Suck, Squish, Bang, Blow part 4- The Five Deadly Sins of the Beginner


fake k&n filter
Thanks Carter, I borrowed one of your pictures.  The filter on the right is a fake K&N.  I destroyed an engine on one of my race cars once because a sponsor’s Cold Air Intake used a filter like this.  Race cars suck up a lot of dirt as most tracks in So Cal are really dusty. Dirt sucked up by the intake bypassed the element giving the engine a huge dose of abrasive dust.  Never run low quality filters.

4. Don’t run without an air filter on the street.

If you want more flow, there are plenty of low restriction air intake systems on the market for just about all of the common cars. If no air intake is made for your car, then you can make one with some mandrel bends, some silicon hose, some hose clamps and a universal clamp on cone filter. Dirt and water can make quick work of your valve job and bores, pistons and rings. Severe dirt ingestion can damage the engine bearings and crankshaft. It’s not worth the small amount of power that you may gain. As a warning do not run the fake K&N type filter or fake no name foam filter. I have seen where dirt can simply sail right through these elements. I have had an engine ruined on one of my own race cars due to a poor quality fake K&N filter.

5. Don’t remove your anti-pollution equipment.

Not only is this very illegal (packing big fines) but unethical, as air pollution can harm people and ruin the Earth’s environment. As the number of cars on the road grows each year, reducing pollution becomes more and more critical. Unlike the crude emission controls from the early and mid 70’s, the smog equipment on a modern car does not rob very much horsepower. There is just no excuse in removing smog equipment on a street car or even a weekend warrior car anymore. Typically removing the catalytic converter and EGR system might only add 0-3 hp so it is not even worth doing. Only very wild cars may benefit from a power increase when taking out the cat. The only cars with no pollution controls should be race cars that are not driven on the street. Improper removal of emissions controls can cause damage. Removing the EGR system can cause detonation if no other tuning changes are done. Inadvertently fiddling around with O2 sensor output by randomly removing cats can cause poor mileage, poor driveabitly and more pollution on a modern car.

high flow cat
We tested this high flow cat on a 200 whp 2000cc NA motor and it lost absolutely no power.  Only very powerful turbo motors experience a significant gain in power when removing the cat.  Removing emission controls without knowledge of how they integrate into the car’s systems can cause loss of power, detonation, poor fuel economy and driveabitly issues.  On modern cars, emission controls do not cause significant power loss.

Follow these rules and you will have much more reliability and less frustration in your career as a tuner.

In our next edition we will talk about detonation. Like Shiva, detonation is the destroyer of worlds or engines at least.

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