Saturday, 11 January 2014

Modifications? Be careful, maybe you don't know what you are doing!

Many people have started following this new trend of modifying their cars. Many of the people I know and the people I met at the recent AutoCross 2013 event at the BIC had modified their cars to an extent I never thought was imaginable. I know that Modification is not a very "pocket-friendly" job, but then, its about your passion, right? Anyway, many people think that adding a new accessory to your car is a modification, well, read this and you will have a whole new perspective about this!

MODIFICATION- What the heck is it all about?

BMW with Lamborghini Style Doors, or LSDs
If someone comes to me and says- "hey look, I got new woofers in my car, its finally modified!", I swear to god I am gonna trip and then calmly say congratulations! Not his/her fault, because modification is a very misunderstood concept in India, maybe even more than the concept of politics (What? yeah! :P ).

A modified car from Autopsyche
Modification is the ALTERATION OF AN EXISTING FEATURE OF YOUR CAR, MOSTLY RELATED TO THE TECHNICAL, STRUCTURAL or MECHANICAL (ENGINE) ASPECT OF THE CAR (its in bold, so that you can go on revising it!). I am gonna take the aspects one by one, with a few amazing examples that I have come across over the span of my life till now (that was deep).
Modified Honda Civic


ECU Remapping, outputs before and after!
There is usually a very simple and a popular modification here, you can alter the "Factory Mapping" of the ECU chip of your car, and viola, your car can go from the factory 75 BHP to as much as 95 BHP (for the Maruti Suzuki Swift ZDi). Now ECU Remapping, as it is known, is not very effective in the Petrol cars, but it can do wonders with the modern Diesels! There is also an advantage if you have a diesel (apart from the awesome turbo!), you can get a Tuning Box. This Box acts as a secondary ECU Chip, and when you want, it can take your engine to the limit. Now this is a big relief for those who think that ECU Remap can alter the Vehicle Warranty, Insurance etc, but a big disadvantage is that if you plan to enter a competition where it is not allowed, the box is noticeable. The choice is yours, and I personally feel that you should have the Remap done, and that too buy professionals like Autopsyche and Pete's Modifications! Other than this, nothing comes into the Technical part of the Modification!


Mazda Rx-8 with a fiberglass rear door
How the hell can one alter the structure of a car? Get out of your little bubble, and prepare to be shocked. There are people who buy old Esteems or Zens, and then the remove pretty much everything like Doors, Boot-lid, Bonnet, even the seats and the carpets and install a Roll-cage. What this does is that it lightens the car, and the roll-cage provides the safety, place to put your harnesses and structural rigidity to the car. But this is the extreme part, and if you think that the car is not just a race car, you can go for the little things like a body kit, custom hoods, maybe change the way your doors open (Lamborghini Style, anyone?), or change the Headlights and Tail lights (Common, too common). This is modification, not adding neon under-lighting or maybe the DRLs. Another modification is a Sunroof. The roof is cut, and you can then open it, and enjoy, well, the sunlight inside your car? I don't know, I just like the idea of getting out of a moving car when the weather is just right! But a big caution here, get it fitted buy a good shop. It may cost a few bucks more, but then you will be sure that the roof won't leak! Alloys are also a very common modification, and a bit effective because they are lighter than the traditional steel rims. Spoilers are a part of the Body kit sometimes, and a very common mistake, putting a rear wing on a front wheel drive car, should be avoided.


Polo GT TSI, Lowered Suspension and ECU Re-Mapped
Have you been thinking that where are the Turbos? the Exhausts? Well they come here, under the Mechanical or the Engine part of the Modifications! This is where you can really make the car go faster because you are changing the factory fitted air filter, or the exhaust, or altering the intake system. This starts from something as simple as "Iridium Spark plugs" that can cost you about Rs. 500-1000 a set, to "K&N Air filter", which are about Rs. 5000-10,000, to "Free-Flow exhausts" (Rs. 15,000 onwards) to adding a "Turbo with intercooler and a radiator" (way above Rs. 1,00,000). This is where you can modify to your heart's extent, or to the extent that your car's engine can take the brute force!
K&N Air Filter

Magnaflow Exhaust
And how can we forget custom suspension setups. When in a race, you want your car to corner flat, because that is how you can set fast times without losing time due to slipping and lack of traction. Bilstein is a popular suspension option, and can cost Rs. 35,000 to 2,00,000). Again, these are really delicate modifications, and should be done by experts like Autopsyche or Pete's!

Self Explanatory, a brilliant piece of work from Autopsyche! 
So I hope that all your Modification related queries are solved. If not, you can leave comments below, and I will surely try to solve them! And enjoy the pics! :D
Modified Renault Duster from Pete's

Modified Honda Civic by Autopsyche

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