Sport compact cars are the new evolution of hot rods. They are everything that can be bought at a reasonable price and have the aftermarket support to turn into a car with alot of power. The 80′s have done alot for sport compact cars. That was the time when japanese cars started to bridge the horsepower gap. They built light cars that handled well and didn’t weigh alot. Also the smaller engines that were now required to pass emisions were already in most of their vehicles. The technology was the way for them to make power, not displacement, which domestic cars suffered for. Mazda, Toyota, Nissan and Honda all made their cars into very competitive vehicles. For alot less money than a true exotic car, many of these cars became supercars for a much smaller price tag. The rx-7, 300zx, supra, mr-2, eclipse gsx, 3000gt and nsx were a few cars that ruled through the mid 90′s when most domestic cars became boring. Many other daily driver cars also found a following. The honda civic is a perfect example of a car that would’nt usually be a sports car. Yet today it blisters a quarter mile time that people would’nt have believed a front wheel car could have done.
The lotus elise is a purist sportscar. This car is a steal at only $40,000. To have a car that performs the same, you would need to drop alot more money to buy a ferarri. This car has been called, possibly the best handling car ever, by many racers and magazines. But then it should be an incredible car, weighing less than 2,000 lbs. (us version) The lotus elise uses the toyota celica engine which is usually 185 horsepower but is tuned to 195 HP. The lotus elise is a mid engine car which gives it a competitive edge over many cars. I don’t think anyone would complain about the 13 second quarter mile times either! If you want a hardcore racing machine and want to turn alot of heads, this would certainly do so! All of this out of a car that can still get 38 mpg cruising down the highway!
The Buick Grand National enjoyed it’s performance success in the middle of the 80′s. The turbocharged V-6 3.8L shined like a diamond in the roughness of emission choked vehicles of the day. Slight modifications to grand nationals would provide great power gains. Emissions choked all but a few other cars. The four most popular grand national years, were all fuel injected cars from 1984-1987. The final two years of the grand national, 86-87 were also intercooled and had a much better flowing exhaust header and crossover setup.
The TPS (throttle position sensor) does exactly what the name implies. It looks at how hard your are stepping on the throttle so that it knows how hard the engine is working. The fuel injection map, which tells the injectors how much fuel the engine needs, is determined by two functions, throttle position and rpm. The throttle position sensor is a variable resistor, meaning as the sensor rotates on the throttle shaft, the voltage value going back to the computer is changing. Normally from idle the voltage is close to zero and climbs to around five volts at wide open throttle. The tps is on one side of the throttle shaft, on the throttle body. Just have someone step on the gas pedal and watch the only part under your hood that rotates, it will be on one end of the moving shaft. If there is a problem with your TPS sensor you can test it. First inspect the plug to make sure it is tight. Also check that the plug wires are not cracked or broken. Now remove the sensor plug. Use a volt/ohm meter and set the range to 20k ohms. Next touch one lead to the center pin in the plug and the other to one of the outer pins. Slowly rotate the throttle until it’s wide open. The ohm’s should have been smoothly climbing or dropping as the throttle was moving. If the reading was jumpy and didn’t change smoothly, replace the sensor.
The whole point of a hybrid is to be less fuel dependent. Other than just focusing on the electric side of things, the engine is still contributes in overall efficiency. Part of the advantage of the motor is that it delivers large amounts of torque. This enables the engine to be much smaller, which means the throttle has to be opened more to move down the road. While this sounds like a bad thing, it actually increases the efficiency. An engine does not become efficient until it has high turbulance in the combustion chamber. Higher volume and faster air flow create turbulance which does a good job of burning in the cylinder. The engine can lack in torque because it is much smaller displacement engine, and still feel good because the electric motor accelerates the car also. The accord is also using a technology once used by cadillac. It shuts off certain cylinders from firing at light load conditions, like driving up the highway at one speed. This enables the engine to burn less fuel because not as much gas is being used. While this system didn’t work well for cadillac with 70′s technology, I’m sure honda has done their homework and used the latest technology to make this work.
Hybrids are an alternative to current drivelines. They have the potential to save alot of gas by using electric motors to accelerate the car from a stop, or to assist the engine as its operating.
The electric motor on the toyota prius is a large ac motor which accelerates the car from a stoplight to approximately 30 mph, dependent on throttle position. Less throttle and the electric stays engaged longer due to the fact that it needs little assist from the engine. If alot of power is needed the engine can start earlier. This keeps the engine, which is less efficient at lower rpm and throttle settings, from running until the range where it is naturally more efficient. This also benifits fuel economy because the engine shuts off when stopping or low speed in traffic. This system is considered a parallel system because both the engine and electric motor deliver power to the wheels. Another system is the series setup, It has been used in trains for some time now and simply uses the engine to charge the battery. All of the movement is accomplished by the electric motors. The duty cycles of the train cars are very short. When the stop they have plenty of time between to recharge their batteries.