Tuning the Renault F4R

"Comprehensive guide to tuning and performance parts on the Renault F4R engine!"

We are always getting messages requesting information on the ultimate F4R upgrades. So let us look into Renault F4R upgrades and outline the best upgrades on this great engine and point out some potential pitfalls along the way.

In this article we look at F4R tuning and report on the premier mods that work. Renault F4R are fantastic to work on and with the optimum performance upgrades like remapping, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really improve your driving fun.

The ultimate F4R parts on an engine are typically the ones that give the biggest return for your cash.

We won't be swayed by popular F4R parts, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your F4R 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 increase the torque throughout the rev band, you could sacrifice a little bottom end bhp but the top end will improve.

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

On a daily driver you need to match your engines power to your preferences.

You will never have ever thought a F4R Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic.

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

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the power gains you'll get.

Altering valve durations can alter the power 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.

Best F4R Tuning Modifications & Upgrades

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Guide to the best F4R tuning mods & Upgrades

  1. ECU Tuning & Remapping

    Remapping is the most vital step of your tuning project to fully maximise your mods. Expect 10-20% on NASP engines and 30-40% on turbocharged units. Some cars may require a piggyback ECU's or aftermarket ECU's to change the OEM map

  2. Strengthening to your Engine

    Tuned cars will show up weak spots manifest as a fault this is usually the turbochargers, a clutch and other internal engine components. Most engines can cope with mild tuning mods, TorqueCars recommend that you upgrade the internal components before these problem areas show up.

  3. Modifications to Remove Restrictions

    A restricted intake or exhaust will have an impact on your performance, so use a better flowing air filter/induction kit and better flowing exhaust (sports cats where legal are a good option) whenever your tuning creates a flow restriction. Turbo engines also benefit from intercooler upgrades as these resist heat soak for longer periods of time.

  4. Mods that Improve Fuel Delivery

    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,  a fuel pump and injector upgrade are usual mods, but also in many cases the fuel regulator will need improvement.

  5. Mods to Improve Airflow

    Increasing the air supply is just as essential as improving fuelling, we suggest you look at engine head mods (flowing and porting, 5 angle valve jobs), fit bigger valves, fast road cams and forced induction upgrades (adding a better flowing turbo) to improve air intake.

F4R Tuning Stages

Stage 1 F4R modifications: Remaps/piggy back ECU, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Intake headers, Sports exhaust manifold, Panel air filters, Fast road camshaft.

Stage 2 F4R modifications: Ported and polished head, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injectors, fuel pump upgrades, induction kit.

Stage 3 F4R modifications: Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Twin charging conversions.

Plan your options and then buy your mods and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

Remaps allows a tuner to release the full potential of all the parts you've done to your F4R.

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 usually rely on the parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

Feeding more air into the F4R engine is vital to any car tuning task.

The intake plenum flow the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Shape and flow characteristics of the Intake can make a big effect on to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the F4R.

It's not uncommon that headers are in desperate need of performance upgrades, although some makers provide reasonably well designed headers.

Fitting big valve kits, doing some port matching and head flowing will also raise power, and as an added benefit will allow you to get raising the power increase on other tuning mods.

Turbo upgrades for the F4R

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 F4R

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 an engine is fitted with a turbocharger upgrades are giving better power gains and you'll see that turbo engines are made with more solid components.

There are practical limits for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some only able to handle stock power

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

We see many mechanics spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the F4R only to see the engine throw a rod on it's first outing after it's first rolling road session.

Big capacity turbo chargers will usually suffer no power at low rpm, and smaller turbo chargers spool up quickly but don't have the high rpm engines power gains.

Thankfully the choice of turbochargers is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust gases into two channels and direct these at differently designed vanes in the turbo. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the F4R when a lot more air is being pulled 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 torque gains, although harder to configure. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Uprating F4R fuel injectors

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to pay attention to the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a performance increase.Don't forget to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when specifying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and provides 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 F4R performance exhausts

You only need to to increase your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll see the exhaust flow rate is still ok 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 generally help improve air flow from the engine but do not go too large or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a faster flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Problems and issues to look out for on the F4R

The F4R engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the F4R, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

For more information on Tuning your F4R engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our F4R 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 F4R guides and tips are kept up to date.

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