Toyota Premio Tuning

"Thank you for reading this Toyota Premio tuning tips."

As many of our site visitors have emailed and posted questions about the Premio and recommendations on how to modify one, so we've created this guide which covers our go to modifications that make for improvement and tuning success on this engine.

The Premio builds on the Corona which had a long production run dating back to the 1950's. These are sold as the Avensis in some regions and in the UK we have a 5 door liftback version.

The Premio is a good project car to try. We see lots of DIY modders wasting money on their Premio doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our tips to avoid wasting your money


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Best Engine Mods for your Premio

  1. Suspension upgrades that greatly improve handling for the Premio
  2. Brake Upgrades - make sure you have the stopping power for your upgraded Premio
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Suspension upgrade (drop 29mm - 40 mm.), Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Remap.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Fast road cam, high flow fuel injector, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Power/Sport clutch.

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

Premio Handling/Suspension upgrades

Handling modifications are a good place to start for the Premio. Good suspension tweaks that greatly improve handling for the Premio include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe (set out to improve cornering or in for better stability) on the front wheels.

Upgrades to Premio handling/suspension components

Typically, the Premio's initial responsibility is to manage revisions. On the majority of models, we would choose a maximum drop of 35mm. If you go lower than this, you risk your tyres rubbing against the arches.

While improving the handling for Premio owners is often the first objective in any automobile modification job, we frequently see the same errors repeated.

Therefore, if your car is also a daily driver, what factors should you consider while configuring and choosing your suspension?

Upgraded bushings

Bushes are a rotating rubber mount that enables the Premio suspension components to connect to and spin around the chassis of the automobile. The rubber ones will eventually disintegrate.

A new set of OEM rubber bushings may significantly enhance your vehicle's handling.

New polyurethane bushes last longer and retain much tighter handling, albeit they may make the ride a little bumpier due to their increased durability.

Additionally, the increased vibration and play may exacerbate the depreciation of other suspension components.

By eliminating the excessive play associated with rubber bushes, a set of new poly bushes will enhance your car's handling.

While the majority of aftermarket bushing kits include a whole set of suspension bushes, rarer vehicles and older models may only have the primary bushes available in polyurethane.

Often, special bushes may be made to meet your specific requirements.

Purchasing a non-adjustable suspension system that lowers the car 30mm from a neighborhood component store and expecting it to be the optimal configuration is a typical misunderstanding.

The majority of Premio suspension kits are very general in design, and manufacturers may claim that they are compatible with any or all of a vehicle's models.

Because engine weights, wheel sizes, and vehicle weights vary, the one-size-fits-all approach is inaccurate.

Bear in mind that instead of slowing down a lowered car, speed bumps will strike the sump and take off the engine's bottom and the bulk of the front skirt. Reduced ride height does not necessarily mean improved handling.

According to our findings at TorqueCars, the majority of road cars should not be lowered more than 35mm, whereas hot hatches with upgraded suspension should only be dropped 30mm.

These tolerances may be significantly reduced if the wheel size is changed. While a car with standard suspension and 17" rims would be acceptable, lowering it also introduces a plethora of complications.

The objective should always be to improve handling, and since the vehicle is lower, less air passes under it, perhaps aiding stability. It's critical to note that lower springs should be utilised in conjunction with corresponding shocks.

Consider the shape and alignment of your Premio's body.

Setting a little negative camber on the fronts and roughly 1 to 1.7 degrees of toe in for increased stability or toe out for improved cornering typically improves the handling and cornering of your Premio.

Drop the vehicle by up to 29mm - 40 mm. and install motorsport-grade firmer dampers; larger drops will often need further modifications.

Due to its small weight and relatively wide engine room, the Premio is an excellent sleeper car, capable of out cornering many larger cars on a track!

If you have flat spots and power surges after your improvements, you should inspect your fueling system and experiment with higher octane gasoline as well. To ensure that your engine receives enough gasoline, you may need to upgrade the injectors. If you've upgraded your fueling system with larger injectors, you'll also need to upgrade the gasoline pump that supplies them.

Premio Brake Upgrades

Putting meatier brake discs and better performance pads should make for dramatically improved braking.

We should point out that race brake pads can be noisier and will have to be hot before they bite. In every day driving the brakes are only applied now and then so won't be all that effective so specify pads which have a low working temperature. So let's look at the best options and upgrades for your Premio.

Upgrades to the Premio's braking system

Upgrades to the brakes are a smart idea. Don't forget about the brake pads, which are more important than the discs, and picking the improper pad material might have a bad effect on the braking capacity of your Premio and the disc's lifetime.

How do brakes work?

Brakes are critical since moving at a high rate of speed needs the capacity to stop quickly! A brake operates by pressing a friction pad against a disc in order to convert kinetic energy to heat.

The dissipation of this head reduces the forward velocity of the automobile. Brake heat is generated when excessive braking is used.

The braking fluid may get rather hot towards the hot brake pad end, exerting additional demands on it; consequently, specify a good brake fluid, with glycol-based dot 5.1 filling the bill perfectly.

Upgrades to the Premio brakes.

There are a plethora of variations available, ranging from vented to drilled and grooved, as well as conversions to 4 and 6 pot callipers.

For the majority of drivers of a modified Premio, a slightly bigger set from Toyota's sportier line would do, particularly since they can be found from breakers yards and the second hand market at a fraction of the price of an aftermarket arrangement.

Don't go overboard with your braking enhancements; all that is required is for the automobile to stop efficiently; you won't need to install a parachute!

Due to the fact that the pad distributes braking heat throughout the discs, the cooler the disc stays, the better. A vehicle's stopping power may be increased by fitting larger discs, but this requires purchasing new calipers and pads to suit the larger disc.

In most cases, you'd replace the discs and pads. Because a larger disc generates more friction and dissipates more heat, you will immediately notice an advantage.

The central channel of the vented disc enhances the disc's surface-to-air ratio, resulting in improved and faster cooling.

Drilled discs assist in keeping pads "clean and sharp" by increasing the air ratio and preventing the development of gas vapor between the pad and the disc. While larger discs result in enhanced cooling, they may necessitate the use of a different alloy wheel.

The advantages of the Premio's bigger brake discs

The increased surface area provides superior heat dissipation, allowing them to withstand higher temperatures than a smaller disc. Additionally, adding vents and grooves helps cooling (although at the expense of surface area) and aids the pads by enabling gases/vapors to flow away rather than creating a cushion.

You'll get more sensation, and your foot pressure will have a greater impact on the pace at which the automobile slows. This may help you shave time off your track day laps since you'll have more accurate braking control.

The majority of drivers report that bigger discs survive longer, however we assume this is because they do not need as much heavy braking to achieve the same stopping power.

Brake Pads for the Premio

Simply upgrading your Premio's brake pads can increase braking performance. We discover that pad friction diminishes with age, owing in part to several warming and cooling cycles. Therefore, avoid replacing pads that are completely worn out, since this is a false economy.

Please keep in mind that racing standard pads are engineered to operate over a considerably wider temperature range. This enables them to remain effective on a track even when it is very hot.

The disadvantage is that they lack bite when they are cold; although it may only take a second or two for them to warm up and bite, this still results in a longer braking distance, which is why TorqueCars does not suggest them for road usage.

Another source of irritation is brake dust, with certain pads accumulating a significant amount on the wheels. This also poses a significant environmental problem, which road lobbyists are recognizing, so anticipate laws regulating the amount of dust particles produced by a car's brakes.

The majority of low-dust brake pads are noisy, however there are few exceptions. The cheapest method of eliminating dust is to make them more difficult to wear, hence diminishing their performance.

The brake pads' material and structure.

However, high friction brake pads are essential, even if they generate noise and dust.

High-friction racing brakes use a high-temperature compound that degrades at lower temperatures, making the road more difficult to navigate and producing more noise.

Due to the fact that racing grade brake pads activate only when they are very hot, they are unsuitable for use on the road, where braking is normally done with cold pads or in short bursts.

TorqueCars has discovered that fast road pads from Brembo, HKS, Pagid, Green Stuff, and Black Diamond provide an acceptable mix of braking performance and wear.

Always check the brake fluid and test any modifications to your bakes; if you are hesitant about doing mechanical repair on your automobile, it is advisable to leave the brakes to a professional.

The riskiest changes we encounter often involve brakes or an improper setup/balanced braking system.

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

Premio make good sleepers if you de badge them and 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.

Premio Tuning modifications.

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

Second generation

Getting the correct grade of motorsport upgrades for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport mods just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

Your goal when tuning should be a wide torque curve. You don't want all the power to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a competition car.

In this article we shall give your a good starting base 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. Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains for your money as far as a solitary performance upgrades goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

The exhaust and intake flow play a major role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car difficult to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip to fully release the power gain.

Don't forget to uprate the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Most power losses, and erratic idling after uprated mods are done can usually be traced to timing or fuel delivery issues.

Upgrading the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

If you are increasing your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Premio Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. 

Induction kits only help to increase performance if your air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see NONE OF A LOW END 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.

Derestricting the flow of air into the engine is a primary goal of performance tuning so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean only if you find the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound sporty but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not do much to increase power and more often than not rob you of power on most cars.

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

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

Your clutch can seriously let you down as you increase the power if it starts to suffer and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 48%. Fit a competition clutch to avoid power loss through the transmission. The best mods we would do for your Premio are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you tune/remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A tuned/remapped turbo will give phenomenal power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block.

We've also seen some tuners playing with twincharged conversions and making some seriously high power gains.

Adding forced induction will see big power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. It is generally simpler to bolt on a supercharger than it is to fit a working turbo. It is more challenging to map a turbo as the boost increases exponentially with engine speed.

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

Premio Alloy wheel upgrades.

Due to the fact that alloy wheels are less heavy, they improve performance and they can help to cool the brake disks. Pay attention to your choice of tires (tires) for your car, a good soft compound tire can really enhance your cars handling. Large Premio alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Although some people have installed larger rims without issues we would stick to a 18 inch rim size as the maximum.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Premio options in more detail with our Premio 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. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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