Modding uprating the Ford 1.6 Duratec engine!

Tuning guide "1.6 Duratec Modifications"

1.6 Duratec Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the Ford 1.6 Duratec

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the Ford 1.6 Duratec engine!"

Popular tuning sites like TorqueCars are frequently getting emails asking how to improve the 1.6 Duratec from people wanting to know what are the things tuners recommend when it comes to 1.6 Duratec upgrades. So let us look into Ford 1.6 Duratec parts and outline the best modifications on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

The Ford 1.6 Duratec are popular tuning projects and with carefully picked upgrades like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will really increase your driving fun.

We shall review 1.6 Duratec tuning and summarise the best upgrades.

When talking about the ultimate parts for your 1.6 Duratec engine, we are going to focus on the ones that give the best value for money.

1.6 Duratec  induction kits

Improving air intake on the 1.6 Duratec

You need air matched to fuel 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 which risks damage to the 1.6 Duratec . 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 modification task to feed fuel and air into each cylinder but this has a knock on effect with the air flow sensor.

It is common that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the 1.6 Duratec when considerably more air is being pulled 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 sapped power at a much lower level.

Intake headers flow the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and flow rate of the air Intake manifold can make a big difference to to fuel mixing and power on the 1.6 Duratec .

It's not uncommon that intake are in dire need of a performance upgrade, although some car makers provide fairly well optimized intake.

Fitting big valve kits, getting 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also raise bhp and torque, this will raise potential for an improved bhp and torque increase on other modifications.

1.6 Duratec performance cam tips.

Different 1.6 Duratec engines respond better to more aggressive cam durations so view each engine as unique.

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

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.

Altering your 1.6 Duratec camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the power band accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams tend to boost the bhp throughout the rev range, you may lose a little low end power but the high end rpm power will be better.

Competition cams, boost the high end rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

In a car driven daily you need to optimize your bhp range to your preferences.

You'll never have found a 1.6 Duratec Motorsport and race cam is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the 1.6 Duratec

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 1.6 Duratec parts:

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

Stage 2 1.6 Duratec parts:

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

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

Stage 3 1.6 Duratec parts:

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

The 1.6 Duratec power plant are great to work on and we're happy to report there is a lot of parts and performance parts out there.

ECU flashing will help fully realize the full potential of all the parts you've done to your 1.6 Duratec .

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 outcome will rely on the parts you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the 1.6 Duratec

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 1.6 Duratec .

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 the engine has a turbocharger parts are simpler to install and we find turbo charged engines are built using many forged and stronger components.

There are practical limits for every engine, with some being over specified and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

We recommend you find these limitations and install more solid crank and pistons to survive the power.

It's not unheard of people spending a lot of money on turbo charger upgrades on the 1.6 Duratec only to suffer the humiliation of seeing the engine block explode when it's been finished.

Large capacity turbo units will usually suffer low end lag, and smaller turbo units spool up much more quickly but won't have the peak end bhp gains.

We are pleased that the selection of turbo units is always moving on and we now see variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into a couple of channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. They also boost 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 more challenging to setup. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the 1.6 Duratec

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so need to ramp up the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a performance hike. Experienced mechanics will tell you to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

As a rule of thumb add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and allows a little 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 1.6 Duratec performance exhaust upgrades

We'd only recommend you look to upgrade your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the current exhaust is creating a restriction in flow.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust 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 will certainly help air flow out of the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too large or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to one and a half to two and half inches for best results.

The usual suspects causing problems in your exhaust flow rate come around the catalysts installed, so adding a freer flowing 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 1.6 Duratec

Like most engines an 1.6 Duratec , 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 1.6 Duratec , failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned 1.6 Duratec 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 1.6 Duratec why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about 1.6 Duratec tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their 1.6 Duratec .

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 1.6 Duratec , 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