Volvo B200 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Volvo B200 engine!"

Let us detail the best approach to B200 tuning and outline the greatest modifications. Volvo B200 make a good tuning project and with carefully chosen performance modifications like remapping, turbo kits and camshafts you will noticeably improve your driving pleasure.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

This was a 2.0 L (1,986 cc) SOHC 8-valve Volvo 340/360 and 200/700/900 series for certain markets

Tuning the Volvo B200 and best B200 performance parts.

Best B200 parts

When talking about the optimum modifications for your B200 engine, we are going to concentrate on the parts that give the best power gain for you spend.

Altering your B200 camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road cams commonly bump the bhp across the rev range, you could drop a little low end torque but your high end rpm power will improve.

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

For a car used daily you need to optimize your power band to your cars usage.

I'd be completely gobsmacked if you find a B200 Race cam is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic. The low end idle will be very lumpy and irregular, so something you would notice on a track when you drive in the upper third of the rpm band, but on roads this is a serious issue and we've heard from lots of drivers lamenting their decision to add an extreme competition cam profile to their engine.

Each engine responds better to extreme camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the bhp gains you'll achieve.

A longer valve duration 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 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.

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

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

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.

The B200 power trains respond well to mods and we see that there is a growing number of parts and performance parts about.

ECU mapping allows a tuner to establish the full potential of all the tuning mods you've done to your B200.

(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 mileage usually differs on the tuning mods you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Pulling air into the B200 engine is the main goal to any engine performance tuning task.

An intake manifold will channel the air from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and flow characteristics of the Intake manifolds can make a noticeable change to fuel mixing and power on the B200.

Commonly we find the air intake manifolds are in desperate need of aftermarket parts, although a few car makers provide reasonably well designed air intake manifolds.

Larger B200 valves, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also lift bhp and torque, & importantly will give you raising the bhp and torque increase on other upgrades.

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 B200

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

When a car is fitted with a turbo upgrades are going to make more power and you will discover turbo engines are built with stronger components.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

Discover these limitations and upgrade to better quality components to utilize the power.

There are many tuners spending a lot of money on turbo upgrades on the B200 only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine block explode soon after it's used on the roads.

Big upgraded turbos tend to experience low end lag, and smaller turbos spool up quickly but won't have the peak rpm engines power gains.

Thanks to new tech the range of turbochargers is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and direct these at differently designed vanes in the turbo charger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there's a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the B200 when considerably 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 was restricting power at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more challenging to setup. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so should ramp up the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a torque increase.Don't forget to over specify your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when buying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows a little 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.

Exhaust

You only need to boost your exhaust if your exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the exhaust flow rate is fine 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 generally help improve air flow out of the engine but do not go too big or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to around 2.5 inches to maximise flow rates, and this should take into account the amount of air your engine is moving.

Typically exhaust restrictions come around the emissions filters installed, so adding a faster flowing high performance aftermarket one will improve air flow, and rather than doing an illegal decat, will keep the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the B200

The B200 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 B200, 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 B200 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our B200 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased 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 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 B200 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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