Modding and performance tuning parts for the Ford 1.8 Duratec engine!

Car tuning tips:1.8 Duratec Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the Ford 1.8 Duratec

"Comprehensive guide to tuning and performance parts on the Ford 1.8 Duratec engine!"

Our friends at TorqueCars are regularly getting posts asking about how to improve the 1.8 Duratec from people wanting to know what are the best tips on 1.8 Duratec modifications. So let us look into Ford 1.8 Duratec upgrades and outline the best modifications on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

This pages aim is provide a guide to 1.8 Duratec tuning and show the premier modifications for your car. Ford 1.8 Duratec make a good tuning project and with the optimum modified parts like remaps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will certainly improve your driving fun.

When talking about the ultimate parts for your 1.8 Duratec engine, we are going to focus on the ones that give the best power gain for you money.

1.8 Duratec  induction kits

Improving air intake on the 1.8 Duratec

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

So Pulling fuel and air into each cylinder is the primary aim to any engine performance tuning task.

It is not unusual that there is a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the 1.8 Duratec when loads 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 sapped torque at a much lower level.

Air Intake manifolds take the during the engines suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The bore size, shape and flow rate of the Intake headers can make a noticeable difference to to fuel mixing and power on the 1.8 Duratec .

Most intake manifold are improved through motorsport parts, although some manufacturers provide decently flowing intake manifold.

Larger 1.8 Duratec valves, carrying out 1.8 Duratec port enlargement and head flowing will also raise power, & more importantly will allow you to get an improved power increase on other upgrades.

1.8 Duratec performance cam tips.

Each engine responds better to extreme cam durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ecu map and fuel pump and injectors 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.

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 cams commonly bump the power throughout the rev range, you could sacrifice a little bottom end power but higher rpm power will be higher.

Motorsport cams, bump the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

On a road car you must carefully try to optimize your bhp range to your usage of the car.

I would be surprised if you find a 1.8 Duratec Motorsport and race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the 1.8 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 1.8 Duratec parts:

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

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

Stage 2 1.8 Duratec parts:

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

Stage 3 1.8 Duratec parts:

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

The 1.8 Duratec engines are fantastic to work on and we note that there are quite a few choices of upgrades and performance parts about.

Mapping allows a tuner to release the full potential of all the tuning parts you've done to your 1.8 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 end result usually vary depending on the tuning parts you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the 1.8 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 1.8 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 excellent power gains.

When an engine is turbo charged parts are relatively easy and you'll see that turbo charged engines are built with better components.

However engines have limits

Discover these limitations and install better pistons and crank to utilize the power.

We've seen people spending a fortune on turbo charger upgrades on the 1.8 Duratec only to watch the car catastrophically fail just after it's been finished.

Big capacity turbo chargers commonly experience a bottom end lag, and smaller turbo chargers spool up quickly but do not have the peak end power band gains.

In the last 10 years the selection of turbo units is always increasing and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into two channels and direct these at differently angled 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 harder to install. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the 1.8 Duratec

When you increase the power you will need to ramp up to the fuel delivery.

More power 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 15% when specifying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives a little 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 1.8 Duratec performance exhaust upgrades

You may need to upgrade your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if the existing exhaust is creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is 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 increase the flow of gases through the engine.

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

Usual exhaust restrictions come around the catalysts installed, so adding a higher 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 1.8 Duratec

Like most engines an 1.8 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 1.8 Duratec , failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned 1.8 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 1.8 Duratec why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about 1.8 Duratec tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their 1.8 Duratec .

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