Tuning the Hyundai Nu

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Hyundai Nu engine!"

The Hyundai Nu make awesome project engines and with the optimum uprated upgrades like remapping, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will dramatically maximise your driving pleasure.

This pages aim is review and look at Nu tuning and point out the ultimate upgrades.

The best Nu tuning parts on an engine are sensibly the ones that give the best value for money.

We won't be swayed by popular Nu tuning parts, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your Nu cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams tend to bump the bhp through the rpm band, you could sacrifice a little low down power but the higher rpm power will improve.

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

A Competition camshaft makes it harder when driving around busy urban areas.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your driving style so for a typical daily driver stick with a mild fast road Nu camshaft

Some Nu engines respond better to less aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also have a large bearing on the torque gains you'll make.

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.

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

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

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

Carefully think through your options and then find your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid disappointment.

ECU flashing will help unlock the full potential of all the parts you've fitted to your Nu.

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

Pulling more air into each cylinder is the aim to any car tuning task.

Air Intake manifolds carry the air during the suck phase from the air filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

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

Most plenum chambers are in dire need of motorsport parts, although a few makers provide decently flowing plenum chambers.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of port matching and head flowing will also lift bhp and torque, this will raise potential for raising the bhp and torque increase on other tuning 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 Nu

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

When a car is fitted with a turbo tuning mods are relatively easy and we find turbocharged engines use strengthened components.

However most engines have weakspots

Research these limitations and upgrade to more solid crank and pistons to survive the power.

We've seen guys spending a loads on turbo charger upgrades on the Nu only to watch the engine throw a rod on it's first outing after it's first rolling road session.

Bigger upgraded turbo chargers often experience no power at low rpm, and smaller turbo chargers spool up really quickly but won't have the top end torque gains.

Thanks to progress the selection of turbo units is always developing and we now see variable vane turbo units, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and feed these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo charger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there is a limitation in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the Nu 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 power at a much lower level.

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

Fuelling upgrades and mods

When you improve the bhp you will need to uprate to the fuel system.

More bhp needs more fuel. It makes sense to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 20% when fitting an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and provides you some 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

Only look to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a restriction in flow.

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.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow out of the engine but do not go too wide or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Common exhaust restrictions can be traced to the emissions filters installed, so adding a faster flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the Nu

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

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

History of the Engine

  • 1.8 L 148 hp @6500 rpm 131 lbft  @4700 rpm
  • 2.0 L MPi 164 hp @6500 rpm 148 lbft @4800 rpm
  • 2.0L  MPR (Atkinson Cycle) 147–154 hp @5200 rpm 144lbft @4500 rpm
  • 2.0 L GDI 174 hp @6500 rpm 157 lbft @4700 rpm

Nu MPi 1.8L

  • 2011–2016 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011–2017 Hyundai i30
  • 2013–2016 Kia Forte LX
  • 2014– Hyundai Mistra

Nu MPi 2.0L

  • 2014–2015 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2012–2019 Kia Soul
  • 2012– Hyundai i40
  • 2013–2019 Kia Forte
  • 2014– Kia Sportage
  • 2014– Hyundai Mistra
  • 2014– Kia Optima
  • 2014– Hyundai Sonata
  • 2015–Hyundai Tucson
  • 2016– Hyundai Creta
  • 2019– Kia Seltos

Nu MPi 2.0L Atkinson cycle

  • 2018– Hyundai Kona
  • 2019– Hyundai Veloster
  • 2017– Hyundai Elantra
  • 2019– Kia Forte
  • 2020– Kia Soul
  • 2020– Kia Seltos

GDi 2.0L

  • 2014–2016 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2012– Kia Soul
  • 2013– Kia Carens
  • 2012– Hyundai i40
  • 2014– Kia Forte EX
  • 2014– Hyundai Mistra
  • 2016– Kia Sportage
  • 2016– Kia Optima
  • 2016– Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • 2017– Hyundai i30
  • 2019–present Hyundai Tucson

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.

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