Welcome back to FAMTactics where we talk auto from bumper to bumper. Today we are going to look at car performance upgrades. Like any good petrol heads, we are about making the fast go faster. However, how you choose to do it is entirely up to you.
Let’s take a look at the three key areas that relate to car performance, and why you might be tempted to choose one above the other.
· Steering and Suspension
If driving to you is about cornering, then you might want to start with the steering. Some older vehicles, for example, the BMW e30 are known to have what is called a ‘slow rack’. Rack refers to the type of steering system and slow means that it has many turns ‘lock to lock’. This means that you have to turn the wheel through 4 rotations (in the case of the Bimmer) to go from complete left to complete right.
If you find that your car performance vehicle has sluggish steering, the best mod is usually to swap in a rack from a faster vehicle. Using our example, a common e30 mod is to swap in a Z3 rack, which is much quicker.
When it comes to how fast you can take corners, another key factor is your vehicle’s center of gravity. The closer it is to the surface of the road, the more stable the auto will feel. Most manufacturers have to design their cars for a variety of road surfaces; therefore, they make them quite high off the ground. (Unless you’re one of the lucky Porsche owners with an adaptive suspension system.) Changing the struts and springs on your vehicle will bring it ‘down to earth’ and allow you to corner much faster. Just be sure that you don’t intend on using your pride and joy to take the kids to grandpa’s ranch…
· Engine and Transmission
This is an extremely broad area of modification. In the engine alone we have the mild – which is new air intakes and maybe a cat-back exhaust system. Then you get the totally wild, which would start with a custom crankshaft and pistons. From there we have chip tuning, a full exhaust system (like a custom Akrapovic), and perhaps even methanol injection.
Apologies if we’ve just blown your mind with jargon, but we haven’t even gotten to the transmission yet. With older vehicles, a common mod was to dump the auto transmission for a stick shift. However, these days autos have gotten so quick, that they are killing the sticks. Most modifications for auto transmissions are in their controlling software. Very occasionally an upgraded box from a larger engined model may be fitted to deal with the extra power and torque outputs of your modded engine.
· Styling and Wheels
Surely appearance doesn’t have anything to do with performance upgrades. We beg to differ. Styling modifications such as air-dams or spoilers aren’t only there to make your pride and joy look cool. They also reduce drag, and sometimes the key ingredient, weight.
While we’re on the subject, have you checked out the line of wheels from Carbon Revolution that we stock? These puppies not only look the part but are a fraction of the mass of alloys thanks to the wonder of carbon fiber. Styling is one area where you can really express your personal taste. We don’t judge.
We hope that we’ve wet your appetite for what is possible… Why not pop in for a chat if you’re in the Pompano Beach area? Our friendly ASE team will help your vehicle reach its full potential.