Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Doing a makeover or making a monster?

Car modification is cool. However, you may find yourself exaggerating things, making your work of art a total disaster! Better yet, you can keep everything simple yet appealing.

There are lots of auto parts that you should consider when modifying your ride. You can start with the most obvious ones… Those which you can see even from a distance – like your wheels and tires.

With the wheels and tires, the desire to fit alternative ones is the most common modification. This is because of their significant visual contribution on aesthetics. Oftentimes, these auto parts stand as foundations in making or unmaking a car.

Changes to the wheels and tires can alter your ride’s behaviour on the road, so it is advisable to fit wheels and tires that are listed on the tire placard or in your owner’s handbook. Of course, you also need to ensure the good condition of your tires and wheels.

Some experts say that modifying wheels and tires can really improve a road holding, but an incorrect tire and wheel combination can affect the track of your vehicle.

Now let’s talk about one of the most popular location of car modification – the exhaust system. The rumble of a hotted-up V8 makes a pretty loud statement. Enthusiasts extravagantly shell out to fit a larger exhaust system with the idea of improving gas flow while deriving more power from the engine.

Ideally, it will be better to reduce the restriction in the exhaust to maximize the performance but in reality, it doesn’t deliver huge gains because it goes more about the noise than anything else.

Upgraded exhaust systems are popular in the 17–25 age group This is partly personality and show-off factor. The statutory limit for exhaust noise is 90 decibels for cars made after 1983. Nonetheless, fines range from $150 to $500 depending on how far the exhaust noise exceeds the limit. What do you want, fame or fine?

Getting in the interior… Car enthusiasts transform seats for support, safety, comfort, and aesthetics. If you don’t have any reason while doing such modification, better stop it, or make a monster out of your interior. However if you are sure about your plan, you can find optional extras for your vehicle, just don’t forget to get an engineering certificate.

Once a seat is incorrectly fitted, it will dislodge in the event of a crash. Moreover, if you fit a new seat and it ends up too high or low, it could compromise the driving position of your ride. If you have side airbags, have your seats modified or use seat covers since they could interfere with the deployment of airbags..

Getting under the hood.. Engine modifications tend to be more complex as these include either modifying the existing engine or fitting a new engine. Among the common activities are adding superchargers turbochargers, or after-market fuel injection systems.

Powerchips are great. These go into the vehicle’s engine management computer and changes the mapping of fuel and ignition timing, maximizing the power. Nonetheless, this is expensive if you base on the “not so great” net gain.

Never modify your ride if it is likely to affect engine management, oxygen sensor, catalytic converter, or the mufflers in the exhaust system. You can boost the power under the hood using other techniques. You don’t have to modify your ride into a monster.

More techniques are yet to be counted. If you want to learn more about having a makeover for your vehicle, keep on researching. A lot of enthusiasts are willing to share great tips for your benefits. Next time, I’ll be posting more entries related to this…

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Improve your Shocks

Have you been suffering from extensive bouncing? Never ignore this as you will never get the off-road performance that you need. Check if the shocks are still in good shape otherwise, you will continuously get annoyed by the road disturbances.

Shocks generally stand as piston inside a liquid, having an extra gas chamber that absorbs the unfavorable effects of road disturbances. This happens when gas compresses while the liquid does not compress under pressure. Because of such difficult task, your shocks are apparently made to have fairly complicated structure. Additionally, since these auto parts are exposed to extensive movements, early damage are always imminent. If this happens, your car would bounce all along. To make sure that problems with your shocks will not annoy you, make sure that you will always consider the condition of each suspension parts. These are some of the main components that you have to regularly inspect.

Bound and Rebound settings
This refers to the dampening force of the shock absorber. Bound is the rate at which shock allows compression. Rebound, on the other hand, is the rate at which the shock releases the compression. Once your suspension has a dampening control, then you can determine the optimum setting.

This is the angle of your wheel against the road. Putting all your weight on the outside of your feet will cause negative camber. On the other hand, rolling your feet inwards, so all your weight gets inside, positive camber is resulted. As the car rolls into the corner, the camber will bring changes to handling and tire life. The best camber settings for handling will lead to premature tire wear. The front wheels are set up for positive camber while the wheels deflect up. Camber setting refers to the angle of the wheel to the road and the angle of the wheel to the chassis. Maintaining the best angle of contact between the tire and the road should therefore be done properly.

The angle of the wheel hub in relation to the suspension arm is referred to as the angle of castor. Positive castor keeps the wheel straight. Stability is maintained, whereas a neutral camber leads to wheel wobbling around the axis.

Toes in or toes out? Your car has “toes out” when they seem to look like your feet, having the heels together and the toes apart. On the other hand, it has “toes in” when the heels are apart and the toes are together. Any of these conditions can affect the stability of your car. Toe can provide stability on the straight and resistance whenever turning. With toes out, there is quicker steering response.

You can provide your car with the toe that you want, just make sure that this is equally distributed to all your wheels.

Removing roll in corners will help attain cornering stability. Once you push hard, your car will lift a rear wheel and when cornering, you will surely need as much rubber in contact with the black stuff.

Roll bars are also called sway bars. These help keep the level in a car corner by taking a lift from one side and trying to move it to the other. This is impossible so the lift effectively pulls down and everything is kept in contact with the road.

Spring stiffness
If the springs become so stiff, the car will bounce over humps and potholes on the road. When this become too soft, the car will wallow along. Perfect shocks are made adjustable on the car to let you get the set up that will match your driving style.

These suspension parts provide connection to the suspension components and chassis. The rubber ones deteriorate over time. New poluurethane bushes last longer and maintain handling much tighter. However, since these are harder, your ride has the possibility to become a little bumpy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Experience the Honda roadster drive!

2008 Honda S2000 CR

Want a sporty yet feminine convertible coupe? Why not consider the Honda roadster – S200. This sports car was launched in April 1999 and was created to celebrate Honda’s 50th anniversary. This had the chassis designation of AP1then

Honda S2000 features a front-mid engine, rear wheel drive layout with power delivered by 1, 997 cc F20C inline 4 cylinder DOHC-VTEC engine producing 240 hp (179 kW) at 8,300 rpm and 153ft.lbf (207 Nm) at 7,500 rpm. The six speed manual transmission is matched with Torsen limited slip differential.

This roadster is constructed using a rigid x-bone monocoque frame so as to improve passenger safety and handling. You can also locate other features like double wishbone suspension, integrated roll hoops, and electrically-assisted steering. An electrical vinyl top with internal cloth lining was standard.

The AP1 was manufactured up to 2003 at Tochigi plant, alongside Honda Insight hybrid and Honda NSX. The succeeding year, the production was continued at the Suzuka plant.

In 2004, a lot of revision to the S2000 was carried out. These have later on given the chassis designation of AP2. The 2004 model got the newly designed 17 in wheels and Bridgestone RE-050 tires along with a returned suspension, which reduces the tendency to oversteer.

The 2008 model year recorded the first time the S2000 was offered in more than one trim level. Additionally, Honda offered a new race-inspired version of this coupe. This is distinguished by reduced weight, fewer amenities, and a claimed increase in performance.

S2000 CR, the latest model, was introduced at the 2007 New York International Auto Show. Some modifications, called the Type-S in Japan, have included the stiffer suspension, quicker steering rack, and new Bridgestone Potenza RE 070 tires.

More and more enthusiasts desire to experience the smooth performance of this 2-door roadster, especially the ladies. If you are among these people who long for this car model, then better stop dreaming now, see it yourself..

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting Lower... but trendier

Do you want to give your vehicle a new appeal? Why not try making it look closer to the ground? Lowering has been one of the popular trends today so it will surely be a success if you will pursue such style in your own ride.

But how are you gonna start the lowering of your vehicle then? Lots of enthusiasts have their vehicles lowered through their own skills and money. Apparently, you need to invest the same factors to make sure that your ride will stand out down the road.

Usually, lowering is started by removing the huge tractor like gap between the top of the wheel and the arches. Such lower feature is better for handling since the track becomes fairly flat and smooth.

Manufacturers need to take speed bumps, passenger comfort, uneven road surface, and road noise into consideration when setting up a car suspension. Lots of cars contain soft comfortable suspension that does a little to maximize handling and driving experience. Track cars are designed for driver preference and style for perfect setting is not just different for each model, as it is also a subjective thing.

If your car has a lowered front with a body kit, you will may not go quite as low on the suspension or you will quickly grind the front skirt of pavements, ramps, and speed bumps.

Vehicle models like Ferrari raises the nose cone electronically to avoid such issue. You could add gringing plate of rubber or metal to the bottom edge to preserve the plastic- you get to replace the grinding plate instead of the whole front apron.

Talking about the common mistakes – you should not go through the chavsandtarts car part catalogue and buy a suspension kit, which can lower your ride 50 mm, and expect the perfect set up.

Several kits are so general, as these can be fitted to all models. Different engine weights, wheel sizes, and car weights need different suspension characteristics. If you go too low, you risk grinding the tires in the wheel arch requiring a rolling of the arches, making them bigger by folding the metal underneath. You will also risk the condition of the drive shaft and gearbox if the angle from the final drive to wheel hub is wrong.

Your car can look good when slammed to the ground. You can reduce the ground clearance, causing troubles with tires rubbing in the wheelarches. Take note that roads have speed bumps and instead of slowing a lowered car down they will grab the sump and rip off the bottom of the engine, where most is of the front skirt. Several road cars can be better off going lower than 35mm for hot hatches which tend to have uprated suspension (which can even be better with just 30mm).

In case you have changed the wheel size, then these tolerances can be much lower a car fitted with standard suspension and 17” rims can be fine. Nonetheless, if you lower it as well, you may get more problems. Lowering must improve handling and appearance. Also, this must result to less air going under the car, which can enhance stability. You can notice that lower springs should be fitted top match shocks, so cutting the springs will not be that advisable.

Lowering is indeed a great idea for customizing your car. Nevertheless, this always requires complicated procedures. Of course you can do it yourself but the result will be better if a skilled auto mechanic will assist you. Also, make sure that you will get the best lowering kit in the market. Always guarantee yourself with the right choice of kit, according to the requirements of your car manufacturer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

BMW GINA Light Visionary Model

Bavarian Motor Works or BMW has been one of the most popular auto manufacturers since the onset of the 20th century.
When speaking about BMW, elegance, performance and convenience are always expected. That’s why with all the impressing high-performance and luxury vehicles that this manufacturer produces, more and more unique designs are yet to be revealed.

Lately, BMW just unveiled its latest design philosophy through a radical concept car. Publicized as the "game changer" for the "development of tomorrow's mobility,” such new BMW concept centers around the GINA principle, for Geometry and Functions in "N" Adaptions. With this concept, BMW shows its capability to think outside the box and introduce great ideas with the least amount of typical constraints on car designs.

The first translation of GINA philosophy is established in the Light Visionary Model concept. You may find something familiar out of it. And it might be the car's realistic 8-cylinder powertrain package residing in a roadster, built from an aluminum space-frame chassis with two double tailpipes. Moreover, you may find the 20-in. alloy wheels at the corners recognizable too. More important than these are the Visionary's exterior body that surely catches attention. This is skinned by four large pieces of flexible material, stretching and contracting based on a number of substructures. These will move about on the chassis through electro and electrohydraulic controls.

Four main pieces of skin make up the Visionary's body. The largest among these starts at the front and extends down to the base of the windscreen, and then across the two doors, ending at the rear edge. The next two fabric-like skins start at the front lower rocker panels. These run across the rear wheel arches to the back. The last piece of skin is making up the rear deck. The roadster's scissor-type doors are opened with its outer skin wrinkled in a very clearly defined pattern. These are however stretched back into a silky-smooth surface once the doors are shut. The fabric covering the Visionary's body is made from waterproof and temperature-resistant mesh netting on the outer layer. This is supported by a flexible metal-wire structure underneath so as to keep the skin's tension and smoothness regulated. Around the curvatures of the skin, you can find carbon struts added for higher flexibility and better shape of contours.

The GINA Light Visionary Model is attractive not only because of the fabric outer skin but also because of the utility in form following function. On the other hand, flexible skin causes the headlights to seem hiding or exposed whenever necessary. Side markers to signal lane changes are not seen on the outside until turned on. As these lights are lighted on, the beams shine through the translucent (but not transparent) cover.

The airflow around the car can be managed aggressively as the skin can be closed, opened or stretched relative to the necessity. The rocker-panel shape is made adjustable for better aerodynamics. And since the rear deck is covered by one single piece of fabric, the spoiler can be completely concealed when not in use.

With the appeal of GINA Light Visionary Model, BMW is in the forefront of creative automotive design. If you are not impressed yet, then check these out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When was the last time you have upgraded your car?

Revolution in the automotive industry has gone so far. And fortunately, the development gets on, as modern cars seem to get more and more complicated, yet convenient. Though microprocessors make it more difficult for you to work on your vehicle, some of these will make the maintenance easier to handle.

The use of microprocessors are basically brought by the need for sophisticated engine controls to meet emissions and fuel-economy standards, simplification of car designs, new safety and convenience features, and development of wireless connections.

Some of the signs for the advancement of automotive technology are the innovations from engineers like the ABS module, Airbag module, Body Controller, Climate control module, Cruise Control Module, ECU, Instrument Panel, Power distribution box module, and transmission controller.

ABS module – controls anti-lock brakes, handle traction-control and stability-control systems.

Airbag Module – controls airbag deployment

Body controller – controls power windows, interior lights, seats etc..

Climate control module – monitors interior temperature while controlling heating and cooling systems.

Cruise Control module – regulates speed while in cruise mode

ECU – controls engine functions such as spark timing, fuel/air ratio etc..

Instrument Panel- controls gauges and indicator lights

Power distribution box module – controls relays in the power distribution box

Transmission controller – controls the automatic transmission

Among these advanced automotive designs, the sophisticated engine controls make a lot of breakthroughs. Though these were unimportant then (because it was possible to build an engine without microprocessors), the increasingly stricter emissions laws have necessitated their uses. Today, sophisticated control schemes are designed to regulate air/fuel mixture so that the catalytic converter could effectively minimize the pollution.

ECU is among the most powerful computer in vehicles, as it controls the inputs to a system, managing the emissions and fuel economy. It gathers data from different sensors, keeping it “knowledgable” with everything from the coolant temperature to the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. Just imagine how it performs millions of calculations per second. This controller is indeed one of the busiest computers. By the way, have you upgraded your ECU? Better do it soon, otherwise, troubles with miscalculations may lead to major problems.

ECU gathers data through a lot of sensors. Clusters are currentlyused on smaller scales for these sensors. There are manufacturers that produce smart sensor that is integrated with all electronics, along with a microprocessor that enables it to read the voltage, calibrating it through temperature-compensation curves and digitally outputs the pressure onto the communications bus. Such design can save the carmaker from having to know the dirty details of sensor, while saving processing power in the module.

Smart sensors are favorable as the digital signal traveling over the communications bus is less susceptible to electrical noise. An analog voltage traveling through a wire can pick up extra voltage when it passes certain electrical components, or even from overhead power lines.

In addition to sensors and computers, other systems such as traction control, stability-control, ABS and air bags have become common to cars. These safety features add new module, which contains multiple microprocessors.

Each safety system requires more processing power and is usually packaged in particular electronics module. In the near future, it is expected that all kinds of new convenience features in modern cars will require more electronic modules containing multiple microprocessors.

With all these advancement in modern cars, how many have been used to upgrade you car? Better check out if your vehicle is still on the trend. Upgrading the systems may require ample money and time, but surely, it pays. Anyhow, it’s your choice to be left behind or not.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hyundai HDC9 Talus

Talus aims to excite the inner passion of customers who have not been able to justify parking a sports car in a secret place. Unlike the traditional coupes, Talus can run over steep driveways, potholes, or two-track access roads because of its increased ground clearance.

The performance of Talus is of optional 4WD to assist in applying horsepower to the pavement or for added confidence in inclement weather. The increased ride height also improves visibility, giving the driver the ability to see and anticipate the road ahead. Talus includes interior room for four adults, plus cargo space. Such space ensures more convenient access, while giving more benefits in spite of a commanding ride height.

With the exterior, Talus got the assertive features that brings confidence to the driver. Eric Stoddard, senior creative designer of Hyundai, says that Talus can do what it wants to as it opens boundaries from a sports car perspective.

Every inch and curve of Talus comes from the same underlying inspiration, which guided all-new Santa Fe. Talus shares a similar assertive expression in its front headlamps, grille, and bodyside. The shape of the hood emphasize an extremely powerful V8 engine under it.

The roofline and tapering greenhouse accentuate the exterior profile while highlighting the broad shoulders and wide sporty stance, with its 22-inch polished aluminum deep-dish wheels.

There are pillarless aperture supported by front-hinged doors and rear-hinged jump doors for easier access into the cabin. There is also a solenoid door release that is integrated into the b-pillar, which allows sculpturally clean bodyside.

Balance is importantly considered between passion and functionality at the rear. The beltline adds up intrigue while enhancing outward visibility for all passengers. A power clamshell hatch opens to a spacious cargo area, allowing easy access from the rear and sides. The dual exhaust tips repeat the design theme of the fog lights up front.

Overall, you will notice that the finish of the exterior is on Molten Red metallic paint. This is selected as a refined evolution of bright red that is typically associated with sports cars. The finish is harmonized with Cinder black ground effects.

The interior is equally as elegant as the exterior. Talus is captivating and luxurious on the inside so as to provide ease to the passenger while attaining cargo versatility. The cascading metallic trim on the center console will make Talus a more interesting ride. You surely would want to explore the details and craftsmanship that were entirely tailored into the interior. Blue LED lighting establishes nice ambience throughout the interior day or night.Getting behind the wheel of the Talus gives you a feeling of being privileged and empowered by the luxurious appointments and higher seating position, as senior creative designer Dragan Vukadinovic said. According to him, they aim to push the expectations of the sports car interior by injecting as many luxury cues as possible. The center console was designed for more alluring visual while providing all the practical functions a driver expects.

If you will notice, the center stack looks like a jeweled pendant hanging from a necklace. Such necklace graphic describes a retractable hood that opens to show off a 10-inch LCD monitor, air vents and a clock capable of displaying time in three different time zones. There are also two control knobs that seem to be suspended from the necklace, representing the jeweled pendant. Dual zone climate controls edge the tapering center console. The secondary audio controls make the rear passengers enjoy watching individual nine-inch DVD monitors mounted in the rear of the front seats.

The interior is covered with rich hues of supple leather wherein the palette contains Sierra Brown and Black Chestnut colors. These were selected to evoke the warm affluence of a western lodge. The accented metallic finishes also maintain a fresh yet futuristic appeal.