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Best of Jalopnik. A daily pause for all you carfreaks out there.

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I'm thinking of starting a periodic post/repost of highlights from Jalopnik, a very popular automotive based forum which is part of Gawker media. (Lifehacker, IO9, Gizmodo, Deadspin etc.) 
 
I frequent Jalopnik daily, (and comment on FP posts as, ahh, Zoom).  I find the worldwide traffic they bring also is conducive to discussion regarding the very very latest news and cutting edge new tech from the automotive world.  Car based news is heard here before anywhere else in the world, often before it hits any media outlets.
Although of course I am not granted authorship on the Jalopnik Front Page, (only main editors are), many of us have access to main posting on a subforum called Opposite Lock.
 
Enjoy.

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Awesome vid.
 
I'm a big fan of F1 and it's been interesting this season with the new cars - new 'hybrid' powerplants, back to using turbos and the energy recovery system. I don't necessarily agree with these impositions on F1, but it's interesting to see a glimpse of how future mainstream production vehicles might be powered.
 
 Speaking of cars, I bought myself a little toy for my midlife crisis last weekend - I love it, even though it goes under the knife this morning for its first 'repair'......I had tie-rods done on my Ford Freestyle a few weeks ago, $160 On the Beemer, $430 Ouch.
 
Here she is - hope this isn't off-topic....I saw 'car' in the title and figured I'd jump on it! tongue0015.gif
 
20140530040822238.jpg 
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Awesome vid.
 
I'm a big fan of F1 and it's been interesting this season with the new cars - new 'hybrid' powerplants, back to using turbos and the energy recovery system. I don't necessarily agree with these impositions on F1, but it's interesting to see a glimpse of how future mainstream production vehicles might be powered.
 
 Speaking of cars, I bought myself a little toy for my midlife crisis last weekend - I love it, even though it goes under the knife this morning for its first 'repair'......I had tie-rods done on my Ford Freestyle a few weeks ago, $160 On the Beemer, $430 Ouch.
 
Here she is - hope this isn't off-topic....I saw 'car' in the title and figured I'd jump on it! tongue0015.gif
 
20140530040822238.jpg 

Is that a 335?  Very nice driving car.  Stable solid platform.  
I'm a  Mopar guy and purchased a clean one owner 325 coupe for my fiancee, with a bad zf trans.  After I repaired it, I was amazed at how the car drove.  My girl hated it. 
Bmws feel like the center of gravity is 5 feet below the road.  If it was a stick, I would've kept the car for a while.  But I'm a drag racing fan, and my TII Daytona Shelby would eat it in a straight line. 
It did teach me some things about German cars however. 
Find a good independent you trust.  And shop your own parts if he will let you.  It saves you his parts markup.  

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This car is just friggin SICK jaw_dropper.gif!!!
 

 
Sure is.  I'm a big John Hennessey fan.  His original claim to  fame was tweaking the Mitsu 3000 GT/Dodge Stealth Turbo.
 
He went on to embarrass the fastest cars in the world, including the Bugatti Veyron, with turn key, reliable 1500hp Dodge Vipers.  He had plans for the 8.4 v-10 for the Viper Venom, but with Chrysler being raped and sold by the Germans, the fate of the V-10 was questionable, so he built a 1200 hp stretched Lotus Elise.  That is the car you see here.
 
Based on the LS engine from GM, he uses an aftermarket block, heads, and a couple blowers.  
I really love this Caddy......Same engine.....It clocked 220.5 mph breaking in a new Texas highway.
 
 
I want one.
 The Texas highway vid.  Still pullin' at 220 mph....
 
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Is that a 335?  Very nice driving car.  Stable solid platform.  
I'm a  Mopar guy and purchased a clean one owner 325 coupe for my fiancee, with a bad zf trans.  After I repaired it, I was amazed at how the car drove.  My girl hated it. 
Bmws feel like the center of gravity is 5 feet below the road.  If it was a stick, I would've kept the car for a while.  But I'm a drag racing fan, and my TII Daytona Shelby would eat it in a straight line. 
It did teach me some things about German cars however. 
Find a good independent you trust.  And shop your own parts if he will let you.  It saves you his parts markup.  

 
nah it's a 328i with stick...
 
I work from home so it won't get many miles, and hopefully I can keep it for a couple years without anything major going bad on it..
 
It's a fun little car to drive...i'm thinking of having it chipped but there isn't anyone local, and I don't trust those DIY boxes...
 
Another 30-40 bhp and improved throttle response would be pretty sweet..

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The cheapest way to improve throttle response is to make damn sure your spark is fresh, and you have little to no airbox restrictions.  After that, cat back exhaust.  And premium fuel.  Your ECM will learn how much timing it can give you if it doesn't see ping.  And will constantly adjust  timing upward if it sees no ping.  Fuzzy logic.  It's a beautiful thing.
 
 So fresh ignition, and free flow, will allow more timing.  And better throttle response.  Especially with a stick.
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The cheapest way to improve throttle response is to make damn sure your spark is fresh, and you have little to no airbox restrictions.  After that, cat back exhaust.  And premium fuel.  Your ECM will learn how much timing it can give you if it doesn't see ping.  And will constantly adjust  timing upward if it sees no ping.  Fuzzy logic.  It's a beautiful thing.
 
 So fresh ignition, and free flow, will allow more timing.  And better throttle response.  Especially with a stick.

Thanks for the suggestions.
 
Do you have any experience with the ECM chips at all? A friend has an Audi TT and used this company http://www.rocketchip.com/

 
They claimed a 50hp 50 torque increase and he seemed to suggest it was worth the $350. That's a bit more than I'd like to spend to be honest....so I was looking around at some of the DIY alternatives which come in various guises. Just wondered if you'd used anything in the past and had any recommendations, beyond those already made....
 
I'm not a 'boy racer', just an old dude who likes to put his foot down every once in a while and have a bit of a smile.....thought it ain't easy these days in Door County, where we get one cop for every 10 citizens during the tourists season...thank God the FIBs keep them busy!
 

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I don't have lots of experience with specific tuners,  per se.  The best tuners specialize in specific manufacturers, by their very nature.  So you will be best served surfing a BMW forum and getting info from them for a good 'chip'.
 
Know this.  Ping is your enemy.  Always has been.  Always will be.  Even if you don't hear it, it's there.  Engineering has know this since the beginning of time.   And the preferred method of reducing detonation/preignition (spark knock) is reducing timing, which takes away power....and throttle response.  And ECMs will learn habits and adjust a fuel and timing percentage to + or - to them.  Some call it 'adaptive fuel' numbers.  They can actually be monitored as a percent number stored in the ECM for diagnostic purposes.  Chips only modify spark timing (and valve timing if you have a vvt engine) and injector pulsewidth.  If you can't compliment these things with more air, and faster exhaust exit, you will still have lots of ping.
 
Only recently with the advent of more precise ways to measure actual detonation problems, cooler combustion temperatures, and quicker faster processors to deal with them, has power gone up substantially.  
 
Your best performance gain is not just with a chip, but with better ways to get air in, completely burn the a/f mixture, and get the exhaust out.  Because if you don't do these things, even with a flashed chip, the ECM will see ping, and back timing off for engine self preservation.  ie you won't see much gain, unless you provide the engine more, cooler air, and less exhaust restriction.  Because these things effect predetonation.
 
DIY?  Oh yes.  Squeeky clean air filter.  Or a bolt on cold air intake.  Fresh, hot spark plugs.  Better wires if you are not coil on plug.  And premium fuel.  Other than that, not much else is diy.  These things alone will allow the ecm to eventually give you as much timing as engineered since they tend to eliminate spark knock/ping.  The fuzzy logic in an ECM usually takes 100-500 miles to adjust it's percentages. 
 
I have lots of recommendations for forced induction/turbos, especially speed/density systems, but they are another animal alltogether.  You get ping under boost?  You have mere seconds before you are wearing parts of the engine. emwink.gif
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Do you have any experience with the ECM chips at all? A friend has an Audi TT and used this company http://www.rocketchip.com/
 
They claimed a 50hp 50 torque increase and he seemed to suggest it was worth the $350. That's a bit more than I'd like to spend to be honest....so I was looking around at some of the DIY alternatives which come in various guises. Just wondered if you'd used anything in the past and had any recommendations, beyond those already made....
 
I'm a little dated, but do have direct experience w/ Audi tuning.
 
First, 50 hp increase is a nice round number, and an impressive one.  Also ambitious, unless you're jacking up boost w/ a turbo.  Torque is a little different, because you can improve the torque curve.
 
In the "old days" Audi put mild boost on their cars.  My '89 200Q had a 2.2l inline 5, and maxed out at 1.3 bar on the manifold.  Intercooled w/ a K26 turbo.  Boost was controlled by the engine computer.  I sent my ECU off to Ned Ritchie, the original Audi turbo hacker, and he modified it to run 1.8 bar and gave it enough fuel and appropriate timing.  Esp. a lot of advance at low rpm.  I also put in a stiffer wastegate spring.  This was not an irresponsible mod--there really was a lot of extra potential to be had.  By the 1991 model year, the factory was making cars w/ substantially the same engine at the higher boost, and it was either '91 or '92 that they allowed a time-limited 2.1 bar max.  Somewhere around 2.4 bar you blow then ends off the intercooler--I saw that happen to another guy at a track session.  He put them back on and reinforced them w/ straps. Taz.gif
 
I also used Ned's chip on my '91 V8, one of about 54 factory 5-speeds imported.  The car really came alive, but I don't think there was a 50 hp increase.  I also put in bigger brakes, lowered it marginally, and had custom coilovers built for the rear to adjust rake and corner balance.  Sadly, that car now looks somewhat like a barn find, because I don't have time (or a good enough back) to work on it.
 
Near the end of the time I was really into it, the best guys for Audi software were APR in Atlanta.  You could flash the EEPROM w/o removing the computer, and could switch back to the factory map.  I see they are now claiming large improvements, so maybe it's for real.
 
I see Zoom has replied since I started writing this.  Although he seems to have much more recent and practical experience than I do, I'll be so bold as to agree w/ him about getting cold dense air in, and running high-octane fuel to let the computer advance the ignition as far as it can.  Exhaust work can get expensive, and may not be the best bang-for-buck on mild mods; at some point along a progression of modifications, it will become the biggest restriction, and will have to be done.  By the way, I tried those K&N gauze air filters, and cannot recommend them.  The limiting restriction is not always the filter, and they let some grit through, esp. when they are clean.  They need a small layer of crud to filter effectively.
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Thanks for the input guys...
 
Yeah, I'm not really wanting to go overboard with this, as when I come to sell it I don't want the prospective owner to think its been used as a track car or by some kid doing burnouts!
So I can see spending on new plugs, a check over leads and the ignition system, and a performance air filter....but the exhaust system looks clean so I couldn't really justify the cost of replacing that....even though I understand the point that it could become the limiting factor.
 
The previous owner claimed to have used regular gas....I ran it that way for a couple hundred miles then switched to premium. I've noticed since switching an occasional misfire when the car is cold and ticking over. I don't know if that's related to the fuel switch or something else.....it didn't seem to be there before. I can't say that performance has increased noticeably with premium - I wasn't really expecting it to. Perhaps it will improve as Zoom says, once the ECM responds with its fuzzy logic adjustments.
 
I really enjoy the way this thing handles - cornering is really good. I had a Dodge Stratus R/T a while back and the beemer is in another league as far as performance and handling - even though the R/T supposedly has a couple more horses. Again, it would be nice to eak out a little more power without any 'visible' mods, so I'll start thinking about the air/spark as a stage 1.
Cheers!
 

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I notice you guys using the term Beemer in reference to the BMW cars; back in the day, a beemer was a motorcycle; the car was a Bimmer......has this changed?
 
And yuppies had Beamers.  emwink.gif

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You could be right, Rich.....I think the references may have merged eventually.

Today, the term is more related to your early/geographic influences, since hipsters don't really have a grasp of the BMW as a bike as much as we used to.

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Dave is exactly right about chip tuning, and the fact that a forced air application is easier to make more power with (along with it's inherent risks), since allowing more boost pressure substantially increases engine power. 
 
The same intake and exhaust and spark recommendations are multiplied exponentially in a forced air application, since the risk of detonation is also increased by a large factor.  The very act of compressing the intake air actually heats it up by nature, and hotter air has a much larger tendency to preignite.
 
I have 4 old Chrysler turbo charged engines in various states of modification.  A Dodge Omni GLH Turbo, a Shelby Charger, and a Shelby Daytona, and my winter car is an old Turbo charged Caravan that will probably run a mid to low 14 second quarter mile time.  It's funny to watch people's faces as that old beater just pulls away........
The non-intercooled engines run about 12 psi boost pressure (not sure right off hand how that caculates to 'bar' Dave, But I think 14.7 psi (one atmosphere) is one bar??) and the intercooled ones upwards of 17 before I have to watch the knock.  I do it with nice hot spark, controlling my own boost pressure with a wastegate bleed, no cat, and a free flowing air box and the best fuel I can afford.  I allow a little ping since I know the engines are durable enough to handle it, but not for more than a few seconds. eusa_pray.gif
 

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A bar is 14.5 psi, and Audi uses absolute pressure, so in that turbo application I went from 4 psi max boost to a little over 11 psi. I don't remember the compression ratio, but it was higher than you would see on some of the wilder forced air setups of the day--driveability was a big part of the design equation. The injection system was a late version of CIS, w/ MAF, P, T, and knock inputs. Rather than a TPS, I think there was just a WOT switch (definitely no TPS on my Motronic V8). A far cry from drive-by-wire.

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You could be right, Rich.....I think the references may have merged eventually.

Today, the term is more related to your early/geographic influences, since hipsters don't really have a grasp of the BMW as a bike as much as we used to.
 
Maybe you're just a bunch of old beesers. ROFL. I hope you guys get it. ?
 

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