Volvo B4164 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the Volvo B4164 engine!"

Our aim here is to review and look at B4164 tuning and highlight the ultimate upgrades. Volvo B4164 really good project engines and with the ultimate modified parts like remapping, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really increase your driving fun.

History, Power & Specs of the B4164 Engine

  • 1.6L I4 (100 hp) B4164S2┬áB4164S3

Tuning the Volvo B4164 and best B4164 performance parts.

Best B4164 modifications

Just because particular upgrades are are common on B4164 it doesn't mean it is good, so we'll focus on the greatest upgrades that will give your B4164 the biggest power gain return for your cash.

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

Fast road camshafts usually bump the performance throughout the rev band, you could drop a little bottom end bhp but high end rpm power will improve.

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

A Race cam will just annoy you whilst on the daily commute, because the lumpy idle will make the car prone to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

You should ideally optimize your power band to your cars usage so for a car driven daily stick with a fast road B4164 cam

Some B4164 engines respond better to more or less aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The engine timing and fuelling also will say much on the torque gains you'll make.

Extending exhaust or intake durations can alter the torque 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.

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

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

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

The B4164 units respond well to mods and thankfully there is a growing number of mods and tuning parts around.

Remaps helps unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your B4164.

(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 NASP engines, but your mileage usually depend much on the parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Feeding fuel and air into each cylinder is vital to any engine modification project.

Intake transmit the air from the air filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a big improvement to fuel delivery on the B4164.

Most intake headers are in dire need of a performance upgrade, although some OEM provide well optimised intake headers.

Increasing the B4164 valve size, getting port matching and head flowing will also boost torque, this will give you a greater torque increase on other parts.

B4164 Turbo upgrades

NASP 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 B4164

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.

If the engine has a turbocharger tuning parts are giving better power gains and you'll see that turbo engines use better components.

There are practical limits for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some just sufficiently able to handle stock powerResearch these restrictions and fit higher quality crank and pistons to handle the power.

It's not unheard of drivers spending a fortune on turbocharger upgrades on the B4164 only to suffer the indignity of watching the B4164 literally blow up when it's used on the roads.

Large capacity turbos tend to experience a bottom end lag, and small turbos spool up really quickly but do not have the high rpm power band gains.

In recent times the choice of turbos is always developing and we commonly find variable vane turbos, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and push these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there's a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the B4164 when considerably more air is being fed into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting performance at a much lower level.

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

Fuelling

Don't forget to improve the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. Most tuners we speak with say to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and provides a bit of 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.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder turbocharged engines

  • 58 PSI 340cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 511cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 682cc/min 400hp

4 Cylinder NASP engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 568cc/min 400hp

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

  • 58 PSI 312cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 468cc/min 300hp
  • 58 PSI 625cc/min 400hp

B4164 Performance Exhausts

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

On most factory exhausts you'll find your 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.

Please dont run with the largest exhaust you can buy you'll 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.

Usual exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a higher flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to it's larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the B4164

The B4164 engines are generally reliable and solid 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 B4164, 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 B4164 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss B4164 tuning options in more detail with our B4164 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Volvo tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be for your car.

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 tuning mods work best for them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these B4164 articles which are continually updated.

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