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How to Upgrade My Toyota Corolla 1.8 Liter Engine

by David Marsh

The Toyota 1.8 liter engine develops 132 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 128 foot-pounds of torque. The engine uses double overhead cams and sequential fuel injection which will support an increase in horsepower. There are four ways to produce more power. They vary in price and results. A turbocharger can be added or a supercharger, or nitrous oxide injection. Or, consider swapping parts inside the engine. Getting more punch from an engine of less than two liters requires money and effort, but it can be accomplished without losing reliability.

Investigate the use of a turbocharger. The turbo uses exhaust gases to spin a fan which pushes air into the engine under pressure. Turbochargers are relatively inexpensive but have the disadvantage of being useful only in the mid to high engine speed range. Some turbochargers produce a jarring effect when they join the effort to produce horsepower. The use of two turbochargers will smooth out the power delivery, but that becomes expensive. Turbochargers add fifty percent or more horsepower.

Look at nitrous oxide injection. Nitrous oxide contains oxygen in a form that can be used in the 1.8 liter engine. The nitrous isn't used until the driver flips a switch so the engine works normally most of the time. Nitrous can produce dramatic results and offers cost savings, but it is difficult to control and can damage the engine if used in the wrong concentration.

Change parts within the engine. The Toyota owner can increase the horsepower of a 1.8 liter engine from 132 to 155 horsepower by installing headers and a free-flow exhaust system and a new ram induction kit. This approach has the advantage of retaining the reliability of the 1.8 liter engine and increasing gas mileage as well as performance.

Take a hopeful look at supercharging. The supercharger sits on top of the 1.8 liter engine and feeds increased air/fuel mixture into the combustion chambers. It uses power from the engine to operate, resulting in a decrease in output. The supercharger makes up for this loss and then some, developing a net increase in horsepower of fifty percent or more. The increased power is felt throughout the power band, especially in the lower range where the 1.8 liter engine needs the help.

About the Author

In 1990 David Marsh began writing a column in the "Idaho Falls Post-Register" titled "Good Things," which presented restaurant reviews, sports analysis and movie criticism. Besides newspaper columns, Marsh researched police procedures for the Federal government. He has a Bachelor of Arts in administration and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Utah.

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