Browsing: Education

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…

“Impressive” is a massive understatement when referring to the capabilities of Nissan’s R35 GT-R. With highly-tuned factory-engine/factory-turbo R35s breaking into the 9s and highly-modified, big-turbo/built-engine variants in the high 7s and low 8s, the performance potential is simply unbelievable. Today, trap speeds indicate that some of these GT-Rs are putting out over 1,800 horsepower to the ground. The vehicle that was touted at its launch as being “un-tunable” is now the recipient of some of the best-engineered aftermarket products in the world. While not a platform that can fit into everyone’s budget, those that do purchase the GT-R seem intent…

Racers, their tuners, and like-minded enthusiasts have propelled the tuning industry to once unimaginable new heights. Tuners and consumers alike have gained volumes of knowledge. Thanks to reflash tuning solutions for factory ECUs and greater availability of plug-and-play stand-alone engine management systems, vehicle performance has taken great strides. But with strides come greater risks, and the precision of engine tuning can make the difference between big power or big problems. Text and Photos by Richard Fong IDEAL RATIOS For a combustion engine, proper function hinges on the delivery of a proper air-to-fuel ratio. But what is the ideal ratio? With…

Knock knock. Who’s there? Your blown engine. The four-cycle combustion engine has come quite a long way in its evolution and thanks to technology; it has risen to a precise science. Although precision is great, it also leaves little margin for error, especially at extreme boost pressures and high engine speeds. There are any number of events that could occur which have the potential to cause damage to an engine. One of the worst events is engine knock, the not so silent killer of engines. Like high blood pressure and some forms of cancer, early detection of knock can be…

Sometimes tough luck will find you at the worst possible moment. The only thing you can do is assess the situation, formulate a game plan and execute it. Project Silvia’s SR23 presented an unusual hurdle as we prepared for a NASA HPDE track event. During a routine oil change, an unexpected part had found its way into the oil pan. Attached to the magnetic oil drain bolt was the oil jet that lubricates the timing chain. Text and Photos by Richard Fong Small Part, Hard To Access The press fit oil jet somehow dislodged itself from the block and luckily…

As the import performance tuning world continues to set performance records that seemingly defy physics with built versions of the Nissan R35 GT-R, the capabilities of the Nissan 370Z are sometimes forgotten. The 370Z, brother to the only currently produced Japanese supercar, continues to deliver one of the best bang-for-the-buck performance values in the world. However, adding truly significant power gains while maintaining 50-state emissions compliance hasn’t been an option. CARB legal intake and exhaust upgrades might add a total of 10-to-20 horsepower; raising the VQ37’s output to 300-to-310 peak wheel horsepower (if you’re lucky). Bigger power gains previously required…

Race fuel is for racing? Of course it is. Anyone who’s heavily involved in motorsports is likely to have a collection of cars and parts along with a supply of five and 55-gallon fuel containers. But, why does racing require race fuel? Does higher quality race fuel make more power? Absolutely. In fact, race fuels can produce more power and reliability when combined with the proper engine calibration. The tune for the engine must be optimized to match the burn rate, specific gravity, and stoichiometry of each fuel. The ideal ignition timing, air-fuel mixture, and boost levels depend heavily on…

Purchasing an ECU reflash solution is not an option for FR-S/BRZ owners. Instead, it should be considered a requirement. In fact, it should be the first performance part purchased for the vehicle. The reason is simple. No significant power gains can be realized on the FR-S/BRZ platform with the factory ECU programming in place. We found out the hard way. The world’s best intake and exhaust systems will only deliver small improvements since the factory program uses torque limiting tables. Fortunately, there is a solution. ECUTEK’s ProECU and RaceROM packages not only remove the performance shackles, but also provide an…

Do you believe in miracles? What about a performance fuel that delivers race gas performance at a price below four-dollars per gallon? If you look at performance shops around the country, you’ll find more and more enthusiasts making the shuffle to E85. E85 is a blend of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline that delivers racing gas performance at under four-dollars per gallon. While the popularity of E85 was previously restricted to regions offering widespread availability, the increasing support of FLEX fuel strategies by aftermarket engine management systems has made the E85 craze a national phenomenon. While the performance potential and…

A split second can make the difference between winning and losing a race. A loss of traction is often the cause of those split second differences in performance. Hondata Inc. has studied traction issues experienced by drag racers, road racers, land speed racers and even the daily driver in their quest to put more Hondata-equipped cars in the winner’s circle. What started as a pet project developed into a new product solution thanks to a four-year development effort. Text and Photos by Richard Fong Interference Factory stability control and traction control systems employ the ABS sensors among other factory-installed sensors…

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