Volvo D4204T Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Volvo D4204 engine!"

The Volvo D4204 provide a fun base for your project and with the ultimate tuning parts like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will dramatically increase your driving enjoyment.

Let us detail the best approach to D4204 tuning and report on the premier modifications.

History, Power & Specs of the D4204T T2 Engine

  • 2.0L I4 (136 hp) D4204T
  • 2.0D I4 131 hp (France) D4204T2
  • D420T2
  • D4204T2
  • D420T8
  • D4204T8
  • D4204T4
  • D4204T5
  • D4204T6
  • D4204T8
  • D4204T9
  • D4204T11
  • D4204T12
  • D4204T13
  • D4204T14
  • D4204T16
  • D4204T20
  • D4204T23

Tuning the Volvo D4204 and best D4204 performance parts.

Best D4204 tuning parts

When talking about the ultimate modifications for your D4204 engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the biggest return for your cash.

Altering your D4204 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the torque accordingly.

Fast road cams tend to raise the bhp across the rev range, you may sacrifice a little bottom end bhp but the top end will be higher.

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

A Competition camshaft will just annoy you whilst driving around busy urban areas. This is because a competition cam causes a very lumpy idle, and makes the car more prone to stall or jerk along in stop start traffic, sadly though many ignore this and end up ruining a perfectly good car and having to revert back to a fast road, or OEM cam profile.

You should ideally optimize your engines power to your usage of the car so for a car driven daily stick with a mild fast road D4204 camshaft

Some D4204 engines respond better to more aggressive cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also have an effect on the torque gains you'll make.

Longer valve 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: Intake headers, Panel air filters, Sports exhaust manifold, drilled & smoothed airbox, Fast road camshaft, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

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

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

Review your options and then source your upgrades and set yourself a power target to void expensive mistakes.

ECU flashing will help fully realize the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your D4204.

(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 figures achieved may depend much on the upgrades you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Feeding air and fuel into each cylinder is vital to any performance tuning job.

Air Intake manifolds carry the air from the intake filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Shape and rate of flow of the Headers can make a big improvement to fuel mixing and power on the D4204.

Many mass produced engine air intake manifolds are ripe for a performance upgrade, although some car makers provide reasonably well designed air intake manifolds.

Increasing the D4204 valve size, doing a bit of D4204 port enlargement and head flowing will also lift bhp, this will make space for increasing the bhp increase on other upgrades.

D4204T T2 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 D4204

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

If your motor has forced induction parts are more reliable and turbo charged engines use more solid components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some just sufficiently able to handle stock powerWe recommend you find these limitations and upgrade to better quality components to utilize the power.

We've seen car owners spending a loads on turbocharger upgrades on the D4204 only to experience the motor catastrophically fail when it's finished.

Larger capacity turbo chargers often suffer low end lag, and small turbo chargers spool up really quickly but don't have the peak end engines power gains.

Thankfully the choice of turbo units is always moving on and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and feed these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the D4204 when a lot more air is being pulled into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more complex to install. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.


You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so need to increase the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a power increase.It makes sense to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and gives you some 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

4 Cylinder NASP engines

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

4 Cylinder supercharged engines

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

D4204 Performance Exhausts

You only need to to boost your exhaust if your current exhaust is creating a restriction.

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.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too wide or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Typically exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalyst installed, so adding a better 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 D4204

The D4204 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 D4204, 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 D4204 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss D4204 tuning options in more detail with our D4204 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 parts work best for them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these D4204 articles which are continually updated.

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