Auto Performance FAQ (Part 2)

Here is part 2 of our series on reader submitted questions. If you missed it, part 1 is here.

WHAT DOES “AC” AND “DC” MEAN?

“AC” stands for alternating current and “DC” stands for direct current. Direct current is what’s in motor vehicles (12 volt DC). Alternating current is what powers homes, commerce and industry (120 volt AC).

The story goes that way back in the late 1800s Thomas Edison thought that DC ought to be the standard for home and commerce. The problem was that DC did not have the grunt to travel miles and miles from the power source to the end user.

Another guy named Tesla came along and invented the radio and other stuff and came up with 120-volt alternating current. The story goes that he licensed what he had invented to Westinghouse. AC alternates not in widths or spaces but by moving in a wave, alternating in polarity in a continuous cycle at the rate of 60 cycles per second. Arc-welding machines are both AC and DC.

AC machines generally use less electricity and are good for joining ferrous metals. DC machines power most professional arc-welders because it produces a smoother weld while offering a wider selection of welding rods. DC machines get the nod for welding stainless steel. Some arc-welders are both AC/DC thanks to an internal, built-in electrical rectifier.

WHAT’S FUSION AND NON-FUSION WELDING?

Both are technical terms for welding differences. Originally, welding comprised of joining metals through heat (that’s fusion). The metals were heated to the melting point – whereas they merged together. Non-fusion welding covers soldering and brazing – where a third metal is melted on two items – joining them together.

Solder is said to melt at between 250 – 750 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Aluminum melts at about 1,200 degrees F; cast iron melts at around 2,200 degrees F; stainless steel at around 2,500 degrees F; low carbon steel at around 2,700 degrees F and pure iron at about 2,800 degrees F.

WHAT’S THE OLDEST TYPE OF WELDING?

Experts agree it is oxygen-acetylene gas welding. It is also quite versatile, especially for use at home in your shop. There are two metal tanks – one for pressurized oxygen and the other for pressurized acetylene gas. Each has a set of gauges and regulators to measure the pressure and regulate the output as well as two hoses that connect to a torch.

Various welding tip configurations for the torch end are available. Tinted welding goggles or welding helmet is highly recommended so your retinas aren’t damaged due to the brightness of the flame. Besides welding, this system can do cutting as well; and that’s where its versatility is shown. Many feel this system is also the least expensive. Often, the hoses, torch and gauges are purchased and the pair of cylinders are leased.

WHAT’S ARC-WELDING?

Arc-welding according to many sources, including Haynes, is actually Shielded Metal Arc-Welding. The “arc” is the glow set off by the actual weld. The components include a power source, a “ground” lead cable that you place on the metal item to be welded, and an electrode lead, which runs from the power source to the holder.

An actual electrode lead is held within the holder. It is usually covered with a coating. In use, to strike an arc, the person touches the electrode/rod against the metal. This completes the circuit, and due to a lot of amperage being used, a very bright light with great concentrated heat is shown.

The electrode/rod melts and becomes the weld. The cover turns into a gas and is said to protect the weld from impurities. The end result is a covering of “slag” which must be chipped off with a hammer.

WHAT’S “MIG” WELDING?

MIG-welding has become a very popular home welding system. It stands for Metal Inert Gas. The setup usually includes an electrical power supply (welding machine), a large insulated cable with a torch on the end, a ground cable with clamp and a bottle of compressed shielding gas. Inside the welding machine is a roll of thin wire on a motorized wheel.

The welding is done similar to arc-welding but the wire is continuously fed through the insulated cable and out the torch/gun. When you pull the trigger of the torch/gun, the amperage melts the wire while being surrounded by the shielding gas. (It preserves the weld like flux does.)

The advantage of the MIG-welding system includes a much cleaner weld than either gas or arc. It is also quite versatile and does a good job welding thin metals. There is also no electrode/rod to keep replacing. Control is said to be easy. All you do is set the amperage via a dial on the machine and the wire speed.

WHAT’S “TIG” WELDING?

TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas, but it is commonly called “Heli-Arc” welding. It is said to be the Rolls Royce of the welding processes. Way back when, helium was used as the shielding gas. Today, argon is the most commonly used gas. Both gases have the capacity to exclude foreign matter during welding – plus they are unable to mix with any other gases or chemicals that could combine to be detrimental to the weld.

It differs from MIG in that it has a foot-operated amperage-control, a bottle of argon gas and lastly, the Tungsten electrode/rod is not consumed. Filler rod is hand-fed into the weld as needed. It also concentrates heat in a small area and is used with more of the exotic metals such as chrome moly, stainless steel and titanium.

A higher operator skill is needed to make those beautiful welds. All it takes is practice. It is the weld of choice for critical applications such as race cars and aircraft. There are no flying sparks and very little smoke.

HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE AN INTAKE MANIFOLD?

Well, it depends. If you have experience and you’ve already changed the intake on the engine in question, we estimate you could do the job in one hour. If you are inexperienced or this is the first time you’ve touched the engine, it could take you four to six hours.

Why? Sometimes a valve cover must be removed for extra manifold clearance. Original intake manifold bolts and fittings could easily take one hour or more to clean with solvent and a wire brush.

WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING TO DO WHEN SWAPPING MANIFOLDS?

Mentally, if you are inexperienced, it’ll be removing and reinstalling the distributor. It has to phase-in with the oil pump intermediate shaft. We’ve seen worn cam-to-distributor gears that allowed the distributor to be installed one tooth off, causing it to idle and perform poorly.

Upon removing the distributor, we suggest you take a peek down that hole and see to which angle the slotted oil pump intermediate shaft is angled. If it moves to a different position before distributor reinstallation, the distributor will not drop in its final 1/2-inch until it is “phased” to the oil pump intermediate shaft notch. But then the rotor won’t be pointing at the distributor cap’s cylinder #1 terminal.

FIX: Get a long screwdriver and turn the shaft back where it was.

MY MANIFOLD’S BOLT HOLES DON’T LINE UP WITH THE HEADS.

If you’ve purchased a rebuilt engine or a used car, there’s a slight possibility that the heads were rebuilt and “milled” because they were warped. Heads can be milled as much as 0.030 to 0.100-inch – causing them to be lower in relation to their prior bolt hole lineup. This may only happen to one in a hundred of you but everyone needs to be aware of this.

When at the 0.100-inch level, there’s a good chance you may have a machine shop mill the front and rear aluminum intake manifold ledge so it will sit down lower and line up with the head bolt holes. You may still have to elongate the aluminum intake manifold bolt holes with a rat-tail file. No biggie. Welcome to the real world of do-it-yourself auto maintenance.

WHAT’S THE SECOND HARDEST THING?

It’s cleaning the old gasket material off the heads. Jobs like this teach something you never learned in school and that’s patience. Before you touch a gasket scraper or single-edged razor blade to the heads, you MUST lay a plastic trash bag, paper towels or shop rags in the lifter valley to protect the area from falling dirt, carbon, coolant and other foreign matter.

NEXT, we highly suggest you stuff a wadded up paper towel into each intake port so no dirt or carbon can fall down into the port and land on the top of the intake valve. Ditto for engine coolant.

FINALLY, we recommend you have a shop vacuum cleaner nearby to use as a scraper removal aid. As you scrape off the gasket, it goes immediately into the shop vacuum hose. A bonified gasket scraper does a nice job although for little pieces of gasket and RTV, a single-edged razor blade does a perfect job.

After you’ve finished, run your fingers over the heads to see if you missed anything. If any junk fell into any of the intake ports, use the shop vacuum to remove it. Cleaning both heads can take a studious 15 to 30 minutes. Do it right the first time because you do not want to do it again.

WILL AN 8,000 RPM OPEN PLENUM, DOG LEG MANIFOLD MAKE MY STOCK 5,000 RPM V8 ENGINE RUN BETTER?

Some have tried and all have failed. Factory V8 intake manifolds have been, by design, 180-degree/dual-plane, for torque enhancement. Race manifolds, by design, are 360-degree/single plane, for horsepower enhancement. Race engines do not need 1,000 rpm to 3,500 rpm “torque, horsepower and driveability”. Street engines do.

Yes, some can rev in excess of 6,000 rpm but all street engines spend most of their time working part-throttle at lesser rpm. Having that Weiand Stealth dual-plane intake manifold help attain 42 more horsepower on a low compression, smog motor 454 is pretty cool. And look at all the fuel the engine would not have consumed over the years, too. Way to go Sam, Dave and Weiand.

WHAT’S BETTER, MECHANICAL/SURGE BRAKES OR ELECTRICAL?

We’ll begin by stating that “any” brakes are better than “no” brakes. For decades, many trailers had no brakes. Then along came mechanical brakes – braking action activated by wheel cylinders pressurized by brake fluid did a good job. Upon actual tow vehicle braking the mechanical brakes were activated by a “surge” assembly located at the front of the trailer that was activated by the dropping of the trailer nose due to braking.

By comparison, electrically-activated brakes come alive the instant the tow vehicle’s brake pedal is depressed. No chassis or trailer movement is necessary. Either is better than none but electrical is better than mechanical.

WHY ARE ELECTRIC BRAKES ADJUSTABLE AT THE BRAKE CONTROLLER?

The shocking thing about electricity (no pun intended) is that it is adjustable. The bright or dim glow of a light bulb is adjustable via a regulator or rheostat. We can tell you from experience that electric brakes offer such a vast high degree of grabbing that while going slow in a city street, alley or parking lot, that they can bring you to a lurch by locking up.

To eliminate the locking up, the brake controller regulates the voltage / amperage to the trailer brakes for smooth trailer brake application. The adjustment on the controller readout should say lower setting for lighter weight and slow speeds, and a higher setting for more brake application at highway speeds or heavy loads.

The numbers can vary depending upon a lot of factors, ie: brake condition and adjustment, condition of wiring, and weight of trailer vs number of brakes used. Now, when you’re towing at legal road speed and you must stop quickly, you do so effortlessly.

WHEN I LAUNCH MY BOAT, MY “BRAKE” FUSE KEEPS BLOWING. WHY?

Simple, somehow your wiring at the brakes is not “water proof”. Be happy you blew a fuse. Otherwise, the next one standing in the water who touches that wire is going to have a very shocking 12 volt experience. Consult with the pros at your marina as well as with the trailer manufacturer for recommended repairs.

This happens a lot due to an aging of the wire’s insulation, road vibration that may crack the insulation or a torn wire inside the brake assembly.

HOW COME MOST TRAILERS DON’T HAVE SHOCK ABSORBERS?

Trailers, from open car haulers to single and dual axle RV trailers have never had shock absorbers primarily because of their multi-leaf spring’s “arc”. The springs are fairly flat and heavy and do not normally move up and down a lot. But when they do, if there’s no shock absorber, there’s no stopping them until the tow vehicle slows dramatically.

Once a trailer starts whipping back and forth, it’s loading one leaf spring with energy then the other. A shock absorber can dampen this energy and keep the trailer under control. There are aftermarket bolt-on shock absorber kits a few years for a lot of different trailers. See your dealer for pricing and availability.

HOW DO I MOUNT AN AFTERMARKET MECHANICAL FAN ?

The radiator is re-cored and flows as new but a big seven-blade mechanical fan instead of the factory five-blade multi-viscous (clutch-type) fan assembly was added. Gee, the engine keeps running hotter and hotter until it reaches 240 degrees. And it won’t cool down.

How so? The actual fan position in relation to the fan shroud is not aligned. A two-inch fan spacer placed the fan just inside the fan shroud. The factory fan’s front edge was parallel with the back edge of the fan shroud. This one-inch difference in fan positioning let only the center of the radiator draw in air. Air coming through the outer fins was cut off.

The shroud could not do what it was designed to do. A change to a one-inch spacer and shorter bolts pulled the new fan back parallel to the fan shroud’s edge and the engine cooled properly forever after.

HOW MUCH MORE HORSEPOWER CAN A STOCK RADIATOR HANDLE?

The extra heat generated from more horsepower being produced is large, especially during long distance/endurance racing or when towing across country. How much more can a radiator handle depends on the fin cross section of the radiator. Adding 30-percent more horsepower to a two-core radiator (300 horsepower + 30-percent = 390 horsepower) is about max.

Make a few runs at the drags and see how the radiator likes it. It doesn’t. It can’t cool down. A three-core radiator is a must in this situation. This reminds me of a story where a faulty radiator overflow tank got the best of me. But anyway, most V8 engines that we are aware of have a mechanical water pump capable of pushing anywhere from 60 to 75 gallons per minute through the block and heads.

If you were to increase horsepower 60-percent or more you better be prepared to also increase the coolant flow capacity up to the 100 gpm range.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVERCOOL AN ENGINE?

Many of the Big Three engine specialists used to say that an engine produces the same power at 160 degrees F. as it does at 190. Famed engine wizard and old friend, Smokey Yunick is quoted as stating that V8 race engine horsepower is 2-3-percent more at 200 degrees F. water temperature than at 180 degrees F. He also feels the cooling system should be pressurized at 25 psi.

Be sure your radiator can handle this much pressure. Most street radiators can’t. He also feels that more horsepower can be made all the way up to 220 degrees F. but this temp leaves little temperature safety, so 210 degrees is max. Now mind you, Smokey is talking race engine stuff. We’re passing it on for your education. Street engines are different in that they have tighter piston-to-cylinder wall clearances, etc.

There are other tuning factors to consider as well such as total timing and carburetor jetting. Changing each in search for more power at full-throttle can possibly mean a temp change of as much as 10-15 degrees. Trust us, the temperature measuring point is where the coolant is returned to the radiator.

SHOULD I USE FACTORY TORQUE-TO-YIELD BOLTS OR WHAT?

Should I buy another set of factory torque-to-yield head bolts or should I go with aftermarket studs or head bolts? Believe it or not, it depends! Do you plan to remove the heads again during the course of your ownership? If so, you’d be better off with a set of aftermarket head bolts. Factory torque-to-yield bolts aren’t that cheap anyway and they can only be used once.

Head studs serve two purposes: For the racer who removes the heads a lot, studs are the way to go because you’re not wearing out the block threads. We’ve seen many a factory block start pulling threads after as few as two or three head bolt torque-downs. Studs are also said to give a more exact torque reading and this is very important in all engines – especially high performance, competition ones.

I SURE LIKE NITROUS OXIDE. IN CONSIDERING IT TO BUY, WHAT SHOULD BE MY BIGGEST CONCERN?

Both Jon and I agree that your number one concern should have nothing to do with nitrous oxide and EVERYTHING to do with your engine. Concern yourself totally with its internal condition – especially the piston rings and valve guides.

Nitrous oxide likes a tight engine. It doesn’t like to mix with oil, so if you have an engine with worn piston rings and/or valve guides don’t bolt on nitrous oxide.

DOES NITROUS OXIDE MAKE MY ENGINE WEAR QUICKER?

In the sense of normal frictional wear, no. Factory or aftermarket piston rings in a performance engine normally wear well for 30,000 – 50,000 miles – depending on the gearing, the driver’s right foot and high rpm use. A good nitrous oxide system should not, all things considered, hasten ring wear.

Too much ignition timing tends to lean the mixture slightly causing the moly to flake off the top ring. The ring then loses its sealing ability and oil consumption increases. Bottom line: Pay strict attention to the installation and operation instructions and do not vary from them.

WILL MY TRANSMISSION, BRAKES AND SUSPENSION HOLD UP WITH NITROUS OXIDE?

Most nitrous oxide street systems increase horsepower by 100 and torque output by 50-75 foot pounds of torque. The next bigger kit might be 150 horsepower and 75-100 foot pounds of torque. Most American V8s can handle this although we do recommend the transmission be checked out and a shift reprogramming kit installed to increase the line pressure for quicker shifts.

Huh? Generally speaking, every time an automatic transmission shifts, the temperature at the clutch pack facings increases 25 degrees. A quicker shift will decrease friction and the temperature as well.

Some rear ends such as the Monza/Vega with a 7.50-inch diameter ring gear will eventually break either the spider gears, Ring gear or an axle, so a word from the wise should be sufficient.

Nitrous oxide on a V6 Chevy S-10 or Ford Ranger may prove to be disastrous due to the miniscule driveline(transmission and rear end). It pays to ask, so quiz the nitrous oxide manufacturer for its recommendation.

WILL MY TIRES AND SUSPENSION BE ABLE TO CONTROL THE POWER?

First of all, nitrous oxide was created to enhance straight-line acceleration. It was NEVER invented for canyon racers or anyone driving around a curve or corner, banked or otherwise. Driving Crank & Chrome’s 300 horsepower Z28 Camaro is one thing but 450 horsepower is strictly another.

As stout a suspension and high-speed tires that this Z28 Camaro has, trying to make it control 450 horsepower through a turn would be, in three words: unwise and unsafe. Generally speaking, tires, suspension and brakes all must be in optimum or better-than-optimum condition.

Auto Performance FAQ (Part 1)

Over the years, Jon and I have received a large number of questions that were submitted by readers of this and another automotive blog we run. Here are some questions and answers that we feel would be beneficial to our readers.

Once you’re done reading these, check out part 2 of our FAQ.

WHAT’S BETTER, A BODY LIFT OR A CHASSIS LIFT?

What’s better depends on what end-result you desire. Some owners want to go as high as they can, so they do both. Years ago, chassis lifts were the norm as many body lift manufacturers did not include new bumper brackets and steering shaft alignment linkage. But not so today with Performance Accessories. A chassis lift directs the driveshaft at a larger angle which can sometimes increase U-joint wear. A front chassis lift can also require new raised spindles and it can also eliminate some of the suspension travel. This reader simply wanted three more inches of wheel well clearance while keeping his stock suspension and ride quality, so Performance Accessories Body Lift Kit was the way to go.

WITH THE BODY THREE INCHES HIGHER, IS THE STEERING COLUMN AND STEERING WHEEL NOW THREE INCHES LOWER?

Nope. Years ago, you had to lower the steering column at the firewall to align it at a deeper angle to the steering box but not today with Performance Accessories’ kit. As we’ve shown, an extension slides over the steering shaft then connects to the steering box. Done deal.

I HAVE NO HOIST. HOW DO I JACK UP THE TRUCK BODY?

You could call Performance Accessories and ask for an installation dealer nearest you – where you can buy their Body Lift Kit and have it installed professionally. Or if you want to do it yourself, start by calling their customer service representatives or just buy the kit reading the instructions. The job could be done with a few floor jacks. Because they usually do not lift high enough, some 4×4 wooden extensions would be needed.

NOTE: Floor jacks have a “cup” housing on top. A wooden extension may not always sit flush and therefore it might be prone to angling or tipping. Remedy: lay a 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch thick square piece of steel plate atop the cup to “level the playing field”.

IF THE BODY IS THREE INCHES ABOVE THE FRAME, WON’T THERE BE A BIG GAP ABOVE BOTH BUMPERS?

No, there won’t. Included in the Performance Accessories’ Body Lift Kit are gold anodized bumper brackets that bolt to the top of the frame then to the bumper. Tah-dah! Both bumpers are exactly where they should be in relationship to the body. It all looks stock – just three inches higher.

ARE ANY BUMPER MODIFICATIONS NECESSARY?

Due to the height size of the front frame horns, the bumper’s integral plastic valance had to be ever-so-slightly trimmed for bumper clearance. A hand-held electric jigsaw or grinder does the job nicely.

WHAT HAS TO BE DONE TO THE GAS TANK FILLER HOSE?

Because the gas tank stays as-is but the filler door and hose raises three inches, Performance Accessories has included in its kit a superb hose extension to keep everything status-quo.

WHAT’S BETTER, BUYING ENGINE UPGRADE PARTS ONE AT A TIME OR IN KIT-FORM?

There are many answers. Here are a few to consider: With a large company like Holley, you can go either way. Many buy these upgrades one at a time for financial reasons while others do it because they aren’t quite sure what they want or how powerful they want their vehicle, so they leave it up to the manufacturer. As for today’s engine performance upgrade kits like Holley’s Hot Street Avenger Performance packages, you do not have to be the world’s foremost authority on anything because they have done all the research and testing so there are no disappointments.

Buying in kit-form also has the potential for being cheaper in total cost. By seeing what Holley’s three stages of Hot Street Avenger Performance did a stock 454, we would definitely go that route.

HOW DOES DYNO TESTING FOR “REAR WHEEL HORSEPOWER” EQUATE TO ACTUALLY DRIVING THE VEHICLE ON THE STREET?

First, rear wheel horsepower is what’s truly moving the vehicle from stop light to stop light. It may never catch on the same way that gross horsepower at the flywheel has, but for the serious enthusiast or racer, rear wheel horsepower means everything.

Also, a chassis dynamometer lets anyone “test” virtually at-will new engine and driveline modifications for horsepower gains or losses. Best of all, you don’t have to pull the engine out of the car to see what power it has.

HOW MUCH HORSEPOWER DOES A TYPICAL DRIVELINE CONSUME?

Well, it depends. A front wheel drive econo car with a narrow-gear transaxle may consume less horsepower than say the heavy duty driveline of a high performance V8. Automatic transmissions without a torque converter lock-up don’t actually use up more horsepower; it just can’t transmit it all due to slippage (number of internal fins and overall diameter).

So, the answer generally can range from 20-30 percent for a manual transmission and 25-40 percent for a V8 driveline.

SHOULD I PAY ATTENTION TO MY ENGINE’S COOLANT WHEN RUNNING ALUMINUM HEADS, INTAKE MANIFOLD AND WATER PUMP?

Today’s aluminum heads, intake manifold and water pump is made from superior/harder alloy, compared to the past. Electrolysis (the eating of aluminum by the coolant over time) is not nearly as critical as it was 30 years ago. A coolant’s ability to transmit heat and lubricate with zero acidity has also increased.

So, pay attention to the component manufacturer’s instructions or recommendations. If there are none you can find, call their technical service department for advice. Also, read the labels and fine print on all of the top brand coolants – then choose accordingly.

DO I TORQUE MY ALUMINUM INTAKE MANIFOLD TO MY NEW ALUMINUM HEADS THE SAME AS TO MY OLD CAST IRON HEADS?

For some reason, guys tend to mis-torque their V8’s intake manifold bolts. There should be a torque spec card in the box. First, pros recommend brand new intake manifold bolts – coated with antiseize compound. For the record, intake manifold bolts call for a torque-spec to aluminum heads of 25 foot pounds. (Iron heads are 30.)

WHAT ABOUT ALUMINUM HEAD SPARK PLUG TORQUE SPEC?

According to the General, big-block aluminum heads with flat gasket spark plugs call for 25 foot pounds with anti-seize on the threads. Tapered seat spark plugs call for 15 foot pounds with anti-seize. (FYI: Cast iron heads require no anti-seize compound).

HOW MUCH TORQUE DO STEEL HEADER BOLTS REQUIRE IN ALUMINUM HEADS?

The General says 20 foot pounds – with anti-seize compound on the threads. (FYI: Iron heads are 25 with anti-seize compound.)

I PLAN TO RUN MY ALUMINUM HEAD 454 AT THE DRAGS. SHOULD I KEEP THE ENGINE COOL OR HOT?

Speaking from past experience, warm the engine to normal operating temperature. You may find after a run or two that you can increase the total timing because aluminum heads are so much more efficient in the heat transmission department. Because they transmit heat so much better – when they’re cold, power is down. Cast iron heads do not transmit heat as well, so racers like to keep them cooler.

Also, when aluminum heads are cold, there is a chance they can “walk around” a little during full throttle causing coolant leakage. When at normal operating temperature, their expansion rate is more than that of cast iron so they are locked in position and ready to perform.

FOR MORE V8 PERFORMANCE, WHERE IS A GOOD PLACE TO START?

If we were sitting down having a cup of coffee, this is what we’d say – based solely on past experience:

  1. Start with the exhaust system. By doing so, you will maximize the stock V8 as-is powerplant. Make sure the muffler is as free flowing as possible without being so loud that it rattles your neighbor’s windows when you drive by.
  2. Make sure there are no neck-downs and pancakes within the exhaust system’s pipes. There usually are, so expect to install a good aftermarket cat-back exhaust system. Most feature mandrel-bent pipe (no neck-downs).
  3. Consider a good set of thick wall (16 gauge) tubular headers. For part- and full-throttle torque production, the longer the header primary pipes and collectors are, the better. Headers aid exhaust scavenging above fast-idle speed, say 1,500 rpm. Above this rpm, headers are more efficient than original cast iron manifolds, so you’ll be making more power on less gas.
  4. An exhaust crossover pipe located about 12 inches behind the header collectors sometimes lessens part-throttle torque production on lean-burn engines by a few foot pounds. This is due to balancing the exhaust gas pulses thus increasing scavenging of the spent gases. It also quiets the exhaust tone a few decibels too.

FOR MORE POWER ON A STOCK V8 WITH A GOOD EXHAUST SYSTEM, WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER?

With a good free-flowing exhaust system, the next obvious place to make more V8 engine efficiency is the induction system: air filter, carburetor or fuel injection and intake manifold or F.I. runners. In a street-driven engine, increased performance comes through optimizing cylinder filling with air and fuel at both part-throttle, lower rpm as well as at full-throttle mid-range to top-rpm.

Seldom if ever is a factory air filter totally efficient. For today’s new vehicles, there are plenty of different (and legal) breathers assemblies – usually of the ram-air type. Cooler incoming air means a denser charge / more molecules….more power!

  • Fuel injection throttle bodies usually cannot be enriched, except in a few cases by increasing the fuel pressure.
  • Fuel enrichment is usually done by reprogramming the ECM (engine control module).
  • Lastly, the fuel injection’s runners can be replaced with bigger ones available in the aftermarket which aid breathing at higher rpm.

AFTER MAXIMIZING THE EXHAUST AND INDUCTION SYSTEMS, OVERALL POWER HAS INCREASED BY OVER 50%. WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. We would install a new torque-efficiency camshaft and aluminum heads. Others with different priorities may go with a hotter different cam and kit then bolt on a 150 horsepower nitrous oxide kit.

WHEN TWO CARS ARE SOUPED UP THE SAME BUT ONE IS 1/2 CAR-LENGTH QUICKER, WHY IS THIS?

Hey, sometimes it’s the driver that makes the difference. But if you switch cars and the faster car is still the fastest, it could be that one engine just sometimes seems to run better than the rest. How so? We call it “Super Tuning” and it’s our middle name. You just don’t bolt hot parts on and go!

Anyone growing up back in the sixties and seventies and paying attention to Stock, Super Stock and Modified Production drag racing eliminators knew that to win you had to be a dandy driver and an even dandier engine and driveline tuner. If you weren’t, you got trailered in the first round.

ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS ON ASSEMBLING A STREET ROD AT HOME?

This answer lies directly with the kit’s manufacturer. Most enthusiasts are masters at bolting things together. But not everyone owns, let’s say, a gas or electric welder. So, if any welding is needed, the buyer should be aware of this prior to purchase so a game plan on who’s going to do the welding can be formulated.

Other tools such as a quality floor jack, electric drill, flat and round files, wrenches and ratchet set, wiring kit, and so on are things one would certainly also need to have on hand.

HOW MUCH KNOWLEDGE / SKILL IS NEEDED TO DO THIS BUILDUP?

Knowledge and skill is nice but for the beginner, we feel patience is first and foremost. Through patience in learning comes skill and knowledge. The kit car comes with an assembly manual so anyone with a basic comprehension and interest in automobiles should be able to follow it with precision.

ARE THERE SPECIFIC “BENEFITS” FROM BUYING A STREET ROD KIT CAR?

You bet. First, buying an entire engineered car unassembled in pieces rather than buying separate components from various sources is almost always cheaper in cost. Second, the kit car companies’ customer service department is available for your every question. Third, the parts are engineered to fit. This is not to say that other brand–x parts won’t.

Let’s just say that if there is an “aggravation factor”, it will be greatly reduced. Believe it or not, a big problem for a beginner is remembering “body to frame fit”. All too often, the fiberglass body is bolted down prior to being centered. The end results are front and rear wheels that are not centered in the wheel wells.

CAN NON-KIT PARTS BE INTEGRATED?

As previously stated, kit cars are sold in a variety of ways. But if by chance they do not offer an accessory or item you prefer such as gauges or a certain type or style of air conditioning, you bet you can mix or match. The real key here is in the planning.

Absorb every item the kit car manufacturer offers – up to and including the taken for granted items such as the firewall, overall body length and height, etc. Few brand-x parts are of such a size or spec that they won’t fit. It pays to ask for a recommendation or opinion prior to purchasing non kit-car parts.

HOW MUCH HORSEPOWER DO I NEED?

Generally speaking, street rods are light and do not require much power to accelerate rapidly. Back in the ‘60s, a car with a power-to-weight ratio of 10 pounds per horsepower was considered fast. A 2,600 pound street rod with a 350 horsepower crate motor has a power-to-weight ratio of 7.43 pounds per horsepower.

FOR MORE POWER, WHAT’S THE FIRST ENGINE MOD TO MAKE?

While all engines can be thought of as air pumps – moving air in and out, some are more efficient than others are. High performance engines usually have a superior, better breathing exhaust system, therefore they may benefit more from a better breathing intake manifold, or for tuned-port fuel injection induction, better runners.

In a quest for optimum efficiency, a stock engine’s first job would be to optimize its exhaust flow potential then its overall induction potential, both at part- and full-throttle, from the air induction to the intake manifold. Next would be to optimize the overall ignition and distributor rate-of-advance or curve. Next would come the fuel system, namely the fuel pressure, fuel line diameter and performance filter.

Finally, we would make a camshaft and valve spring change, and we would street-port the heads for that extra bit of overall efficiency (and 40+ more horsepower).

WHEN IS PISTON-TO-VALVE CLEARANCE NECESSARY TO CHECK?

Most overhead valve, small-block V8 engines have a bit more piston-to-valve clearance than valve spring coil-bind clearance. Huh? In a small-block Chevy, its standard performance valve spring can work with a 0.470-inch lift camshaft before coil bind.

High performance, Z-28-type valve springs can go 0.490-inch lift. At 0.500-inch lift, coil bind will be ever so present. The engine won’t rev or make any power, and you may or may not pull rocker arm studs out of the heads. They may pull but not come all the way out.

All small-block Chevy V8s can usually get by with a 0.500-inch valve lift with no piston-to-valve clearance, intake or exhaust. This is for a cam installed “straight up” at 0 degrees before top dead center. If you advance it 2-4 degrees, piston-to-valve clearance checking with some putty is highly recommended.

Just for the record, most engines require on the order of 0.100-inch clearance on the exhaust valves and 0.080-inch on the intake valves. The extra clearance on the exhaust valves is because they get hotter and expand more.

CAN A ROLLER CAMSHAFT BE RUN ON THE STREET?

It depends on the cam’s grind, but sure! For decades, many have been dreaming of the day when a performance hydraulic roller camshaft would be conceived. For over three decades (1957-1987), the only roller camshaft available was a solid lifter grind – which necessitated periodic valve lash adjustments.

Back in the early eighties, various aftermarket companies began engineering a hydraulic roller lifter and camshaft. It took a while but it was finally brought to light and today most domestic V8 engines have a torque-type roller camshaft. Why? Less friction, better valve actuation for a longer period of time–meaning more torque and horsepower.

A roller cam in a high rev performance engine is something to behold. By comparison, with a flat tappet cam, at 6,500 rpm, it “feels” like the heads are going to explode off the engine. With a roller camshaft, the engine feels effortless, and there seems to be no valvetrain stress.

WHAT’S BETTER, A SINGLE-PLANE OR A DUAL-PLANE MANIFOLD?

All factory V8 engines have a dual-plane intake manifold because, by design, it helps produce more low rpm torque. Being more or less split in half, fuel and air velocity is increased at lower engine speed making for greater cylinder filling – hence more torque and horsepower output, all things considered.

Single-plane intake manifolds were originally engineered thirty years ago for dragsters and sprint cars that needed more mid-range and top-end power. The runners are straighter and more direct to the ports. The plenum is bigger and is one large area, compared to a dual-plane’s two smaller upper and lower areas.

If need be, more mid-range and bottom-end throttle response can be built into a smaller single-plane manifold by reducing its runner sizes, adding a plenum divider/wall right down the middle from front to rear and possibly raising the plenum floor height. Feel free to consult your favorite intake manifold technical service department for more on this subject.

CAN THE ACCESS ROLL-UP TONNEAU COVER BE INSTALLED BY ONE PERSON?

Sure, but it will take you a little longer to go through the simple installation steps.

I LIKED PUTCO’S “VIRTUAL” GRILLE FOR THE FORD SUPER DUTY F250. WHAT ELSE DO THEY MAKE?

As mentioned, Putco’s headquarters are in Story City, Iowa. You can reach them toll-free at 1-800-247-3974 or e-mail them at: info@putco.com. They make truck stainless steel running boards, fitted bed caps, tailgate guards, toolboxes and Locker side rails.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCESS TONNEAU COVER?

You can get more information by contacting their website, www.accesscover.com

IS COVERING POLISHED STAINLESS STEEL WITH WAX OR CLEANER A GOOD THING TO DO PRIOR TO INSTALLATION?

You bet. Even though polished stainless steel seems to last and last, giving it a coat of wax will make its shine last and LAST!

> Continue to Part 2 of our FAQ.

Top 5 Best and Worst Cars of Professional Athletes

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who are totally obsessed with pro athletes and celebrities. But when you have millions to burn (and likely eventually go bankrupt), it is interesting to see the an athlete’s taste in cars.

Since most of us will never own one of these cars, it’s fun to dream. Here the 5 most gorgeous automobiles that athletes own as well as 5 of the ugliest that make you wish their teammates would knock some sense into them.

5 Best Cars (Yeah!)

#1 – Kobe Bryant’s Ferrari Italia 458

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#2 – Alex Ovechkin’s Mercedes-Benz SL65

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#3 – David Beckham’s Porsche 911 Turbo

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#4 – Mario Williams’ Lamborghini Murcielago

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#5 – Lebron James’ Chevy Camaro SS

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5 Worst Cars (Ugh!)

#1 – Darren McFadden’s “Cop Attracter 5000”

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#2 – Joe Johnson’s Ford F650

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#3 – James Harrison’s Smart Car

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#4 – El Hadji Diouf’s Cadillac Escalade

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#5 – Stephen Ireland’s Range Rover

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How to Change the Oil in Your BMW E92 M3

m3-oil-changeToday’s modern cars are becoming increasingly complicated to work on. There are less things you can do in your own garage. I’ve changed the oil in my BMWs many times but I find that changing it in my ‘E92 M3’ is even more challenging. They’ve made it very difficult to completely drain all the oil out of the engine and made it extremely easy for me to overfill it.

Everybody knows that the ‘tools make the job’. Having the right tools is a must before you try to change the oil in your car. When changing the oil in an M3 you should do it while the oil is warm. Warm up the engine before you climb under the car. Usually running the car for less than a minute will get the job done. You’ll need a good set of ramps or jack stands to create enough space for you to slide underneath the car.

I have my own procedure that I follow that begins with removing the oil filter and oil fill cap. I use a 36mm socket to remove the filter. Before removing it I make sure I have a pan or tub underneath to catch the oil that dribbles out. When the oil is finished draining completely I move underneath the car.

While underneath my M3 I locate the 2 drain plugs under the motor. It takes a 6mm hex to get them out. I like taking a 6mm hex socket and adding it to a 3/8″ drive. There are certain safety precautions to take when changing hot oil. You can burn yourself really seriously if you don’t focus on safety. Oil that is at 140 degrees Fahrenheit can raise a 3rd degree burn in just 5 seconds. It only takes 1 second if the temperature is 156 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a precaution, when loosening up the drain plugs, I take a long socket extension with a swivel elbow to give me some room away from the plug. I also throw on some leather gloves to protect my hands. I start with the rear or main reservoir and loosen the plug.

oil-changeAfter it begins to slow down to a trickle it’s time to remove the other plug and let both of them drain simultaneously. As they drain I focus my attention on replacing the 2 ‘O-rings’ on the lid of the Oil Filter Housing. You can pop them out using a flat bladed screw driver. The larger one is quite easy to replace, then you have a smaller one that’s located on the tip.

Before installing the new O-rings take a little oil and smear it on them. Now it’s time for the oil filter. This should come in a complete kit including 2 gaskets and 2 copper crush washers. Replace your 6mm hex drain plugs. Be sure to put on the new crush washers. Torque the plugs down to 25 Nm (18 ft-lb), which is not that much force. Install your new filter and torque down your oil filter housing lid to 25 Nm as well.

The BMW Owner’s Manual is full of good and relative information, like how much windshield wiper fluid to put in or how much fuel. However, it does not tell you your engine’s oil capacity. When you look at the specs of the E92 S65 motor you see that the motor capacity is 8.8 liters. To get an idea of how much oil the engine holds, you multiply 8.8 times 1.05 quarts per liter. That comes to around 9.3 quarts. The capacity of your oil pan is 8.3 liters and around .25 liters for your oil filter housing.

Again, I find it very difficult to completely drain all the oil from the engine. There is a bit of oil found at the bottom of the front air dam. An M3 comes with 2 oil pumps and 2 reservoirs. Because of all these oil pathways a total draining becomes quite difficult. With oil still left within the engine, when you try to add in 8.8 liters of new oil, it’s very easy for you to overfill your E92 M3. That’s why it’s so important that you drain it while the oil is warm. It comes out much easier that way. You could, of course, leave it to drain overnight or tip the rear end up but just draining it while its hot seems to be proficient.

Using a funnel for refilling helps to keep things neat and clean. Once the draining is finished and the plugs replaced you can add in an even 8 liters of oil. Here is where things can get a little trying. When you try to check your oil level and get an accurate reading you’ll have to start your car. The only way to get a truly accurate reading is when the oil reaches its operating temperature (above 160 degrees Fahrenheit).

If you haven’t overfilled your M3 I recommend taking your oil filter out and sucking the oil out from your oil filter canister. There is approximately 1/4 liter of oil in there. This is a far better option than draining some more oil from underneath the motor. This can be messy, hard to control, and inaccurate.

BMW has stated that you should change the oil in your M3 around every 15,000 miles or once a year. I like to change mine at around 7,500 miles or once per year.

Here are the tools that make this oil change much easier to perform:

  • 36mm Socket (for removing oil filter)
  • 6mm Hex Drive and Socket
  • Low profile car ramps (or low profile jack)
  • Funnel
  • Flat Screw Driver (to remove oil filter gasket)
  • Torque Wrench
  • Mechanics Gloves

DISCLAIMER

Hot oil will burn you fast and deep. Be sure to take all precautions to avoid getting burned. Use the leather gloves for protection. Make sure your car is stabilized and will not fall down on you while you work.

Preventing Water Damage in Your Garage

flooded-garageIf we’re going to have to suffer damage from water in your home, most of us would agree that it’s better to have it in the garage than in one of the rooms our kids and pets live in. Water damage isn’t necessarily a major inconvenience in the garage. After all, we often get oil stains and spill other liquids on that poor old concrete floor too. But while damage from water, flooding or whatever, may not appear that big a problem, finding and fixing the cause can start running into real money.

So the object here is to discuss ways and means to avoid having to face the concern in the first place. Here, I’ll try to explain what every homeowner should know about the causes of water damage, and how to beat it to the punch.

Possible Causes and What to Do

  1. Please keep the garage door closed. It’s common to see open garage doors as we drive down the street. Some just forget to close them on occasion, while others never seem to close theirs. When the kids get out bikes or other amusements, they’ll almost invariably leave that huge door open. Even if they’ve been taught to close it, their usual excuse is that they’re just going to be out for a minute.
  2. Being the largest opening your home has, this not only leaves your home open to major flooding in really bad weather, and even a short hard rain can allow a considerable amount of water to enter the garage damaging anything soluble that may happen to be lying about. Another ominous thought is that an open garage door may be a tempting invitation for thieves to come in and help themselves.
  3. Weather stripping. Weather stripping is there for a valid purpose, but it’s the kind of thing we never notice. Just as we often don’t notice worn windshield wipers until a good rain comes along, weather stripping slips by unnoticed until bad weather really brings it to our attention and by then a lot of damage may already have been created. Any sort of protection like weather stripping tends to dry out and eventually crumble and in the end, when you need it, it fails. And a wise homeowner doesn’t only install weather stripping at the bottom of the garage door but it should have stripping up the sides as well, just to make sure. When weather stripping is much worn or even missing in places, a lot of unexpected and unwanted water can get into the garage before you even realize what just happened.
  4. When a garage door panel is compromised, just one bad segment may leave vulnerable cracks—admit it, sometimes early in the morning we accidentally bump into the door a bit before we’re fully alert—and water has an opening to slip right into the garage. It’s a very good idea to check the garage door carefully for any damage and if you do find anything, you need a pro to come in and handle the problem properly. Playing with garage doors is not for sissies.
  5. Image courtesy of www.waterheaterhub.com
    Image courtesy of Water Heater Hub

    Of course, despite all these precautions, there are other ways water can manage to leak into your garage causing damage. Many homes have the water heater located in the garage, and they sometimes begin to leak. The reasons for this may be varied, but in the end, water leaking from a water heater is just as insidious as water entering the home from outside. As with garage doors, water heaters need regular inspection, and when anything awry is noticed, it’s really imperative to call in a professional to fix the leak and/or advise you on what to do about this before it escalates into something seriously disastrous.

  6. The roof of your garage may begin to leak. As with almost everything in and around your home, you should have the roof inspected on a yearly basis. A trained roofer will check your roof and advise you of its overall condition. HeW may simply recommend having the roof and gutters properly cleaned, or the problem may be repairs or even a new roof. In any case, working on the roof can be very dangerous and it’s not a job any homeowner should tackle. Time lying in a hospital bed with broken limbs is a pretty awesome price to pay for trying to save a buck by working on the roof on a sunny Saturday morning.
  7. Yes, as I mentioned above, clogged gutters can cause a real problem. Cleaning the gutters is a tiresome job and it’s frequently forgotten by even the most prudent homeowner. When water begins to back up in clogged gutters it begins to look for ways to seep into the garage or it can pool up around the base of your garage compromising the integrity of your concrete foundation as well as the garage flooring.

So a last word of advice to avoid water damage in your garage is to make sure you clean out those gutters on a regular basis.

My New Harbor Freight Compressor

central-pneumatic-compressorIt was a year and a half ago, that I bought a Central Pneumatic air compressor at Harbor Freight. I had wanted one with a decent SCFM rating, although I had a limited budget. The particular compressor can handle upwards of 125 PSI. It uses a 2.5 HP motor with a 21 gallon capacity tank. Its rating is for 5.8 SCFM at 40 PSI, or 4.7 SCFM at 90 PSI. I learned previously with my 2-gallon Craftsman compressor that I needed a much bigger tank if I wanted to use it with an impact wrench or even blow up the new inflatable pool we got at Costco.

It certainly isn’t the best model, although it is priced right for my needs. And it gets the job done. My main dislike about it is the constant need for a PSI greater than 90. Essentially it will not keep up this PSI rate, and certainly won’t maintain it. In fact, the whole compressor stops, just as it gets to the PSI level necessary. It is also necessary to setup the regulator, upwards of 125, only to have it drop back down to around 90 PSI or worse.

Despite the fact it didn’t meet my expectations, it still was a decent tool. With the purchase of an extended warranty for just 20 dollars. The cashier made it sound enticing, and that I would be wanting it. She ended up being correct. Recently I had to utilize the warranty, after only a year and half of use, and light use at that. The company replaced the item without question. My former red one, now had been replaced with a black one with a more sturdy handle. Although it didn’t have the shut off valve connected to the hose attachment. I even ended up buying another 2 years of warranty coverage, once again for 20 dollars. If I have to get another one because it stops working again, I doubt I would buy the warranty protection for a third time. It just seems pointless, even if 20 dollars ever 1 or 2 years is not so much of a hardship.

I love Harbor Freight, especially for any really low price too I need for a project. Although for something like this large compressor, it would be best to find a higher quality item. I already said, that for the price, it wasn’t bad. Still you get what you pay for and this item sacrifices it in quality. It is funny, that the one I got with the warranty is somewhat improved, in comparison to the first one purchased. Who really knows, it might actually work fine.

This item is on harborfreight.com priced at $170. With a local store discount coupon (I don’t believe Central Pneumatic parts and tools are excluded), it’s possible to save as much as 20 percent off. After purchasing an extended warranty, it ends up only costing approximately $160 in total. Not too shabby of a deal.

I’m Having a Baby!

amateur-dad-mechanicWell my wife technically is. Although I had debated whether or not to mention this topic on a car blog, I decided it was time to let everyone know that my wife and I are expecting our second child. I’m sure there are readers out there who are either new to the role of dad or will be soon, so I’ve decided to use this post to discuss my five simple strategies for surviving the newborn period I learned as a first timer and plan to make good use of with baby #2.

Above all else, SLEEP anytime the opportunity presents itself. There are few things more tiring than being the parent of a newborn. For example, it doesn’t matter if you have spent the entire night trying to calm a colicky baby, you’ll still have to go to work in the morning. To try and make up for the missed sleep, offer to take shifts with mom during the evening and try to rest whenever possible during the day. If you are at home and the baby is asleep, take a nap. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for the help of friends and family. In an effort to make the transition into fatherhood a bit easier, take full advantage of any paternity leave or FMLA time you have available.

From day one, stay involved and hands-on. In other words, don’t make the mistake of waiting for the baby to start interacting with you, while mom and baby hang out and form a strong bond. Yes, newborns are a bit boring, but if you wait until he or she starts giggling and cooing to get involved, you may feel left out. Be involved in bath time, bedtime, feedings, and well-baby checkups, which happen pretty often in the first few months.

Don’t be cheap on baby gear. This is the mistake we made on baby #1. Just because a generic version of a name brand product exists at a much lower price and looks the same, the quality is usually crap and sometimes even dangerous. Also, there are a couple must-haves: a Bumbo seat and a baby sleep sack. The sleep sack will do wonders for crying babies. We already bought an Aden and Anais sleep sack for the newborn and plan on getting a larger one later.

new-dadHelp out! Don’t wait to be asked to do something. Instead, offer to change a diaper…it’s easier than you think and something you’ll be doing quite often for the next couple of years, so you might as well perfect your diaper changing skills now. If mom is struggling to calm a crying baby, give it a try. You’d be surprised how good dads can be at comforting an upset baby. Help fix meals.

Take time out for your partner. When a new baby comes home,they take almost 100% of the focus, which can cause strain to develop in even the closest relationships. Don’t pass up opportunities to reconnect. This can be as simple as sitting on the couch for a few minutes together after the baby goes to bed or enlisting a family member for babysitting duties so the two of you can go out to eat. Sign off of social media after a certain time at night. Above all, remain patient and positive. When you offer support, your partner will quickly realize you are the real deal…both a man and an awesome dad.

Pamper your wife. Buy her flowers (or ice cream). Give her a foot massage. Get her a good heating pad. Some of the best heating pads use infrared heat. Not only will this relax her, you can use the pad for future sports injuries as you get older. Win win.

Enjoy the moment. It’ll seem like no time has passed before your newborn is fighting to get out of your lap and make a mess or feeding him/ herself. At this age, developmental milestones pass quickly, so take videos and photos, while also taking the time to savor every moment. Now it’s time to take a nice long nap and prepare yourself for the days ahead.

Any other dads out there have any tips they’d like to share for others? Leave a comment below!

Top Ten Reasons Why Your Check Engine Light is On

check-engineIs your check engine light showing? Can you tell what the cause is? What comes to mind is the garage and parting with some money. Some fixes you can do by yourself although but for some you still have to visit your car specialist. One or several of these reasons might be the cause of the engine light to show.

Instead of spending money to have a local mechanic take a look, get yourself a good car code reader and the best multimeter you can afford. These will be two of the best investments you will ever make for your car.

1. Defective or broken oxygen sensor

An oxygen sensor determines the amount of oxygen in the engine and helps the computer to inject the required amount of gas into the engine. If it’s faulty or damaged the computer can’t tell the amount of fuel required and in most cases, it injects more fuel affecting the fuel consumption sometimes as much as 40% more than average.

2. Loose or faulty gas cap

If the gas cap is not sealed tight vapor will evaporate from the gas tank, and this interferes with the fuel system efficiency which alerts the driver using the engine light. The range will decrease and emissions increase.

3. Faulty catalytic converter

A catalytic converter is used to lessen harmful exhaust gasses. It fails if something else breaks such as the oxygen sensors or defective spark plugs. This triggers the engine light and reduces the gas mileage. Unfortunately, catalytic converters are not cheap. According to Car Treatments, installing a new catalytic converter (including labor) can run you anywhere from about $615 to $2,200. Those with dual exhausts can expect to pay even more.

4. Broken Mass airflow sensor

The mass airflow sensor informs the vehicle’s computer to dispense the appropriate amount of gas based on the air flowing through the engine. It fails when the air filter is not replaced or fitted incorrectly. It decreases the range, increases the emissions or the car might shut down completely.

5. Faulty spark plugs or spark plug wires

Spark plugs initiate combustion and if they wear out or are defective the car might have a hard start or the ride will be jerky especially during acceleration. If the spark plug wires are naked or faulty, they should be replaced. When ignored the car might stall.

6. Broken alarm system

Car alarms that are installed after the cars are manufactured should be done by an expert because a wrong connection might affect the engine management system prompting the engine light. If the car already has the alarm, it should be properly mounted or removed entirely.

7. Faulty thermostat

A thermostat keeps the engine cooling functions in check. If it is defective, it might mismanage the engine and cause it to overheat, to avoid that the engine light alerts the driver. Common symptoms of a bad thermostat include: engine overheating, unexpected interior temperature changes, and noises coming from the radiator area.

8. Faulty Exhaust gas re-circulation

The exhaust gas re-circulation pushes back exhaust gasses through the combustion chamber which increases the gas mileage and reduces pollution of the environment and when it fails it does the exact opposite. The primary cause of failure is a broken ERG valve or a blocked system which should be cleaned or replaced.

9. Defective battery or a bad battery charging system

Most of the new cars engine management system are relying on the battery so when the battery or the charging system fails the whole engine will not function properly.

10. Bad ignition coil

The coil steps up the voltage of the battery and uses it to produce sparks using spark plugs which initiate the combustion. Poor maintenance, use of substandard spark plugs or old coils might be the cause of the failure.

Most of these glitches can be avoided by regularly servicing and diagnosing your car to fix them before they disable your vehicle.