Volvo VED4 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance tuning the Volvo VED4 engine!"

Our aim here is to review and look at VED4 tuning and outline the best mods that work. Volvo VED4 provide a fun base for your project and with carefully chosen motorsport parts like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will greatly maximise your driving fun.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

The VED4 was a four-cylinder diesel engine with 2.0L capacity.

  • D2 120 PS (88 kW) single-turbo. From 2016
  • 181 PS (133 kW). S60/V60, XC60, S80/V70 & XC70.
  • 190 PS (140 kW). V40/V40 Cross Country.

Tuning the Volvo VED4 and best VED4 performance parts.

Best VED4 tuning mods

When talking about the optimum modifications for your VED4 engine, we are going to focus on the upgrades that give the biggest return for your cash.

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

Fast road camshafts usually raise the performance across the rpm range, you may lose a little low down power but the top end will be higher.

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

A Motorsport camshaft won't do well if driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your cars usage so for a car used daily stick with a shorter duration VED4 camshaft

Some VED4 engines respond better to mild cam durations so view each engine as unique.

The map and fuelling also will say much on the bhp gains you'll achieve.

Extending exhaust or intake durations 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: Sports exhaust header/manifold, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake manifolds.

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

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

Plan your options and then find your tuning mods and set yourself a power target to void expensive mistakes.

ECU mapping will help release the full potential of all the mods you've done to your VED4.

(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 the outcome usually differs on the mods you've done and the condition of your engine.

Getting air and fuel into the VED4 engine is the whole point to any engine upgrade project.

Air Intake manifolds carry the air from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a big change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the VED4.

Commonly we find the manifolds are crying out for an upgrade, although some OEM provide fairly well optimized headers.

Increasing the VED4 valve size, carrying out port matching and head flowing will also lift power, and as an added benefit will make space for raising the power increase on other tuning parts.

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 VED4

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

If your car has forced induction tuning mods are simpler to install and you will discover turbocharged engines already contain more solid components.

There are tuning limits for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only able to handle stock power

It is important to find these restrictions and install better pistons and crank to utilize the power.

We've seen guys spending a a stack of money on turbo charger upgrades on the VED4 only to watch the engine block go up in smoke soon after it's been completed.

Big upgraded turbochargers commonly suffer no power at low rpm, and low capacity turbochargers spool up more quickly but do not have the peak end engines power gains.

Thanks to progress the selection of turbo chargers is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust gases into two channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the VED4 when considerably more air is being drawn into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more difficult to get working. We have this article covering twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't dismiss the need look at the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. Most tuners we speak with say to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and gives 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.

Exhaust

Only look to boost your exhaust if your current exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the 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.

Note that with the widest exhaust you can get this will 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 located the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a freer flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the VED4

The VED4 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 VED4, 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 VED4 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our VED4 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 modifications 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 VED4 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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