Tuning the Mazda SkyActiv-G

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Mazda SkyActiv-G engine!"

We are regularly getting messages asking about the greatest SkyActiv-G upgrades. So let us look into Mazda SkyActiv-G parts and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

TorqueCars will review and look at SkyActiv-G tuning and outline the premier mods that work. Mazda SkyActiv-G make awesome project engines and with a few sensible motorsport parts like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will certainly maximise your driving experience.

When talking about the top parts for your SkyActiv-G engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the best power gain for you spend.

Altering your SkyActiv-G cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine torque. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the torque accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams normally push up the performance over the rev band, you could drop a little bottom end bhp but top end will be better.

Motorsport and race cams, push up the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport and race camshaft will just annoy you whilst on the daily commute.

You should ideally match your engines power to your usage of the car so for a car used daily stick with a mild fast road SkyActiv-G camshaft

Each engine responds better to more aggressive cam durations than others.

The ECU mapping and fuelling also have a large bearing on the torque gains you'll achieve.

Extending exhaust or intake 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.

SkyActiv-G Tuning Stages

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

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

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

The SkyActiv-G power plant make great tuning projects and we're happy to report there are increasing numbers of modifications and tuning parts about.

ECU mapping should help to fully realize the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your SkyActiv-G.

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

It is the aim to any engine performance tuning job to feed air and fuel into each cylinder

Intake carry the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders.

The size of bore and shape and rate of flow of the Intake manifold can make a big change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the SkyActiv-G.

We often see headers are improved through an upgrade, although some OEM provide well optimised headers.

Increasing the SkyActiv-G valve size, doing some port matching and head flowing will also improve bhp, & more importantly will permit raising the bhp increase on other tuning mods.

Turbo upgrades for the SkyActiv-G

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 SkyActiv-G

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.

When the engine is turbo charged tuning mods are more reliable and we find turbocharged engines are built with many forged and stronger components.

However you will find an engines will need better parts at higher power limits

Discover these restrictions and fit higher quality components to survive the power.

There are many people spending a lot of money on turbo upgrades on the SkyActiv-G only to watch the SkyActiv-G throw a rod just after it's completed.

Large upgraded turbo chargers will usually experience low end lag, and little turbo chargers spool up quickly but don't have the high rpm bhp gains.

Thanks to progress the market of turbochargers is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the SkyActiv-G when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more difficult to configure. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Uprating SkyActiv-G fuel injectors

Don't miss you'll need to boost the fuel system when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty. Most tuners we speak with say to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, helps cope with 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.

Best SkyActiv-G performance exhausts

You only need to to increase your exhaust if your current exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is 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 largest exhaust you can get this will slow the exhaust 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.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer flowing performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Problems and issues to look out for on the SkyActiv-G

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

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

For more information on Tuning your SkyActiv-G engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our SkyActiv-G 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 to complete and improve this page, so do give us your feedback in the comments box below.

We really like hearing from our readers, and hearing about which 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 SkyActiv-G guides and tips are kept up to date.

Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...


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