General Challenger

  • History and Applications of Carbon Fiber

    Carbon Fiber is a polymer and is sometimes known as graphite fiber. It is a very strong material that is also very lightweight. Although carbon fiber is five times stronger and twice as stiff as steel, it is lighter than steel; making it the ideal manufacturing material for many parts. These are just a few reasons why carbon fiber is favored by engineers and designers for manufacturing. Carbon fiber dates back to 1879, when Thomas Edison baked cotton threads or bamboo silvers at high...
  • History of the Dodge Logo

    Dodge was founded in 1900 by Horace and John Dodge (The Dodge Brothers). It was initially known as the Dodge Brothers Company and used to sell bicycles, but then within two years it became a major supplier of axles, engines, and transmissions to the automobile industry. The company started by producing chassis and engines for the Ford Motor Company and Olds Motor Vehicle Company. However, with the stress and demands of the booming automobile industry, the brothers decided to tinker with the...
  • Mopar Automatic Transmissions

    Modern automatic transmissions can trace their origins to a gearbox that was developed in 1904 by the Sturtevant brothers. This unit had two forward speeds, the ratio change being brought about by flyweights that were driven by the engine. At higher engine speeds, high gear was engaged. As the vehicle slowed down and engine rpm decreased, the gearbox would shift back to low. One of the key developments in arriving at an automatic transmission was the use of planetary transmission in the...
  • Superchargers vs. Turbochargers

    When designing an engine to pull in more than atmospheric pressure, engineers often turn to forced induction. It’s one of the fastest ways to add significant power to almost any engine, and there are two prevalent ways it can be done: supercharging and turbocharging. But, which is better? Both are different in terms of how they work, performance and cost. Both operate on the principle that the more air you can get into your engine, the more power your car will make. Supercharging is old...
  • Ronnie Sox- A Tribute to "Mr. Four Speed"

    Ronnie Sox is one of the greatest Mopar drag racers. Like many who eventually became professional racers, "The Boss," grew up around cars, raised in the shadow of his family’s Sinclair service station. As soon as he was old enough to drive, Sox began competing in drag races, sponsored by the Police Club of Burlington, NC, at a local airport. In the early days, Sox didn’t even own a car and used his father’s 1949 Olds. From these humble beginnings, Sox would go on to become what many...
  1. Featured

    Tire Speed Ratings

    Tire speed ratings first originated in Europe in the 1960s, as a way to make sure increasingly faster vehicles were equipped with appropriate safe tires. These early speed ratings set the foundation for the current speed rating system used by the DOT and tire manufacturers. Every tire approved for highway use by the Department of Transportation comes with a particular speed rating. The speed rating is a letter corresponding to the maximum safe speed at which a tire can be driven, as...
  2. How the EPA Tests Vehicles for Mileage

    Fuel economy for vehicles (city, highway and combined) is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a series of tests specified by federal law.The results are displayed for the consumer on the "new car window sticker." Estimating MPG with Laboratory Tests In the laboratory, the vehicle's drive wheels are placed on a machine called a dynamometer. The "dyno" simulates the driving environment much like an exercise bike simulates cycling. Engineers adjust the amount of energy...
  3. What is Hydroplaning?

    The term hydroplaning is commonly used to refer to the skidding or sliding of a car’s tires across a wet surface. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control. Rubber tires have tread (grooves) that are designed to channel water from...
  4. Entertainment Systems- from AM Radio to Bluetooth

    Over the past 97 years, “entertainment systems” in cars have evolved from primitive 6-volt dry-cell AM radios to high-tech Bluetooth units. It is interesting to take a look back to see how technology has changed over the years. Here is a brief, illustrated chronology of these devices: 1922: First radio in a Car The first radio (“Marconiphone”) appeared in a Daimler car at the Olympia Motorshow in England. 1927: First Radio in Mass-Produced Car The “Transitone” radio appeared in a...
  5. How Do Navigation Systems Work?

    Getting lost while driving, or stopping at a gas station to ask for directions, has become a thing of the past. With GPS in your car’s navigation system, in the portable navigation device on your dashboard, or in your smartphone, it is easy to pull up a map and see where you are, or get directions to where you are going. GPS makes you safer, routes you around traffic delays and helps you find nearby services. GPS (Global Positioning System), a technology we now take for granted, started...
  6. Drag Racing Classes

    The NHRA has a huge variety of categories and eliminators. Class eligibility is based on requirements that include type of vehicle, engine size, vehicle weight, allowable modifications and aerodynamics. Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street and Pro Mod feature a single class of vehicle in heads-up competition. Comp, Super Stock, and Stock are made up of a variety of classes equalized by a handicap starting system....
  7. History and Applications of Carbon Fiber

    Carbon Fiber is a polymer and is sometimes known as graphite fiber. It is a very strong material that is also very lightweight. Although carbon fiber is five times stronger and twice as stiff as steel, it is lighter than steel; making it the ideal manufacturing material for many parts. These are just a few reasons why carbon fiber is favored by engineers and designers for manufacturing. Carbon fiber dates back to 1879, when Thomas Edison baked cotton threads or bamboo silvers at high...
  8. Limited Slip Differentials

    A limited-slip differential (LSD), or “anti-spin” differential is a type of differential that allows the rear wheels on a vehicle to turn at different speeds when executing a turn. They are widely used in high performance and four-wheel-drive vehicles because they provide superior traction abilities. Various types of differentials can be classified as "anti-spin." These include limited slip, locking and spool differentials. Each performs differently on and off the road. Generally, only...
  9. All About Paint

    In the early days of the automobile industry, painting was a slow process. It was applied manually and dried for weeks at room temperature by solvent evaporation. 1930 Packard Factory As mass production of cars made the process untenable, paint began to be dried in ovens. Nowadays, two-component (catalyzed) paint is usually applied by robotic arms and cures in just a few hours either at room temperature or in heated booths. (Note- That is why car paint can be waxed as soon as the new owner...
  10. The Right Size Wheel for Your Tire

    It is important to ensure your vehicle is installed with a properly sized tire. Each tire size is designed to fit a specific rim width. The correct rim width allows the tire sidewall to flex where the designers meant for the flex to occur. There is a wide range of tires that will fit a specific rim width. After you know what size range of tire will fit your wheels, you can pick a size based on aspect ratio and height of the different tire sizes. A rim that is too narrow in relation to the...
  11. Ignition Coils

    An ignition coil (also called a spark coil) is an induction coil in an automobile's ignition system. It transforms the battery's low voltage to the thousands of volts needed to create an electric spark in the spark plugs to ignite the fuel. Early gasoline internal combustion engines used a magneto ignition system, since vehicles did not have batteries. The voltage produced by a magneto was dependent on the speed of the engine, making starting difficult. A battery-operated coil, however,...
  12. Mufflers

    Since the beginning of hot rodding, enthusiasts have tinkered with their car’s exhaust system, particularly the mufflers, to get the “right sound.” A muffler’s job sounds easy enough- reduce exhaust volume to tolerable levels while allowing the sweet sounds of your ride to waft through the air. But this becomes a monumental task as horsepower increases. Engines build horsepower by pushing spent exhaust out of the tailpipe as fast as possible. As pistons furiously churn, exhaust velocity...
  13. Exhaust Headers

    It’s very satisfying to listen to your engine idling and feel its powerful vibrations. But as soon as you step on the gas and hit the road, your headers come into play. They are the first stop for exhaust gases on their way out of your cylinder heads and into the exhaust stream, and they can make or break your car’s performance. Headers come in two types- long tube and short tube. What sets them apart is the length of the primary tubes to the collector. For “shorty headers,” the port pipes...
  14. Mopar Automatic Transmissions

    Modern automatic transmissions can trace their origins to a gearbox that was developed in 1904 by the Sturtevant brothers. This unit had two forward speeds, the ratio change being brought about by flyweights that were driven by the engine. At higher engine speeds, high gear was engaged. As the vehicle slowed down and engine rpm decreased, the gearbox would shift back to low. One of the key developments in arriving at an automatic transmission was the use of planetary transmission in the...
  15. "Grandfather" of the 2018 Dodge Demon

    Did you know that the controversial Dodge Demon name goes back 48 years? In 1970, the restyled Plymouth Valiant, named the Duster, was a massive success. Dodge immediately insisted on getting its own version. That car became the 1971 Dodge Demon. 1970 Plymouth Duster 340 Both the A-body Plymouth Duster and Dodge Demon were fantastic cars for the money (starting just over $2,100). The two cars were virtually identical, underneath. The attractive-looking Demon came with four optional...
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