so i was talking to this motor builder guy while i’ve got the hood of the element open at an SCCA race event…i asks “you ever work on elements? can you get any power out of them?”
“oh yeah, of course. we actually work on those motors all the time. just depends how much you want to spend…”
“100 bucks,” i laughed to him. he laughed pretty heartily for a minute or two before i saw a light bulb moment come over his face.
he points to the intake airbox resonator thingo and says “first, get rid of all that crap. you don’t need it. also, if you’re mechanically inclined, you can take the head off and do a 15 thousands shave on the head. about 4 hours of your time and $75 for the cut.”
after talking with him for a while, he said that raising the compression like that is good for about 25-30 ponies under the bonnet..and that you won’t need anything extra..it’ll all just bolt right back together with all stock parts!
i also inquired about taking the airbox thingo out, asking him about driving thru rain and the likes, and would i have any hyrdo-lock issues, and he said no.
i was skeptical… so i did it. well, the airbox part. i’ve not milled the head yet…
anyways, after a real world test, i’ve got some figures for ya…
2005 RallEment, 119,000 miles on it, regularly serviced by myself, full synth oil (5-20w), bone stock, except for a K&N drop in filter.
i average between 18-19.5 mpg on the car (city and hwy combined), typically driving everywhere in cruise control at about 77mph. the best i’ve ever gotten (and i check nearly every tank against my GPS) was 21.5 mpg of freeway only driving with the wind at my back.
with NO change in driving habits, on my last tank of gas, driving OVER donner pass from sacramento to reno (which is a lot of steep uphill driving, where the element always tries to drop out of overdrive cause it doesn’t have enough power), i got 21.4 mpg. and it did about HALF as much shifting over the steep hills.
i drove another ~100 or so miles to fernley (mostly flat freeway driving) and back over the next 2 days, and topped off again; 23.8 mpg! again, no change in driving habits whatsoever..except, with the added power of the element, i feel like i don’t have to be as heavy footed with the throttle to maintain speed.
my drive home from reno USUALLY takes about 1/2 a tank.. it took me 1/4 tank for the return trip…i have yet to top off to find out mpg from the return trip.
realistically, it feels as though i’ve got a 10-12 hp gain from the airbox mod and drop in filter. i’ve had the drop in K&N installed for the last 15,000 miles or so already…
oh…and about hydro-lock…well, it POURED BUCKETS the entire drive home..i was a little worried for a bit… ZERO issues. i even drove thru snow and giant puddles. no issues.
total cost for mods so far? $56 bucks for the K&N. ~4 mpg gain? ~10hp gain?
worth it. oh oh…and i used a 90 degree 3 inch downspout elbow from home depot on the intake to turn it downwards like that. :D it was $3.
next comes a milled head! :D
i took this:
out of here: