At the most basic level, your truck’s engine is nothing more than a big air pump. It works by making a series of timed explosions that draw air in and push it out. It’s only logical, then, that feeding your truck’s engine more air is the way to increase its power and performance. Horsepower, torque, and efficiency are all connected and equally important in that they’re key to powering your truck. We have several effective ways to increase your truck’s performance listed here.
Tune It Up
No machine, be it a truck, airplane, printing press or computer, will continue working forever without some routine maintenance. They need some occasional TLC and repairs to keep running. A tune-up the simplest way to increase your truck’s performance. Regular maintenance is the key to keeping any truck running well and on the street. All the performance parts in the world are useless if one of the spark plugs isn’t firing or you have a dirty air filter. Simply put, if your truck’s systems aren’t working properly, your truck won’t work properly. Regular oil and transmission fluid changes, fresh spark plugs, and clean filters are all important for an efficiently running motor.
Cold Air Intake
Upgrading to a performance cold air intake system is the easiest way to boost your engine’s performance. Cold air intakes pull cooler air from outside into your engine. The engine works by bringing in air, mixing it with the fuel and burning them both to create power. As air gets colder, it gets denser, and the denser the air the more oxygen it contains. That extra cold air flowing into the engine makes more power. Intakes are also designed to reduce airflow resistance and unwanted turbulence within the pipes.
High-Flow Catalytic Converter
High-flow catalytic converters aren’t all that different from the stock one on your truck when it comes to functionality. The high-flow converter also reduces emissions by creating a chemical reaction between multiple metals and exhaust, but it does it faster. It does it by using a less dense internal cell count and increased volume surrounding the catalyst. Combined with other exhaust modifications, a high-flow converter increases the airflow capabilities of your engine to create more power. It’s a little part that packs a big punch. They increase truck’s power across the RPM range, but where it’s a superstar is in the low RPM range. That’s where you’re going to notice the biggest boost in torque and power. By adding this little nugget, you’re reducing your exhaust’s toxicity that’s expelling into the atmosphere.
Add Exhaust Headers and Manifolds
Automaker and OEMs must watch their bottom lines and meet emissions requirements. One result of that frugal mindset is that stock exhaust manifolds aren’t as efficient as they could be. The exhaust manifolds move the dirty air to the exhaust system and out of the engine. Fortunately, there are aftermarket parts that are superior and will deliver more power. Headers work by easing the flow of air out of the cylinders of the engine, and the faster it leaves, the more efficiently the engine performs. Long tube headers are better for top range RPMs and trucks that are hauling loads long distances. Shorty tubes create more power in the lower RPM ranges and deliver higher short-end torque and power.
Install Superchargers and Turbochargers
This is the fun stuff—the sizzle on the steak. Forced induction systems, also known as superchargers and turbochargers, have the greatest potential to deliver huge performance increases. They work by bringing in the cooler outside air, compressing it and jamming it into the cylinders, creating a huge boost. It’s not uncommon to increase torque and horsepower by half with these induction systems. The compressed air flowing into the engine will mix with the fuel and increase the truck’s acceleration significantly.
Before you buy anything, know that there’s a difference between the two parts. A supercharger is powered by a belt attached directly to the engine, similarly to Mad Max. A turbocharger gets its power from the exhaust system. They are thought to be more efficient because they generate their power from wasted energy from the exhaust stream heading out of the engine. With a turbocharger, you’ll have to wait longer to feel the boost in acceleration, but with a supercharger, the power is almost instant and they’re easier to install. Either way, you’ll have increased acceleration when you step on the gas pedal.
Get a Bigger Diameter Throttle Body
The throttle body regulates the airflow going into the engine along with the fuel injection system. This system is important because, for combustion to occur, air is necessary. Incorporating a large diameter throttle body with larger flaps lets more airflow into the power plant. Doing this increases performance in a few areas, but mainly in power. You will feel a noticeable and immediate difference in your truck’s horsepower. If you want to squeeze a little bit of juice out of your engine you can add a throttle body spacer. It’s an affordable part and is just a small metal ring. It creates just a pinch more space for extra air to enter the manifold, boosting the fuel economy and creating even more torque.
Finally, Watch the Transmission
After you make all these other adjustments and additions to your engine, the result is going to be more horsepower and torque. Can your transmission handle those extra ponies? They aren’t designed to accommodate an infinite amount of power. While they probably can handle a few extra ponies than what the factory says, don’t push it. The last thing you want is for the transmission to crap out on you because of the extra power. If you end having problems, invest in a Cummins, Powerstroke, or Duramax Allison 1000 rebuild kit to bring it back to life. Spending a little more time and money on the rebuild can end up giving you a stronger gearbox that can handle the strain. A rebuild is cheaper and faster than putting in a whole new transmission.