Browsing: Education

Your average internal combustion engine may sound smooth and composed from the outside, yet the internals work constantly to generate a series of explosions that set metal components into motion at a high rate of speed. Sure, an engine must be tough in order to produce hundreds or even thousands of horsepower. Yet the smallest inconsistency in timed motions, materials or fluids can reveal that engines are more delicate than you might think. By Cameron Parsons Fuel the Fire Before digging into the fuel system, it is best to gain a basic understanding of fuel itself. Although plenty of manufacturers…

When it comes to increasing your vehicle’s power output, forced-induction systems are the pinnacle of bolt-on performance. Out of all the bolt-on modifications available for today’s popular vehicles, forced-induction kits can offer the greatest gains in horsepower and torque. High-quality turbocharger or supercharger kits can bump power output by 40- to 50-percent. When paired with an upgraded engine foundation, forced-induction kits can double, triple or even quadruple the power production of an engine. The bottom line is forced-induction systems offer the best solution for maximum power increases. By Sami Sharaf Decision Time If you’ve decided that a forced-induction system is…

Heat is a killer. It boils fluids, starts fires, melts and warps important components. There’s no sign of frictionless engines arriving any time soon, so until then, we’re stuck with the byproduct of friction that is heat. Given that cars are filled with moving parts, electrical currents and combusting materials, it would appear that cars excel in making noise and generating dangerously high temperatures. Performance vehicles move parts even quicker, from engine internals, to transmission gears, to differentials, only making components hotter. Cooling temperatures throughout the drivetrain will not only keep a car running longer, but will potentially help it…

Racecar drivers that double as engineers will almost always excel in competition. However, the backseat-driver-equivalent of engineers that claim to be racecar drivers are the worst. These types that love to chase setup adjustments down to the molecular level, they treasure logged data and long debates about spring rates, chassis flex and roll centers. While most of their hypothetical ramblings aren’t wrong, the level of detail in their arguments frequently prove irrelevant in real world situations. One of the most important lessons anyone can learn in tuning their suspension is to fully understand how the different components work together and…

Making more horsepower and going fast is both fun and rewarding; however, there’s really no point to any of it if you cannot stop quickly and safely. While most factory braking systems prove adequate for the daily commute, going to the track or even spirited driving through the canyons could quickly expose the shortcomings of stock equipment. Fortunately, brake components can be upgraded to rein in the speed, helping you to slow down to go faster. By Richard Fong Factory brake systems often feature a compromised blend of components optimized to provide adequate cold braking performance, longevity and reduced brake…

Like eye-catching shoes, wheels make an automotive fashion statement with practical application when properly selected. Wheels are arguably the first thing that people notice about a car. They can be practical, sporty, casual or formal. The reality is wheels make more than a fashion statement, they can influence the acceleration, braking and handling of a vehicle. By Richard Fong Less is More Vehicle dynamics can be helped or hampered depending on the wheel selection. Wheels contribute to unsprung weight, which is any part of a vehicle not suspended by the springs. In addition, they contribute to rotational inertia, which must…

It’s surprising how little is understood about tires. Just look at the number of cars with tires worn down to the belts lining up at your local tire shop when the first rain of the season begins to arrive. What’s worse is that some people think tires are just chunks of rubber used to cushion their vehicle’s ride. They couldn’t be more wrong. As the only components that make contact with the ground, tires serve an important role, delivering mechanical grip, comfort and safety. By Richard Fong The Right Class of Tires Tires provide mechanical grip (traction) for your car.…

When Magnus Ohlaker (head machinist and engine assembler at Club DSPORT’s Engine Development Facility) was asked “what is your favorite aftermarket engine?”, we never expected Magnus to say the Subaru EJ257. Later, we learned it was because Magnus had assembled over 400 of these engines while working at Cosworth Engineering. At Subaru, the EJ257 engine remains one of the most popular platforms for motorsports use. While its direct-injection descendants (FA-series) may eventually become even more popular, the EJ257 will continue to be a favorite of enthusiasts for many years to come. By Michael Ferrara Case (Block) History All of the…

Human cognition is a mind-blowing phenomenon that’s capable of incredible processes like abstract thinking, high-level computation and lightning-fast heuristics. Even though the list of amazingly complex procedures the human brain can process is long, there are still simple things that are completely incomprehensible. The dollar figure of the national debt, the space of our solar system or the amount of energy in an internal combustion engine are just a couple examples of concepts that are extremely difficult to wrap your head around. Text and Photos by Sami Sharaf Each Pulstar spark plug features a high-purity ceramic insulator which is engineered…

Smooth versus lumpy idle. Instant off idle response or lazy low end. Asthmatic high-RPM performance or a screamer to redline. When it comes to the personality traits of an engine, the control of the valve events is the primary influence of the engine’s behavior. For about the first 100 years of modern internal combustion engines, the absence of variable valve lift and variable valve timing technology meant an engine’s personality was solely determined by the profile of the camshafts. As a result, engine personalities were single minded. Text by Michael Ferrara // Photos by Mikiko Akaogi Multi-Personality Desires Muscle-car engines…

How can you make $100-million disappear into thin air? If you go the NASA route in 1998, you fire a probe into space to float out to who-knows-where. Years of hard work and thousands of calculations went into the development of the Mars Surveyor ’98 program. However, a simple mismatch in Imperial and metric units of measurement in the navigation software sent the probe flying in the wrong direction, deeming the project a failure. This goes to show that inaccurate data can lead to catastrophe on large scale projects. Realizing the importance of accurate measurements, Innovate Motorsports steps into the…

If your car were an orchestra and the engine the conductor, the exhaust system would be made up of horned instruments. Sure the band could play without the brass, but the melody would be off and it’ll sound like crap. When it comes to understanding how aftermarket exhaust systems work, the truth seems to be clouded with some complex and rather confusing theories. Here, we’ll outline how performance exhaust systems function, important features to consider, costs associated with aftermarket systems and ultimately how you can best select an exhaust for your car. By Sami Sharaf Peer Pressure If you do…

Many of the most performance-enhancing parts of a car are also the most inconspicuous. When looking in an engine bay, high performance pistons or camshafts hide behind the veil of the engine block and valve covers, wearing no badge on the surface of the power these parts help produce. The same concept applies to any vehicle’s suspension system. While upgrades in the way of sway bars, shock absorbers, springs and control arms can improve a car’s handling, the performance of these components starts with where the suspension pieces link together. Polyurethane bushings like Energy Suspension’s Hyper-Flex product line replaces the…

Testing the Response Time of Popular Wideband Controllers For about a year, AEM electronics has wanted us to get the word out about its X-Series Wideband UEGO AFR sensor controller and gauge. This new series is promoted as being the world’s “fastest responding wideband” in independent testing. AEM Electronics asked if we would publish the results of this third party testing and we politely answered “no.” The reason was simple; we weren’t the third party conducting the test and we weren’t the company paying for the test to be conducted. A laboratory contracted by AEM Electronics conducted the testing. As…

You think throwing a rod while driving on the freeway is scary? Imagine complete engine failure 30,000 feet above ground in an airplane. While you let that frightening visual sink in, know that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforces some of the strictest regulations on aircraft repair and maintenance. So what’s that have to do with automotive tech and performance? Many of the demanding procedures laid out by the FAA on the care of aircraft engines can be directly applied to the care of your street or track car. Text and Photos by Sami Sharaf The Inside Scoop One of…

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