 1999–2002 Renault Espace III
  • 1996–2003 Renault Scenic I
  • 1997–2010 Renault Master
  • 1997–2001 Renault Laguna I
  • 1998–2004 Mitsubishi Carisma
  • 1998–2004 Mitsubishi Spacestar
  • 1998–2004 Volvo S40
  • 2001–2005 Renault Laguna II
  • 2001–2012 Renault Clio
  • 2001–2006 Renault Trafic II
  • 2001–2006 Vauxhall Vivaro
  • 2002–2005 Nissan Interstar X70
  • 2002–2006 Nissan Primastar
  • 2003–2009 Renault Scenic II
  • 2005–2015 Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • 2009–2011 Renault Scenic III

Tuning the Renault F9Q and best F9Q performance parts.

Best F9Q parts

The best F9Q upgrades on an engine are obviously the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular F9Q upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

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

Fast road cams commonly boost the bhp and torque over the rpm range, you might lose a little bottom end torque but high end rpm power will be higher.

Race cams, boost 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 typical daily driver you need to match your bhp range to your driving style.

You'll never have found a F9Q Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic. The low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would notice on a track when you drive in the upper third of the rpm band, but on roads this is a serious issue and we've heard from lots of drivers lamenting their decision to add an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

Some F9Q engines respond better to extreme cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the power gains you'll hit.

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 mods for your F9Q

  1. Engine Tunes - F9Q engine tuning/remapping provides the most power for the money, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are are often the best upgrade for an engine, 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. Air Induction and Exhaust - NB: on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Forced induction upgrades - Adding a turbocharger 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.
  5. 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.

F9Q Tuning Stages

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

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

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

The F9Q engine blocks are fantastic to work on and we're happy to report there are plenty of parts and tuning parts out there.

ECU mapping will help unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your F9Q.

(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 parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

It is the aim to any tuning task to force air and fuel into each cylinder

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

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake can make a big effect on to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the F9Q.

Many mass produced engine intake manifolds are in dire need of aftermarket tuning parts, although some manufacturers provide reasonably well designed intake manifolds.

Larger F9Q valves, doing a bit of port matching and head flowing will also improve bhp, this will give you increasing the bhp increase on other upgrades.

F9Q 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 F9Q

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

When the engine has a turbocharger tuning mods are going to net you a larger power gain and you will discover turbo charged engines are made with many forged and stronger components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only just able to handle stock powerWe recommend you find these restrictions and upgrade to stronger pistons, crank and engine components to survive the power.

We've seen people spending a fortune on turbo upgrades on the F9Q only to watch the motor catastrophically fail on it's first outing after it's first rolling road session.

Large turbos often suffer a bottom end lag, and small turbos spool up quickly but do not have the high rpm engines power gains.

In recent times the selection of turbo units is always improving and we now see variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and feed these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the F9Q when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited bhp and torque at a much lower level.

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


You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will have to look at the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a performance increase.We would recommend you to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and provides 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.

F9Q Performance Exhausts

You may need to replace your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is 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 increase the flow of gases through the engine.

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

Usual exhaust restrictions are in the catalysts installed, so adding a higher flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the F9Q

The F9Q 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 F9Q, 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 F9Q engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss F9Q tuning options in more detail with our F9Q 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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