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    I am not dead actually.

    Sorry I’ve been away for so long guys! Exams are bending me over as per usual. Got some jobs lined up after they finish. Will be posting some photos of them when they’re done. :D

     
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    "When you were mine, I should have told you that you’re beautiful"

     
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    Last night I dreamt we were walking along a sunset beach holding hands. This morning I woke up spooning a clump of my blanket and a pillow.

     
  4. Turbos and snails.

    It’s time. Slapping a turbo onto a non-turbo car is far more complicated than bolting on the snail.

    Look kind of the same don’t they? 

    Anywho, before I get stuck into this, let’s go over some preliminary junk.

    So, many people believe that the addition of a turbo degrades a car and it’s driveability. This isn’t necessarily true. Here are some of the engine features which facilitate good driveability:

    -Conservative cam profiles. They perform quite well in lower rpm bands and maximize fuel economy while providing a smooth idle run. 

    -Intake ports which are small in diameter. The idea of having small ports results in smooth cylinder filling at lower speeds. Good economy and idle.

    -Fuel mapping which can adapt to a variety of driving conditions. The ECU can provide the optimum amount of fuel to the system under several loading situations. Veryyyy goooodddd.

      Seriously, if you think about it, a properly set up turbo engine can do the same thing:

    - Best idea to change camshafts out when doing the conversion from N/A to turbo. The new shaft in will be a short-duration variety providing low overlap too.

    - Port sizing in turbos are small since it provides good off-boost performance and when desired, high pressure air pumping through.

    - New fuel maps will be introduced with aftermarket computer systems to control the turbo. Most of the time, these maps are FAR FAR better than the stock factory maps. 

    With all this said, driveability can degrade during the time the turbo is running at boost pressures (Did you really think you’d get no change with a turbo?). Let’s look at some new terms:

    - Boost threshold. This should be in the bible for turbos. Essentially it’s the lowest rpm at which the turbo will produce boost pressures higher than atmospheric
    pressure (i.e. 14.7 psi) during a full throttle press. Any lower in rpm and there wouldn’t be enough exhaust energy to power the turbine to drive the compressor.

    If you’re not on boost, then the amount of power your car makes is roughly the
    same as the non-turbo variant. Here, some people would argue saying that I’m wrong and that a turbo engine runs at a lower compression ratio. They’d describe their lower rpm bands as “horrendously slow and horrible”. To those people, if you
    rebuilt your engine with a lower compression ratio in anticipation for the turbo, you dug your own grave. You can retain a high compression ratio similar to that of a Honda VTEC engine provided you have VERY VERY good intercoolers to remove the heat from the intake air (High compression in the cylinder + hot air = detonation and engine death). 

    There’s something pretty funny about some guys who drive turbos thinking they’re top stuff. So imagine yourself sitting in the passenger seat with said guy. They put a bit on the throttle and you feel this big kick from the turbo. This is just a boost surge and it leads people to believe that the car can produce wayyyy more at full throttle. WRONG. In fact, that’s all the boost the car can make at full. This is rather common in small turbos. 

    Last term for today:

    - LAG. What people normally perceive to be lag is actually the boost threshold. Lag actually means the time between putting your foot down and getting boost pressure above atmospheric. Most of the time lag time decreases as rpm increases so awesomesauce. 

     
  5. Exploring the injeccctor. The extra cc can change lives

    To my many followers: I’ve been MIA for a while with an important research project for a higher power. If I finish on time I’ll be sure to show you guys some of the work :D

    So, I mentioned an injector last time and how it sprays fuel to mix with the air. How exactly does it work and have the prospect of increasing performance? Let’s have a look.

    Essentially fuel enters through the top of the injector and is “stopped” by a small stopper which pressurizes the system. The stopper is essentially a small pintle which is controlled by an electromagnet within. What happens is, a signal sent from the ECU passes through the electrical plug into the injector to the electromagnet. With a small current, it induces a magnetic field which exerts a force on the pintle. This force pulls the pintle upward opening the injector to allow fuel to spray into the air in the plenum. When the current subsides, the force becomes non-existant and the spring loaded pintle returns to the closed position. 

    The ECU uses the current to control how long the injector remains open until it needs to close (Obviously you can’t keep it open constantly). Being a computer and all, it calculates how much fuel is needed based on the amount of airflow moving through and converts it to a voltage signal.

    So how can you modify fuel injectors for better performance?

    Obviously with higher performance, you’re going to be running into greater airflow which would lead some people to say: “CA’mon mate, that’s easy, just keep the injectors open longer”. That kind of thinking can land you with a blown up engine.

    Although it’s true that you need longer injector pulses to maintain a correct afr, there’s a limit to how long the injectors can stay open before they need to close for the ignition stage in the cylinder. So, there exists a maximum pulse duration of X milliseconds and as engine rpm increases, the injector pulse duration approaches this maximum. Once at redline, the injector is usually being pushed to its maximum.

    To determine, the available increase in pulse duration, it’s best to analyze performance near redline. In order to do this, you need to know the time of one revolution at redline (Be prepared for a bit of maths):

    T_red= 60/redline rpm

    Increase amount is:

    T_available= T_red - T_redline_pulse

    You determine the redline pulse duration using an oscilloscope.

    In the event where you have an available increase, you can get what people call a “piggy-back ECU” which just controls the fuel injecton as a standalone computer. What happens is the signal sent from the original ECU is intercepted by the piggy-back and is modified for the injector pulse changes. 

    In my opinion, this should be done after the installation of aftermarket injectors. These are larger injectors which inject more fuel per time. A separate fuel controller is A MUST if you upgrade injectors otherwise, the ECU will continue to think the stock amount of fuel is being injected.  

    One more note: injectors are classed by their capacity. Their unit of measure is deemed ‘cc’ hence, stock injectors are usually in the order of 200-300 cc for non-turbos.

     
  6. Minimum thickness: 8 mm. Visible grooves: “Awhh YUCK!” -> to the bin

    Minimum thickness: 8 mm. Visible grooves: “Awhh YUCK!” -> to the bin

     
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    Can this beat an Accord Euro? :/

    Can this beat an Accord Euro? :/

     
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    Sometimes it’s about the fuel

    With heaps of air, the engine reacts by trying to throw more fuel into it to try create the perfect mix of air and fuel for combustion. What is this perfect mix? Going back to chemistry, it is ideal for every 14.7 parts of air to have 1 part of fuel. If there is more air added, then it’s known as a leaner mix, less air = richer mix. 

    From the tank, fuel is pumped along lines and through filters down into the engine (most of the time the pump is in the tank). In the engine bay, the fuel lines become pressurized as it reaches the dead end known as the fuel rail (Below with fuel injectors)

    Tis me unbolting the fuel rail btw :D

    Anyway, along the fuel rail are small injectors which are electronically controlled and closed when the engine is switched off. As long as they’re closed the fuel system will remain at a constant pressure of around 36 psi + boost pressure from a turbo (if any). When the computer decides it’s the right time to inject fuel in, it sends a voltage to the injector which forces it open for a specific duration (Pulse duration). With this, the air fuel ratio can be controlled by lengthening pulse duration. I could talk about fuel injectors all day but that’ll be for another time. 

    There are two types of fuel systems: the return and non-return variety. Return fuel systems (beloooowwww) let the excess fuel run back to the tank once the system has reached a certain pressure (monitored by the fuel pressure regulator). This means the pump is constantly working at a constant load. 

    The non-return type allows the pump to vary it’s pressure so only enough fuel will be pumped in to keep the system pressurized. Whichever you have, they’re both awesome systems and there’d be no need to switch from one to the other. 

    Usually if you work on your car and have to relieve the pressure of the fuel system (WHICH YOU MUST DO IF YOU PLAN ON REMOVING ANYTHING FUEL RELATED), just open the fuel filler cap. the you can remove the rails as you please

    Also note, when you put everything back together, you need to “prime”  the injectors before you can run them: switch the car on but don’t start it. Leave it for a few seconds and switch it off. Repeat a few times then start ‘er up. 

     
  9. Back to b-air-sics right?

    So you want a faster car? “Faster” implies that you’re running your engine with more air/fuel inside the cylinder = greater power when ignited which drives that huge shaft at the bottom.

    So how do you get more air into that cylinder? The car gets its air from flow outside which passes through a series of ducts, dampeners and a filter element. Below is a stock airbox housing the filter element.

    Obviously, air is going to have a tough time freely flowing through there without losing energy. If you want to increase airflow then remove all of these and replace them with stainless steel piping with minimal bends. Not only is it shiny, you also get no air damping. That panel filter is quite restrictive to help the car idle smoothly. Who needs smooth idling? replace that shizz with a pod filter which has more surface area = less restrictive flow. 

    Here’s a little tip with where to position them. Here’s some science so open your knowledge baskets: colder air is denser (ever notice in hot weather it’s harder to breathe? that’s less o2 for your system in the air). Denser air means your engine senses MORE air which allows it to safely inject more fuel = MORE POWER. Denser air is heavier which means it’s closer to the ground. Having your filter closer to the ground means it sucks in colder air in comparison to the top of the car.

    How exactly does the engine know more air is coming in? I’m only going to cover newer cars with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) systems here: There are two types of engines in this area Speed-density systems and Mass Flow systems. Speed density systems have sensors which detect air pressure, temperature and engine speed. These sensors send outputs back to the computer which calculates how much air is passing through. The Mass flow system employs a small heated sensor exposed to the airflow through the pipes which directly measures the flow characteristics. After the computer knows how much air there is, it sends a signal to the fuel injectors which inject the appropriate amount of fuel into the flow to mix (More on this later)

    This is a very broad overview of intake systems and I’ll go into more detail some other time. Fuel systems is next on the list!

     
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    Basics: The things that go bang under the hood

    So what are these things ? Spark plugs generate the spark obviously :\ but where? 

    In your engine cylinders, you have a huge air fuel mixture coming in from the intake and it somehow has to ignite to produce a downward displacement force on the upper surface of the piston to generate crankshaft movement. The spark comes from a voltage driving the spark between that tiny gap on the end of the plug. You can get the gist of it from this:

    Now let’s look at those people who want to strap turbos to their non-turbo cars (I’m gonna have heaps of junk later which is related to this :D). Since turbos cram more air into your cylinder, it essentially resists the spark jump across the gap which means, a higher voltage is required. Not only that, high voltages need to be insulated in that space before the gap so your entire engine doesn’t collect charge. 

    To those who look to low boost pressures (under 10 psi), your system should boast enough voltage to get good sparking going on. Higher boost applications mean you’d have to install this thing called a capacitor discharge ignition supplement to increase the voltage capability. 

    Now, onto spark plug choice. Those who usually give a rat’s a** about it and just choose the pretty looking ones are known as the tyre kicker variety. It’s rather simple to choose and here’s how:

    Obviously, if you’re going to be driving with a denser mix of air and fuel from the turbo, there’s going to be loads more heat being transferred into the plug. In a nutshell, there are two types of plugs: cold plugs and hot plugs. A cold plug conducts heat VERY quickly and well whereas the hot plug conducts heat away slowly. Logically, you’d jump onto the cold plug choice but it’s not always the best answer since you’d actually want balance. Let me explain:

    Ideally, the best plug would operate in a range hot enough to burn off any kind of build up residue on it but cool enough to prevent a rapid breakdown of the plug itself. Also, if the plug itself is too hot, it can ignite the fuel air mix before the spark is even made (This is known as pre-ignition or DETONATION: A BIG NO NO if you want your car to remain running). 

    Great plugs also depend on how they’re installed i.e. some idiot installing them without the love will have a poor running setup. Get some respectable lube (hehehe) or anti-seize compound onto the threads before installing and tighten to the specified torque value provided in your service manual. 

     

    Turbo spark plug cars boost