Thursday, April 11, 2013

5 Engine Mods to Improve Performance

1. Forced Induction Systems.
A forced induction system includes a variety of parts that are referred to either as superchargers or turbochargers. Many manufactures equip turbochargers on their vehicles straight from the factory. For some reason or another, supercharging an engine in a stock vehicle is not nearly as common place in the auto industry. As far as I know, the supercharger in Ford's SVT lineup is the best example of a large auto company utilizing this particular system. Turbos are far more prevalent; you can see them in many Audi's, Subaru's, Mitsubishi's, the list goes on.

2. Air Filters.
Aftermarket air filters allow for more airflow into the engine for a more efficient use of the air/fuel combination, while also blocking contaminants and impurities that slowly degrade performance over time.  High-quality aftermarket air filters (versus the standard, paper-based ones that come straight from the factory) drop into the engine's air box, and that's about it for installation. And because they're made of fabric, they're washable, making for an inexpensive, reusable performance enhancer.

3. Cold Air Intake.
Although it might seem like a small thing, the temperature of the air can affect the efficiency of your car. A cold air intake kit is an aftermarket system that brings cool air into the engine. Normally, a car regulates the temperature of air as it enters the engine, providing warm air when the engine is cold, and cold air when the engine is warm. Cold air intake kits, however, can lead to higher performance and engine efficiency, based on the idea that colder air is denser than warm air, which means that it contains more of that necessary oxygen for a more dynamic combustion in the engine.

4. ECU Upgrades/Tuning.
If you drive a late-model car, it's highly likely that there's an onboard computer regulating things and running the show, controlling such functions as timing, anti-lock brakes, and the all-important fuel-to-air ratio. Performance chips (or superchips) are "hacks" that can be installed to override factory settings, and they're most attractive to gearheads since they can increase the power of the engine and horsepower. A performance chip sets new parameters for the functions of your choosing, such as telling your car's engine to use gas slightly more efficiently, or to intake more air for a bigger combustion. Installation is easy and DIY -- once you acquaint yourself with your car's electronics, simply take out the factory chip and plug in the new one, just like plugging in a chip in a desktop computer.

5. Rotating Weight/Dead Weight Reduction.
Lightweight things move faster than heavier things -- that's as basic as physics can get. This solution is simultaneously low-tech and work intensive, in that it involves switching out heavier parts of the car (throughout the car, not just in the engine block) with lighter parts so as to make the car lighter and more aerodynamic. There are a lot of options: get rid of extra seats you don't use if you don't cart a lot of people around; replace glass windows with lighter plastic or acrylic versions; or even remove parts of the dashboard. Disc brakes even offer significant weight difference over traditional brakes.

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