Browsing: Education

In many modern vehicles, more and more systems are controlled by microprocessors. As technologically advanced sensors are able to measure various engine and driving conditions on- the-fly, the input from these sensors is collected, analyzed and submitted to a master computer. This master computer, the engine control unit (ECU) or engine control module (ECM), processes the information it receives and sends the proper output signals to the engine hardware it controls. In some cases, the signals are sent to other computer subsystems for further processing. You could have all the right parts to make the power, but if the tuning…

While performance camshafts are the most important component selection on an “All-Motor” build, many underplay the importance of proper camshaft selection on forced-induction applications. However, the reality is that a proper set of cams might easily add 100 horsepower or more at the wheels without changing boost pressure. With or without boost, the camshafts determine the behavior and character of the engine by establishing the range of peak volumetric efficiencies and cylinder filling. Camshafts also establish an engine’s emission profile and idle quality. While OEM camshafts idle smooth and polished, a more aggressive aftermarket camshaft might idle rough and raw. Understanding the function,…

Your car’s fuel system encompasses the following components; the gas tank (or fuel cell), the fuel pump(s), the fuel rail(s), and the injectors. There are two main types of fuel delivery found in modern engines: the return system and the non-return fuel system. In a return-type system, the fuel not injected by the injectors is routed back to the fuel container (gas tank or cell) by a fuel pressure regulator. In a non-return system, a pressure control valve at the pump establishes the feed line pressure so there is no excess fuel delivered to the fuel rail. When designing your…

Now that you know all of the basic parts of an engine and what they do, it’s time to understand how they work together in a system. Almost all cars use 4- stroke engines to turn the chemical energy of gasoline into power. Manipulation of the 4-stroke cycle is essential for obtaining more power from an engine. As such it’s important to know what the different parts of the cycle are and exactly how they affect power output. Text by Mike Kojima and Arnold Eugenio Photos and Illustrations by DSPORT Staff 1. SUCK If you stop to think about it,…

DO YOU FIND THAT YOU’RE ADDICTED to the thrill and speed of driving fast, but don’t know the first thing about what’s actually going on under the hood? Do you want to know more about what’s happening without having to attend Auto Shop 101? Are you intimidated by the tech at your local performance shop because he’s always trying to sell you blinker fluid, muffler bearings and other parts that you’re not sure even exist? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this is where you need to start. We’ll tell you all about the noisy chunk of…

Making your car handle well is a really complicated task if you overthink it. Ride frequencies, roll centers, camber curves, scrub radii; it’s enough to make you build show cars instead. So, I have an easy solution for you: ignore all of that stuff. Odds are that you can make your car handle better than most by knowing the following five things. Text by Dave Coleman // Photos by DSPORT Staff Number One: Tires So how do you pick the right tires? That’s a tough one. The tire industry seems determined to make tire choice as difficult as possible. Tire…

TAKE TWO NEARLY IDENTICAL VEHICLES equipped with the same drivetrain, brakes, suspension and aero. Set both vehicles to have the same exact final weight and weight balance. If the only difference is the rigidity of the chassis, do you think it will make a difference on the race track or the street? Ask any experienced race car builder or even OEM vehicle designer and the answer will be a definitive “yes.” All other factors being equal, the higher the rigidity of the chassis, the quicker the car will be around a racetrack. If that’s not reason enough to consider improving…

There are few (if any) naturally-aspirated vehicles on the road that wouldn’t benefit from forced induction for increased output. This is particularly true of vehicles with plenty of potential right from the factory. With neutral and predictable handling, a low center of gravity that rivals all but the most exotic of road cars, a curb weight around 2,700 pounds and a sticker price in the $25,000 range, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ seemed to have the makings for an incredibly fun and nimble sport-compact coupe the market has desperately desired. However, the 200 horsepower FA20 Boxer engine that adds…

When cars get old, things begin to rattle, vibrate and become loose. Most people looking to improve the suspension of their vehicle seek out performance upgrades such as a set of adjustable coilovers, sway bars and even adjustable arms. Few people realize that trying to improve a vehicle’s suspension without addressing worn out rubber bushings is pretty much pointless. However, the reality is that when bushings deflect under high-load braking and cornering, dynamic changes in camber, caster or toe will result. These changes often reduce the size of a tire’s contact patch. In the case of cars that have endured…

Dingleberry hone, ball hone, glaze buster or bead brush. Whatever nickname you might have for the tool, the original Flex-Hone was designed in 1972 to refinish cylinder walls in automotive applications. Used by machine shops, do-it-yourselfers and just about everyone in between, the Flex-Hone tool allows users to achieve a plateau finish free of cut, torn and folded material. Advantages of this type of surface include faster engine break-in, better piston ring seal and increased performance. And while the cylinder-specific Flex-Hone has been offered for years in different bore sizes and abrasives, the new Flex-Hone for Rotors uses the same…

Today’s performance spark plugs perform feats never before attempted by spark plugs of years past. Factory engines and race engines are pushing more horsepower per liter than ever before thanks in part to forced induction and direct injection. Both of these technologies put an additional stress on the engine’s ignition system. With the spark plugs representing the soldiers in the field, we decided to take a look at the technologies in use. Today, platinum and iridium have replaced nickel-alloys in many performance and long-service applications. So are a set of Iridium plugs right for you? What about the latest generation…

Prudence demands that you protect your investments. When that investment is your vehicle’s paint, it’s easy to see how difficult it is to defend. Rock chips, oxidation, ultraviolet light, bird droppings, sap, tar, brake dust…the list is long and harrowing. Fortunately, paint-protection technology has come a long way. Prior to the 1990s, defending your paint job was limited to washing/waxing, a car bra, a car cover or parking in a garage. While these methods do a reasonable job, there are obvious limitations: Waxes need to be reapplied periodically, a car bra is as attractive as a thick and bulky case…

Like cayenne pepper on a mushroom risotto, boost pressure is the seasoning in a serving of turbocharged performance. Too little boost hampers performance and produces a bland dish, while too much boost, like too much seasoning, kills your engine and puts you back in the kitchen to start all over. As many owners of turbo vehicles have discovered, the most important component control system on a turbocharged engine is the boost control system; optimization of the engine’s boost control system delivers peak performance and reliability. Ideally, boost response is maximized while power output is optimized, while at the same time,…

There is nothing as unnerving as blasting through the traps at triple-digit speeds only to find that the brake pedal has turned into a cinderblock. If you have ever been in a car that’s lost the assistance of the power brake booster, you know how “rock hard” and uncooperative the brake pedal becomes when the vacuum source is lost to the booster. Vacuum assist is also used on some vehicles to reduce clutch pedal effort too. Unfortunately, installing a set of “big” camshafts in an engine will significantly reduce the strength of the vacuum produced by the engine. The result…

Dead or dying batteries suck. Did you leave the lights on? Is your alternator going bad? Does that high tech alarm that can start the car and communicate with you from two miles away leave your battery drained after you go away for a week? Or has your once-great battery been sitting on a shelf waiting for you to finally get your project car back on the road? Regardless of the circumstance, batteries have a limited life. However, properly caring for your battery is the best way to extend its service life. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Jun…

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