Our Day at PRI 2018

Yes, there has been a couple of days gap between this and the last post on PRI 2018.   Let’s just blame it on the weather and flight delays, shall we?

Some of the categories of displays are telling in terms of the industry focus these days.  Dynamometers, and in particular, chassis dynos have been in the tuning world for quite some time.  They are essential parts of the modern tuning process which includes ECU mapping and fuel injection technology.

There were quite a few dyno displays at PRI including some well known names as well as some newer ones:

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There were several companies that focus on ECU tuning such as ECU Tek.

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Today’s cars have thirty to forty computers, or more determining how to manage all the systems that contribute to our driving experience and key to all this are the multiple sensors that provide the information that feed the decisions programmed into these computers.

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Fuel injection is a huge part of being able to extract maximum horsepower and still maintain drivability be it a street car or a track car.

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Holley, once known for its carburetors, has their focus on fuel injection and ECU tuning.

Fuel injector technology has gone from batch-fired to controlled pulse rail mounted injectors to direct injection.  Keeping these various types of injectors doing their job properly is not easy. 

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For spec racers these tools will allow them to find the best flowing fuel injectors out of a batch of stock parts and allow them to check on their health as the season progresses.  For street car owners using the new direct injection technology it is cost-critical to be able to determine which of their injectors might be failing as they can cost well over $1000 each, and it is a budget blower to replace 8-12 at a time. 

Direct injection allows for precise fuel monitoring that results in maximum power and economy, but it comes at a price.  They operate at thousands of pounds of pressure and a faulty injector can wash a cylinder of oil, resulting in ring and cylinder damage.  Not to mention dilution of the crankcase oil.  The same oil that is used to lubricate the mechanical booster fuel pump.

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing is maturing into a technology that will eventually surpass casting, welding, and machining as the primary method of creating automotive parts and systems.  There were several examples of this technology at PRI this year.

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Much of the caliper assembly above was printed.

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The header above was a combination of printing, welding, and machining.

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The above part was printed.

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TRUMPF, a German company, had a live display of its laser 3D manufacturing technology.

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Layer, by layer, this machine fused powdered metal into a 3D part.

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Perhaps some day you will go to your parts supplier and have them print out your replacement parts.

There were some interesting displays of technology that we already know and love.  What’s not to love about a turbo?

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Can you ever have enough on your engine?

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Can they ever be large enough?

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Or powerful enough?

How about keeping the exhaust on a turbocharged engine from coming loose?

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Stage 8 has a solution for turbo applications as well as exhaust headers.

Speaking of exhaust, now that you need a large diameter exhaust to get the flow you need for that turbo, how do you manage to have enough clearance?

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This oval tubing could be your solution providing large flow area with plenty of clearance.

With all that power will the demand on your brakes mean that you are overheating them?

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Above is an example of a coolant-cooled brake caliper.

Let’s not forget the suspension required to get all that power to the tires and provide the best grip possible.

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This year’s PRI was a treat to attend.  If you are part of a race team or support shop you owe it to yourself to spend a few days at next year’s event.  Nowhere else can you see so much relevant products and displays in one place.  I know that I’ll be in Indianapolis next year!

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1 Response to Our Day at PRI 2018

  1. Jim's sister says:

    Great write-ups, Jim and fantastic pictures as usual. Thank.

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