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 FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance

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AA
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PostSubject: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:14 pm

Series II - Modding 101

There are four basic things that need to happen to make a Riviera quicker:

1. Control engine knock.
2. Increase intake/engine/exhaust flow.
3. Tune the engine & transmission.
4. Improve traction.

Controlling engine knock (click for more on knock & KR) simply means detecting and eliminating it. To detect it, you need a scanner to monitor KR, or knock retard (more on scanners). Once you know if you have KR, and how much, you can start getting rid of it by reducing heat in the combustion chamber. The easiest way is to use premium (high-octane) fuel (more on fuel). A good first mod to lower engine temps is a colder 180 thermostat (more on t-stats). Another simple mod is to use a cooler range of spark plugs (more on plugs). The intercooler (IC) is the ultimate knock killer. Using an IC cools the intake air as it leaves the blower, eliminating KR even at boost levels much higher than stock.

Increasing air/engine/exhaust flow means getting more air in, through, and out of the engine. Read more on flow here. One way to improve flow is to let more air in by opening up the intake. A free mod known as "gutting the airbox" (more on GB) is the simplest improvement you can do to your intake. Going a step further, a cold air intake system (more on CAI & FWI) can really increase performance in this category. Additionally, a cold air intake works to fight knock because it helps lower intake air temps. Dropping SC pulley size (more on SC pulleys) is an effective way to increase flow by making more boost, but in most cases this creates higher levels of knock. Higher-ratio roller rocker arms (more on rockers) and performance cam shafts (more on cams) can increase flow without raising boost level, so knock will usually not increase with these mods. A 3" down pipe (more on down pipes), ported exhaust manifold, or exhaust headers (more on headers) will help to better flow exhaust gases from the engine, building more power and further reducing knock. Improving on the exhaust system, catalytic converter, and muffler(s) will allow the engine to breath even better. Upgrading to a ported or larger supercharger will flow more air at lower temperatures (more on ported blowers). A larger throttle body & MAF may be required if air flow exceeds the capability of the PCM.

Tuning the engine and transmission can be done through replacement of the stock Powertrain Controle Module (PCM), or by manually tuning it yourself. Generally tuning refers to commanding more or less fuel when needed, but it can also mean improving performance in other areas such as shifting and cooling fan settings (more on tuning). Replacing the PCM means physically removing your car's module, then replacing it with an aftermarket version that is tuned for better performance. This method is nice in that many features of your car's operation are improved, but the tune is relatively generic... not specific to your car's exact needs, and it isn't easy to change out the PCM every time you want a new program. Manual tuning fixes some of the drawbacks of replacement PCMs. You can tune with either an air/fuel calibrator (AFC) or with PCM tuning software. An AFC is inexpensive and installs inline with your MAF sensor; it "tricks" the PCM into adding fuel when you need it. Using an AFC requires a scanner and is easy to use, but is limited to fueling control only. AFC's are no longer being sold through most vendors do to the popularity of manual Tuning software. Manual PCM Tuning software requires a PC laptop, and lets you program other areas of your PCM, such as the transmission, for better performance. A huge bonus is you can make changes as often as you like (more on manual tuning), and it is possible to scan & tune other vehicles.

Improved traction starts with good tires (more on tires). Another way to achieve better grip off the line is to upgrade the suspension system (more on suspension). A firmer suspension helps the front tires stay in contact with the road. Finally, good technique is critical to launch a FWD car correctly. It takes practice, but a good launch is one of our car's strongest assets. (more on launching).

The following is an example of a common mod plan, listed somewhat in the order of increasing complexity and cost, but overall the plan is to modify in an order that takes into consideration the safety of your engine:

1. Premium fuel
2. Cooler spark plugs
3. Cooler thermostat
4. Gutted air box
5. Cold Air Intake (CAI or FWI)
6. Modular Pulley System (3.6" or possible 3.5")
7. Scan device
8. 3.5" or possible 3.4" SC pulley
9. 3" Down pipe
10. Possible 3.4" SC pulley
11. Rockers or cam
12. PCM or tuner
13. 3.4" or possible 3.3" SC pulley
14. PEMs or headers
15. Possible 3.3" or 3.2" SC pulley
16. Exhaust and mufflers
17. Ported blower
18. Bigger throttle body
19. Intercooler
20. Possible 3.1" or smaller SC pulley

After these mods, if you want to do more, you may have to create a new plan, replace some of the parts you have, and spend $$$ on better heads or a different blower.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun


Last edited by AA on Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:29 pm; edited 10 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:23 am

OK so what should do then save up $1000 and buy a
1)-$100 MPS kit
2)-$350 headers
3)-$400 rockers

thats my current order of stuff i will be doing where should i put the autotap tuner ???
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PostSubject: temp mod 2   Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:33 am

Merged your post - read above ^^^^

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:38 am

so according to this i should get the MPS 3.4 inch pulley and at the same time get a PCM TUNER........ so can u give me a link to the autotap site so i can see how this device works and how it works


thanks for showing me this it answered my own question
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:41 am

I made some adjustments to the above list.

For info on AutoTap, please read: http://rivperformance.editboard.com/Series-II-3800-Supercharged-c2/Series-II-FAQ-f19/Do-I-need-a-scanner-t31.htm

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:45 am

OK thanks!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:23 pm

wow making cars "go fast" isnt easy or inexpensive!!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:52 pm

yea, welcome to the club happy

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1996 with 244k miles, L324" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.0" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, ZZP FMHE, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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PostSubject: temp mod   Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:04 am

hahaha yup
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PostSubject: Need some opinions   Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:30 am

For now I have decided to keep my '96 riv supercharged. I guess I want to know what you guys think of my mod plans. Currently I have 4" FWI, 180* stat, AL 104s, cat delete, and 3.5" pulley (I know I need to put this in my sig). I am buying both a machined LIM and a 3.4" pulley locally for $40. My current plans are to install the machined LIM, buy and install a ported gen 3, meth injection, resonator delete, and possibly drop a pulley size or two (not sure if I want to risk it). What are your opinions? I know I will need a tune, but I didnt include that, because the '96 rivs are very limited with tuning. Any ideas are welcome and appreciated. Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:25 am

Actually the 96's are not that limited in tuning. it's mostly the trans settings that are lacking.

A machined LIM will not do anything unless you are going inter-cooled. Resonator delete will also yield near 0hp. it will however increase the cabin drone.

I would get 1.9 rockers before anything else. Or a cam. You should also start looking into headers or at the very least a plod and down pipe BEFORE dropping any more pulley size.

Dont know much about meth kits b/c most of the 3800 crowd doesnt do it.

Matt

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1996 with 244k miles, L324" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.0" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, ZZP FMHE, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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PostSubject: need performance   Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:39 pm

i have a 1997 rivi and i want to put out more horse power any body got any ideas
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:52 pm

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PostSubject: Couple questions...   Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:52 pm

Hey Guys, track season is upon us so its time to start thinkin about times... so i have a couple questions
1. would a 3.4 be safe on a mail order tune?, and wheres a good place to pick one up?... I dont plan on keepin the car long enough to go much further than that
2. are there resonators in the stock exhaust or just cats and mufflers? (havent been under the car since fall so i forget stuff haha)
3. i plan on gutting the cats, any helpful tips/hints on this?

its late and im beat, ill probably think of more... any help is appreciated
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:39 pm

LT1Squirrel wrote:
Hey Guys, track season is upon us so its time to start thinkin about times... so i have a couple questions
1. would a 3.4 be safe on a mail order tune?, and wheres a good place to pick one up?... I dont plan on keepin the car long enough to go much further than that
2. are there resonators in the stock exhaust or just cats and mufflers? (havent been under the car since fall so i forget stuff haha)
3. i plan on gutting the cats, any helpful tips/hints on this?

its late and im beat, ill probably think of more... any help is appreciated

1. Not really but you would not be the first to try.

2. There is a huge resonator just aft of the cat.

3. don't bother, the factory cat is low restriction anyways.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:33 am

SES reset without a scan tool...anyone know the sequence? seems there are just sooo many experts on how to reset a SES light I cant get a straight answer...hold the trip rest for 10 seconds, pull the negative cable and cycle headlamps, ignition on off on off...maybe i did manage to try something that works but have a short somewhere keeping it from going off. Original problem was a Cam position sensor code which was replaced.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:23 am

BKRIV wrote:
SES reset without a scan tool...anyone know the sequence? seems there are just sooo many experts on how to reset a SES light I cant get a straight answer...hold the trip rest for 10 seconds, pull the negative cable and cycle headlamps, ignition on off on off...maybe i did manage to try something that works but have a short somewhere keeping it from going off. Original problem was a Cam position sensor code which was replaced.

I am not aware of a tool-free reset on the Riv, but I think that for some codes the light resets after some number of starts. Is it 50 starts (for instance if you leave the gas cap off one day)? I don't remember. For other codes, there is no reset that I am aware of without a scan tool. Why not take the car to an autoparts store (autozone comes to mind) let them read the code, then tell them "I want to verify that this is really a problem, please reset the codes and we'll see if it lights up again."

Then you'll likely get your reset.

...don't be surprised if it's a different code/different problem though, and if different then the light will of course come back on (soon).

If you're going to be working on your car yourself you ought to consider gettting a scanner (not simply code reader) for yourslef. I use CarCode. http://www.obd-2.com. Other people use other tools. CarCode is freeware, loads onto a laptop; you have to buy or make a data link dongle to go from the car to the computer - the CarCode site, however, sells these and although they are not free they are not a fortune either.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:30 am

albertj wrote:


1. Not really but you would not be the first to try.

2. There is a huge resonator just aft of the cat.

3. don't bother, the factory cat is low restriction anyways.

1. Even though its only 10% overdrive, a mail order tune wouldnt suffice despite these engines began production over a decade ago?

2. Is the resonator a bigger restriction than the cat?, I just want a little more throatyness to the exhaust without buying a catback and regretting it since these motors sound like ass
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:34 am

Squirrel, a 3.4" is not a good idea on a stock engine.
Taking the resonator off will give you a lil more sound, but you're better off buying a set of turbo mufflers to get a deeper tone.

BKRiv, as Albert said, there is no way to reset the SES light without a scan tool. The only other way to do it would be to disconnect the battery for like 20 minutes. This will reset all codes and freeze frame data. Stop tryin to do it by pushing/holding/turning on and off stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:40 am

^^^ another technique I've used instead of disconnecting the battery is to pull the PCM fuse (driver door) for a similar amount of time.

Agree that running a 3.4" without the proper mods/tune isn't the best idea - especially for track use. However, the mail order tune should help things. Where did you find a pre-tuned PCM for a Riviera?

At minimum, you need to be scanning the car if you decide to try the 3.4".

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:17 pm

AA wrote:
^^^ another technique I've used instead of disconnecting the battery is to pull the PCM fuse (driver door) for a similar amount of time.

Agree that running a 3.4" without the proper mods/tune isn't the best idea - especially for track use. However, the mail order tune should help things. Where did you find a pre-tuned PCM for a Riviera?

At minimum, you need to be scanning the car if you decide to try the 3.4".

AutoLite 104's, a 160* T-stat and a good CAI/FWI (at minimum) can handle a 3.4" pulley. Yes, a "mail order" tune will help, but I (we) recommend an actual WOT scan in order to tune out the KR. You will still get decent amounts of KR with a 3.4" and the above mods, but it won't blow anything up IMO. Again I'd (we'd) have it scanned and tuned accordingly to get the KR down as much as possible, especially if you're planning on beating it up at the track.

Another note.....92 octane fuel may not be enough on really hot days if you're planning on tracking it. You may need to add some Lucas or similar booster to keep the KR at a "tolerable" level when racing it.

And yeah.....where did you find a mail order tune for a Riv???? scratch A GP PCM won't work......
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:34 pm

i already have the plugs, stat/manual fan switch, and a homemade CAI, but it sounds like sticking to a 3.5 would be the better idea in this case... Buying/building a cable shouldnt be a problem to log/scan since my notebook is in my car most of the time anyway and all software is free.. i was thinking it would just be easier to build a meth setup and not have to worry about knock:)... and on intense's site it says they make pre-programmed PCM's
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:43 pm

LT1Squirrel wrote:
i already have the plugs, stat/manual fan switch, and a homemade CAI, but it sounds like sticking to a 3.5 would be the better idea in this case... Buying/building a cable shouldnt be a problem to log/scan since my notebook is in my car most of the time anyway and all software is free.. i was thinking it would just be easier to build a meth setup and not have to worry about knock:)... and on intense's site it says they make pre-programmed PCM's

In order for Intense to do your PCM, you'd have to send it to them first. They have GP setups.....not Rivs. As for the manual fans, you're better off getting the settings for those changed in the PCM. I have mine set to come on at 180* instead of 220* or whatever it was.

By "scanning", I meant with a DHP or HPT tuner. This way, you can manually change the fuel/air settings in the PCM to adjust for KR. If you get a generic tune, your chances of getting rid of the KR is slim, cause the "tune" won't be for your car specifically. Get me?
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:24 pm

Abaddon wrote:


In order for Intense to do your PCM, you'd have to send it to them first. They have GP setups.....not Rivs. As for the manual fans, you're better off getting the settings for those changed in the PCM. I have mine set to come on at 180* instead of 220* or whatever it was.

By "scanning", I meant with a DHP or HPT tuner. This way, you can manually change the fuel/air settings in the PCM to adjust for KR. If you get a generic tune, your chances of getting rid of the KR is slim, cause the "tune" won't be for your car specifically. Get me?

I have the fans set to come on manually so i can run open stat/full on fans at the track while running... Yeah i hear you on the tune thing, guess im still used to the LT1/LSx aftermarket where you can get a dead on mail order tune from any state in the country the next day haha
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Modding 101 - How to Increase Acceleration Performance   Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:53 pm

What I meant by "scanning" is monitoring knock so you know if things are working safely or not. Tuning is ideal, but at least scan so you're in the know.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera 268k miles 298 HP/370 TQ 0-60: 5.79s ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 4087 lb 20.1 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley AL104 plugs 180 t-stat FWI w/K&N 1.9:1 rockers OR pushrods LS6 valve springs SLP headers ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts MaxAir shocks Addco sway bars UMI bushings GM STB Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus SS lines Brembo slotted discs DHP tuned Aeroforce Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO 49k miles 0-60: 4.8s 16.9 avg MPG Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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