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How to Increase the Horsepower in a Chevy Tahoe

by William Zane; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Socket set and ratchet

  • Specialty automotive tools

The Tahoe is a full-size SUV from American manufacturer General Motors. The Tahoe replaced the full-size Blazer in the Chevrolet lineup of trucks while GMC refers to the same platform as the Yukon. The Tahoe has sold in large numbers and has a loyal buyership. Like any large, heavy vehicle, the Tahoe can benefit from a little more horsepower. There are several ways to add power to the Tahoe's V6 and V8 engines.

Replace the exhaust. Whether it’s a V8- or a V6-powered Tahoe, the stock exhaust system is fairly restrictive thanks to its small diameter. A larger diameter exhaust and performance muffler will allow the motor to run more efficiently and produce more horsepower. An exhaust system should be installed by a muffler shop since it takes special cutting and welding tools and a lift to make the job easier.

Install tubular headers. The manifolds on a V6 or V8 Tahoe are the components that are bolted to the head and route spent exhaust gases from the engine to the exhaust. Stock manifolds are cast, which results in smaller than optimal passages and a rough surface, both of which slow the flow of exhaust gases. Tubular headers are bolted to the engine in place of the stock manifolds and feature smooth surfaces and bends and a larger internal diameter, all of which are good for power.

Install a cold air intake. Though the Tahoe is a sport utility vehicle, there are several companies that make and sell a cold air intake to replace the stock air box. The air box restricts optimal airflow to the motor because of its design. A cold air intake consists of larger diameter tubing and a larger air filter that delivers additional cold, dense air to the Tahoe’s motor. To install this, simply disconnect the stock air box from the engine and remove the air box from the engine bay. The new cold air intake installs in its place.

Install a high performance chip in the computer. This will reprogram the engine’s computer so that it receives more fuel, spark and air as well as change the timing to a more aggressive setting intended to increase performance.

About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.

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