Suzuki M13A Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the Suzuki M13A engine!"

The Suzuki M13A make awesome project engines and with a few sensible enhancements like remaps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will substantially increase your driving enjoyment.

This pages aim is detail the best approach to M13A tuning and point out the best modifications for your car.

History, Power & Specs of the M13A Engine

M13A 1.3 with VVT on the swift model

63 kW (84 hp) @ 6,000 rpm 110 Nm (81 lbft) @ 4,100 rpm

68 kW (91 hp) @ 5,800 rpm 116 Nm (86 lbft) @ 4,200 rpm


84 hp (63 kW) @ 6000 rpm, 110 Nm (81 lbft) @ 4100 rpm

Suzuki Jimny 2005-

Tuning the Suzuki M13A and best M13A performance parts.

Best M13A parts

Just because particular mods are appear in lots of M13A projects it doesn't mean its worth having, so we'll best mods that will give your M13A the best power gain for you money.

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

Fast road camshafts tend to raise the torque over the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little bottom end torque but high end rpm power will be higher.

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

A Motorsport and race cam will just annoy you whilst in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your usage of the car so for a daily driver stick with a mild fast road M13A cam

Different M13A engines respond better to more aggressive camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the power gains you'll make.

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

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

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

    Carefully think through your options and then buy your mods and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

    ECU flashing allows a tuner to fully realize the full potential of all the parts you've done to your M13A.

    (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 often depend much on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

    It is the whole point to any engine upgrade task to feed air and fuel into your M13A

    Intake manifolds take the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

    Structure and flow rate of the Intake manifolds can make a substantial change to fuel mixing and power on the M13A.

    Commonly we find the intake are ripe for aftermarket tuning parts, although some makers provide fairly well optimized intake.

    Increasing the M13A valve size, getting port matching and head flowing will also improve torque, and more importantly will give you an improved torque increase on other modifications.

    M13A 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 M13A

    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.

    When your motor is fitted with a turbo mods are relatively easy and we find turbocharged engines already contain more solid components.

    There are common areas of failure for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only able to handle stock powerWe recommend you find these limits and fit stronger pistons, crank and engine components to handle the power.

    We see many people spending a loads on turbo charger upgrades on the M13A only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the M13A throw a rod on it's first outing after it's first rolling road session.

    Bigger upgraded turbos will usually suffer a bottom end lag, and smaller turbos spool up much more quickly but don't have the top end bhp gains.

    Thanks to progress the world of turbos is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbos, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

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

    It is not unusual that there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the M13A when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

    We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor sapped torque at a much lower level.

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


    Don't forget to improve the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. We strongly recommend you to over specify your injectors flow rate.

    As a rule of thumb add 20% to the flow rate when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and affords 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.

    M13A Performance Exhausts

    You only need to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is creating a flow problem.

    On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust 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.

    Do not go with the largest exhaust you can find this will slow the exhaust 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.

    Typically exhaust restrictions are in the catalyst and filters 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 M13A

    The M13A 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 M13A, 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 M13A engine please join us in our car forums where you can discuss M13A tuning options in more detail with our M13A owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Suzuki tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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    We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which parts work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these M13A tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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