Auto Customization

When you want to carry an assortment of bulky items but don’t have a huge pickup truck to get the job done, you shouldn’t lose hope. Your car can be fitted with roof racks, and in most cases may already come with one pre-installed. The set of bars fitted onto the roof of the car can carry luggage, kayaks, bicycles, skis, and a lot more. These attachments can do miracles for you if you’ve got no space inside your car to fit a huge container. Check out some questions you should find answers to:

1. Are they compatible with my car?

2. Can I easily remove it?

3. Are roof racks noisy?

4. Is it easy to install?

Here are a couple buying tips to help you get the best deals. Check out the list below for more information:

Decide on what you are going to use them for – roof racks are versatile and are used for a variety of purposes. They can be used either for commercial or recreational hauling tasks. Regardless of what type of vehicle you have, you should always take into account the type of usage you have in mind to better plan for the type of attachments to get.

Decide on the type of fastening to use – select the type of rack for a vehicle isn’t judged by the size alone. There are a few things to consider. This includes taking into account the existing attachment points where the rack could be fastened. If there are no pre-drilled holes, you can opt for the types that latch onto the doors of the car.

However, installing a roof rack also comes with some caveats. Despite some minor issues that you might run into, there are solutions to each one. Do roof racks make noise? The short answer is, yes. As the vehicle travels at faster speeds, the roof racks, due to how they are positioned and designed, has a tendency to cause whirring of whistling noise. However, some designs or simple tricks will make the sound go away.

To get rid of that annoying whistling noise your setup generates when your car picks up speed, try tying a bungee cord in a spiral pattern around the front crossbar. This usually eliminates the sound. You don’t have to totally wrap the crossbar, just a few wraps will do. You could also install fairings to reduce wind drag to eliminate the sound. Also, check whether the end caps of the crossbars have come off and if your setup allows you to easily remove the racks, take them off when not in use. This eliminates the noise and saves fuel.

Decide on a modular or complete setup – some setups come in one bundle. However, these systems won’t let you swap in another part from some third party brand. You’re lucky enough if you can find out. The most preferred, however, are modular variants. Most car owners like this option mainly because it’s almost everywhere. Different parts can be found and bought in different outlets. It’s easier to find and can be modified to cater to your needs. If you’re constantly carrying different items, you should go with a modular setup so you can easily swap attachments when you need.

Choosing the right type of headers and the correct exhaust setup is very important because it will prevent a lots of headaches down the road. Will it be too loud, does it drone, is the performance worth the $$$ are probably questions going through your head. We will make it as simple as possible to explain the differences and benefits of a UEL versus EL headers exhaust setup for the Toyota 86.

Should you get aftermarket headers in the first place?

Headers are probably the best bang for your buck in terms of performance upgrades for your Toyota 86, next to a tune. The cost though is in the comfort of your daily drive to work because the exhaust will definitely be louder, and most likely drone in higher rpms. Depending on your aftermarket exhaust, the noise/drone could be unbearable.

Before switching to aftermarket headers, I would ask myself, hey how loud is my exhaust now and can I take it if it was louder. If no, I would definitely either switch back to stock exhausts or switch to a quieter aftermarket exhausts like the Q300s. I will definitely write an article in the future explaining different ways to quiet down your loud exhaust.

My personal experience is that going from just Magnaflow exhausts to JDL UEL headers, it was noticeably louder. Using a free decibel meter iPhone app, it measured between 75-80db with just the Magnaflow exhausts on the freeway and 85-90db with the headers. Might not seem much, but to bring you to perspective, a jump from 70db to 80db is actually 2 times louder. From what I can tell, it didn’t feel twice as loud, but I can definitely notice the difference.

I’m a fairly young guy in my 20s, so the noise wasn’t a killjoy for my daily commute, but for those with a family or kids they take around, I would definitely take the jump in noise into consideration.

Yes I want headers, but I only care about Performance

The general statement and truth is that EL headers do perform better than UEL headers. The reason behind it is mainly due to the design of the headers. The 4-2-1 designs for EL headers makes it more efficient and performs better at the mid RPM, which the 86 desperately needs due to the torque dip

Though the general statement is true, my take on this is that you cannot compare UEL and EL headers solely on the design of these headers, because the differences in brand and quality plays a huge variable in performance

For example, an excellent comparison was done by Drift-Office on the performance differences of the most popular UEL headers for the Toyota 86 / Scion FRS. In short, they removed all variables in their study: all cars were 6MT, running on the same fuel, and with similar exhaust setups other than the UEL headers.

These cars with different UEL headers were then tested on a Dyno, which measures the horsepower and torque as the car runs through the RPM range

Result of the study shown below: Source:

The bottom line is this. When choosing headers for performance, it’s not just deciding between 2 easy options EL or UEL. It’s really about doing the research on a list of popular headers on key criteria on what makes a good performing header (i.e. dyno performance + weight).

To help narrow down this search, my recommendations in terms of performance for the Toyota 86 / Scion FRS would be the JDL UEL Headers or the Ace 4-2-1 EL Headers.

I want my exhaust to sound good

This section is a little harder to explain because how good an exhaust sounds is purely subjective. What I will explain is the major difference in terms of exhaust notes between the UEL and EL headers. UEL headers produces an exhaust note most people are familiar with as the “Subaru Rumble,” on the Toyota 86 whereas the EL headers do not.

The general consensus is that most people like the rumble. I personally have an UEL header myself, so I can attest to the love for the Subaru rumble. Again, this is a personal preference, and I would highly suggest going to a local FRS/86 meet, and listen in person to the difference exhaust setups people have. Videos can only give you a general idea of the sound note an exhaust makes, but loses the ability to tell you how loud the header/exhaust setup will be in person.

The 30 Second Summary

– Only upgrade to aftermarket headers if you don’t mind your exhaust being a fair bit louder.
– EL headers perform better in general, but performance is very different depending on the brand you decide to choose. Therefore, do more research on the product, not the design.
– Only UEL headers will have the Subaru rumble and will be a hint louder than the EL headers.

In short, this is how I would make my decision between the 2 options. If you going for a track focus build that will be squeezing every HP/Torque from this engine, I would definitely go with EL headers. For the majority who are using this car as a daily and/or a weekend warrior, I would base my decision on which headers sound better to you. Do you want that subie rumble? My guess is yes!

For many of us, our cars are our pride and joy. They’re an expression of our personality, chosen for a mixture of power, handling and design that signals who we are to the world around us as we move from home, to work and out to social engagements.

Almost everything about your car can be customised too, from your tyres up to your spoiler. Today, the car customisation scene is just about as big as it’s ever been. With a multitude of factory and aftermarket options available, it’s clear that, if you want it, you’ll never see another exact copy of your car on the road.

So, with an endless ocean of custom possibilities available, why let your number plate fade into the background?

Personalised number plates can be almost anything you want them to be, from versions of your name to references to your car, lifestyle or hobbies. A private number plate can transform your car and bring the fun back to driving, but what are the main reasons for buying one? Let’s take a look.

Reveal your Creativity and Set Yourself Apart from the Pack

Personalised registration plates are the perfect canvas on which you can reveal your creativity without turning your car into a sideshow.

We’ve all seen the impact that spectacular paint jobs and large, aftermarket body kits can have, but there is an easier way to set yourself apart from the pack – with a personalised number plate.

Whether you’re running a car commonly found on the road or want to celebrate the uniqueness of your motor, personalised registration plates make for a terrific option. Even better? Because you can create any word or abbreviation you like, your car can say anything it likes.

Let Passers by Focus on the Car, Not the Age

Cars get old, that’s just a fact. However, not all cars age equally. Design classics might see the years tick by like every other car, but their statement lines and outright quality shines through the ages.

With a traditional number plate, all passers by will see is when your car came out. With a personalised number plate? They’ll see your car for what it truly is – a thing of beauty.

Make a Smart Investment

Number plates might not seem like a good investment on the face of it, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Because each plate is totally unique, the value of your plate will remain a constant – just as long as somebody wants it from you.

Cars with custom license plates specific to the model often fetch more at auction, so don’t view a personal number plate as an expense; view it as an investment.

How the combustion engine works: by detonating hundreds of small explosions every second.

A piston glides along a cylinder, pushing and pulling. The piston pulls down air and gas in the intake stroke and fills the cylinder with the fuel for the fire. The cylinder is primed and the air-gas mixture is ready for compression. Compression creates massive potential energy.

The piston glides back up the cylinder, pushing the air-gas mixture hard and fast into a tiny space—compressing it down to 1/10 (or greater) of its original size (a compression ratio of 10:1). The gases are compressed during the compression stroke, smashing the molecules closer together and increasing the potential energy. Then comes the crescendo.

Spark. Ignite. Explosion. When the gases have been compressed and the piston is at top dead center (TDC), a spark flashes and sets the highly energized compressed gases on fire. Boom! The power stroke—the tiny explosion that propels all combustion engines.

The explosion pushes the piston back down and the crankshaft spins in unison. The energy moves the crankshaft and creates the power under the pedal. Finally, the piston glides back up the cylinder to eject the exhaust—the exhaust stroke—and clears the way for the process to start over. And over. Hundreds of times per second.

Your car’s engine sounds pretty smooth, but slow it down and it sounds like artillery fire—individual booms. An 8 cylinder car idling at 750 RPMs “fires” 50 times per second. That’s 50 power strokes each second while idling!

The basic process of the four-stroke engine is the same as it was in 1876 when Nikolaus Otto invented it. The only differences between an engine that powers the 2017 CTS-V with 640 horsepower (HP) and the 3 HP engine created in 1876: efficiency and capacity. It boils down to compressing air and gas into a tiny space, lighting it on fire and transferring that energy into mechanical motion. That’s all it takes to move the family minivan or James Bond’s Aston Martin.

The Four Basic Strokes: A Closer Look

The entire process only takes four strokes of the piston.

  • Intake Stroke
  • Compression Stroke
  • Power Stroke (Combustion Stroke)
  • Exhaust Stroke

Intake Stroke

As the piston moves down on its first stroke, the intake valve opens and allows the combustion chamber to fill with air and fuel. This creates a space ready to explode even without compression. But add compression and you create a lot of potential energy. It’s possible to add more fuel and more air during the intake stroke to create a more powerful mixture to increase horsepower but be sure to check your tuning if you do add performance parts.

Compression Stroke

When the intake stroke ends at the bottom of the cylinder, the compression stroke begins. The piston moves up and forces the air and gas into a tiny space. A 10:1 compression ratio will compress the air-gas mixture down to 1/10 the size of the compression chamber. The higher the compression ratio the more potential energy which means more power for your pedal. Compress for power. Note that higher compression ratios require higher octane fuels.

Power Stroke (Combustion Stroke)

The power stroke starts when the compression stroke hits top dead center (TDC) (or before top dead center, BTDC) and a perfectly timed spark ignites the gases. This moment is what the engine is all about. Getting the right gases (air-fuel ratio) ignited at the right time with as much energy as possible. The size of the chamber, the compression ratio, the spark, the timing—everything is to maximize the energy of the explosion and then transfer it to mechanical motion. The power stroke thrusts the piston downward propelled by the explosion leading to the fourth stroke.

Exhaust Stroke

On the piston’s second upward stroke, the exhaust valve opens and the piston pushes the burnt gases up and out of the exhaust valves. When your exhaust system is maximized, the pressure the piston encounters on its way up is minimal and the valve moves with less restriction which can give you power gains. Also, with a high performing exhaust system, the exhaust stroke is more likely to push all the burnt gases out of the chamber clearing the way for a clean intake stroke and a stronger power stroke. The cycle is complete and the piston and chamber are ready to begin again.

So What?

If you know how your engine produces power, harnesses that power, works more efficiently at keeping that power, then you’ll know how to make your engine perform its best. You can make cost-effective decisions on which modifications will give you the most horsepower return. To help with engine performance, you might consider an engine tune, a cold air intake, a performance exhaust, a performance intake manifold or even a supercharger.

Now that you know more about the four-stroke process, you will be able to determine how each modification affects each stroke. One mod may affect more than one stroke and give you more bang for your buck.