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Day on the Dyno

Getting a handle on what cars make how much power.

By Michael Knowling

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Dyno days have recently developed into something of a sport. And it makes sense really - you can compete with other cars in a legal and relatively safe environment. The only difference is 'speed' is measured in kilowatts.

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We recently went along to a dyno day organised by Adelaide's fast-growing GSR/EVO club. The event was conducted at Turbo Tune on their all-wheel-drive Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. Some thirty-odd cars received a dyno run and - to educate you how much power different sorts of vehicles make - we grabbed the printout and mechanical details of each car. Should be interesting to put things into perspective...

AWD Class

The all-wheel-drive class saw the involvement of only Mitsubishi and Subaru vehicles. As you'll see, power outputs varied between 88 and 182kW at all four wheels; anything approaching 200kW at the wheels is obviously pretty extreme for a streetcar...

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The most powerful Rexie of the day was that owed by South Australian WRX Club President, Tony Hurst. His MY94 WRX wagon is primed with an AVO intercooler, pod filter, 3-inch exhaust, chip and aftermarket coil pack. With boost wiggling between 17 - 18 psi, it stomped out 156kW at all four wheels - impressive considering the standard TD05 turbo remains in service...

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Barry Hallsworth's MY99 WRX made decent power given a few basic mods and the small turbocharger factory fitted to the later Rexes. With the boxer four fitted with a pod air filter, 3-inch exhaust, intercooler water spray and boosted to a 17 psi maximum, the car belched a lot of black smoke - clearly it was running bulk rich. Interestingly, boost also dropped from a 17 psi high to nearly 13 psi in the top-end causing power to taper off to 128kW at the rubbers. Barry tells us a fuel cut defender is in the pipeline - that ought to bring air-fuels back to a reasonable level and regain some lost power.

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The third late model Subie - a MY97 Limited Edition Prodrive WRX owned by Will Eblen - arrived equipped with a 3-inch exhaust and a slight boost increase. With peak boost of 13 psi seen through the mid-range, top-end pressure tapered to just 10 psi yielded around 110kW ATWs. A more stable boost control system should give considerably greater peak power.

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The latest and greatest vehicle to hit the rollers was Simon Dunn's stock-standard Subaru Liberty B4 twin-turbo. With it's untouched 2.0-litre, DOHC, 16-valve, sequential twin-turbocharged intercooled engine (officially rated at 190kW at the flywheel) the B4 was quite uneventful during the run - completely hushed and unfussed. Power? A maximum of 128kW at the wheels.

Note the, er, interesting boost curve. The primary turbo thumps in up to 15 psi boost, falling to around 9.5 psi during the transitional stage onto the second turbo which, itself, holds up to 11 psi through the top-end.

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No, we haven't made a mistake - this little Mitsubishi is four wheel drive! A Japanese import Mirage Cyborg owned by Troy Cook, this vehicle appealed with great sleeper potential. With it's 1.6-litre, DOHC, 16-valve motor equipped with a larger TD05 turbo, Supra front-mount intercooler, 2 ½-inch exhaust and K&N filter, this little ripper zapped out an easy 88kW at the wheels. This was achieved with a modest 13.5 - 11.5 psi; with a bit more boost it'll truly shame a stockie WRX at the lights!

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GSR/EVO Club President - Anthony Chan - brought along his CC Mitsubishi Lancer GSR Turbo. Engine wise, the car sported a VR4 front-mount intercooler, 3-inch exhaust, K&N panel filter with cold-air duct and up to 15 psi boost via a bleed. On the day, the car generated a peak of around 122kW at the wheels. Note how max power was achieve relatively early through the rev range - a product of the small standard turbocharger. Anthony says a big turbo and programmable ECU are set for the future.

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GSR/EVO club member - Mark Calvert - then drove his genuine Evolution 4 Lancer onto the rollers and stepped back to watch it run 134kW at the wheels with up to 12 psi boost. Pretty good for what we're told is a complete stocker!

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The 'old school' Mitsi rally car - the Galant VR4 - showed its worth with an easy 129kW at the treads with its 4G63B engine carrying only basic mods. Adrian Dmitrieff picked up this VR4 (a Japanese import version) and fitted bigger injectors, a high-flow filter and exhaust. Using a pneumatic wastegate bleed, boost pressure fluctuated between 16.4 and 13.5 psi at the top-end. Good power the easy way from this much-underrated car.

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Things got even more serious when James Judd's Evo 3 import Lancer hit the dyno. In completely standard guise these weapons kick out 206kW at the flywheel, but with a HKS pod filter, 3 into 2 ½-inch exhaust and a Blitz boost controller the winged warrior pushed 161 kilowatts at the treads. Manifold pressure varied between around 16 and 18 psi. .

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The car looked set to snatch the trophy for most powerful car was Bill Quach's extensively modified Mitsubishi Lancer GSR. Using the standard 1.8-litre DOHC engine with a GT25 turbo on a custom exhaust manifold, a monster front-mount intercooler, 3-inch system, Trust air filter, upgrade fuel pump and reg, it generated 142kW on up to 18 psi boost. Not bad, but we'd guess that the standard engine management system was probably holding back power. Note that a 'low boost' run on 10 psi gave 103kW at the wheels.

And now what was the most powerful vehicle of the day...

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An import Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6 - owned by Nick Stretkeisen - comes rated at 206kW (at the flywheel) in standard form. Sporting a 3-inch exhaust, custom airbox, catch can, HKS camshafts and adjustable sprockets, Blitz boost controller and UniChip, this example crabbed its way out of the rollers to the tune of 182kW. Boost pressure held to around 18 psi throughout the run and the power curve was as progressive as you like. Nick commented that the recently fitted HKS cam sprockets were responsible for a considerable improvement throughout the mid-range, but lost power up high. It's a worthwhile trade-off for a car that regularly competes in hillclimb events.

RWD Class

Six rear-wheel-drive vehicles battled it out in the shootout - two Nissan 180SXs, a Silvia, 200SX, Toyota Supra and Porsche turbo. As you'll discover, their max power ranged from 50 to 166kW at the wheels...

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The toughest rear-drive four-pot of the day was Landen Beinortas' Japanese import Nissan S13 180SX. With the factory 150kW (flywheel rated) SR20DET ticking under the bonnet, aftermarket mods included a 3-inch exhaust, HKS pod filter, Blitz blow-off valve, custom front-mount intercooler and switchable boost control system. This package was tough enough to realise 137kW on 'high' boost - a setting that provided around 15 psi through the mid-range, but falling to 10 psi at the top-end.

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Another imported Nissan S13 - a Silvia K's powered by the factory CA18DET - was brought along by Dave Miller. This car is equipped with a T28 turbo, aftermarket blow-off valve, K&N pod filter and 3 ¼-inch exhaust after the factory dump pipe and a high/low boost controller. On the day, the 1.8-litre Silvia offered 116kW with up to 13 psi boost, falling to around 11.5 psi near the rev limiter. Not bad for a lightly tweaked CA18.

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The second Nissan 180SX - owned by Steven Newman - was running a bit lean and, as a result, didn't make the power expected. With its SR20DET fitted with a 3 ½-inch exhaust from the cat-back, a Blitz blow-off valve and HKS air filter, a relatively modest 116kW was seen at the back tyres. It later turned out the fuel pump was dead.

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The only locally delivered Nissan turbo to front up was Oliver Robert's S14 200SX. Having installed a cat-back 3-inch exhaust, pod filter with heat shield and aftermarket blow-off valve, the S14 turned its back tyres to the tune of 98kW. That mightn't seem much, but it's quite respectable given boost pressure never ventured above 10 psi; a bit more boost and she'd be a quick machine.

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The gruntiest 6-cylinder was a Japanese import MA-series Supra, which is the possession of Melvyn Kuan. With the 2.5-litre 1JZ-GTE (not the local 7M-GTE) good for 206 flywheel kilowatts in factory trim, it was no surprise to see this lightly tickled example roll out an easy 166kW at the wheels. Mods are limited to a K&N pod filter, 3-inch exhaust, ASE front-mount intercooler, A'PEXi AFC (to adjust mixtures) and a mild 12.5 psi boost - e-a-s-y power!

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Jay Dickson's low kilometre 1986 2.5-litre Porsche 944 Turbo stood out as the only Euro car of the day. Jay tells us he's planning a chip and boost upgrade but, for now, the stock-standard configuration generates 124kW at the back wheels. Boost pressure is pretty conservative all the way through the revs, with a low of 8.5 psi near redline.

FWD Class

The front-wheel-drive category comprised everything from a 3-litre Mitsubishi Magna to a 1.3-litre Daihatsu Charade with power ranging from 33 to 95kW at the wheels...

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The equal biggest engine'd car of the day was a 3.0-litre TF Mitsubishi Magna auto. The owner, Jamie Druitt, has bestowed the smooth-as V6 with a 2 ½-inch exhaust and K&N pod and has been rewarded with 86kW at the wheels (falling over quite rapidly after peak power). Not quite a Ralliart Magna rival, but a very cost-effective package nonetheless.

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No doubt the sexiest car of the day, James Buob's Japanese import Mitsubishi FTO GPX MIVEC V6 is factory rated at 150kW (flywheel). On the day, the little Mitsi spun its crankshaft out to 95kW - not bad for a 2.0-litre without a turbo! The only power enhancing mod was a 3 ½ - 4-inch exhaust system with lots of resonators!

And, of course, not all cars at dyno shoot-outs are big power monsters. The battle between the 40 - 60kW segment was intense...

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First up, Frank Romano's 1.3-litre Daihatsu G100 Charade (fitted with a tuned-length pod filter intake and 2-inch exhaust) and Glenn Taylor's 1.6-litre '99 CE Lancer (with a twin 2-inch exhaust) tied at 45kW ATW.

David Magrin's 1.8-litre Holden Astra using a cold air tube, pod filter and VN Commodore V6 injectors (which slid straight in) made 46kW at the wheels despite running poorly on the day. A 1.6-litre 1990 Toyota Corolla with a 2 ¼-inch cat-back exhaust just pipped the bigger-engine'd Pulsar with 48kW at the front tyres.

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Tying at 56kW at the wheels was Martin Furdan's 2.0-litre 1990 Pulsar (fitted with extractors, a 2 ¼-inch exhaust, custom induction system, VN V6 injectors and an adjustable fuel pressure regulator) and Ashley Grenville's DOHC 1.5-litre Hyundai Excel with a K&N pod filter, 4 into 1 extractors and a 2-inch mandrel exhaust. Every kilowatt counts!

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Steve Orr's slick looking '91 Honda CRX - with a 2 ¼-inch exhaust and 3-inch cold air intake on the standard 1.6-litre DOHC engine - produced 61kW at the wheels, while Justin French's Y2K 1.8-litre Lancer with a cat-back 2 ½-inch j-u-s-t touched 64kW.

The car with, er, 'the most potential for more power' was this carby AC Mitsubishi Cordia GSL. Running just a Magnaflow muffler and channelling torque through an auto gearbox, the Cordia came up with 33kW at the treads.

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So there you have it - now you know someone's pulling your leg when they claim their Lada Samara makes 150kW on the rollers...


Turbo Tune
+61 8 8297 1030

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