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What is a FAQ?

A FAQ is a file of Frequently Asked Questions, which is exactly what it sounds like - common questions on a subject, and their answers.  This file you are reading now is a FAQ.  Most FAQs provide a great deal of useful information.; novices are strongly encouraged to read FAQs to familiarize themselves with the basics of their chosen field of interest.

FAQs exist for several reasons:
- To provide a quick and efficient resource for newcomers to the subject.
- To keep the subject matter of mailing lists and newsgroups fresh and interesting.
- To prevent repetition of 'simple' questions from irritating and/or boring more experienced readers.

FAQs exist for thousands of subjects on the net, not just on DSMs.  Most newsgroups, mailing lists and discussion boards have a FAQ.  A collection of FAQs on many subjects may be found at the Internet FAQ Consortium, and here.  A DSM-specific FAQ Locator is also available.

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What is a VFAQ?

A VFAQ is a recent term, which stands for Visual Frequently Asked Questions.  A VFAQ is simply a FAQ with pictures, sound and/or video clips that provide more detail on the subject matter.  Tom Stangl is credited with coining the term VFAQ.

Currently, VFAQs are available at www.vfaq.com, also hosted by Tom, and Brad Bauer's VFAQ site.  These VFAQs deal almost exclusively with the repair, maintenance and performance upgrades of the DSM cars.  These comprehensive guides provide step-by-step instructions on how to install many common DSM performance upgrades.

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What does RTP mean?

RTP stands for "Reply to Poster".  This means that comments, questions, or answers on the subject marked [RTP] should be directed at the original poster, and not to the Digest in general.

RTP is often inserted by the Digest moderator when the topic has already been thoroughly discussed on the Digest.  Answers to questions marked [RTP] can usually be found in the Digest archives by running a simple search, or reading the FAQs.  Many times, however, the original poster marks the message [RTP] to avoid repetitive discussion, or to collect all the responses together.  This is usually followed up by a summary post detailing the sum total of the information the person received on the subject.

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What does SUM mean?

SUM stands for "Summary" and is usually added by the original poster.  A summary message contains a brief synopsis of the information a person was able to collect on a specific question.  In essence, it is a single-question FAQ, created from all the responses sent to that person from other members.

SUM posts are useful in that all questions are posted to the mailing list, but answers are often RTP, meaning the answers are not placed in the archives for later retrieval.  Summarizing the responses makes certain the information will benefit others.

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What is a TSB?

TSB means 'Technical Service Bulletin', a document issued by car makers to dealers that describes known problems and their solutions.  See the Glossary for more information.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes their TSB database available on the net, as well as recall information.

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What is IRC?

IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat, a real-time messaging system. Using IRC, people can 'talk' to each other over the net. For more information, go here.

In the context of the Talon Digest, IRC usually refers to channel #dsm, specifically dedicated to DSM conversations. #dsm was created to allow a live forum for discussion and problem-solving. For info on how to access #dsm, see below.

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What is a $2 Tech manual / $2TM?

Chrysler used to produce a technical manual for the DSMs, that dealt less with nuts and bolts and more with the theory of operation of virtually every major component on the auto.  Unlike the shop manuals, it tells you not what, but why. This manual used to sell for a mere $2.00, and is now referred to as the $2 Tech Manual.

Unfortunately for the DSM community, the $2 manual was only offered for the 1990 model year and was subsequently dropped from production.  All is not lost, though, as Vineet Singh's DSM Backup Manual CD-ROM includes the $2TM and tons of other great info.

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What is bracket racing?

A form of drag racing.  Here is a comprehensive tutorial, written by Micheal Beard.

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What is autox?

'Autox' is an abbreviation for 'autocross'.  It is a form of road racing done on a closed course, designed to test the overall skills of the driver, and the overall performance of the vehicle driven.  There are autox courses and events all over the continent, including many events in parking lots!

There also exists rallycross, which is like an autocross but on dirt instead of pavement, making it more like a rally (cross-country racing).

Many autocross events in the United States are hosted/directed by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), and are run under SCCA rules that put cars with different modifications into different competitive classes.  A copy of the SCCA rules is available here; you can also order them from the SCCA.  The SCCA also runs rally and other motorsport events.

For more information, look at the Club DSM Autocross pages, hosted by Dennis Grant. There is more autox information in the Corrado Club Water Cooled VW Performance FAQ, and Team.net Racing has both an autox mailing list and more information on the sport of autox. 

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What is a Shootout?

The Shootout is an annual racing event hosted by Dave Buschur, one of the premiere DSM mechanics in the world.  It is considered THE event for the DSM racing community.

Support, attendance and participation in the Shootout grows every year.  1998 saw a record 110 vehicles participate in a variety of drag racing and autocross racing events.  Also in attendance were several vendors and significant media coverage.  There are pictures available from 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998.  More will be added as the years progress. Check shootout.dsm.org for more information.

The 7th Annual Diamond-Star Shootout will begin on July 9, 1999 at Norwalk, OH.  Tip: book a hotel room NOW.

Owing to the popularity of the Shootout, the term is occasionally used by other groups running racing events, as in "The Olde West DSM Shootout".  Except for the attendance of DSM enthusiasts, these various events have no relation to the Annual Shootout.

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What is a MBC?

Look in the Glossary under VBC.  MBC is the more common term these days.

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What is a BISS?  Base idle set screw.  This is used to set the basic idle point for your car, around which the ECU will attempt to control the engine speed.  Failure to have the BISS set properly can lead to all kinds of weird idle problems - see "My car does not idle very well..." below.

Those who need one will find it listed as Mitsubishi part #MD614948, available from any Mitsubishi dealer.

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What is a FMIC?

Front-mount intercooler. Look on the various vendor pages for details.

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What is a BOV?
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BOV stands for blow-off valve, sometimes called a pop-off valve or compressor bypass valve. This is a spring-loaded valve mounted in between the turbocharger and throttle body that opens at a preset pressure. It's function is to provide an escape route for pressurized air trapped in the intake system when the turbocharger is spinning and the throttle place suddenly closes. Although many turbocharged cars lack a BOV, its presence makes the car more driveable. Opinion on whether it improves turbocharger longevity is divided.

The original DSM BOVs were designed to open at about 30 psi or so. Unfortunately for 2G owners, Chrylser replaced the metal 1G BOV with a plastic one that begins to leak at about 15 psi. This is a major problem for those 2Gers looking to up their boost, since the BOV will start to leak a lot of useful boost pressure back into the atmosphere. For this reason, 1G BOVs are a popular upgrade on 2G DSMs.

Hardcore 1Gers might also find the stock BOV to leak under higher boost pressures (more than 20 psi). To correct this problem, some owners crush their BOVs slightly, so they will open only at higher pressures. See here for details.

The Last Word: BOV crushing doesn't seem to help the valve hold more boost. See above link for details.

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What is PSI?
What is Hg?
What do 'psi' and 'Hg' stand for?

PSI (or P.S.I, psi or p.s.i) is an acroynm for pounds per square inch, a measurement of pressure that is often used in automotive circles. The metric equivalent for psi is the Pascal, although most psi measurements equate better to kiloPascals (kPa). Other units for pressure include the bar and the atmosphere (atm). For the mathematically minded, 1 bar = 14.504 psi = 100 kPa = 0.9869 atm.

'Hg' is the chemical symbol for mercury. It is sometimes used as an incorrect version of inches of mercury (inHG) or millimeters of mercury (mmHG), the unit of measurement for vacuum. This unit was derived from the technique of measuring vacuum by pulling mercury up a glass tube. Vacuum, which is simply negative pressure, is also commonly measured in bars, inches of water (inH2O), and Pascals (Pa). In this case, 1 bar = 29.53 inHg = 401.463 inH2O.

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What is JDM?
What is a JDM engine?
What is a JDM transmission?

JDM is an acronym for Japanese domestic market. It refers to parts that are normally only available in Japan.

A JDM engine is, therefore, an engine that is normally sold in the Japanese market only. Such 4G63-based engines are now routinely imported by some shops as direct replacements for American-spec engines. This is done because JDM engines often come with larger 16G turbos and other enhanced parts not available on American factory engines.

Buyer beware, however: not all JDM engines are equipped with these superior parts, and some configurations may require extra work to put into an American car. In many cases, even the importing shop may not know what they have until they get it and inspect it very closely. Protect yourself and verify that the JDM engine is, in fact, the best option.

Someone who refers to a "JDM transmission" is often referring to the JDM-spec Galant VR-4 transmission that was made available in Japan with a "FWD-to-AWD switch". This transmission comes with extra bolts installed that allow the owner to change from FWD to AWD with a small amount of wrenching. More information on this transmission can be found (hint, hint) at the FAQ Locator.

As with the JDM engines, JDM transmission authenticity is always in question unless the unit can be inspected in person by the buyer. The chances of getting the correct part are increased if you are dealing with an expert, DSM-centric shop with experience on the JDM components. While many shops like to claim expertise, the fact remains that unless they have done it before, they probably don't know the differences.

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What is MCCC? 
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Mopar Combustion Chamber Conditioner. Many DSMers use it to clean out carbon deposits from their engines. Those who need it will find it listed as Mitsubishi part #4318001, available from any Mitsubishi dealer.

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What is a PMS?
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A PMS is a Performance Management System, a piggyback engine management computer made for DSMs and other vehicles. As with the AFC and VPC, many DSMers use the PMS as a gateway to higher performance. The good news is that the PMS is more flexible than the VPC, allowing more precise tuning - the bad news is that the PMS is more flexible than the VPC, allowing the operator many more ways to screw up.

Those wanting more information will want to read this answer about the PMS system.

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What is WWD?

WWD stands for "wrong wheel drive" - used to poke fun from FWDers to RWDers, and vice versa.

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What is an 'interference' engine?
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An 'interference' engine is an engine where the valves and pistons occupy the same space, but not at the same time. The other engine style is a 'non-interference' engine - this design provides enough room between the pistons and the valves so that they never occupy the same space. Non-interference engines are sometimes called 'free-running' designs.

Interference engines are a fairly common engine design. All diesel engines are interference designs, and many imports. Domestic engines have tended towards non-interference designs. Although all engines use timing belts, they are more crucial on interference engines; should the timing belt malfunction, the valves and pistons will likely collide.

While this may seem like a stupid engine design, there are reasons why an engine may be designed as an interference engine. Higher compression ratios are possible, leading to better fuel economy, power, and emissions quality.

Interference engines have the inherent risk of major engine damage due to timing belt failures. See here for more details on this crucial topic.
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What is a balance shaft belt?
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The balance shaft belt (known as timing belt B to the dealership) is a small auxiliary belt running right next to the main timing belt. It is about 10 mm wide, while the main timing belt is almost 30 mm wide. It is normally called the balance shaft belt because it operates a small, asymmetrical shaft inside the engine called a balance shaft. It can also be referred to as the 'silent shaft belt', since 'silent shaft' is synonymous with 'balance shaft'.

The function of the balance/silent shaft is to smooth out unwanted engine vibrations. The shaft is unevenly weighted. If you were to take a roll of paper towel and cut off half of the 'towel' part without cutting the cardboard center tube, you would have the general shape - more mass on one side than on the other.

The balance shaft belt spins this offset weighted shaft inside the engine block. As it spins, the shaft tends to pull the engine towards the side with the weight on it. As the engine moves forwards, the shaft pulls it backwards, and vice versa. In this way, the engine shake is reduced. Since the shaft helps 'balance' the engine, it may be called a balance shaft. It can also be called a silent shaft, since it not only doesn't drive anything but it also helps quiet the engine down.

There are actually two balance shafts on a DSM engine. One is separate, and is run by the balance shaft belt, while the second shaft is integrated into the oil pump. Both spin in phase with each other.

Balance shafts are not strictly necessary to engine operation, and many engines lack balance shafts altogether. Removing them can increase engine output, as the engine doesn't waste energy spinning the shafts. The engine will run rougher as a result, but most people find the change bearable. Most people also agree that the engine must be properly balanced if you want to remove the balance shafts, to eliminate the possibility of long-term engine damage.

The balance shaft belt is often a culprit in major engine failures. See here for why - it's a must read.

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What are "Big Brakes"?
Has anybody ever upgraded the brakes on a [DSM]?
Has anybody ever used brakes from a Stealth on a [DSM]?
My brake rotors are stuck on the car! Is there a fix?
What size bolts are needed to get the rotors off my [DSM]?

You would already know this (hint, hint) if you had checked the FAQ Locator. It describes the brake changes and what to do if your rotors appear frozen on the car. [For reference, the required bolts to free stuck front rotors are 8mm in diameter, 1.25mm pitch. Tom Stangl recommends you don't count on them, since often the rotor ends up cracking into pieces instead of breaking off the hubs, so be prepared for the worst.]

For 1G models prior to 1993, and all 1G and 2G non-AWD models, "Big Brakes" refers to upgrading the front brakes to 1993-94 AWD front brakes, which are larger and have more powerful calipers. These larger dual-piston brakes were also used on non-turbo Stealth and Mitsubishi Diamante cars. See Tom Stangl's VFAQ page for the details on this common upgrade.

Sometimes people use this term to describe 1G aftermarket upgrades too, such as Baer 4 piston brake kits, but this is not commonplace on the Talon Digest.

For 2G AWD, this refers to replacing the front brakes with larger non-DSM brake kits, containing 13" rotors and 2 or 4 piston calipers.  Brakes from Mustangs and Corvettes have been considered, as well as Baer 4 piston kits.  The Baers were quoted at $1800 in 1996 - read about them here. You can also read about David Phillip's AP / Brembo brake upgrade installation on his 1999 GSX.

Some people have looked at moving the front brakes from the 95+ AWDs to the 1G cars, but reportedly nobody has done so yet. The swap is complicated by the fact that some 2G calipers use a different brake line fitting, which requires the use of different brake lines. Other than that, they should bolt on in the same manner as the 1993-94 brakes. One enterprising Digest member has looked at Mazda Turbo II calipers, but has not yet mounted them nor matched them with rotors.  Apparantly the mounting brackets are not compatible, either.

While it is true that "big brakes" are Stealth brakes (non-turbo), what most people want to know when they inquire about the Stealth parts is if it is possible to use the extra-large brakes from the turbo Stealth models on their DSM. These massive four-piston monsters are a very hard fit to the DSM family. At a minimum, one would need 17" wheels before even contemplating the upgrade, as the stock 16" rims are likely to hit the brakes themselves. However, there has been at least one DSMer who made the conversion - read about it here.

Fortunately for 1G owners that find even 'big brakes' inadequate, Martin Queckenstedt has found a BIG big brake package from Baer. The kits price out between $800 and $1250 $USD, and combine lightweight 1 or 2 piece 12"-13" rotors with dual piston calipers. Those interested can look up the "Sport" and "Track" kits on the Baer website. There are also other aftermarket 4-piston caliper kits available.

Some potentially useful Mitsubishi part numbers for the big brake upgrade:

The above-mentioned kits include the mounting bracket for the caliper and new caliper mounting bolts.

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What is fuel cut?
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Fuel cut is cessation of fuel delivery and spark generation by the ECU. It is a pre-programmed response designed to save the turbocharger from utter destruction in the event of a catastrophic wastegate malfunction. For more details, read the ECU Primer, specifically the chapter on fuel cut. Also read Todd Day's Diagnostic Port issue on fuel cut, and the answer to "How do I prevent fuel cut" in this FAQ.

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What is a speed sensor?
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The 'speed sensor' is a little reed switch inside the speedometer assembly. Its function is to tell the ECU the vehicle speed. Since the speedometer is driven by a spinning magnet, the switch 'clicks each time the magnet passes by. The ECU then counts the 'clicks' and knows the vehicles speed. Read this post for more details.

Those curious about reed switch construction and operation can refer to the Motion Control Solutions reed switch page, and the Reed Switch Developments homepage.

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What is a MAS?
What is a MAF?

MAS stands for mass airflow sensor. It is also sometimes called MAF, for mass air flow sensor. It is the assembly that measures the properties of the air entering the engine, consisting of three separate sensors. For a complete explanation, please refer to Mike Jackson's excellent DSM MAF Theories Page.

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What is a MAS honeycomb?

This refers to a thin, gold-colored grille material located at the front of the mass airflow sensor (MAS). Its raison d'etre is to 'straighten' out the incoming airflow into the MAS. This is a requirement of the Karmaan vortex airflow sensor used in the MAS. The upper portion of the honeycomb affects the measured air, while the lower portion affects bypass air - air that is not measured by the MAS.

Removing the lower portion of this honeycomb-like material can sometimes help delay fuel cut on 1G DSMs, by adding a few percent more unmetered air into the air/fuel mixture. Some owners, however, complain the mod makes their engine run rougher - the current theory is that the turbulet lower airflow somehow affects the non-turbulent upper airflow where the two flows meet.

Please note that under no circumstances can all of the honeycomb material be removed from the MAS. Doing this will screw up your idle huge, as the MAS airflow measurement gets all screwed up. Only the lower portion may be removed, and generally only on 1G cars.

2G owners often find out they can't remove any of the honeycomb material. Fortunately, since the 2G MAS flows a lot more air than the 1G MAS, the honeycombs should be considered far less of a concern.

See the FAQ Locator (look in the "Intake" section) and Jim McKenna's MAS modification page for more information. For those interested in the entire MAS sensor assembly, please read Mike Jackson's DSM MAF Theories Page.

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What is a 'Cyclone' intake?

The 'Cyclone' intake is the air intake system from a Mitsubishi Cyclone, a car not marketed in North America. This intake is a dual-runner system that keeps some runners closed unless the engine is boosting. The Cyclone is thought to provide slightly better power than the stock intake, but the difference is not significant to the vast majority of DSM owners.

Some Japanese Mitsubishi engines can come with Cyclone intakes installed. Those on the lookout for one should know that there are also Japanese "Cyclone" intakes that do not have the extra runners and associated butterfly valves. These were installed on non-turbo cars.

This intake is not the same as the third-party intake that was marketed as the Cyclone. That intake was a 'magic product' and had nothing to do with Mitsubishi. Neither is it the same as products under similar names marketed for non-DSMs.

For more information on the Cyclone, read the results of this search. Also check out this little blurb from Road Race Engineering.

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What does 4G63 mean?
What does 420A mean?

These are engine model designators. 4G63 is the Mitsubishi model number for the DSM turbo engine, which was built entirely by Mitsubishi. The 4G63 model number was used for 1G turbo, 1G non-turbo and 2G turbo engines; although the engines are somewhat different from each other, they retain the same basic design.

Please note that there are different 4G63 engines, although posters on the Talon Digest almost invariably mean the turbo 2.0L version. Generally speaking, components from one 4G63 can be fitted to another 4G63, because the basic components (head, block, etc) are the same.

420A is the model of the Chrysler-made 2G 2.0L non-turbo engine. Fundamentally different from the Mitsu 4G63 engines, the 420A represents a distinct shift in DSM evolution, as Chrysler took over engine duties on the non-turbo cars. Generally, components from 420A engines cannot be fitted to the 4G63 engines, or vice versa.

For more information on Mitsubishi motor codes and their breakdowns, see this guide from Road Race Engineering and this one from Turboclub.

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What is a turbocharger?

Read the Turbocharger Basics Plus page, by G. Drane, for everything you ever wanted to know about turbos. For a comparative listing of DSM turbos, look at Tom Stangl's VFAQ on the subject.

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What is a 16G?
What is a 20G?
What is a 25G?

These are Mitsubishi racing turbos, larger than stock. 16G is the short name for the Mitsubishi TD05-16G, the 20G is a Mitsubishi TD06-20G, and the 25G is a Mitsubishi TD06/07 hybrid turbo.

The 16G is a popular upgrade from the stock DSM turbo. It has been said that this turbo is designed for quick spoolup, which improves streetability and performance in application such as autocross.

The 20G is a much larger unit and is generally reserved for serious drag racers. Once the biggest turbo available, the 20G is now considered a "medium" turbo upgrade at best.

The 25G is a combination turbo based on the 20G. Similar to the "big" 16G, it has "mismatched" compressor and turbine wheels: the turbine wheel is TD06 (stock 20G) while the compressor wheel is bigger. 25Gs very new and extremely hard to find, and are sold by GReddy as a T67-25G turbo.

Read the Top Ten FAQ for lots of technical information on these and other turbos.

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What is a 'small' 16G?
What is a 'big' 16G?

According to Road Race Engineering, a 'small' 16G has a standard compressor wheel. A 'big' 16G has a larger compressor wheel. This is the only difference, but it reportedly leads to a 10% increase in flow. The 'big' 16G is standard on the Lancer Evolution III. Please refer to the RRE link above for details.

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What is a Super 60?
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A Super 60 or Super 60 is a modified Garrett T25 turbocharger, with an enlarged compressor inlet, housing and compressor fan. It is one of those annoying turbos that has one name but several different possible configurations, depending on the parts installed, with some of the more elaborate configurations being superior to the cheaper lookalikes. Some Digesters have said that a well-done Super 60 can be an excellent turbo.

A good overall description and review can be found in this post by Joshua Wingell, with a counterpoint review from Alexander Kowalski located here.

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What is an intercooler?

An intercooler is a radiator-like device that sits between the air intake and intake manifold on turbocharged cars. Its function is to cool air passing through it. It is often found on forced-induction cars because turbochargers or superchargers heat air as they pressurize it, which leads to a denser but hotter charge. The intercooler is designed to reduce the temperature of the pressurized air to help prevent detonation.

For more information, read Autospeeds Complete Guide to Intercooling.

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What is a turbo timer?
Do I need to let the engine 'cool off' after driving?
Do I need to let the turbo 'cool off' after driving?
Will the turbo ever get hot enough to require a 'cool-down' period after driving?

A turbo timer is an electronic device which permits the car to run for a fixed length of time after the ignition has been shut off. It's sort of the reverse of a remote car starter, which runs the car before the ignition is switched on. Turbo timers usually have user-selectable run times and can usually be installed around car alarm systems.

The purpose of the timer is to allow the turbocharger additional cool-down time before the engine is shut down. The idea behind this came from the discovery that turbocharger systems can get hot enough to 'cook' the oil left in the turbo oil lines after the engine is shut off. The simple solution to this problem is to circulate oil for a longer period of time after the turbocharger has heated up. The turbo timer simply automates this process so the car operator is not forced to wait in his/her automobile until the desired cooling-down period has transpired.

Many DSM owners believe that turbo timers are a sound investment, or at least a prudent one, when weighed against the possibility of turbo damage due to oil lines partially or completely blocked with 'coke', or cooked oil residue. These timer proponents often point to the red-hot nature of the turbocharger after long runs at 55+ MPH as 'proof' that a turbo timer is a good idea. Other owners report they have run just as long and just as hard without a timer or any special attention provided to cool-down times, and still get turbo longevity and durability equal to those cars using a timer.

Driving patterns could also have a significant effect on the need for a timer. Folks who travel at high speeds almost directly to their destination will have higher turbocharger temperatures at shutdown than those who are required to wait at three or four stoplights or who drive through residential neighborhoods at low speeds before shutting down. Ambient temperatures and vehicle modifications are also likely to play a role.

There are several arguments against the necessity for turbo timers. There have been significant improvements in turbocharger design and oil formulation since the time turbo timers were concieved . This includes the advent of pure synthetic oils, which are more resistant to the turbo heat and free of impurities (such as waxes and varnishes) which contribute to coking problems. Turbochargers are also more precise and better lubricated than in previous designs. These facts are often cited as evidence for the case against turbo timers. The most compelling fact is that the majority of DSMers have never used a turbo timer, and yet there have been very few reports of DSMS 'coking' up the turbo oil lines with overcooked oil.

If you feel the need for a timer, many vendors sell them.

The Last Word: In the last 14 years, I have yet to hear about anyone who experienced any problems from NOT having a turbo timer.

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What is knock?
What is detonation?

Read this post by "Dg50" (Dennis Grant). You can also get the post from the DSM knock sensor site (currently offline).

Those interested in trying to hook up a meter to measure knock had better read this section of this FAQ.

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What is a knock sensor?

A knock sensor is a device for detecting knock or detonation.

Knock sensors come in various styles. The simplest is just a microphone element that picks up engine vibrations and noise and sends the signals to the onboard ECU. This is the type of sensor used on the DSM cars. Other sensors might do some signal processing or filtering inside the sensor before generating the output signal.

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What is porting?

Porting is the technique of improving airflow by removing additional material away from a component.  Typical components are intake and exhaust manifolds, turbos, wastegates and oxygen sensor housings, all of which can be opened up to achieve better airflow.  Porting the O2 sensor housing and/or wastegate is an often recommended cure for boost creep.  This uncontrollable rise in intake pressure is often caused by the turbo pushing more air than can be possibly be dumped out of the wastegate and downpipe, despite the wastegate being completely open.

Porting is considered something of an art, with most established vendors claiming that a poor porting job will actually reduce airflow.  Some porting services also come with polishing, which some consider a waste owing to the contaminants present in exhaust air.

Many vendors offer porting services for both new and used components.

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What is clipping?

Clipping is the technique of cutting away some of the material on the fins of the impeller wheel of the turbocharger.  In other words, to 'clip' a turbo is to make the fins in the exhaust path smaller.  The cut is usually done at an angle of between 10 and 20 degrees - the bigger the angle, the more material is removed from the fins.

This may seem like a dumb thing to do, since smaller fins mean that the exhaust gases will impart less force to the turbine wheel and consequently increase turbo lag.  This is true, but the benefit of clipping is found in the high RPM range of the motor.  At higher RPMs, the turbo may have already surpassed the required user-set boost levels and is not contributing to engine power.

Since the impeller wheel in the exhaust stream partially blocks the exhaust gas flow (by design), it can act as a significant restriction at high RPMs, when the exhaust flow rate is highest.  Clipping the turbo reduces this restriction and allows more air to flow past the turbo wheel at high RPMs, thereby improving airflow through the engine and increasing top-end response.

More details on clipping can be found at the Extreme Motorsports Glossary page.

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What is a catch can?
What is a breather filter?

A catch can is a small container, sometimes with a filter, that collects oil blown out of the PCV valve or valve cover intake hose. The idea is to keep the oil out of the intake, which helps keep the intercooler running at maximum efficiency. It has also been reported that the catch can mod can reduce the crankcase pressure, helping to eliminate the problem of having the oil dip stick pop out of the engine. It is necessary to periodically empty the catch can to prevent it from overflowing. Some cans provide a drain for this purpose.

Other people have installed a K&N 'breather' filter in place of the stock hose. The filter allows gases to escape but keeps liquid oil inside the block, thus providing the same benefit as the catch can without requiring maintenance. A few Digesters believe they are too restrictive, but many people have used them with good results. Unfortunately, the breather filter can sometimes allow oil to escape and get onto the engine.

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What is a shift gate?
Has anybody ever installed a shift gate on a [DSM]?
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A shift gate can refer to one of two things. An internal shift gate is a mechanism on the shifter that controls the 'position' of each gear, and sometimes provides a 'lock' feature to prevent the owner from accidental mis-shifting. However, when most people refer to a shift gate, they are talking about an external shift gate.

An external shift gate is a guide - essentially, a thin metal plate with slots cut into it - installed on the shifter of a car. It provides a positional reference for each gear. It is usually installed in an exposed position, so the driver can see it. Some cars, such as certain Ferrari and Mercedes automobiles, come with external shift gates stock.

It is also possible, on some automobiles, to install an external shift gate as an aftermarket accessory. Owners can do this for looks alone, or as a measure to help keep them from accidentally mis-shifting the car into an incorrect gear while racing.

It is not possible to install a shift gate on a DSM without altering the shifter. The reason is that the shifter shaft overlaps the same space in different gears. For example, the shaft position in third gear overlaps the shaft position in first and/or fifth gear. For this reason, it is not possible to install a shift gate that has separate slots cut into it for different gears. The shaft is also hollow, so thinning it is problematic. Read this post by Robert Ritchie and this one from Gregory Carlson for more detail.

With that said, Kyle Grendall has successfully made a shift gate for the DSMs by changing the shifter shaft: pictures of the prototypes are here and here. See this thread on DSMtalk for better pictures and more information.

There are also several methods of making the DSM shifter feel more positive. Refer to the FAQ Locator for the latest on the subject.

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What is water injection?
Has anybody ever installed a water injection kit on a [DSM]?

Water injection is a venerable technique for achieving all kinds of good things in the engine by lowering the combustion temperatures.  This has a cooling effect on the intake air charge, which increases power and reduces the possibility of knock.  This has the same effect as adding extra fuel to the mixture without sacrificing fuel economy.  Additionally, less fuel (a leaner mixture) in itself reduces the possibility of detonation.  A nice side effect is that the water tends to keep the engine cleaner, whereas extra fuel can actually leave more carbon deposits behind.

The theory is simple: water is atomized into the intake air stream, and is included in the air/fuel mixture burned in the cylinders.  Since the cooling effect is not typically needed in everyday driving, the injection system is normally activated by a pressure switch that activates at a preset boost level.  The injection point is either just before the throttle butterfly or before the turbocharger, depending on the exact setup. The water is sometimes mixed with alcohol or other fluids.

Downsides to water injection include having to keep water in the tank, and the possibility that a malfunctioning valve might put too much water into the engine, causing serious damage.  However, the technique has been around since the 1940s and the risks are arguably no more serious than relying on an over-rich fuel mixture to provide the required cooling effect.

Unfortunately, nobody makes a DSM-specific water injection system; several vendors offer generic versions.  Speculation on the subject has been wide and varied over the years, but few people have actually installed such a kit on their cars.  Many people regard it as old technology, while others class it with nitrous injection as an 'unfair' system.  This lack of practical knowledge and a proper bolt-on kit for DSMs has kept the technique from wide application.

Water injection has recently drawn more attention in the Talon Digest, partly because a group buy for the Spearco WI kit has drawn all the WI users out of the woodwork. There is also a little-known DSM Water Injection Home Page for interested parties, as well as the DSM Water Injection Group from Yahoo! Groups. You can also peruse issues of the Talon Digest from January to mid-February 1999 for DSM-specific information.

Related to, but separate from, the water injection systems is the intercooler sprayer, which sprays water or other coolant directly on the intercooler to help it do it's job.  This system provides only minor benefits but is simple, cheap and failsafe, and may be rigged with a pressure switch to activate it during high boost.

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What is nitrous / nitrous oxide / NOS?
What is a "jet"?
What is a "fogger"?
What is a "wet" system?
What is a "dry" system?

Nitrous is often referred to as NOS. This is not technically correct. NOS is the acronym for Nitrous Oxide Systems, a company that has done it's best to become synonymous with the use of nitrous oxide.

The distinction has become so blurred that it was lost even in the popular racing movie "The Fast and the Furious", where characters routinely referred to nitrous oxide systems as "NOS". Interestingly, some claim Nitrous Oxide Systems was a sponsor of the movie. Regardless, however convenient it may be, "NOS" is not a term, abbreviation or contraction for nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide is a gaseous oxidizer (N2O) which is injected into the engine intake.  As with any chemical name, "nitrous oxide" is not capitalized since it is not a proper noun.

During the heat of the combustion cycle, it breaks down, releasing relatively large amounts of oxygen into the air/fuel mixture.  Since nitrous is 30% oxygen, compared to normal air at 21% oxygen, more fuel burns in the cylinder, which results in more power.

Also, as the highly-pressurized N2O liquid is introduced into the intake air, it expands.  This expansion requires heat, which is taken from the surrounding air.  The net result is an overall drop in the temperature of the intake air charge, resulting in higher air density (more power) and cooler combustion temperatures (less knock).

A byproduct of the nitrous injection is that the timing on the car must generally be retarded to compensate for the increased burn rate of the mixture. In normal-air applications, the spark is set off before the cylinder reaches top-dead-center (TDC - the maximum height in the cylinder) because it takes time for the air/fuel mixture to ignite. Ideally, the piston reaches TDC just before the mix ignites completely, resulting in maximum power. The nitrous-enhanced mix burns faster, so the ignition must occur later or else the piston will still be moving towards TDC when the mix ignites. This can be extremely hard on an engine. The knock-sensing abilities of the DSM engine computer will help prevent this occurance.

Used by dentists as an anesthetic gas, automotive systems avoid medical industry regulation by mixing in foul-smelling sulfur gas, preventing automotive gas from being inhaled.  It also makes nitrous-equipped vehicles smell bad while using the system.

The amount of nitrous is usually controlled by the size of the injectors ("jets"), which are rated according to the expected horsepower gain.  Some form of electronic or manual control is also employed; on DSMs a favorite controller is a boost-sensitive switch, which automatically kicks in the nitrous delivery at the appropriate time.  Nitrous can also be used directly on an intercooler to cool down the intake air - such a system is called a 'fogger', and provides more cooling but potentially less oxygen.

A "wet" nitrous system injects fuel along with the N2O gas. A "dry" system does not. "Wet" systems are harder to tune since the introduction of additional fuel is an added complication.

Nitrous systems may not generally be used except at full acceleration, over a certain RPM, and (of course) require periodic refills.  Still, there is no doubt that it is an effective way of getting a lot of horsepower.  50 hp systems are common, but it is possible to get over 200 hp, provided your car can handle it.  They also provide unaltered driveability and fuel economy under normal conditions, since the N2O is only supplied on demand.

Those familiar with the movie "The Fast and the Furious" and "Gone In 60 Seconds"will remember various characters pressing buttons on the steering wheel to activate their nitrous systems. This is not normally the case. Instead, nitrous systems are generally set on throttle position or boost pressure switches and activated automatically as soon as the throttle is near 100% open.

Nitrous oxide systems are sold by Nitrous Oxide Systems and many other vendors.  They cost roughly $500-$1000, depending on the complexity and application.

Nitrous oxide systems are not widely used on DSMs, as there is a perception among the DSM community that nitrous systems are a form of 'cheating'; that is, no special effort or knowledge is required in order to make a car fast if you use nitrous oxide.  This is not particularily true - nitrous systems are no more 'drop-in' than a side mount intercooler - but it is easy to point out that most DSM upgrades are full-time, whereas nitrous systems may only be used under particular circumstances. Also, there are no DSM-specific nitrous kits - universal kits work - and the equipment cost is relatively high.

Despite any old prejudices, nitrous systems seem to be coming back into vogue among high-end DSM racers as a legitimate method of producing raw power. Some DSMs have dyno results showing no less than 611 horsepower, 70 of which were gained through the use of a nitrous kit. Cars of this type generally have few options left to achieve big power gains.

Nitrous systems have unconventional uses as well. To the dismay of the competition, some DSMers even fitted a rental Nissan Maxima with nitrous at the 1997 Oklahoma Shootout (the NOS-Xima), showing that even a hopeless family sedan can turn decent times on the bottle.  (Note this is not the same Maxima described below.)

Those interested will want to read this dissertation by Dennis Grant and these NOS do's and don'ts, posted by Michael Javier (who stole them from the MR2 list).

You will also wish to read the statement and see the pictures provided by Doyle & Victoria Schoenberger, who had a 15 lb. nitrous bottle explode in the rear of their 1991 Nissan Maxima while it was parked in their garage. They experienced significant damage to the home, as well as the total destruction of their car. The explosion was apparantly due to a triple failure - the nitrous bottle heater was wired so that it could be powered even if the ignition was off, the heater was accidentally left on, and the safety vent on the bottle failed to operate. While this can safely be classed as a freak event (or even some type of scam, as some people suggest), it is nevertheless a powerful argument - one must never become complacent when working with compressed gases. When handled properly, they are safe, but any carelessness could result in severe damage or death.

The argument that nitrous is 'cheating' often arises on the Digest. This assertion implies that there exist rules (written or unwritten) which govern how DSMs should be set up. Since there are no such rules (unless, of course, individuals get together and agree on a set for their own purposes) it is difficult to justify this position, and Digesters have long since become tired of the discussion - please resist the temptation to reopen the topic.

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What is "Waterwetter"?
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"Waterwetter" is a coolant additive made by Red Line Oil, a performance fluids manufacturer. It is added to normal coolant to improve the heat transfer ability, in order to lower engine temperatures.

On first glance, Waterwetter would seem to be another 'magic' product. After all, the engine cannot run at a lower temperature unless a low-temperature thermostat is installed. However, it is important to realize that there is a difference between the thermostat temperature and the engine temperature. The thermostat regulates coolant temperature. The engine block, which is creating heat during the combustion cycle, is at a higher temperature.

If the coolant has poor heat transfer characteristics, the coolant is unable to absorb heat from the block and carry it away. This leads to a significant difference in temperature between the block and the coolant, with the block becoming hotter. Improving the heat transfer characteristics of the coolant allows it to absorb more heat, making the block run cooler.

The reverse is true at the radiator. A fluid with poor heat transfer may not be able to transfer the accumulated heat to the radiating surfaces. This can lead to heat buildup in the cooling system.

Whether Waterwetter is 'worth it' is up to the individual. Few people report performance gains with it; rather, it is viewed as simply a prudent thing to use.

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What is a 'short block'?
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A 'short block' is an engine that includes only the following components:

A short block could be defined as a complete 'lower half' of an engine. However, short blocks usually do not have an oil pump, oil pan, or water pump.

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What is a 'long block'?
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A 'long block' includes all of the components for a short block, plus:

A long block is not a complete engine. Missing parts include carburators or injectors, exhaust manifold, turbocharger(a) or supercharger(s) (if any), intercooler(s) (if any), and so forth.

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What is a 'balanced' engine?
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A 'balanced' engine is an engine constructed of components that are as evenly weighted as possible. This allows the engine to operate with as little vibration as possible.

For example, if you rotate a shaft that is heavier on one side than the other side, the shaft will "pull" towards the heavy side. This is how the vibration mechanisms in pagers and cell phones work - by spinning an unevenly weighted shaft on a motor.

This sort of an effect is generally undesireable in a automobile engine, and most manufacturers try to make the rotating components as symmetrical as possible. Larger components, such as crankshafts and flywheels, must generally be very close to ideal to prevent unwanted engine shake in consumer automobiles. Unfortunately, economics often dictate that less-than-ideal parts be used, and some engine vibration is generally tolerated.

In general, to balance an engine, all of the rotating parts need to be balanced - sometimes individually, and often as a set. This involves removing material from the 'heavy' side of the rotating components, either by drilling holes, or machining off some material. Special machines are often used to spin the components at the operating speeds, to identify which sides are the 'heaviest' on the complex mechanical shapes used for today's engines. In other cases, components are matched, by weight, to each other. Tolerances on such matching generally stay within 1/2 of a gram.

The net result of a balanced engine is generally a smoother-operating engine, sometimes with a touch more power output than before. It is often performed on racing engines, which require not only peak power output, but are frequently stripped of the other mechanisms that would normally reduce engine shake and noise. It is a labor-intensive and sometimes expensive procedure.

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What is a 'blueprinted' engine?
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A 'blueprinted' engine is an engine that has been remanufacturer to exactly conform to the manufacturer's official specifications - the blueprints, as it were.

You might assume that an engine costing thousands of dollars would already conform to spec. Well, it invariably does, but only within a certain tolerance. Automotive manufactuers already make engine parts (and other components) to tolerances that would have been economically impossible just a few years ago, but economics still plays a factor. To make a 'perfect' engine would require such exacting checks, and such frequent remanufacturing of parts, as to be impossible on a mass scale.

On an individual scale, though, it is certainly possible - given enough time and labor - to build a 'perfect' (really, a near-perfect) engine. Such an engine would realize its peak power output, best fuel economy, and best possible emissions quality due to the 'ideal' interaction between all of the components. Of course, few people need such a machine, and blueprinting is normally reserved for high-performance racing engines.

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What is a stroker motor?
What is a 'bored' engine?
What is meant by a 'bored and stroked' engine?
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A stroker motor is any engine that has been modified to increase its displacement by extending the length of the piston stroke. This involves changing the crankshaft, and possibly the connecting rods and pistons, to increase the maximum combusion chamber size inside the engine. Compression ratios may also be changed, or the design may involve using additional parts to negate this. The net result is usually an engine with significantly more power than the regular engine.

A 'bored' engine is an engine that has larger-than-factory pistons installed in it. This involves machining the piston chambers in the block to a larger size, and the installing oversize pistons to match. This again increases the displacement of the engine, and allows the user greater flexibility in choosing their overall compression ratio. The intention, again, is to eke more power from the engine.

If both of these methods are used on an engine, the engine is said to be 'bored and stroked'. Since performing one process usually takes a significant amount of labor, many people find that they may as well do both. Also, people who really want the power are likely to really want to do both. Both methods involve modifying the lower half of the engine.

The stroker motor is an extreme (and extremely expensive) method of increasing power; it is not a popular mod on DSMs or any other car because of the high initial expense, overall complexity and relatively small margin for error. Those interested should check out the vendors page for vendors who sell stroker motors or kits.

One little-known but useful fact for overbore proponents is that Mitsubishi sells factory overbore pistons. 1G owners can purchase 0.25mm, 0.50mm and 1.0mm overbore - 0.50mm and 1.0mm overbore are available in 2G style. Since the pistons are interchangeable between 1G and 2G engines (with accompanying changes in compression ratio), these provide additional options to the engine rebuilder. The best part is price - at the time this page was last updated the cost for the 2G pistons was less than $40 ($US) each.

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What is knife edging?

"Knife edging" is the practice of "sharpening" the motor crankshaft so it is no longer round. The major benefit to this technique is reduced rotational mass. Also, the edges are said by some to reduce the resistance of the crankshaft as it is dipped into the oil in the bottom of the engine.

Knife edging is an esoteric technique and is not usually done unless a complete engine rebuilt is already intended.

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What is cryogenic treatment?
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Cryogenic treatment is the process of using extreme cold temperatures to mechanically strengthen a material. One of the newest processes available to automotive enthusiasts, it generally appears to fall into the category of a magic product.

Unfortunately for those seeking a clear answer, discussions on the Digest have revealed that there may be some benefit to properly done cryogenic treatment in specific limited applications. Specifically, the materials must be high alloy steel. Low carbon steel, iron, aluminum, nylon, natural or synthetic rubber, polymers and plastics apparantly cannot benefit, since the cryogenic process is designed to convert austenite into martensite, and these substances only exist inside steels.

Wayne Kasel-Zuzek, who is by profession a metallurgical engineer, also believes that the cryogenic process may only be applied during manufacture as part of the quenching (cooling) process for steels, and that post-quench cryogenic treatment does nothing. His theory is that if a room-temperature quench does not produce the desired amount of martensite, then a cryogenic quench may achieve the desired (or, at least, a superior) result. He also points out that quenched steels, regardless of manufacture, must be tempered prior to use, since martensite is a desireable intermediate stage but is too brittle to be used as a finished product. Once the steel is tempered, he believes there is little that the cryogenic process can accomplish.

Those interested can read Wayne's comments here, as well as his offer to test cryogenically treated product for increases in hardness and tensile strength. (As of July 25, 1999, nobody has taken Wayne up on this offer, although there are lots of cryogenic vendors currently in business.) You should also read Scott Willard's discussion of cryogenic treatments; he essentially agrees with Wayne but expands upon points not covered in Wayne's post, including a list of DSM parts that might benefit from cryogenic treatment.

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What is a 'traction circle'?
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The 'traction circle' is not a real thing. It is a concept - a model for describing tire grip on a car.

The basic principle is simple: tires can only grip so much, in any direction, before they lose grip and start to slide. The sliding is caused by force on the tire. The forces are caused by acceleration, braking, cornering, or some combination of these.

Using a bit of simple physics, the tire grip can be represented by a circle surrounding the contact patch of the tire. The bigger the circle, the more traction the tire has - hence, the term 'traction circle'. If tires gripped equally well in all directions, the 'traction circle' really would be a circle. Since most tires don't, the traction circle is usually oval shaped.

Although it is difficult to actually model a traction circle for any given tire, the concept is helpful to performance drivers because it perfectly describes the relationship between braking and cornering grip on a tire. If the driver stays within the traction circle of the tire, the tire sticks. Stay on the edge, and you are getting the maximum possible grip for that tire. If the driver exceeds the limits of the traction circle, the tire slides, leading to a loss of both tire grip and control.

Several factors influence the traction circle for a tire: tire type, driving surface, load (weight) on the tire, and the amount of tire in contact with the road, among others. Since the traction circle is a general concept, it can be applied either to individual tires (one at a time) or to the car in general (all four tires at once).

For a detailed explanation of the traction circle, read Part 2 of the Race Car Dynamics series by Dennis Grant. You can also read this article on R/C car racing, which has one of the better technical explanations of the traction circle currently available.

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What is camber?

Read Part 6 of the Race Car Dynamics series, written by Dennis Grant.  You should also read the rest of the series.

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What is caster?

The wheel is never located directly under the shock/strut mounting point on the car.  The amount by which the wheel leads/trails the mounting point is caster.  Positive is wheel ahead, negative is wheel behind.

In more detail, from a post by Kris Rozon:

"Think of caster as the amount the actual wheel is either ahead, or behind the top strut mount. If the wheel is ahead of the top mount, as in one of those Harley's with the big Chopper-Bar front fork things, then that is positive caster.

If you had negative caster, that is the same as a shopping cart's rear wheels. They trail the mounting point.

The more positive caster you have, the tighter the steering and the more the steering wheel will want to center itself. I am not aware of any side effects of too much caster, but there must be some. Obviously too much negative caster would be bad (kinda like the wobbly wheel on the shopping cart).

So, if one wheel is a great amount more negative or positive than the other, then you will notice a pull in the steering wheel. This is what some on the digest have experienced regardless of numerous alignments and tire balances. The steering wheel will also seem to turn one way better than the other. The front of the DSM is not alignment-friendly."

Some have reported that too much positive caster promotes road wander. Ernie Coursolle (Dakota) pointed out, based on his experience with pre-86 Corvettes, that not enough positive caster may also cause wander. The '84 'Vette reportedly tended to wander around a lot with only 3 degrees of positive caster. Once the specs were changed in 1986 to 6 degrees, the 'Vette lost the wander, and realigning the '84 to '86 specifications eliminated the wander on the older car. Still, most agree that extreme positive caster is a bad thing, which simply means that too much of a good thing is just as bad as not enough - just like everything else.

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What is oversteer?

Oversteer is when the rear of the car tends to move towards the outside of a curve. This is a familiar situation for those familiar with RWD vehicles, especially in slippery or wet conditions. Oval racing fans refer to this condition as 'loose' and know from experience it causes a lot of crashes as the rear ends of the stock cars lose traction. RWD vehicles tend to oversteer, while FWD/AWD cars tend more towards understeer.

Those interested in handling will find Dennis Grant's Race Car Dynamics Series a must read.

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What is understeer?

Perhaps harder to visualize than oversteer, understeer is where the front of the car tends to push towards the outside of a curve. This is the opposite of oversteer, and is difficult to understand intuitively. Oval racing fans call this 'tight' handling, and while it does not tend to cause crashes, it tends to slow the drivers down a fair bit, as they constantly fight the wheel to keep the car on the curve.

Northern residents are perhaps the most familiar with understeer from driving in icy conditions; that awful sensation you get from turning the wheel and finding the car keeps going in a straight line! This is understeer at it's worst - the complete loss of front-wheel traction. Understeer is commonly referred to as a 'push' (with the car 'pushing' into the turns) perhaps because it seems like something is shoving the front end of the car away from the desired turning line.

FWD cars tend toward understeer partly because of the location of the drive wheels, and partly by design - understeer is considered an easier condition for the average driver to handle. AWD cars are usually based on FWD platform, so they inherit the basic handling characteristics, including understeer. Both FWD and AWD DSMs tend to understeer a lot, a constant annoyance to those drivers wishing to corner quickly.

Those interested in handling will find Dennis Grant's Race Car Dynamics Series a must read.

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What is "chunking"?

"Chunking" is when the bond between the tire tread and the main body (carcass) fails, and large pieces of the tread fall off of the tire. Most motorists will remember seeing large pieces of tire tread left on the side of the road by passing 18-wheeler trucks. This is a similar problem aggrevated by the routine use of retreaded tires in the trucking industry.

Most enthusiasts who experience chunking are road racers of some type. This is because the tire heats up much more during racing. A race tire also experiences much larger forces due to cornering and its own rotational speed.

From Keith Sontheimer in the May 19, 2002 Digest:

"I've been told by several tire experts, chunking happens when a tire's tread heats up unevenly (top to bottom). If the outside of the tread block closest to the road heats up substantially quicker before the rest of the block closer to the carcass does, then chunking can occur.

Usually this happens when you go out on the track, and begin pushing your tires too soon. They haven't had a chance to heat up all the way through, and the chunking begins. It usually takes 3-5 easy laps at 75-80% of the pace you normally run to heat them up, depending on the tire."

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What is a strut tower brace?
Has anybody ever installed a strut tower brace on a [DSM]?
How do I adjust a strut tower brace on a [DSM]?

A strut tower brace is a metal bar that connects two shocks (either both front or both rear) together at the top. In this context, the shock/strut assemblies are called "strut towers". A front brace is located in the engine compartment under the hood, while the rear one is located in the hatch or trunk area.

The function of a strut tower brace is to reduce the amount of movement of the shocks under hard cornering. The brace stiffens up the car frame and helps prevent the wheel from being temporarily "bent" out of place as cornering forces try to push the wheel to one side. It also keeps the two opposing wheels from moving out of place relative to each other - keeping the two struts connected together helps this. The net effect is an improvement in cornering and in suspension "feel". Most DSMers report improvements after installing a brace.

Most braces are adjustable. Since the bar can be lengthened or shortened (put under tension or compression) most new owners are concerned about adjusting the brace "correctly". The method of installation doesn't seem to be too important. Most people shorten the bar to tension it up - the bars are likely stronger under tension than compression. However, for rear braces, one may want to extent the bar to try and keep the rear tires as flat as possible during hard launching. It doesn't really seem to matter a whole lot as long as the brace firmly connects both strut towers together.

The Last Word: According to non-DSMers, the typical DSM strut tower brace is useless. Firstly, there are hinges on either side, which allows the brace to pivot independently of the chassis - which totally defeats the purpose of the brace. Secondly, the brace midpoint is never attached to the engine bay firewall. "Real" braces are attached to the engine bay wall and are a single monolithic part. Real result or placebo effect? We'll never know.

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What are coil-overs/coilovers?

Coilovers are a height-adjustable suspension kit. A threaded collar is used to raise or lower the lower spring seat. For more information, see the Ground Control install VFAQ.

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What is an 'eccentric' bolt?

In mechanics, an 'eccentric' isn't a nutcase billionare - is something that has an off-center hole in it. For example, take a small wheel, with a mounting shaft run through it. In a regular wheel, the shaft runs through the center. An eccentric wheel is just like a regular wheel, except the shaft doesn't run through the center; it runs through an off-center hole.

An eccentric bolt is usually a bolt with a collar on it. The bolt shaft is tapered in the middle to run through the collar, so the bolt is thinner in the middle and thicker at the ends. The collar has an off-center hole in it and is free to rotate.

As can be seen in this sketch, an eccentric bolt allows adjustment through rotation. As the bolt assembly is rotated, the collar moves further off-center. This property is what makes eccentric bolts useful for adjusting and aligning different connected parts. They are frequently used in DSMs and other automobiles for suspension adjustments.

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What is a 'banjo' bolt?

A "banjo" bolt is a hollow bolt used in conjunction with "banjo fittings" to connect fluid lines together. Such bolts are used in the DSM fuel and oil systems. The fuel system bolt in particular is considered a restrictive element. Pictures of banjo bolts can be found here, here, and here. The last picture includes a double banjo bolt. A picture of the associated banjo fitting is here.

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What is blow-by?

Blow-by is the leaking of combustion gases past the piston rings and into the engine block. All engines have some blow-by, since piston rings can never seal perfectly. Most cars have a vent (the positive crankcase ventilation valve, or PCV valve) which lets these gases out of the engine block while keeping (most) of the oil in.

On DSMs, the PCV valve is connected via a hose to the air intake. Since oil leaks out of the PCV valve, oil gets into the intake and usually gums up the inside of the intercooler. Many DSMers remove the connecting hose to correct this problem. To prevent oil spraying into the engine compartment, they also install either a filter or a catch can in place of the PCV valve.

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What is 'crank walk'?
What is a 'walking' crankshaft?
Is there a recall or TSB regarding the crank walk problem?
How can I tell if my car has a walking crankshaft?
Search now!  Look for crank* walk*.
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A 'walking' crankshaft is a crankshaft that moves too much inside the engine. This is also known as excessive thrust bearing play. The movement is usually due to the crankshaft not fitting inside its bearings correctly. While not bad for the crankshaft, the movement can place excessive or uneven loads on the bearings, causing premature failures.

Many 2G owners have suffered from walking crankshafts. It appears that Mitsubishi built many 2G engines using defective crankshafts, which were machined out of specification and are thus capable of moving around too much inside the block. All 2G model years appear to be affected to some degree.

To fix this problem, Mitsubishi has designed several versions of matching crankshaft bearings. This allows the defective motor to retain the crankshaft, yet matches the bearings correctly so as to eliminate the excessive crankshaft movement. Matching the bearings in this manner is tricky and requires exact information about when the crankshaft was manufactured, which may be determined by color markings on the crankshaft itself. The 2G factory manual includes information on how to match crankshafts to bearings.

1G owners do not generally need to worry, as there are no chronic problems with crankwalk in per-1995 cars. However, it is possible for any engine to experience crankwalk if there is a problem with the crankshaft bearings. It has been reported that 'small rod' / 7-bolt flywheel motors (manufactured from later 1992 through 1994 on 1Gs) are more prone to crankwalk than 'big rod' / 6-bolt flywheel engines (manufactured from 1989 to early 1992). However, there can be no guarantees, since big block V8s and all other engines can also suffer from crankwalk.

It can be difficult to tell if a particular car is experiencing crankwalk. Symptoms are usually indirect and difficult to diagnose until major damage occurs.

Since the clutch places pressure on the crankshaft, many owners have reported clutch or shifting problems associated with the walking crank. Having the clutch 'stick' down on left-hand turns is often a telltale sign of crankwalk. Other symptoms include inconsistent engagement height, poor or rough engagement, difficulty shifting, ticking noises and varying pedal height or pressure. Another possibility is having the engine RPM decrease significantly when the clutch pedal is down.

Another problem with crankwalk is that the crankshaft may move so much as to literally tear up and destroy the 2G crankshaft angle sensor. This problem usually manifests itself as a ticking noise coming from the timing belt area, as the sensor is literally and slowly ground away by the crankshaft. Any such noise should be investigated right away to prevent serious problems.

Unfortunately, cranshaft angle sensor failure usually leads to a replacement sensor, rather than a replacement crankshaft, as mechanics fail to diagnose the underlying problem. 2G owners who have experienced premature failure of the crankshaft angle sensor should investigate the possibility of a walking crankshaft immediately.

For more information, read this post by Paul Estavez, which describes the crank walk problem in detail. Also read Road Race Engineering's archive of posts that contains all of the Talon Digest posts about the walking crankshaft problem. Those who appreciate that a picture is worth a thousand words will appreciate the Crank Walk Photo Archive.

Although 2G DSM owners have been anxiously awaiting a recall or TSB on the crankwalk problem, there is none as yet. According to Paul's second post on the subject, there may never be a TSB, although some members of DSM Canada are pushing for one in this thread on their discussion board. As a result, it is doubly important that affected 2G owners get their bearings (or blocks, if necessary) replaced before their warranty expires. This might be difficult for owners of aftermarket clutches, as dealerships often claim the aftermarket pressure plates are the cause of the problem.

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What is a Galant / Galant VR-4 / GVR4?

The 4-door sedan member of the DSM line.  The VR-4 model shares the same unusual AWD drivetrain as the other DSMs, as well as the turbocharged 4-cylinder Mitsubishi engine.  There was also an unusual GSX model, which had the AWD drivetrain driven by a non-turbocharged engine; something you could not get in Eclipse, Talon or Laser cars. The VR-4 also came standard with an all-wheel steering that is unique among the DSM family. More details are available here.

The Galant is still in production - go here for everything you want to know about current models.

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What is an Eclipse CT?

The Eclipse CT was a cabriolet (convertible) concept model of 1G DSM that may have been shown in Europe in the 1990s. It was never mass-marketed, and DSMers had to wait until the 1995 model year before a convertible model was introduced.

Information on the CT is extremely limited. It is not known for certain if the car was ever built at all, aside from a bare few concept cars. However, according to Johannes Schweidler, the car may have been marketed in 1994 in Germany. All of the available literature appears to be in German, which supports this conclusion. However, it was also made in the 1990-1991 body style (with pop-up headlights) which would have been unusual for a DSM marketed in 1994. He also never saw one, which indicates they might not have been sold after all.

This car may have been the precursor to the 1996 Spyder convertible that is mentioned in by Ernest Cline in this digest posting. Kris Kjelstrup also mentions a 1G convertible concept car on display at the DSM plant in this post. Mark Luttrell has also confirmed that a hand-assembled commemorative Eclipse CT was on display in a Mitsubishi factory in celebration of the one millionth car produced there; unfortunately, photographs were prohibited.

If we assume this display concept is an Eclipse CT, we can conclude from these posts that the CT was a FWD car. It also seems likely that it used the turbocharged 4G63 engine, as well, since concept cars tend to pack a lot of power.

Unfortunately, some of the on-line information on the CT has already become unavailable. For an idea of what the car is/was like, take a look at these technical drawings. There was some more technical information here, but it seems to have been lost.

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What is a Lancer / Lancer EVO / Lancer Evolution?

It's difficult to describe - the car is not sold in North American markets.  Go here for everything you want to know about the Lancer line.

Update: As of the 2002 model year, the Lancer is now sold in the U.S.A., but it is not the "Evolution" version. Rather, it is a 120 hp family sedan. Go here for information on this Lancer.

For the 2003 model year, Mitsubishi made the Lancer Evolution VIII available in the USA. It is not available in Canada owing to stricter crash safety regulations, but the next iteration should be available in Canada. For information on the EVO VIII, try here.

Owners can register at the Lancer Register and will find more information at LancerEvolution.net.

The Last Word: The Lancer came to America some time ago, in the watered-down Toyota Camera-esque form. Canadians, give it up: the EVO will never be available here in it's current form. And no, it's not possible to import and convert it. Get a WRX or an Audi.

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What is a Dodge 2000 GTX?

This car is the same as a Galant GSX - a non-turbo AWD sedan. There is little other information available; you can read this description provided by About.com and Allpar. It should be noted that the engine used in the "mighty" versions of the DSM family is presumably the 200 HP 2.0L turbo, not the 135 HP 2.0L non-turbo used in the 2000GTX family.

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What is a CFDF?

CFDF stands for Centerforce Dual-Friction, a popular clutch upgrade for DSMs. See the Centerforce web site for details.

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What is a ACT 2100?
What's the correct ACT part number for the ACT 2100?
What is an ACT 2600?
What's the correct ACT part number for the ACT 2600?

The ACT 2100 and 2600 are clutches manufactured by Advanced Clutch Technology. They have become popular clutch upgrades for DSMs.

Unfortunately, the 2100 and 2600 designations don't match the part numbers shown on their website. The correct part number for the ACT 2100 kit (disc and plate) is MB1-HDSS; the ACT 2600 kit is the MB1-XTSS. Check out the kits for the part numbers of the respective friction discs and pressure plates.

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What is a 6-bolt engine?
What is a 7-bolt engine?

A 6-bolt engine is one that has a 6-bolt flywheel - that is, there are 6 bolts holding the flywheel to the crankshaft. A 7-bolt motor has 7 bolts there.

Along with the flywheel change, there are many other internal changes between the two engines. The crankshafts are different sizes, as are the rods and crankshaft seals. 6-bolt motors have 'big' rods, while 7-bolt engines have 'small' rods. The journal and bearing widths different, although the bearing diameters are the same.

There may also be other changes between the two engines, and the parts are not interchangeable.

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What is a 3-bolt rear axle/rear end?
What is a 4-bolt rear axle/rear end?

You would already know this (hint, hint) if you had used the FAQ Locator.

3-bolt rear axle assemblies have 3 bolts attaching the axle to the wheel hub. 4-bolt axles have 4 bolts, as well as beefier axle cups, and are therefore far stronger. See Tom Stangl's 3-bolt to 4-bolt conversion VFAQ for lots of great information. You can also read the answer to "How can I tell if my car has a 4-bolt rear end?" in this FAQ.

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What is 'Satan'?
Why are dealerships nicknamed 'Satan'?

Mitsubishi and Chrysler dealerships have earned the nickname 'Satan' over the past nine years by the DSM membership. This is because of the numerous horror stories circulated by reliable individuals concerning the quality of service provided by these dealerships. Also, the high cost of factory replacement parts contributed to the name. Apparantly, even the coveted 5-star service rating is no defense against various forms of service stupidity.

Those interested in such stories will find these reminices by Todd Day (the 'talon mgr'), Dave Campbell and Robert Hayton to be entertaining reading. For some not-so-entertaining stories containing harsh words for various dealers, read the discourse from Vineet Singh, Ed Dobrzyn, and Jason Kertianis.

In all fairness, not all dealerships deserve the nickname 'Satan'. Some, like Talahassee Mitsibishi in Tallahassee, FL, have offered substantial discounts on factory parts to the Club DSM membership. Many other owners have reported good to excellent service from their local dealers. As with all things, your mileage may vary (YMMV).

Nevertheless, this particular term of endearment is reserved solely for those specific dealerships which provide bad service.

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What is the 'blue book'?
What is a 'blue book' price?

'Blue book' refers to Kelley's Blue Book, a pricing guide that lists the actual dealer costs, manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), shipping costs, and other pricing information on new cars. The 'blue book price' usually refers to the actual price the dealer pays the factory for a vehicle.

It should be noted that car dealerships don't often use the Blue Book for pricing information. They usually use the National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) guide. It has been suggested that the Kelley Blue Book listings are not accurate.

Although few people realize it, the blue book is now online at www.kbb.com; the information gleaned from this resouce can be a powerful ally in negotiating a fair price with a dealer. Copies of the 'blue book' and other valuable auto pricing resources can also be found at most public libraries in the reference section.

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What is the 'red book'?
What is a 'red book' price?

'Red book' refers to the Automotive Red Book, a pricing guide that lists the selling prices of used automobiles. Less well-known than the 'blue book' the 'official' red book is generally only available in libraries. (There is one online version, but it's for Australia.) Look in the library reference section to find it, and remember to have a few quarters for the photocopier handy.

Paradoxically enough, the Kelley's Blue Book website offers pricing information on used cars, as do lots of other buying guides online, making the 'red book' less valuable than it once was.

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What is speed shifting?
What is power shifting?

Speed shifting is when you shift without letting up on the throttle. Usually you bounce off of the 7500 RPM rev limiter.

Power shifting is when you shift without letting up on the throttle, and without using the clutch. It can be done, but is very hard on the transmission. Most people who do this become expert transmission rebuilders (or simply broke, or both) in a short period of time.

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What is 'heel-and-toe' shifting / downshifting / braking?

'Heel-and-toe' shifting is a driving technique that allows the driver to clutch, brake and keep the engine RPMs at a certain level, all at the same time. It is a useful racing technique that allows a driver to downshift without losing speed (or control of the car), expecially when entering corners.

The problems facing a driver when approaching a hard corner at high speed are numerous. Firstly, they want to approach the corner at the highest speed possible, and brake at the last moment, to achieve the fastest entry. Secondly, they need to carry as much speed as possible through the corner, often riding on the very edge of losing control over the car. Thirdly, they need to shift gears downwards in order to select the correct gear for the duration of the corner, as well as allowing maximum power on corner exit. Fourthly, they must ensure that when they shift gears, the engine speed is high enough to allow the new gear to engage without adversely slowing down or speeding up the drive wheels. Failure to accomplish this last point may mean a loss of control - remember, the car may be on the ragged edge, and if the engine forces the wheels to change speed the car may begin a skid or spin from which the driver cannot recover.

While this would normally take three feet - one for each pedal - to clutch, brake, and accelerate all at the same time, ordinary two-legged people can accomplish this by twisting their right foot into a position that allows it to touch both the brake and gas pedals at the same time. While several different positions are possible, most people adjust the foot so that the toe is on the brake, and the heel is on the gas - hence, 'heel-and-toe'. Some drivers prefer to have their right foot 'straddle' the brake and gas, using the sides of the foot to control pedal movement. The exact position depends on the driver and the pedal configuration in the automobiles - some cars are better set up for heel-and-toe than others.

In this position, the driver can brake (right toes) into the corner, clutch (left foot) and shift gears, and hit the gas (right heel) to bring the engine speed up to the desired level. He can then declutch and enjoy a smooth transition into the selected lower gear, reducing or eliminating the risk of a rough engagement that might upset the automobile. From that point, the feet may return to their normal driving positions, and the driver can brake, cruise, or accelerate as the situation demands.

Heel-and-toe shifting, while simple in theory, can be very hard in practice. Drivers must practice a great deal to achieve the necessary coordination. Also, some cars have pedal arrangements that make heel-and-toe shifting difficult. Missed shifts are common for the novice, as is grinding gears. Loss of brake or steering control is also possible, especially when practicing high-speed turns, and can result in very dangerous situations. It is highly recommended that anyone interested in this technique take a specialized driving course, and practice in a venue away from ordinary traffic.

Once mastered, heel-and-toe shifting can make even ordinary driving more enjoyable. Some DSMers have commented that heel-and-toe shifting is not a racing technique - rather, they feel it is the proper way to drive a manual transmission car. Regardless, it can be a useful technique for street driving, although normally only racers need concern themselves with it.

For more information on heel-and-toe on DSMs, please read the results of this search. Also, Edmunds.com has this how-to on heel-and-toe shifting.

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What does 'rice' refer to?
What is a 'riceboy'?

The terms 'rice' or 'riceboy' are slang terms used to describe visibly modified import model automobiles and their owners. It is used to point out the cosmetic, rather than functional, nature of the vehicle modifications.

'Rice' was apparantly first used in the 1970s when high-powered Japanese sport bikes became available. In that context it was usually well-intentioned and not considered derogatory.

The application of the term 'rice' to import cars was derived from the fact that aggressive cosmetic enhancements were first applied to import automobiles. These cars originate from countries where rice is a staple food. Additionally, these import automobiles were popular among asian owners, who preferred the asian cars over those of American manufacture. So, by extension, 'riceboy' originally referred to an asian owner of such a modified automobile, and was considered by most to be racist. (This probably explains why the term 'ricegirl' never appeared - people are not likely to be politically correct about a politically-incorrect term.)

In addition, these terms hinge on the presence of cosmetic rather than performance improvements. Cars which exhibited primarily or purely cosmetic enhancement, with little or no performance enhancement, may combine aggressive looks with mediocre performance. Referring to these cars as 'ricey' was often meant to be insulting or derogatory by silmutanously pointing out the 'inferior' nature of the vehicle as well as the owners preference for style over substance.

Fortunately, the term 'ricey' has outgrown it's original meanings. The term is now in widespread use on the Talon Digest as referring to any owner of any cosmetically modified car, regardless of their ethnic background, and is no longer intended as a racist slur. It is also no longer used to express disdain for cosmetic improvements, as the general membership has come to recognize that different owners want different things.

Some owners even take pride in their pursuit of aggressive style. Many DSMers are happy to call their cars 'ricey', or 'rice-burners', with some going so far as to install gauge sets that list 'rice' instead of 'fuel'. They express pride in their DSMs ability to match performance and looks against American-made V8 powerhouse automobiles with literally half the engine.

While few performance automobiles are completely without cosmetic enhancements, not all are considered 'ricey'. In general, the more obvious, exaggerated or overstated the cosmetics, the more 'ricey' the car is. Recent trends in import automobile circles have yielded some cosmetic features that are humerous even to their owners, being obvious, obnoxious and useless all at the same time. (One good example recently seen is an Nissan Sentra equipped with a ten-inch exhaust tip which resembles nothing so much as a rocket exhaust projecting out of the rear of the car.)

Please note that because of irreconcilable differences of personal opinion, discussion about the value of performance vs. appearance is not part of the Talon Digest and is generally discouraged on other forums as well. Also, because of it's emotionally-charged heritage, use of the term 'riceboy' should be approached with caution, lest the target accidentally misinterpret the intended meaning.

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What are "Altezza" lights?

"Altezza" lights are rear brake lights that have a clear lens overtop of round red lamps. This unique look was apparently first marketed by Toyota in Europe on it's Altezza model sedan, and is sometimes referred to as "European Altezza" or simply "Euro-style" lamps. The Altezza was marketed in North America as the Lexus IS300, but the "Altezza" name stuck once the brake light design was adapted to other cars - probably because it sounded better than "IS300-style".

Please see here for information regarding the legality of Altezza lighting systems.

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What are "AN" fittings?

"AN" fittings are a standardized system for tubing and fittings originally created for the U.S. military (Army-Navy). Designations such as AN-8 are Army-Navy sizes. In theory, fittings and parts with the same AN size will always fit together.

For a given AN-x size, take x/16" to get the simple imperial size. For example, an AN-8 fitting is 8/16" (= 1/2") big. An AN-4 fitting is 4/16" (= 1/4") big.

Sizes refer to the outside size only. The inside size (bore) of AN fittings is not standardized, so some parts will have a smaller inside diameter than others.

AN fittings are sometimes used in the automotive world as upgrades to existing factory parts. In the case of DSMs, the metric-to-AN adapters can sometimes be hard to come by. Some people substitute combinations of metric-to-NPT (national pipe thread) and NPT-to-AN fittings - both types are airtight when torqued correctly.

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What are 4.8 / 8.8 / 10.8 / [and similar] bolts?

These are strength designations for metric bolts. DSMs, being primarily Mitsubishi cars, use metric fasteners.

Metric bolt strength is designated by 2 numbers separated by a decimal. The first number is the minimum tensile ultimate strength: the resistance to fracturing, given in megaPascals (MPa). The second number is the minimum tensile yield strength: the resistance to deformation, and is rated as a percentage of the first number. Thus, a 10.8 bolt has a 10 MPa ultimate strength, and a yield strength of 0.8 (80%) of that number (= 8 MPa). Generally, the higher the better.

For more detail on the differences between ultimate and yield strength try this chapter of the material sciences guide at tpub.com.

For a table of typical fastener grades, try here.

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What is a roll cage?
Has anybody ever installed a roll cage on to a [DSM]?
Where can I get a roll cage?

A roll cage is a rigid metal frame installed inside a vehicle to protect the occupant(s) in the event of a rollover accident. It is a commonplace requirement for many racetracks to require a roll cage for cars that participate in racing events. Fortunately for amateur racers, roll cages are usually not required unless your car is quite fast. Roll cages usually have to meet specific requirements laid down by one or more sanctioning bodies and pass inspections to that effect.

Dale Hammons had the following to say regarding roll cages (edited for appearance only):

"Keith Sontheimer asks about roll cages. As an SCCA tech inspector I have seen a lot of roll cages. The best ones are made by businesses that build tube frame race car chassis or prepare cars for racing. The tube frame chassis people are every where. If you can't find them in any other way go to a local race event find a car with good workmanship and ask the owner who did it.

To get a cage the meets your expectations on final appearance and function you need to have a full understanding of what is needed by the sanctioning body that you are having the cage built to. This will dictate tubing size and wall thickness. Make sure the roll cage fabricator has a copy of your sanctioning bodies requirements. He may not be familiar with your form of racing. How many attachment points are required or allowed. You need to realize what trim items must be removed and modified to accommodate the roll cage (especially dash and rear seat).

Be prepared to modify or add to the cage after its first inspection because you will probably miss something. Get the cage inspected before its painted and all the trim items are back in place in case changes are made.

Your question (ease of installation, cost, quality, ease of exit/entry, etc.)? Bolt in cages are relatively easy to install, relatively inexpensive, tend to be ugly, will need parts added to pass inspection. Welded in cages are a time consuming installation, probably cost around $2000, will look as good as the workmanship used. Ease of entry: all cages reduce ease of entry, as more LH intrusion protection is added the ease of entry decreases."

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What is ABS?   What is AWS?   What is an EGR?
What is an EVC?   What is a FCD?   What is a FCON?
What is a MAF?   What is a PFC?
What is a VBC?   What is a VPC?   What is WOT?

For these and other terms, refer to the Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations.

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Last edited 04/04/07

Maintained by Sean Costall. Changes and suggestions are welcomed!  If you have any information on the answers to any of these questions or wish additional questions, please mail me.

This page is an extension of Club DSM .