Renault M9R Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Renault M9R engine!"

One engine that keeps cropping up in emails and questions we get sent, is the M9R, and what parts work best on it. So we've put together this feature which covers our go to modifications that you should tune and outline which modifications we feel are the best.

The Renault M9R Diesel engine provides a fun base for your project and with the right performance modifications like ECU maps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will positively increase your driving fun.

TorqueCars will examine the options for your M9R tuning and highlight the greatest mods that work.

History, Power & Specs of the M9R Engine

The M9R was born from a collaboration between Nissan, Renault & Opel/Vauxhall

  •  150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) of 340 Nm (251 lbft) at 2000 rpm.
  • 175 PS (129 kW; 173 hp) 3750 rpm  360nm 1750 rpm
  • 180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp) 3750 rpm 3750 rpm 1750 rpm

The M9R was fitted to the following models

  • 2007–2011 Nissan Qashqai
  • 2007–2012 Nissan X-Trail
  • 2005–2015 Renault Laguna
  • 2006–2015 Renault Mégane
  • 2007–present Renault Koleos
  • 2006–2014 Renault Espace
  • 2007–2010 Renault Vel Satis
  • 2015 Nissan Teana
  • 2006-2014 Vauxhall Vivaro
  • 2006-2014 Renault Trafic
  • 2006-2014 Nissan Primastar
  • 2010–present Renault Latitude
  • 2015–present Renault Espace V

Tuning the Renault M9R and best M9R performance parts.

Best M9R mods

When talking about the greatest modifications for your M9R engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the best power gain for you money.

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

Fast road cams tend to raise the bhp and torque across the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little bottom end power but top end will improve.

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

A Competition cam will just annoy you whilst driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your torque band to your usage of the car so for a typical daily driver stick with a mild fast road M9R cam

Some M9R engines respond better to less aggressive cam durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The map and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll make.

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 M9R

  1. Remaps - A remap provides the biggest gains for the money, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be setup 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 Mods and Exhaust Upgrades - 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 - Adding a bigger or better flowing turbocharger is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most costly upgrades it does provide the largest gains.

M9R Tuning Stages

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

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

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

Plan your options and then acquire your mods and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

ECU flashing allows a tuner to establish the full potential of all the parts you've done to your M9R.

(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 your results usually depend much on the parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Pulling more air into each cylinder is the aim to any tuning task.

Intake manifold flow the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be fed into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Design and flow rate of the Air Intake manifolds can make a noticeable improvement to fuel mixing and power on the M9R.

We often see intake manifold are ripe for a performance upgrade, although some car makers provide reasonably well designed intake manifold.

Big valve conversions on the M9R, getting port work and head flowing will also increase performance, & importantly will give you increasing the performance increase on other parts.

M9R 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 M9R

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

If an engine is turbo charged tuning parts are giving better power gains and you will discover turbo engines will have harder and stronger components.

However every engines will have power limits. We recommend you find these restrictions and fit better pistons and crank to handle the power.

There are many people spending a fortune on turbocharger upgrades on the M9R only to have the engine block literally blow up when it's been finished.

Large capacity turbo chargers commonly suffer no power at low rpm, and smaller turbo chargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the high rpm engines power gains.

Thanks to new tech the selection of turbo units is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

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

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the M9R when considerably 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 at a much lower level.

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

M9R Fuelling Upgrades

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so must ramp up the fuelling when you start exceeding 20% of a performance increase.It makes sense to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when specifying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and provides some spare capacity should the engine need 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.

M9R Performance Exhausts

You may need to boost your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the flow rate is still ok 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 balance the flow of gases through the engine.

But if your 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.

Common exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalyst 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 M9R

The M9R 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 M9R, 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 M9R engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss M9R tuning options in more detail with our M9R 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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