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Explainer | 'ABC tuning'? Yes, it's a real thing in car modifications

2020-05-19 12:30

Robin Classen

Mechanic repairing an engine

Image: iStock

Even though it sounds like a made-up name of a company in a sundry accounts ledger, there is something known as ABC tuning. Wheels24's contributor Robin Classen explains in his terms.

The name sounds simple, and the mechanical intricacy involved is pretty much the same.

ABC is as easy as 1,2,3

ABC tuning involves making the engine breathe better by employing a bigger exhaust system, and replacing the old intake with one of the 'cone' or 'mushroom' variety.

READ | That special car touch - What is gentleman tuning all about?

These small bolt-on mods can see power gains of up to as much as 20kW depending on a naturally aspirated engine. The quicker a car can suck in cleaner air and expel carbon, the faster it will go.

                                                                           Image: iStock

Turbocharged cars are easier to extract power from because there are a variety of bolt-on kits available for most cars that delivers a fair balance between speed and fuel economy.

Upgrading the stock boost pipes, wastegate and blow-off valve to aftermarket ones won't increase power but are an improvement over the stock items.

The K04 turbocharger in the Audi and Volkswagen range is a popular first-time modification with a healthy increase in power and improved throttle response.

Not heavy on the pocket

While cylinder head porting also greatly improves airflow inside the engine, it can't be considered part of the ABC gang because it involves having cylinder head removed.

Besides the exhaust and intake, switching a car's original fuel pump for a better pulsing one improves delivery to the fuel rail and injectors. It is also an inexpensive task to carry out.

The effects of lightening a car are immeasurable and greatly increase acceleration. Although this is a common practice in race cars, some people remove their spare wheels but this is not a good idea because anything can happen.

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of contributors/columnists published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24 or Wheels24. 

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