Sunday, February 14, 2016
The Magic Of Tuning Your Car
Tuning is an important part of making your car run right, and I'm not only talking about the engine tuning, I'm talking about suspension and chassis tuning also, the engine in the easy part, unless of course you run a turbocharger or supercharger, either one of these make the engine harder to tune, and it has to be tuned perfect at all times if you have either one of these, or two fours on a tunnel ram, all of these things will make it go faster, but require exact tuning, you can no longer tune by ear, it takes timing lights, vacuum gages, and computers, no longer just a screw driver and a wrench.
No more just running to the auto parts store and getting your cap, rotor, wires, and plugs, and gaping up the plugs and throwing it all on, you will obviously do this also, but now you will hook up your computer, timing light, and vacuum gage, you cannot have any vacuum leaks, allow your car to over heat, or get lazy about your car in general, it's a must to keep it in perfect running order all the time, or you can expect huge problems with it.
It used to be in the old days that if your engine decided to backfire when it had a supercharger, you could expect the motor to scatter all over the road, but there have been some advances, and simple ones, like pop off valves, that make this almost a thing of the past, but you'd better be ready for all the time you'll spend maintaining your car after you add this kind of performance modification to your car.
Now the suspension tuning part can get just a little involved, and it's really not my specialty, but I will give it the old college try, when tuning your suspension you'll want to think about what it is your going to use the car for, if you build a 1/4 mile car, it obviously won't handle that well in the corners, and if you build a car that handles through corners, it'll still do alright in the 1/4 mile, but you probably aren't going to win a lot of races, so you really need to give this some thought, so you get the right car for you.
The first thing that I can think of here if you want to be really competitive in any type of racing is the to look at the frame of your car, and the power of the engine that your building for it, if you have a uni-body car, and your building an engine with more then 500 HP, you might want to think about making it a full frame car, by either having a special frame built, by a company like Reher and Morrison, to insure that it can handle the power, if you decide to go with sub frame connectors to save money. then you should look in to the products that are on the market, compare, and buy the best that you can find, and weld them on, do not bolt them on the the best results.
What sub frame connectors will do for you, is fool your uni-body car in to thinking that it has a full frame, it will make the entire car a lot more rigid, which by nature will make it handle better, now I will try to explain the difference between the two types of suspension, first of all, if you've ever been to the drag strip, you'll notice that when the drag car launches of of the line it squats down in the rear, this is the first big difference between the two suspension setups, with a drag car you want to transfer as much of the weight to the rear of the car as you can when it launches off of the line, this is how you'll make those hole shots, and win races.
In 1/4 mile racing they use ladder bars, and four link suspension systems to get the power to the pavement, and getting the power to the pavement is the name of the game in 1/4 mile racing, you want as much of the power from those rear wheels getting to the pavement as possible, that is what the burn out is all about, it's not just a spectacle, it heats up the tires and creates adhesion to the tarmac surface, it's an integral part of the getting the power to the pavement that I have been talking about, once you get your ladder bars, and your four link suspension systems tuned in perfectly, it will hook up, and you will launch like a rocket.
The things that I explained above are exactly the things that you don't need in a true road race car, in a road race car your not going to heat up the tires to gain traction, you'll depend on tread patterns, and tire compounds to create the kind of traction that you'll need to be competitive here, what your looking for here is the entire car to stick to the road, you do not want it to slide, so most people will try to get the major part of the weight over the center of the car, this is what is called a mid engined car, you want that weight to be distributed over the entire car if possible, by making it a mid engined car it goes a long way toward achieving this goal, you do still need to at least put weld on sub frame connectors on the the car, here again I would suggest to have a professional build a frame for your car instead.
Road cars use aerodynamics to create down pressure on the car to help keep in on the road, and to cut through the air to help the car to move along the road easier, and they use shocks, springs, and sway bars to help limit the pitch and roll of the car body when it goes it to a hard corner, the car need to stay as level as possible to keep in on it's wheels, instead of on it's roof, and this is a highly specialized type of tuning, you should always have a professional to set this up for you, it needs to be perfect if you want the best results from your work, time, and money, the professionals will also do their magic on the steering of your car also, and they will do it right and safe.
What I'm saying here, is spend a lot of time thinking about what you want your car to do, your the only person that it has to impress in the end.
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