In this month’s Evo tech installment, we’ll be taking care of some small but important upgrades that will help performance as well as improve looks.
Almost every modern-day engine is built with a damped crank pulley. The pulley’s job is to reduce harmonic vibrations throughout the crankshaft. Unfortunately, as engines age, harmonic balancers can degrade and stop working properly. In the case of the 4G63, there are known cases of crank pulleys separating into two pieces, which never ends well. The easy solution is to replace the pulley with a new one, however, if you’ll be making upgrades to your engine’s power output, then the wiser choice is to buy an upgraded pulley such as a Fluidampr. Using a gel-like silicone inside the pulley, Fluidampr is designed to better absorb the torsional vibrations of engines with more horsepower and torque output than stock. The more hard-core the motor (stroked and bored especially), the more important it is to have a crank pulley such as Fluidampr to cope with the added stress on the crank.
Our high-mileage 4G63 was a perfect candidate for this upgrade, since its crank pulley was showing signs of cracking, and with lots of plans to make more power, we weren’t going to run the stock crank pulley for much longer. The installation itself can be done in less than 30 minutes, and the Fluidampr uses the stock belt, so there’s no need to change it.
Another simple yet important upgrade is replacing the factory radiator with a more efficient one. I don’t think I need to explain how a larger radiator that’s built entirely from aluminum will help decrease water temps, but I should say that the importance of a good-quality radiator is integral to a proper-running engine. Koyo designs its radiators in Japan, so you can be sure the resulting product is engineered to be the best. Not only that, but it fits just like stock; we were able to get our very own radiator swapped quickly and without any snags. A feature worth mentioning on the Koyo radiator is the properly placed and easily removable drain plug. Too many aftermarket radiators come with poorly executed drain plugs that are difficult to take out and spray fluid everywhere during draining. The Koyo avoids any messes and fuss with its proper plug.
While swapping the radiator, it’s as good a time as any to replace the old and well-worn factory rad hoses. Samco Sport replacement hoses are the best in the business and offer the highest quality European silicone to ensure proper protection against heat and degradation from everyday use. They also come in a wide variety of colors for those of you looking to spice up your engine bay. The gloss-black hoses I chose improved the Evo’s engine bay by leaps and bounds, making it look new again.
Chassis rigidity is always a simple and effective upgrade for any track car, and while a rollcage is the best method of reducing flex, it is also the most extreme. Adding chassis braces, such as strut tower and undercarriage bars, can be a great and more street friendly (as well as affordable) alternative.
Cusco produces all sorts of braces for the Evo that cover the front and rear of the car as well as the full underside. I opted to reinforce certain key areas starting with the front strut tower bar. The Cusco Type OS three-point bar is hollow in its rigid design, and its all-aluminum construction makes it more lightweight and stronger than OEM. Add a brake cylinder stopper onto the bar, and the Cusco Type OS strut bar is a significant improvement over stock. In the rear, a Type OS bar was also added to minimize chassis flex by linking the rear strut towers together.
Underneath, a set of power braces was installed onto the front subframe and framerails. Power braces are engineered using Cusco’s chassis stress ANSYS simulation software, then put to the real-world test by professional drivers. Actual rally race chassis engineers design these bars and braces so you can be sure they are functional. They, too, are hollow in design, so they don’t carry a heavy weight penalty.
These quick, simple mods go a long way in terms of performance and reliability for Project Super VIII. There’s a lot more in the pipeline for this project.