Tag Archives: modification

What Is A Truck Roll Pan?

Roll Pan

Roll Pan

It’s been awhile since I’ve been interested in modifying a truck, but as of late I’ve been focusing on some cosmetic kits to customize my truck.  One of the most common modifications is a truck roll pan.  A roll pan is a replacement for a bumper that essentially deletes the bumper and makes it look like a rounded bottom to the back of the truck.

A roll pan makes a truck look very clean and often will hide the trailer hitch.  A common practice is to hide the trailer hitch behind the license plate, which is mounted to the back of the truck roll pan.  The only downside is that the cleaner and smoother apperance isn’t as functional as a rear bumper.

The stock rear bumper of a truck is more function than form.  Not only does it serve as a step for access to the truck bed, but it also provides protection in the case of an accident.  Most bumpers are designed for five mile an hour impacts, but will deflect damage and impact at higher speeds.  The most typical experience with impact bumpers are on parking lots where there are slower speeds.  The rear bumper will protect the body of the truck in case of a small bump from another car.  If you have a roll pan, there is more likely a chance to damage the paint and rear body work.

Most roll pans come unpainted, so that they can be better matched to your vehicles paint color.  This adds another cost to the purchase of a roll pan, but is required.  So keep that in mind when ordering your next body piece, the cost of painting can sometimes eclipse the price of the part itself.

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Buying A Crate Engine

Right now, holding the phone to my ear, hands sweaty, mind racing, what will my Mustang feel like with an all new crate motor this spring?  It’s exciting and anxiety induscing trying to pick the perfect crate motor, I know, I’ve been there.  But don’t let the potential for unlimited horsepower and a shiny new heart for your baby blind you from the truth.  The truth is that most cars are not ready for a new power plant, that souped up crate motor may just break more than the bank.

Crate Motor

Crate Motor

Consider the following, your car can only perform as good as it’s weakest link.  For example, having 500 horsepower under your foot doesn’t do any good if you have bicycle tires.  And, having a great intake system will not get it’s greatest benefit if you have restrictive exhaust.  The same goes for your motor, when buying a crate motor it’s important to make sure your weakest link is replaced first.

If you have a worn out stock motor, then you probably have a worn out stock transmission system.  By just swapping out a new crate motor, with bigger horsepower numbers, you are now applying more stress on that tired transmission.  Probably just a matter of time before old faithful takes a dump on you, making that shiny new crate motor an expensive paper weight.

I would recommend making sure the following components are beefed up before going with a higher horsepower crate motor.

  • Beefed Up Transmission – Nothing spells disaster for an old transmission than a big horsepower crate motor.
  • Proper Suspension – Having the proper suspension setup can be more important than horsepower.  The suspension in your car, if tuned properly, will have a big impact on power transfer.  The goal is to get the power to the ground, not just at the flywheel.
  • The Right Motor Mounts – If the place you are buying your crate motor from offers a mount kit, buy it, don’t go flimsy chensy on this new investment.  A powerful motor can twist itself right out of the engine bay, the same goes for the rear end.
  • Professional Installation – Sure it looks easy in all the car magazines, but actually installing a crate motor can be a big undertaking.  This can be especially true if this is the first time you’ve ever seen an engine not located snugly under a hood.

So, those are my tips on buying a crate motor, or what to prepare for when buying a new crate motor.  Consider this a checklist for buying a crate motor, to help save you money, and hardache down the road.  After all, we want the performance in our minds to reflect directly into the first time we plant the throttle on the road.

Crate Motors on eBay
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Difference Between Turbo and Supercharger

Those looking for big power gains usually turn to some sort of power adder, either a Turbo Charger or a Super Charger. There are some big differences between operation, benefits, and setbacks depending on which setup you choose. Both utilize what’s called forced induction to help increase the amount of air mass entering the engine, thus creating more horsepower. How each power adder increases the amount of air mass is where the differences begin and I hope to simplify the differences in this article.

Difference Between Looks

First, a turbo charger looks different than a typical roots style super charger. Furthermore, they are located in different places on the engine.

Turbo Charger

Turbo Charger

Supercharger

Supercharger

Difference Between Source of Power

To create forced induction, an accessory like a turbo charger or supercharger requires a power source.  The turbo charger relies on exhaust to power the turbine, which forces air into the engine.  A roots style supercharger will rely on an accessory belt, which spins the turbine and forces air into the engine.  This is why typically going with a turbo over a supercharger is more expensive, because the setup to pull exhaust and pipe back into the turbo is a more expensive installation and requires more parts.

Difference Between Turbo Horsepower

The additional horsepower that is created by a power added engine will also fluctuate depending on which accessory you choose.  A Turbo charger has the capability of providing higher power gains, but only at higher RPMs.  That’s because it relies on exhaust to spool up it’s turbine, which requires more time, thus power on the lower RPMs are not as high as a supercharger can provide.  Also, even at higher RPMs a Turbo Charger will provide spikes in power, where a supercharger will provide a more even distribution of power over the entire RPM band.

The drop in power at lower RPM’s is frequently called Turbo Lag.  This is the name given to the time it takes to bring a turbo up to speed and actually start producing horsepower gains above a normally aspirated engine.  This is most noticable changing from idle to throttle response time.

Warning About Power Adders

Even though a turbo charger or supercharger can be more expensive, they provide the greatest horsepower per dollar spent.  But, just because you can buy a Turbo or Supercharger does not mean you should, because most engines require a lot of prep work before being able to utilize any power adder.  A Turbo or Supercharger adds a lot of strain to an engine, so replacing internal parts of an engine is highly recommended to support the large increase and boost of horsepower.  Furthermore, even after a turbo or SC is installed it’s important to make sure your car is properly tuned before going WOT(wide open throttle).  If you don’t take the proper steps, installing a power adder may just blow your OEM engine apart.


This has been the first in a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.  There are plenty of other differences in turbos and other power adder sources, but this article just attempts to scratch the surface and explain the basic questions someone may have.

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