When you’ve done the usual power-up mods to your factory turbo car you’ll
arrive at a point where a bigger turbocharger is needed. In some cases you’ll be
lucky enough to have selection of bolt-on upgrade turbos to suit – but what if
there’s nothing? Well, a cheap option is to weld a new adapter flange onto the
engine’s existing cast iron exhaust manifold. This photo shows an adaptor flange
welded in place of the original flange.
We’re told that the new adaptor flange should be mild steel around 15mm thick
- apparently an iron flange needs extra weld penetration, which can interfere
with exhaust gas flow inside the manifold. To avoid cracking problems it’s
important that the manifold and flange are heated in a furnace to near on-car
operating temperature and welded while red-hot. A controlled rate of cooling is
then required. A welding specialist charges around AUS$90 for welding a
ready-to-go exhaust manifold and adapter flange.
If you’re a Do-It-Yourself kinda person you’ll probably need to flush or
bleed your car’s brake lines or hydraulic clutch at some time. Well, forget
using glass jars and an assistant who’d rather be doing something else. This
off-the-shelf Brake Bleed Kit comprises a length of clear tube, a pair of short
length rubber hoses (to suit different bleed fitting diameters) and a stainless
one-way valve that prevents air being sucked back into the hydraulic system when
the brake or clutch pedal is released. The kit costs under AUD$10. Simply fit
the clear tube and one-way valve to the car’s bleed fitting, repeatedly press
the pedal and ensure the master cylinder reservoir is topped up during the
process. It couldn’t be easier.
With all the focus on avoiding detonation and running safe high load mixtures,
there’s one vital form of engine protection that’s being overlooked – an oil
cooler. If you’ve ever driven a car fitted with an oil temperature gauge you’d
be alarmed at how hot the engine’s lifeblood gets under sustained load. To help
protect your engine’s bearings and improve the life of the oil we strongly
recommend fitting an oil cooler – even an additional oil cooler if your car is
already fitted with a typical water-to-oil cooler. This photo shows a couple of
ex-Mitsubishi oil coolers complete with mounts and oil fittings. Such items can
be bought for under AUD$100 at Japanese import wreckers. But note that whenever
you use a second-hand oil cooler you should first have it flushed – one of these
cores is off an Evo 4 Lancer that starved of oil and there’s a chance metal
particles have found their way inside...
Whenever you’re tuning a naturally aspirated engine it’s a good idea to check
out if there’s a bolt-on intake manifold that has different length runners.
Generally, short intake runners achieve strong top-end power with a bottom-end
trade-off while long intake runners achieve the opposite. This compromise is
eliminated when using a variable length-intake manifold, such as the Ford EF
‘broadband’ manifold that achieves 100 percent volumetric efficiency (VE) at
3000 rpm. The engine’s volumetric efficiency falls away either side of 3000 rpm
but the average efficiency across the
rev range is very high – it’s an extremely flexible engine. This photo shows the
Ford broadband manifold fitted as an upgrade on an early model Ford engine.
Don’t be afraid to be labelled as a Volvo driver; driving in daylight hours
with your lights switched on can be a very, very good idea. As seen in this
photo, there are many instances where your entire car might be difficult for
other drivers to see in their mirrors. This is especially true when you’re out
for a ‘brisk’ Sunday drive and you might come up behind cars at a fairly rapid
rate... Be seen!
When you’re considering spending several hundred dollars on a pair of
aftermarket front seats – and even more to have them mounted using ADR-approved
brackets – you should consider the potential in the car’s existing seats. The
seat shown in this photo is the standard base-model Toyota Seca unit that’s been
treated to custom foam reshaping and leather trim. The cost depends on the nature
of the reshaping and the quality of the leather.
When your engine’s airflow meter causes an unacceptable flow restriction the
answer is usually a big-dollar one – you either upgrade to an expensive ‘big
bore’ airflow meter and make necessary calibration changes or you start afresh
with a programmable management system with an inbuilt MAP sensor. Chances are
you’ll be up for about AUD$1000 to AUD$3000. Well, there’s a much cheaper way to
go about it – an airflow meter bypass. Yep. A simple bypass pipe that’s fitted
parallel to the existing airflow meter can reduce airflow meter restriction by
50 percent (depending primarily on the diameter of the bypass). Once the airflow
meter bypass is installed you’ll need to recalibrate the signal from the airflow
meter to achieve target mixtures and driveability. This can be achieved with an
electronic interceptor device such as the Silicon Chip DFA (Digital Fuel
Adjuster). Note that the DFA is suited to voltage output airflow meters only.
And the total cost for the upgrade? Anywhere from about AUD$160 if you have
advanced soldering skills...
See Airflow Meter Bypass, Part 1
and Airflow Meter Bypass, Part 2
for full details.
One of the most frustrating aspects of working on a car is rounding off nuts
and bolts. Well, if you’re using sockets be aware that 12 point sockets exert
most of the applied force on the edge of the nut or bolt – and this increases
the likelihood of rounding ‘em off. Where possible, it’s safer to use a 6 point
socket that spreads more of the applied force along the ‘straight’ of the nut or
bolt so that the chance of rounding the corner is reduced. Most impact wrenches
use a 6 point socket for this reason. The downside of a 6 point socket is they
can be difficult to fit over the head of a bolt or nut – a 12 point socket fits
more readily. Note that some fasteners (such as cylinder head bolts) are also
designed for use only with a 12 point socket.
When a roll cage is fitted to a car it’s common for its tubes to eat into
space otherwise consumed by the door trims – and the solution is invariably to
rip ‘em out and whack on some flat sheet trim. Well, a much neater approach is
to retain the factory door trims (complete with door handles, locks and power
window switches) and modify only the sections required. This photo shows the
door trim on the Nizpro 200SX-R – note how the lower section of the trim has
been moulded around the roll cage structure and is trimmed in grey vinyl to
match the upper section. An ultra neat job!
To achieve a faster rate of boost increase you needn’t buy any electronic
gizmos or pneumatic valves. Nope. The simplest way to get your turbo engine onto
peak boost earlier is to increase the volume of air contained within the
wategate pipework (the pipework joining the turbo pressure source to the
wastegate actuator). In this graph you can see how much faster a Holden VL Turbo
comes onto boost by experimenting with the length of the wastegate hose; in this
case, a 2.5 metre length of hose was used. As you can see, the extra air volume
in the wastegate pipework gave a much faster boost increase – there’s double the standard boost pressure
available at just 2000 rpm. (Also shown on the graph is the fastest possible
rate of boost increase which was measured with the wastegate hose
If you don’t want a huge length of hose floating around in your engine bay
(and why would you?!) you can fabricate a steel reservoir that can be plumbed
in-line with the wastegate actuator. This also serves to increase the volume of
air in the wastegate pipework for an easy improvement in boost response.
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