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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:39 pm Reply with quote Back to top

People are doing amazing things to their cars. All automotive forums are full of proud owners telling stories about millions of mods, in a range from aftermarket carpet to complete car rebuilt. I would not even call it a hobby, it is more like a passion or even religion. And we have religious wars, too. Laughing Imposrts vs. domestics, performance modifications against appearance changes, etc. Rolling Eyes

As for me, I'm not a big lover of changing anything on my cars.

I do believe, that the manufacturer of my car is in a much better position to make my car balanced for daily driving in terms of performance, handling, convenience, ecology, and fuel economy, than I am. They made an enormous amount of research and testing to make sure they stroke the best possible compromise, and I admitted that by choosing and buying their car. And I do not race my cars, I daily drive them, sometimes having some performance fun on the curvy or icy road, or at the light. In other words, I buy cars that have performance I need stock, and that gives me the best possible convenience, fuel economy, ecology, etc. for that performance level.

For the same reason I prefer to use OEM parts all over important areas like brakes, steering, suspension, transmission, engineÖ

Things like body kits, screaming exhausts, wings, neon just do not appeal to me Ė I do not want to pretend to having a high performance car, Iíd rather have a performance car that does not look like performance. For many reasons including, but not limited to, not attracting attention from criminals and police alike.

I did a couple of mods, however, on my 84í and 92 civics (if you donít count aftermarket wipers Smile ). And I will do this to 03í, probably, when warranty is over. For some reason stock civics have very weak high pitch horn. I just hate this sound! So I installed nice aftermarket air horns that can be heard even by a truck driver in case Iím going to pass him on a narrow road. Itís safety feature.

Other than that, all my cars are plain stock.


Last edited by Misha on Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Stimpy
Driver
Driver



Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 10:12 am Reply with quote Back to top

this post hid from me Misha Very Happy

we disagree on this one. I know a lot of people that say the same things as you on performance mods, "the manufacturer knows best so don't mess with it"

Here's my thought: Cars are like computers. You can go out and buy a top-o-the-line beauty for mucho $$$ OR, if you know exactly what you want, you can buy an economy computer and add what you want for way less money.

Unless we're speaking of a luxury car, the car manufacturers have compromised on many aspects of any particular car model in order to lower cost.

For instance, with my well documented love of Civics: Its not that a civic is an awsome car, its just a particularly well manufactured economy car. The important part is that it can be made into an awsome car no matter what the owner wants in a car. It can look however you want it to look. It can have better suspension and handling than almost any stock production car. It can have up to 700 HP with 500 ft pounds at the wheels. Shocked (with over 1000 hp before losses, that particular car was at a 1:2 power/weight ratio)

These are the car mods that I think are "worth it" for almost anyone:

Cold Air Intake
High flow reuseable air filter
performance exhaust system
high performance battery (explosion proof, almost failure proof, 8 year lifespan)
lightweight rims, slightly wider than stock, with high quality tires with excellent grip


Misha, I know you have experience in this area, what do you think of my list?
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:18 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Stimpy wrote:
we disagree on this one.

We donít have to agree on everything, do we? Life would be waaaaaaaaaay boooooooring if we do. Twisted Evil
Stimpy wrote:
Here's my thought: Cars are like computers. You can go out and buy a top-o-the-line beauty for mucho $$$ OR, if you know exactly what you want, you can buy an economy computer and add what you want for way less money.

Have to disagree here. My experience shows it is much cheaper to buy built to specs computer, than to build it yourself. And I built a few computers in my life, and bought a few. Reason for this, as I see it, is that manufacturers pay wholesale price for components, when you and me have to pay retail plus shipping plus tax sometimes. This makes parts way more expensive for us.

Similar logic applies to cars, BTW. Did you ever try to compare price of the option already installed when you buy the car vs. price of adding this same option later? Shocked
Stimpy wrote:
It can have up to 700 HP with 500 ft pounds at the wheels. Shocked (with over 1000 hp before losses, that particular car was at a 1:2 power/weight ratio)

Donít think one can really realize that kind of power on front wheel drive car. Sad
Stimpy wrote:
These are the car mods that I think are "worth it" for almost anyone:

Cold Air Intake
High flow reuseable air filter
performance exhaust system
high performance battery (explosion proof, almost failure proof, 8 year lifespan)
lightweight rims, slightly wider than stock, with high quality tires with excellent grip

Misha, I know you have experience in this area, what do you think of my list?

Well, letís see... Idea

First three will definitely increase your maximum power a few percent, if you buy the quality ones and install them properly. Iím almost certain they will increase you gas consumption by the same percentage or even more. And you have to pay for them some serious money comparable to the carís price. And, if your new exhaust and intake produces somewhat decent sound, which is usually the case, you are going to generate some angry neighbors. And, if you remove the cat in the process, your car is not street legal any more. Well, you decide if the reward/risk ratio is high enough for you.

Battery? Makes sense if you live in Alaska. In all other areas this sounds like waste of money for me.

Lightweight rims will help acceleration a bit and do not seem to hurt anything at the first glance, but if you remember that the whole suspension has been tuned for a different weight, you understand why your car will most probably handle not as good as before. I donít think it is going to be a big difference, but I do think it is going to be slightly worse, not better.

Good tires always get my vote. A word of caution, though. All cars are designed so they do not overturn on a flat dry road surface, no matter what speed is. They should slide instead. And this is assuming a particular amount of tire grip. If you install tires with much better grip than stock ones, youíd better not test your limits in the turns on dry asphalt. Remember the scandal with some of the first journalist tests of Mercedes A Class? This was exactly about too much grip for a particular car.
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Stimpy
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Driver



Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 6:57 pm Reply with quote Back to top

On the 700 whp car: you're right. there isn't any healthy reason to have that much hp in a front wheel drive car unless you build a commited drag racer. (then you can beat rwd muscle cars and piss off rednecks Cool )

on the custom add ons that make sense: You know more about the science end of this topic than I do and I respect that. But, (there's always a but Very Happy ) Its my understanding that the top three (cai, air filter, and exhaust) all do two things, first they increase the efficency of the engine and second, allow for higher HP by allowing more air and therefore more fuel into the engine. By that understanding, If I don't use the extra HP, then wouldn't the higher efficency save me gas?
(I have a 98 hatch with a CAI that gets 38 mpg on the highway, which is totally rockin)

On the mufflers: not every aftermarket exhaust is loud, in fact the really loud ones don't have enough back pressure for the engines in front of them

one the lightweight rims: I've never heard that the suspension has to be tuned for the wheel weight. I've only heard that lighter is better for unsprung weight. What would you need to change in the suspension setup, higher rebound dampening?
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:32 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Stimpy wrote:
On the 700 whp car: you're right. there isn't any healthy reason to have that much hp in a front wheel drive car unless you build a commited drag racer. (then you can beat rwd muscle cars and piss off rednecks Cool )
My understanding was that FWD is kind of useless for drag racing because of the load transfer.
Stimpy wrote:
on the custom add ons that make sense: You know more about the science end of this topic than I do and I respect that. But, (there's always a but Very Happy ) Its my understanding that the top three (cai, air filter, and exhaust) all do two things, first they increase the efficency of the engine and second, allow for higher HP by allowing more air and therefore more fuel into the engine. By that understanding, If I don't use the extra HP, then wouldn't the higher efficency save me gas?
(I have a 98 hatch with a CAI that gets 38 mpg on the highway, which is totally rockin)
All these mods do increase you HP and torque, but they have very little to do with increasing the engine efficiency. They can actually hurt it, and in most cases they do.

The reason for this is that stock car comes with all of its ďpipingĒ and ECU tuned to provide the most efficient engine work over the widest possible interval of engine speeds and loads, centered around most frequently used engine speed and load numbers.

And your hatch most probably gets good mileage not because, but despite of CAI. Iím pretty much sure you get better or at least not worse mileage, if you switch back to stock input.
Stimpy wrote:
On the mufflers: not every aftermarket exhaust is loud, in fact the really loud ones don't have enough back pressure for the engines in front of them

Did you ever hear a racecar? And backpressure is another myth I will probably address a bit later.
Stimpy wrote:
one the lightweight rims: I've never heard that the suspension has to be tuned for the wheel weight. I've only heard that lighter is better for unsprung weight. What would you need to change in the suspension setup, higher rebound dampening?
Since Iím a specialist in engines, not in suspension, I cannot really provide long theoretical and practical explanations. Just from the designerís common sense I can tell you, that the wheel weight is taken into consideration when suspension is designed, granted. Assuming stock carís suspension is optimally balanced, this change will shift the balance out of optimal point. How significant it is, and what should be changed to account for its change, if anything, I would better leave to specialists in suspension.
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Stimpy
Driver
Driver



Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:55 pm Reply with quote Back to top

too bad we don't live close by. I'd buy the beer if you'd talk engines Very Happy

Theoretically then, the only ways to get better gas milage out of your car would be to reduce the weight, drivetrain friction, or wind resistance?
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:42 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Stop by when you are around Very Happy
Quote:
Theoretically then, the only ways to get better gas milage out of your car would be to reduce the weight, drivetrain friction, or wind resistance?
Even less, cause out of mentioned things you have more or less control only on weight Sad

The problem is, to increase power you can increase the amount of air/fuel mixture engine consumes (that is what intake/exhaust mods are doing, including supercharging), but to get better mileage, one have to increase engine efficiency, which is much harder Sad

One thing that you can control fully, however, are your driving habbits Smile And they can make all the difference!
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Stimpy
Driver
Driver



Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:32 pm Reply with quote Back to top

heck... just proper care for your car helps drivetrain and wind resistance losses.

washing your car
proper tire inflation
brake maintenance

we could get WAY crazy making the car more aerodynamic though
Very Happy
cut off the lower section of the rear bumper
dimple the exterior like a golf ball
shave all the exterior bits like door handles


well I'm beating this topic dead though... how COULD I make an engine more efficient? There are a thousand little tricks listed out on the web. turning the sparkplugs, adding a resistor inline with the air temp sensor to fool the engine into running leaner, vaporizing the fuel better with better injectors.... the list goes on. My favorite gimmik was the little fan lookin thing that supposedly made the air swirl as it entered the engine.
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:56 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Ya, it does, but:

Washing your car will not produce any noticeable result

Tires should be inflated properly anyway

Not sure which exactly brake maintenance you mean, cause I donít think brakes affect your mileage unless they are dragging, and in this case you should fix them, not maintain

Aerodynamics is a tough one, because you do not have any means to test what you are doing, and you actually can get opposite results than what you expected pretty often, cause aerodynamics usually not that logical, and improving the flow at one point you can actually hurt it badly in another, where it really matters for MPG

For all those little tricks there is a good website: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/reports.htm . I was doing some tests, too, when I worked in the industry, and none of what I tested showed any merit.

Bottom line Ė manufacturers are spending literally billions of dollars to seriously research this matter, and unless you have a really brilliant idea, you are better off just choosing particular make and model that better fits your needs, and then using it properly. And remember, really brilliant ideas come to one out of millions Sad , and I do not pretend to be this one Razz

When you just love to do things to you car, this is altogether different animal. But you then just need to admit this for yourself, and stop trying to invent some ďlegitimateĒ reasons to modding your car. ďI just love doing thisĒ sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

And then there is a financial aspect of this, which I forgot to mention yet. All those mods cost a lot of $$$$. I bet, you canít save enough to offset those costs, even if those mods really improved your MPG.Sad
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Stimpy
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Driver



Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:28 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Its not that I need excuses to mod my ride. My main project wasn't going to be anything sensible anyways

I just like dreaming of fun things to do to cars just like most car-people. Especially since dreaming is all I can afford at the moment Very Happy Cool
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 2:57 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Actually, there are a lot of things you can do your car without spending a cent, or for just a few bucks for materials Smile I mean detailing, lubricating, adjusting... Those sorts of things. If you really want to do something to your car, and have really tight budget, this can keep you hands busy for quite some time Very Happy As well as tedious planning for the times you have money Wink
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Pavlo
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Member



Joined: Nov 15, 2006
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:42 am Reply with quote Back to top

Are you saying that your stock civic will outhandle an identical one with say a rear swaybar and wider rims? No, not in a million and one years.
After installing full adjustable suspenstion, that is specifically made for my car, and doesn't alter the suspension geometry much, I can take this turn nearby over 15mph faster. Before it was 60 tops, right now I can easily go 75 throught the whole thing.
Stock cars are made with compromizes, so that soccer moms can safely drive it to go get some dipers. For example, take a integra LS and a type-r. The ls has whimpy sway bars, designed with understeer, higher center of gravity, lower spring rates, weaker engine. Take type-r now, car has a 22mm rear swaybar, which will cause oversteer, especially with a little tap on the brakes in a turn, has strut bars, stiffer springs, lower center of gravity, lighter and wider wheels, bigger brakes. Now which car would you chose?
Modifying a car does this exact thing, takes out the compromized that were put in the car to make it safer for the general public and makes the car perform better depending on the driver's needs.
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Misha
Site Owner



Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:19 am Reply with quote Back to top

I drive the cars I've chosen Smile

I'm not into racing. I love driving, but I love a strategic side of it much more than other sides. And from strategic challenge point of view it does not matter how sporty your car is. It is even more interesting to beat the traffic on some POS, but POS is not fun to drive, though.

What I want is a reliable daily driver, and I want to drive it comfortably enough, and I want it to be fun to drive in its stock form. Mods you are telling about are the absolute necessity if you want a race car, but I don't. Those same mods make suspension way too stiff and uncomfortable for daily driving.

This is by no means to discourage you or anybody else to do this or other mods to your cars. Cars come universal, and I do understand the desire to make your car fit you. Iím just lucky enough to be able to buy cars that fit me in their stock form.
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Pavlo
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Joined: Nov 15, 2006
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:59 am Reply with quote Back to top

Actually, the swaybars are almost, or even completely unoticable in daily driving. They go up and down with the suspension, just don't allow the wheels to move independently. If you want to have a fun, comfortable daily driver, I think a set of adjustable shocks, swaybars, and maybe a set of proggressive springs is nice to have. With shock, you can tune them how you like them, for daily driving you can do the fronts a bit stiffer, so that you don't have oversteer, and for those fun days you can always run the rear a bit stiffer promoting oversteer. It's something thats in my opinion is nice to have, as you can pretty much tune the balance of the car just my adjusting the bound and rebound settings.
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Misha
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Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:19 am Reply with quote Back to top

Call me lazy, I just don't want to do this Wink

I might do something along those lines with my 92' Si when summer comes, but my 03' is definitely just perfect for me stock, and I'm not going to touch anything on it in foreseeable future Cool
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