Tuning the Renault R9M

"Comprehensive guide to performance parts and tuning the Renault R9M engine!"

We often are getting emails requesting info on the things we are recommending when it comes to R9M modifications. So let us look into Renault R9M parts and outline the best modifications on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

The Renault R9M are good project engines and with a few sensible tuning parts like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will dramatically improve your driving enjoyment.

TorqueCars will look at R9M tuning and summarise the optimum upgrades.

The best R9M parts on an engine are as we have found the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular R9M parts, they need to be cost effective.

The camshaft profile plays a big part in the engines power output so camshaft upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen camshaft profile, so large torque gains are on offer for camshaft upgrades.

NB: Fast road cams commonly increase the performance through the rpm band, you could sacrifice a little bottom end torque but the high end rpm power will be higher.

Competition cams, increase the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport and race camshaft won't do well if in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your torque band to your typical driving style so for a car driven daily stick with a fast road R9M camshaft

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

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump 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.

R9M Tuning Stages

Stage 1 R9M modifications: Fast road camshaft, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Panel air filters, Intake headers, Sports exhaust manifold, Drilled & smoothed airbox.

Stage 2 R9M modifications: fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, induction kit, Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injectors.

Stage 3 R9M modifications: Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Twin charging conversions, Competition cam, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves).

The R9M engines make great tuning projects and we note that there is a growing number of mods and performance parts out there.

ECU mapping should help to release the full potential of all the tuning parts you've done to your R9M.

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 often depend much on the tuning parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Forcing air and fuel into each cylinder is the main goal to any tuning project.

Intake headers transmit the air from the filter and allow it to be fed into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The bore size, shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a large difference to to fuel mixing and power on the R9M.

Many mass produced engine air intake manifolds are crying out for performance upgrades, although a few makers provide fairly well optimized air intake manifolds.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also improve bhp, this will make space for increasing the bhp increase on other upgrades.

Turbo upgrades for the R9M

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 R9M

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

When your motor is turbocharged, tuning mods are simpler to install and we find turbo charged engines are built using many forged and stronger components.

However most engines have limits

It is important to find these limits and upgrade to higher quality crank and pistons to handle the power.

It's not unheard of car owners spending a lots of money on turbo upgrades on the R9M only to suffer the indignity of watching the R9M literally blow up soon after it's used in anger.

Larger capacity turbos often experience low end lag, and smaller turbos spool up really quickly but do not have the top end torque gains.

Thanks to progress the choice of turbo chargers is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

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

You'll commonly see there's a limitation in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the R9M when a lot more air is being pulled 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 and torque at a much lower level.

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

Uprating R9M fuel injectors

Don't miss you'll need to improve the fuel system when you are increasing the torque - it makes the car more thirsty. We strongly recommend you to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when fitting an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and gives you some 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 R9M performance exhausts

You should look to increase your exhaust if your 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 do not go too large or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Common exhaust restrictions come around the catalyst installed, so adding a freer flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Problems and issues to look out for on the R9M

The R9M engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the R9M, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

For more information on Tuning your R9M engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our R9M 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 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 R9M guides and tips are kept up to date.

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


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