Half ton, one ton, three quarter ton, etc… The funny thing about tonnage ratings is that they are still thrown around today but were only really accurate up into the 1960’s. Since then, “tonnage” has become a slang way of separating the light, medium, and heavy duty truck models. Back when tonnage was accurate, it was a measurement of the truck’s Payload Capacity.
Payload Capacity = Passengers + Cargo weight. This means the weight of the people, gas, beverages, rocks, mud, and yes even the pet raccoon that lives under the seat. This does not include the weight of the vehicle or any sort of towing number nonsense. In a perfect world……
1/2 ton truck = Safely carry 1000 lbs of people and cargo
3/4 ton truck = Safely carry 1500 lbs of people and cargo
1 ton truck = Safely carry 2000 lbs of people and cargo
Unfortunately, those ratings have become vague guidelines on all trucks newer than the 1960’s. » Continue reading more of this post…
Being in the aftermarket auto parts bizzz, I often find myself verbally battling with guys that are hardcore OEM auto parts only. They usually say “I only buy OEM auto parts because “aftermarket stuff” never fits, works, lasts, etc.” They usually have an example of a part that they bought from a local auto part store that didn’t work out for them for whatever reason. Fair enough, we’ve all been there. Now, I have absolutely no problem with OEM parts by any means. In fact, before working for 1A Auto, I was a technician at a Cadillac dealer using all OEM parts. Needless to say, I’m quite familiar with a wide range of auto parts. Do bad OEM parts exist? Absolutely! (Just ask anybody that has owned a Cadillac Catera (Sorry, I had to…)) Do bad aftermarket auto parts exist? Absolutely. However, not all auto parts are created equal. So let’s talk about it.
We’ll start our examples with a company that does really exist and everybody knows of them because they make absolutely fantastic suspension products. I’m leaving the name out because the auto parts that they build are more relevant than their name. For now, let’s call them “Company X”. Now, the way I understand it, about 50% of the suspension parts that Company X produces are OEM parts for brand new cars. Naturally, they also produce extra’s for the car dealer’s to stock in their parts departments. It would be in an OEM brand name box, but it is actually built by Company X. When the OEM’s need a part produced, Company X is given specs by the vehicle manufactures and as you may guess, they build these auto parts to the exact specifications that they are given. The OEM engineers really only need these parts to last as long as the car’s suspension warranty, without compromising safety or their own brand name in the process. All the parts function as they are designed to, but long term, some parts are better than others.
The other 50% of the auto parts that Company X produces are what I call “high quality aftermarket auto parts”. They are Company X’s aftermarket brand, built to their own specs, which are vastly improved over the OEM parts (if they need to be). They find the faults of the original designs and they correct them for their aftermarket brand because Company X wants them to last forever. Everything is greaseable (as suspension parts should be), and engineered to be better than the OEM’s originally wanted. It may be a visible change in the look, or it may look identical and be internally changed. In some cases the OEM part doesn’t need to be improved upon, and the high quality aftermarket part brand is the same exact part as OEM but without the part numbers marked on them.
On the other hand, there are the cheaper options available out there which I call “low quality aftermarket auto parts”. These are typically the ones that can give “aftermarket parts” as a whole a bad name. The reason that they are the cheapest price is because they are the cheapest to produce. Being the cheapest to produce rarely equals the highest quality. The unfortunate truth to these parts is that you don’t really know if this is the part that you are buying until you attempt to attach it to your car. Before long, you need torches and welders to make it fit, and you need a new one in a few weeks.
Now you can’t talk about OEM vs Aftermarket auto parts without talking about price. Here’s the way it works. Since the average consumer can only buy OEM parts through car dealers, the dealers can charge a premium. There is typically minimal price differences between dealers because their doesn’t need to be. They control the flow of OEM parts. Aftermarket parts are different because you can have multiple manufacturers of similar products. You can count on all of them being priced less than an OEM part from a dealer, but the quality can vary greatly. High quality aftermarket parts are priced far less than the dealer, but sold from a variety of different outlets which means competition and a super high quality part at a competitive price. Then there are the cheap (and I do mean cheap) low quality aftermarket parts. They will be priced the lowest, and may or may not be what you want when you open the box. “EEEK! What is that!?”
So although my opinion may appear to biased because of my position, I’ll give it to you anyway. I prefer the high quality aftermarket parts over OEM because I know what goes into them, and the price is right of course. Want more? Ok, fine. Recently I installed some new ignition coils in my wife’s RX8 as a general maintenance procedure. I took a few pictures for OEM vs aftermarket comparisons. The new ones were perfect in every way, and the RX8 is happier than ever. (OEM’s are on the left side of the picture, and the 1A Auto coils are on the right.)
First thing’s first. If you have never drag raced before, you need to. I don’t care if you have a busted 1988 Ford Tempo or not. If it has gas in it, you need to drive it to the track and put it to the test. What? You are nervous? You want to know how it all works? Ok, I will give you a run down of how it all works so that you aren’t such a scaredy cat. Then you will be able to go to the track and report back your results. My perspective is from our local drag strip known as New England Dragway in Epping NH.
Every Wednesday and Friday during the warm weather months, NED has “Street Nights” where you can run basically any car you drove there as long as you meet the safety requirements. Then on some Saturday’s and most Sundays, they have “Test n’ Tune” days, which is much like a street night, but with some slightly different rules, which often leads to faster cars. The safety requirements are pretty much what you would expect. If your car is capable of going faster than a 14 second quarter mile, then you need to be wearing a helmet. Your seat belt needs to work, you need to remove your hub caps, and you need to have a clutch switch. There are a few other things that the tech inspector will want check out, but it is really just basic “is your car safe” type stuff. They also want to know what engine you have and how much horsepower you make. This means that you can’t stuff 1700 hp into your Tempo and tell the tech inspector that you intend to run 17′s @ 71 mph without a helmet. He won’t believe you.
Let’s back up a minute and start at the beginning. You cruise your car up to the front gate of the track because trailering your car makes you less cool, I think. Then you pay some kind of entrance fee and you receive a ticket. You thank the young lady for the entrance ticket, and then promptly stall out your truck….. I mean Tempo…… ultimately making you look like a total noob. Fail #1. Ok, so now you cruise on over to the tech inspector area which conveniently looks like a bunch of parking spots, because it is. He will tell you to go sign the waiver and get a wrist band at the little booth near the edge of the parking lot. You immediately do whatever he says because you want to be friends with him, and then quickly jog back to go over your vehicle with the inspector. He isn’t trying to ruin your life, he is just trying to make sure that you will have a safe day of racing. He checks off about 100 boxes on a piece of paper, and then signs his name at the bottom. Do a celebration fist pump. Do it.
Ok, at this point, you are ready to race, and since your vehicle is slow, you don’t need to wear your snell 95 approved helmet that you didn’t bring. If you are lucky, a friend will come over and let you know that your first run is going to be awful, so keep your 10 second fast and furious dreams on the backburner for now. It’s officially go time. Buckle up and head over to the starting line. There will be a few guys there directing you where to go. Drive around the waterbox for your first run. You aren’t John Force, and don’t need to heat up your Blizzak snow tires. Before you make it up to the starting line, take a look at the bottom of the walls near the tree (flashy lights) in the center of the track. You will notice a few little holes in a row, which have light beams going across the track. These are where your front tires will land right before the race begins. The light beams send a signal to the flashy tree lights so that everybody knows where your car is at.
Slowly straighten your Tempo out and inch your way up to the starting line. Key word: Slooooowly. Ok, now begin watching the tree in the center. The top set of lights will turn yellow when you reach the first set of staging light beams. Now inch a litttttttle bit further to light up the 2nd set of yellow lights. When that happens, you are officially “staged”, and read to run down the track. Take a deep breath and wait for the lights to begin dropping. They will begin lighting up from the top to bottom of the tree with about a second in between each one. When the green light glows, bury the go-pedal into the floor and hold on.
About 20 seconds will pass if your Tempo is at the top of its game, and you will cross a yellow stripe on the track which just lead you to victory. That is the finish line. WOOO! Now hit the brakes already!! At the end of the track, you make the turn, and start back up the pit road. There will be a small booth with somebody in it handing you your time slip. Don’t stall your vehicle out and look like a dweeb again. The ticket will have a bunch of numbers on it that show you how you did.
It will look something like this:
R/T = .300 (.300 seconds is the time it takes between the green light, and when you actually went.)
60′ = 2.224 (2.224 seconds is what it takes for you to drive 60 feet.)
330′ = 6.117 (6.117 seconds is what it takes for you to drive 330 feet.)
1/8 = 9.269 (9.269 is the amount of seconds it takes for you to drive 1/8 mile.)
mph = 77.85 (77.85 is the mph that you were at when you crossed the 1/8th mile.)
1000′ = 11.977 (11.977 is the amount of seconds it takes for you to drive 1000 feet.)
1/4 = 14.257 (14.257 is the amount of seconds it takes for you to drive the 1/4 mile.)
mph = 98.49 (98.49 is the mph that you were at when you crossed the 1/4th mile.)
Now you are addicted to drag racing, and it becomes all that you can think about. It is more fun than human words can express, even if you are driving awful slow. Good luck, and keep it together (figuratively and literally.)
EVO VIII 16G Compressor
14B VS. EVO VIII 16G Photo Comparison
Recently I installed an EVO VIII 16G turbo on my 6-bolt 4G63 engine swapped 1989 Dodge Ram 50 truck. Since I love seeing how things work, I decided to take them apart and compare them. As you can see in the pictures below, the EVO 8 turbo is a twin scroll and the 14B is not. The wastegate is far larger on the EVO turbo as well, which is very good news because the 14B internal gate is less than impressive. Naturally the compressor and turbine wheels are a bit more elaborate on the 16G as well.
My Hypothesis: Math says the EVO VIII 16G should flow about 50% more air than the 14B did, which means more air at less pressure, less heat soak, and twin scroll should make the spool time between the 16G and 14B negligible.
Results from the butt dyno: The 14B was set at 18PSI and was a lot of fun, because it could break the rear tires loose in 1st and 2nd gear when the turbo spooled. With the new turbo on and the wastegate plugged directly into the intercooler piping (stock actuator pressure is about 12psi I believe), the truck was neeeearly as fast as the 14B at 18PSI. It spools at about 150 rpm more than the 14B, and the boost came on so much smoother. Once I got used to the new turbo, and made sure everything was functioning properly, I cranked the boost up to 20 to see what would happen.
Tire spin in 3rd is what happened.
Traction Bars: Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had a vision of my rear differential wrapping up and ripping my driveshaft apart. I knew that my truck’s suspension wasn’t exactly designed for 250+ hp, and since I know my stock / lowered suspension was on borrowed time, I decided traction bars would be a smart idea. Not only would they prevent my truck’s axle from flipping over backward and turning my driveshaft into a pogo stick, but, it might actually provide traction through my Z rated 255/45/18′s! In went the new traction bars.
As if by some miracle, almost all of my missing traction was back again! I couldn’t believe it! These things really work! Now I can keep traction in 2nd gear (if I want), and spinning the tires in 3rd just plain won’t happen no matter how hard I try.
WIN is the word, EVO VIII is the reason, TRACTION BARS is how.
Larger Internal Wastegate
EVO VIII 16G Compressor
Hot side comparison
EVOVIII16G angled O2 housing surface
Yeap, 16G is bigger than 14B
Notice the blades are opposite.
Same size holes in the center section. Convenient.
Bigger than a shed
13G, 14B, T25, EVO VIII 16G
I really do want to like electric and hybrid cars, but they still don’t make any sense to me. Last year, I was discussing with some friends the pros and cons of buying a Toyota Camry Hybrid over a 2.4L gas Camry strictly based on fuel savings. My hypothesis was that if you are buying a hybrid strictly for fuel saving purposes, you are buying it for the wrong reason because the additional $5955 purchase price of the vehicle was never going to be outweighed by the savings in gas. I did some research and crunched some numbers at the time, and this is what I came up with.
Let’s assume you drive 15k miles per year.
Let’s also assume gas is $3.00 a gallon.
Let’s assume you want to buy a new Camry.
Avg = 50/50 mix of city and hwy driving.
2009 Camry 2.4L Automatic
mpg city – 21 (on Toyota website)
mpg hwy – 31 (on Toyota website)
mpg avg – 26 (my math)
price $20,195 (on Toyota website)
city – 714.29 gallons per year = $2142.87 (my math)
hwy – 483.87 gallons per year = $1451.61 (my math)
avg – 576.92 gallons per year = $1730.76 (my math)
2009 Camry 2.4L Hybrid
mpg city – 33 (on Toyota website)
mpg hwy – 34 (on Toyota website)
mpg avg – 33.5 (my math)
price $26,150 (on Toyota website)
city – 454 gallons per year = $1362 (my math)
hwy – 441 gallons per year = $1323 (my math)
avg – 447.76 gallons per year = $1343.28 (my math)
city driving savings = $780.87 per year
hwy driving saving = $128.61 per year
avg driving saving = $387.48 per year
Years of driving to offset gas savings.
city – 7.62 years
hwy – 46.30 years
avg – 15.36 years
In conclusion, for the gas to offset the price of the vehicle, with 50/50 city & hwy driving, you need to own it for 15.36 years to offset the price the savings in gas mileage. Interesting.
So now 2010 is wrapping up, and I find myself wondering what all the hype is over the Chevy Volt. (Full disclosure: I have never seen one in person, let alone driven one because I am not a cool enough blogger yet to be given cars to test drive.) I have been told by friends how great this car is, and how it’s “totally electric”, and “sooooo awesome!” Naturally, I am a skeptical gearhead.
I started with wikipedia (I know. I know.), and learned the basics. The car apparently has two electric motors with a battery pack running down the center of the car that powers them. People on the internet (obviously trustworthy ones) say that close to $10K of the total cost of the vehicle is the battery pack itself, ouch! The Volt has the capability of driving up to 40 miles on that battery pack alone. This would obviously be great for city driving and people with super short commutes. From what I have gathered, charging this battery from your house will be the equivalent of paying $1.60 per gallon of gas, but without emissions. Well…..sorta. Obviously there is emissions at some electrical energy plant offsetting your exhaust pipe, but we won’t get into that. Moving forward……
Let’s say you want to take a nonchalant cruise up to the Kangamangus highway to check out the scenic foliage. Uh oh, it’s more than 40 miles away! What are you going to do!? Don’t sweat it, the Volt will just start up it’s very own 4 cylinder 1.4L gas engine that generates electricity for you when your batteries reach a 30% charge. Ummm, wait a sec. I thought this was an electric car? Well, it is, the wheels are driven by electric motors, thus, it’s electric! (Boogie woogie woogie). It just has a gas engine for when you want to drive more than 40 miles in 1 shot. Oh and that engine only takes high octane fuel, which is right about $3.00 a gallon here in Massachusetts. Now, according to the NY Times article here they got 52 mpg average for their day of test driving and 44.5 mpg in E.V. mode. I’m guessing that “E.V. mode” means that the 4 cylinder generator was running.
Uh oh, the devil’s advocate just entered the party…. If the 2000 Geo Metro (1.0L gas engine) could get between 41 and 47 mpg ten years ago without any electric motors, extra batteries, and without the $20K + more initial cost, is the Volt really doing anything that great? The answer seems to be a complicated one. The Volt obviously has a boat load more technology, comfort, options, and coolness factor than the metro ever did. Unfortunately, it still has a 4 cylinder engine in it that produces emissions and is listed in the same emissions category as the Chevy Malibu, which has a normal gas engine. So emissions wise, the Volt isn’t “officially” better than a normal gas engined car of similar size. Fuel mileage is better than many family sedans out there but is still not cutting edge considering dozens of vehicles 15 years ago could do just as well. The price, well, it is more than most comparable (size, shape) sedans out there. At least you get a rebate to make you feel good? If you are doing mostly city driving within 40 miles of your home, and have a little cash tucked away for a new toy, then this is probably a great car for you. If not, I’d wait a generation or two for them to sort out the whole system and improve upon it a bit further. I appreciate the technology and hard work going into it, but it still doesn’t make much sense to me.
If you are a member of an automotive forum / message board of any sort, you are no stranger to acronyms, abbreviations, and bizarre automotive lingo. Noob’s are often left overwhelmed and confused for weeks as they are hit with the automotive slang learning curve. Since I too was once an automotive forum newbie, I feel like it is my duty to share some of this slang with the masses. If you are so bold as to become a member of an automotive forum / message board, it will make your experience 10000x more fun and educational. Here we go…….
Engine names and sizes – Could be displayed in cubic inches, liters, or factory engine code. Engine code is typically a mix of letters and numbers.
General guidelines: Old cars = use cubic inches, newer non-performance cars = use liters, newer more performance-oriented vehicles = use factory engine codes.
Cubic Inches Examples: 289, 292, 307, 331, 348, 350, 401, 409, 429, 454, 472, 502, 572………etc….
Liters Examples: 1.8L, 2.0L, 2.2L, 2.4L, 3.0L 4.3L, 5.0L, 5.3L, 5.7L, 5.9L, 6.6L, 7.3L…..etc…..
Factory Engine Code Examples: LS1, SR20DET, 4G63, D16Y7, 13B-REW…..etc….
Transmissions – Almost always a combination of letters and numbers.
Examples: TH350, TH400, KM132, T-56, T5, C6, R-154, 4L60-E, 4T45-E
General Chat – These could be used for normal everyday terms
AFAIK – As Far As I Know
BBK – Big Brake Kit
BOV – Blow Off Valve
BRB – Be Right Back
BTDT – Been There Done That
BTW – By The Way
CAI – Cold Air Intake
CEL – Check Engine Light
DBW – Drive By Wire
DIY – Do It Yourself
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
FF – For Free
FS – For Sale
FTL – For The Lose
FTW – For The Win
FWIW – For What It’s Worth
GB – Group Buy
HID – High Intensity Discharge (Headlights)
HTH – Hope This Helps
IAC – Idle Air Control
IB4TL – In Before The Lock (When you know the forum moderators are going to lock the thread, you get in fast!)
IIRC – If I Recall Correctly
IMHO – In My Honest/Humble Opinion
ISC – Idle Speed Control
LMM – Losing My Mind
LOL – Laughing Out Loud
MAF – Mass Air Flow Meter
MHH – My Head Hurts
OBO – Or Best Offer
OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
ROFL – Rolling On Floor Laughing
TB – Throttle Body
TGFTT – Thank God For This Thread
TIA – Thanks In Advance
TTT – To The Top (Used to move your thread to the top of the page)
WOT – Wide Open Throttle
WUT/WAT/WHUT – What?!
WTB – Want To Buy
WTT – Want To Trade
YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary
YRMV – Your Results May Vary
As I come across more of these, I will add them to this list, so you can always reference it in a time of need. Acronyms FTW!
Recently I came to the conclusion that I need a bigger turbo for my truck, but since I’m cheap, I decided to commandeer a stock turbocharger from another factory built engine. Used stock turbos are almost always the cheapest to buy because people that drive newer factory turbocharged cars upgrade them for bragging rights. Some factory cars come with really nice turbochargers that shouldn’t be discarded as often as they are. Newer Volkswagens, GM & Ford diesels, and Mitsubishi’s all have great turbos on them that are just asking to be mounted onto engines that they don’t belong on. The problem is that you need to figure out which turbo is the best size for your application. As you may guess, this is when math enters the building. The good news is that I have done most of it for you.
I created a turbo sizing spreadsheet that calculates the engine air flow with or without a turbocharger in CFM and Lbs/Min based on inputs of your choosing. Just change the numbers in the green boxes to your own specification to display your air flow. Once your numbers are all in there, you can compare them to any turbo compressor map. This will help you determine the which size turbo is best for your application.
Step 1: Cubic Inches. Type in the cubic inches of your engine into the upper green box. In my case, I am starting with a 2.0L engine which is 122 cubic inches. If you don’t know your cubic inches, I made a conversion box for that too. Cell H19, check it out.
Step 2: Volumetric Efficiency. Now you need to take an educated guess at your volumetric efficiency. In the most basic of words, this is a measurement of how efficiently your engine can move air/fuel into and out of your engine. Unless you have a really polished high performance engine, your volumetric efficiency is probably somewhere between 75% and 90%. I have read that most modern 4 valve engines are in the neighborhood of 85%, so that’s what I’m going with for mine.
Step 3: Boost! This is how much pressure you expect your turbo to make when you are beating the heck out of it. I’m going with 20 psi here as a starting point.
Step 4: Ambient Temperature is the temperature outside. 85 degrees sounds like a perfect sunny day!
Step 5: Compressor Efficiency Range. This is found on a compressor map like this one from turboneticsinc.com. You can see that towards the bottom of each ring, there is a number in the 60′s and 70′s. That is your compressor efficiency within that lobe of the compressor map. You want to land above 70% when all the math is done. Throw “70″ in that box as a starting point. The more efficient your turbo is, the less heat your turbo makes. As the efficiency goes down, the outlet temperature of the turbo goes up. Simple enough right?
Step 6: Intercooler Efficiency / Intercooler Pressure Drop / Air Filter Pressure Drop. I have read the most “decent” intercoolers are around 60-65% efficient, with .5-1 PSI of pressure drop. The average air filter has .5-1 PSI of pressure drop before the turbo. Some high performance air filters actually list this stat, which is pretty awesome. Naturally you want the least amount of pressure drop possible across the intercooler and air filter, with the highest efficiency intercooler. Little changes in these areas pay huge dividends in horsepower. Play with the numbers a bit and look how much the air flow changes.
Step 7: Engine Compression Ratio. This is something that you will need to look up, or figure out mathematically for your engine. It represents the ratio of the combustion chamber volume; its largest capacity to its smallest capacity. In my case 8.5 to 1.
With these inputs, you can see how the air flow changes in columns B, C, and D based on RPM (Column A). If you have a compressor map for the potential turbocharger for your vehicle, you can determine if it will be within the turbochargers efficient range based on your engine specs.
Let’s see an example, shall we?
I am too scared to rev my engine past 7000 rpm, so why don’t we assume that 7K is my red line. At that rpm, my max air flow is 31.53 lbs/min (426.24 CFM). My Density Ratio (Cell K4 in the spreadsheet), is 2.03. (Density Ratio is more accurate to use on compressor maps because it accounts for temperature.) Cross those two points on the compressor map (seen in red), and you notice that I would actually be ~73% efficient at 7000 rpm. This sounds like a great place to be, except that I rarely hang out at 7K rpm. The majority of my time is spent at 2500-4500 rpm, which would put me below 70% on the compressor map. This is hard on the turbo, and worse for performance. So for me, this turbo is just too big! I would need something smaller for my engine to be happy at lower rpm’s.
Does any of that make sense? Should I try again?