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November Tech Support

Where We Cure All Your Tech Problems

Mar 16, 2007
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For those of you who live in parts of the world that actually have seasons, it must be pretty chilly, now. But no fear-with the amount of smog LA produces, we should just sit back and enjoy while we raise the earth's temperature by five or so degrees. That's how we roll. Oh. We almost forgot, towards the end of the month it's Thanksgiving. Don't eat too much or else you won't be able to fit under your car to slap on that new downpipe. You could just jack the car up higher, we suppose, but then you have to adjust the jack stands and we know you're too lazy to do that. Watch out for that Tryptophan too, because you don't want to fall asleep under the car. The concrete is cold and not all that comfortable. If you manage to stay awake and get into a snag, you know who to hit up. Um, us. Your memory seems to be going, so here's our contact info just in case. Snail mail will get to us at Super Street Magazine c/o Technical Support 6420 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048. Internet junkies who can take time away from searching for Mandy Moore pictures can e-mail us at tech@superstreetonline.com. As always, our Inquiry of the Month gets a prize and this month it is a $200 oil gift certificate from Nippon Oil (www.eneos.com).

Ricky's Inquiry Of The Month

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Q Hey, Super Street Technical Support. You just picked yourself up a fresh new reader. I hope that extra subscription will get you guys some raises. Yeah right. Here's the deal. I'm pretty uneducated when it comes to this whole car building thing but I had a question I had to ask you guys: If turbos make power and bigger turbos make more power, then what's stopping people from using the biggest turbo they can find for their car? The reason I ask this is because I'm looking up turbo kits for my '95 Acura Integra LS and it seems like some places don't increase the price that much for a bigger turbo. So why not get the most for your money? Or my money in this case. I'm sure that you guys can enlighten me, but right now it seems pretty clear. I'd ask my friends, but none of them know enough for me to trust their answers.

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A.We know exactly what you mean when you say get the most for your money. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily equate to putting a turbo kit together, especially if you're trying to build a small displacement motor like the B18B. While a massive turbo will make a lot of power, there are a lot of other factors to consider before going for the big slug. First and foremost is spacing. In case you haven't noticed, it isn't as open as Montana under your hood. With a big turbo you're going to have to worry about clearing the block, radiator, and possibly an air conditioning condenser, which means a custom manifold and plumbing might be in order. What was at first a bolt-on kit will now become a completely custom job, which requires a lot of expensive fabrication. Even if you happen to get by without running into any of those issues, you're still not out of the woods yet. With a big turbo comes lag, which you're going to have a lot of with a small 1.8L motor. There are ways to combat the lag, like using some nitrous to speed up the spool time, an anti-lag kit, or going with higher compression pistons, but those are most beneficial at the track and not so much on the street. If you're building a street car, then you want to get the most power you can as fast as possible so ideally, a larger laggy turbo isn't the path you should be heading down. One good alternative would be to use a ball-bearing turbo. This will allow you to go with a larger snail but also be able to make power in the low end because of its quick spool time. The tradeoff is that ball-bearing turbos are generally more expensive than the standard bearing types. Another idea is to just go with a smaller turbo, but you won't produce any record breaking power numbers. And if you're going to road race, you'll need something to get you out of the corners with some kick. A big turbo will probably start spooling halfway down the straightaway and then hit full boost right at the end when you need to start braking. Remember, if your car isn't making power when you need it the most, then it's useless. Never compromise the drivability if you're building a street car unless you're really cool with someone who has a trailer to tow your car home.

Q I'm sure I'm not the only one who has written in about this, but where is your SRT-4? I have one and liked the direction you guys were going with yours. For a while, you guys were doing a lot of updates on it, then it kind of vanished. The last thing I remember was a story on changing the tire size. Before that, you guys had the Mopar kit installed along with a clutch and LSD. See, I've been paying attention. Don't be mad, but I used what you guys did to inspire the build on my own. I know you guys don't like biters. I have problems deciding on what upgrades to go with, so I just wait for your issue to come out so I don't have to do the research. Needless to say, I haven't done anything to my car in a while, either. Can you tell me what's coming up so at least I can start planning for my car? If you guys don't have it anymore, that's cool too. But I'd just like some updates. Thanks.

A We have an SRT-4? Oh right, that SRT-4. We ran it at our Motor Skills Challenge last year and it did great. The last time we saw it, it was sitting on G4 after Nads and his cousin Otis killed the brakes while driving back and forth to the International House of Hummus. We finally fixed that little situation so it's time to move forward. Coming up next is the stage 2 turbo upgrade kit from Mopar. This comes with larger 682cc injectors, higher boost wastegate, a freshly tuned PCM, and upgraded sensors. This should make our SRT-4 a lot more fun to drive at the track. We'll get you the numbers on the car with that kit installed and then we're taking it right back off to put in the stage 3 turbo upgrade kit. Oddly enough, out of all the turbo upgrade kits, this is the only one that actually comes with an upgraded turbo, a TD05 and new exhaust manifold to be exact. Then all the fuel and PCM upgrades again, to boot. This kit is rated between 310hp and 355hp depending on whether or not we use the Turbo Toys. It doesn't help that we're too cheap to put 100-octane gas in, either. Afterwards, we'll probably tear the entire car down and start from scratch to see how other manufacturer's kits compare to what Mopar has to offer. Sorry to keep you hanging, but when you rely on us you're bound to be disappointed. Our garage is also stocked with a bunch of other project cars in various states of disrepair. Check our "Bucket Brigade" story on page 110 for updates as to what exactly we have and haven't been doing to our beater fleet.

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Q.I am the proud owner of an '06 Nissan 350Z track edition. At first, I liked the car exactly how it was when I bought it from the dealer. It was fast and handled very well. Then I picked up the Super Street issue where Rikdaddy had his Vortech supercharger installed on his G and that got me excited. Do you guys have any power numbers on that kit yet? Isn't it pretty much the same motor I have in my car? Since my car is manual, will I be able to make more power? What do I do about smog since I live in California? Also, is the kit that hard to install? Sorry for all the questions, but I told you that I was excited.

A. Rikdaddy is a sorry ass and he hasn't gotten the dyno numbers for you yet. But that kit is rated at 412hp at the crank at 8psi of boost. Though your motor is also a VQ35DE, yours actually puts out more power than the older years. In fact, we're told by Vortech that the kit installed on the newer 350Z can put out 440hp at the crank. That's pretty impressive. We should be testing one very soon so check back in a couple months for our feedback. Since your transmission is manual, you should be able to put that power to the ground pretty easily. Although if you get too boost happy, you're probably going to have to replace the clutch pretty quickly. As for smog, the street legal low-boost kit is CARB-approved even though a cop wouldn't know the difference if he tried to bust you. Fortunately, the judge should. If you decided to go with the race version of the kit, just be happy that you don't have to smog your car for another few years. You won't be disappointed with the power, though. And you don't have to worry about lag because the supercharger makes instantaneous boost. As far as installs go, this kit isn't difficult to put in. In fact, if your dad is a plumber and has an awesome set of tools you should be able to do it in your garage. Just give yourself six to eight hours for the ordeal. If you don't feel confident, there are a lot of shops that can take care of it for you. There are other bolt-ons you can add, too, like headers and exhaust. The kit comes with a fuel pump and regulator, but later down the line an injector upgrade and some ECU tuning wouldn't hurt.

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