How to gain horsepower in Vehicles

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

Despite the impressive output from the current SE-R engine, it is possible to get more horsepower from all Vehicles engines including the SE-R by modifying the Vehicles exhaust, air intake and engine management systems.

Under The Hood:

 How to gain horsepower in an Acura RSX

One of the first things that most people do to their cars are their basic bolt-ons. I will list below what is useful and what affects your speed. For further information, you may visit the Clubrsx forums to get assistance from the members of the community.

The "Cold Air Intake" is one of the first mods most people get. This is healthier for your engine because it sucks in cool air into your engine and causing it to be about 7 horsepower faster. It is very close to the ground, so you should avoid puddles, because there is a chance that your intake will suck up water from the ground instead of just the air (although the water would have to be a foot high for that to really happen). Avoid Short Ram Intakes, they actually make your car slower in the hot weather and has less performance gains as compared to the Cold Air Intake anyway.

Recommended brand: Injen

The second would be catless race headers. These will give you up to 20 horsepower to the wheel. You should get the ceramic coated ones, because the stainless steel headers tend to overheat and does not give as good performance. These are connected to the exhaust. So if you are a base model who would like to use a type S race header, you would have to get a Type S exhaust system.

Recommended brands: DC, Buddyclub

Third step is exhaust. It gives a small gain in horsepower, not significant enough. But it is extremely appealing and gives the car a nice aggressive sound. Try to get an exhaust system with bigger piping for the midpipes (the bigger the piping, the better).

Recommended brands: Greddy, Buddyclub, HKS.

Weight reduction is extremely important although most people do not think that. There are many ways to reduce weight, but here are the most reasonable ways to do so without having to strip everything. Get fiber glass / carbon fiber body parts for the car. They drop a lot of weight. Empty your trunk and kick out the passengers.

Make sure your rims aren't gigantic, because if they are, it slows your car down as well. 17" - 19" are fine.

If you have extra money, you can change other small things such as pulleys, intake manifold, etc... You will be able to find information on these miscellaneous mods on clubrsx.

K-PRO: This is an ECU mod that is available for every RSX except for the 05-06 base model. It is very effective and has seen huge gains in performance. The only problem is that it is very expensive. It basically pushes your car to it's maximum potential by editing the map settings within the car's computer system.

Last but not least, if you have the money, you can turbocharge your car. These are quite expensive including the labor, and is bad for your engine overall. You can actually push your RSX to 400-500 horse power this way.

Recommended brand: Greddy

Items you will need

  • 02-06 Acura RSX Base or Type S.

 How to Gain More Horsepower Out of a Nissan Sentra

Replace the factory air box with an aftermarket cold-air intake designed to increase the flow of cold air into the engine. The increase in the amount of cold air flowing into the engine allows for a level of performance that is impossible to achieve with the restrictive factory air-intake system in place. Cold-air intakes designed specifically for the Nissan Sentra are widely available and do not require professional installation.

Modify the Sentra's engine management software by adding a chip to the vehicle's electronic control unit or having the unit reprogrammed by a professional tuning company. Changes to the software that controls the engine's functions will result in more aggressive, performance oriented function from the engine as the software will be tweaked for all out performance with no concern for fuel economy. As the electronic control unit is an extremely expensive and sensitive piece of equipment, it is best that any modifications be done by a professional in order to minimize the chance of damage to the unit.

Remove the entire factory exhaust system and replace it with a performance focused system produced specifically for the Sentra. The larger diameter and more free-flowing exhaust system will not only lead to noticeable performance gains but will also give the vehicle the added benefit of a more aggressive exhaust note. As a vehicle lift and welding equipment is required for installation it is best for a professional to handle the installation process.

Items you will need

  • Performance chip

  • Cold-air intake

  • Exhaust system

 How to Gain Horsepower From an LS1 Engine

Install a nitrous oxide system. Nitrous oxide systems inject nitrous oxide into the fuel system at the push of a button; this provides a tremendous but temporary boost in horsepower. Nitrous oxide systems are relatively inexpensive considering the amount of horsepower they add, but note that they do increase wear and tear on the vehicle and have the potential to blow the LS1 engine if used improperly.

Switch from standard oil to full-synthetic oil. This will provide a moderate boost in power, typically about five horsepower, but also has the advantage of being extremely inexpensive and easy to install. It might increase the lifespan of your vehicle.

Replace the factory exhaust system with a performance aftermarket exhaust system. The stock exhaust system for your LS1-powered vehicle will depend on exactly what car you are driving, but all of them can be made more powerful by purchasing and installing a high-flow exhaust system. The system allows air to flow more freely out of your engine. Note that aftermarket exhaust systems typically increase engine noise and decrease ground clearance.

Replace your vehicle's cold-air intake with a performance aftermarket air-intake kit. The cold-air intake is responsible for sucking in air, cooling it, and then routing it to the engine. Performance air-intake kits suck in more air and cool it more efficiently, which results in a horsepower boost for your LS1 engine. Air intake kits are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. As an added benefit they might provide a slight increase in fuel economy.

Items you will need

  • Automotive tool kit (if performing one or more of these upgrades yourself)

 How to Gain Horsepower on a Ford 7.3 Diesel

Replace your vehicle computer or computer chip. The simplest way to increase the horsepower of your 7.3 diesel is to replace the computer chip with an aftermarket fuel mapping chip. These chips can modify the fuel injection map depending on whether you are towing, hauling, or just cruising. They have the added advantage of increasing fuel mileage as well, as they use the most efficient map to meet the engine needs. These are available from many retailers as well as diesel specialty shops.

Modify your air intake. Replace your air filter with a K & N high flow filter, or replace the air intake entirely with a cold air intake system. This can lead to significant horsepower gains with very little effort. K & N claims up to 5% by just replacing the filter, and various cool intake systems claim gains of up to 15%. Many diesel specialty shops carry and will install these systems.

Change your exhaust system. Increasing the pipe size of your exhaust allows the exhaust to exit the cylinder more quickly and cleanly. This leads to increased horsepower, and the ability to flow more air. Many muffler shops and specialty diesel shops have pre-made exhaust for the 7.3 Powerstroke, and they install quickly and easily.

Items you will need

  • Diesel chip

  • Basic tool kit

  • Air Intake

  • Modified exhaust

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