Perfecting The Already Perfect: Porsche Engine Mods
There are two types of Porsche owners: those who are happy to drive their cars as they bought them off the assembly line; and those who cannot resist tinkering and tweaking until they have added their own unique modifications and improvements to their beloved automobiles. Let’s just say that there is tacit agreement among Porsche lovers that there is such a thing as improving what is already perfect. If you’re one of those who believes that your Porsche engine’s true potential is yet to be unleashed, read on.
Enhanced engine performance means one thing: more powerful and more efficient combustion. Whether your Porsche belongs to the later 911 turbo-charged series, or whether it still sports the traditional flat-six boxer engine, its combustion process will always have the same beginning: air intake. Process-wise, this is the first stop for engine modification. Fitting a washable aftermarket air filter will not only allow for greater airflow into the engine chamber, resulting in more efficient use, but will also filter out airborne impurities which reduce engine performance over time. Another option is to install a cold air intake kit, which allows only cold air into the internal combustion engine. Since cold air is typically more oxygen-dense than warm air, the engine fuel will have more oxygen to react with, resulting in more powerful combustion.
Turbo-charging and Supercharging
Most sports car fanatics’ eyes light up at the mention of ‘turbo-charging’, and there’s good reason for this. Adding a turbo to any vehicle correlates to considerable power gains, but turbo-charging a Porsche practically redefines power itself. If you’re the lucky owner of one of the later series 911s, then increasing the capacity of your turbo is the ultimate engine mod. If not, adding a turbo to your naturally aspirated engine will increase its volumetric efficiency by as much as 60% (volumetric efficiency refers to how much air the engine is able to suck in before the valves close), resulting in much more powerful combustion. However, this is not a mod for the faint-hearted: turbo-charging a NASP engine is a complicated mechanical task which will have knock-on complications. At the very least, you will need to lower the compression ratio of the engine to prevent detonation. If turbo-charging is a step too far for you, there’s always supercharging. Installing a supercharger will pressurize the air intake so that compressed air enters the combustion chamber, allowing for increased volumetric efficiency and thus for greater power. A supercharger will not spin as fast as a turbo when compressing air, so the overall power gain is less dramatic. Nevertheless, it’s a mod worth bragging about.
Chip-tuning and Remapping
Chip-tuning or remapping your engine is the mother of all engine performance modifications. It involves overwriting the program on your Porsche’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) in order to unlock and modify certain aspects of engine operation, such as spark timing, fuel injection, and boost control, for superior engine performance. Chip-tuning refers to the actual removal and reprogramming of the software chip. Chip-tuning is less prevalent these days, as rewriting the ECU software through an On-Board Diagnostics port (remapping) has become far more practical and does not require chip removal. Remapping is often necessary if bolt-on modifications have been completed, as they tend to change air to fuel ratios, which must then be accommodated by remapping.
Exhaust upgrades, installing faster cams, and changing your pistons and valves are among the other engine performance-enhancing modifications which you can explore. At the end of the day, it’s a question of Porsche preference – are you a mod fanatic, or will you keep it classic?