We look at what it takes to build a 10 second car and examine the power and weight requirements to reach the sub 11 second goal on the drag strip.
Follow our tips and you can make a 10 second car quite cheaply and within your budget with some power mods and serious weight reduction. Read More...
When it comes to Turbo tuning you have pretty much unlimited potential and a wide selection of options.
The more power you want from a turbo the greater the amount of heat it will generate and the bigger the stress on the internal components. Read More...
In a performance engine you should never underestimate the need for adequate cooling.
All water cooled cars work on the principle of water being pumped around the engine and then to a radiator where it releases the heat.
Most water pumps are mechanical and run off the crank. Read More...
Remote turbo charger kits
"Remote turbo – local power"
There is a growing trend in the car tuning community of adding a remote turbo to a car.
We take a look at this modification and look at the pros and cons of remote turbos.
A conventional turbo is fitted pretty much on the engine in line with the exhaust header manifold.
A remote turbo is fitted much further down the exhaust than a convention turbo which is typically located in the engine bay.… Read More...
You’ve finished tuning up your engine but you find that at full throttle the engine splutters or stalls. When you get the car on a diagnostic you find that the knock sensor is kicking in to protect the engine.
Engine knock is a condition where the fuel inside the engine ignites prematurely and occurs within an engine running at high compression. (It can also be caused by other factors including low octane/poor quality fuel or hot spots within the engine.) Read More...
We look at how spoilers work? We also explain the difference between a spoiler and a wing. Spoilers are generally closer to the body of the car and help diffuse the air.
Wings are mounted much higher up and have an aerodynamic effect of creating downforce Read More...
Performance gains are possible with the addition of bonnet vents.
Warm air really does kill performance. This is due to the air intake temperatures being hot and air at high temperatures carries less oxygen.
When driving an engine hard the under bonnet temperatures quickly build up and the engine has no choice but to suck this air in reducing your power. Read More...
Uprating brakes is an essential modification.
"There's always time for a brake!"
Brakes – part of going fast requires that one is able to stop as fast.
The brake works with a friction pad, which is pressed against a Disc – the friction converts the momentum of the car into heat which is then dissipated over the brake disc slowing up the car.
Heat is a big problem with heavy braking and a racecar must be prepped to cope with the high heat demands placed on the braking system.… Read More...
"Time for something DIFFrent"
Every car has a slip diff but with a few tweaks you can totally transform your cars performance in the wet and other low grip conditions.
In a recent track test a Megane 225 Sport with a Limited slip diff out performed a number of more powerful cars on a wet track which goes some way to show how important this often overlooked part of the car is.
TorqueCars members also appreciate the value of this straightforward cost effective modification.… Read More...
Being able to change gear as quickly as possible can make a big difference in time critical situations like drag racing and even track day racing.
The slowest component in any car is the driver and there is little that can be done to improve that. A quick shift kit will help to give you the competitive edge by enabling faster gear changes and allowing more ‘feel’ by reducing play. Read More...
Many tracks insist that cars are fitted with roll cages and or roll bars. In motor sport competitions you will see that most regulations also insist on a roll-cage. What is the job of a roll cage and are there any advantages to having one fitted? More and more Torquecars members cars are being fitted with roll cages, so is this just a new styling trend or is there something beneficial to the car tuner?
Roll cages offer protection to the driver and tighter body control. Read More...
Blow off valves and dump valves.
When the throttle is closed (when you lift off the accelerator) in a turbo driven engine there is a build up of pressure as forced air is still coming from the turbo. Lifting off the throttle is a lot like putting a plug in the sink – the flow through is stopped and water would just build up and overflow the sink. Read More...
Camshafts durations and profiles.
"Cam(alot) of power!"
Cam profiles and cam durations.
The cam shaft controls the inlet and outlet ports. A pear shaped lobe on the shaft keeps the valve closed until the pointy bit rotates producing lift and opening the valve. Double overhead cams have separate profiles for inlet and outlet ports and are more tunable than single overhead cams.… Read More...
The heads primary job is the mixing of fuel and air and delivering this to the combustion chamber.
Any turbulence or drag can restrict the air flow into the engine starving you of power. So this TorqueCars article will focus on the intake valves and how they can be improved.
The aim of head tuning is both to maximise the amount of air and fuel that gets into the engine, and to improve the mixture. Read More...
Fine tuning your suspension setup for your driving style.
"Things are bound toe improve!"
Many people just concentrate on lowering the car and assume that stiffer springs and the lower ride height will improve handling.
However there are many other settings for your suspension which can make a massive difference to the handling before you even think about changing components.… Read More...
The best spark plugs & HT leads improve performance.
"Lets spark up about engines"
An efficient engine needs a good supply of cold air laden with oxygen.
The correct mixture of fuel and a good spark to ignite the mixture.
The two main components of a plug are:-
1)The ceramic casing which is a good insulator and
2)The electrodes from the central tip and the negative pick up contact which is connected to the engine block.
The advantages of adding an aftermarket intercooler.
"Keeping your cool"
One problem with a Turbo is the close proximity of the cold intake charge with the hot exhaust temperatures within the turbo.
Don't forget that a big air intake heat rise comes from the actual compression of air so even supercharged engine will benefit from an intercooler.
If you have ever felt the nozzle on a tyre pump you will realise that when air is compressed it gains heat.… Read More...
General engine tuning tips
Engine Tuning an overview.
Engine tuning depends largely on the base engine size and to a large degree depends on the amount of tuning done at the factory. The larger the engine the larger the gains will be.
Each type of engine have different characteristics for example the Honda VTEC is very high revving.
However a large v8 lump provides power in a very lazy manner at low revs.
Adding turbos or superchargers further alter the characteristics of the engine and some modifications will actually cause a loss of power if applied to the wrong engine type.… Read More...
So what exactly is engine knock and how dangerous is it? What causes engine knock and how can it be avoided?
You may notice a knocking or rattling noise from your engine or a sudden loss of power under full throttle.
Immediately back off the throttle and only use low rpm engine speeds until you can get the engine investigated.
The chances are that you are suffering from a condition known as “engine knock”. Read More...
Tuning turbo engines.
"A lot of hot air."
What is a turbo. If you go back to your childhood you probably remember those windmills sold at the seaside. Imagine a windmill with 2 propellers back to back.
As the wind blows the first propeller a shaft turns the second one and it will blow air in your direction.
A turbo contains 2 impellers which are located in the exhaust flow and along the intake path. The exhaust side rotates as the exhaust gases flow and this turns the impeller on the intake effectively sucking in fresh air.… Read More...
"Play it safe."
When one starts modifying a car, little thought is usually given to the safety of the car.
Manufacturers spend millions to ensure our cars are safe for the occupants and those outside the car.
Each country has its own list of regulations that even the DIY car tuner has to comply with. They usually relate to the construction of the car.… Read More...
From a diesel perspective, anything that isn’t turbocharged is a waste of time from a tuning point of view. Similarly, anything that isn’t using electronically managed direct injection is a pointless tuning proposal so we are somewhat limited to modern Turbo Diesels.
Get rid of those two ointment bound flies and things get more interesting Read More...
Maximise your performance gains with strict weight reduction.
"Weight reduction. Putting your car on a diet.."
Lighter cars are quicker and the handling is much better.
Obviously taking out the seats, carpets, radio, seat belts, headlining and air conditioning will turn the family car into a rather impractical daily hack.
But throwing in a few bean bags for the kids to sit on will not add much to the weight (Please note that it would not be legal or safe to sit your children on a bean bag in a car!).… Read More...
The days of fiddling around in the engine bay with a spanner to make the car go faster are numbered.
Modern engine computers (ECU’s) take over many of the controls of all aspects of engine management from timing to fuelling and more.
This actually means you get better power, a cleaner burn and more reliable engine but it does not mean the end of tuning. Read More...
Tuning the cars engine for better MPG means reducing power.
"Tuning for Stingy people"
Tuning for better MPG.
Tuning for economy. With the rising price of fuel one question TorqueCars frequently gets asked is how can a car be tuned for maximum economy. Short of getting the family to push the car everywhere there is a little that can be done to improve fuel economy.… Read More...
Let’s take a look at ways to tune a car engine and what exactly we mean by engine tuning.
First up we have to accept that there are many different types of engines.
We can only cover generic theory in this article on how to tune a car and suggest if you want more specific advice you sign up to our car forums where our helpful and friendly members will assist you further. Read More...
With the poor winter driving conditions hitting the UK in 2010 many drivers are looking at winter tyres. Other countries are prepared for the snow and poor weather and are used to the concept of winter tyres.
So what are winter tyres, what do they do and are they a good idea? Read More...
The turbo is driven by the exhaust gases and the faster the exhaust flows the quicker the turbo spins and more air gets forced in to the engine.
If too much air is forced into the engine then it will run lean. This causes an intermittent loss of power and you also risk putting too much pressure on the engine with a surge of power. Read More...
Back in the good old days – the task of timing the ignition spark was performed by the distributor. The greater the RPM, the more the timing would advance.
This did a reasonable job but for the most effective power you would need to vary the timing to a greater degree than a fixed ratio advance curve. The electronic ignition system was borne. Read More...
Choice of fuel becomes more critical in a high compression or turbo engine.
"One of my Pet(rol) hates!"
Fuel: this is regulated by a pressurise valve at the engine end – generally more fuel means more power but you also need more air as well – certainly an induction kit on larger engines and preferably a turbo or supercharger.
If the mixture is too rich a catalyst would be destroyed as unburned fuel enters the catalyst and burns inside it melting the catalytic structure so there is a delicate balance to maintain. … Read More...
The valves are like the doorways into the engine and control the flow of the intake air and fuel and then after combustion they control the exit of the exhaust gases.
As you can guess the valve springs work incredibly hard, and as you increase the power of your engine the valve choice is vital.
TorqueCars will now take a look at the many considerations taken into account when selecting valve springs. Read More...
The main areas for engine balancing.
"A balanced article."
We all know what happens when a wheel is fitted to a car without being balanced.
At low speeds you do not notice it but at higher speeds noticeable vibrations start to appear.
Inside an engine the rotational speeds typically reach 6-7000 rpm and, the higher the speed, the more critical it is to ensure that vibrations do not occur.… Read More...
Some rally style alloy wheels are lighter – (less weight = more speed) and also are designed to increase the cooling of the brake disks.
Some designs hold up better to being curbed than others and some break very easily when hitting a pothole or curb at speed.
Always go for the best quality alloy wheel that you can afford and read the reports and reviews. If you do go for a different overall size you must get the suspension and tracking realigned to avoid uneven wear under acceleration. Read More...
Giggle gas – something to put a smile on your face.
"Giggle Gas – Nitrous Oxide (N20) the power button!"
NB: NoS is a brand name of a company but many confuse this with the name of the gas Dinitrous Monoxide AKA – Nitrous Oxide N20, Dinitrous Monoxide, Dinitrogen oxide also referred to as Nitrous or giggle gas (from its medical usage as an anaesthetic.
It was used in wartime to boost the engines in aircraft and later became a big hit in drag racing in the Pro Mod class. Not a flammable gas in itself it is injected into the intake manifold where it mixes with air & fuel. The main benefit of Nitrous comes as it burns and becomes an oxidiser releasing more oxygen into the engine.… Read More...
Can 'Diesel' Really Be Part of Our Vocabulary?
"2007 – The Year Of The Diesel Hot Hatch"
Looking forward to a new year always requires a look back at the trends that developed last year. What was cutting edge in the automotive industry in the first 6 months of 2006 is bound to be main stream come August.
I guess we all new subconsciously that it would come, maybe we tried to convince ourselves that oil-burners could never give us that grin inducing performance.… Read More...
Superchargers offer the promise of substantial power gains with very few drawbacks. So lets look at the growing popularity of supercharger kits and see what its all about.
A supercharger is quite simply an air compressor which helps push more air into an engine. These are driven by a belt from the engine effectively creating pull on the engine sapping up to 30% of the engines power. Read More...
Flywheel lightening and its impact on engine performance.
"No Fly(wheels) on us."
Lightening the flywheel – the flywheel works in a similar way to the wheel in the toy cars you used to rev up and release and let it zoom off. The heavy wheel located between the engine and the gearbox builds up rotational force with speed and momentum.
Effectively storing the energy and helping the car resist changes in engine speed – good for cruising at a steady speed but bad when you need a fast engine response. … Read More...
Catalysts are a vital component in our modern tree hugging environmentally conscious society. First TorqueCars will look at what a catalyst does and how it works.
A catalyst is actually a term used to explain anything which accelerates or performs a chemical reaction. In a car the exhaust fumes are fed through a matrix of ceramic honeycomb lined with precious metals. Read More...
Our members frequently talk about their latest mods and power figures. Many of our members have remapped their diesel engines and boast of more power, better economy and unchanged reliability.
But do the claims live up to reality? What sort of power figures can you get from a diesel remap? Diesels have really come so far in a very short time. Read More...
This phenomenon known as brake fade can be quite unexpected and lethal and I would hazard a guess that 1 in 4 cars are likely to experience brake fade to some degree. Brake fade manifests itself by a spongy feel on the pedal and little or no braking force. Do not confuse brake fade with bad brakes or a mechanical fault as it applies to brake systems in relatively good condition. Read More...
The inlet and outlet ports on the engine block are usually larger than those of the manifolds that connect to them.
This allows for scope in the manufacturing process to allow for mismatched alignment.
Generally the engine ports are larger in the upstream flow direction avoiding turbulance but power gains can be made by matching these up. Read More...
Engine swaps and transplants.
"Insane engine swaps"
A popular modification with Torquecars members involves a complete engine swap and remains one of the most cost effective modifications you can do.
As long as there is sufficient space in the engine bay any engine can be made to work in any car although in most cases the work involved is prohibitive to say the least.
In an ambitious project you would have to strip the car to a shell and create custom drive train, create a custom gearbox and make a one off loom to cope along with a totally new engine computer.… Read More...
You can increase the power of an engine by increasing its capacity. This is a fairly involved process and requires a good deal of research and preparation. Unless you want to have to retrace your steps and go a different route midway in to the job.
Some of TorqueCars.com members have had their engines rebored ,and this does seem a good way to increase power. However there are a few things we should take into account. Read More...
The basic reason for forced induction (turbo or supercharger) is not to increase compression or the maximum pressure in an engine cylinder, it is to increase volumetric efficiency (the efficiency of the engine at drawing in air) although forced induction is the most effective method of upping compression.
In computer games we just tick a box, and within seconds our car is fully turbocharged and running much faster. In the real world things are very different. Read More...
Performance tyres, selection and tyre tread patterns.
"If you're feeling tyred!"
The importance of your cars tires should never be overlooked. A cheap tyre (NB:UK Spelling, USA – Tires!) can reduce your ability to corner on a dry surface by as much a 10-20 mph. In the wet this difference can be much much greater. Most performance tyres are best in the dry but there are some good all round tyres.
Both work on the same principle they blow air into the engine under pressure. Both have a turbine which spins up depending on the engine speed and the higher the revs the greater the volume of air is forced into the engine. But there are some major differences between the two and which is best for your project? Read More...
Lets look at the job of the coil in the spark system and see what it does.
Just as a power transformer converts mains 240 volts into a usable 9 volts for your charger or appliance a coil will increase the voltage.
A car battery/alternator will produce a paltry 12volts, certainly not enough to jump an air gap and create a spark.
An ignition coil raises the voltage in some installations between 20 and up to 40,000 volts and this allows the creation of a spark which can jump the air gap between the plugs. Read More...
Careful selection of your internal engine tuning modifications can lift your engine from a purring kitten into a roaring lion!
While it is tempting to throw in every modification you can, it’s worth noting that not all mods work well together. This is something we cover in our articles as we steer you to the right decision on mods for your car. Read More...
As induction kits are probably one of the most popular modifications for car tuning projects we thought we should add a introductory article to explain what they are, what they do and the theory behind them.
An induction kit is quite simply an air filter. Most cars have air filters mounted in an air box. These filters are generally constructed of paper which filters out the particles from the air and prevents these from getting into the engine. The airboxes are designed to reduce the noise of the engine and have various vanes and angles cut to maximise this noise reduction. Read More...
The clutch takes the engine power, and puts this down through the drive shaft, to the driven wheels on the road but allows you to disengage the engine whilst performing a gear change.
Contact like this requires a lot of grip and a fast response. The more power you have the harder it is for the clutch to operate. Read More...