Car tuning

Car tuning is modification of the performance or appearance of a vehicle. For actual "tuning" in the sense of automobiles or vehicles, see engine tuning. Most vehicles leave the factory set up for an average driver's expectations and conditions. Tuning, on the other hand, has become a way to personalize the characteristics of a vehicle to the owner's preference. Cars may be altered to provide better fuel economy, produce more power, or to provide better handling and driving. Car tuning is related to auto racing, although most performance cars never compete. Tuned cars are built for the pleasure of owning and driving. Exterior modifications include changing the aerodynamic characteristics of the vehicle via side skirts, front and rear bumpers, spoilers, splitters, air vents and light weight wheels. A tuned Toyota Mark II. Tuned Audi TT Origin Cars have always been subject to after market modification. The golden age of car tuning was the decades between World War II and the beginning of air pollution restrictions. Both moderate and radical modification have been commemorated in the popular songs Hot Rod Race and Hot Rod Lincoln. The names of Abarth and Cooper appear on models styled after the cars they modified. Cosworth went, with support from Ford, from modifying Ford of BritainEnglish Flathead engines for Lotus Sevens to dominating Formula One racing. In the 1970s and 1980s, many Japanese performance cars were never exported outside the Japanese domestic market. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, grey import vehicles of Japanese performance cars, such as the Nissan Skyline, began to be privately imported into Western Europe and North America. In the United States, this was in direct contrast to the domestic car production around the same time, where there was a very small performance aftermarket for domestic compact and economy cars; the focus was instead on sporty cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette, or on classic muscle cars. Because of their light weight and the increasing availability of low-prise tuning equipment, economy and compact cars exhibit high performance at a low cost in comparison to dedicated sports cars. As professional sporting and racing with such vehicles increased, so did recreational use of these vehicles. Drivers with little or no automotive, mechanical, or racing experience would modify their vehicles to emulate the more impressive versions of racing vehicles, with mixed results. Areas of modification The essence of modification of a tuner car is an attempt to extract the greatest possible performance—or the appearance of high performance—from the base motor vehicle through the addition, alteration or outright replacement of parts. Although this largely involves modifying the engine and management systems of the...

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Chip tuning

Chip tuning refers to changing or modifying an erasable programmable read only memory chip in an automobile's or other vehicle's electronic control unit (ECU) to achieve superior performance, whether it be more power, cleaner emissions, or better fuel efficiency. Engine manufacturers generally use a conservative electronic control unit map to allow for individual engine variations as well as infrequent servicing and poor-quality fuel. Vehicles with a remapped electronic control unit may be more sensitive to fuel quality and service schedules. This was done with early engine computers in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the term chip tuning can be misleading, as people will often use it to describe ECU tuning that does not involve swapping the chip. Modern electronic control units can be tuned by simply updating their software through a standard interface, such as On Board Diagnostics. This procedure is commonly referred to as engine or electronic control unit tuning. Electronic control units are a relatively recent addition to the automobile, having first appeared in the late 1970s. 1995 Oldsmobile 88 Royal control chip module As technology advanced, so did the electronics that go into cars. The electronic control unit in a modern automobile, together with advanced engine technology, makes it possible to control many aspects of the engine's operation, such as spark timing and fuel injection. The electronic control unit may also control electronic throttle control (drive-by-wire), poppet valve timing, boost control (in turbocharged engines), Anti-lock braking system, the automatic transmission, speed governor (if equipped), and the Electronic Stability Control system. Performance gains are realized by adjusting the ignition timing advance. Different timing may result in better performance. However, to cope with advanced timing, one must run high-octane gasoline to avoid pre-ignition detonation or pinging. Manufacturers design for a specific timing and this may limit performance accordingly. In addition, changing fuel maps to coincide with the stoichiometric ratio for gasoline combustion may also realize performance increase. Most manufacturers tune for optimum emissions (running rich to protect the catalytic converter) and fuel economy purposes which can limit performance. Cars with a turbo fitted can have the requested and allowable boost levels raised, these applications usually have the most effect if the turbo fitted is a low pressure turbo which leaves the most room for improvement. Another reason to change the electronic control unit map is if there are engine, intake, or exhaust modifications to the car. These "bolt-on" modifications alter the way that the engine flows, often causing the air to fuel ratio to change. Without re-mapping the fuel tables, some of the performance gains from the modifications may not be realized. A poorly tuned electronic control unit can result...

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Engine tuning

Engine tuning is an adjustment, modification of the internal combustion engine, or modification to its control unit, otherwise known as its ECU (Engine Control Unit). It is adjusted to yield optimal performance, to increase an engine's power output, economy, or durability. These goals may be mutually exclusive, and an engine may be detuned with respect to output (work) in exchange for better economy or longer engine life due to lessened stress on engine components. Engine tuning has a lengthy history, almost as long as that of the development of the automobile, originating with the development of early racing cars and the post-war hot-rod movement. Tuning can describe a wide variety of adjustments and modifications, from the routine adjustment of the carburetor and ignition system to significant engine overhauls. At the other end of the scale, performance tuning of an engine can involve revisiting some of the design decisions taken at quite an early stage in the development of the engine. Setting the idle speed, fuel/air mixture, carburetor balance, spark plug and distributor point gaps, and ignition timing were regular maintenance items for all older engines and the final but essential steps in setting up a racing engine. On modern engines equipped with electronic ignition and fuel injection, some or all of these tasks are automated, although they still require periodic calibration.   Vintage engine testing equipment that can test ignition timing, ignition dwell, manifold vacuum and exhaust emissions Engine tune-up A tune-up usually refers to the routine servicing of the engine to meet the manufacturer's specifications. Tune-ups are needed periodically according to the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure that an automobile runs as expected. Relative to older automobiles, modern automobiles now typically require only a small number of tune-ups over the course of an approximate 250,000-kilometre (160,000 mi) or a 10-year lifespan. This can be attributed to improvements in the production process, with imperfections and errors reduced by computer automation, and also significant improvement in the quality of consumables, such as the availability of fully synthetic engine oil. Tune-ups may include the following: Adjustment of the carburetor idle speed and the air-fuel mixture Inspection and possible replacement of ignition system components like spark plugs, contact breaker points, distributor cap and distributor rotor Replacement of the air filter and other filters Inspection of emission controls Valvetrain adjustment In early days, mechanics finishing the tune-up of a performance car such as a Ferrari would take it around a track several times to burn out any built-up carbon; this is known as an Italian tuneup. Chip tuning Modern engines are equipped with an engine management system (EMS)/Engine Control Unit (ECU) which can be modified to different settings, producing different...

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