Modding upgrading and tuning the Hyundai Lambda engine!

Tuning guide "Lambda Modifications"

Lambda Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Hyundai Lambda

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Hyundai Lambda engine!"

Our friends at TorqueCars are always getting posts asking about how to improve the Lambda from people inquiring about getting more power from the Lambda and wanting to know what are the things tuners recommend when it comes to Lambda upgrades. So let us look into Hyundai Lambda upgrades and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some potential pitfalls along the way.

The Hyundai Lambda provide a fun base for your project and with carefully chosen modified parts like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will increase your driving opportunities.

In this article we look into Lambda tuning and outline the greatest mods that work.

When talking about the best parts for your Lambda engine, we are going to focus on the upgrades that give the best power gain for you money.

Lambda induction kits

Improving air intake on the Lambda

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

So the fundamental goal to any engine performance tuning task to feed air and fuel into the Lambda engine but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

You'll commonly see there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the Lambda when loads more air is being sucked into the engine.

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

Headers flow the air from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The bore size, shape and flow characteristics of the Plenum can make a noticeable improvement to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the Lambda.

On popular production engines intake are improved through performance upgrades, although some manufacturers provide decently flowing intake.

Fitting big valve kits, doing some port work and head flowing will also raise power, and more importantly will raise potential for a better power increase on other parts.

Lambda performance cam tips.

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

The engine timing and fuelling also will say much on the bhp gains you'll hit.

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.

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

NB: Fast road camshafts tend to bump the torque through the rev band, you may sacrifice a little low down torque but the high end rpm power will be lifted.

Race camshafts, 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 Competition cam will just annoy you whilst on the daily commute.

You should ideally match your engines power to your cars usage so for a daily driver stick with a mild fast road Lambda cam

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the Lambda

Before we break the best tuning upgrades down into stages of tune, let's list the most effective tuning upgrades for you.

  1. Suspension Upgrades - always improve your cars handling
  2. Brake Upgrades - Even before adding power improve those brakes
  3. Intake - make sure the intake is not restricted, use filters and intake upgrades to improve this
  4. Exhaust - as with 3 ensure there is not restriction in the exhaust, cats are the usual bottleneck
  5. Tunes - remapping, piggyback ECU's and aftermarket ECU's can all make decent gains
  6. Fuelling - when you've increased power you'll need to match this with more fuel
  7. Turbo upgrades - Improving the intake with a large turbo and better flowing intercooler will be the biggest power gain you'll see (but one of the most complex).

This video guide to tuning cars is a great starting point to work from in your project.

Stage 1 Lambda parts:

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

Stage 2 Lambda parts:

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

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

Stage 3 Lambda parts:

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

Review your options and then buy your mods and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

A remap will help unlock the full potential of all the parts you've done to your Lambda.

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 your mileage may rely on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the Lambda

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 Lambda.

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.

If your car is turbo charged upgrades are more reliable and we find turbocharged engines will have more solid components.

However most engines have weakspots

See where you'll find these limits and install higher quality components to survive the power.

There are many drivers spending a fortune on turbo upgrades on the Lambda only to suffer the indignity of watching the Lambda literally blow up just after it's been completed.

Bigger capacity turbos often suffer a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbos spool up quickly but won't have the high rpm engines power gains.

Over the last 20 years the choice of turbo units is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and flow these at differently designed 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 bhp gains, although harder to get working. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the Lambda

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so need to increase the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a power hike. It makes sense to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 20% capacity when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and provides you some spare capacity should the engine require 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 Lambda performance exhaust upgrades

Only look to improve your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the existing exhaust is actually creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust flow rate is still fine 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.

Don't go with the biggest exhaust you can find this will slow the exhaust rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between one and a half to two and half inches. Your exhaust design, the bend angles and construction are what have more effect on flow rates than your pipe width to a certain extent. So the exhaust design is a big factor.

Typically exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a better flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the Lambda

Like most engines an Lambda, 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 Lambda, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned Lambda 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 Lambda why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about Lambda tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their Lambda.

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