Volvo S40 Tuning

"Tuning guide to the best Volvo S40 modifications."

The S40 is a good tuning project to fill your spare time. The S40 hit the streets in 1995 and sold well.

The range was revised and face lifted in 2004 then subtle refreshed in 2007.

The Turbo engines are a dream to work on and offer lots of reward when tuned.

We see people wasting money on their S40 doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our pointers to avoid ruining your car

Tuning tips and articles

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


Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many S40 owners uprate the handling of their cars with sports suspension upgrades as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

If you set the toe out to 1-1.7 degrees on the front, and add slight negative camber then cornering will radically benefit.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 28mm - 42 mm. and fit modified stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Our aim in engine tuning should be to increase peak power and torque at the top end.

Spending a little bit of money on the top engine and handling parts should transform your car into a potential super car beater.

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.

Tuning modifications.

Typically these uprated parts are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get going.

S40 Petrol engines

  • 1.6 B4164S 77 kW; 104 hp @5500 143 Nm 105 lbft @4200
  • 1.8 B4184S 85 kW; 113 hp @5500 165 Nm 122 lbft @4100
  • 1.8i B4184SM 92 kW; 123 hp @5500 174 Nm 128 lbft @3750
  • 2.0 B4204S 103 kW; 138 hp @6000 183 Nm 135 lbft @4500
  • 2.0 T B4204T 118 kW; 158 hp @5100 230 Nm 170 lbft @1800–4800
  • 2.0 T B4204T2 118 kW; 158 hp @5100 230 Nm 170 lbft @1800–4800
  • 2.0 T B4204T3 120 kW; 161 hp @5250 240 Nm 177 lbft @1800–4500
  • 2.0 T B4204T4 127 kW; 170 hp @5500 240 Nm 180 lbft @1800–5000
  • T4 B4204T5 147 kW; 197 hp @5500 300 Nm 221 lbft @2500–4000
  • T4 B4194T 147 kW; 197 hp @5500 300 Nm 221 lbft @2400–3600


  • 1.9D D4192T 66 kW; 89 hp @4250 176 Nm 130 lbft @2250
  • 1.9D D4192T2 70 kW; 94 hp @4000 190 Nm 140 lbft @2000
  • 1.9D D4192T3 85 kW; 114 hp @4000 265 Nm 195 lbft @1750–3250
  • 1.9D D4192T4 75 kW; 101 hp @4000 215 Nm 159 lbft @1750–3250

The Mk2 revision saw new engine options.

  •  1.6 4-cyl. 1596 cc 100 PS @ 6000 150 Nm @ 4000
  •  1.6 (2010) 4-cyl. Turbo 1596 cc 150 PS @ 6000 195 Nm @ 4500
  •  2.0 4-cyl. 1999 cc 145 PS @ 6000 185 Nm @ 1500–5000
  •  T5 5-cyl. Turbo 2521 cc 230 PS @ 5000 320 Nm @ 1750
  • DRIVe 4-cyl. Turbo 1560 cc 109 PS @ 4000 240 Nm @ 1750
  • D2 4-cyl. Turbo 1560 cc 115 PS @ 3600 270 Nm @ 1500–2750
  • D3  5-cyl. Turbo 1984 cc 150 PS @ 3500 350 Nm @ 1750–2750
  • D4 5-cyl. Turbo 1984 cc 177 PS @ 3500 400 Nm @ 4500

Getting the best uprated mods 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 making the car difficult to drive.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

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: Suspension upgrade (drop 28mm - 42 mm.), Panel air filter, Sports exhaust, Lighter flywheel, Alloy wheels, Remap.

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

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

Peak power is good on competition cars but for a drivable and fun car you need a long power band and perhaps extending the rev range.

In this article we shall give a brief overview to the best mods for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance modification.A fast road camshaft typically is one of the best NASP power modifications you can do from a single upgrade to your engine.

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. 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 increase the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

D4204T engine mods

The 2.0 Diesel map sensor tops out around 200bhp but using a Fiesta 1.6TDCI 3.1 bar map sensor should get you to 300bhp as long as you have adequate fuelling. If you can source a 4 bar map sensor you'll be in the sweet spot on your hybrid turbo.

Mods our members have carried out on this include the following

  • Demon motorsport gt1756 hybrid turbo
  • Direnza focus st alloy intercooler
  • 2.5" intercooler pipes
  • 4 bar map sensor (or the 3.1 bar fiesta 1.6TDCi)
  • Egr delete
  • Ram air Induction kit
  • Creation motorsport catch can
  • Focus st hardrace engine mounts

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after tuning parts are done can usually be traced to fuelling or timing issues. Increasing the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

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

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Air induction kits are only beneficial to increase power if the cars air intake is restricted! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see LITTLE 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.

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 equal out the flow of gases through the engine. But if the exhaust is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of your flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

gas flowing the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools When you tune up your S40 you will discover that the standard clutch starts to slip so get an uprated clutch. The best mods that we recommend for your S40 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A 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 twin charging conversions and making some seriously high power figures.

Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will give large power gains. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it harder to map.

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

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brakes cool down and are generally lighter than the steel ones. Further improvements can be made to your cars handling with the addition of directional tread pattern tire. Large S40 alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

For this reason try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the standard factory sizes. In all cases without going above 18 inches.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss S40 options in more detail with our S40 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Volvo tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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