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Tech Tips

More tech titbits to get you thinking!

By Michael Knowling

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Adding a turbocharger to a factory atmo engine is a venture that’s getting harder and harder due to increasingly complex driveline control systems. Here’s a prime example – a turbocharged Mitsubishi Magna TH Sport auto (see Move Over Magna!). Having been converted to aftermarket programmable management there are no problems delivering the appropriate fuelling and spark timing to suit the new turbo system. The only problem is, the aftermarket ECU can’t interface with the auto transmission or the traction control system... Make sure you discuss all of these sorts of things with your trusted workshop before giving a project the go-ahead!

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Adding aero add-ons is a pastime of many car fans. Invariable, many of these fibreglass freaks will justify the add-on bits’n’pieces by theorising about improved downforce. Add a spoiler – front – or rear – and you’re guaranteed downforce, aren’t you? NO! Aerodynamics remains a black art where random changes are unlikely to yield favourable improvements. Check out Real World Spoiler Development for the story of our own aero testing.

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If you’ve squeezed in a monster exhaust beneath your car there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be hearing the odd under-floor clunk when cornering hard. That’s the pipework hitting the undercarriage. One way to reduce exhaust movement is to replace the existing rubber hangers with new poly-based items that are much stiffer. Most high-performance exhaust shops should have these in stock. Poly-based hangers might reduce exhaust movement by a few millimetres, but that might be enough.

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Most of us would know about under-bonnet heat undoing the good job of the intercooler on the plumbing route to the throttle body. The only solutions we’ve seen adopted involve exhaust-type insulation wrap or ceramic coatings – both being quite expensive. Another option is a wetsuit-like material that’s about 3mm thick and insulates at up to 260 degrees Celsius – we’re talking hi-temp oven mitts! For a detailed ‘how-to’ and installation results, see Insulating the Return

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When lowering or adding a body kit to your car, make sure you give more than a passing thought about ground clearance. If the car has long front and rear overhangs, this will limit how low you can realistically set the suspension or whether or not you can fit ‘ground effects’. Before committing any money, it’s a good idea stop the car half way up the steepest driveway you’re likely to encounter and check out how much clearance there is before something scrapes. And don’t forget to factor in a little bit of suspension compression.

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An external wastegate – why would you want one? Well, it’s normal to step up to an external ‘gate when your existing internal bypass is struggling to flow enough gas around the turbine. This is often identified by excess boost pressure at high loads. An external wastegate gives a larger bypass passage, thereby reducing the chance of over-boosting.

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Where appropriate, the OBDII port of your late-model car gives you access to valuable information about oxygen sensor voltage, throttle position, ignition timing and engine load. Begin reading our two-part series on OBDII data connection at Reading Your Car's Brain - Part 1

In some rare examples, earlier OBDI vehicles have had software written that allows similar info to be displayed on laptop or PDA. There are several US-based outlets of data logging software for the Mitsubishi Galant VR4 (from about 1990).

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If you’re trying to route a big exhaust or some new intercooler plumbing in the engine bay of your ride it’s possible that the factory oil filter is getting in the way. The solution – and it’s an easy and cheap one! – is to install a remote oil filter adapter kit. We’ve seen these kits sell on eBay for around AUD$100 including all necessary lines, fittings and hardware. A bargain!

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When sizing a fuel pump you should keep in mind the potential of using twin pumps in parallel. What’s the advantage? Well, a single high-capacity pump can cost a lot of money, whereas two conventional size pumps can be bought relatively cheaply. Note that running twin parallel pumps won’t increase fuel pressure but it will increase fuel flow – and that’s what you need for making big power.

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