Tuning the Hyundai Alpha

"Comprehensive guide to performance parts and tuning the Hyundai Alpha engine!"

The Hyundai Alpha are awesome to work on and with a few sensible parts like remaps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will positively increase your driving opportunities.

This pages aim is look into Alpha tuning and provide tips on the ultimate modifications.

Just because particular tuning mods are popular with Alpha owners it doesn't mean you should fit it, instead we'll greatest tuning mods that will give your Alpha the biggest power gain return for your cash.

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 torque gains are on offer for cam upgrades.

NB: Fast road cams commonly raise the bhp and torque over the rpm band, you could drop a little low end power but higher rpm power will be lifted.

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

A Race camshaft won't do well if on the daily commute.

You should ideally optimize your power band to your typical driving style so for a typical daily driver stick with a fast road Alpha camshaft

Different Alpha engines respond better to more or less aggressive cam durations than others.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the bhp gains you'll make.

A longer valve duration 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.

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

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

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), Twin charging conversions, Competition cam.

The Alpha engine blocks are great to work on and we're pleased to see that there are quite a few choices of parts and tuning parts around.

ECU mapping will help to establish the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your Alpha.

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

It is the main goal to any engine tuning project to feed air and fuel into the Alpha engine

Intake manifold transmit the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Design and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a substantial change to fuel delivery on the Alpha.

I usually find air intake manifolds are crying out for an upgrade, although some manufacturers provide well optimised air intake manifolds.

Big valve conversions on the Alpha, doing a bit of port work and head flowing will also increase bhp, the fantastic side effect is it will give you an improved bhp increase on other modifications.

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 Alpha

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

When an engine is fitted with a turbocharger upgrades are going to make more power and we find turbo charged engines are built with more solid components.

However most engines have weakspots

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

It's not unheard of mechanics spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the Alpha only to experience the Alpha literally blow up soon after it's used in anger.

Big turbo chargers commonly suffer no power at low rpm, and smaller turbo chargers spool up more quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

In recent times the selection of turbochargers is always improving and we now see variable vane turbochargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the Alpha when considerably more air is being fed into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting power at a much lower level.

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

Fuelling upgrades and mods

When you improve the bhp and torque you will need to ramp up to the fuelling.

More bhp and torque needs more fuel. Don't forget to over specify your injector capacity.

As a rule of thumb add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives a bit of spare capacity should the engine need 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 increase your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing 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.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can get this will slow up the exhaust flow 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 installed, so adding a better flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the Alpha

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

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

History of the Engine

  • G4EA 1.3 Carb 71hp 81lbft
  • G4EH 1.3 Injection 83hp 86lbft
  • G4EK 1.5 90hp 97 lbft (There was also a turbo version released)
  • Alpha-II G4FK 101 hp 100 lbft
  • 1.5 Alpha-II G4FK DOHC  106 hp   101 lb-ft
  • 1.6 Alpha-II G4ED  103 hp 105 lb-ft
  • G4EE Alpha II 1.4

For more information on Tuning your engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased 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 upgrades were the most effective for them, it helps us improve our recommendations and articles to reflect current trends in modifications and ensures that our guides and tips are kept up to date.

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