Tuning the Hyundai Gamma

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

The Hyundai Gamma are popular engines and with the ultimate sports mods like ECU maps, turbo kits and camshafts you will dramatically increase your driving enjoyment.

In this article we review Gamma tuning and summarise the premier mods that work.

When talking about the best top for your Gamma engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the best value for money.

Significant gains on the Gamma can be made from cam upgrades. Altering the cam profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the engines power and power output.

NB: Fast road camshafts commonly increase the power across the rpm band, you may sacrifice a little low end bhp but your higher rpm power will be higher.

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

For a car used daily you need to optimize your engines power to your typical driving style.

I'd be surprised if you find a Gamma Competition camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic.

Different Gamma engines respond better to less aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The map and fuelling also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll hit.

Altering valve 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.

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

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

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

The Gamma power plant are great to work on and we're finding that there is a lot of mods and tuning parts about.

remap should help to fully realize the full potential of all the tuning parts you've fitted to your Gamma.

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 may vary depending on the tuning parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Shoving more fuel and air into each cylinder is the main goal to any engine modification project.

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

The bore size, shape and rate of flow of the Air Intake manifolds can make a substantial difference to to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the Gamma.

I usually find air intake manifolds are improved through motorsport parts, although a few OEM provide well optimised air intake manifolds.

Larger Gamma valves, doing some port matching and head flowing will also boost performance, this will raise potential for increasing the 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 Gamma

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 motor has a turbo already fitted parts are going to net you a larger power gain and we find turbo engines are built using strengthened components.

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

Research these limits and install forged components to handle the power.

It's not unheard of tuners spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the Gamma only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine block throw a rod on it's first outing after it's used on the roads.

Big upgraded turbo units tend to experience low end lag, and small turbo units spool up really quickly but don't have the peak rpm engines power gains.

Thankfully the market of turbo units is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbocharger. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the Gamma when a lot 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 was restricting performance at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque 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 must pay attention to the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a bhp increase.Don't forget to be generous with your injector capacity.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when fitting an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and affords a little 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 should look to uprate your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually causing a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the flow rate is still 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 will certainly help air flow out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too large or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Usual exhaust restrictions are in the emissions filters installed, so adding a higher flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the Gamma

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

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

History of the Engine

  •  1.4L G4FA CVVT intake 1396cc
  • (111 PS) 109 hp @6,300 rpm and 101 lbft  @4,200 rpm.
  • (100 PS) 99 hp  @5,500 rpm and 100 lbft  @4,200 rpm - Hyundai i20.
  • 1.6L 
  • 1.6 Gamma GDi G4FD 140 PS (138 hp) @ 6300 rpm (123 lbft) @ 4850 rpm 11.0:1
  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi G4FC 130 PS (128 hp) @ 6000 rpm ( 116 lbft)@ 4850 rpm 10.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma II MPi G4FG 132 PS ( 130 hp) @ 6300 rpm (116 lbft)@ 4850 rpm 10.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma T-GDI G4FJ 177 PS (175 hp)@ 5500 rpm  (195 lbft)@ 1500-4500 rpm 9.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma T-GDI G4FJ 204 PS (201 hp) @ 6000 rpm  195 lbft) @ 1750-4500 rpm 9.5:1
  • 1.6 Gamma T-GDI G4FJ 204 PS (150 kW; 201 hp) @ 6000 rpm (265 Nm; 195 lbft) @ 1500-4500 rpm
  • 1.6 Gamma LPI L4FC (Hybrid) 138 PS (101 kW; 136 hp) @ 5700 rpm 195 lbft) @ 4000 rpm

The GDI G4FJ comes with a decent modern twin scroll turbocharger, direct cylinder injection for fuel (this allows an efficient high compression ratio) and CVVT on the intake and exhaust, making this a dream for the tuner to work on.

The 2ng version of the Veloster had a version of the G4FJ and improved this engine further by adding higher compression ratio, a fully electronic wastegate and the CPEGD2.20.3 ECU.

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 modifications 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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