by Pat Goss
One of our most popular questions is about getting more horsepower, and here to explain how to do that is Rich Chiavacci of EIP Tuning in Westminster, Maryland. Welcome to the show, Rich.
Chiavacci: Thank you.
Goss: All right. Lots of folks make big mistakes when they try to get more horsepower out of their car. What would you recommend as a first step if they’re going to do something single?
Chiavacci: Well, most of the modern vehicles, an ECU upgrade is a great place to start. That combined with a cold air intake, those are two inexpensive, and really they both yield good power for the money invested.
Goss: Okay. But they want to buy something that’s quality.
Chiavacci: That’s true. A lot of people can buy inexpensive, whatever the cheapest thing is. Lots of stuff is available on the Internet, but then isn’t usable for future upgrades.
Goss: All right. So we’re talking about cold air intake and upgrading the computer. What about the exhaust system?
Chiavacci:A good, free-flowing exhaust system, a good quality exhaust system. That’s the way to go.
Goss: All right. Now you build your own exhaust systems. Can you explain some of the differences here?
Chiavacci: We do, and we use only quality materials. We use specifically mandrel bent radiuses. And what that means is it doesn’t kink the pipe. There’s a big misconception when these shops have mandrel benders, but what they’re actually doing is kinking the pipe, which reduces flow. We use all smooth radiuses. It’s all stainless steel. It’s all TIG welded in stainless, so that we can provide a lifetime warranty. We know that it’s going to last forever.
Goss: So those would be the basic things. Where would you go from there?
Chiavacci:Along with the ECU upgrades and the cold air intake and exhaust system, that’s a great place to start. On a lot of the turbo vehicles we offer front mount intercooler kits as like a stage two. It complements the stage one. Beyond that, we actually have manifold turbo kits that are upgrades that allow you to run more boost, more horsepower. For the normally aspirated cars, there’s lots of different upgrades, including converting them to turbo like this car here.
Goss: Like this one.
Chiavacci: Yes sir.
Goss: Now this one, what’s it’s horsepower?
Chiavacci: The R32 stock. Normally aspirated is rated at 240. It will yield about 210 to the wheel. A bolt-on Stage 1 turbo kit like this will yield over 300 horsepower with 5 pounds of boost. The next Stage 2, 14 to 15 pounds of boost, 450 wheel horsepower. Significant.
Goss: That’s impressive. So the real key here is to make a plan and buy the equipment as a kit or in modular form.
Chiavacci: That’s right. That’s the best way to do it so you’re not wasting your money.
Goss: Great. Rich, thank you.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.