Engineering Your Pimped Up Ride

Allison and Vince talk about many ways to improve the performance of your car.


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Designing after-market parts into high performance cars

Today, we're looking at how after-market parts are used to pimp some rides. The important components are the hydraulic pumps and cylinders, powered by electric motors that draw their current from up to 14 batteries. The entire set-up is typically stashed away in the trunk. The hopping movement is controlled by switches on the dash board. Making these retrofits to old cars requires low-riders to put a lot of holes in the old car frame and strengthen it several places. The good news is that most of these cars come from scrap yards for a few hundred dollars.

After-market wheels can actually make your car accelerate faster and stop shorter. The folks at HRE performance wheels have studied the science of speed and given us a lesson in wheel engineering. It's all about rotational inertiaa The rotational inertia is best thought of as the distribution of mass around the wheel's axis of rotation. The closer the mass is to the center of the wheel hub, the less force is needed to spin it. Notice that the wheels are designed to minimize the mass overall, and particularly the mass at the perimeter of the wheel. : Not only does lower rotational inertia help the car accelerate, it can actually make the car stop faster as well. HRE designs wheels that minimize the mass in the wheel overall while maintaining the necessary strength. Their designs also minimize perimeter mass to reduce rotational inertia.

Senner Tuning delivered a new level of power to the Audi TT RS with their aftermarket program. The program starts with changes in the appearance, including carbon fiber bodywork and a spoiler on the trunk lid. But then, the team at Senner started having some real fun. They added aftermarket performance parts like a power converter, a new valve-controlled exhaust system linked to an intercooler, and a sports air filter. Then, they revised the engine electronics. With that, the 2.5-litre Senner Audi TT went from a ticket-tempting 335 horsepower to an unbelievable 430 horsepower turbocharged unit.

Many after-market enthusiasts increase their fuel efficiency by swapping out fuel-hungry stock parts. The most common changes are those that reduce the air restrictions in the car, notably at the air filter intake and at the exhaust stage. A free-flowing aftermarket intake kit allows the engine to breathe easier, making it work less to suck air into the combustion chambers of the engine.

Aftermarket exhaust systems and mufflers greatly reduce backpressure, increasing the efficiency of the engine and therefore increasing the fuel economy. Part of the fun of pimping your ride is finding inexpensive parts, and the first visit for most people is the local junk yard. But sometimes that part just can't be found. Then, after-market engineering turns into custom fabrication. All serious fabricators have some ability to manufacture and weld-in-place simple components on-site. But if you are thinking about taking up this hobby, be prepared that you're likely going to have to bash some metal.