Toyota GT86 FA20 Tuning

Tuning the Toyota GT86 and best GT86 performance parts.

A joint effort between Toyota and Subaru a new iconic car is born. With a low center of gravity and rear wheel drive a real drivers car was born. It also bore a Scion badge as was dubbed the FR-S.

The stunning Subaru Boxer engines gives plenty of power in standard form but can sit very low in the car creating an ideal weight distribution. The car is sure to be a hit with the drifting community and track day enthusiasts alike.

The GT86 is a car that was born for fun, it was not a sporty badge on boring model, it was a bespoke design and took the best from Toyota and Subaru.

We are sure the 86 is destined to be a future classic, thanks to it's looks, wide appeal and fun driving experience.

However most GT86 owners would like a little more power, the chassis seems to be crying out for a little more grunt and power so we shall look at how to create a fun GT86 modified project.

So what are the best upgrades and mods for this car? Can we really improve on the standard factory setup? (The answer is always yes, there is always a little more fun hiding in every car.)

The GT86 is popular among our members for tuning projects If you do your planning carefully then you can create an awesome GT86 but don't be fooled there are lots of tuning kits and performance parts out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Many GT86 owners uprate the handling of their cars with sports suspension mods as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car. We would go to a maximum drop of 30mm and stiffen the suspension a little. You risk rubbing on the arches if you go lower than this and will certainly compromise the ride quality.

Top end power should be your overall aim on the GT86 with a nice fat peak torque band.

With our guides your GT86 can be transformed into a credible track car and still to a totally reliable daily run around.

So what are the best engine modifications for the GT86?

FA20 Engine Tuning.

These are the modifications are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get going.

The FA20 was worthy of a bespoke tuning guide so here is a link to our latest FA20 tuning guide.

Getting the right tuning modifications for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

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

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

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

Your aim when tuning the engine should be a flat and wide torque band. You don't want all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a competition car.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world to the best performance parts 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. A fast road camshaft will be one of the best NASP power mods you can do from a single upgrade to your engine.

It maximises the intake and exhaust durations and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. We'd also caution you not to go with a competition cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics. Don't forget to pay attention to the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

It's worth noting that most Japanese cars prefer a higher octane fuel, which is what they were developed on. They will run on lower octane fuel but you'll lose some of the potential performance. Using very high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Toyota project after fitting other performance kits. To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine. Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned GT86s uprated injectors.

We have seen some pretty impressive power figures from supercharger kits on the D4S injection FA20 engines.

GT86 Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Induction kits will only help to increase performance if your cars air intake is restricted! Adding an induction kit to most standard engines will see NO POWER GAIN AT ALL - the standard GT86 air filter flows adequately for stock power levels.

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. Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a performance panel filter should suffice for most applications. TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Sports exhausts increase the flow of gases through the engine. But if your exhaust is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the exhaust flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

FA20 head work including a gas flow (ported and polished) and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. In nearly all cases of GT86 tuning your clutch will start to slip and this needs an upgrade - read our guide on clutches for more information. Remaps offer impressive power gains on all turbo charged cars. On NASP engines the benefits are doubtful. However a remapped ECU on a NASP engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods.

The most significant power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is usually easier to bolt on a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working. It is harder to map a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with engine speed. We have seen a few supercharger kits and turbo conversions on the GT86 but as this is new we don't know where the engines power limits are.

Superchargers, give a boost which is directly proportional to engine speed so is easier to map. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Alloy wheel upgrades for the GT86.

The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. The downside to large alloy wheels on your GT86 is that you're altering your effective final drive ratio so this will have a detrimental effect on acceleration and performance.

Because of this we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 17 or 18 inches, although we know some of our members have with bigger wheels with no problems and 19's look great but they do tend to tramline.

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 GT86 options in more detail with our GT86 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Toyota tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below. We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are continually updated.

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Your Constructive comments on this article

2 Responses to “GT86 tuning”

  1. Ray Marrs says:

    I have a GT86 Pro and would like to obtain/find out how to obtain a better torque curve as I feel that this is the achilles heel of the engine, although a little more power would be nice to. I found this article interesting but I think ultimately I am aiming for the turbo route.

    • Ian Phillips says:

      Since this engine is the same as the WRX just w/o the turbo, there is a lot of after-market support. you might need to get a new intake manifold but you can turbo this engine very easily

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