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Long-Term Updates - April 2011

Posted in How To on April 1, 2011
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Total Chaos Cam Tab Gussets
We've had the Total Chaos Cam Tab Gussets on our '04 4Runner for about six months now, but only recently gave them their toughest tests yet. On a recent trip, we traveled a trail that was embedded with baby-head rocks. Despite careful wheel placement, we managed to smack a few pretty hard. Those same hits would've KO'd the alignment prior to the TC Cam Tab Gussets being installed. The next test was when we accidentally tagged a planter island in a parking lot. Same result: the alignment didn't change. This weld-it-yourself kit fits '03-and-newer 4Runners, '05-and-newer six-lug Tacomas, and '07-and-newer FJ Cruisers. It replaces the wimpy factory alignment cam tabs and lets the alignment cams index into something substantial.

'96 Vortec MPFI Retrofit
It's been a while since we converted our '96 Chevy Tahoe over to a Multiport Fuel Injection (MPFI) System. In that time it's made about 15,000 miles worth of off-road trips and freeway miles, and we couldn't be happier with the performance we gained. It allowed the SUV to make more power with better throttle response than when we bought the vehicle, and best of all the MPFI has made the vehicle reliable enough to confidently take it into scorching deserts without fear of being stranded. The kit was worth every penny.

Unichip Q-Plus
After adding some heads, a cam, larger injectors, and a few other things to a V-8 OBD-I computer-controlled engine, we had ourselves a case of "limp mode." And it's almost as bad as it sounds-the engine basically went into some choking and sputtering spasms and put out about 50 hp. We finally got our hands on a Unichip Q-Plus. This wasn't a whole new ECU, but instead a microprocessor-driven signal manipulator that went inline before our ECU. The Dyno Shop in Santee, California, tuned it for us, and the truck has been running smoothly, with all its available horsepower, to this day-four years later. The good? It controls engines excellently and still holds its programming with the battery disconnected. The bad? You can't program the Q-Plus at home and you're going to need a professional with a dyno to get it going.

Old Man Emu Coils
A few years ago we replaced our factory coils with some Old Man Emu coils in a daily-driven Grand Cherokee. The OME coils lifted the truck about 1.25 inches and gave an outstanding ride. The coils felt softer, yet body roll wasn't a problem since the vehicle had properly-valved shocks. Years (and many miles) later, the coils have dropped less than a quarter of an inch and still give a great ride.

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