Top 4 Power Mods

1. Intake 

An intake is a crucial part that contributes towards a car’s performance. Air is sucked in via the intake, and into the engine to form the air-fuel mixture. The mixture is detonated in petrol engines via a spark plug, which is then compressed to move the piston. Installing an aftermarket performance intake will allow for more air, leading to a greater detonation and therefore more power. The 2 common types of performance intakes are Short Ram Intake (SRI) and Cold Air Intake (CAI)

  • SRI: Is fitted within the engine bay. This allows for a lot of air sucked into the engine compared to stock, enhancing performance. Induction noises can also be heard within the cabin, a little something to impress your mates 😉.
  • CAI: This is fitted outside the engine bay, and is generally behind the wheel guard. Since this intake is fitted outside the engine bay, it can allow for colder air to be sucked into the engine. Colder air = greater detonations = more power gains. A negative of this type of aftermarket intake is the risk of driving through a puddle, and sucking water through the intake, hydro-locking the engine.

2. Downpipe/Full Exhaust

A downpipe is a pipe that is fitted onto the exhaust gas outlet side of the turbo. Stock downpipes are generally very restricted to comply with regulations, and reduce noise pollution. Replacing a downpipe with a high flowing one, can allow for significant power gains. Having a performance downpipe allows the car to emit exhaust gasses faster, which is a significant factor when modifying your car. Plus, it’ll allow for some sexy crackles and pops on some cars.

Other restrictive parts of an exhaust including the catalytic converters, mufflers and resonators also provide restrictions within the exhaust system. Replacing these parts with performance ones can also see dramatic gains in power and noise.

Performance exhaust headers for N/A engines improve performance by providing a less restrictive path for exhaust gasses. These aftermarket headers often allow for efficient exhaust gas flow by providing larger diameter passages.

3. Turbocharger/Supercharger install or upgrade

Forced induction cars can usually push for a heap of power on smaller engines like 4 or 6 cylinder engines. Whether it be a supercharger or turbocharger, these components can allow for more air to be pushed into the engine, resulting in higher power numbers. If you already own a turbocharged car, one of the best upgrades you can do for more power is replacing the factory turbocharger, with a larger aftermarket one. Some renowned brands include Precision, Garrett and Blouch. A larger turbo when tuned correctly, can dramatically change the power delivery of the car and allow you to chop every red P-plater with a stage 1 GTI.

Some NA cars also have turbocharger or supercharger kits available for them. Although the car did not come with factory forced induction, adding one of these kits can significantly change the power band and allow for more ‘smiles per gallon of fuel’. Bear in mind that the stock engine may not have been designed to handle such boost pressure, so remember to seek specialised guidance before embarking on your journey to more power.

4. Tune

A tune involves complex alterations of a vehicle's ECU for different purposes (Performance, Fuel economy, Pops/Bang/Crackles). As a rule of thumb, it is necessary to get your car tuned after adding any performance modifications. This will ensure that the car makes the most of the performance modification, and reduces the chances of the engine running lean and causing serious damage to itself.

There are two types of tuning:

Dyno tuning
  • The car is placed on a dyno where the tuner will push the car to its limits in order to get an understanding of the vehicle, and alter some ratios and values in the ECU to allow the vehicle to achieve its full potential. This type of tuning is generally the safest, as the tuner will be able to use live data to view the health of the engine and pre-empt any damage to the engine before it occurs. The car is ran on the dyno multiple times until both the owner and the tuner are happy with the power being made safely.
Road Tuning
  • Road tuning involves the owner using an ECU viewer/manager (such as a COBB Accessport) to take logs of the car on Wide Open Throttle (WOT) runs, and saving it. The logs keep a record of different values in the engine (e.g. air fuel ratios, boost pressure), which is then sent to the chosen tuner to evaluate. The tuner reads the data, and creates a tune map for the owner to upload onto the vehicle’s ECU. The owner does another WOT run and logs the data using the ECU manager, and then sends it to the tuner. This is done multiple times until either the owner or tuner are happy with the results. Road tuning is generally a cheaper method of tuning as a dyno is not needed to tune this way. However, there is an initial investment in an ECU manager required, and some cars may not have an ECU manager made for its platform. This tuning method may not be as good as dyno tuning when aiming to make the most power out of your car.

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