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Car Hacks & Mods for Dummies

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the no-relation-to-tom dept.

Books 373

donour (Donour Sizemore) writes "I recently bought a high-performance automobile that has a reputation for its tuning potential. Before making the purchase, I joined several online forums for enthusiasts in order to get a good reading on how happy people are with the particular model. I was amazed at the vibrant communities built around websites such as evolutionm.net and nasioc.com. A wealth of information is available, but the data is surrounded by noise. For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk. Enter David Vespremi's Car Hacks & Mods for Dummies." Read on for the rest of Sizemore's review.

In general, I steer myself and others away from the "for Dummies" book series since I believe a lot of material at this level can be found on the internet for free. HOWTOs and tutorials abound for using and modifying most consumer products. In this case, the time saved from filtering online discussion is well worth it. The book is well organized, with separate sections devoted to handling, power, braking, engine management, safety, and cosmetics. There are 26 chapters spread across 360 pages. As you can see, chapters are short and can be tackled easily during lunch or a short taxi ride to retrieve your broken car.

Slashdot readers may be surprised to learn that there is no discussion of entertainment electronics such as stereos or car-mounted computers. This should not be confused with engine management units (ECU). ECUs are discussed at length. Car Hacks & Mods for Dummies main focus is making your car go, stop and turn. Sections were added for safety and cosmetics, but performance is by far the emphasis.

The book does not actually explain how to do any specific modifications whatsoever. Instead it serves as a guidebook to learn what options are out there and compare one upgrade path to another. For example, there is a great explanation of the differences between a turbocharger and a supercharger, but you're not going to get an analysis of the mods required to support your brand new 10.5cm hotside. Instead there are careful treatments of the pros and cons associated with almost any upgrade car car enthusiast may be considering. The coverage of jargon and rating systems used for various products is especially useful. Whenever a new subject or car component is mentioned, the author goes over regulating and standardizing bodies (the DOT, EPA, and SAE) as well as explains how parts, pieces, and fluids are rated. While this is useful when thinking about a new project, it isn't the information someone would want to rely on once they begin such an undertaking itself. The author clearly states, "this book is not intended to be an instruction manual."

The author gets high marks for addressing safety -- both the driver's and the vehicle's -- before any modification. The emphasis on maintaining legal and effective safety devices on a tuner car is something you are not likely to get during an argument about which upgrade path is optimal, nor is it obvious that many safety 'upgrades' -- 4-point harnesses, flashy roll-bars -- actually decrease driver safety when used on the street. In addition the author consistently gives warning when introducing a mod that could put added stress on a vehicle.

If you are a professional mechanic, this book is not for you. You already know most of the contents. Mechanics would be better served by product literature and shop manuals. If you are thinking about modifying your car, but don't have any idea where to start, this is probably a good place. Just be sure to read the first chapter. Car modding quickly becomes expensive, and jumping in without knowing the attached costs (which this book addresses) can be a financial nightmare.


You can purchase Car Hacks & Mods from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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373 comments

Noises (3, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644904)

A wealth of information is available, but the data is surrounded by noise. For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

Instead of reading other websites or books, he should have done a AskSlashdot :)

In my opinion (a WRX), it's best to leave any mods/upgrades to the experts. If you have the money to spend on mods, you should have the money to pay for the experts' time. Cars, in most cases, are the second most expensive asset a person's going to get (after a supercomputer), so I would rather put it in good hand, and just enjoy the outcome, not the journey of car mods.

Re:Noises (3, Insightful)

boudie (704942) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644990)

And how you become an expert is the same as with computers, you first get an old one and tear it apart. Bonus points for putting it back together.

Re:Noises (4, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644997)

I know a couple people who mod their cars. The impression I get is that, for them, the joy is in the journey, not the destination. One guy I know sells cars and boats off once he's done fixing them up.

Re:Noises (1)

wynler (678277) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645005)

But sometimes the goal is the journey and not the destination.

Re:Noises (2)

slart42 (694765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645008)

Possibly true if you're just looking for getting the most performance out of your money..
If you like "hacks", though, you might want to try out some mods to your car, just for the sake of trying it, and seeing what results you come up with. You'll be much prouder of your fast car, when you've made it fast by yourself, than if you just gave it the standart expert treatment. At least with old engines, there is still quite a lot you can do on your own, and you can experiment without immediatly killing your engine, if you know a littlebit about what you are doing..

Re:Noises (4, Insightful)

`Sean (15328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645014)

I'd tend to agree when it comes to novices and people who want a fast daily driver. But, personally, I'd rather become an expert myself and turn every bolt. That's why I built my own project car [trunkmonkeyracing.com] from the ground up for rally and ice racing.

But, by your logic, most computer users of high end systems should only trust installing software to the experts at Best Buy. ;)

Re:Noises (2, Insightful)

`Sean (15328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645084)

Rephrase: novices getting in over their heads and people with no interest in mechanics who want a fast daily driver.

Re:Noises (4, Funny)

lashi (822466) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645199)

>Cars, in most cases, are the second most expensive asset a person's going to get (after a supercomputer),

Most people would say house, but we are on slashdot so I am glad you have your priority straight.

The adventure lies not in the destination... (1)

TeeJayHoward (763315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645261)

...but rather in the trip. For many people, modifying their car is a chance to show off their mechanical skills. I relate these people to those who can take a crappy computer and make it run like a scalded cat. Then, of course, there's those people who just want a faster, more stable ride. These are the people who buy a new Alienware system for the latest games. And then there's the ricers. These are the people with the large spoiler on a(normally Honda) front-wheel drive car. These people are kinda like a person that would buy a Lian Li and put a P2-300 in it, and then claim that it could best the Earth Simulator. Oh, and... For reference... Yes, at one time, I had a Celery 300A (OC'd to something or another) running in my Cooler Master ATC-710. Almost forgot... There's also the hot-rod guys, who would be perfectly happy building their computer from a lump of silicon :)

Re:Noises (1)

cathouse (602815) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645271)

My take on *the experts*, based on half-a-dozen reasonably completed major projects over a period of more than 40 years, is that you can rarely trust any of them. It has always ended far better when performence mods came from the Factory racing department, and when other mods were *restoration*. The only exceptions that can be regarded as entirely successful have been those involving Radio Communications/Audio or Lighting. While I've never turned a running vehicle into a basket case, I have twice found myself the proud[?] owner of a machine that could no longer reasonably be driven on the public roads.

Re:Noises (1)

pqdave (470411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645300)

I do most of my own auto work because I've had a hard time finding someone capable of competently fixing common problems on my low-performance sedan. I can usually do better with a few hours and a Hayne's or Chilton's manual.

There are plenty of tuner shops around, but I bet Sturgeon's law is even worse than with general mechanics.

Even if you are going to pay someone else, you need enough clue to know what to ask for.

Re:Noises (2, Interesting)

Big Smirk (692056) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645323)

That's it, you are out of the hacker club! :)

There are different levels of mods.

Beginner - bolt on the exhaust and make vroom vroom noises. Do you really want to pay someone $70/hr to install this?

Intermediate - replacing engine components - camshaft heads; Bolting on superchargers. Almost everything in kit form. Requires an investment in tools (Sear Craftsman - not too bad)

Advanced - Fabrication! Welding in roll cages (maybe even bending them yourself). Welding up your own exhaust because no one makes it off the shelf and you can't afford custom ($3000). You find yourself asking what the hydraulic ratio of a particular brake master cylinder is. You know you are at this level where part of your long term plans is to repaint the car "when you are done". Lets just say tool costs have gone up a bit. $3000 for a TIG welder, $1000 in tube bender (including dies), about $1000 in saws, grinders, shapers, and real car hackers of course have the modified tools - example - a band saw that can cut pre-bent tubing perfectly along radiuses. Other clues are being on a first name basis with the sales and tech people at companies like OTC, Miller, and Kent Moore

There's an old hotrodder saying "Nothing beats cubic inches"... and the lesser known other half... "Except cubic dollars"

Good but.... (0, Redundant)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644905)

I like this book a lot but it does have a number of typos. Overall though, worth the money.

Re:Good but.... (1)

andy666 (666062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644956)

Yeah, I found the typos annoying but it was a big help for me when I modded my 72 Dodge Dart body regarding safety. And it has a funny joke from Seinfeld about a "Johnson rod".

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10644906)

Car Hacks & Mods for Dummies

Oh yeah. This is gonna go well.

Re:Yeah (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644971)

After spotting the Forensics for Dummies [dummies.com] book, nothing would surprise me. (Other than a MCFE certification.)

Duh! Me (3, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645128)

So far the dummy books deal with non-lethal issues. The thought of encouraging a dummy-level person to dick with the steering, braking and engine of a lethal killing machine does not help one sleep well at night. I hope, but I doubt, that the book has only one page: "If you're a dummy then don't dick with your car!"

Re:Yeah (1)

timster (32400) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645168)

"Pregnancy for Dummies" is my personal favorite.

Install a larger fan for modding? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10644912)

Do I need to install a really big fan on my car to mod it?

Re:Install a larger fan for modding? (4, Funny)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644994)

I'm going to go all-out l337 and install a water-cooling kit!

Re:Install a larger fan for modding? (2, Funny)

EtherAlchemist (789180) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645344)


I'm going to go all-out l337 and install a water-cooling kit!

Ha! Mine CAME with liquid cooling!

Re:Install a larger fan for modding? (1)

s_mencer (239965) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645401)

most cars, with the exception of old VW Bugs are already water cooled.

Re:Install a larger fan for modding? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645341)

Do I need to install a really big fan on my car to mod it?

Um, yes actually. If you're tuning a turbo car with an intercooler, you need a large fan to provide airflow while getting the boost and fuel map right.

Type R (5, Funny)

Grayden (137336) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644913)

Does the book cover proper application of Type R decals?

Re:Type R (2, Funny)

ebooher (187230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644986)

What are you talking about!? I have Sw33t Type-R decals on my Chevrolet Cavalier sedan. You're just jealous of those more l337 than you.

Re:Type R (1)

fredistheking (464407) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645051)

Like the reviewer stated "The book does not actually explain how to do any specific modifications whatsoever." However, it does compare the advantages of standard Type R stickers to the new higher performace yellow Type R stickers.

Re:Type R (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645109)

If you attach the processor from a robot vacuum cleaner, would it be a VaRoomba?

Heh. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644918)

For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

Sounds like just about every discussion board I've ever read.

Re:Heh. (1)

guido1 (108876) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645243)

For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

Sounds like just about every discussion board I've ever read.


Where's the +1 (Ironic) mod when you need it?

(And I should get double bonus points for recursive irony...)

Sweet (2, Funny)

Nickdawwg (609344) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644924)

I'd like the Speed racer kit please.

And I thought it only happend on /. (3, Funny)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644932)

For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

And I thought it only happend on /.

Watch out, they see you coming! (4, Informative)

`Sean (15328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644938)

Re:Watch out, they see you coming! (1)

Akira1 (5566) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645004)

:banana:

Re:Watch out, they see you coming! (1)

`Sean (15328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645112)

OMGHI2U! :disco:

Oops ! I am member of both forums ? (1)

flyingace (162593) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645305)

I am a Slashdot geek or WRX newbie ?

Yes, and? (2, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644945)

For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

And this differs from Slashdot, how? ;-)

Driving an unmodified car and proud of it. Can't stand "overtuned" cars.

well G'ah (1, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644946)

Hmmm, you went to forums for people who are fans of something, and they all liked it!
why, color me surprised.

And you say there were people who were unifirmed, but still gave an opinion! jeez, what is the world coming to.

I think we are all very fortunate that slashdot doesn't have those things.

Re:well G'ah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645073)

just like this ;)

cooling? (1)

slart42 (694765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644947)

Does this book cover installing a liquid cooling system into my car? to make it.. uhm... cooler?

Car Hacking??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10644948)

Why o why does slashdot keep referring to modding a car as a "car hack". You are not hacking anything and people have been modifying cars for ages, long before personal computers were around. Please slashdot overlords remember that just because you can modify a piece of hardware does not mean that you are "hacking" it.

On the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645063)

dummies? (1)

xao gypsie (641755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644950)

the only way i could be a dummie is if i actually tried to improve my old saturn's performance.....leaving it run is the only way i can asure myself of my intelligence....

Re:dummies? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645234)

Actually, performance modifications at least have some noticeable, real-world effect, unnecessary as they usually are. If you really want to look like a dummy, don't touch the engine, but put an enormous spoiler on your car.

"misinformed or incorrect speculators" (0, Redundant)

nusratt (751548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644965)

"For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk."

And the difference between this and slashdot is exactly what? ;-)

Spoliers! (4, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644973)

I hope that this book explains the usefulness of putting giant spoilers on front wheel drive cars to all idiots who continue to do so. I also hope that it explains the difference between a real exhaust system, and a fart pipe. Kids these days are really, really, really stupid, it seems (either that, or I'm getting old).

Re:Spoliers! (1)

VAXcat (674775) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645169)

And don't forget, the apparently irresistibile desire to put on tires that are either far too small or far too tall to work safely and effectively...like those tiny wide tires on the "slammed" cars, or the equally ridiculous, center-of-gravity raising 20 and 22 inch tires.

Re:Spoliers! (1)

Toshito (452851) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645340)

If you put lower profile tires on a bigger rim, you keep the same diameter and you don't raise your center of gravity.

But very low profile tires are only useful on a glass smooth track, on everyday roads they have a lot less traction because they don't follow the bumps on the road, so it gives you a very inneficient bumpy ride. Every inch more of contact patch you have with a wider tire is not useful if the tire is too rigid and bounces off the asphalt.

Re:Spoliers! (0)

bconway (63464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645170)

Not big on physics, huh? Spoilers (if they work correctly) create downforce at very high speeds. At those speeds, it doesn't matter WHICH wheels are moving you from a start. Downforce to the rear wheels is always benificial at a track. Think about it a little, m'kay?

Re:Spoliers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645270)

Downforce is only good on the drive wheels to attain greater traction. Think about it a little more, m'kay.

Re:Spoliers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645288)

This is incorrect. If I'm turning or braking without accelerating, it doesn't matter what wheels are driving. More traction is ALWAYS beneficial.

Re:Spoliers! (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645337)

Spoilers (if they work correctly) create downforce at very high speeds.

Yea, but most of the time, if the cars they are on were capable of reaching the speeds needed to produce any aerodynamic effect - the way the spoiler is mounted will cause the trunk deck to collapse. Think about that, mmmmkay?

I believe DogDude's point stands.

Re:Spoliers! (2, Informative)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645392)

You're all somewhat wrong. Spoilers create downforce at _any_ speeds, including 0 (more weight). It's only really appropriate at higher speeds though. An FWD car, while not up high on the list of "needs more downforce" (FWD cars usually understeer very terribly because the front wheels have so much force (and usually weight by design) on them), but any car will benefit from more downforce in the "able to stay on the road while turning" category.

-Jesse

Re:Spoliers! (1)

blk96gt (802791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645339)

And how many of these morons running around with big wings ever see these "high speeds". With as much weight as their stupid body kits add, a wing isn't hurting anything besides their credibility.

How many cars do you see running 10 second 1/4 mile that have wings on them? Even the fast rice rockets don't have wings on them.

Re:Spoliers! (5, Funny)

dykofone (787059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645273)

You've obviously never taken any aerodynamics classes. The point of the spoiler isn't for traction, it goes along with the basic understanding that an airfoil will provide a significant horsepower increase. Your typical spoiler on a Civic will increase horsepower 40 to 60 percent.

Take airplanes for instance. They need a large amount of thrust to get off the ground, so aircraft engineers went ahead and put TWO big airfoils on each side, as well as some smaller ones in back.

It's all simple engineering really. Let me guess, you think that stickers are purely aesthetic, and don't serve their main purpose of abrateable heat sheilding during fast runs?

Car annoyances (3, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644982)

Is there a discussion of common car annoyances such as fart pipes, chain-link license plate frames, spoilers on family sedans, ill-fitting aftermarket plastic body kits, and drivers of any type of Pontiac?

Re:Car annoyances (2, Funny)

ebooher (187230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645074)

spoilers on family sedans, ill-fitting aftermarket plastic body kits, and drivers of any type of Pontiac?

Man it's hilarious to see downforce spoilers/wings on front wheel drive cars. I may make a lot of people angry with this statement, but I can't help but laugh my white arse off when I see posers trying to lift their drive wheels off the ground. Absolutely hilarious.

Re:Car annoyances (1)

timster (32400) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645227)

Hey now, for all you know, that Civic has a rear-wheel-drive mod.

But in any case, don't tell them about it -- next thing you know we'd see downforce wings on the front of the car that took up an extra two lanes of the road.

Re:Car annoyances (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645233)

Not much one for physics, are you?

Re:Car annoyances (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645363)

Downforce on the rear wheels of a car won't lift up the front wheels, the front will receive the same amount of downforce, unless the rear wing is _way_ out behind the rear wheels, using the rear wheels like a lever. Yes ricers do that a lot, no it won't lift the front wheels up. Most of the shoddy body kits also serve to increase front downforce as well, by blocking off air from going underneath the car, creating a nice low pressure zone.

-Jesse

Re:Car annoyances (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645378)

many mods are done cosmetically, not for any performance advantage. spoilers on a FWD car are one example. Putting heavy audio equipment into a car doesn't help performance either... it's installed for a completely different reason. The same for spoilers.

Re:Car annoyances (1)

sparty (63226) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645080)

There may be, but will it help? After all, I doubt most of the maledies cited are the result of car owners doing thorough (read: any) research before modding their cars...so reading a book is probably out of the question.

Re:Car annoyances (1)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645347)

What's wrong with Pontiacs? My wife drives a vibe GT and it goes like a bat outta hell, but it also hauls a dog or mulch like an SUV, and gets 30 mpg.

Of course, its more Toyota than Pontiac, and it's got a Suzuki designed engine.

What about the non-ricer? (4, Interesting)

Nick of NSTime (597712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644996)

I have a 2005 Dodge Magnum RT [allpar.com] , so a lot of the ricer-type "upgrades" don't apply to my car. I need a balance of old-school stuff (bigger exhaust, cold air induction) with new-school stuff (reprogrammed PCM). Unfortunately, a lot of the upgrades for the Hemi engine in the Dodge Ram pickups don't work with the Hemi engine [allpar.com] in my Magnum.

So my question is, does this book cater to the pocket racer crowd or will I find any good information for my 347 cid hot rod station wagon?

Re:What about the non-ricer? (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645053)

There's no way that a book like this can address the nuances of every motor, so I would say it's mostly useless to you. It can tell you in general terms what to do to a big displacement NA engine (colder air, better ECU, engine internals, etc.) but you probbaly already know that.

Re:What about the non-ricer? (2, Informative)

Llarian (158700) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645212)

The simple fact is that in order to make your car faster, you need more air and more fuel. That's it.

Learn how your particular engine works, its tolerances, and its choke points. Fuel is easy to add more of, especially in a fuel injected car. Bigger injectors and the ability to change your fuel curve and monitor the engine status will fix that.

Air is harder. The MAF is often a choke point, as is the intake box. Throttle bodies will sometimes be an issue, although less so with the larger V-8 engines. For NA cars, you'll eventually need a stroker or something of that nature to get much more air (or adding forced induction).

When push comes to shove, an engine is a simple thing. Its just a big air pump. Learn the basics of engine management, fuel injection and timing, and static/dynamic compression if you're looking at forced induction, and the rest of it is easy.

Re:What about the non-ricer? (1)

vg30e (779871) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645302)

check out www.pricechemical.com

I have used their "super street" octane boost product with very positive results in different cars of all types including a Nissan Maxima sedan without any real problems.

Just don't exceed manufactureres guidlines.

Re:What about the non-ricer? (1)

PsychoKiller (20824) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645389)

Don't waste your money on a performance chip unless you are going to have someone come, hook up a scantool to your car, and burn one based on the results.

Hypertech makes it hard to read their chips, but the bottom line is that the ECM needs to read it, and you'll be able to get to the data eventually.

This is all F-body specific, but you'll get an idea of what they're doing:

Stage 1: Lower fan turn on temperatures.

Stage 2: Advance timing in the upper rpms.

It's a waste of money, and may in fact hurt performance if it's advancing timing too much, since the ECM may detect knock and retard the timing worse than stock.

Car mods for dummies (2, Insightful)

CRepetski (824321) | more than 9 years ago | (#10644998)

IMHO, the majority of modded cars you see on the road are driven in a significantly more aggressive manner than unmodded ones. This seems to outweigh a slight improvement or reduction in safety by such mods. That said, perhaps learning about safety from a "for dummies" book is even more important in these cases?

seems familiar (2, Funny)

octal666 (668007) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645003)

For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

I have nightmares about an unmodded slashdot...

Well you've come to the right place... (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645022)

For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk. ... b/c this is where all of the misinformed speculators hang out.

For VW lovers, I recommend ... (4, Informative)

Buran (150348) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645034)

VWVortex.com has some great discussion forums, although the main model-specific forums, especially the Golf/Jetta forums, are mostly full of "what rims should I get?" and suchlike, which is a shame because I keep finding that requests for actual help are buried under such junk. It's quite frustrating to check back a while after a request to find two pages of rim polls burying your post past the 1-3 pages most people bother to read. Some people resort to adding a photo to their post to get the camera icon next to their thread so people will open it even if the photo is unrelated to the help request.

Then there are the large number of people who, frustrated by this and by the search function that seems to be totally incapable of actually finding anything, post a nice query that obviously took some time to set up, only to be greeted by people who post "Use the search" or screenshots of the forum software toolbar with huge arrows pointing to the search function ... which has probably already been tried, with no success.

So, I recommend the forums, but use the more-specific forums for your problem ... although the sad fact still is that fewer people traffic those forums so you'll have to wait longer than you should for a real answer.

Re:For VW lovers, I recommend ... (2, Informative)

maddskillz (207500) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645304)

For what it's worth... TDIclub has great resources for modding TDI's (again, VW specific). Lots of really useful information on that, and not too many posers.
Of course, you have to understand that you are trying to mod a 90 HP car that sounds like a tractor...not really cool with the in-crowd. But it takes a special person to "get" a diesel, and you can actually get some pretty descent performance out of it at the same time.

For Weird VW Lovers with a TDI... (0, Redundant)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645380)

tdiclub.com [tdiclub.com]

Oh, and greasel.com [greasel.com]

colors... yellow in specific (2, Funny)

ryane67 (768994) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645037)

the book's gotta say something about painting parts yellow to make your car go faster..

vrrrrrrrrrroooooooooom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645045)

more like Ricermobile hacks & mods for ricers.

Yes i know its trolling and flaimbait, but i speak my mind.

So it's basically (4, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645055)

"A Dummys Guide to Ricing" instead of an O'Rielly "Car Computing"

Obligatory diy-efi.org link (2, Interesting)

PsychoKiller (20824) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645069)

www.diy-efi.org [diy-efi.org] is a great source of information on GM vehicles. The guys there have reverse engineered many GM ecms and distribute their work for free.

Right now I'm working on a GPL'd bin editor, and once that's done I'll be working on a PROM burner that works in Linux.

Oh, I should add a link to www.moates.net [moates.net] as well, since he makes lots of cool stuff like PROM emulators and USB programmers. Craig's gonna kill me...

okay . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645099)

But will it tell us /.'ers how to hardwire OGG support in the ECU while power sliding through the corner and hitting thw NAWZZZZZ button at the same time? Oh and will it run Linux?

I overclocked my car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645119)

...but the cop wasn't impressed by my technical expertise when he gave me a ticket.

tuning potential (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645135)

I recently bought a high-performance automobile that has a reputation for its tuning potential

you just got a new Minivan??? sweet!

unfortunantly.. (1)

bk_veggie (807894) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645136)


unfortunantly, the original title "Ricing for Dummies" was rejected, as there is already a dummies book on the finer points of uncle bens boil-a-bag.

Warranty (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645144)

This particular model was reported in Car and Driver as having some problems with warranty support problems from the manufacturer. Specifically owners are reporting that after participating in race situations, they were refused warranty support when Nissan allegedly surfed the internet and made notes about the owners from websites. Caveat Emptor.

Here is the article:
http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp? section_id =29&article_id=8422

Re:Warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645232)

FYI, it's Mitsubishi. And, what do you expect when you buy a Mitsubishi? It's going to break.

Re:Warranty (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645387)

Nah, Mitsubishis are gutless shitboxes, but they run forever. I haven't had an engine problem in the go-kart mirage I've been driving, and I'm not exactly gung-ho as far as maintainance as concerned.

I'm the guy who drives 5000 miles with the "check engine" light on. I consider such vehicles pretty much disposable.

Be Honest (1)

PhraudulentOne (217867) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645193)

Now be honest... you bought a Civic [anti-rice.com] didn't you?

Car Mods for 1960's Mercedes (1)

ebooher (187230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645194)

So, since I doubt this would get an overall success rating from /. in an Ask Slashdot forum, and since it's more on topic talking about a book of Car Hacks .....

How many people dream of modifying a 60's model Mercedes sedan? I mean, don't you just drool at the thought of fiberglass bumper covers? Trick rims on lower suspension? Maybe some AMG disc break conversion info? 6.3L V8 swap. Oh yeah baby!

Bring it on, let's get some ideas!!!!!

Excerpt from article sounds familiar. (1)

jdkane (588293) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645223)

For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

Really! ... Well then you have certainly come to the right place.

Where have I ... (1)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645229)


"For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk."

Dude, you just described the entire Internet. Get on a *moderated* mailing list if you want a decent signal to noise ratio.

Some bumper stickers I want to have made (1, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645242)

I want to make some bumper stickers for the ricers - after all, we should help these people feel "special"

THE BIGGER THE PIPE, THE SMALLER THE PENIS
HIGH WING, LOW IQ
TYPE-Retarded!

Oh, the fun I could have in your average mall parking lot....

What about the... (2, Interesting)

PhraudulentOne (217867) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645253)

Offroaders! We mod too.
Jeep Enthusiasts! [4wd.com]

Fuel Efficiency (2, Interesting)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645258)

I'd love to mod my car, but to get better fuel efficiency, not to go fast and make loud noises.

Unfortunately, there's no source for after-market parts or chips that can do this, which makes me sad.

Just like slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10645314)

A wealth of information is available, but the data is surrounded by noise. For every knowledgeable enthusiast, there are many more misinformed or incorrect speculators whose opinions usually spring from personal preference or a need to hear themselves talk.

Amazing how much that sounds like slashdot.

Scares me (1)

Colonel Failure (609420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645354)

Ok, I've moded my PCs and alot of other equipment. But I'm a little leary of moding something I travel 70mph down the freeway in. If I forget to secure the clips on my water block it doesn't cause a 20 car pile up on the 405.

High performance... (5, Funny)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645359)

I recently bought a high-performance automobile that has a reputation for its tuning potential.

You've got the Civic DX too eh?

Fast (1)

PenGun (794213) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645365)

Actual content:

If you are having steering troubles with your older US auto, 66 - 72 the sweet years, listen up.

Over 120 mph you will experience wandering with a convential front end setup. The secret is NO toe-in. All the old time NASCAR racers ran thios way.
It's a bit squirrly under 'bout 80 mph but all else being good it'll improve your high speed handling a lot.

PenGun
Do What Now ??? ... Standards and Practices !

Good Car Mod Site (1)

gtshafted (580114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645373)

This is a pretty good site with some step by step picture tutorials.

http://www.overboost.com [overboost.com]

Car modding is definitely not cheap though...

Very knowledgable author :) (5, Informative)

jstockdale (258118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645382)

Wow, didn't see this one coming on Slashdot.

About a year ago I delt with David at length while he was working for WORKS [worksevo.com] , a tuning shop in San Francisco. We were discussing the details of the power, handling, etc. modifications that they would be making to my Mitsubishi Evolution [mitsubishicars.com] (the car they in which they specialize). For the entire time I delt with David (before he left WORKS [worksevo.com] to pursue other things, like the book) I was consistantly impressed by his comprehensive knoweledge of both the technical and legal aspects of vehical modifications (especially impressive in good ole California thanks to strict emission standards).

His expertise and professionalism have resulted in him gaining much respect within the Evolution community, and although I have not yet had a chance to review his book, if it's anything like the conversations I've had with him, you'll be amazed by just how far car tuning has come.

Before talking with him, I didn't think it was safely possible to take a $32000 car, $7k of tuning, and end up just a hair short of a supercar*. Amazing.

Hope the book sells well.

-S ...

* by which I mean a 2.0L 340hp 4WD beast that sprints from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, skidpad tests to 1g, and through the twisties can out perform anything short of a 911 Turbo

Just great (1)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10645396)

Like we really need more rice grinders that sound like a pack of flies mating.
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