The single biggest flaw with the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 can be summed up in two words. “TORQUE DIP”. This terrible spot in the rev band around 4000rpm is where the car’s stock torque curve just falls on its face faster than a dog with no legs.

FR-S Torque Dip Main

What this means is that should you shift a little too early, at full throttle, you shift and you’re dead smack in that torque dip, and that stock Miata you’re running the canyons with starts to pull away. Ouch. We love the FR-S, BRZ and Toyota 86, don’t get us wrong, but that torque dip really holds back an otherwise great little car. Fortunately, fixing it is a lot easier than you’d think.


You can fix this terrible torque dip problem with relative ease – here’s a few simple mods that get rid of that nasty torque dip without having to resort to a supercharger, turbo or nitrous. DANGER TO MANIFOLD, Bro! So let’s skip on the forced induction for now (though we do offer FR-S Turbo Kits, Toyota 86 and BRZ Supercharger Kits and focus on how to get rid of the dip on an NA car.

The first order of business is going to be a tune.


A tune is only half of the puzzle here and the starting point for fixing that damnable torque dip.

A Vishnu Performance OpenFlash Tablet is good for up to +20whp right out of the box running regular fuel, but if you switch over to E85 fuel, you can pick up as much as +25whp and +30wtq. A handful of other tuning options are available, but Vishnu and ECUTEK are really the only viable options as of press time.


OFT Open Flash Tablet For FR-S and BRZ

You can go with either a “Canned” or “Off The Shelf” tune that’s already loaded into the OFT when you get it, or you can see a local reputable tuner and have a map tailored to your car exactly. Even with the same car with the same mods, the output can sometimes vary from car to car, as weird as that sounds, it’s true.


We’ve already discussed how to run E85 in your FR-S, Toyota 86 or BRZ and covered the Vishnu OpenFlash Tablet in greater detail in that post if you’d like to know more about getting a Vishnu OFT for your Toyobaru.

The second part of fixing the torque dip on an FR-S, Toyota 86 or BRZ is a header.

UEL Comparisons

Peak gains for headers at best, is about +20whp/wtq, but in the critical torque dip, torque increases by about 14wtq on regular pump gas. Borla has two great options available and you’ll see these acronyms a lot – UEL and EL. UEL stands for UNEQUAL length, EL being Equal Length. The main difference between the two is the sound, as performance is about the same. On the upside, whichever header option you go with, you’ll be saving about 10lbs over the stock header.


 Borla’s Unequal Length headers are slightly less expensive and this type of header gives you that signature “boxer rumble” you know and love from modded WRX’s & STi’s. 

Borla’s Equal Length headers offer a normal exhaust sound and more balanced feel, but both headers will offer very similar gains in HP and torque.  As there’s more piping than the UEL header, the Equal Length header costs a little bit more than the UEL, but offers a nice smooth exhaust note without the rumble characteristic of a Boxer engine.
Fitting a header, IN CONJUNCTION WITH A TUNE, will make a big difference in eliminating that torque dip and give your Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ the power and torque it should have come with from the factory.
So in conclusion, to fix the FR-S Torque Dip, a Tune and Header is a fantastic way to give the car a serious boost in HP, much more than you’d get with many other upgrades. Complementing those mods by running E85 (if it’s available in your area – E85 is readily available in most of SoCal and much of the Midwest) – and the power gains from just the tune and E85 fuel alone are fantastic improvements to help you get more power from your FA20.

The right combination of parts can make all the difference, so be sure to talk to the Mod Experts at ModBargains about your build and what your goals for the car are before you drop a stack of cash on your next set of Mods to be sure you’re getting the most power for your modding dollar.

Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to the Best Mods for Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86, then talk to our team of Mod Experts – chat with the Mod Expert team live at, give us a call at 714-582-3330 or just stop by the ModAuto install facility here in La Habra, CA any day during business hours.

Story by Nick Gregson in collaboration with Charles Pages