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Volkswagen Engine Tuning - VW 2.0 Tuning Guide

Paul Piola Shares Available Options To Get The Most Out Of Your Mk4 Two.Slow

Back in March, we started our engine tuning series with go-faster upgrades for the S50/S52 BMW E36 M3. We then followed up with guides for VW VR6 12v, M50/M52 E36 BMW 325i/328i, Audi/VW 1.8T and Audi S4 2.7-liter twin-turbo. This month, we're back down to earth for the two liter engine found in Volkswagen's Mk4 Golf and Jetta.

The more popular VR6 and 1.8T engines in the Mk4 were available between 1999 and '05, while the base models sported a normally-aspirated 2.0 8v rated at 115hp.

Today, even the most inexpensive cars (like Ford Focus, Chevy Aveo, Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris) develop that type of power. So if you drive a stock Mk4 2.0, be sure to pay close attention so we can bring your engine up to speed.

Keep in mind, we'll be assuming a baseline of 100hp to the front wheels (whp) on a chassis dyno, which is what an average car will produce on a given dynamometer. Diverse cars and dynos will vary, but we prefer not to use any flywheel guesstimates since they're usually quoted with a different assumed percentage loss and are rarely backed by engine dynos.

Although there are many parts available for the earlier 2.0 version of the Mk3 Golf and Jetta, we chose the Mk4 because more of our readers own them. However, we've added a section at the end for the older engine, so contact the companies listed to see what's available.

Note: The quoted prices don't include labor costs; they're simply prices for parts.

Autobahn Designs (ABD) sells its Quick Flow air intake system at the retail price of $190, providing 4-6whp and ideal in wet climates. For dry weather areas there's a $230 LAN pipe air intake with a stainless pipe and ceramic-coating to keep heat out. Expect 6-8whp on a stock car. ABD also has a $165 stainless steel Big Bore intake to replace the stock plastic unit. Although an improved throttle response and a slight performance gain may be noticeable, it's more about system reliability.

APR offers the Carbonio's carbon fiber intake for $279. It has a thermal barrier to keep air cool and can be combined with APR's stainless steel cat-back exhaust for $789 ($769 without tips).

Autotech's cold-air intake (CAI) uses a 3" polished aluminum intake tube and K&N conical filter for $200. Its $130 peg-vernier adjustable cam gear is forged in anodized aluminum, with an alloy steel hub and cover plate, allowing timing in 1.5min increments.

C2 Motorsports is known for its software. It sells a software upgrade at $375, with extra software for forced induction applications. C2 also sells a low-compression head gasket for $150, dropping compression one point over stock.

ECS Tuning's $170 XAS Xtreme air system is a 3" CAI which comes in a variety of powder-coated colors. It draws air from the bumper and reportedly sees a 30-60 air temp reduction. However, it isn't recommended for extreme weather areas. ECS also carries Ansa Silverline 2.25" cat-back exhausts, which seem like a bargain for stainless steel at $300. The ECS lightweight underdrive pulleys come in a variety of colors and reduce weight by 73%, cutting parasitic drag on the engine through the alternator, power steering and alternator pulleys. For a refundable deposit, ECS will even lend you its alternator pulley removal tool.

Euro Sport Accessories (ESA) sells two intakes; its Cool Flow series retails at $200 and includes an ITG filter, rubber-sealed heatshield, hose and hardware. Its $220 Cool Flow Race series uses a mandrel-bent tube with laser cut bracket, setting the filter away from engine heat. It's not recommended for wet weather. On the exhaust side, ESA's $400 cat-back is an aluminized and stainless combo to cut costs. There's also a stainless version for $675. Both systems include a center resonator and are good for 5-8whp. The $160 ESA pulley under-drives the crank 23%, decreasing drag and unleashing up to 3-5whp. It includes a bracket and hardware to adjust the power steering pump and belt tension.

British-based Kent Cams offers a vernier cam gear allowing up to 7 advance or retard to the stock or an aftermarket cam. A Kent 260 cam with 11.2mm lift is available but may set off a check engine light (CEL). There are 266, 270 and 280 cams available as well from suppliers like Euro Sport Accessories and NGP Racing.

Neuspeed has two intake systems. Its P-Flow is good for a 5-7whp and retails for $200. If you combine it with Neuspeed's $300 ECU upgrade, you will still be CARB legal. Neuspeed's $240 Racing Series CAI places the filter ahead of the inner fender for the coldest possible air. But, it's not recommended for wet areas. Their power pulleys are billet aluminum, anodized and work with the factory belts. They replace the crank, alternator and power steering pulleys to unleash 4-6whp from 5000-6200rpm. The firm also carries its own German-made, chill-cast billet 256 cam with 10.8mm lift, which it claims to be the most aggressive profile without setting off a CEL. Up to 10whp gains are available. Neuspeed's billet cam gear retails at $160 and offers up to 7 of adjustment. The company's exhaust systems are available with either 60mm (2.36") or 70mm (2.75") piping, retailing at $700 and $800, respectively. They feature mandrel bends, TIG welding and stainless steel construction, manufactured to ISO-9000 standards. They fit cars with or without factory bumper cut-outs.

EIP Tuning has an ECU conversion for $300 but you must send them your ECU. They report a stock 2.0 would see 110whp, with an extra 11 lb/ft. A $350 Schrick cam is offered with 11mm of lift, plus 260 and 276 duration for the intake and exhaust, respectively. EIP also offers built heads. Its standard ported head costs $800 using OEM heat-treated castings and is flowbench tested, fitted with tapered guides and it even includes a multi-angle radius valve job. Their $999 Big Valve head is for boosted applications and includes high-pressure springs, 42mm intake valves with a 7mm stem, and stock-sized exhaust valves. In both cases, a $500 core deposit is required. Furthermore, EIP has two mandrel-bent, stainless steel exhausts. Its Street series is a 2.5" slip-style unit that retails for $640. The Competition series retails at $700 and uses a three-bolt flange that works with its Competition series high-flow cat for $250 extra. In both cases, a 4" tip is included but a center resonator is an extra $100.

Techtonics Tuning has a 2.25" stainless exhaust for $570 that's good for 7whp in the mid-range and should give you up to 105whp. An aluminized version using a Flowmaster or Borla muffler is also available for $325-405, providing the same gains. For '01-05 cars, you can add TT's 2.25" stainless downpipe with a $410, 400-cell cat, bringing your stock 2.0 to around 108whp. The 260 TT camshaft retails for $130 and is reportedly good for 4-5whp. Its 266 cam works with a dual valve spring upgrade ($110) and will net you a couple more hp, but may also trigger a CEL. If the head is properly ported, TT's 41mm intake and 34mm exhaust valves (39.5mm and 33mm stock) can provide a 28% flow gain for around 9-11whp. For an extra $216 you can get larger valve seats and use TT's 42mm intake and 35mm exhaust valves that sell for $200. This should bump gains to roughly 12-15whp. Add TT's tapered guides for $56 and flow further increases by 2%.

Unorthodox Racing is synonymous with pulleys. Its billet aluminum set under drives the crank, while the accessory pulleys are lighter but retain stock diameter so don't affect functionality. Expect a handful of hp.

As a race team selling proven products, Usually Sideways Rally Team (USRT) provides a few neat products. Its short runner intake manifold works with the stock vacuum, brake booster, IAT sensor, etc and gives up to 12% gains on mildly modified engines. In fact, although your stock car should see 105whp at 5500rpm, the gain at 6200rpm is an impressive 15whp over stock (from 82 to 97whp). This reduces the downward slope of the torque curve, flattening the hp curve so you can stay in gear longer at wide-open throttle. USRT reports the manifold is currently discontinued while a new one with better flow is in the works. However, they also sell Snow Performance distilled water/alcohol injection systems for N/A or boosted engines to suppress detonation. This allows you to run more ignition and leaner air-fuel mixtures without increasing octane. The kits start at $389 for their stage 2 load-based controller kits. You can also contact USRT for power-specific fuel system products. So if you're planning to build a 2.0 capable of 300whp, USRT has 580cc injectors, a billet fuel rail and 255 lph fuel pump for $499.

Supersprint offers its own straight-through engine-back exhaust system. The $1110 header features nice mandrel bends and port-matched flanges. It attaches to Supersprint's $256 center resonator, which then bolts to the $582 cat-back system. Your total is $1948.

EIP's $2899 stage 1 turbocharger kit gives 5-8psi. It includes a Turbonetics T3 turbo, Tial wastegate, exhaust manifold, stainless downpipe, intake, E-PROM, blow-off valve, fuel pressure regulator and all necessary piping and connectors.

As one of the more affordable forced induction packages available, Kinetic Motorsport prices its stage 1 kit at $2750. The package includes a T3/T4 turbo, which mounts to a cast exhaust manifold. The turbine-side of the turbo is a 48R, with a GT30R cartridge, while the compression side uses a Mitsubishi housing with a 3" inlet and 2" outlet. A set of 42 lb/hr injectors are employed to increase fuel flow, while C2 software completes the package. As such, the kit should produce a reliable 150-160whp.

Neuspeed's twin-screw supercharger kit uses an Eaton blower, which along with its P-Chip is CARB-approved up to '02 models. With a stock exhaust, up to 150whp at 6200rpm is available from this $2500 bolt-on kit.

EIP's stage 2 turbo adds a fuel pump, fuel injectors and your choice of either a side- or front-mount intercooler system to its stage 1 kit. the package costs $3699 and should give you up to 195whp.

Kinetic's stage 2 turbo kit builds on stage 1 and increases power to around 185-190whp. It consists of all the same components of stage 1, but adds a front-mount intercooler to the mix.

The kit retails for $3450.

NGP Racing offers turn-key, 200whp-plus turbocharging kits. These are custom-built in-house, so the company requires your car to be physically present while work is carried out. However, they will return it ready to drive. Since labor costs are included and each kit can vary, the kit jumps into this price bracket. So, contact NGP for specific details.

'93-99 Mk3 2.0
While many of the parts listed apply to the Mk3 and Mk4 2.0, we found some which are exclusive to the Mk3 2.0:

Autotech sells engine kits that bump the displacement to 2.1 liters with 10.5:1 compression for $2800. It includes the crank, forged JE pistons, piston rings, wrist pins and clips, German main and rod bearings, head gasket, plus instructions.

The Bahn Brenner Motorsport twin-screw supercharger for the Mk3 costs $2900. Stage 1 should produce about 60% more power, and there are several stages. BBM also has a 16v head conversion for the 2.0.

EIP turbo kits come in two versions; both use a Turbonetics T3 turbocharger with a Tial 38mm wastegate, but stage 2 includes your choice of a side- or front-mount intercooler. Expect up to 196whp for the $2700 stage 1 and over 200whp for the $3500 stage 2.

The Kinetic Motorsport stage 1 turbo bolts on and retails at $2550. Using a T3/T4 hybrid turbo, it's supplied with C2 software and 42 lb/hr injectors to produce 160whp. For $3250, stage 2 includes an intercooler, pushing power past the 200whp barrier.

If you want to beef up the internals without changing compression, Techtonics has $675 forged pistons with rings that retain the stock 9.6:1 compression.

USRT sells an individual throttle body upgrade with billet aluminum extrusions, a cast aluminum sub-manifold and includes a high-flow fuel rail for $1500.

With the appropriate head and cam combo, USRT reports up to 170whp. It works with the factory injection system and OBD1 chips are under development. The company also reports it's developing a direct-fit Mk4 system to work with the factory engine management as well.

Neuspeed Euro Sport Accessories
Usually Sideways Rally Team
Unorthodox Racing
Carbonio Autotech
Schrick ECS Tuning
EIP Tuning
Techtonics Tuning
APR Kent Cams
C2 Motorsports Bahn Brenner Motorsport
Supersprint Kinetic Motorsport
NGP Racing Autobahn Designs
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