VW Beetle Tuning Guide


The original Beetle had stunning looks and its modern design received encouraging praise from of the entire generation. In 1994, the Beetle was remade and re-launched, the fresh design captured the spirit f the original but there could never be another Beetle for the fans of the original Beetle.

The main difference between the new and classic Beetle is that the engine is usually located at the front. The modern engines are quite well suitable for the car but the choice included most of the range of VAG from a 1.4 to the 1.8T, 2.3 VR5 and the super fast 3.2RSi and a collection of Diesel engines.

Talking about the tips of Beetle tuning; the lower and 1.6 engines are not preferable for tuning and are a waste of time from the tuning point of view when considering the cost involved and the power gained offered.

VW Beetle

There is always a choice available when doing an engine exchange one can always choose from a plenty of suitable donor engines. Website like Car Tuning Tips.com focuses on enhancing the braking and handling of smaller engine models at least a driver will enjoy a fun car while driving it. Handling on the standard models is not very good and they get advantage from a more sporting system.

As the tuning of NASP engines in the Beetle range is concerned, larger valves are needed to be fitted in, the head known as gas flowing has to be ported and polished and a 3 angle valve job is to be done. The increase of compression of the NASP engines will additionally maximize the power gains and this can be finished with a remap. If the tuning of NASP needs to be taken further than making a blueprint and balancing the engine will allow to fully take advantage of the top end power which will effectively increase the rev limit.

Other cars which in the VAG range is the 1.8T 20v block which is a must-have. The engine codes were AVC, AWC, AWU, APH, AWV, BKF, AUQ, AWP and AGU. There were slight differences between the engine heads but they are all essentially pretty strong blocks and can be easily pushed to 225BHP with a remap.

A KO3 turbo was fitted in the 20V 1.8T engine which is regarded as a weak point by many. The good exchange in the form of the KO3s or even the larger KO4 that requires few other modifications to fit keeps the power throughout the upper rev range without early tailing off.

Fitting in a re-circulating diverter is also recommended, atmospheric diverter valve have been known in causing management issues in the engine. The intercooler is also up-rated as a standard one that suffers quite quickly from heat soak. A number of power applications used the 1.8 Turbo engine and can manage with power figures of nearly 300bhp on standard internals.

As NASP mods have been already suggested will all work well on the turbocharged engines and if there is a 20V head then getting the exhaust ports enlarged is strongly recommended.

The VR5 is an excellent performance and with some fast road cams, head work and a remap, another 20% – 30% of engine power can be extracted. The sound of the VR5 is lovable and if an NASP Beetle tuning project is desired, then this or the uncommon 3.2 RSi VR6 engines are the ones which can be acquired.

Other modifications for the VW Beetle which can be considered are air intake, fast road cams, port matching and sports exhaust.

For the power crazy drivers, there is always an option of fitting a turbo or supercharger to the NASP engines but the problems of premature ignition and detonation also have to be considered. Another easy option that can be considered is the addition of nitrous injection kits which can alone add more 50bhp power to the engine.

Other modifications

It is popular to have brake upgrades. Some Beetle owners have been seen using the larger brakes from the VR6 models with a few brake conversions of Porsche. The choice greatly depends on what will fit the hubs and sit at the rear of the alloy wheels. The offset and clearance behind the alloys have to be obviously checked before buying an even larger brake kit.

A good set of pads will make a big difference to the stopping power of Beetle.

Mod handling has to be considered for the Beetle, it is recommended that a fully adjustable suspension kits are acquired. The Beetle owners have pretty good reports about coilovers. The meaning of adjustable shock is that the car can be setup to suit the driving style. If the car is being lowered then a drop of 20 to 35 mm is preferred depending on the standard drop already on the Beetle.

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