Posts

4th Gen Dodge Ram upgrades

We all know the blue-collar; hard-labor worker is the backbone of this country. Whether it’s someone down in a trench doing some welding or swinging a hammer while framing a house, these people depend on their tools to get the job done as efficiently as possible. In today’s hard labor industries, the truck you drive can become one of the most important tools for getting your job done. Take this 2012 6.7L Cummins powered 4th Gen Ram 2500 for instance. Yes, it’s the fully loaded Longhorn Edition with air-conditioned seats and a heated steering wheel, but nobody ever said a worker doesn’t enjoy some of the finer things in life on occasion.

The big Dodge was just picked up off the used truck market this spring with 88,000 miles on the clock, and the new owner is a job supervisor for a large construction company that builds big commercial buildings and hotels. He also has his contractor license and builds houses on the side with his father and brothers. Having a dependable truck that can h…

2017 Land Rover Discovery First Drive

A brief flash of azure sky as expansive as the Sahara assures me that I’m still upright, albeit marginally, and the 2017 Land Rover Discovery in my hands is still methodically scaling an absurdly steep shoulder of stone in the mountains of Utah. I’m reminded of Paul Bowles’ novel of existential despair, The Sheltering Sky, both because of the overarching blue and the ravine that looms to my left, deep enough to swallow a rolling SUV without a hiccup. For a moment, I don’t know whether to stop where I am and enjoy a quiet cry or go with the flow and have a blast.

Just ahead stands an intrepid, gesturing Land Rover “spotter” and his calm expertise draws my attention back to the task. Every particle of my focus returns to the ascent. I go with the flow, remind myself that life is all about the journey and with the help of the Discovery’s All-Terrain Progress Control technology, and crawl to the top of the challenging incline.

Exhilarated by my rock-climbing feat and existential despair avo…

VTEC Tuning – How to make your VTEC engine go even quicker

When it comes to screaming high RPM performance engines, one name instantly spring to mind: VTEC. In addition, this issue we’re going to show you how to make them even quicker...

1989 was a special year for the Fast Car world. That’s when Honda re-wrote the rulebooks with the release of the B16A VTEC engine, pushing out around 160bhp from a high revving 1.6ltr non-turbo engine back when most other N/A 1.6s were struggling to top 110bhp. From then on, the term VTEC and big revs have become the norm for sporty Hondas, and while tuning them took a while to seriously take off in the UK, these days the Honda VTEC lumps are some of the best 4cyl engines to upgrade. In addition, we’re here to show you how...

What is VTEC anyhow? In addition, why is it so good? VTEC is Honda’s name for a variable valve timing and lift system, and while quite a few other manufacturers, from Fiat to Porsche, all use similar systems, Honda’s version is by far the most famous, and arguably the best.

Variable val…

The Ultimate VTEC Buying Guide

A contracted acronym for Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (as VVTLEC is a bit of a mouthful), the father of a thousand internet memes, Honda’s VTEC system is more than just a clever piece of valve timing. It’s a lifestyle. Much like forced induction is addictive, and people who experience turbos or superchargers for the first time immediately are hooked on boost. Therefore, it is with VTEC: once you’ve held onto that steering wheel with white knuckles beyond 8,000rpm, the howling motor sounding fit to explode and yet relentlessly goading you on, you’ll never look back. VTEC is a drug.

History

Big motors have always been subject to punishing taxation in Japan, hence their manufacturers’ enthusiasm for improving the efficiency of smaller displacements. Toyota love forced induction, Mazda are the modern masters of the Wankel, and Honda’s VTEC system is their own special brand of cleverness, fusing economy with lunacy depending on how heavy your foot is.

The technology first …

How to install ReadyLIFT Suspensions 31⁄2-inch lift for 2017 Super Dutys

Let's face it, in a world chock-full of Ford Super Dutys, a lot of owners want their truck to stand out from the rest of the crowd. So while thousands of Blue Oval loyalists lined up to get their hands on Ford’s redesigned ’17 model, enthusiasts—as they always do—immediately set out to add their own unique touches to these brand-new behemoths. Thanks to one dyed-in-the-wool Ford fanatic, this ’17 F-350 Platinum didn’t make it a week before going under the knife at Flynn’s Shop in Alexander, Illinois.

Ready to Go

Although the owner was eager to improve the truck’s stance, curb appeal, and off-road capability in one fell swoop, there was one catch: the truck had to maintain the same plush ride quality it left the factory with. To deliver on all of the above criteria, the people at Flynn’s reached out to ReadyLIFT Suspensions for one of its 31⁄2-inch SST lift kits. With components guaranteed to never wear, break, or fail, enough lift height to clear 37-inch-tall tires and the promise…

Ignition Curves and How to Create Optimal Performance

Ignition timing is easily the single most important tuning adjustment on an internal-combustion engine, yet the concept of ignition curves continues to be elusive for many enthusiasts. All it takes to improve torque, horsepower, and driveability is a simple timing light and an informed tuning process. Think of this as “free” horsepower, because it costs very little to optimize timing as long as you know the tricks.

The plan behind optimized ignition timing hasn’t changed since Nikolaus Otto began fooling around with four-stroke, internal combustion engines in the 1870s. The idea is to light the charge in the cylinder with enough lead time (advance) to create maximum cylinder pressure at the ideal point after top dead center (ATDC) to push the piston down, exerting leverage on the crank. It’s generally acknowledged that peak cylinder pressure needs to occur at roughly 15 to 18 degrees ATDC to maximize advantage on the crankshaft. If the spark timing is too early, the cylinder may expe…

How to Upgrade Your Suspension's Bushings

Changing up your car’s timeworn suspension bushings will never be glamorous work. The original ones will do everything they can to keep you from getting them out and, even once they’ve been replaced, nobody’ll ever know about it but you. Look past those crusty lower control arm bushings that haven’t been touched for two decades, though, and you’re only limiting how well your car could handle. For more on why those bushings are so important and what to do when they fail, we looked to Prothane’s Tom Smisek, who walked us through the least-glamorous part of your car’s suspension you’d be a fool not to address.

Knowing when to replace

Eventually, those OEM rubber bushings of yours will be toast. According to Smisek, you’ll know it when handling gets sloppy and the ride gets rough; leave all of this unaddressed and it’ll only get worse. “They tend to rot away due to exposure to the elements and petroleum-based products,” Smisek goes on to say about what exactly causes those original bushing…