Modding upgrading and tuning the Vauxhall X16SZ engine!

Find out about "X16SZ Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Vauxhall X16SZ

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the Vauxhall X16SZ engine!"

TorqueCars are always getting posts asking about how to improve the X16SZ from people wanting to know what are the best X16SZ power upgrades. So let us look into Vauxhall X16SZ parts and outline the best mods that work on this great engine and point out some frequent tuning mistakes along the way.

In this article we consider X16SZ tuning and provide tips on the ultimate modifications. Vauxhall X16SZ have loads of potential and with the best motorsport mods like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will maximise your driving opportunities.

The best X16SZ tuning parts on an engine are obviously the ones that give the best gains for your money.

We won't be swayed by popular X16SZ tuning parts, they need to be cost effective.

X16SZ induction kits

Improving air intake on the X16SZ

You need fuel and air for an engine to work. If there is insufficient fuel then it will run lean, if there is insufficient 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 aim to any tuning job to feed air and fuel into each cylinder but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the X16SZ when a lot more air is being pulled into the engine.

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

Air Intake manifolds carry the during the engines suck phase from the air filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake can make a big change to fuel atomisation on the X16SZ.

It's not uncommon that intake headers are in dire need of an upgrade, although a few manufacturers provide fairly well optimized intake headers.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also boost power, the fantastic side effect is it will make space for raising the power increase on other tuning parts.

X16SZ performance cam tips.

Different X16SZ engines respond better to more aggressive camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and injectors and fuel pump also have a large bearing on the bhp gains you'll achieve.

A longer valve duration 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.

Significant air intake, and exhaust improvements on the X16SZ 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 camshafts normally increase the bhp and torque through the rev band, you may sacrifice a little low down bhp but your top end will be better.

Motorsport camshafts, increase the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Motorsport camshaft makes it harder when in heavy traffic.

You should ideally match your bhp range to your cars usage so for a daily driver stick with a mild fast road X16SZ camshaft

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the X16SZ

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 X16SZ parts:

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

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

Stage 2 X16SZ parts:

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

Stage 3 X16SZ parts:

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

Review your options and then source your tuning mods and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

A remap will help release the full potential of all the upgrades you've done to your X16SZ.

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 often depend much on the upgrades you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the X16SZ

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 X16SZ.

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

If your car has forced induction parts are giving better power gains and you'll see that turbo charged engines already contain more solid components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only able to handle stock power

It is important to find these limitations and fit higher quality components to utilize the power.

It's not unheard of tuners spending a loads of money on turbocharger upgrades on the X16SZ only to see the motor throw a rod just after it's used in anger.

Large turbo chargers often suffer a bottom end lag, and small turbo chargers spool up quickly but do not have the peak rpm torque gains.

Thankfully the world of turbo units is always developing and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end performance.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and feed these at differently designed vanes in the turbo. 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 torque gains, although harder to setup. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the X16SZ

When you increase the performance you will need to ramp up to the fuelling.

More performance needs more fuel. It makes sense to over specify your injector capacity.

As a rule of thumb add 15% when specifying an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and affords 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 X16SZ performance exhaust upgrades

You only need to to upgrade your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your exhaust is creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll see your flow rate is 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.

Sports exhausts equal out the flow of air through the engine.

But if your exhaust is too big, ie: over two and a half inches diameter, you will lose a lot of the exhaust flow rate and end up lacking power and torque.

Typically exhaust restrictions come around the emissions filters installed, so adding a higher flowing sports 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 X16SZ

Like most engines an X16SZ, 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 X16SZ, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned X16SZ 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 X16SZ why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about X16SZ tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their X16SZ.

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 tuning mods on your X16SZ, 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.

Check out TorqueCars new YouTube channel, and see their awesome new content...


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

Your Constructive comments on this article