Turbochargers and superchargers are forced induction systems that significantly boost engine potency. Both systems work on the same principle of compressing air and feeding it into the engine — air is extremely important to your engine’s power output. In the turbocharger, the hot air from the exhaust manifold spins a turbine, which runs the air compressor. Whereas, in the supercharged engine the compressor is driven by a belt that connects directly to the engine. Compressing the air makes it more oxygen-dense, allowing the engine to add more fuel to the oxygen in the pistons, thereby increasing the output.
Compressing air raises its temperature. You would like to have the coolest air possible in the cylinder because the hotter the air is the less it will expand when combustion takes place. Therefore many turbo charged and super charged cars have an intercooler. An intercooler is a special radiator through which the compressed air passes to cool it off before it enters the cylinder.
In many applications, forced induction systems can add more than 100 horsepower from the stock setup. Turbo kits and superchargers run anywhere from $2,000 to more than $9,000 for high-end Edelbrock E-Force superchargers and renowned GReddy turbo kits.
When increasing the amount of air that goes into each cylinder, you must increase the amount of fuel being supplied in order to achieve more power. Installing a high performance fuel system (high volume pump, larger capacity fuel rails/injectors and a fuel pressure regulator) solves the fuel supply issue. Too often engines are starved for fuel under high performance conditions. This means that they just are not able to produce their peak power due to a lean fuel situation. By getting a better fuel system, you are able to push more fuel to the engine when needed, allowing your vehicle to reach its full potential.
Applications that benefit most from high energy ignition systems are vehicles where engines are placed under loads such as trailer towing, motor home applications, and fully loaded vehicles such as work trucks. Sports and performance cars that have undergone modifications are also candidates for ignition improvements and should consider a high quality ignition system to get the most from other engine modifications.
With the emerging use of alternate fuels come increased need for good ignition due to the narrower window of flammability of the fuels. For the rest, the best advice is to keep your current vehicle’s ignition system in good repair. Aside from a regular tune up, consider a high quality performance spark plug wire set. A longer, stronger spark means you can add more fuel and have a better burn.
Headers are a great way to make your vehicle sound super throaty and powerful, especially when you install a catback exhaust setup along with it. The headers should be substantially lighter than factory and have much more efficient piping, allowing for a more efficient system.
Change the Heads and Cams
Many older stock engines have one intake valve and one exhaust valve. Buying a new head that has four valves per cylinder will dramatically improve airflow in and out of the engine and this can improve power. Using performance cams can also make a big difference.
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