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Engine Design Guide (Part 5: Turbo Tuning)


With the new BeamNG Exporter coming along soon, there’s more than likely going to be a lot of new players joining. So, I’m putting together a guide for engine design. This will be put in parts whenever I feel like it, and will cover each tab of the engine designer one by one.

I will update this post with a link to each section of the guide, which I will add below as a reply to this. Feel free to ask any questions you may have, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

A few things to note:

This guide may not be 100% accurate, but for the most part what I say should be true and should hopefully help you to build better engines!

Do not take anything I say as law. Many things I say have simply worked for me, but I’m not going to pretend that anything I say is optimal 100% of the time.

Experiment with the information yourself and find what works for you.

This guide will not necessarily explain everything and how it works, but will give an overview as to what your changes actually mean.

I will refer to familiarity during this guide. What this means is in the lite campaign, when you engineer a component you will gain familiarity with it so the next time you engineer that the time will decrease. This can also be shared with components that are familiar, so for example if you engineer a 90 degree V8 you will gain a slight familiarity bonus with 90 degree V6s. Until the UE4 Lite Campaign comes out, familarity sharing will be be some guess work from me.

In the lite campaign you will also be able to carry out research and development. This will allow you to build up a tech pool (the number at the bottom of the quality sliders), which will allow you to unlock components a year early or apply quality without a major increase in engineering time or production units. This is something to consider in sandbox mode if you want to be realistic, and also a reminder to not apply high quality to your cars.

Part 1 - The Engine Designer

Part 2 - Engine Families

Part 3 - Bottom End

Part 4 - Top End

Part 5 - Turbo Tuning

Useful threads

Part 1: A guide to the designer

So, first of all, what does everything in the engine designer actually mean? Let’s look at the stats first.


From top to bottom we have:

Performance index - This is a stat that shows how much usable power you have. So for example, if you’re revving your engine way past peak power, there’s likely to be a large power drop off. That power isn’t really usable, so will decrease your performance index.

Weight - This shows how heavy the engine is. You can change the units it is shown in on the main menu, but for this guide I will have mine in KG.

Reliability - This is how reliable your engine is. A good reliability score changes over the years, so just because your car only scores 40 reliability in 1946 doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad.

Throttle Response - This is how quickly your engine reacts to changes in the throttle (the accelerator pedal). A higher value is generally sportier, but less drivable.

Smoothness - This is how smooth and comfortable your engine is. A higher value means your car will be more comfortable. A smoother engine will also be more reliable.

Loudness - This is how loud your engine is. A louder engine will be sportier, but less comfortable.

Required Cooling - This is how much much cooling your engine needs to stay reliable. A higher value means your car will have more drag from all the ventilation you have.

Service Costs - This is how expensive your engine is to maintain. Higher costs will make budget buyers less likely to buy your car, as they cannot afford to maintain it.

Fuel efficiency - This is how fuel efficient your engine is in a certain RPM range (I’m not 100% sure what the range is, but I think it is something like 2000RPM to 3000RPM). While a higher value tends to mean greater fuel economy, this isn’t always true. For example, larger engines tend to use get more power without using too much more fuel (So are more efficient), but will still get worse fuel economy.

Octane - This is your engine’s octane, measured in either RON or AKI. I will go into further detail in the fuel section of this guide, but for now all you need to know is that this number should either match or be slightly below the number next to your fuel choice. You can change your units in the settings on the main menu, but in this guide I will be using RON.

Emissions - This is how harming to the environment your engine is. A lower value will mean it is less harming. At some point (I assume in the lite campaign), this will affect the tax bracket your car is put in, although for now has no effect.

Material Costs - This is how much it costs in total to build your engine.

Production Units (PU) - This is how many man hours it takes to produce your engine. This will be important in the lite campaign, as have a lower number means you can produce more engines for your cars quicker.

Engineering Time (ET) - This is how many months it will take to engineer your engine. This will be important in the lite campaign, as a lower engineering time will mean your car will be developed quicker and can be sold sooner. Engineering time can be brought down with familiarity.

In the middle on your screen is your dyno graph, or a torque curve. The blue line shows power (in my case, horsepower (hp)), and the red line shows torque (lbs-ft).

This is kinda tricky to explain, but in short power is the one that matters, as it is torque multiplied by RPM. A sporty car will have power and torque increase with RPM, while a more drivable car will have a flat torque curve that slowly trails off, and a smooth power curve that flattens out.

If you press the arrows above the graph, you can view a few different graphs that show efficiency and boost (if you have a turbo).

Don’t mind this terrible turbo setup, I just threw it onto this engine for demonstration purposes

This is good for if you are fine tuning economy, but if you are starting out you can mostly ignore this. Leave it on the power and torque page for now.

On the right you have six green squares. These squares show some things that may be affecting your reliability significantly. If they are not green, you should probably check out the problem.

Knocking - This is when your octane rating is higher than the fuel you are using. Lowering compression or boost pressure is the easiest way to fix this, but you can also richen the fuel mixture, lower ignition timing or increase your cam profile.

Valve float - This occurs when you are revving your engine further than the valvetrain can handle. Ways to solve this is to lower the RPM Limit, change the head and valves (valvetrain), decrease your bore or increase the cam profile.

Piston, conrod and crank (left) - This happens if your engine is producing more torque than your internals can cope with. The number under the percentage shows the maximum torque your components can cope with. To solve this, change these components in the Bottom End tab, or reduce torque until it is under that number.

Piston, conrod and crank (right) - This happens if your pistons are revving too high. The number under the percentage shows the maximum RPM the internals can cope with. To fix this, bring your RPM limit to below the number, change the components in the Bottom End tab, or lower stroke.

If you press the arrows on the top of the Torque and RPM page, you can view the flowbench. I will explain these when they arrive in the guide, as they are much more specific to certain components.


Great start to the guide. There seems to be one major omission, though: increasing the cam profile (not the VVL profile, if your engine uses VVL) will also reduce the octane number required, and doing so is therefore another way to prevent knocking.


It would be nice if we could establish baseline statistics by era for reliability, PU/ET, Service cost etc… but also globaly on the car trim too, what is a good comfort, sportiness, and all.
It might be nice to know where our car / engine is, if we’re targeting what we want (or not oof), I don’t know it myself, what is a good reliability score or things like that.
But anyway, thanks for this guide that will help us in making good cars (at least the most “realistic” as possible), this completes the design guide well :slight_smile:


I know i shouldn’t post this but I think this would help or not.(No , I don’t play this)


Yeah, I’d love to compile a list of what is good stats year by year, but I think there’s too many variables to make a solid number. And even if we could, I don’t want to be the guy to spend all that time trying to make that list…

@Lorenztype While what you asked for was already in the guide, I’ve added some pictures to make it easier to understand


No I don’t mean you should do it, I think we can all contribute to it on discord (because it’s easier), on what is an average stat for an 80’s economic car, etc… it would be a huge work but if several people contribute it’s less complicated :slight_smile:


I understand all but i posted that for some new players that don’t know some things.


Part 2: Engine Families

First of all we have the engine family tab. Now this should serve as the base for multiple engines in different trims or even models, so you want to think about how you set up an engine here so it can be adapted for as many models as possible. Doing this saves money and engineering time.


On the left you can change the family name, and on the right the variant name (Like trims of a car).


In the top left of the screen we have the family year selector. This year has to be before the variant year.

First of all we have the configuration of the engine. At the time of writing we have 4 configurations, and a total of 13 different types of engine.

The configuration can change the way your car turns out drastically, so this choice is important.

I3 - This has the lowest costs, ET and PU of all the engine types. It is the second lightest engine type, and is generally good for budget cars that need to be produced cheaply and quickly. The downside to it is that it is very unsmooth, and also is unable to rev as high. This is available from the start of the game.


I4 - Basically a larger I3. A bit smoother, a bit more expensive, a bit higher ET and PU. This engine is most common in real life, especially in more normal and standard family cars. It is also available from the start of the game.


I5 - Between the I4 and I6 in everything. Unlocks in 1970


I6 - This is the second smoothest engine type, and currently the best engine to turbocharge because the six cylinders are all feeding into one turbo. Works well for lower end luxury or sports cars. Available from the start.


60 degree V6 - This is the lightest engine configuration, and is fairly good at everything. It is also very compact so it can fit in lots of bodies. This engine isn’t great of turbo charging, and has a much longer ET and PU than I6s, while being much less smooth. Still smoother than I4s unless you’re an idiot that makes silly I4s. Recommended for sports cars and track cars. Unlocks in 1960.


60 degree V8 - Slightly larger than a V6, and a bit heavier and smoother. Is available from the start of the game.


V12 - The largest, smoothest, most expensive, highest PU and ET engines. Very prestigious. Good for super and hypercars, and luxury cars. Available from the start.


90 degree V6 - Less smooth and reliable than a 60 degree V6. The only reason you would pick this over a 60 degree is if you have familiarity built up with 90 degree V8s. Unlocks in 1960


90 degree V8 - Smoother and more reliable than a 60 degree V8, as well as lower ET and PU. Slightly more expensive and heavier though. It can have the choice between a crossplane and flatplane crank. Available from the start.


V10 - Somewhere between a V12 and V8. Useful for when prestige matters but you can’t quite fit a V12 in an engine bay. Unlocks in 1985.


V16 - The biggest, heaviest, most prestigious engine currently in Automation. If smoothness and prestige are important, this is the one to go for, but beware that not many cars will be able to fit it at any size. Available from the start


Boxer 4 - Heavier, but a fair bit smoother than a I4. The other advantage of these is the low centre of mass they provide. This means you can usually improve handling with this engine option. Also can only have twin turbos, unlike the I4. Available from the beginning.


Boxer 6 - Less smooth and heavier than an I6, with slightly higher PU, but far smoother and with lower PU and ET than V6s. Lower centre of mass means it can improve handling. Available from the start.


Family Capacity is where you can set the maximum size of an engine family. Any variants of the engine you make can be smaller, but not larger. You can change capacity in two ways, changing bore, and changing stroke.

Bore - This is how wide the piston is. This increases weight quickly, but is also an easy way to increase capacity. A higher bore can also increase the chances of running into valve float. A lower bore lowers octane, increases smoothness, and reduces service and material costs.


Remember the flow bench I mentioned in part 1? This is the first place where you can influence that. If your valves are restricting flow, a larger bore increases the size of the valves, so reduces the restriction.

Stroke - This is the distance the piston travels. This adds less weight than increasing bore, but quickly limits RPM in the bottom end components. A lower stroke allows you to rev higher, increases smoothness, and reduces service and material costs.


When an engine has a higher bore than stroke, it is called oversquare, and when the bore is smaller than stroke, it is undersquare. Oversquare engines are usually better at revving high, although can run into valve float issues, while undersquare engines are usually lighter and more compact.

The advantages of having more pistons is that you can have a lower bore and stroke without losing displacement, so you can rev higher without running into reliability issues. They are also usually smoother. The downside is more cylinders are usually more expensive, and have higher ET and PU.

Also bear in mind that having more cylinders means you can have the same stroke and just lower displacement, so there are times where you could have an equal displacement V6 and V8 with the same stroke, but because the V8 can have a much lower bore, it could be lighter.

A good idea is to try and make stroke as high as you can to reduce weight, but just low enough to not damage your internals from high RPMs. Also bear in mind that you may want to take into account that other variants of your engine families could require a higher redline, so it is all a balancing act to reduce weight while maintaining high RPMs.

There are 4 different block materials and 3 different head materials in Automation, which can make a significant difference in making a good car.


Cast Iron - This is very heavy, cheap, and simple. Also the most reliable out of all materials, and reduces loudness the most. Available from the beginning.

Aluminium - Far lighter, but in the early years has a massive reliability penalty compared to cast iron. By the 80s and 90s it becomes reliable enough to not be too much of an issue. Aluminium heads unlock in 1950, and the block in 1960.

AlSi - Short for aluminium silicon, basically a better aluminium. Lighter, more reliable, lower ET if you match materials for head and block, and the only real downside is that it is slightly more expensive. Also matches loudness with aluminium. Any familiarity with aluminium should also help you engineer this, so there’s no reason really not to pick it vs aluminium. Unlocks in 1996.

Magnesium - This is only available for block material. Lightest of all the materials, and doesn’t have too much of a negative effect on reliability. Second quietest block. Unlocks in 2005.

You can mix materials between head and block, but this isn’t really recommended. In real life it wasn’t uncommon to see a cast iron block with an aluminium head, and in game that does also improve reliability compared to an all aluminium engine. But anything else is basically pointless and reduces reliability, for example an aluminium block with a cast iron head reduces reliability as much as an AlSi head. Mixing materials also increases PU by a small amount.

Head and valves are also very important to your engine. These can change drastically the cost, ET and PU of an engine, along with how high it can rev and how fuel efficient it is. As a general rule as you run down the valvetrain options, parts can rev higher and are more efficient, but also a lot more expensive. All valvetrain options are available from the start, but not all valve numbers are.

Pushrod (OHV) - This is incredibly basic. Cheap, low revving, and will quickly run into valve float issues. Popular on muscle cars and trucks, and is still used today, most famously on Chevrolet and Dodge muscle cars. Very compact and light too. Also much shorter than other valvetrains.


Direct Acting Overhead Cam (DAOHC) - An upgrade from OHV, and allows for a decent bit higher RPM at a slightly higher cost, and is larger and heavier. This will also develop familiarity with DOHC.


Overhead Cam (OHC) - Common in the 80s and 90s, but less so today. This is fairly usable throughout the entire game. Also the same size as DAOHC, but a bit heavier.


Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) - Double the fun of OHC. Rather expensive, but does allow for the best results. In real life this is the most commonly used type of valvetrain today. Very large and heavy.


The number of valves can also have a large effect on ET and PU.



2 - This is available for all valvetrains. Cheap and simple.

3 - This is exclusive to OHC. A nice middle ground between 2 and 4 valves.

4 - Available from the beginning for OHC and DOHC. An interesting thing to note here is that 4 valve OHC engine is better than a 2 valve DOHC, and cheaper too, but will encounter valve float earlier.

5 - Available from 1989 for DOHC only, and doesn’t allow VVL on the engine.

Increasing the number of valves can also reduces any flow restrictions the valves give in the flow bench.


Having VVL can be a major benefit as it allows you go adjust a low RPM and high RPM cam profile, allowing you to get power and still keep fuel economy. The most famous example of VVL is VTEC. In game it unlocks in 1994.


Engine Design Guide: Part 3 - Bottom End

The bottom end (also known as internals) is the core of your engine. The components you pick here can change significantly how fuel efficient, environmentally friendly, or reliable your engine is. There are 3 components to pick from here, and your first quality slider.

The first component is a crankshaft. This is what transfers power to the gearbox from the engine. It can usually take more slightly more RPM than the other two components.


Cast Iron - This is cheap and simple. Nothing more.

Forged Steel - This is stronger, can take more torque and RPM and is lighter, but requires a factory with a forge works, which is expensive, and has a higher ET and PU. Cheaper in material costs than cast iron. Available from 1956.

Billet Steel - The strongest crankshaft available. Can take a lot of torque and RPM, and is light, with a bit more ET and PU, but requires your factory to have a CNC Shop. Even cheaper than forged steel in material costs. This unlocks in 1986.

Flat Plane vs Cross Plane Cranks


If you select a 90 degree V8, you’ll be able to choose between “regular” cranks (cross plane) and flat plane cranks. From the little I actually understand about these myself, a flat plane is similar to a crank you’ll find in an inline 4 engine, and has a different firing order to cross plane. This gives it a different sound, so if you care about that, awesome for you.

Cross plane V8s are smoother, a bit more reliable, and have very slightly lower production units.

Flat planes are slightly lighter, and very slightly cheaper. They also give a very minor boost to midrange power. From my testing you’ll usually gain about 1lb-ft of peak torque, at least on NA engines.

The next component is your conrods. This connects your pistons to the crankshaft. It usually has the same limits as the pistons in RPM and torque.


Cast Iron - Cheap and simple.

Heavy Duty Cast - Useful in the early years for powerful and low revving engines as it can take a lot of torque, but has a low RPM threshold and reduces smoothness. They are also slightly heavier. Available from the start.

Heavy Duty Forged - Like the cast version, but lighter, smoother, and can take RPMs equal to a cast iron crankshaft. Requires a forge works, and is available from 1956.

Lightweight Forged - This can take more torque than cast iron, and higher RPM than anything before it. Unlocks in 1967.

Lightweight Titanium - This can take as much torque as heavy duty forged, and more RPM than any other conrod, while also being smoother than any other. Requires a CNC shop and unlocks in 1997.

The final component is pistons. Changing these can drastically change your engine’s emissions and fuel economy.


Cast Iron - Cheap and simple.

Heavy Duty Cast - Useful in the early years for powerful and low revving engines as it can take a lot of torque, but has a low RPM threshold. Also slightly heavier and less smooth. Available from the start.

Forged - This can take as much torque has heavy duty forged conrods with a bit higher RPM, but can’t rev as high as lightweight forged conrods. Forged pistons also lower octane by one RON, but increase emissions and loudness… Requires a forgeworks and is available from 1956.

Hypereutectic Cast - These pistons are like cast, but lower emissions a lot. They are also the quietest pistons. Unlock in 1970.

Low Friction Cast - These are like cast, but improve fuel economy drastically and lower emissions by a lot, while also increasing smoothn. They are also slightly more limited in RPM. Unlock in 1992.

Lightweight Forged - These can take the most RPM and torque, and improve smoothness the most, but also increase emissions a lot. Forged pistons also lower octane by one RON. Unlocks in 1992.

Next you have variant capacity. This is where you can adjust the bore and stroke of this version of the engine.


Some reasons you may reduce the size of the engine:

  • To make your car get better fuel economy

  • On a performance variant you may decrease the stroke to allow it rev higher reliably.

Reducing bore and stroke here will also reduce weight slightly, but not as much as on the family bore and stroke selector.

Next we have your first quality slider.


In simple terms, quality sliders change the year of a component, and also reduce or largely increase ET and PU depending on the direction you move the slider. On bottom end, increasing quality reduces weight, very slightly reduces cost, slightly increases reliability and largely improves smoothness. Applying lots of quality will quickly make your car very expensive, so carefully watch ET and PU when applying it.

Having tech pool in bottom end will also let you unlock engine family things such as block material earlier.


Adding to the useful threads. I forgot to do it before.


Engine Design Guide: Part 4 - Top End

The top end is where you can change the balance of power vs fuel economy the most, especially in naturally aspirated engines.

First we have compression.


This is usually best to leave for fine tuning after you’ve built your engine and are looking to maximise its potential. The most significant thing increasing compression does is increase your octane requirement. It will also improve power and fuel efficiency slightly, along with throttle response. Emissions will also increase.

I recommend using this to reduce your octane requirement first, then adjust to increase power and fuel economy as much you can. Never set compression at the beginning and tune your engine around it.

Cam profile is how wide the valves open to let air and fuel in.


A higher, or more aggressive cam profile, means the valves open wider so more fuel and air is let in the engine. Doing this means you make more power at a higher RPM, but this will quickly destroy fuel economy. It will also decrease emissions, and your engine’s octane rating. A higher cam profile will also reduce valve float.

Reducing cam profile, or making them milder, will give you a flatter, more drivable torque curve, will make your engine smoother and improve fuel efficiency up to a point. Cooling requirements will also decrease.

For more normal cars, a good guide is to aim for about 35 to 45 cam profile, and for sportier cars around 50 to 60, although don’t take this as law. Super and hypercars should go all out for power.

VVL profile is a secondary cam profile in the top end of the power band.


VVL cam profile can only be higher than the normal cam profile. Increasing it will have roughly the same effect as changing the regular cam profile, but will not affect fuel efficiency or octane requirement.

VVT (Variable Valve timing)


VVT is the main reason DOHC becomes great past the 90s. DOHC with any VVT massively improves fuel economy, and helps power. If you can afford to use it, there’s almost no negatives to using it.

VVT - Normal VVT on every valvetrain type but DOHC. It helps everywhere a bit. Only slightly increases ET but adds a couple onto PU, and reduces reliability slightly. This unlocks 1988.

VVT - Intake - This boosts fuel economy more than the fuel efficiency stat tells, while improving performance. Only available on DOHC valvetrain. Unlocks 1988.

VVT - All - A huge boost to fuel economy, with a bit of power increase. This is the main reason to use DOHC in the later years, because the bonus is so huge. Unlocks 1992.



Adding quality to top end massively increases PU and a bit to ET. It can also change how late you make peak power, and improve power higher up the rev range.


Engine Design Guide: Part 5 - Turbo Tuning

Turbos in Automation currently aren’t fantastic right now. Currently, even in 2020, they are based on 80s tech and as such you can’t tune them like real turbos or make them spool as quickly as real turbos.

Turbos can massively increase power and fuel economy if setup right, which can be tricky if you don’t know the tricks.

Turbos unlock in 1975. Engines with two cylinder banks can only have two turbos, while inline engines currently only have single turbo options.

The more cylinders per turbo, the quicker spooling the turbo will be. For this reason, boxer 4s are basically unusable to turbocharge while I6s and V16s are the best bets.

Journal Bearing vs Ball Bearing


If you can avoid it, don’t use journal bearings. End of story. Ball bearings cut down on turbo lag so much, without really having any negatives anywhere else.




Use the Flowbench for this. You never want to have your intercooler be restricting power. Set it to whatever gives you the most power, and simply lower compression if you need to.

Starting off


Ignore the presets and move straight to manually adjusting. Lower compressor and turbine to their minimums, while setting AR to its highest. This sounds wrong, but is the best way to tune turbos.

Eco tunes

Lower AR and boost pressure until they stop helping fuel efficiency or power becomes painfully low.

Sporty tunes

Increase compressor and turbine to improve power. Leave AR at 1.4. Lower compression or richen the fuel mixture so you can have a higher boost pressure. Higher boost pressure also means you can have a richer than what the max AFR says you can have too, so for hypercars keep that in mind.

On the flow bench, aim for a compressor about 0.9-0.95 and a turbine at about 0.82-0.86. These aren’t strict rules, but tend to work.



Quality can help spool up the turbo quicker. It doesn’t affect PU as much as other places, but significantly increases ET. It can also make your engine much more reliable if you have lots of boost.