Modding uprating the GM Family 0 engine!

Tuners tips on "Family 0 Modifications"

Family 0 Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the GM Family 0

"Comprehensive guide to performance parts and tuning the GM Family 0 engine!"

Sites like TorqueCars are frequently getting messages requesting info on how to improve the Family 0 from people inquiring about getting more power from the Family 0 and wanting to know what are the best tips on Family 0 mods that work. So let us look into GM Family 0 upgrades and outline the best modifications on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

The GM Family 0 are popular tuning projects and with carefully chosen performance upgrades like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will dramatically increase your driving fun.

Our aim here is to detail the best approach to Family 0 tuning and point out the ultimate mods that work.

When talking about the best parts for your Family 0 engine, we are going to concentrate on the parts that give the biggest return for your cash.

Family 0 induction kits

Improving air intake on the Family 0

You need air matched to fuel for an engine to work. If there is little supply of fuel then it will run lean, if there is a lack of air it runs rich resulting in lost power and potentially damaging the engine. We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So Forcing fuel and air into the Family 0 engine is the aim to any engine modification project.

It is common that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the Family 0 when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited torque at a much lower level.

Intake manifolds transmit the on the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The size of bore and shape and flow characteristics of the Air Intake manifolds can make a substantial difference to to fuel engine efficiency on the Family 0.

I usually find intake are improved through performance upgrades, although a few OEM provide fairly well optimized intake.

Adding a Family 0 larger valve kit, getting 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also raise power, this will allow you to get raising the power increase on other tuning mods.

Family 0 performance cam tips.

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

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

Altering valve 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.

Significant air intake, and exhaust improvements on the Family 0 can be made from camshaft upgrades. Changing the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the bhp and power output.

NB: Fast road cams usually bump the performance throughout the rev range, you might lose a little low down torque but your high end rpm power will be better.

Competition cams, bump 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 cam 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 Family 0 cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the Family 0

Stage 1 Family 0 parts:

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

Stage 2 Family 0 parts:

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

Stage 3 Family 0 parts:

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

Carefully think through your options and then source your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid expensive mistakes.

ECU flashing will help fully realize the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your Family 0.

Tuning tips and articles Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

You will typically expect to see gains of approximately 20-30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the end result usually vary depending on the upgrades you've done and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the Family 0

To get a turbo working on a NASP engine there is a lot involved, from lowering compression ratio to improved fuel supply and mapping, so we have found a great guide to helpavoid the common pitfalls or end up with an unfinished project because you were not told what you were getting into by doing this on the Family 0.

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.

When an engine is turbocharged, tuning parts are going to make more power and turbo charged engines are made with more solid components.

However every engines have weakspots

It is important to find these limitations and install better pistons and crank to survive the power.

It's not unheard of drivers spending a lots of money on turbo charger upgrades on the Family 0 only to experience the engine throw a rod on it's first outing after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Large upgraded turbo units often suffer no power at low rpm, and little turbo units spool up more quickly but don't have the top end engines power gains.

Thanks to new tech the market of turbochargers is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, where the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and push these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also help the scavenging effect of the engine.

Beefing up the air intake by adding a supercharger or additional turbo will help you achieve very large performance gains, although more difficult to get working. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the Family 0

When you increase the torque you will need to look at to the fuelling.

More torque needs more fuel. At this point we flag up the need to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add another 20% when fitting an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and provides you some spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

Don't forget that different fuel grades will usually require different settings, a high octane fuel will burn more efficiently than lower octane fuel for example. A car will trim fuel supply to keep within the ideal air fuel mix but at the extreme ends you may need to adjust your injector capacity, or the mapping or you'll get flat spots and potential lean or rich fuel issues..

Recommended Family 0 performance exhaust upgrades

You may need to uprate your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your exhaust is actually causing a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you'll find the flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but on a serious tuning project with a big boost in power you will certainly need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts increase the flow of air through the engine.

But if the exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over two and a half inches diameter, you will lose much of the exhaust flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

The usual suspects causing problems in your exhaust flow rate come around the catalyst installed, so adding a freer flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Cat bypassing (NB:catalysts reduce harmful engine emissions) is illegal in most countries and regions.

Faults issues and things to look out for on the Family 0

Like most engines an Family 0, should have few issues if it gets properly serviced and looked after.

We cannot stress enough the need for oil changes with the correct grade of oil on the Family 0, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned Family 0 this is more important than ever and close attention should be paid to your maintenance schedule.

If you are interested in learning more or getting impartial tuning advice for your Family 0 why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about Family 0 tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their Family 0.

We need your help to complete and improve this page, so do give us your feedback in the comments box below.

We want to know your experiences with parts on your Family 0, it helps us improve our tips and keeps us current so please use the comments box to drop a tip.

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

You must be logged in to post a comment.