Modifying the Electronics of Modern Classic Cars: The Complete Guide for Your 1990s to 2000s Car (WorkshopPro)


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(as of Oct 05,2023 03:27:11 UTC – Details)


Modifying the Electronics of Modern Classic Cars is the complete guide to modifying the electronics of your modern classic car. Cars of the 1990s and 2000s have sufficient electronic systems to achieve great outcomes, but they’re not so complex that they’re impossible to modify. The missing link, until now, has been a hands-on manual on how to achieve those results. Well, here it is! This book covers everything from cheap modifications that allow you to adjust engine fueling and ignition timing, to modifying car systems like power steering and even stability control. Easy upgrades to lighting, sound systems and the dashboard – right through to fitting and tuning programmable engine management. Photos and circuit diagrams guide you each step of the way. All the car modifications are practical, and have been tried and tested by the author. From a 660cc turbo front-wheel drive screaming to 8500rpm on standard engine management but with big injectors… to a DOHC V8 rear-wheel drive with modified traction control… to a twin-turbo all-wheel drive with a custom torque split controller. Even modifying the re-gen braking on a hybrid! Modifying the Electronics of Modern Classic Cars is essential reading for anyone who wants to exploit the true electronic potential of their 1990s-2000s cars.


From the Publisher

Modifying the Electronics of Modern Classic CarsModifying the Electronics of Modern Classic Cars

Modifying the Electronics of Modern Classic Cars: The complete guide for your 1990s to 2000s car (WorkshopPro)

12V for a power supply, or measuring the voltage output of a sensor12V for a power supply, or measuring the voltage output of a sensor

Variable valve timing systems alter timing  lift valves 1990s-2000s cars variable camshaft timingVariable valve timing systems alter timing  lift valves 1990s-2000s cars variable camshaft timing

Exhaust Gas Recirculation Exhaust Gas Recirculation

When measuring volts, the meter should be connected in parallel with the voltage source. Most commonly in a car you’re trying to find 12V for a power supply, or measuring the voltage output of a sensor. In either of these cases, the meter would be set to its 20V (or 40V or auto-ranging DC volts scale, depending on the meter), and the meter probes inserted into the connected wiring. If the polarity is wrong (you’ve connected the negative multimeter probe to the positive supply line) then no damage will be done – the meter will simply show negative volts instead of positive volts. When measuring voltage, the circuit does not need to be broken – the meter is inserted in parallel. In most car measurements, the negative probe of the meter is connected to ground (the car body).

Variable valve timing systems alter the timing and/or lift of the valves. In most 1990s-2000s cars, variable camshaft timing is on only a single camshaft, and the camshaft timing varies in a single step. That is, when the engine reaches a certain rpm and/or load, the ECU moves the camshaft timing – so one cam is either in the advanced or retarded position. Depending on the engine and manufacturer, that variable cam can be either the intake or exhaust cam.

Steplessly variable cam timing has also been used by many manufacturers. This allows lots of ‘in-between’ camshaft timing positions to be used, giving a far better result than single-step cam timing variation.

Using resistors or potentiometers (pots) is a very powerful and extraordinarily cheap way of increasing or decreasing the output of any analog sensor. Examples of the technique that I use in this chapter include having the ability to run bigger injectors by decreasing the output of the MAP sensor, altering Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) by changing the output of the EGR valve position sensor, and adding a little ignition timing by changing the output of the intake air temperature sensor. (Chapter 6 describes how I used similar techniques to alter the weight of power steering and to alter regen braking strength on a Toyota Prius.)

When using a pot in this way, the signal output of the sensor is proportionally changed, a very important but subtle point often overlooked by those who dismiss this technique.

Everything from cheap modifications that allow you to adjust engine fueling and ignition timing, to modifying car systems like power steering and even stability control.

boost the flow of water/air intercooler pumpsboost the flow of water/air intercooler pumps

Progressive Power SteeringProgressive Power Steering

car speed, engine rpm, coolant temperature, intake air temperature, long- and short-term fuel trimscar speed, engine rpm, coolant temperature, intake air temperature, long- and short-term fuel trims

The best use for these modules is to boost the voltage going to items that provide much higher output with only slightly higher voltages.

For example, you can use a 50W voltage booster to easily increase the pressure and output of windscreen washer pumps commonly used for intercooler water sprays. You can use it to boost the output of filament interior lights, brake lights and reversing lights. Depending on the measured current draw, you can use it to boost the flow of water/air intercooler pumps. You could also use it with 50W headlights in order to brighten your main beam (one unit per light). The larger 200W unit is suited to increasing fuel pump output, or boosting the output of a pair of headlights.

The first thing that you need to do to undertake any modification of this sort is to have a thorough knowledge of how the electronic control of the power steering works. I think that this can be achieved in only one way – by reading the factory workshop manual.

The LS400 has what Lexus term ‘Progressive Power Steering’ – PPS. This uses a solenoid valve to vary the flow of hydraulic fluid to a reaction chamber – a fluid force that actually resists the power assistance. If a lot of fluid is allowed to flow to the reaction chamber, the steering effort is higher. If little fluid flows to the reaction chamber, then the steering effort is lower.

The key point: in this steering system, more fluid flow into the reaction chamber equals a higher steering effort.

If your car is equipped with OBD functionality, gauges are available that plug into the OBD port and can display a wide variety of parameters. These include car speed, engine rpm, coolant temperature, intake air temperature, long- and short-term fuel trims, and many others.

These gauges are available as colour or B&W dashboard displays, including head-up displays that show the readings reflected on the inside of the windscreen.

While not as flashy as some of the readers that are available, ScanGauge has a good reputation as a general-purpose OBD display (and it can also clear fault codes). I have used a ScanGauge, and it worked just as advertised. ScanGauge is also small enough to be positioned easily on the dash: for example, on top of the steering column.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Veloce Publishing Ltd (March 19, 2019)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1787113930
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1787113930
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.9 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.16 x 0.82 x 9.8 inches

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