What kinds of cars have high-performance engines? Full-blown racecars certainly fit the category, but what else? How about street rods? What about hot boats? For the ultimate in high-performance, take a look at top fuel dragsters. These monsters can top 7,000 horsepower, enough to push these incredible vehicles to well over 300 mph in less than four seconds. High-performance engines are incredibly popular, just about everyone we know wants their car to go faster.
If you have spent much time around cars at all, you probably have some idea about how to make them go faster. For a lot of people, high-performance custom engine building 101 is nothing more than reading a few hot rod magazines and talking to the guy at the auto parts store. To get serious about high-performance, you need to understand how an engine works before anything else.
How an engine works is actually pretty simple:
1. Suck in Some Air
An engine needs to pull in plenty of air. The oxygen in the air is what lets the fuel burn.
2. Mix It with Fuel
You need just the right amount of fuel to use up the oxygen in the air. In old school engines, the carburetor does this job, but fuel injection pretty much rules now.
3. Burn It Up
Once the fuel and air hit the cylinder, they are compressed. Then, at just the right instant, the spark plug fires and shoves the piston back down. The pistons turn the crankshaft, which then turns the wheels.
Once the fuel burns, the engine has to get rid of the exhaust.
Increase any of these and you will get more power, right? Maybe, but maybe not. A power programmer might promise huge horsepower gains, but they run their tests in a laboratory. Can you really expect those same results in the real world? A high flow fuel pump could deliver too much fuel if you have a clogged air intake. A free-flowing exhaust is great, but what if it has the wrong backpressure? If you don’t know how to make the different parts work together and complement each other, you will end up wasting a bunch of time and money.
Getting the maximum performance from an engine is a unique challenge, and pushing it too far could result in a catastrophe. If you want to move past high-performance custom engine building 101 and learn how to really build power, or maybe even a great career, we can help you.
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