Subaru BRZ FA20 Tuning

"Tuning the Subaru BRZ and best performance parts"

The Subaru BRZ was born from a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota. Let's look at the best tuning mods and upgrades for your FA20.

Engine mods are usually the focus of most tuners with a BRZ, and the FA20 is a stunning engine with plenty of potential for tuning. However, you should also focus on improving the handling and braking to create a rounded out modified BRZ.

The classic AE86 offered rwd fun, great handling and thanks to this is still commanding a premium price today. In an aim to rekindle the success of the AE86 they jointly set about creating a fun, reliable RWD car.

The FA20 engine with D4S injection was created by Subaru, utilizing the low boxer profile and means the car has a very low and sleek front end. It is also an extremely strong engine and can tolerate some pretty substantial modifications on stock internals.

We take a peek at BRZ tuning and summarize the greatest modifications. Subaru BRZs are fantastic to work on and with the ultimate motorsport enhancements you can greatly maximize your driving pleasure and build a track day warrior.

You can do a lot to improve the performance of your BRZ with our step by step tuning tips. We see car owners wasting money on their BRZ doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our advice to avoid making the common mistakes

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Handling modifications are usually your first port of call for the BRZ. We would go to a maximum drop of 35mm on most models. You risk rubbing on the arches if you go lower than this.

Turning our attention to the BRZs engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

The BRZ makes for a great track day car when fit the most powerful engine upgrades and handling upgrades you can source!

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Engine Tuning on the FA20.

Typically these sports parts are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you start.

The NA (naturally aspirated) engine will typically give most of it's power gains at the mid to top end of the RPM range.

Getting the correct grade of sports upgrades for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motor sport parts just don't work well on the road and will make the car undriveable.

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Best Engine Mods for your BRZ

    1. Mapping - 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. Focus on the headers and cat and you'll see an improvement.
    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, there are a few decent BRZ kits around. For the cost this should net you the largest power gain.
    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.

BRZ Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include:
Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm),Alloy wheels,Panel air filter,Lighter flywheel,Remap,Sports exhaust.

Typical stage 2 mods often include:
Fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,Fast road cam,Power clutch,Ported and polished head,.

Typical stage 3 mods often include:
Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves),Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger),Engine balancing,Sports gearbox,Competition cam.

Peak power is all well and good but for a daily driven car you need a wide power band and perhaps extending the rev range.

In this article we shall give your a good starting base to the best upgrades for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance part. One of the most cost effective mechanical performance mods you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

The intake and exhaust durations play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car impossible to drive in traffic.

You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a remap to fully release the power gain.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to pay attention to the fuelling.

If you find you have flat spots and surges after your uprated kits you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine. If have increased your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

BRZ remapping

A decent tune combined with headers and decent exhaust should net around 10-15% more power.

TorqueCars recommend you do the mapping last so it can take into account all your other mods, and will fully release the power from all of the mods and upgrade.

Cam timing and ignition timing improvements will help iron out the torque dip on the BRZ engine. Some of this is down to the 8 injectors used, which have crossover and this causes peaks and dips, but when a tuner knows the BRZ well he can smooth out the power delivery.

BRZ FA20 supercharger kits.

When you want significant performance gains, it makes sense to fit a supercharger kit. These pretty much bolt on and with fuel and timing modifications you can totally transform the power output of your FA20 engine. Expect to pay quite a lot for the kit, but bear in mind the power return will more than make up for this initial expense.

We've also seen some BRZ tuners experimenting with twincharged applications and making some impressively high power figures but these are very hard to setup (expensive!)

The most significant power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve.
Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

BRZ Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Induction kits can sound sporty but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not really increase power and often rob you of power on most cars.

Will an induction kit make more power on the BRZ? Air induction kits will only help to increase power if your air intake is restricted, so for most projects you'll not see a significant gain!

Adding an induction kit to most standard engines will see NO POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction but were talking supercharging or turbocharging to reach these levels.

Derestricting the airflow into the engine is the primary part of car tuners so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean.

BRZ Performance Exhaust Headers

Headers or Exhaust manifolds are a potential area for improvement on these, there is a torque dip and a set of unequal length headers and tune can help mitigate this at the expense of a little top end power. Bear in mind you'll spend most of your time in the mid rpm range, so losing a little top end is a minor downside.

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

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional gas flowing. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods.

Your clutch can lose you loads of power as you increase the power if it starts to break and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 48%. Fit an upgraded clutch to avoid power leak through the transmission.

BRZ Alloy wheel upgrades.

As alloys are less heavy they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. Please note although they can look cool on the BRZ large alloys will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

Although some people have fitted larger wheels without problems we would stick to a 18 inch rim size as the maximum but we have to admit that 19's look fantastic.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our car forums where you can discuss BRZ options in more detail with our BRZ owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Subaru tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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