Guide to tuning the petrol 2.9 TFSi and 3.0 TFSi EA839 engine from VAG

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the VAG 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi engine!"

We shall review 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi tuning and show the ultimate upgrades. VAG 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi are awesome to work on and with the right sports upgrades like a remap, turbo kits and camshafts you will definitely enhance your driving enjoyment.

The greatest 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi upgrades on an engine are usually the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

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

NB: Fast road camshafts normally raise the performance across the rev band, you could drop a little bottom end bhp but your top end will improve.

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

On a road car you need to optimize your bhp range to your cars usage.

You will never find a 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi Motorsport and race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas.

Different 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi engines respond better to less aggressive cam durations than others.

The ecu map and fuelling also will say much on the torque gains you'll get.

A longer valve duration 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: Fast road camshaft, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust manifold, Intake headers, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Panel air filters.

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

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

Carefully think through your options and then source your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to void expensive mistakes.

remap will help to establish the full potential of all the tuning parts you've done to your 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the outcome usually depend much on the tuning parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any performance tuning task to shove more air into each cylinder

The intake plenum transmit the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

Design and flow characteristics of the Intake headers can make a noticeable effect on to fuel mixing and power on the 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi.

Most intake manifold are needing performance upgrades, although a few makers provide decently flowing intake manifold.

Big valve conversions on the 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi, doing a bit of port work and head flowing will also improve performance, the fantastic side effect is it will permit a better performance increase on other parts.

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 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi

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 your car has forced induction mods are giving better power gains and turbo charged engines are made with more solid components.

There are common areas of failure for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

See where you'll find these limits and install higher quality crank and pistons to handle the power.

It's not unheard of tuners spending a lot of money on turbo charger upgrades on the 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi only to experience the engine literally blow up just after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Large upgraded turbo units tend to experience a bottom end lag, and small turbo units spool up really quickly but won't have the high rpm engines power gains.

Over the last 20 years the choice of turbos is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbos, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and direct these at differently designed vanes in the turbo. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a limit in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large performance gains, although harder to install. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling upgrades and mods

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so need to increase the fuelling when you start exceeding 20% of a bhp and torque increase.Don't forget to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% when fitting an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows 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 upgrades and mods

You may need to improve your exhaust if your exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the flow rate is good 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 can help increase the flow of gases through the engine.

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

Usual exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalyst installed, so adding a faster flowing performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the 2.9 TFSi /3.0 TFSi

The EA839 engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the EA839, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

History of the EA839 Engine

3.0 TFSI variants Twinturbo

  • 326 bhp) at 5,400-6,400 rpm; 450 newton metres (332 lbft) at 1,340-4,900 rpm  Porsche Panamera
  • 335 bhp) at 5,000-6,400 rpm; 500 newton metres (369 lbft) at 1,370-4,500 rpm - CZSE(2017-2018)/DR(2019-)
  • 349 bhp) at 5,400-6,400 rpm; 500 newton metres (369 lbft) at 1,370-4,500 rpm - CWGD Audi S4 S5 SQ5

2.9 TFSI variants single turbo

  • 326 bhp) at 5,250-6,500 rpm; 450 newton metres (332 lbft) at 1,750-5,000 rpm Porsche Panamera Porsche Cayenne
  • 434 bhp) at 5,650-6,600 rpm; 550 newton metres (406 lbft) at 1,750-5,500 rpm Audi RS4 RS5
  • 444 bhp) at 5,700-6,700 rpm; 600 newton metres (443 lbft) at 1,900-5,000 rpm - DECA Audi RS4 RS5

For more information on Tuning your VAG engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss EA839 tuning options in more detail with our EA839 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased VAG tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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