105hp vs. 130hp 1.9 heads

Story and details
Update: 2.0T head
Update: 2.0 head
Data, conclusion

The difference between the "economy" XU heads and the GTI versions

When I built the second 1.9 engine for my project, from a cheap 105hp (DFZ) motor and a GTI (D6B, 130hp) head, I was expecting it to make 120 hp at most, because I would still have lower compression than a GTI, right? Well, not entirely, but I'll get to that later.

Anyway, while swapping the head there was a moment when I had both heads on the bench at the same time and out of curiosity, I started looking for differences. On various Peugeot and Citroen forums I have heard discussions about how to extract 130hp from a 105hp engine (CTI, Rallye) so I thought I'd publish my results and show you all what the real differences are and what's needed to convert yours.

Note that I will only talk about the mechanical side of things. I have not (yet?) looked into what changes are needed to the fuel injection and perhaps the distributor advance curves, if any, to make use of the extra power. It's probably easiest to use a GTI ECU, injectors and distributor but other combinations might work as well.

By the way, most pictures can be clicked to enlarge. At times, the story can get a bit technical. I will also try to explain HOW I measured things. But feel free to skip to the next section if you don't know what the *** I'm talking about :-)


As many of you will know, both heads look the same from the outside. All gaskets and manifolds are interchangeable too. But that's superficial. It's actually quite surprising that Peugeot / Citroën managed to cram two completely different heads into the same package.

The most obvious differences


It's widely known that the GTI came with a "wilder" camshaft from the factory. It has both more lift and longer duration. The picture tells the whole story. I probably don't even need to tell you which is which, so I won't :p

I did use a dodgy method to measure lift. Assuming the duration is less than 360 crankshaft degrees (that's 180 camshaft degrees!) the base circle is easily measured as the width of the "egg shaped" cam lobe. Turns out both cams, although very different profiles, measured the exact same lobe width, so I assume this is a valid way to measure camshaft base circle. Then I measured cam lobe height (the height of the "egg"), and subtracted the base circle. It's that simple! Note: it could be that my cams are old and worn, so take the numbers for what they're worth.

Turns out the GTI head has 0.7mm more valve lift on the intake side and 1.5mm on the exhaust side! Hardly surprising, but it's good to have real numbers.

There are some more subtle differences too. That Allen bolt you see on one of the timing side cam bearing caps in the picture holds a "clip" that deals with end-play. On the other type, the flywheel side (!) cam bearing cap does that job.

Also, the "slow" head has an extra lobe on the distributor side to drive the fuel pump on carbed cars. It's also there (unused) on EFI cars with the same cylinder head : "one cam fits all".

It is said that the GTI camshaft won't fit a 105hp head. Could be true, the head casting around the buckets does look slightly different. I haven't tried it though, or tried to measure the casting. With all the other differences I found, I reckoned just a cam swap would not be of much use anyway.

Valve size

The GTI not only has a wilder cam, it has bigger valves too. And to make optimal use of them, the combustion chamber was reshaped to improve flow out the intake valve. I'll provide more details about this in the next section. The valves are about 5% bigger each, resulting in 5% bigger circumference and therefore 5% more flow area. Combined with the extra lift in the cam, this is a large change! Exact sizes listed below. These are not effective valve sizes : I simply measured the outer diameter.

Less obvious changes

Combustion chamber shape

On the "slower" head, there is a "vertical wall" really close to the intake valve. On a GTI, this "wall" is moved away a bit from the valve and sits at an angle. That should help airflow out the valve greatly.

A more important difference is in depth. I thought my eyes were betraying me, but it's true - the 105hp combustion chamber is much deeper than the GTI chamber. Unfortunately I didn't really have a way to measure it reliably, so, using a tape measure, a ruler and repeating it several times, I found the difference is roughly 2.6mm.

With help of a few straight-on pictures of the combustion chambers, I estimated combustion chamber volume, taking area as well as depth into account. I won't bore you with the exact data but I will tell you this:

Given a compression ratio of 8.4:1 for the CTI, the compression ratio of a hybrid engine using a GTI head on a DFZ block.with the standard DFZ pistons(!) would be 9.4:1 - just because of the reduced combustion chamber volume in the head! I know a D6B has 9.6:1 compression ratio, so I suspect there is either still a small difference between both piston types or simply an inaccuracy in my measurements.
(Side note : It would be interesting to see whether a DKZ head is the same since it has a bit lower compression than a D6B. I suspect it is. For reasons I'll explain later, the combustion chamber shape is much harder to change, so most likely the small difference between DKZ and D6B is in the pistons).

Port shape

If you run your fingers down the intake ports of the 105hp head, you will feel the port makes a pretty sharp turn down near the valve seat. Then try the GTI head and the same bend will be noticeably smoother, even though the rest of the port looks very similar from outside. There is no big difference visible from the manifold side. I have but one explanation for this. Remember the combustion chamber "ceiling" ? It's lower in the GTI head, requiring a slightly longer valve AND leaving more room above the valve for a smoother bend in the port!

Port size

Looks roughly the same. There is definitely a difference down where it counts, near the valve. It is slightly wider down there, but there does not appear to be a difference on the manifold side of the port.

Skip the 2.0 part and look at the measurements and conclusion.

Update : 2.0T head

Thanks to Rudy I now also have facts and figures of a 2.0T head. We're discussing the 2.0 8v turbo engine, XU10J2TE, found in for example 605, 806, Xantia and XM. It makes about 150 hp and LOTS of torque. But it peaks out at very low rpm, roughly 1000 rpm lower than the non turbo version of the same engine. This made us think there's more power to be had, even without upping the boost. Of course turbo sizing or other factors could be the cause, but, given the 1.9 data I had gathered, Rudy was wondering how his 2.0T head would compare. Perhaps we would find the answer in there.

You may think we're comparing apples to oranges here because bore and stroke are different and that makes a completely different engine right? Well, not completely, because the 8 valve heads haven't changed much at all. The castings look VERY similar, making them hard to tell apart. Even with a tape measure in hand, because bore spacing is still the same! Crankshafts and camshafts will even interchange.

As you can see below, the 2.0T head has nice big valves. The combustion chambers are even more shallow than in the GTI head. The spark plug is not nearly vertical like on the 1.9's but it's placed at an angle, pointed at the center of the combustion chamber, in a curve neither 1.9 has (see top of picture). That makes a second quench area, giving the combustion chamber a bit more of a tight "ball" shape. Again there is a LOT of space around the intake valve. All in all it's looking very good, good for high rpm use too. Still kinda contradicts the numbers...

The camshaft shows a different story. It's even milder than the 105hp 1.9 camshaft. Lift on the intake side is the same, exhaust side even less. And look at that profile. I couldn't measure it, but if you compare it to the 105hp camshaft above it really looks like it has shorter duration. (note: the GTI camshaft might look like it has short duration too, but it doesn't - the pointy look is because of its extra lift!)

So the 2.0T has been detuned. Perhaps the intention was to spool up the turbo sooner or hide its response a bit. Remember this engine was sold in comfy luxury cars rather than sports cars. We haven't tried yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if even the naturally aspirated 2.0 camshaft would be a big improvement! More adventurous people might try the 1.9 GTI camshaft if it will fit (it looks like it).

Just don't forget that swapping cams on a MAP based engine requires EFI (chip?) mods. There is no airflow meter to correct for the extra airflow, so you WILL run lean and damage your engine!

Update : 2.0 head

Added the numbers from a non turbo 2.0 8v, a multipoint injected model. Note the large difference between this camshaft and the turbo one. Any difference between the valves and combustion chambers are probably just down to measuring slightly dirty vs. squeaky clean parts. The heads themselves seem to be the same, there is just a totally different camshaft that explains why a non turbo 2.0 does perform like you would expect, unlike the 2.0T.


Here's the hard data. Numbers. Facts. Figures...
Measurement 105hp (standard) 130hp (GTI)XM 2.0 (122hp)2.0T (150hp)
Intake valve diameter39.5 41.5 42.742.4
Exhaust valve diameter33.0 34.7 34.634.3
Intake valve lift 10.5 11.2 11.010.5
Exhaust valve lift 9.7 11.2 11.09.35
Combustion chamber depth10.6 8.0 7.37.0


To sum all this up, the GTI head is really a well thought nice piece of work, with the smoother ports, bigger valves, wilder cam and a nice increase in compression ratio all built in. Everything you can think of that will fit in the same package has changed for the better over the "standard" head. You obviously can't just swap over the cam and expect a "slow" head to make 130 hp. You probably wouldn't even get halfway. I think 115 is the most you might expect from just the cam, with a LOT of luck as you will be using a cam that favors an rpm range the rest of the head does not and vice versa.

On the other hand, swapping over the whole head, but only the head, DOES probably give you the whole 130hp because it even "fixes" the compression difference! And face it ; a head gasket kit isn't THAT expensive, so just get and swap the whole thing if you had access to a cam anyway. Besides, original valve seals are likely to need replacement (now or soon) anyway and they're included in any good HG kit, plus you will have relatively easy access to them too.

And the 2.0T already comes with all the good stuff, except for a decent camshaft!