Modding uprating the Nissan MR16DDT engine!

Fully Explore "MR16DDT Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Nissan MR16DDT

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the Nissan MR16DDT engine!"

TorqueCars often are seeing threads requesting information on how to improve the MR16DDT from people inquiring about getting more power from the MR16DDT and wanting to know what are the optimum MR16DDT power upgrades. So let us look into Nissan MR16DDT parts and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

The Nissan MR16DDT make a good tuning project and with carefully chosen motorsport enhancements like remaps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will greatly improve your driving enjoyment.

This pages aim is look into MR16DDT tuning and report on the optimum upgrades.

The ultimate MR16DDT upgrades on an engine are usually the ones that give the best gains for your money.

We won't be swayed by popular MR16DDT upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

MR16DDT induction kitsImproving air intake on the MR16DDT

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 little flow of air it runs rich sapping 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 Shoving more air and fuel into each cylinder is the main goal to any engine upgrade task.

You'll commonly see there's a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the MR16DDT when loads more air is being drawn into the engine.

When tuning you may well find you need to get an air sensor or flow meter capable of upto 4 bars to cope with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting bhp and torque at a much lower level.

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

The shape and rate of flow of the Headers can make a big change to fuel engine efficiency on the MR16DDT.

On popular production engines intake are in dire need of a performance upgrade, although a few makers provide decently flowing intake.

Larger MR16DDT valves, getting MR16DDT port enlargement and head flowing will also improve bhp and torque, and as an added benefit will give you a better bhp and torque increase on other tuning parts.

MR16DDT performance cam tips.

Some MR16DDT engines respond better to different cam durations than others.

The ecu map and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the bhp gains you'll achieve.

Altering 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.

Altering your MR16DDT cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the bhp accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams commonly raise the power throughout the rpm range, you could drop a little low down power but the higher rpm power will be higher.

Race cams, raise the higher rpm power 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 torque band to your typical driving style.

I'd be amazed if you have found a MR16DDT Competition camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the MR16DDT

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 MR16DDT parts:

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

Stage 2 MR16DDT parts:

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

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

Stage 3 MR16DDT parts:

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

The MR16DDT engine blocks are great to work on and we're happy to report there is a growing number of parts and tuning parts around.

Mapping should help to unlock the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your MR16DDT.

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 figures achieved will vary depending on the upgrades you've done and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the MR16DDT

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 MR16DDT.

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 a car has a turbo already fitted mods are going to make more power and we find turbocharged engines use more solid components.

There are tuning limits for every engine, with some being over specified and some only able to handle stock power

Discover these limits and fit higher quality components to utilize the power.

We see many people spending a a stack of money on turbo charger upgrades on the MR16DDT only to watch the MR16DDT explode on it's first outing after it's used on the roads.

Large upgraded turbochargers will usually experience no power at low rpm, and small turbochargers spool up really quickly but do not have the top end power band gains.

In the last 10 years the range of turbo units is always increasing and we now see variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into two channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also increase 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 and torque gains, although more difficult to configure. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the MR16DDT

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to ramp up the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a torque hike. Don't forget to over specify your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% capacity when fitting an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows a bit of 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 MR16DDT performance exhaust upgrades

The only time you should look to replace your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the existing exhaust is actually creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust flow rate is still ok 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 can help balance the flow of air through the engine.

But if your exhaust is too big, ie: it's over two and a half inches diameter, you will lose a great deal of your flow rate and end up losing power and torque.

The usual suspects causing problems in your exhaust flow rate are traced to the emissions filters installed, so adding a better flowing high performance alternative will help avoid this restriction.

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

Faults issues and things to look out for on the MR16DDT

Like most engines an MR16DDT, 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 MR16DDT, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned MR16DDT 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 MR16DDT why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about MR16DDT tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their MR16DDT.

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