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Old 04-01-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
boomkapow
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Performance Upgrades and Power Stages?

Hello community,

I am just getting in to cars (as in the care and functionality and knowledge of how they work) and am wanting to start replacing some parts for better performance. However, I only have one car so don't want to put in nany custom parts that will make it difficult or dangerous to drive in certain situations. For instance, I live in minnesota and, therefore, probably shouldn't throw in a cool air intake because when the snow melts, we have huge puddles and I don't want to suck water into my engine. Basically, I have two questions:

1) What would be some good upgrades to my Charger R/T that will improve the performance or power, but won't make it a situational car (based on weather).

2) When looking at performance modules, I noticed some say, "plug in for power stage 1(or 2)." What does this mean?

Thanks everybody.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:56 PM   #2
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Re: Performance Upgrades and Power Stages?

"stages" are a pretty generic term and they would be different depending on the vehicle. Basically stage one, two, three correspond to different power levels, each with their own drawbacks.

Firstly, a cold air intake is a good modification. Don't worry about puddles unless its one of those intakes that scoops air from under the bumper. I grew up in PA with cold air on most of my vehicles and its not an issue.

Most "chips" or tuners take advantage of improving the factory tune. Often times stage 1 will alter the fuel mixture. The factory usually tunes the wide-open fuel curve a little rich. This keeps NOx emissions down and prevents detonation in extreme situations. Since no smog test checks a vehicle at wide open throttle, they can lean a little bit of that fuel out of the program and free up a few HP. Stage two often adds an advanced spark curve which also adds a few more HP at the risk of needing premium fuel. Either way, tuners are not big power-per-dollar investments. They are very helpful for reprogramming the speedo for different tires or gear ratios, but as far as power... not usually a good ratio of dollars to power. Most of the improvements you feel will be in your head, not your butt.

An engine is a big air pump and as a side-effect they make power. Anything you can do to improve the quality (not necessarily quantity) of airflow will generate more power. Invest in a good cold air intake (or make one yourself with a trip to HomeDepot's plumbing section) and consider an aftermarket exhaust and headers. How much power they add will depend on how much of a restriction the factory pieces are.
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Old 04-01-2011, 01:58 PM   #3
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Re: Performance Upgrades and Power Stages?

Thanks a ton Curtis. That was extremely helpful.How will I know where it scoops air from. Before I buy, I mean. Will most of them say in the item description or is it based on where the air filter is in my car atm.

And thanks for the info on the stages and chips. I was about to buy them and am, instead going to get a cool air.
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Old 04-03-2011, 03:14 AM   #4
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Re: Performance Upgrades and Power Stages?

Basically, I can think of one cold air system that scoops from the bumper and it was taken off the market for that exact reason. 99% of them get air from the same place your factory intake does, its just that its less restrictive. you'll know by the picture. Also, most of the websites have download-able installation manuals that you can view.

If you stick with the common brands, they will be beyond safe. They don't want the bad reputation so they engineer them well.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: Performance Upgrades and Power Stages?

Hey Curtis,

Thanks for the reply. I have purchased a K&N Typhoon air filter and will install it the day it arrives (hopefully today or tomorrow). I am now looking at upgrading the headers. Do JBA shorties have a fairly good reputation? And how hard is it to replace. Looks like it comes with the gaskets and everything. Is it a very invasive installation?
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