Category: Engine

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What Is A Header Panel?

The front header panels on your vehicle are frame pieces that are not often seen, thought of or modified. They serve as a structural support member for the headlight assemblies and grille, running from left to right across the front of your vehicle. The header piece is usually completely covered on new vehicles and is not easily seen. The header piece can actually be part of the visible front end metal on older cars and trucks. And header pieces can only be used as horizontal filler panels between the grille and the hood on other vehicles.
We’ll look at four reasons in this article to replace a header panel. We will also cover the replacement header panels in OEM style, which we sell on our website – for new and classic vehicles.

Header Panels Often Get Damaged In Frontal Collisions
Regardless of their exact design and layout, header panels must normally be replaced following a frontal crash. Even a minor impact on the sideswipe or corner can significantly bend the header. Because these panels often have complex shapes, even seasoned body shop pros don’t get the straightening process correct every time. If that is the case, it may be impossible to line up headlamps to target them properly. In a worst-case scenario, uneven and unsightly gaps between headlight assemblies, grilles, hood panels and bumper areas at the front are visible. This, of course, devalues any vehicle considerably.

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Header Panels Are Relatively Easy To Replace
The front header panels are not welded in place, unlike most body panels. Instead, they are bound – a factor that makes it relatively easy to remove and install. So, if you’re not sure a header panel is compromised, it’s not difficult to take it off the vehicle from all angles. In most cases, headlamps, grill work and the header panel can only be removed with basic hand tools.
Header Panels Are Not Immune To Corrosion
While rust isn’t a common problem on header panels the way it is on fenders, rocker panels, and quarter panels, it does sometimes occur. It may be from previous damage that wasn’t repaired properly, or it may the cumulative result of winter road salt spray collecting in pockets that can’t be accessed with soap and water. Perhaps worst of all, this insidious corrosion can be hidden from sight until it’s too late.

Our Replacement Header Panels Match OEM Quality, Fit, and Durability
All header panels  are manufactured by manufacturers with proven quality control, fit and durability records. You can therefore expect the quality of the original equipment without paying high markup prices for dealers.
In order to guide you to the right front header panel you need, we have set up our website to display only choices that are entered in the Product Options field that will fit your specific vehicle once a year. If there were original variations for your vehicle, there may be several choices. For example, a Mercedes model with a grille integrated into the hood panel can display half – sections of the driver and passenger – side header panel instead of one full – width section.

 

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Are Their Different Types Of Halo Headlight Rings? If So, How Many Are Their?

Add a visual wow and position to the front profile of your vehicle with halo headlights, equipped with light rings that encircle the openings of the round headlamp as dramatically as possible.

Since BMW introduced “halo” headlights to serve as daytime running lights in its 2001 5-series, rings of light encircling round headlamp openings have appeared around the world as a dramatic way to add visual wow and position to the front profile of a vehicle. While composite headlamp assemblies became main stream in the 1980s, it wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that car manufacturers started to design multi-faceted bulbs in the style of the projector beam. Since projector bulbs do not need the bulky parabolic reflectors required in earlier composite housings, the extra space stylists gained more freedom to create futuristic headlamp shapes and accentuate their beautiful designs with halo rings.

Whether you look at the headlamp assemblies of a 2002 Volkswagen Passat or a late model Chevrolet, you’ll see stylish round cutouts for headlights, bright lights, turn signals, daytime running lights and more. All of which are highly visible and highly styled to look like lenses that a laser beam might radiate from.

Conventional Halo Rings

The same type of incandescent bulbs found in turn signals or reverse lights illuminate conventional halo rings used by most vehicle manufacturers. Since only one or two bulbs can illuminate each conventional halo, there are bright spots and dark spots within the enclosed ring. Many feel that the visual effect of a halo ring lit under powered bulbs is no more exciting than to look at a parking light left overnight.

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CCFL Halos

A strong upgrade to the underwhelming effect of dimly lit halo rings are Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lighting tubes (CCFLs). Unlike conventional halo lights, CCFL Halos are filled with gas (similar to a neon sign) ensuring the plastic halo shroud emits a solid and even light all the way around the ring. The light is brighter and whiter than incandescent bulbs, and the subtle yet high-tech blue color allows the halo ring to match the appearance of the headlight beams.

While CCFL halo lights do require an extra inverter component, the plug-n-play design modern kits are built with allows inverters to be connected directly to any vehicle’s parking lights quickly and easily. Instead of extra switches and complicated wiring, CCFL lights can be controlled from the factory headlight switch.

Unlike conventional incandescent halo bulbs, CCFL tubes burn cool on their outer plastic ring housings or on headlamp assembly lens cover without creating hot spots and discoloration. If you consider that CCFLs improve safety by making your vehicle visible to others from a distance, use less power and offer a longer lifespan, your slight price increase compared to non-CCFL halos is considered to be of great value.

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Do You Know When Is The Appropriate Time To Replace Your Car Brake Fluid?

There is a lot of conflicting information between repair shops and car makers about how often brake fluid should be replaced or whether it should be changed. We have shed some light on the subject and make our recommendations.

Changing the brake fluid of a vehicle is probably not at the top of anyone’s mind when it comes to automotive maintenance items. But it should be, because it has important reasons. We’ll look at conflicting information about how often you should change the brake fluid in this article. We’ll tell you why it’s important and give you our best recommendations. In the end, you’ll make a decision, but you’ll know more about why.

If you’ve totally overlooked the service of brake fluid until now, that’s understandable. It is often tucked in as a footnote on your owner’s manual maintenance pages. And if your vehicle rolled off the assembly line in the last several years, it might not even be mentioned at all. On this note, we’ll mention a trend we’ve noticed lately among automakers regarding brake fluid.

Automakers Have Changed Their Tune on Brake Fluid Maintenance

We’ll start by looking back when in the 1990’s anti-lock brake systems (ABS) became standard vehicle equipment in all price ranges. Many car manufacturers began to specify a firm maintenance requirement for the brake system to be flushed with new fluid every 2 years -regardless of miles. This was mostly the norm for a while – going unquestioned because engineers who first tested and developed your vehicle for years had the best idea of what maintenance items were needed. For a good reason, everything specified was done so.

The time interval was (and is) the important factor, since brake fluid naturally absorbs moisture from the outside air over time, no matter how much or how little you drive. We’ll learn how bad this is further in the article, but in short, it can greatly reduce the ability to break and cause sensitive brake and ABS components to corrosion.

For two simple reasons, other items such as synthetic motor oil and coolant have become popular with car manufacturers – they perform better and last longer. Longer service life means that maintenance intervals can be extended with more miles or more time between them. This creates a lower overall ownership cost, which is more attractive for potential buyers to watch every penny – especially as car loans extending to 6, 7, even 8 years become more common. Although synthetic brake fluid (DOT 5 silicone) exists, it is not recommended for use in anti-lock braking systems.

In fact, the brake fluid available today for mainstream automotive use is still the same product based on glycerol that it has always been. It is still “hygroscopic”-it naturally absorbs approximately 1.5 to 3 percent water per year in areas of normal atmospheric pressure. This rate can rise even higher in humid climates. Moisture in brake hoses, seams, joints and seals will always find its way into the lines through microscopic pores-there is simply no way to avoid it.

Some of the same car manufacturers who strongly recommended flushes every 2 years switched to 3-year intervals, while others no longer mention it. They may have concluded that there is no need for brake fluid flushes every 2 years. But when you consider that water content level of brake fluid can reach 6% to 8% in the third year of service, such reasoning seems hollow.

However, we suspect the stretch is due to the fact that many automakers now provide free maintenance for the first 2 to 3 services. Stretching a brake fluid change out to the 3-year mark puts it just outside of the covered period, so the customer now pays for it instead. And if there’s no free maintenance plan, stretching brake fluid to 3 years results in lower cost of ownership numbers.

Considering all that was once taught on the subject, we’re inclined to recommend replacing brake fluid every 2 years if you live in a climate when any portion of the year has high humidity levels. If you’re in a dry desert climate, we suggest checking the water content of your brake fluid with a brake fluid tester (see below) at 2 years, and flush it if the level is 4% or higher.

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Is There An Easy Way To Tell If I Need A Brake Fluid Flush?

A brake fluid tester is a useful tool for monitoring the condition of your brake fluid, as it detects and reports the absorbed percentage of moisture. Once you have a tester, you won’t have to ask if a dealer or other shop is trying to recommend a brake flush.

 

Why Clean Brake Fluid Is Important

Its boiling point begins to drop to a lower and lower temperature as the brake fluid takes on water. This can be problematic, because the heat radiating from pads and rotors can make brake fluid pretty hot in the hoses and lines.

Brake fluid does not compress in normal liquid form. For this reason, pressure is consistently and uniformly transferred throughout the system. But if brake fluid boils, it changes into a gaseous state and aerates into bubbles which do compress -leaving a squishy-feeling pedal and reduced stopping power.  Regular maintenance of the brake fluid prevents this gradual decline in the braking system’s efficiency.

It’s also important to note that corrosion of metal brake lines and moving parts such as calipers and master cylinder pistons can and will occur eventually if moisture in old brake fluid builds to a significant point. These metal parts can corrode from the inside. A brake line, which fails, can lead to partial or complete brake failure.

Great corrosion on the surface of parts causes seals to wear and leak and causes calipers to bind to the point where the brakes are no longer effectively applied or released. Another important reason to regularly perform brake fluid flushes is to prevent corrosion of expensive brake system components.

Opportune Times to Replace Brake Fluid

Although we believe in the regularly scheduled brake flush interval, we also recognize that it is an additional cost. With this in mind, we are always looking for any opportunity to save a couple of dollars, and one way to do this is to combine related service and repair work.

Disc brake pads and rotors often need to be replaced. Although their replacement normally does not involve the opening of the hydraulic system, the vehicle is at least on a lift with its wheels and tires off. Asking the shop to flush the brake fluid at the time saves a few pennies.

If you need a replacement for the caliper, the system must be bled anyway. Caliper work is a much better time to flush and refill the entire brake system at minimally increased costs alongside the caliper work.

About The Brake Fluid Service Itself

A proper “flush” is required to remove all old brake fluid thoroughly. Pressure is created in the system during a flush that pushes the old fluid out as the new fluid takes its place. This pressure can be created manually by pumping the brake pedal with a second person or using a hand – pump pressure bleeder. Professional shops often rely on power flush machines (such as the Symtech Brake Flush Assistant) and charge the cost of new fluid for their work.

Power or manual pressure bleeders fit over the reservoir of the brake fluid and are secured in place with the use of adapter parts. When the pressure and new fluid is added, the old brake fluid is removed by loosening and tightening the bleeder screws on each wheel brake caliper.

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Why Should You Install a Performance Throttle Body? Below, Are Our Top 4 Reasons!

Throttle bodies control the amount of air entering the engine. Performance boosts power while maintaining the correct fuel/air ratio. We examine 4 performance throttle bodies’ advantages.

Sitting between your engine’s air filter housing and intake manifold, a throttle body assembly exists for the purpose of controlling how much air enters a fuel-injected engine. Inside the throttle body housing, a butterfly valve (hinged metal plate) determines the airflow rate by rotating open so that more air can pass through when the accelerator pedal is depressed.

As the air flows through a round, tube-shaped section of the housing, information is collected from different sensors and transmitted to the control computer of the engine. These data are then used to calculate an ideal mixture of fuel for air flow.

A performance-oriented throttle body can help your engine create more power than an OE-equivalent throttle body (and who doesn’t like more power?). In this article, we’ll look at 4 ways that any car enthusiast can benefit from performance throttle bodies.

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Improved Airflow

A motor is nothing more than a large air pump. Everything else is equal, the more air we can pump, the more power it produces. Performance throttle bodies are constructed with airflow tubes larger in diameter than OEM tubes. This increases airflow, of course. The airflow rating of the throttle bodies is based on the number of cubic feet of air that can pass in a minute (“CFM” for short). When making your selection, use this rating as a gage.

More Power

If you pack more air into your engine, you can burn more fuel, which creates more power. Since the above sensors measure the airflow rate, the engine control computer of the car can take note of this increase and increase the fuel supplied to the pre-combustion chamber. The highest air-to-fuel ratio (14 parts air-to-fuel) producing the most complete combustion is maintained, maximizing power gains.

It’s important to note that if the air-to-fuel ratio should deviate in either direction, loss occurs. For example, pumping more fuel into an engine without a corresponding increase in air would not produce more power -only UN burned fuel going out the exhaust pipes. Likewise, adding air without increasing fuel will cause a “lean” running condition and a noticeable drop in power.

Only if you have made fuel delivery and high – power changes to your vehicle, we recommend choosing the largest size of the throttle body. If you don’t, you’ll add more air than the fuel system can. Gains in power are going to be disappointing. For example, if your vehicle is stocked or “mildly” modified with a cold air intake or cat-back exhaust, increase the size of the OEM slightly.

Improved Throttle Response

When you consider that the throttle body is just a valve, it is easy to understand how the throttle body performs faster. Most car manufacturers measure airflow at peak rpm, and then select the diameter of the throttle body to ensure that 50 percent of the throttle produces 50 percent of the airflow. Its results in a more gradual response that drivers who are NOT interested in performance would value, as they equate smooth drive-ability.

Since the butterfly valve is designed to open at low rpm proportionately wider on a typical performance throttle body, power is created with less delay. When you combine the steeper response rate with the engine’s additional torque, you get a sharper bite at low rpm.

You’ll Get More out Of Other Power Modifications

If you’ve made engine modifications that produce more power through the use of forced air induction (superchargers and turbochargers), the greater airflow ability of a performance throttle body will really do your engine justice. In effect, an engine that has been modified to breathe better will be looking for more air, and a larger throttle body will deliver exactly what these other mods are looking for.

Other changes that can see additional gains from performance throttle bodies include exhaust headers, performance air intakes and even electronic tuners that reflect the timing and delivery of fuel.