Cheap ways to add horsepower

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So, I've been looking around for a few easy and inexpensive ways to add horsepower, and so far this is what I have come up with through searching. I wanted to see if any of these had merit or if it would be nothing more than a waste of time.

So, in order of what I feel is the most believeable to the least:

Mapping the spark plugs. I've heard that aiming the open end of the plug toward the injector at all cylinders will help combustion and improve power very slightly (1 hp). This makes perfect sense to me, but I wouldn't think that any noticeable power gain would be achieved. Would it?

Insulating the fuel lines. The same site told me that buying some refridgerator or A/C insulation and wrapping my fuel lines with the stuff would help keep my fuel cooler and therefore add power. They also suggested that the air filter hose, whether stock or aftermarket, also be wrapped to keep the incoming air cooler. Again, this makes perfect sense to me, and I would expect some power gains from it. But my concern is, would this make my engine be at risk for fire? I don't want this insulation to catch alight and torch my engine. If this would be safe, about how much power could I expect? One or two horsepower perhaps?

Relocating the IAT sensor. I really have doubts about this one. They say that by moving the sensor further away from the engine, it will cause the ECU to "advance timing and improve the fuel ratio", thereby increasing power. However, I would think that the sensor was placed there for a reason, and moving it may lead to poor engine operation or damage. What do you all think?

posted by  hondaman

Ive also heard about the Spark plugs and actually did it on my last Plug change but who knows if it actually does anything.

Hard to call on the other two. Although I have heard about the IAT sensor, but Im like you I didnt want to move it so instead of tricking the engine into running like that I just had it tuned to run kinda like that

posted by  Enthusiast

I don't know what all of these things are really cause I've never really researched, and I don't know if you're asking for ideas, but this is what I hear EVERYONE saying on other forums I visit:

CAMS - better camshafts I'm assuming.

HEADERS - not totally sure. maybe it means new cylinder heads.

EXHAUST (which you already did)

"CHIP" - which I'm assuming means obd chip...

AIR INTAKE - supposed to take in air from a cooler spot than the regular intake hose does, giving you more dense air, and giving you more power.

INTAKE MANIFOLD - I know what it is but I'm not sure how it adds power..

And that's all I can think of other than FI.

Just in case you needed some ideas.

This is what most people on BMW forums have in their sigs and stuff lol.

posted by  Bronxie

Headers are like intake manifolds, but for the exhaust lol.

posted by  chris_knows

These would be headers for a V8: g

This would be one type for an I4:

An aftermarket intake manifold could help because it may be better designed and with less resistance to allow for more air to flow through it.

posted by  car_crazy89

So headers don't come with your car...? Cause that looks heavy.

posted by  Bronxie

Usually an exhaust manifold comes on the car and its replaced by Header either Longtube, Mids, or shorties, because they flow better.

posted by  Enthusiast

They aren't always that thick, but most cars do have headers. They just take the exhaust gases from the engine to the rest of the exhaust system.

posted by  chris_knows

They weigh A LOT less than iron exhaust manifolds that come stock with most engines.

posted by  67Coronet383

I think you'd be better spending the money on a nice meal and a six pack of Fosters.:mrgreen:

posted by  Wally

I don't know how much an exhaust manifold weighs but I was working on my friend's 99 miata with him and the intake manifold (just the top half) was really heavy.

So it replaces the exhaust manifold? I want some.

posted by  Bronxie

Lol, I'm sure Porsche aftermarket parts are pretty expensive. But if you are going to do headers, you gotta do the whole exhaust :P

posted by  Pythias

They are pretty expensive. I've had a hard time finding any at all for 987s.

All I want is an intake but every time I search for one I get stupid air filters...

posted by  Bronxie

I agree :laughing:

Reference the spark plug thing......I'm assuming you have to take the head off, otherwise you wont know where they're aiming, lol....seems like too much work to me, especially for a 1bhp gain...

posted by  Cliffy

I wouldn't do any of that stuff. You won't feel any differnce even if all of those things actually work. I suppose if you were a racer where every little bit helps, but I doubt that's the case. So basically, you could cause some damage to the car, and even if it does work it won't be a noticable difference.

posted by  giant016

Google search will tell you how to do it.

But you're likely to get a powergain of ziltch. It's stupid, a waste of time, and doesn't really do anything.

posted by  67Coronet383

You're probably right. I just enjoy looking for a few quick things to do in between relatively major upgrades such as the intake, exhaust, etc. :thumbs:

I probably won't bother with any of it, it all sounds rather sketchy.

posted by  hondaman

try a k&n airfilter? maybe an air intake or a cat-back exhaust could give you good performance boosts. I got my spark plugs repalced with high performance ones and I noticed little to no difference...

posted by  Bloodcraft

This is an old thread. I apologize for anyone who is just now reading this, because the things you are talking about in here will not significantly add anything at all to the bHP or the rwHP of your car.
Basically, remember that a car engine is one big air pump, with a bang and an explosion somewhere along the way -- in the middle of the process. Horsepower is gained by forcing more air into the combustion chamber through the throttle body, and allowing air to escape more quickly during the exhaust process. Of course, engine size, or displacement is critical to this process as well. Generally speaking, the bigger the engine, the bigger the horsepower. I know...duh, right?

Of course, there are a hundred different ways to do this -- but most are prohibitively expensive. Porting the throttle bodies is good, but costs a ton, and may only add up to 10 horse. Boring out the cylinders to make the combustion chamber larger is great, but costs even more!!!

Okay, so if you want to add roughly 30 horsepower to your car (and no, I am not about to give an advertisment for that junk Turbonater or Vortex piece of garbage that you put on your air intake), try doing the following things, (in this order):

1. RAM air (cold air) intake, K & N intake -- SOMETHING that allows more air to flow into the engine

2. Change the ECU/EPROM (the "chip") that controls your engines fuel/air map ratio -- lots of companies make performance "chips". For Nissans, check out Jim Wolf technoloby.

3. Cat Back Exhaust systems are not a myth -- and will add somewhere between 8 and 12 horsepower all by themselves (but some people don't like the "cali-modder" sound they give off).

4. Invest in a lighted (underdrive) crankshaft pulley -- which should allow a greater transfer of bHP to the rear wheels.

These are really the only "bolt on" mods you can do, unless you want to invest $1,000's for some kind of frankenstein turbo charger setup.

Forced induction is awesome, and definitely will add 40-80 bHP. But be careful that the shop you have doing this is well-versed in their practices. (Also, for the guy who thinks that fuel injection will make a noticeable gain -- probably not unless you are adding, or upgrading a turbo charger.)

Have fun.

P.S. I own a 1995 Normally Aspirated 300ZX -- factory bHP 222. Current bHP 268, and I have only done the first three things on the list.

posted by  zmodder2005


Your telling me you added 46 hp to a 222hp car by doing catback "chip" and intake. :thumbs:

posted by  Enthusiast

I'm betting dollars to doughnuts he took the "add up to X horsepower" claims and added them all up.

posted by  giant016

yah im sure he did. I always like when people do that because it doesnt take into account the law of diminishing returns, and even besides that they are usually grosely inflated to.

posted by  Enthusiast

Holy crap this is an old thread. Can't believe how little I knew about cars.

Kind of embarrassing! Still learning though :thumbs:

posted by  Car hippie

I see a lot of people looking for horse power. I would assume you want more speed. Most people assume power adders to there motor. Not many think of there tranny its a shame. For old school racers like myself use a smaller torque converter with a shift kit in the trans with St drag radial.

cyclone   04 Sep 2012 16:10

Truth be told the insulation may increase your horsepower by such a small amount, alone it wpuld make no difference. You need cold air intake, better sparkplugs, higher octane fuel, better exhaust with some back pressure but not as much as stock vehicles have, headers make some difference, cooler antifreeze ratio, supercharger or turbo charger, better camshaft, bore the motor out (ex. 350 into 383 stroker) these are a few ways to get more power, but insulating ur lines in like pissing in the ocean.

REDneck Mechanic   30 Nov 2012 18:05

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