20 Basic Upgrades for Maximum Torque and Efficiency
Even though your truck's engine likely sends adequate power to the wheels, more power is always a good thing. Fortunately, there are many methods of gaining more torque from a powerplant, some more obvious than others. Many of the best known involve increasing the airflow, enhancing the fuel flow, and easing the removal of exhaust gases. While the list of products that add extra engine power are easy to name, there are several you may not be aware of.
Fundamentally, making an engine perform more efficiently is the best way to improve throttle response and acceleration. This bolt-on power guide covers all the aspects involved with improving engine performance and efficiency in late-model trucks. The guide will provide an overview of what's involved in the installation of these parts, and it explains how the components typically enhance engine performance and power. Here are 20 of our favorite bolt-on performance goodies for your consideration.
1. Aftermarket Air Filters
It's likely that the OE air-filter element in your truck is made of paper, and you'll need to replace it within a year. Air filters made of paper are not the best material for filtration and will not provide efficient filtering action for very long. Vehicle manufacturers like paper filters because they're affordable and there are thousands of applications. An easy way to add power is by replacing a paper filter with a reusable (washable) filter. These filters have multiple-layer gauze elements with more pleats than the OE filter, meaning there is more surface area to improve airflow and filtering. These filters also have an extra layer of oil or synthetic material to filter out smaller particulates. Aftermarket gauze filters can be cleaned, re-oiled, and installed again and again, and they can improve fuel economy by 10 percent and provide as much as a 15hp increase depending on the truck.
2. Spark Plugs and Spark-Plug Wires
Performance spark-plug wires will make an ignition system perform to its full potential. Installing a new set of spark plugs and plug wires will deliver a slight increase in horsepower and torque and will make the engine run efficiently. By replacing OE plugs and wires with aftermarket plugs and wires, the ignition's spark will be stronger and more consistent, which will ensure the ignition of the fuel/air mixture during every ignition cycle. Also, high-quality spark plugs will remove heat from the combustion chamber while remaining resistant to heat. Some spark plugs have even been designed to create a larger spark. When it comes to spark-plug wires, a good set is built with the durability to resist wear from heat and will provide low resistance for the best possible electrical transfer from the coil and distributor to the spark plugs.
3. Air Induction
Improving airflow into an engine will almost always result in increased power. Air-induction kits, also known as air intakes, are designed to provide optimal airflow. Each system uses a main air tube that delivers reduced restriction to the flow of air, which increases the amount of air that can be brought into the engine's combustion chambers. With more air and a bit more fuel (automatically supplied by the fuel system's computer), more power is created. Air-tube kits use a two-pronged approach to increasing airflow: They smooth the path the air takes from filter to intake manifold and include a filter that provides additional surface area for the air to flow through. Another method used in some air-induction kits is the use of cold air. The theory behind cold-air intakes is that cold air is more dense with oxygen than warm air, meaning you can actually have more oxygen in a given amount of space if it's at a cooler temperature. When the engine's computer senses the increased air density or volume, it adds more fuel and spark advance, creating more power.