Tuning the VAG EA111 (1.0 1.3 R3 TSi TFSi

"Comprehensive guide to modifying and tuning the tuning the VAG EA111 engine!"

In this article we consider EA111 tuning and provide tips on the optimum upgrades. VAG EA111 are awesome to work on and with carefully picked uprated upgrades like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will enhance your driving opportunities.

The ultimate EA111 mods on an engine are as we have found the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular EA111 mods, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your EA111 camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine engines power. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the engines power accordingly.

NB: Fast road camshafts commonly push up the torque through the rev band, you could drop a little bottom end power but high end rpm power will improve.

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

A Motorsport cam will just annoy you whilst driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally match your torque band to your typical driving style so for a car driven daily stick with a mild fast road EA111 cam

Each engine responds better to mild cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the torque gains you'll achieve.

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.

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Guide to the Best Tuning Mods & Upgrades

  1. Mods that Remove a Restriction

    If the intake or exhaust are restricted in any way this will have an impact on your cars performance, so use an induction kit/filter upgrade and better flowing exhaust whenever your tuning creates a flow restriction.

  2. Mods that Improve Handling

    Braking, Suspension and general alignment of the suspension components is vital for any tuning project even before you start increasing power.

  3. Fit Stronger Parts

    Tuned cars will show up weaknesses, typically in the turbochargers, clutch and internal engine components. Whilst most engines can cope with mild tuning mods, TorqueCars recommend that you upgrade the internal components before these weak spots manifest themselves.

  4. ECU Tunes & Remapping

    While some cars can be easily remapped, others may require piggyback ECU's or aftermarket ECU's but this is the most vital step of your tuning project as it fully releases the power from all of your mods and upgrades. Expect 10-20% on NASP engines and 30-40% on turbocharged units.

  5. More Power Needs More Fuel & Air

    Every tuning project will aim to increase the air supply, but fuel supply is just as vital and will need to match the air the engine can utilise. Fuel to Air ratio is vital so upgrade the fuel pump & injectors. Also you can look to perform head mods (flowing and porting), bigger valves, fast road cams and forced induction upgrades to improve fuel.

Stages of Tune

Stage 1 mods: Sports exhaust manifold, Intake headers, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Panel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft.

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

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

The EA111 units are fantastic to work on and we're finding that there are quite a few choices of upgrades and performance parts out there.

ECU flashing allows a tuner to unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your EA111.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the end result usually rely on the parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the aim to any engine tuning job to force air and fuel into the EA111 engine

Headers take the air from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a noticeable difference to to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the EA111.

It's not uncommon that intake headers are ripe for motorsport parts, although some car makers provide decently flowing intake headers.

Big valve conversions on the EA111, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also improve performance, & more importantly will raise potential for a better performance increase on other tuning mods.

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 EA111

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

When an engine is turbo charged parts are more reliable and we find turbocharged engines will have better components.

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

Discover these restrictions and fit better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

It's not unheard of people spending a fortune on turbo charger upgrades on the EA111 only to watch the car go up in smoke soon after it's been finished.

Big capacity turbo units will usually suffer no power at low rpm, and low capacity turbo units spool up really quickly but do not have the peak rpm engines power gains.

In recent times the range of turbo chargers is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbo chargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the EA111 when considerably more air is being pulled into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited power 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 guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling upgrades and mods

Don't forget to ramp up the fuelling when you are increasing the performance - it makes the car more thirsty. It makes sense to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and allows 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.

Exhaust upgrades and mods

Only look to replace your exhaust if the existing exhaust is actually creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the flow rate is still ok 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 increase the flow of gases through the engine.

But if your exhaust is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of your flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

Typically exhaust restrictions come around the filters installed, so adding a faster flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the EA111

The EA111 engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the EA111, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

History of the Engine

The EA111 arrived in 1974 and had a long production run, and some design elements still carry over into the latest EA211 engines and still exists today.

1.0 R3 12valve version

  • CHYA 59 bhp
  • CHYB 74 bhp
  • CSEB 83 bhp
  • DHSB 114 bhp

1.2 R3 6 valve version

  • AWY, BMD 54 bhp) at 4,750 rpm(80 lbft) at 3,000 rpm
  • BBM 59 bhp) at 5,000 rpm(80 lbft) at 3,000 rpm

1.2 R3 12 valve versions

  • AZQ, BME 63 bhp) at 5,400 rpm(83 lbft) at 3,000 rpm
  • BZG, CEV, CGPA 68 bhp) at 5,400 rpm(83 lbft) at 3,000 rpm

1.2 TSi TFSi

  • CBZA 84 bhp
  • CBZB 103 bhp
  • CBZC 89 bhp

1.4 TFSi

1.6 TFSi

  •  77kw / 5000rpm
  •  155Nm / 3800rpm

For more information on Tuning your EA111 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

We need your help improving this article, so please send us your feedback in the comments box below and pass on any tips, points or facts we have wrong or have not covered.

We really like hearing from our readers, and hearing about which tuning mods were the most effective for them, it helps us improve our recommendations and articles to reflect current trends in modifications and ensures that our EA111 guides and tips are kept up to date.

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