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Frequently Asked Questions - Upgrades
 
Engine upgrades which still meet Euro 5 emissions
Engine upgrades
Performance gains from new cams
Upgrade from our Basic Taper Throttle kit
Increase of power without affecting driveability
2.1L Pinto upgrade to throttle body system
MBE Management System installation instead of upgrading cam profiles
Upgrading to Taper Throttle kits
Upgrading for Hillclimbs
Upgrading to throttle bodies from carburettors
 
Engine upgrades which still meet Euro 5 emissions
Question: I own a road going car and would like to have some information about what could I do to the engine (cams, throttle body, software, injectors, exhaust,...) and still meet the Euro 5 emissions.

Answer: We regularly get asked about upgrading of engines which have been originally built and passed Euro 5 emissions. There is quite often a misunderstanding as to what Euro5 emissions and in fact any Euro emissions test involves, so before going into what could be upgraded on your engine, I will give a brief explanation of what the Euro emissions test are.

When a vehicle is produced to be sold within markets throughout the world or Europe, different emission tests have to be met before the vehicle can be sold. The current Euro5 test is the test that involves the complete vehicle as a finished item, which has to take and pass the test, this is quite a complex and expensive test and the build up to the test involves many months of work with teams of mechanical and electronic engineers that work on each specific vehicle model in preparation for the test. To give a very approximate cost I would expect this kind of work including the test to be in the region of £50,000 - £500,000 depending on vehicle design. The actual final test is in the region of £25,000.

Once the vehicle has passed this test, the manufacturer is then able to sell the car within a specific market. If the manufacturer wishes to make any changes to the vehicle such as a different exhaust system, camshaft or any components associated with the vehicle, before it can sell the upgraded model a lot of the preparation work will have to be carried out again and the same final tests retaken and passed.

But you as the new owner of the vehicle are normally only expected to take and pass an annual inspection for vehicle safety and emissions, the level of this test varies throughout Europe and the World but effectively the tests are much simpler and easier to pass, so when you as the owner wish to upgrade your vehicle provided it is able to pass your emissions tests, either annual or if the vehicle is checked on a spot random test, this will be sufficient. Unfortunately as the tests and emissions become ever tighter, this becomes harder to achieve, which means any components that are changed on your vehicle that enable you to release performance become ever more complex and harder to fit e.g. the more power you want the less likely the vehicle is to pass the emissions and the more complex the component combination would need to be fitted to produce performance and yet maintain emissions.

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Engine upgrades
Question: I want to do some modifications to my car during the winter. It will be 90% for track use (only track day, no competition) and 10% road use. Can you give me some advise about your power upgrade kits?

Answer: Before I could quote you, I would need to know the following;
1.  The amount of time between engine rebuilds e.g. the amount of track use, hours on track, kilometres/miles in use.
2.  Do you want to upgrade your own engine or will you be sending it to an engine builder to be built.  It is possible to build your own engine no matter what the specification but the higher the level, the greater skills you will need.
3.  Potential performance you are looking for.
4.  Budget.

The higher the specification of the engine, the greater the cost will be, effectively the price rises exponentially due to the grade of the components and the time required to build the engines.  Also the higher the specification normally the time between rebuilds becomes closer, for example a 270bhp engine has far more affordable components than a 290bhp spec engine, the 290bhp spec engine requires more work and therefore the price of the components increases.  The 307bhp spec engine has significantly increased stress due to much higher lift and rpm being used, so therefore the quality of the component has to be of an even higher quality.  This also induces the potential for increased maintenance of the engine due to the increase in revs and load on associated components, therefore rebuilds need to be more regular.

What some of our customers chose to do is to have some of the components from the highest specification engine kit, which are there for increased reliability fitted to the lower grade kits. This helps to give further increased reliability and in some cases as increased performance, so this is an option for you.

The final part of the information I will give you is that the associated external components such as exhaust system and throttle bodies are also crucial to increases in performance, over the past year many customers using similar cars to yours have gone for full or partial upgrades and if they do not upgrade and replace the original throttle bodies and exhaust at the same time, this has a negative overall effect and will reduce the potential maximum performance.

Replacing the induction system would be relatively easy, whereas replacing the exhaust would be much harder due to the fact that these normally have to be custom built for the car.  We would provide exhaust dimensions on ordering a kit or engine, so you could then either have it made.

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Performance gains from new cams

Question: I would like to change the camshafts in my engine and I was wondering if it was possible to do this without making any other changes to the engine and what performance gains I would see?

Answer: It really depends on the engine you have, for example the 1.4L, 1.6L & 2.0L Vauxhall engines have only minimal valve to piston clearance in standard form and if you replace the camshafts, they either have to be so mild that a minimum safe clearance is maintained or that they are retarded so as to avoid valve to piston contact.  In both cases, any gains are minimal if at all.  When using a larger duration camshaft that is timed in a retarded state normally there will be a reduction in bottom end torque and only a slight gain in peak bhp and the overall result normally makes the car slower.  So with these particular engines, it is not worth the money.

Some engines such as the 2.0L Duratec and the Hayabusa engine, have slightly more valve to piston clearance in standard form and therefore allow the use of a mild camshaft and will see reasonable gains, but to see any substantial gains in performance, additional components that give increased compression, clearance and strength will be required.

Your intake system and management system are equally important in any improvement.  In any engine using a single throttle body, these are particularly restrictive and have been designed by the manufacturer for a specific purpose.  Engines such as the Hayabusa, which have 4 individual throttle bodies allow for a reasonable improvement in performance, but the management system fitted to most engines limits what can be done with your engine.  If you read the kits and look at the components on our website, we will normally recommend suitable combinations and if your engine is unsuitable for a basic camshaft change, there will not be one listed.

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Upgrade from our Basic Taper Throttle kits
Question: I'm starting to plan the next upgrade on the engine as the shell is coming on. I currently have your basic taper throttle kit with the SBD exhaust manifold and standard internals. Without going silly and still keeping the car usable, what would be a recommended route? I was thinking along the lines of cams/pistons/headwork/verniers/metal head gasket/better oil pump...

Answer: Have a look at the next level kit, which includes a change in camshafts. This kit is a nice kit, drives well with good all round torque, once you get past this upgrade, the kits become less road friendly. There is information on each kit's page, which should give you some idea of the charactistics of the kit. I would suggest you email me with further information about your usage of the car, i.e. road, track day or competition, this would allow me to advise you more accurately. 

Links: 2.0L Taper throttle body kits | 1.6L Taper Throttle body kits | Duratec Taper Throttle body kits

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Increase of power without affecting driveability
Question: What are the options to increase power without affecting driveability. I am also keen to avoid expensive engine work, as it is very smooth at low revs, I am currently running carburettors.

Answer: The best way to go & to maintain drivability is the injection route. As an example, the standard 2.0L XE engine on 45's should produce about 180BHP, however the same engine on taper throttle bodies will give you 208BHP and is still very reliable & driveable. If you email me more information about your engine, car and its intended usage, i.e. road, track day or competition, I will be able to advice you further.

Links: 2.0L Taper throttle body kits | 1.6L Taper Throttle body kits | Duratec Taper Throttle body kits

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2.1L Pinto upgrade to throttle body system
Question: I have a 2.1L Pinto, twin DCOE 45s, Kent FR33 cam, flowed head, big valves... - about 160BHP and I want to convert it to throttle body injection (I know it's old-tech, but I like it!!!). Would the MBE ECU be suitable, is there a suitable crank sensor available etc?

Answer: There is not a problem in making any engine run on fuel injection. Unfortunately the earlier engines, which do not have existing trigger wheels, require a trigger wheel to be fitted. Also because the engine has not been used on fuel injection that often, your engine would need to be mapped which also adds to the cost (I do have a programme for 220bhp 2.1L Pinto, which is the only Pinto I have previously mapped).

I will certainly list all the basic components you require and although you say you like the Pinto engine, you must remember that by the time the engine is fully programmed and up and running (with huge improvements over what you currently have), it would still cost you a lot more than putting a similar injection system onto say an XE or Zetec engine or the New ford Duratec Engine.

A list of the components I recommend you would require:
1. MBE 9A4 ECU for fuel and ignition
2. Wiring harness completely self contained and made to very high quality with built in relays
3. Wasted spark distributorless coil pack
4. Coolant temp sensor
5. Air temp sensor
6. Crank speed sensor
7. Universal crank trigger wheel
8. Throttle bodies (pair of twin 45s or 48s with idle bleeds)
9. Fuel rails for above
10. Throttle position sensor
11. Injectors (you could either use second hand 2.0L 16V XE injectors which can be picked up from a breakers, or we could supply a high flow injector which will cope with all your needs)

The ECU will come with a base programme, which allows you to start the engine on, but it would need to be mapped to match your engines requirements on the road, rolling road or dyno.

Finally, don't let anybody tell you that buying a few bits and pieces, such as an ECU and wiring harness and you will be up and running with a fantastic engine within a couple of hours. You will find yourself connected to one of those machines that appears to keep emptying your pockets of money, with the words you are almost there, every time some money leaves your pocket. By the time you have finally finished and got your engine completed, although it won't appear to have cost as much in one go, over the long term you would end up spending more money than you have ever intended.

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MBE Management System installation instead of upgrading cam profiles
Question: I have bought a 2.0 16v engine with the following work done, Coscast 2.0 16v skimmed, polished & ported head, new lifters, Schrick 268 cams, 2.1 bottom end using 88mm forged Omega pistons, compression ratio of 11.8:1, knife-edged lightened & balanced crank, new shells, ARP bolts & new oil and water pumps. I’m looking to up the cam profiles. What would you suggest?
Would your basic MBE unit be sufficient? Can it be supplied with a 'map' to get me started?

Answer: I would think the cam profiles you are currently running are about the most aggressive you can safely use on the standard intake and management system. If you were to fit the MBE management system, this would give you the ability to tune the engine still further without the problems that you would get from the air flow meter on the standard system. But if you were to pick a too aggressive cam profile, lets say over 290 degrees and still retain the original intake manifold with a single butterfly, the engine would become difficult and unpleasant to drive. The effect would be similar to what was achieved on group A engines, in the early to mid 90s. You would have to set your idling speed higher and higher and the engine would pull much later up the rev range. If you intend on achieving over 200bhp, I would suggest you add throttle bodies to the MBE management system in the very near future. As the four individual butterflies would overcome the problems mentioned.

By adding the management system now, at the very minimum you would be able to optimize what you have currently got. This would make the engine far more driveable and should give you good improvement in torque and bhp. I would then suggest you went for throttle bodies, followed by a larger camshaft at that point.

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Taper Throttle kits
Question: As I am in the process of starting to performance tune my car and was looking at all the options available until I found your website and seen the kits, until now I have been looking at engine conversions and turbos and nitrous oxide conversions but when I seen the kits that you sell, well my jaw dropped like WOW!! So I am eager to find out if it can be done, what would I need and how much they cost.
I was interested in the 250bhp kit in particular and with further reading it says that your exhaust manifold should be used and a dry sump kit too. I would like to know if it would be undrivable on the road as one power graph on show started at 4000rpm and I was wondering if this came across the entire kit ranges. Please could you help me know a little more and the prices involved.

Answer: As you tune any engine to produce more power, the power band moves further up the rev range. This occurs in steps, i.e. the standard throttle body kit TP208 produces a stronger torque curve from 2,000rpm onwards over the standard engine. The TP225 engine produces an increase in torque from 2,700rpm onwards. Once you get to about 250bhp, the engine spec does become less driveable if used as an everyday road car. I would say 250 should be considered as the maximum to use as a reasonably comfortable road car. Normally the maximum I would suggest would be a 235bhp as this retains much of the driveability of the standard road car. Also because the engine doesn't need to be revved as high, the oil system can be simpler since less stress is applied to the engine itself. Fitting a dry sump system to a road car can be done, but is quite difficult due to packaging the system around components such as power steering. If you give me an idea of your intended budget, I could price you better, however the kits prices are available on the downloadable price list. We always try and achieve maximum reliability and will not compromise this over performance.

Links: 2.0L Taper throttle body kits | 1.6L Taper Throttle body kits | Duratec Taper Throttle body kits

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Upgrading for Hillclimbs
Question: I have a Vauxhall Tigra 1600i.1999 model with a 1600i double overhead cams, Ecotec competition exhaust, Lowered with Spaxs, re-chip, rpm up by 1000,fuel boost valve, air inducted, I hillclimb the car in a 1400cc to 2000cc class and believe there are several engine upgrades to increase the bhp to 250, I want to keep the same engine.

Answer: The first thing I would say is that I notice that you intend on running in the 1400 - 2000L class, but intend on using the 1600L engine. There is no reason why you should not compete in the 1600L engine and in your car it gives perfect balance, whereas using a 2.0L engine would significantly impair the balance of your car. The reason I have mentioned this, is that to achieve 250bhp out of a 2.0L engine is relatively affordable in comparison with achieving 250 out of a 1600L. Effectively, the components you would require to fit to a 1600L are the equivalent in specification to those you would need to fit to a 300 bhp 2.0L engine. If you look at our web site on the TP range of kits, this will give you a better idea of what performance can be achieved and which one suits your budget.

Again, going back to my original point, if your budget would not stretch as far as a 250 spec 1600 engine, I would suggest you reduce the level you were looking for to say 220bhp which is a considerably cheaper upgrade. Rather than looking at fitting a 2.0L engine, because even if you did produce the extra bhp, the loss in handling from the heavier engine in my opinion, would outweigh the gains in bhp.

Once you have had a good look through the web site and downloaded the price list and have got a better idea of what you are looking for, send me an email with a broad outline of what you think you would like to run. If you could list kits and part numbers this would help. I would then come back to you with a full break down of costs and if there is anything that you have grouped together that isn't compatible, I will advise you accordingly.

Links: 1.6L Taper throttle body kits

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Upgrading to throttle bodies from carburettors
Question: My engine is currently running on carburettors, I am interested in your kit which offers close to 300 bhp for my engine. Would it be possible to sell only part of the kit because I already have forged pistons and racing cams?

Answer: Unfortunately once you get to the level of engine approaching 300bhp, the parts within the engine become very specialised and the components you already have such as your existing camshafts and racing pistons would not be suitable. Also using carbs on an engine of this level would simply restrict the engine's performance, you would need to run the our taper throttle bodies. To achieve these sort of figures, everything has to be taken as light as possible to help the engine produce more bhp and for it to stay together. You would also need to have the appropriate clutch, flywheel and accompanying oil system, as well as the transmission to cope with the engine.

If you wish to progress slowly, which is what many of our customers do, we use the same throttle bodies on most of our fuel injection kits and as I am sure you can appreciate, as you try to obtain more bhp, you get smaller returns for ever increasing cost. Obviously I don't know the exact specification of your engine, but as a rule of thumb, if you convert from carbs to fuel injection, we would normally expect to see between 10 & 20 bhp gains (this depends on carburettor and choke sizes) with a huge improvement in driveability. You could then improve your engine in stages as your budget allows. The system could then be programmed on the road, rolling road or dyno to achieve the optimum from your current engine.

Links: 2.0L Taper throttle body kits | 1.6L Taper Throttle body kits | Duratec Taper Throttle body kits

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Please check our customer cars section which may help answer your questions
 
2.0L Vauxhall Components | 1.4L & 1.6L Vauxhall Components | Duratec Components | Hayabusa Components

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