Archive for Reviews

CarTech’s Swap LS Engines into Camaros & Firebirds 1967–1981

A Peek Between the CoversSwap LS Engines Cover Image

A huge trend in today’s performance-modification aftermarket is swapping a modern LS engine into iconic cars from years past, putting optimized V8 power into classic body styles. is on the leading edge of this revolution (we have an entire section of our website devoted to engines, parts, and accessories), but we aren’t doing it alone. CarTech harnessed the talents of freelance journalist and racing fanatic Eric McClellan to write Swap LS Engines into Camaros & Firebirds 1967–1981, providing the definitive resource for intrepid modders willing to undertake this exciting project.

McClellan doesn’t just lead readers through the process; he takes the time to set them up for success from the get-go. He starts by distinguishing between different types of LS engines (including Gen III, Gen IV & others), outlining the criteria that make one or the other suitable for the type of build the reader intends to create. McClellan even goes so far as to educate his audience on how to shop for and choose used LS engines from salvage yards, thus avoiding the traps that might otherwise befall those not fully educated about the process.

With the reader having chosen the perfect engine, McClellan launches into his tale, starting with the engine and its subframe, including mounts and oil pans, and continuing on with the chassis and suspension, including wheels, tires, and brakes; front-drive accessories, including balances and dampeners; the fuel system, including pump, filter, and tank replacement; the cooling system, including heater outlets and electric fan; the transmission, including new and vintage styles; wiring, including gauges and ECM calibration; and exhaust and induction, including oxygen sensors and catalytic converters. Swap LS Engines into Camaros & Firebirds 1967–1981 wraps up with Chapter 10, which details a final checklist of inspections for leaks, nuts and bolts, and the first firing/test drive of the new engine.

The folks over at CarTech do a fantastic job of producing thorough, readable, and knowledgeable how-to guides that span the spectrum of aesthetic and performance automotive modification. Swap LS Engines into Camaros & Firebirds 1967–1981 sets the pace for an audience hungry for the most accurate and user-friendly information they can find regarding the current LS-swapping frenzy. Click here to order your own copy of Swap LS Engines into Camaros & Firebirds 1967–1981.

Size:                 8.5” x 11”
Type:               Softbound
Pages:             144
Photos:           409 full-color photos

CarTech’s Jeep Cherokee XJ Advanced Performance Modifications: 1984–2001

A Peek Between the Covers

sa-cartech_SA259Author and Cherokee maven Eric Zappe has been down this rocky, twisting, tortuous, rumbling road before. CarTech tapped him to write its first comprehensive guide to the Jeep Cherokee, High-Performance Jeep Cherokee XJ Builder’s Guide: 1984–2001. So then why, as Zappe himself questions, this follow-up? The answer is simple: next-level customization. A legion of Cherokee fans has engendered a robust aftermarket, but those drivers who desire truly unique rides enjoy out-of-the-box specs at least as much as they like to head off-road. Enter the author’s second book on the subject, Jeep Cherokee XJ Advanced Performance Modifications: 1984–2001, which draws inspiration from Zappe’s own creative mind as well as other forward-thinking Cherokee artisans.

In a sense, the ideas that appear in Jeep Cherokee XJ Advanced Performance Modifications: 1984–2001 are a form of art. Beyond the world of bolt-on parts exists a realm where drivers truly make Cherokees their own. Such efforts inevitably involve personal fabrication, but are not, as Zappe believes, beyond the abilities of aficionados armed with the right tools, motivation, and how-to instruction. The latter, of course, appears in great abundance within the pages of Jeep Cherokee XJ Advanced Performance Modifications: 1984–2001. The book presents nine comprehensive chapters chock full of indispensable technical information, road-tested techniques, and spot-on advice culled from Zappe’s real-world trial and error.

The book begins by discussing welding (tools and techniques), strengthening the Cherokee’s unibody, and building an inline 6 stroker engine to allow for greater traction in the most extreme conditions. Chapters 4 and 5 discuss front axle swaps and rear axle swaps, respectively, while Chapters 6 and 7 give you everything you could ever want on front and rear suspensions (3-link and 4-link), again respectively. Sections on steering and roll cages round out Jeep Cherokee XJ Advanced Performance Modifications: 1984–2001; discussions here include topics such as hydraulic-assisted steering, roll cage design, tube bending, and construction tips. Sprinkled throughout the book are in-depth spotlights of particularly inspiring and relevant Jeep Cherokee builds from teams around the country, showing techniques in action and proving that Zappe knows a good thing when he sees it.

The folks over at CarTech do a fantastic job of producing thorough, readable, and knowledgeable how-to guides that span the spectrum of aesthetic and performance automotive modification. Eric Zappe’s guide to transcendent Jeep Cherokee design is a must-read for owners with the ambition and creativity necessary to birth truly singular automotive expressions. Click here to order your own copy of Jeep Cherokee XJ Advanced Performance Modifications: 1984–2001.

Size:                 8.5” x 11”
Type:               Softbound
Pages:             144
Photos:           374 full-color photos and charts

CarTech’s Ford Mustang 1964½–1973: How to Build and Modify

A Peek Between the CoversSA212 Mustang

Fresh off the presses, Ford Mustang 1964½–1973: How to Build and Modify takes pony buffs back and forth in time for a very important mission: upgrade the quintessential American muscle car so that it can go toe-to-toe with today’s modern upstarts. Author Frank Bohanan, a former Ford Motor Company engineer and product planner as well as a prolific industry writer, proves uniquely suited to this task. He notably leads readers through the process in an easy-to-follow fashion, despite the fact that he offers not one but three targeted upgrade levels: the daily driver, the high-performance street car, and the streetable track-day car. Though Bohanan has also authored a book on restoring Mustangs of this time period, Ford Mustang 1964½–1973: How to Build and Modify caters to those aficionados who have performance-driven retrofitting aspirations.

Though impressive for their time, the components found in 1964½–1973 era cars have fallen way behind the curve by contemporary standards. Drum brakes, breaker point ignition systems, and 14” skinny steel wheels have been eclipsed by present-day suspensions, steering, and driveline technologies—not to mention all the cutting-edge aftermarket possibilities. Ford Mustang 1964½–1973: How to Build and Modify provides step-by-step instructions for implementing three tiers of performance overhaul. Bohanan schools readers in areas including crate engine installment, G-shock brake kits, tubular A-arms, and other high-impact modifications.

Every aspect of the 1964½–1973 Ford Mustang receives Bohanan’s undivided attention. He includes chapters on Short-Block and Rotating Assembly; Camshafts, Cylinder Heads, and Valvetrain; the Intake, Exhaust, and Fuel Systems; Ignition and Starting; Lubrication and Cooling; Engine Swaps; the Transmission; the Driveline; Brakes; Suspension and Steering; Wheels and Tires; and the Electrical System. Chapter 12 focuses on interior modifications, including areas of safety; seats and pedals; tilt steering column and wheel; gauges; and data acquisition, which explains how to gather performance metrics and use them to calibrate your setup to achieve maximum results.

The folks over at CarTech do a fantastic job of producing thorough, readable, and knowledgeable how-to guides that span the spectrum of aesthetic and performance automotive modification. If you’re interested in transforming your classic Ford Mustang into a modern predatory machine that nevertheless maintains its original spirit, click here to order your own copy of Ford Mustang 1964½–1973: How to Build and Modify.

Size:                8.5” x 11”
Type:               Softbound
Pages:             160
Photos:           313 full-color photos and charts

CarTech’s Corvette C3 1968–1982: How to Build and Modify

A Peek Between the CoversCorvette C3

If you could choose only one guru to show you the ins and outs of the ’68–’82 C3 Corvette—nestled indelibly in a sweet spot of the muscle car’s iconic history—you couldn’t choose a better tour guide than author, ASE-certified mechanic, and 11-year Bloomington Gold School Technical Instructor Chris Petris. Genre-leading publisher CarTech leverages Petris’ tremendous talent and experience in its 2013 publication Corvette C3 1968–1982: How to Build and Modify, which walks readers through 13 lucky chapters that provide a comprehensive look at pulling the car apart and putting it back together again—as it originally appeared or with a few high-impact surprises.

Petris begins the journey by giving us an overview of the C3’s many incarnations, which span 14 years of innovation and evolution. He calls out the more rare and exalted models (’68–’74), which you probably don’t want to risk devaluing, as well as the less-expensive ’75–’82 models, which generally don’t possess the lofty pedigree or performance values of their earlier counterparts. Petris rightly points out that the latter group shouldn’t be seen as inferior; in fact, it’s exactly because they are within the reach of most mere mortals that they make such great candidates for performance modification. In other words, if you want to get your hands dirty, open the hood of a later-model C3 and get started (after you open this book, of course).

Corvette C3 1968–1982: How to Build and Modify charts a course from the beginning, starting with chapters on Engine Modifications, including choosing between a crate or LS engine; Power Adders; Performance Fuel Systems; Exhaust Systems; the Performance Cooling System; Transmission and Drivelines; the Driveline; and Brake Upgrades.

The book expands to cover exterior and structural considerations with chapters devoted to Aftermarket Chassis Installation; Chassis Modifications; and Wheels and Tires. Last but not least, Chapter 13: Interior Upgrades offers suggestions on creating the ideal personalized cockpit for your new turbocharged beauty. It considers aspects like seat belts, rollbars, seating, gauges, steering wheels, pedal pads, and more. Nothing beats the satisfaction of slipping behind the wheel of an utterly new creation, sprung directly from your own untamed enthusiasm and unique sensibilities. (Getting pinned to your seat by a few exhilarating Gs never hurts, either.)

The folks over at CarTech do a fantastic job of producing thorough, readable, and knowledgeable how-to guides that span the spectrum of aesthetic and performance automotive modification. If you’re interested in tackling your own Corvette C3 project and could use the step-by-step expertise found in Corvette C3 1968–1982: How to Build and Modify, click here to order your own copy.

Size:                8.5” x 11”
Type:               Softbound
Pages:             176
Photos:           362 full-color photos and charts

What is a Performance Chip/Programmer?

An in-line performance chip and hand-held performance programmer are electronic devices that, when properly connected to application specific vehicles, increase the power and performance of the engine. Chips and programmers deliver increases in torque and horsepower (HP). Exact power gains are application specific; however, as much as 125 HP gains have been demonstrated in the diesel truck world. Gas trucks have shown up to 38 HP increase and in the case of autos, increases of 20 HP have been exhibited.

Power enhancing in-line chip module and hand-held programmers both have operational characteristics that give users a wide range of power options. The hand-held units are a plug-and-play device and are simply plugged into the Electronic Control Module (ECM) from which selected programs are downloaded. The in-line module is also a plug-and-play but requires a higher level of technical ability to install.

How do they Work?

Hand-held programmers are plugged directly into the ECM. When activated they store the stock engine control program in the programmer and substitute a selected power output program. Users are given choices of power levels that are downloaded to the ECM with the push of a button. When a program is downloaded, it remains the operational system until the user chooses an alternate performance program or removes the programmer.

Hand-held programmers are available in a couple of versions. One is the traditional hand-held unit that makes a power program transfer and then is unplugged from the ECM during vehicle operation. The other version remains plugged to the ECM during vehicle operation. This version comes with a monitor that displays real-time performance readouts.

A power chip is an in-line plug-in module that is placed between the Electronic Control Module (ECM) and the engine. It operates by intercepting the ECM signal and converting it to a selected performance level that’s stored in the chip module. The performance characteristics of a given unit are application specific.

While the in-line module is in operation, users are given the ability to adjust engine power parameter levels through a push button monitor that comes with the system. Engine adjustments can be made when the vehicle is running and not running. This advantage offers users substantial flexibility to change performance levels in real-time to correspond to the performance needs at any given time of vehicle operation.

In either case (chip or programmer), the power programs have been engineered to deliver substantial power increase while maintaining safe levels of engine performance.  Each performance program has been rigorously dyno tested to assure engine performance and protection. In addition, both versions provide users with the ability to return to stock performance programs at anytime.


Applications for hand held and in-line units are broad. In the case of diesel trucks, applications are available for most models produced in years of 1994-2011.  Gas truck applications are available for most models produced in years 1997-2011. Most car applications follow the same years of production.

From a cost standpoint, units vary in cost and are dependent upon application and unit type. As an overview, hand-held program units are in the range of $300 – $500. In-line units come in at a range of $600-$900.

Will my Warranty be Affected?

The short answer is no. If your vehicle is under factory warranty, it will not be affected by the use of these power-enhancing devises. The Magnuson-Moss Act enacted in 1975 assures users of that fact. Complete explanation of warranty detail is supplied by product manufacturers.

Bryce Castleton
Vice President Sales

What is a Cat-Back Exhaust System?

A Cat-Back system is an engineered exhaust system that’s designed to improve horsepower and deliver exciting high-performance sound. The system provides this and much more.

Called a Cat-Back system because it is installed behind (or after) the catalytic converter, this system replaces a stock or factory muffler and exhaust pipe arrangement. Since the system comes after the catalytic converter, there is no disruption of exhaust gas emissions and therefore does not change factory emission output.

How it Works

Think of your engine as an air pump that pushes air rapidly through the engine and out the exhaust system. It stands to reason that the fewer impediments to airflow, the faster air moves, which in turn results in best possible horsepower.

Increase in airflow (exhaust gas) is at the heart of a Cat-Back system. Increase in exhaust airflow is achieved with the use of larger-than-standard stainless steel exhaust pipe and a direct-flow muffler design.

In the case of V-6 engines, the stock tail pipe of 2.25-inch diameter is replaced with 2.50-inch diameter stainless pipe. The V-8 engine 2.50-inch diameter pipes are replaced with 3.0-inch diameter stainless pipes. In both cases, the larger pipe sizes provide a generous new air volume so air exhaust gas flows much more freely and in greater volume than does a stock exhaust system. The result is higher horsepower and increased engine torque.

Airflow is also improved through the straight-flow design of the muffler chamber. Here, too, airflow is improved and is yet another contribution to the freedom of airflow through the exhaust system and contributes to increased horsepower and torque.

What’s That Sound?

Another effect of the straight-flow muffler design is the acquisition of performance engine sound. In this design, standard sound muffling chambers (called mousetraps) are replaced with a straight-through design that produces a high-performance engine tone.

The rich sound is produced when the exhaust gases fill the muffler chamber. There they expand and, in the presence of very dense Rockwell material in the muffler, a deep tone is created producing a rich throaty engine sound.

The system can be acquired in a couple of sound ranges that allows the user to select a preferred performance sound. The sounds range in tone from a just above a stock rumble to a full-fledged racing roar.

Look at That

Rounding out the benefits of the Cat-Back system is its great looks. The system is visually improved by chrome that is applied to the muffler chamber and the exhaust pipe tips that are polished stainless steel. Both additions provide a show-car quality to the system and is a head-turning addition to the Cat-Back.

Why Change to a Cat-Back?

The Cat-Back is for the car enthusiast who is looking for the benefits of performance, sound and looks that are provided by a bolt-on aftermarket product.  A Cat-Back is a system that provides improved horsepower, great competition sound and has head turning car show good looks too.

Applications of the Cat-Back systems cover a wide range of makes and models including sports compact vehicles, muscle cars, as well as gas and diesel trucks. All versions offer the same advantages of larger tail pipe diameters, straight-line muffler design along with chrome mufflers and polished chrome exhaust tips.

If you are looking for a bolt-on product that delivers improved horsepower performance, head turning great looks and a throaty street/race distinctive sound, then a Cat-Back exhaust system is just what you are looking for.

Don’t Worry

In the case of vehicles under factory warranty, the installation of a Cat-Back system may void the warranty of the exhaust system only. This is offset by warranties that come with a Cat-Back system. All other parts of a vehicle warranty will remain in effect. The assurance of this is provided by the Federal Government Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act enacted in 1975.

Source: Darron Shubin
National Sales Manager – Performance MagnaFlow Exhaust Products
22961 Arroyo Vista  I  Rancho Santa Margarita  I  CA  I  92688
T 800-990-0905 x1166 F 949-858-8628
Skype magnaflowdarronshubin

What is a Cold Air (Hi-Flow) Induction System?

An aftermarket Cold Air (or Hi-Flow) induction system is a replacement for the Original Equipment (OE) air induction system. It increases the volume and the speed of air flowing into the engine and improves air volume and combustion.

How does it Work?

The aftermarket Cold-Air induction system is aerodynamically designed to channel air in a more direct path into the engine. These design principles allow air to flow faster and in greater volumes to produce a more efficient flow of air to the engine’s combustion chamber. The design also replaces the OE air filtration with a freer flowing air filter.

The collective effect of the design produces an efficient and powerful combustion event, producing the release of additional torque and horsepower that’s locked inside an engine.


Why Change to a Cold Air Induction System?

Air induction systems are the first link in the chain of airflow into and through the engine. Factory original equipment (OE) intake systems are comprised of an air intake assembly that flows air to the engine’s combustion chamber through an air intake induction chamber and a paper filtration design.

The OE system is not hi-performance oriented and actually impedes airflow, thereby impeding engine power capabilities. The OE system actually keeps additional horsepower locked inside an engine.

When you bolt-on a Cold-Air Induction system, the gains are immediate and permanent. Dyno testing results have shown gains from 8 to 50 horsepower depending upon the specific application.  Horsepower and torque alone are reason enough to make the change; but when you add in the show car looks you can get under the hood, then the discussion is over for most car enthusiasts.

There are a variety of aftermarket induction system designs on the market. The technical specifications of each are application specific and are designed to achieve improved aerodynamic airflow for a given application.

An additional advantage of the aftermarket system is the air filtration method. No longer is the obstructive paper filter used; it has been replaced with a large capacity high-tech wire mesh filter.

These filters are good for life and don’t have to be changed like its paper predecessor. The wire filter is washable and reusable thereby keeping maintenance and cost low. Under normal road conditions aftermarket filter cleaning and maintenance is required after100,000 miles — unlike the paper filter that is replaced every 15,000 miles.

Another attribute is the management of hot air with the inclusion of a heat shield in most applications. The shield isolates air coming into the system from the hot air present in the engine bay. This feature helps insure that air inducted into the system is as cool as possible, thereby improving torque and horsepower output.

One final advantage is that electronics are not affected, because systems are engineered and rigorously tested to ensure that increased airflow is calibrated and the mass airflow sensor does not trigger a “check engine” signal. That means the system is a true bolt-on with no additional electronic adjustments necessary.

For the hi-performance enthusiast, the bolt-on system is a way to acquire more torque and horsepower. It’s really that simple.


Looking Good!

Cold Air induction systems are not only engineered for power and torque, they also are designed to provide show car good looks. Aftermarket induction systems are available in a number of strong colors. Many also come in a metal look finish that’s produced from a process called vacuum metalizing. The finished product is designed to produce a WOW factor for enthusiasts.


Did You Hear That?

Believe it or not, a hi-performance sound advantage comes along with a hi-flow air induction system. It’s not an overpowering sound but it does provide a subtle yet deep growl sound.

The greater volume of air that’s moved into the engine and more powerful combustion chamber event that takes place creates the sound. It gives hi-performance enthusiasts just one more reason to bolt on a system.

What About My Warranty?

Like most bolt-on aftermarket systems, the Cold-Air Induction system is covered by the Magnuson enacted in1975. That means for vehicles under warranty the installation of a Cold-Air Induction may void the warranty of the intake system only. This is offset by warranties that come with aftermarket induction systems. All other parts of a vehicle warranty will remain in effect.

Source: Lucio Tapia
Marketing/ K& N Filters