Isn’t it going to explode?

Or in Filipino“Hindi ba sasabog yan?”

There are enough people that we meet that have never driven their car hard and definitely not to redline because “baka sumabog” well I’m here to tell you that no, Hindi yan sasabog. The car is designed to shift at a little or at the redline on your tachometer, it’s designed like that an hindi yan sasabog.

Another question has to do with making power. We’ve posted enough big 50-60-70 and even 100hp gain on vehicles that we get the question, “will this reduce engine reliability?” The short answer is no. And the more persistent will ask “how can it not? You’re stressing the engine beyond it’s designed performance”

This is best answered with bullet points

1. What most people forget or don’t realize that maximum power of the engine is almost always achieved at or near redline. The numbers on the brochure and everywhere on the internet are MAXIMUM power numbers, which is only achieved with your foot to the floor. When you’re stuck in traffic or cruising NLEX at 2500-3000rpm your engine is making a fraction of the maximum, usually 20-30% only

2. When shops like us do modifications, we usually quote peak power and max power gain. Peak power is made at redline for gasoline engines and 3000 or 3500 for diesels, max power might be somewhere else like 2500rpm. All engines are overbuilt from the factory, it’s just the standard way of doing things in manufacturing. You don’t build say hammer to work only a specific number of times and then break. Plus it costs the same to over design something and to design something specific. Manufacturing wise, the cost difference between making a 1” thick hammer and a 1.5” thick hammer is negligible, so better go with the thicker design for the same cost.

3. As for the over stressing the engine with an additional 60hp, once again remember how maximum power is achieved? Full throttle. In the lifespan of your car’s 150,000km, realistically how many kilometers can you drive flat out at full throttle? You’ll be hard pressed to come up with even 500km of upak driving, and that’s 0.0033% of the mileage of your car. So no, you are not stressing the engine out. Or in easier terms to understand, that few times you take viagra to enhance your performance will not cause your dick to fall of or to stop functioning well into your 70s

Turbocharging the Toyota Vios 1.5L

The little car that gets boost and does it very well.

Toyota’s best selling small car, the Vios is big in sales numbers and does an excellent job in A to B chores, Grab duties and an overall very good first car. What’s not so great is in the power department, and it definitely won’t win any stoplight races against say, a 98 Civic SiR. But then again, that’s what turbocharging is for right? So here’s how we do it.

1. Take out the bumper, grill, stock airbox, exhaust manifold, horns, lights etc etc so we have a clean slate to work with

2. “Can I put an intercooler on my non-turbo car?” Has got to be the most asked question and one of the dumbest on the Internet. Most people would want a turbo just to be able to show off the intercooler in front and for this reason, we’re doing this step first because ya know, looks are a priority.

3. Here’s the turbocharger. This is one of our old china made T25 sized turbos which we rebuilt the center cartridge with stronger bearings because this is the weak point of these turbos, it’s either a pass or fail the second the engine starts up, and it’s a pain in the ass to swap out once everything is in place so we take the extra step to make sure this sucker will last.

4. Welded turbo manifold. Unlike most manifolds that you see on the internet with the curvy stainless steel tubing, we chose thick iron pipe for strength and it will never ever crack under heat, even if it isn’t so pretty.

5. Turbo and manifold now married. This is also the reason that if you have performance headers, you have to take it out and sell them because this will sit in its place.

6. It’s a shame that the Vios as a backwards facing exhaust, hence you can’t really see the turbo

7. The intercooler is mounted here behind the bumper support

8. This is the aluminum pipes that leads to the throttle which is in front of the engine.

9. Here’s a closer look at the bracket the holds the intercooler in place.

10. This is the turbo discharge pipe. There are two ways to route this, either above the engine like what he have here, or below, for that more sleeper look, it actually doesn’t matter as it doesn’t affect performance.

11. All our turbo builds use a K&N filter. This is important that no stray dirt particles get sucked into the turbo.

12. “Can I put a blow off valve on my non-turbo car?” Is the second dumbest question on the internet. And like the intercooler, people will actually get a turbo setup just for the sound. On this Vios, the blow off valve is located somewhat in the bottom half as that’s the best location, which has to be at least 1 foot away from the throttle. Sorry, no showing off to your car club friends when you open the engine, but hey you get that passheewwww sound.

13. And here’s the completed turbo installation. The aluminum pipe can be in any color you want but we went with an all black setup, ya know, for that sleeper look.

14. The stock bumper fits perfectly without any cutting needed. The generations after this Vios actually have even more room behind the bumper as they have grown in size.

15. All done and ready to be tuned. For this we use Unichip because well, it’s simply the best solution for the job. Minimal wiring and it has the ability to Reference a variety of input signals for fuel enrichment, such as throttle position, MAF reading or actual boost, so control the additional 5th injector setup.

16. And the numbers are in! Our 1.5L AT Vios makes 77whp and 78 ft-lbs torque in stock form. Turbocharging it got us an additional 60hp and 63 ft-lbs of torque for a total of 138whp and 141 ft-lbs torque, almost double the stock numbers, at 7psi of boost.

Now a lot of people will tell you that turbocharging will shorten the life of your engine. The answer is both yes and no, and it depends. Here’s why.

Every engine on the planet is overbuilt to some extent, that’s just the way things are done, the same way that screwdriver is overbuilt to not twist even Superman twists it. Engines normally can take 50-70% on top of their stock power rating with no problems, and this is what we follow as a rule if thumb. Of course some engines are built better than others. We know for a fact that the 1.5L Vios engine can take much more than the 60hp we added but we won’t risk the same power gain with a Kia engine.

We also don’t accept any turbo install with engines that have high mileage already, meaning over 100,000km and this is the “will shorten your engine life” comes from. Same way you don’t ask grandpa to do a 10km marathon

So it depends on how well you take care of the car and what’s the mileage and condition. Generally 40-60k kilometer mileage is ok for turbocharging, and your car is certainly out of warranty by that time.

Oh and this whole article is applicable up to the 3rd Generation Vios because the engine is exactly the same from 2004 up to 2016 and it’s also exactly the same for the 1.3L engine

Shops without dynos have no business offering tuning services

I get sent screenshots of various “news” a lot and here’s an interesting one. It’s quite a long, but if you read through it, it’s a story of WHAT NOT TO DO, and obviously a shop that you shouldn’t patronize.

1. This shop doesn’t do any tuning, has never done tuning, has never so much connected a car to the a laptop, he’s merely a middleman that hooks people up with the tuners that they know, and they get a service fee. Their business model is to get at lest a group of ten so that the tuner who will fly here is “sulit” for their time and effort, from which they add on and pas to the customer, and this is still without any Dyno session, which has to be scheduled again separately with another separate shop, at additional expense to the customer. Confusing? Most definitely, it’s hard enough to schedule with one person let alone 3. And that is the first problem here, you’re a middleman and not the boss, so you can’t dictate the time, circumstances of all the people involved.

2. Reflashing/remapping Hyundai vehicles isn’t as easy as plugging in an OBD cable to a laptop, the Ecu has to be removed from the car, opened up to be able to access the data

And that’s where starts to panic. In all the years he’s been hooking up tuners and customers, he hasn’t bothered to learn how to do it. And it’s not easy, and one wrong slip and it’s bye bye ECU. Our first time to do do, it took us half a day just to open it CAREFULLY, but now we do it an around an hour. The Indian tuner arrived with a broken hand and there is definitely no way he can open an Ecu with just one hand.

3. It took two days to tune a single car, this is somewhat nobody’s fault but it wasn’t explained properly why it takes two days. The equipment used to tune is made by Alientech, which we also use, an Italian company, and chances are, it’s the first time his editing software has seen a local spec Ecu data. When the Ecu is opened up, reading the data is no problem, but to be able to edit it, you will need something called a definition file, think of it as a table of contents that tells you which table is what and the location, page 2, 7, 45 etc etc.

This definition file has to come from Alientech and they operate on European time, thus the discussion about the time zone. By the time they answer the request for the definition file, chances are it’s after shop ours already local time.

The previous Korean tuners already have the table contents so they can tune immediately as soon as they download the contents of the Ecu. But it’s by no means a fast process and 3-4 hours per car is the average from start to finish to Dyno. Hence why they need a week to do 10 cars, 2 cars a day. This part the middleman doesn’t know, and never bothered to find out, this pissing everyone off cause the schedule is now out of whack.

As for the part about reading a Korean tuned Ecu and “copying” the contents, well it’s not as simple as that. You can have two ecus with the same part number but different calibration files inside, sort of like android 6.0.0 and android 6.0.2 and you cannot just copy one into the other, and that’s why it failed.

4. Results aren’t up to snuff. Yes 12-15hp for a diesel Accent is LOOOWWW. For comparison, here’s our recently tuned diesel accent with a 43whp gain

Even the gasoline Accent which got 8-10hp is still low. Here’s one we did with Unichip and we already got 14hp, and remapping is supposed to get more than Unichip

This I blame squarely on the disabled Indian tuner. Either he lied to the shop about his capabilities (and the middleman doesn’t know he’s being lied too, or more likely doesn’t understand what’s involved) hasnt tuned much Hyundais before (a check of his Facebook page shows mostly isuzu, some VW, Range Rover) or just plain incompetent and the shop got taken in for a ride.

as far as price goes $380 is equivalent to p20,000 and without the Dyno. Which makes our P25,000 all in price a steal by comparison because you’ll need at lest two Dyno sessions for the baseline power, another for the tune, and maybe a few more for the adjustments.

So moral of the story is, if the shop doesn’t have a Dyno, they have no business offering performance enhancements and you should stay far far away lest you get STUNG bad. I wouldn’t worry about the reputation because he doesn’t have one to begin with.

Baby Blue BMW Power Up

I love the color blue and when this pearl sky blue immaculate E39 rolled into the shop and wanted more power, of course we said yes. This is one very well preserved car and the interior still smells distinctly German even after 20 years.

The upgrades are nothing fancy, just And intake, a full exhaust and tuning for more power. For the headers, we opted to have a bolt on set imported from the USA, and I’ll be honest here, we didn’t get some uber name brand header but a 2 piece supersprint copy, and yes they work just as well as the real thing, which I don’t think supersprint even makes anymore.

Our baby blue Beemer made 110whp in stock form, not earth shattering but not bad for late 90s 2.0 inline 6 engine.

After bolting on the headers and fabricating the rest of the exhaust that ends with a Borla muffler and oval tip, and. K&N intake, our Beemer now makes 130whp, a good 20hp up from stock. And with an angry exhaust growl to match the looks.

The owner wanted Unichip to tune the car like what we did on his Hyundai Genesis, but upon checking, our Alientech KESS actually supports a car this old, so we offered to reflash his car instead. And reflash we did and got another 18hp for a total of 148whp

Scab, scuv, scrub: Dumb car terms invented by Filipinos

Scab, scav, scub, give it to the pinoy who nicknames everything and yet doesn’t understand what it means or why the term is like that. Hell, there was once a street group with the word SCUB in it (most likely they thought it sounds cool and race-y)

All those terms are short for scavenger pipe, which is a short piece of pipe just after the collector of the headers. How long this is depends on the car but the generally accepted length is 2-2.5 feet.

Now this is actually a cheap way to gain power, let’s get that part straight, BUT at the expense of low to mid end power. Unless you have a strictly drag car that doesnt see any need for street use, the rule of thumb is the less exhaust piping you have, the more power you will make.

But for 99% of you out there that don’t have a strictly drag car and use your cars to get from A to B, a scavenger pipe is a very very bad idea.

And here is a Lancer EX that has exactly that, and it lost a bunch of low and midrange power, from 10-25hp less! We keep saying it and will say it again, messing with the stock midpipe often results in power loss, and a scavenger pipe is an extreme example of this.

Most people think it’s because of the lack of back pressure, it’s sungaw (honestly, you all use that term but don’t really know what it means) and that’s only partly correct, and a very small part.

The biggest reason why there is a lost of power is because the air fuel ratio is drastically altered, as it’s really really dangerously lean.

Thin red line is with the scavenger pipe, thick red line is corrected air fuel with Unichip

By using a scavenger pipe, Exhuast gases are able to leave the combustion chamber quicker and faster, which results in a leanwr mixture. Contrary to what you usually see in engine animations where fresh air comes in as all the Exhuast gases go out, it’s a more complicated than that.

The ideal mixture of fuel and air is 14.7:1, and that’s ideal when all the fuel is burned completely. But in the real world, that never happens and it’s actually anywhere from 13.5:1 – 12.5:1, which is a pretty big range. And the mixture is affected by how fast the exhaust gases leave the engine, and a scavenger pipe is the extreme form of this.

So with this Lancer, the low to mid range air fuel ratio is an extremely lean 16:1, and this results in a 25hp difference at 4000rpm. So what do? Well putting back the stock exhaust is the cheapest easiet solution. The more correct solution if you do want to keep the scav is to tune the car. Let’s make one thing clear, it does actually gain power, at the high rpm range from 5000 and up where the air fuel ratio is a more correct 14:1, but still not ideal. In fact the graph kinda looks like an old Civic SiR when Vtec kicks in.

So adding a Unichip will enable us to add in fuel to correct the air fuel ratio, thereby making the correct amount of power and for safe operation.

Thin red line is with the scavenger pipe, thick red line is tuned power with Unichip

Unichip P30,000 includes install and dyno tuning.

Project Powerful Pajero

If you’re a college kid in the 90s, you most likely know someone that drove a Pajero Fieldmaster it was the “IT” siga barkada car at the time.

So it is kinda sad that this will be the last year the Pajero will be produced, but that doesn’t mean it can’t end without a bang.

With the biggest Diesel engine available currently (short of a Land Cruiser), it isn’t the most powerful anymore, and the 3.2 still uses a non variable geometry turbo rated at 198whp that is channeled through a 4WD system. On our Dynapack, wheel Hp is 158whp with all 4 wheels, which makes think it’s actually underrated. Not mind blowing but not too shabby either. For reference, the current Montero 2.4L makes 160whp in 2WD mode, the Fortuner 2.4L makes 140whp and the MU-X 3.0L makes 155whp

But enough with the background, we’re here to make power and make it we did.

Here’s the list of upgrades we did:

Apexi front mount intercooler

Borla full Exhaust

K&N filter

Ecu reflash

Devils Own alcohol injection

First up is the intercooler. The Pajero already has a front mount intercooler but it’s located at the very bottom of the bumper, and it’s not exactly big once we take it out.

The stock unit measures 18″x8″x2.5″ not small but not big either. The Apexi unit we’re changing to measures 24″x9x”2.5″ which is 50% more volume and are placing it behind the front grill for optimal airflow

This location also shorter intercooler piping from turbo to throttle. Contrary to popular belief, an intercooler doesn’t make your intake temps go down to freezing temps or even aircon level temps. It gets it down as close as possible to ambient temperature, and a bigger intercooler insures that this temperature is more consistent for a longer time as compared to a smaller unit. All intercooler piping we use is aluminum, why? Because that is what everyone all over the world uses for aluminum piping.

Next is the exhaust. With turbo diesels, this starts immediately after the turbo, which is the downpipe, then the midpipe, then muffler, and then the tip. The material of choice is 3″ stainless steel, not black iron, and definitely not aluminum.

The next power adder is Devils Own Alcohol injection. Think of it as mini nitrous oxides for diesels, half the power gain of a typical. Nitrous system but an 80% cheaper consumable component by volume, using ordinary alcohol, as in Green Cross alcohol you buy at the convenience store and mixed with equal amounts water. The whole system consists of a hi flow pump, the injector nozzles, pressure switch, fittings and nylon lines. How it operates is pretty simple: The alcohol vaporizes immediately once injected into the intake stream, cooling the intake temperature even more after the intercooler, this cooling effect alone already makes power and since alcohol is fuel, it will be ignited along with the fuel and air mixture inside the engine, and PRESTO 15-25hp more depending on the nozzle size used.

The last component is of course making it all work together with our ECU Reflash/Remap, of which you can watch this video of you have no idea what it is.

And after all that’s been said and done, here’s the results!

Red line: Stock 158whp @ 3500rpm

Green line: Intercooler, Exhaust, ECU remap, 185whp @ 3500rpm with maximum gain of 70hp @ 2200rpm

Blue line: Devils Own alcohol Injection 225whp @ 3300rpm

Mind you this is all with stock boost which is 16psi. The torqu gain is an impressive 150 ft-lbs at 2200rpm without the alcohol injection.

While the numbers are impressive, what’s more impressive are the 20″ Rays Engineering wheels and Nitto Tires that actually cost more than all the engine upgrades put together! ✌️

ECU Reflash Remap tuning a Honda City 1.3L

Remapping a car Is actually quite a boring process to watch. There are no sexy parts that get installed, a lot of keyboard and numbers tapping and uploading screens, kinda like normal office work. Except that the office is located behind the steering wheel of the car.

ECU remap/reflash, where the contents of the ECU is read, modified with different values and then uploaded back into the ECU, exactly like how you share files and pics between phone and laptop.

So what exactly do we change and modify? Well, all engines around the world need 3 things, air fuel and spark. It doesn’t matter if it’s Ferrari, Mercedes or Cherry, it has to have these 3 things.

The air part is pretty much fixed, and in the case if this 1.3L City, it’s 1.3L of air going into the engine.

The things that we can adjust are the amount of fuel the engine gets and when the spark plug fires. And this is what the remap software screen looks like

On the left column are all the parameters that can be adjusted. Note that it’s also not something as simple as ADD Fuel here and ADD Spark here. The right side is the table where in the values are for each parameter, in this case it’s the “Spark Advance when the High Cam VTEC is engaged” table, or map (hence the term remap) and the numbers inside the table are degrees of timing.

Here’s a closer look at some of the things we can adjust

Now if that’s a lot to take in and you’re confused, don’t worry, that’s natural. You’re really not supposed to understand any of this unless you specifically study it and have hands on experience, kinda like I don’t expect you to know how to code using C++ or even use Photoshop at first glance.

“But you’re just changing a bunch of numbers!!!”

Well sorry to burst your bubble but that what tuning really is, changing the values to see which combination yields the best results.

And that’s what you’re actually paying for, not for us to enter a bunch of number in some tables but WHICH TABLES and WHAT NUMBERS that will be entered. In short you’re paying for our brains power and the know how.

When we tune a car, we also take into account what has been done, and in this case, the little 1.3L has a K&N intake and a too big diameter exhaust pipe that causes a big drop in power and torque at 3000rpm, just where you need it most for overtaking, as seen in the Dyno chart below.

Red line: Baseline power

Blue line: SpeedLab ECU tuning

Why this power and torque drop happens is because the big exhaust causes the engine to lean out, meaning too much air, not enough fuel.

So we added fuel to get the mixture back correctly and added ignition timing or Spark Advance. Other things we adjust are throttle pedal sensitivity, throttle opening, rev limit at park etc etc

And as you can see from the above graph, gains are 15-20hp across the rpm range and 10-20 ft-lbs and a very flat torque curve which is very ideal.

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