Articles from SRT-Tom

  1. Featured

    Types of Brake Rotors

    Brake rotors come in many different types. Before you can purchase a fresh set of brake rotors, you should understand each of these different types, what sets them apart, and what are the pros and cons of every style. The four kinds of brake rotors are: Blank or Smooth (OEM replacement- most vehicles) Cross-Drilled Diamond Slotted Drilled and Slotted Why Choose Blank Brake Rotors? Best for: Street, Autocross/Track, Towing/Hauling, Off-Road Pros: Far and away, most new cars come with...
  2. Featured

    Leasing vs. Buying

    How does the cost of leasing a Challenger compare to buying it, in terms of out-of-pocket costs? Or if you decide to buy a used Challenger, how much more will you save? And finally, what do those costs look like in the long run? These are important questions for buyers who want to carefully manage their automotive expenses over the years. It's hard to give one answer that covers all people and all situations. But the question can be divided into two parts: 1. An analysis of the hard costs...
  3. Featured

    Active Exhaust

    It’s a fact of life- cars make noise. Inexplicably, there are those in this world who build houses next to major freeways and then complain about the speed of the vehicles going past. There are those who build houses next to airports and complain about the excessive noise. Just as there are those people, there were those who decided that cars were too loud and needed to shut up! This presented car companies with a problem. Their engineers were telling them that for maximum efficiency,...
  4. Anti-Sway Bars

    An anti-roll bar (roll bar, anti-sway bar, sway bar, or stabilizer bar) is a part of many automobile suspensions that helps reduce body roll during fast cornering or over road irregularities. It connects opposite (left/right) wheels together through short lever arms linked by a torsion spring. A sway bar increases the suspension's roll stiffness- its resistance to roll in turns, independent of its spring rate in the vertical direction. The first stabilizer bar patent was awarded to Canadian...
  5. All-Wheel Drive

    Four-wheel drive, 4WD, 4x4 ("four by four"), or AWD ("all-wheel drive") is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously. While many people associate the term with off-road vehicles and sport utility vehicles, powering all four wheels provides better control in normal road cars on many surfaces, and is an important part in the sport of rallying. The first application of four-wheel drive, occurred in 1893. In 1937, the...
  6. Crankshafts

    In simple terms, a crankshaft is a shaft driven by a crank mechanism, consisting of a series of cranks and crankpins to which the connecting rods of an engine are attached. It is a mechanical part able to perform a conversion between reciprocating motion and rotational motion. In a reciprocating engine, it translates reciprocationg motion of the piston into rotational motion. In order to do the conversion between two motions, the crankshaft has "crank throws" or "crankpins"- additional...
  7. Camshafts

    Camshafts are used to operate poppet valves. It consists of a cylindrical rod running the length of the cylinder bank with a number of oblong lobes protruding from it, one for each valve. The cam lobes force the valves open by pressing on the valve, or on some intermediate mechanism, as they rotate. Camshafts can be made out of several types of material. These include: Chilled iron castings: Commonly used in high volume production, chilled iron camshafts have good wear resistance since the...
  8. Automotive Cooling Systems

    An automotive cooling system protects an engine from catastrophic failure (e.g., blown head gaskets, and warped or cracked cylinder heads or cylinder blocks ) due to overheating. Basically, it consists of the following: A series of galleries cast into the engine block and cylinder head, surrounding the combustion chambers with circulating coolant to carry away heat. A mixture of water and antifreeze in proportions appropriate to the climate. Antifreeze itself is usually ethylene glycol or...
  9. Air Conditioning

    Air conditioning was first offered by Packard, in 1939, in its production cars. These units were manufactured by Bishop and Babcock Co, of Cleveland, OH. Cars ordered with the new "Weather Conditioner" were shipped from Packard's East Grand Boulevard facility to the B&B factory where the conversion was performed. Once complete, the car was shipped to a local dealer where the customer would take delivery. Packard fully warranted and supported this conversion, and marketed it well. However,...
  10. Starter Motor

    Before the advent of the starter motor, engines were started by various methods including wind-up springs, gunpowder cylinders, and human-powered techniques such as a removable crank handle which engaged the front of the crankshaft, pulling on an airplane propeller, or pulling a cord that was wound around an open-face pulley. Among these methods, the hand-crank method was most commonly used to start engines, but it was inconvenient, difficult, and dangerous. The Ford Model T relied on hand...
  11. Charging System

    Alternators were first introduced as standard equipment on a production car by Chrysler for the Valiant model in 1960- several years ahead of Ford and General Motors. They replaced direct current generators (dynamos) because they were lighter, cheaper, more rugged and could provide a useful charge at idle speed. The present-day charging system hasn't changed much since 1960. It consists of the alternator, regulator (which is usually mounted inside the alternator) and the interconnecting...
  12. Automotive Batteries

    Early cars did not have batteries, as their electrical systems were very limited. A bell was used instead of an electric horn, headlights were gas-powered and the engine was started with a crank. Car batteries became widely used, around 1920, as cars became equipped with electric starters. The sealed battery, which did not require refilling, was invented in 1971. The Hudson Motor Car Company was the first to use a standardized battery in 1918 when they started using Battery Council...
  13. Tire Contact Patch

    All vehicles are supported by a cushion of air contained in four flexible rubber tires. Each tire’s contact patch, or “footprint,” is a little smaller than a hand. As a result, not much of the tire's surface area is touching the ground, so the amount that does touch the ground must handle a great deal of weight (i.e., load) and force. These four patches create the traction which makes the vehicle go, stop and turn. Basically, they send feedback to the driver which helps to control the...
  14. Understanding Wheel Offset

    The offset of a wheel is the distance from its hub mounting surface to the center line of the wheel. The whole point of an offset is for the end user of the wheel to know how much in inches (4+3), or in the case of millimeter offset, how many mm the wheel will stick out or tuck in from the mounting surface of the hub. Remember, even a couple of millimeters can affect performance, ride quality, the look/stance of your vehicle and safety. It takes precise measurement to make sure aftermarket...
  15. Rearview/Back-up Camera

    A backup camera (also called a reversing camera or rearview camera) is a special type of video camera that is attached to the rear of a vehicle to alleviate the rear blind spot and avoid a backup collision. The area directly behind vehicles has been described as a "killing zone" due to associated accidents. Backup cameras are usually connected to the vehicle’s head unit display. The first backup camera was used in the 1956 Buick Centurion concept car, presented in January 1956, at the...
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