No matter how fast or good...
No matter how fast or good looking our cars are, we always want to improve them. This month we'll show you our top 10 ways to make your car perform its best.
As gearheads, no matter what kind of Mopar we drive, we want it to look and perform its best. But with so many aftermarket parts available these days, how do we decide how to best spend our hard-earned cash? By now we all know there are certain upgrades that offer big performance gains, but there are also plenty of parts on the market whose performance gains can't be backed up with hard numbers. So, before you run out and purchase the "Tornado" to greatly improve performance and fuel economy, you might want to follow along as we outline our top 10 modifications and parts that are guaranteed to help your car accelerate, handle, stop, and look better, without costing you an arm and a leg.
We all want more power, so...
We all want more power, so several of our top 10 performance upgrades have to do with making more horsepower, and getting that power to the pavement.
1. Headers And Exhaust
One of the best ways to wake up the engine in your Mopar is to install headers and free-flowing exhaust. Factory manifolds, even the high-performance style, are simply too restrictive to let a high-performance V-8 breathe properly, so installing headers is one of the best ways to free up some power. Bolting on a set of headers is one of the first upgrades we usually perform on our cars, not only for improved performance now, but to support future engine upgrades as well.
Of course, to benefit from the gains that headers offer, a free-flowing exhaust should be installed. Even a mild small-block can benefit from a good 2.5-inch dual exhaust system, and again, the results are even more dramatic as future engine modifications take place. These days we're lucky to drive Mopars, as companies like TTI can provide quality, mandrel bent, high-performance exhaust systems for about the same price as having an exhaust shop install dual exhaust.
2. Counting Carbs (And Intakes)
The factory carburetors on our Mopars were designed as a compromise of performance, economy, and economics, so chances are your car will perform better with an improved induction system. Barry Grant, Holley, and Edelbrock all offer new carburetors which will certainly match your engine better than the factory carb does. For the money, a new carb will give you better performance and drivability, while improving economy as well.
With the exception of a few Six-Pack-equipped cars, factory intake manifolds were manufactured from heavy cast-iron, so an aluminum replacement will save weight in addition to providing added performance. If your car was originally equipped with a two-barrel, a swap to a four-barrel intake and carburetor is definitely a good choice. Dual-plane intakes offer low-end torque and drivability, and for all-out power, a good single-plane intake will do the trick.
A good set of dual exhaust,...
A good set of dual exhaust, like the TTI system we recently installed on a big-block Barracuda project, will outflow a factory system. Performance can especially be improved when the exhaust incorporates an H- or X-pipe system.
3. A Bigger Cam
Factory Chrysler engines are blessed with some of the largest diameter lifters of any engine manufactured during the musclecar era. Unfortunately, camshaft technology of the era didn't exploit this advantage. These days, however, there are plenty of cam designs on the market that will greatly improve power without sacrificing drivability. Even better, companies like Comp Cams have help lines so their engineers can assist in choosing the perfect cam for your combination. Though easier on the engine stand, a cam swap isn't too tough to perform with the engine in the car. For the money, a more aggressive cam is one of the best ways to improve engine power.
4. It's All In Tune
We know our readers have mixed emotions about modern Mopars, but if you're fortunate enough to own one, adding power can be as easy as plugging in a lamp. Modern cars use computers to control the fuel/air ratio, ignition timing, shift points, and other performance parameters, so these parameters are easily changed by reprogramming the computer. Several companies offer programmers for Mopar cars and trucks equipped with the new Hemi engine, and we've seen impressive results ourselves by using aftermarket computer programmers.