Tuning the Suzuki K series

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the Suzuki K series engine!"

We often are seeing threads about the best tips on K series power upgrades. So let us look into Suzuki K series upgrades and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

Now we shall detail the best approach to K series tuning and report on the ultimate modifications for your car. Suzuki K series great bases for a tuning project and with the best tuning parts like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really improve your driving experience.

Just because particular tuning parts are are common on K series it doesn't mean you should fit it, we shall concentrate) on the top tuning parts that will give your K series the best power gain for you spend.

Altering your K series cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine engines power. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the engines power accordingly.

NB: Fast road camshafts usually push up the torque through the rpm band, you could drop a little low end bhp but the higher rpm power will be lifted.

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

On a road car you need to optimize your power band to your preferences.

You will never have found a K series Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.

Each engine responds better to more or less aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll make.

Longer 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.

K series Tuning Stages

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

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

Stage 3 K series modifications: 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, Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting.

The K series power plant make great tuning projects and we're happy to report there are quite a few choices of upgrades and tuning parts around.

A remap should help to fully realize the full potential of all the tuning parts you've done to your K series.

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

Pushing air into your K series is the main goal to any tuning project.

Air Intake manifolds carry the air from the air filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine cylinders.

The bore size, shape and rate of flow of the Plenum can make a substantial effect on to fuel delivery on the K series.

I usually find headers are improved through an upgrade, although some makers provide well optimised headers.

Adding a K series larger valve kit, doing a bit of K series port enlargement and head flowing will also lift torque, the fantastic side effect is it will give you an improved torque increase on other modifications.

Turbo upgrades for the K series

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 K series

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 the engine has forced induction modifications are more reliable and turbo engines will have many forged and stronger components.

However engines have weakspots

Research these limitations and install stronger pistons, crank and engine components to survive the power.

We see many people spending a a stack of money on turbo upgrades on the K series only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine block catastrophically fail when it's been completed.

Larger capacity turbo units will usually suffer no power at low rpm, and little turbo units spool up quickly but won't have the high rpm bhp gains.

Over the last 20 years the choice of turbo units is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbo units, where the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp.

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

It is not unusual that there is a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the K series when considerably 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 was restricting bhp and torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more challenging to configure. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Uprating K series fuel injectors

Don't miss you'll need to look at the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. Most tuners we speak with say to be generous with your injector capacity.

As a rule of thumb add another 20% when fitting an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and allows 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.

Best K series performance exhausts

You should look to improve your exhaust if your exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your 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 can help increase the flow of air through the engine.

But if your exhaust is too big, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of the flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Common exhaust restrictions can be located the catalyst installed, so adding a freer flowing performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Problems and issues to look out for on the K series

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

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

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

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