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7 Reasons the Fox Body Mustang is The Best Muscle Car Ever

Over the past 5 years, the Fox Body Mustang has exploded in popularity, especially with the younger generation of “hot rodders”. The funny thing is, most youngsters don’t even know what a Fox Body Mustang is, and I don’t blame them. Fox’s are a hidden gem in the automotive world, and now is the time to get your hands on one, before they’re all gone. Before we jump into why you need a Foxbody Mustang, i’d like to quickly cover what a Foxbody is.

What is a Fox Body Mustang?

drawing mustang concept ford 5.0

A Foxbody Mustang, is a Mustang produced anywhere from 1979 to 1993. It doesn’t matter if its a coupe, convertible, or a hatch. It also doesn’t matter what engine is has either, or transmission. As long as its between the ages of 1979 and 1993, its a Foxbody.

Why is it called a “Foxbody”? I know, its a really weird name to give to a car. But, its called a Foxbody because its on the Ford Fox platform. The Fox platform was a unibody chassis design that was used widely across Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles. The Fox platform was designed to downsize the massive cars that Ford produced the 70’s.

Why is it called the “Fox” platform? I am unable to find a sure reason as to why Ford identified this chassis as “Fox”. But, I assume it has something to do with the fact that it downsized their vehicle significantly. Their vehicles went from being big like a cow, to small and nimble like a Fox.

So now that you know a little bit about why a Foxbody is what it is, lets talk about the seven reasons that they’re awesome.

7. 80’s Goodness

Ah the 80’s, something that the Fox Body represents strongly. No other car can you drive today without previous owners of Fox Body’s striking up conversations about how much fun they had in these cars back in the day. Hell, even my mother had a Fox Body back in the day, although she ended up totaling it. But regardless of what happened to her Fox, when I came home in mine for the first time she was absolutely dying to take a ride in it. What other car can bring people from completely different generations together? The only vehicle I can think that brings people together like a Fox can is a Jeep.

Fox Body Mustang

Fox Body Mustang’s also represent vehicle styling from the 80’s and 90’s. The long horizontal tail lights, the factory GT body kit, the simple body lines. Look at a BMW E30 and try to tell me it doesn’t look like a miniature Fox Body coupe from the side and the rear. Even the interior screams 80’s, which is awesome because back then interior’s weren’t cluttered with fancy junk, just a steering wheel, some pedals, and half way decent materials on everything.

Another great thing about 1980’s cars is the fact that you have to drive it yourself. What do I mean by this? Modern Mustangs will save you if you suck at driving, they come equipped with traction control, stability control, line lock for burnouts, and ABS. Fox Body’s have none of the above, if you get on the gas mid corner you better know how to control a drift or you’ll end up wrapped around a pole, if you want to survive driving a Fox Body you’d better learn how to drive really well.

6. Camaro Killer

Back in the 80’s and 90’s when Fox Body Mustang’s and 3rd gen Camaro’s were new, there was always stoplight racing between these two cars. Pretty much anytime they pulled up next to each other there was bound to be a race. However, the Fox Body was almost always faster in a straight line. They both have similar power and torque, but the Fox Body’s low weight give it an advantage on the Camaro. The Fox Body weighs in around 3,000-3,100 lbs depending on the model and body, whereas 3rd gen Camaro’s weigh in around 3,300 lbs. A few hundred pounds might not sound like a huge amount but its a huge advantage especially when drag racing. Like the Chevy vs Ford debate? Then be sure to check out our Ford Coyote vs Chevy LS article.

Fox body Mustang

The Camaro had a more advanced rear suspension and braking system, which makes it stop and handle a little better. But, these are American cars, and most people never take their cars to a road course or autocross. However, if you are the kind of person who enjoys Autocross or circuit racing, the biggest thing that holds the Fox Body Mustang back is the fact that it doesn’t come equipped with a pan hard hard bar on the rear axle. Simply adding a pan hard bar to the rear axle will allow your Fox Body to shred Camaro’s on and off the track.

3rd gen Camaro LT engines are also pretty weak on the aftermarket side when compared to the Fox Body’s 5.0, which means when comparing modified to modified the Fox Body also edges out over the Camaro. Both the Fox Body Mustang and the 3rd gen Camaro are unbelievably fun to stoplight race, even in stock condition they’re an absolute riot, however, the Fox Body will almost always take the win. 3rd gen Camaro’s also have this weird stigma, if you drive a 3rd gen everyone thinks that either you’re a hillbilly, or have a mullet.

5. They’re Sexy as Hell!

Whether you love or hate the style of the Fox Body, you’ll probably agree thats its interesting. It doesn’t really resemble Mustangs of the past, the lack of “tri-bar” tail lamps, and the wonky front end definitely set it apart from the typically Mustang, but thats totally okay. However they’re not perfectly sculpted, the GT’s rear bumper is hideous, it’s literally a giant square with a weird lip at the bottom, the LX’s rear bumper is a little to short and ends up exposing the fuel tank.

Like I said earlier, the Fox Body represents vehicle styling of the 80’s, cars the the BMW E30 look similar to the Fox Body and the E30 is regarding as one of the best looking cars ever. I think thats partially why the Fox Body is becoming really popular with the younger generation. Just look at the Fox below and try tell me its not a good looking car. If you decide you need to buy a Fox Body, be sure to read our Fox Body buying guide.

Fox Body Convertible Cobra Mustang

The Fox Body Mustang came in a Fastback, Coupe, and a Convertible, this was the last generation fastback mustang before the 2015 Mustang. In the eyes of the younger generation, the Fox is incredible good looking. This is probably because of its size, its a small car compared to 2015 Mustang’s, and its simple body lines. Different major modification companies such as Saleen put their own twist on the body styling of the Fox Body.

Saleen Fox Body

Fox Body Mustang

Generally the Notchback (Coupe) is more desired, mostly because of its rarity, but also because it has cleaner body lines and looks better to most people. The coupe is also about 100 lbs lighter making it much more popular with drag racers. I’ve always personally liked LX hatchbacks more, but thats probably just my 17 year-old self remembering all the awesome memories I had in my Foxbody.

4. Factory Performance, 300 LB-FT of Awesomeness

Now, by no means is a Fox Body Mustang a sports car, in stock form they’re known for their boat like handling, and tail happy rear end. However the Fox Body Mustang was the first car Motor Trend ever tested that pulled over 1G on a skidpad, pretty impressive for a muscle car that “can’t turn”. The infamous 5.0L doesn’t make large amounts of power by todays standards, but made respectable power back when they were new, putting 225 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque to the ground.

Although 225 horsepower is pretty lack luster in todays world, 300 lb-ft of torque isn’t. Thats what makes these cars so much fun to drive, the fact that you don’t even have to rev them out to have a great time, they just want to spin the tires at all RPM’s.

Also Read: 7 Weird Things You Never Knew About the Ford Mustang

Fox Body Mustang

Luckily, 225 horses is actually a good amount considering the Foxbody weighs in at 3,100 lbs in stock form, and with a little bit of weight reduction (fiberglass hood, a/c delete, etc.) can achieve a weight of under 2,900 lbs, less than a modern VW Beetle. My personal Fox Body Mustang had a pretty significant amount of weight reduction; gutted interior, A/C delete, aluminum heads, and an aluminum manifold. It could achieve 0-60 in about 5 seconds, that puts it on par with a 2015 Mustang. For specifics visit: Foxbody Wikipedia

My personal 1991 Mustang LX

1991 Foxbody Mustang LX Light Blue Cobra R Rims sexy arizona cars

Check out: Top 5 Must Have Mods For Your Fox Body

With such a light car, you can imagine how fun this car is to drive around. They’re not a role-model when it comes to handling, mostly thanks to their “live axle” rear end, but thats okay because they’re cornering characteristics are fun, not fast.

Land Rover vs Range Rover: What’s The Difference?

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years, Land Rover has taken over the luxury SUV market. Once a super rugged off-roading machine has now turned into a super luxury SUV with a 4×4 badge, and fancy traction control systems. Many people wonder what the difference between Land Rover and Range Rover. They look similar, have similar names, both cost a ton, both are from Britain, so what’s the difference?

To save you time I will just give you the short answer: Range Rover is just a model in the Land Rover brand. People often refer to Range Rover as a brand, because saying “The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque” sounds kind of stupid.

Land Rover History

The Land Rover brand all starts with the Series 1. Well actually it starts before that with the company “Rover”. Rover was a small company that produced mid and high end vehicles. Because they were a small company their revenue was fairly limited. Rover designed the Land Rover to generate them some short term revenue whilst they continued to produce high end automobiles.

The Land Rover model ended up being so popular that they kept it around. The original Series Land Rover was the first model they produced then came the Defender, Discovery, Freelander, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Range Rover Evoque. Good thing too, because it reshaped the entire Rover brand.

RELATED: Land Rover vs Jeep: Which One is Actually Better Off-Road?

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The Series 1 was designed to be used for agricultural use, and was built to survive rough usage. To be quite honest the Series 1 is rather ugly, but every brand starts somewhere. Later down the line Land Rover released the Defender which had lots of design cues taken from the Series 1.

Land Rover has since grown a huge amount, and is now a dominating brand in the luxury SUV market. A huge helping factor in growing the brand was the Camel Trophy event. This took a bunch of Discovery I models, and put them through absolute hell. This proved to the world that no one built a more rugged SUV than Land Rover.

You can find more Land Rover information on Wikipedia

The “Range Rover” Model

Land Rover had been working on creating a larger, city friendly SUV since the Series 1 was released. Like I mentioned above, the Series 1 was designed for agricultural use. This didn’t suit everybody so it made sense to make a more city oriented model. The Range Rover model was launched in 1970, and was an instant success. It was a success due to its extreme ruggedness, and it’s city friendliness.

RELATED: Are Modern Range Rovers Actually Reliable?

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A trend had emerged in the 1960s. The trend of leisure SUVs, and how the American market absolutely loved them. This is one of the few reasons why the Range Rover model was a near instant success.

The Turning Point

At what point did the Land Rover brand shift its focus from off-road ruggedness, to luxuriousness? Arguable the turning point was the Land Rover Discovery II. It had all of the super heavy duty components of a Land Rover, but with a huge amount of luxury features.

The Discovery II was the first SUV ever to have air suspension of any kind. It also featured optional hydraulically assisted sway bars for better on road performance. Combined with a heavy duty ladder frame, heavy duty axles, and a super luxurious interior the Discovery II was the perfect balance between ruggedness and luxuriousness.

You can read more about how the Discovery II changed the Land Rover brand in our Discovery II article.

Target Demographic

Back when the original Range Rover model was released, Land Rover was an off-road brand. It was one of the few competitors to the Jeep brand which was wildly popular in the US. Land Rover wanted to increase the diversity of their customer base, so they made the Range Rover model a luxury SUV. It still had Land Rover’s off-road prowess, but with the addition of tons of luxury features. The increase amount of luxury features made it much more friendly for the average consumer. This combination was an instant success.

RELATED: 8 Reasons to Buy a Land Rover Discovery II

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To this day the Range Rover model is targeted to a wealthier demographic more than other Land Rover models. Both are targeted towards wealthy customers, but the Range Rover is almost like the prestige model. Only the really wealthy purchase a Range Rover.

What Is The Difference?

So here’s the bottom line. The Land Rover brand is an off-road oriented luxury brand. The Range Rover model is the most luxurious model of the entire Land Rover brand. Land Rover once produced super off-road capable SUVs, but now they focus mostly on making their vehicles as luxurious as possible.

3UZFE: Everything You Want to Know

If you’ve read our LS engine article, then you know that engines typically come in families. The 3UZFE is the third, and final engine in the Toyota UZ family. Just like the 2UZ, the 3UZFE is based almost entirely off of the 1UZ. The biggest and most obvious change would be the displacement, which was increased to 4.3L.

The 3UZFE is the least known of the entire UZ engine family, but is it just as good as its big brothers?

3UZFE: Engine Basics

Just like the 1UZ, the 3UZFE has an aluminum engine block. The aluminum engine block helps keep weight down, which is helpful for the heavy luxury cars that it’s installed in. Other than the slightly increased displacement, the 3UZ is just like the 1UZ. It’s a 90* V8, with aluminum heads that are dual over head cam. There are 32 valves (4 per cylinder), and the lifters aren’t hydraulic, so it needs periodic valve adjustments.

RELATED: Toyota 1UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

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All other UZ engines started out pretty basic, and later received upgrades such as Toyota’s VVT-i. The 3UZFE started out with all the upgrades including VVT-i. This is because the 3UZFE is much younger than the other UZ engines, and it would’ve been ridiculous for Toyota not to use VVT-i on the 3UZ.

  • Production: 2000 – 2010
  • Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
  • Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
  • Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Stroke: 82.5mm
  • Bore: 91mm
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
  • Displacement: 4292cc

3UZFE: Vehicles

Just like the 1UZ, the 3UZFE was designed for luxury cars. It came in a number of different Toyota products, but they were all luxury oriented vehicles. The 3UZFE was equipped in the Lexus GS430, LS430, and SC430. It was also equipped in the Toyota Crown Majesty, and the Soarer.

RELATED: Toyota 2UZ-FE: Everything You Need to Know

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  • Lexus GS 430
  • Lexus LS 430
  • Lexus SC 430
  • Toyota Crown Majesty
  • Toyota Soarer

3UZFE: Performance Data

Over the years the 3UZFE had minor upgrades done to it. These upgrades increased horsepower, torque, and fuel economy.

  • 282 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
  • 307 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm

Minor revisions were added.

  • 290 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
  • 320 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

Once again, minor revisions were added.

  • 304 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
  • 325 lb-ft @ 3,400 rpm

As you can tell from these numbers, there were only slight gains in horsepower. Most of these gains were a result of computer re-calibration, and the physical parts were left unchanged.

1UZFE vs 3UZFE: What is the Difference?

Like I mentioned before, the 3UZ is heavily based on the 1UZ engine. But what are the actual differences? The 3UZ has a larger bore, and thinner cylinder sleeves. The 3UZ’s pistons are lighter and larger to accommodate the cylinder bore. The 3UZ also has improved water passages which lowered combustion chamber temperatures.

The 3UZ also had technological advancements such as Lexus’s electronic throttle body. For the full list of all difference between the 1UZ and 3UZ, please visit LexusV8engines.co.va.

3UZFE: Tuning Potential

If you are a car guy or gal, chances are that this is the part you were waiting for. What can the 3UZ really do? Can be it be transformed from its boring stock form into a street monster? Well, I had both good and bad news for you. Good news; its nearly identical to the 1UZ, and can make power as easy as the 1UZ. Bad news; its severely limited by the stock block.

RELATED: Here’s Why You NEED a Lexus Sc300/SC400

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The 3UZ is a double edge sword. Its super awesome because its mostly the same at the 1UZ, which can make tons of power really easily. The reason that the 3UZ is limited by the stock block is the bore size. The cylinder block is identical to the 1UZ’s, but the larger bore of the 3UZ decreases the size of the cylinder sleeves. Those thinner sleeves limit the 3UZ to around 600 horsepower on a stock block.

3uzfe5

As long as you’re not pushing your car past 600 horsepower, than the stock block will work just fine for you. One of the most common modifications to the 3UZ is adding a Terminator Cobra supercharger, or Eaton M90 supercharger. This quickly bumps the horsepower up to an impressive 360+ at just 6 psi. With a built bottom end, the 3UZ can reach 420+ horsepower at 10 psi. Like I said, it is limited by the stock cylinder sleeves, so you don’t have to be very careful when adding boost.

3UZFE: Summary

So as you might have figured out by now, the 1UZ and the 3UZ are basically the same. They share a large amount of their components, and make similar power. The difference worth mentioning is that the 3UZ is much weaker than any other UZ engine. Let me know what you think about the 3UZFE in the comments below.

Land Rover Discovery II: 8 Reasons to Buy One Today

In case you’ve never seen any wildlife documentaries, the Land Rover Discovery is the go to vehicle for wildlife videographers. It’s also a very popular vehicle among successful people. Why do outdoorsmen and the wealthy love the Land Rover Discovery II?

There are tons of things that make the Discovery II special. Here are 8 reasons to buy a Discovery II today.

8. World’s Best Leather

Discovery II interior

The leather in the Discovery II is a super high quality and very soft leather. It covers the seats, door panels, dashboard, and basically everything.

Land Rover went as far as adding Kangaroo leather to the door panels. Kangaroo leather is a very soft, and subtle material. Land Rover added it right where you rest your arm on the door, putting your elbow in heaven as you drive.

What other vehicle can you brag to your friends about having Kangaroo leather inside of it?

7. Stadium Seating

The Land Rover Discovery II has what is called “Stadium Seating”, which means the rear seats are elevated. This gives the rear passengers excellent visibility, and allows them to see over the front occupants so everyone can complain about your driving at once.

Since the rear seats are elevated, that means their headroom goes down. But, Land Rover has solved this problem by elevating the roof from the rear seats back by a few inches.

You can clearly see the raised roof from the outside of the vehicle. The back seats in the Discovery II are probably some of the most comfortable rear SUV seats you’ll ever sit in.

6. Sound system

The optional Harman/Kardon sound system is truly amazing for any automobile at that time. It includes no less than 12 speakers, which are scattered about to provide optimal sound for all passengers. The 12 speakers are powered by a 320 watt amplifier, along with an amplified subwoofer.

All of this put together adds up to a near jaw dropping factory sound system. Seriously, the optional sound system in the Discovery II is amazing, especially for a vehicle of its age.

5. Jumper Seats

Discovery II jumper seats

Say you own a family of 7, well Land Rover has you covered. The SE7 optioned Discovery II has rear jumper seats, which fold up to give full trunk room. They’re actually big enough to fit a full grown adult.

The Discovery I had a similar design, but the jumper seats faced each other, instead of facing the front of the vehicle. The design in the Discovery I looked a little cooler, but couldn’t really fit full size adults.

4. Build Quality

Land Rover Discovery II

Unlike Land Rovers of today, you really got what you were paying for if you bought a Discovery II brand new, and they weren’t cheap either. The extremely strong ladder frame for example, it’s stronger than most 1-ton pickup trucks. The axles are just as strong as 3/4 ton truck axles. The radius arms are extremely beefy, and almost all the suspension components are extremely beefy as well. Additional Discovery II Info

Even little details like glass headlights, dual sunroofs, and rear climate control, they all add up to a vehicle with build quality that is better than most cars of today (2015). Quite honestly the Discovery II has a better build quality than any other off-road vehicle of the time.

3. ACE System

Discovery 2

When the Discovery I was out, the biggest complaint was its handling, Land Rover customers wanted an SUV that handled like a sports car. Well, they listened, and when they launched the Discovery II one of the options was the ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement) system.

RELATED: Land Rover vs Range Rover: What is the Difference?

What the ACE system does, is stop the body from rolling so much. It uses a hydraulic pump, which is driven by the serpentine belt, and a hydraulic ram attached to the front and rear sway bars. If you turn either direction, the hydraulic rams push the sway bars the opposite direction, and keeps the vehicle flat in a corner.

It also completely disengages at very low speeds, which allows more articulation from the front and rear to help with off-roading.

2. Air Suspension

The Discovery II has air suspension equipped in the rear, and was the first SUV ever to have air suspension of any kind. This allows it ride extremely smooth, and also helps with off-roading because it can lift up the rear of the vehicle 1.6 inches.

This system is also self leveling, so if you have a lot of cargo or are towing something heavy, it’ll automatically level out the vehicle for you. Unfortunately the air bags aren’t the most reliable system in the world, and many Discovery IIs now have coil spring suspension in the rear.

1. Offroad Prowess

Disco 2 offroad

Of course, the heart of any Land Rover is its off-road abilities, that’s the main reason it’s a safari vehicle after all. Features like the hill descent control, and traction control help you get anywhere you want safely. The center diff lock allows you to turn all-wheel-drive into four-wheel-drive, and locks power output to 50/50.

RELATED: Land Rover vs Jeep: Which One is Actually Better?

All of this combined with extremely strong axles and strong suspension components allow the Discovery II to go almost anywhere you want, the Discovery II will almost always keep up with a Jeep except when rock crawling, and as a Jeep owner I don’t say that lightly

Summary

Don’t get me wrong, the Discovery II isn’t the most perfect vehicle ever. But, for what you’re paying, you’re getting a lot of features that most brand new cars don’t even have.

From interior quality and features, to groundbreaking suspension components, and off road durability. Nothing beats a Discovery II when it comes to quality and luxury, especially for less than $8k.

What Is a Stroker Motor?

You’ve just heard about stroker motors for the first time, but you are confused as to what they are. I’ll be glad to tell you exactly what a stroker motor is and how it works.

Before I can dive into how a stroker motor works and why you’d want one, I first need to explain how an engine works. If you already know how an engine works than skip this next section.

How an Engine Works

The standard internal combustion engine works by taking linear force, and turning it into rotational force through a rotating assembly (crankshaft). The cylinder size is measured by width (bore) and height (stroke), and that gives it its overall displacement. The piston moves up and down through a 4-stroke process.

Stroker1

Intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust, are the steps. The combustion forces the pistons downwards, which is transferred into rotational force through the crankshaft. That rotational force is what drives your car forwards.

This design has been around for a very long time, and is unfortunately very inefficient. Many small companies have developed much better internal combustion engines, such as the Duke engine. However, manufacturers have the standard internal combustion engine to a point that it wouldn’t be cost effective to develop a better combustion engine.

How to Increase Stroke

Stroke can be increased in some engines with a “stroker” kit. Many aftermarket companies make stroker kits for various different kinds of engines. The kit will increase the stroke by increasing the length of the crankshaft throw, and decreasing the length of the connecting rod.

This makes the piston move down further while keeping its peak height the same as the factory engine. Why do you need to keep the height of the stroke the same as stock? Well, if you didn’t, the piston would force itself the cylinder head and your engine wouldn’t work at all.

You can also decrease stroke with the opposite method. Decreasing crankshaft throw and increasing connecting rod length will de-stroke an engine. This might be handy if you need you’re engine to be smaller to fit into certain classes of racing.

What is Torque?

Ask yourself, what is torque? Torque is rotational force, and is measured by lb-ft in America and some other parts of the world. Lets say you weight 170lbs, and you are trying to get a lug nut off of your car. The wrench you are using is one foot long. If you put your entire body weight on the end of that wrench, you would be applying 170 lb-ft of torque on that lug nut.

Maybe the lug nut is really stuck on so you bust out your breaker bar. Now the wrench is effectively 3 feet long, and you put your entire body weight on the end of the breaker bar. Now you are applying 510 lb-ft of torque to that lug nut (3×170=510).

If Torque is Rotational Force, Then What is Horsepower?

This is an excellent question, and it can be confusing if you don’t already understand the difference. Horsepower = (Torque X RPM)/5252. Say you’re  applying 100 lb-ft of force on something, and you’re turning it 100 times per minute. You would effectively be making 1.9 horsepower.

Now lets say your doing the same thing, but you’re turning it 500 times per minutes. Now you would effectively be making 9.5 horsepower. Think of it like this: Torque is how hard the engine is working, horsepower is how much the engine is working.

Stroker2

That is the easiest way to explain what rotational force and horsepower are and how they are measured. If you do not quite understand this concept I recommend watching educational YouTube videos for more information.

Why Increase Stroke?

A small stroke allows the engine to rev higher, and thus make more horsepower, so why would you want to increase the stroke? Well, horsepower isn’t everything. Increasing the stroke increases the torque an engine can make. Torque is rotational force, and it propels your car forwards.

Basically, the torque rating is what matters when you are just cruising around town. If your vehicle has a large amount of torque, you don’t have to rev it up very high to accelerate quickly. Why is that a good thing? Well, lets assume you’re on the highway in 5th gear. If your vehicle doesn’t make lots of torque, you will have to downshift to pass the person in front of you. If your vehicle does make a lot of torque, than you won’t need to downshift to pass the car in front of you.

For drag racers and street racers this is great, as it allows them to get out of the hole quicker. For road racers torque is a little bit less important since they are often high up in the RPMs where the engine makes its peak horsepower.

How Does It Increase Torque?

Well, remember when I was explaining how torque is measured? Its like taking a lug nut off. Well, since increasing the stroke is done through increasing the crankshaft throw, its basically like adding a breaker bar to your lug nut wrench. The combustion inside the cylinder has more leverage on the crankshaft, thus creating more rotational force, and creating more torque.

Words can be difficult to understand so I urge you to watch the video below to better understand how a stroker motor works.

Summary

So, there you have it, thats how a stroker motor works. These motors are often used in muscle cars, as they give it that muscle feeling. If you don’t have to rev your car out to beat somebody else it feels pretty awesome.

350Z vs 370Z: Which One is Actually Better?

Nissan initially came to the US market under the name Datsun for fear of failure. With that Datsun name they brought the 240Z; since then they have been a top competitor in the sports car market. The Z family has changed a bunch over the years, but there are still some key factors that make them all related. Low roofline, squished trunk, and a long hood are features that every single Z has.

What about the most recent Zs? The 350Z and 370Z were incredibly successful sports cars, but which one is actually better?

350Z

After the success of the 300ZX ended in 1996, Nissan was a little unsure what to do with the Z. They created a new 240Z concept, but that was scrapped for fear of going backwards. Eventually Nissan showed the world their new Z concept, and it was called the “350Z”. The 350Z was a lot like the outgoing 300ZX. They both shared similar design features like the long hood, but the 350Z was designed to fit into the modern world.
Additional 350Z info on Wikipedia

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RELATED: 240Z vs 280Z: Which One is Actually Better?

In Japan the 350Z was known as the Fairlady Z Z33. Over seas many of the Z cars were named the Fairlady. The Z33 is the chassis code, which identifies this specific generation of Z.

370Z

Fast forward to 2009, and Nissan is now producing their next Z car. The all new 370Z is the 6th generation in the Z family. The 370Z shares nothing with the outgoing 350Z. The 370Z is smaller, lighter, faster, and much more curvy than the 350Z. It has a 4″ shorter wheelbase, 2.7″ shorter length, 0.3″ lower height, and 1.3″ wider body. What do all of these numbers mean? These numbers mean the 370Z is designed to handle better than the 350Z in every way possible.
Additional 370Z info on Wikipedia

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RELATED: How to Import a Car to The USA

Just like the 350Z, the 370Z was known as the Fairlady in Japan. This time it was the Fairlady Z Z34.

350Z vs 370Z: Exterior

I mentioned the the 370Z has smaller dimensions than the 350Z. The odd thing is, the 370Z looks larger to me. They are obviously related, the overall shape is extremely similar. They’re both long, low, simple, with a simple fastback rear. The 370Z is much more curvy than the 350Z. This was done to make it look more aggressive, but also much more modern. Just like countless other models throughout history, the successor is more curvy and modern looking.

RELATED: S13 vs S14: Which S-Chassis Is Better?

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The 350Z is a timeless design, it will never look dated. Sitting next to the 350Z it looks just as modern. That being said, I think that they’re both incredibly good looking sports cars. But the 350Z’s simpler design arguably makes it the better looking for the two.

350Z vs 370Z: Interior

This shouldn’t take you by much surprise; the 370Z’s interiors has features that weren’t even available on the 350Z. The 370Z also has a redesigned interior that feels more modern and more expensive. They both have features that are tribute to the original 240Z such as the three gauges high up on the dashboard.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Nissan’s VH45DE

350Zvs370ZInterior

One thing that Nissan didn’t really change between these two is their race car feel. Everything in the cockpit is angled towards the driver, making it a true driving experience. The seats are mounted low, and they are surrounded, making it feel like a true race car.

350Z vs 370Z: Performance Data

So if you’re an enthusiast than this is the part that you actually care about. Which one of these cars is actually faster? Logic would tell you that the 370Z is going to be the faster of the two, but is it really? Lets look at some of the 350Z’s numbers.

RELATED: G35 vs 350Z: Which One is Actually Better?

  • Horsepower: 300 @ 6,400 rpm
  • Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
  • Curb Weight: 3,200 lbs
  • 0-60: 5.1 seconds
  • 60-0: 112 feet
  • 1/4 mile: 13.5 seconds
  • Nurburgring lap time: 8:26

As you can see from these numbers the 350Z is actually pretty quick. It’s not “mustang” fast, but it’s plenty fast for the average person. These Japanese sports cars shine when the road gets twisty. The 350Z proved this by laying down as impressive 8:26 lap time on the Nurburgring. Now that we know what the 350Z can do, let’s look at the 370Z.

  • Horsepower: 332 @ 7,000 rpm
  • Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
  • Curb Weight: 3,300 lbs
  • 0-60: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0: 105 feet
  • 1/4 miles: 12.5 seconds
  • Nurburgring lap time: Unknown

The 370Z is more powerful which isn’t surprising considering its larger engine. The interesting part is that even though it weighs 100 lbs more, it’s still faster in every single way. I am unable to find a Nurburgring time for the 370Z, but I would guess it would run 8:10 – 8:15 based on all the other numbers.

I hope this didn’t take you by surprise, but the 370Z is faster in every single way. Which is funny because i’ve never seen a 370Z on a track, but I’ve seen countless 350Zs on a track. This is probably due to the price difference.

350Z vs 370Z: Reliability

The topic of reliability can be very subjective when it comes to Nissan, that is, everyone has a different agenda. Many Nissan enthusiasts claim to have had incredibly reliable 350Zs, and incredibly reliable 370Zs. Many enthusiasts also claim the exact opposite. Either way the Nissan brand is actually less reliable than you might think.

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With that out of the way we can return to the subject at hand: Which one is more reliable? Unfortunately I was unable to find any concrete numbers regarding the reliability of these two. So I resorted to the forums, and I found that most Z enthusiasts both are incredibly reliable. This is odd considering the chart above shows that Nissan is below average in terms of reliability.

I really couldn’t find any forums posts complaining about the reliability of either. If you have any insight on the reliability of the 350Z or the 370Z let me know down in the comments!

350Z vs 370Z: Price

Unfortunately we are all limited to price. For this single reason most people will never get to own their dream car. Both the 350Z and the 370Z can be found used for a fraction of their original price. The 370Z is obviously going to be more expensive, it’s newer. Something you need to understand is that automobile prices vary by location, age, milage, seller motivation, number of problems, and luck. These prices i’m going to quote you might be entirely different from the prices that you find.

RELATED: G35 vs 350Z: Which One is Actually Better?

A 2006 350Z enthusiast coupe with 50,000 miles in good condition has a Kelly Blue Book price of $11k. This surprised me, I expected it to be closer to $7k based on my experience with 350Zs. When I hoped on Phoenix’s Craigslist I found 350Zs from $6,500 to $14,500. All of the cheaper ones had 160k miles or more. From what i’ve found a good condition 350Z with around 100,000 miles is about $10k.

A 2010 370Z touring coupe with 50,000 miles in good condition has a Kelly Blue Book price of $17k. This also surprised me, I expected it to be closer to $20k. The KBB for the 370Z is $6k more. For that you get a model 4 years newer than the 350Z. When I hoped on Phoenix’s Craigslist I found 370Zs from $13,500 all the way up to $33,000. This means that in the real world a 370Z is about 2x as expensive as a 350Z.

So Which One is Better?

This is a tough decision to make. Both the 350Z and the 370Z are incredible sports cars. They have both set the bar for all of their Japanese competitors. Due to 350Z’s lower price, I think it’s the better option. Yes it is slightly slower, but with the money you save going with a 350Z does it really it matter? That money can be used for suspension, brakes, and tires. A 350Z full of modifications is going to be way faster than a 370Z. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

335i vs M3: Is The M3 Really Worth It?

So, you’re interested in picking up a 3-series BMW. Great! They’re awesome little cars especially when they’re properly taken care of. We all long for that one car thats just out of our reach. For BMW enthusiasts, this is typically the M3. For most BMW enthusiasts, the M3 is just slightly out of reach, so they begin to think about just settling for the 335i. But, can you modify the 335i, and make it better than an M3? Lets dive in, and compare 335i vs M3.

For this comparison we will be looking at the E90/E92 generation 3-series.

335i vs M3: Exterior

We all know how incredible sexy the E92 M3 looks. Its front facia is meaner, the hood has a giant bulge, to fit that beast of a V8 in it. The body as a whole is redesigned to look meaner, lower, and faster. But, are the body modifications really worth the premium? Well, not really.

Thanks to the BRZ and FRS, body kits are once again becoming acceptable by society. Things like crazy carbon fiber hoods, carbon fiber trunks, and massive rear wings are completely acceptable once again. For that reason specifically, you could very easily modify the 335i to look way better than an M3. It will still be considered somewhat unacceptable to put M3 badges on it, but who really cares about the badges anyways?

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Regardless of looks, the M3 does have quite a few lightweight panels on the outside, which can be difficult to replicate with aftermarket body parts sometimes.

335i vs M3: Interior

So when it comes to car interiors, most people don’t modify them at all. Mostly just because its not something you can easily do by yourself. Any interior modifications besides a racing seat are strictly for your comfort, and not increasing  performance.

The 335i and the M3 have a nearly identical interior. The M3 comes equipped with a slightly softer leather, and some of the buttons illuminate. The M3 also had an option to add carbon fiber bits and pieces. Other than that, the M3 is literally no different than a 335i on the inside.

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So once again, the M3 isn’t really worth the premium at all. The only interior modifications most enthusiasts will make is adding a nice racing seat.

335i vs M3: Performance Numbers

Now we’re getting into the interesting stuff. Lets be real here, most of us don’t really care about exterior or interior differences. We care about the numbers. Which one is faster at what? Are they good on the track?

    • 335i Engine: Twin-Turbo 3.0L Inline-6
    • M3 Engine: 4.0L DOHC V8
  • 335i Horsepower: 300-350hp
  • M3 Horsepower: 400-450hp
  • 335i Torque: 300 lb-ft
  • M3 Torque:300 lb-ft
  • 335i o-60: 5.0 seconds
  • M3 0-60: 4.4 seconds
    • 335i 60-0: 110 feet
    • M3 60-0: 110 feet

So, as  awkward as this is, looking at the numbers tells me that the M3 isn’t really a whole lot better than a 335i. Im sure that somewhere in the comments will be an M3 fanboy going crazy over the fact that on paper its not a huge amount better than a 335i.

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Whats in between the numbers is the track ability, and how it feels to drive. The M3 is going to be a better car on the track, its that simple. These numbers are not indicative of a good track car. A good track car is going to be stiff, and fairly easy to drive at the limit. The M3 is purpose built to be on the track where these numbers don’t matter a huge amount.

335i vs M3: Aftermarket

This is where things can get very interesting in this debate. Heres why: One of these cars is turbo charged and the other isn’t. Turbo’s leave huge performance gains on the table through a simple ECU tune. Especially since the 335i runs on 8psi, which is pretty low boost compared to most turbo charged cars.

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For example: A simple stage 1 firmware tune can bring the 335i from 300hp to 350+. Thats a pretty good increase considering its literally just a tune and nothing else. Simple bolt ons with a stage 2 tune will bring the 335i to 400+ hp. Thats M3 territory for WAY less money.

335i vs M3: Reliability

The topic of reliability can be very subjective when it comes to BMW, that is, everyone has a different agenda. Many M3 owners have had an incredible experience in regards to the reliability of their car. Many 335i owners have also experienced excellent reliability. However, many BMW enthusiasts will hide the truth to further advance their BMW agenda. It’s not that BMW is unreliable, BMW is in fact above average in terms of reliability.

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The truth behind the matter is this: Any given repair done on a BMW can be over twice as expensive as a similar repair on another car. So it boils down to this; if you plan to own a BMW out of warranty, you better have deep pockets.

With that out of the way we can return to the subject at hand: Which one is more reliable? Unfortunately I was unable to find any concrete numbers regarding the reliability of these two, but after poking around BMW forums it seems as though the M3 is actually more reliable than the 335i. This surprised me since the M3 is borderline exotic, but I forgot to account for turbo reliability. It seems as though many of the 335i’s reliability issues stem from the twin turbo system.

335ivsM3

As I mentioned before, the BMW brand is incredible expensive to repair. The M3 and the 335i are no exception to this. However, with the added strain of turbochargers, the M3 actually ends up on top in regards to reliability. But, the cost of the repairs done to both the M3 and 335i is terrible.

335i vs M3: Cost

Okay, so this can be really difficult to talk about, because prices vary greatly. But, from what I have seen on Craigslist locally (Phoenix, Arizona), prices for a 335i range from $10k to $20k. The prices I’ve quoted are for different years, with different milage, all of them in what looked to be great condition.

The E90/E92 M3 on the other hand, is quite a bit more expensive. Prices range from $23k all the way up to $47k! So to put this in simpler terms, the M3 is about 2x the cost of a 335i.

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We discussed what you get for that cost. Basically you’re getting a slightly more aggressive body, nice suspension, nice brakes, and a kick ass engine. But, is that all really worth $10-20K extra? Well, yes and no. Depending on how good of a deal you get, you can build a 335i to be faster than an M3. But, if you get a good deal on an M3, a 335i with the equivalent dollar amount in modifications won’t be able to keep up.

So Which One is Better?

So, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer for the 335i vs M3 debate. If you can afford an M3, I say go for it. But, if you can’t afford an M3, just pick up a 335i, and modify it a little bit. We all want the M3, but unfortunately its just not economically feasible for most of us.

Also, if you’re going to the track a lot, get an M3. Heavily modified cars never last long on the track. The factory reliable is something every track driver looks for. If you’re not going to the track, and you just want a fast BMW, get a 335i and throw a tune on it.

5 Reasons Why You Need a Cavalier Z24 Today

We’ve all seen the beat-up cars running around your town, Honda Civics, Chevy Cavaliers, and various other cars. But, Chevrolet hid a gem in a pile of garbage. Chevy first introduced the Z24 in 1985, and unofficially deemed it the little brother of the Camaro. But, does it live up the Camaro’s standards? Here are the five reasons why you need to buy a Cavalier Z24 today.

5. Body Styling

When it comes to Z24 Cavaliers, you have quite a few options to choose from when picking a body style that you like. If you like older looking cars, you could purchase a 1st, or 2nd gen Cavalier Z24. But, nobody will even recognize what you’re driving and just assume its another beat up old car.

The real star of the Z24 lineage is the 3rd gen. It features styling cues from the Camaro, as well as ditching the 1980s looks for some updated 1990s looks.

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The 3rd gen Z24 came in a coupe and convertible the entire time it was available, and the general public loved it. However, they were missing a four-door sedan, which could provide a perfect equal medium between a sporty car and full sedan functionality. So, just before it was ended Chevy offered a 4-door sedan version, but only produced it for a short amount of time. This makes the sedan fairly rare and sought after.

Additional Cavalier information can be found on Wikipedia.

If you look at the front and rear tail lights of the Cavalier Z24 you can definitely tell it was influenced by its Japanese competitors as well as the 90s as a whole. Seriously, look at an EG Coupe (92-95 Civic coupe), and try to tell me it doesn’t look similar to the Cavalier.

The body of the Z24 is sleek, but so simple it’s a little boring which is absolutely perfect for the average consumer. The unsuspecting looks definitely add to the sleeper factor of this car.

4. Parts Sourcing

Some of the parts of the Cavalier chassis (J-body) are shared with the Dodge Neon, and the a few other J-Body vehicles that were built at the time. The rear drum brake system can be swapped to disc brakes from the Neon Sport and R/T with slight modification. This gives the Z24 a massive improvement in braking performance, as well as track-ability if you ever decide to begin racing on the track.

The factory solid beam rear suspension can also be swapped to an independent rear suspension from the N-Body (Grand Prix/Aero) cars. Solid beam rear suspension isn’t a terrible design, however the fully independent suspension that can be swapped in gives it much greater rotation mid corner.

RELATED: 6 Things That Make the IROC Z28 the Ultimate Muscle Car

On top of all of that there is a decently sized aftermarket backing for the Cavalier Z24 and the J-Body chassis as a whole. This is because of the sales success of the the sporty little Z24, as well as it being an American car in the American market.

3. Power to Weight Ratio

Depending on what generation Z24 you have, you’ll have between 120 to 150 horsepower. Sounds pretty slow right? Well, you have to remember that back in the 90s 150 horsepower was actually a decent amount. The Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro were at about 220 horsepower at the time. But, that 150 horsepower is able to propel the Cavalier Z24 from 0-60 in 7.6 seconds. That 7.6 second 0-60 time puts it right next to the Civic SI which is its main competitor.

Funny enough that 0-60 time is also not to far behind a 2015 Scion FRS. Not to bad considering the 15+ year difference between the two.

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The Cavalier was a light car to begin with, its around the same size as its biggest competitor, the Civic. The Z24 weighs in at around 2,500 – 2,700 lbs. That makes the Z24 lighter than a modern Mini Cooper and really makes it a fun little car to drive. If you’ve ever driven anything that weighs less than 3,000 lbs you know how much fun they are to toss into a corner at a ridiculous rate of speed.

Why do you think Lotus is even in business? Because really light cars are stupidly fun, but not that comfortable. I know 7.6 seconds sound really really slow, but in a car as small as the Cavalier it doesn’t actually feel all that slow.

2. Optional Eaton Super Charger

The golden option of the Z24 was an Eaton M45 supercharger kit, which was only available through specific GM dealerships and could only be installed by them. The supercharger kit only ran 4.7 psi of boost, but bumped power output up to 190 horsepower, and dropped the 0-60 times to around 7 seconds flat.

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If you really want more power you can install a smaller pulley on the supercharger and step it up to 220+ horsepower. If you’re really crazy, then you can even build the whole bottom end of the engine and crank the boost way up. The M45 is a very small supercharger and isn’t capable of making huge amount of boost due to its size.

1. Sleeper Factor

If there was such a thing as a sleeper factor, this car would be nearly off of the charts. I don’t know about you, but I see beatdown Cavaliers every single day. I’ve never thought one could actually be kind of fast, and thats whats so great about Z24 Cavalier’s. Along with the rise in popularity with sleepers, the Cavalier Z24 has started to rise in price due to a large amount of people wanting one in a short period of time. In a world of loud, bight colored cars its a nice change to see a car that is hidden amongst regular boring cars.

1993_Chevrolet_Cavalier_Z24_in_red

Thats the best part about owning and driving a Cavalier Z24, almost nobody knows that fast Cavaliers even exist, so when you smash a Mustang in a race the look on their face is “What just happened? Did I just lose to a Cavalier?!”. You also are way less likely to get pulled over by police for some strange reason, to them you’re just a regular person driving a regular car.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Why Chevy LS Engines are so Great

Is the Cavalier Z24 for You?

The question you might be asking yourself now is “Should I get a Cavalier Z24?”. If you like sleepers than the Cavalier Z24 is a good fit for you. If you like “tuner” cars, then the Cavalier Z24 is a good fit for you.

The problem with the Z24 is the same problem the Miata has. Regardless of how awesome and fun it is to drive, people will still make fun of you. If you drive a Cavalier, Civic, Miata or anything else small and fun, people are bound to make fun of you. If you can deal with the hate and like small sporty cars then the Cavalier Z24 is definitely for you.

Summary

So, the Cavalier isn’t any sort of sports car, but it is a great daily driver to have some fun with and with the right modifications can actually become a mustang killing beast. Unfortunately, due to its drum brake rear and suspension design it can never become a true performance car.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

VTEC vs. iVTEC: Whats the Difference?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of VTEC. But what is VTEC, and what does it do? How is it any different than iVTEC? Well, first you need to understand what VTEC is.

VTEC

Variable Timing (and lift) Electronically Controlled (VTEC), is a system that uses two different camshaft profiles. One camshaft profile for low RPM, providing good torque and excellent drivability, and a camshaft profile for high rpm that has greater lift and longer duration. This system is usually set to a specific RPM (5,500) and greatly increases horsepower.

RELATED: 1JZ vs 2JZ: Which One is Better and Why?

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Why is this system implemented? VTEC is used to used to improve optimum engine efficiency. Since the camshaft spins half as fast as the crankshaft, optimum valve over-lap and timing is different at every RPM.

This is why “muscle cars” have that lopy sound to them at idle, the camshaft is designed for optimum timing and overlap at high RPMs, thus improving the horsepower in high RPMs and generally decreasing horsepower at low RPMs.

VTEC-E

VTEC-E is actually quite different from the standard VTEC. It is not designed for optimal horsepower at high RPMs, it is designed for optimal fuel efficiency at low RPMs. It does this by effectively forcing the engine to run as a 12 valve engine instead of its normal 16 valve. It does this by not allowing the second intake valve to fully open.

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This decreases fuel consumption, but lacks the high horsepower numbers that the standard VTEC produces. This type of VTEC is standard on many of the fuel efficient Honda models.

VTC

Variable Timing Control (VTC), is a mechanism that allows the camshaft gear to be continuously variable. This allows the valve overlap to be adjusted at any giving RPM, which further improves engine efficiency and power output.

Honda only uses this system on the intake camshaft. VTC is always active and adjusting valve overlap for optimal engine efficiency and power at any given RPM. This is sometimes referred to as “climbing onto the cam” by some tuners.

iVTEC

Intelligent Variable Timing (and lift) Electronically Controlled (iVTEC), is a system that combines VTEC and VTC into one unit. It has two different camshaft profiles, one for low rpms, and one for high rpms. Plus VTC, so it can optimize the valve overlap at all RPM ranges.

K20A2: The K20A2 VTEC system engages at 5,800 RPM, whilst the VTC system is always active. These two systems combined (iVTEC) produce about 10 horsepower more than just VTEC alone. The K20A2 is available in the Acura RSX Type S, and TSX.

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K20A3: The K20A3 iVTEC system is far different than the A2’s system. It is actually VTEC-E with VTC, and really shouldn’t even be classified as iVTEC. At low RPM only one intake valve opens, which decreases fuel consumption, then at 2,200 rpm it engages the second intake valve, allowing it to operate like a normal 16 valve engine.

3-stageVTEC

Much like the A2’s iVTEC system, the VTC is always active on the A3. K20A3 comes in the RSX base, Civic SI, Accord, CRV, and Element.

How Does it Increase Horsepower?

How the VTEC system increase horsepower may be slightly confusing, so let me break it down for you. Horsepower is just a measure of Torque X RPM. In order to increase torque you must let more air and fuel into the engine.

To increase the air going in the engine the valves must open further (lift) and for longer (duration). Since the camshaft spins half as fast as the crank shaft, it cannot be optimized for all RPM ranges. Having multiple camshaft lobes allows you to optimize lift and duration for multiple RPM ranges.

Since the camshaft is optimized for both high and low rpm ranges, it makes more torque in those ranges. More torque, especially at high RPMs, equals more horsepower.

Summary

Basically iVTEC just combines VTEC and VTC into one unit in the K20A2. iVTEC in the K20A3 is a combination of VTEC-E and VTC, which is much more of a fuel efficiency focused system. This vastly improves engine efficiency, power output, and fuel efficiency.

I hoped this article helped you understand VTEC vs iVTEC, if you learned something be sure to share this with your friends and comment your thoughts below.

Top 3 Beginner Off Road Trucks

Are you looking to get into the off road “scene”? But, you have never owned an off road truck? There are a few things you must consider when deciding what you want out of your off road truck.

Do you just want to go camping? Do you want to go trail riding? Rock crawling? What about desert prerunning? Here’s what you need to look for in an off-road truck:

  1. Price: If you’re just getting into the off road lifestyle, you probably don’t want to break the bank. Picking up something cheap to wheel on the weekends is ideal.
  2. Durability: You want something that is tough, and can survive harsh conditions and treatment.
  3. Size: You obviously don’t want to wheel a school bus, but maybe a Wrangler is to small for you. Small off road rigs like the Wrangler don’t allow you to bring many friends and/or gear. Big off road rigs like the Chevy Suburban can’t easily fit on many trails.
  4. Articulation: Depending on the type of wheeling you’d like to do, articulation may be important. If you just want to do simple trail riding or camping, then this is much less important.

Now that you have a good understanding of what you’ll want, let’s look at the candidates. Here are the best beginners off road trucks:

1. Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep XJ Cherokee was made from 1984 to 2001 and was the Predecessor to the original body-on-frame SJ Cherokee. The XJ Cherokee was unlike the SJ Cherokee; it was small, it didn’t have a standard frame, and didn’t come with a V8.

Robert Cumberford, from Automobile Magazine said: “Great designs never grow old, a truth no better confirmed than by designer Dick Teague’s masterpiece, the Jeep Cherokee. Possibly the best SUV shape of all time, it is the paradigmatic model to which other designers have since aspired.”

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Generally speaking, most XJ Cherokees are four door, 4.0L inline 6, and 4WD. Which is perfect, 4 doors to more easily hold gear and people. The 4.0L is notoriously bullet proof, and the 4WD system is great for the trails. Since the XJ Cherokee is unibody and 4 link suspension up front, they articulate very well and ride very smooth.

Since the XJ Cherokee was made for such a long period of time, they are everywhere and dirt cheap too! With so many of them around, a huge amount of off road companies started making aftermarket parts for them, making parts dirt cheap too!

Prices for the XJ Cherokee generally range from $1000 to $6500

Too see what a commonly modified XJ Cherokee looks like, check out Coles XJ Cherokee.

2. Chevrolet K5 Blazer

The Chevy Blazer/GMC Jimmy was made from 1969 to 1994 and was made to compete with the Jeep CJ-5. Almost all Blazers came in 4WD with a 305CI (5.0L) or a 350CI (5.7L) small block chevy. The Chevy Blazer is a frame-on-body design, with leaf springs front and rear of the truck.

Being that they are frame-on-body, they are very heavy duty and very strong. Leaf springs front and rear allowed for cheap manufacturing and add stability while driving the truck.

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The leaf spring design doesn’t articulate, or ride very well, but with some modifications can perform very well. Since Chevy trucks have been around for so long, it’s impossible to run out of factory used or aftermarket parts. Much like the Cherokee, the Chevy 350 is also a great engine,it makes plenty of power and torque and retains the old-school, but proven engine design.

The US Military used the K5 Blazer from 1983 to 1986, they named them “CUCV M1009”. The M1009 came with a 6.2L Detroit Diesel and an Eaton Gov-Lock rear differential, and served many purposes in the US Military.

Prices for the Chevy Blazer range from $1000 to $5000

3. Ford Bronco

The Ford Bronco was made from 1966 to 1996, and was also built to compete with the Jeep CJ-5. The 302CI and the 351W were the most common engines that the Bronco came with. The Ford Bronco, like the Chevy Blazer, was also frame-on-body, making it heavy duty and strong.

The Bronco had a leaf spring suspension design front and rear until 1980. In 1980 Ford introduced the TTB (Twin Traction Beam), to allow for a smoother ride, on and off road. The TTB suspension system worked very well, it improved handling and ride comfort, but sacrificed wheel travel and is notoriously hard to align.

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Both the Ford 302 (5.0L) and the 351 Windsor (5.7L) are great motors, making good power while still being reliable and cheap to maintain. Parts for the Bronco aren’t nearly as abundant as the other two trucks, but parts are still easy available.

The TTB system, lead to the Twin I-Beam suspension, which is the same as TTB, except its not 4WD. I-Beam suspension is what many “pre runner” trucks use and works great for high speed off roading.

Prices for the Ford Bronco range from $1000 to $5500

Summary

The XJ Cherokee is great for rock-crawling, the Blazer is great for mudding and trail-riding, and the Bronco is great for going fast in the dirt.

All 3 of these trucks are very cheap to buy and easy to fix, and can take a hard beating off-road. Making them all perfect candidates for a beginner off road truck. The choice is yours to make.

Are Jeeps Actually Reliable?

So you are interested in buying a Jeep. Maybe you’ve never owned one and don’t know if a Jeep will be reliable enough for you? Well, the Jeep brand has changed a lot over the years, and are now owned by FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).

But, are they still reliable as the old Jeeps?

Older Jeep Reliability

When I say “older” jeeps I’m talking late 80s and 90s. I could dive into the reliability of Jeeps made before the 80s, but it’ll take up to much time. Plus, you should be mechanically inclined if you buy an old Jeep.

What’s the most likely thing to break in any given automobile? An engine component of course and I don’t mean engine internals, but everything that makes the engine run the way it does; (vacuum lines, O2 sensors, MAP/MAF sensors, etc.).

Renix 4.0L

Jeep’s in the 80s came with either a 2.5L 4-cylinder, or a 4.0L renix inline-6. The Renix 4.0L was a little iffy with it’s reliability. The main problem comes from the wiring harness and sensors. The Renix is pretty hard to diagnose, but is easy to repair if you know what the actually problem is.

High Output 4.0L

What awesome engine did Jeep make it the 90s? The 4.0L H.O.! The updated version of the AMC 4.0L ditched the Renix components in favor of new components. This new rendition of the 4.0L was known as the High Output. The High Output had a much tidier wiring harness, and was much easier to diagnose than the previous Renix 4.0L.

The AMC 4.0L was one of four engines that continued to be produced after Chrysler purchased AMC in 1987.

High Output 4.0L Reliability

The Jeep 4.0L H.O. has been praised by countless automotive journalists for its insane reliability. It could have a rod knock and still get you all the way home. It could be running 90* under the proper operating temperature, with vacuum leaks, a bad fuel injector, and still get you home (ask me how I know).

Seriously, Jeeps equipped with the 4.0L H.O. will do 300,000 miles easy. Mine is at 215k miles, I take it wheeling nearly every weekend, and its still chugging along just fine!

My Personal Jeep Reliability

Like I mentioned above, I take my current Jeep wheeling all the time, as well as drive it every single day. It has only left me stranded once, and that was from me going to hard off-road. There have been times where I needed to drive it upwards of 200 miles in one day and it was perfectly up to the task. Pretty good for a vehicle that only cost $1,000.

I have owned a total of 13 vehicles, which includes a few motorcycles. Out of those 13 vehicles most of them broke something major. Ninja 250 engine exploded, SC400 engine exploded, Suburban transmission exploded, Land Rover engine exploded, you get my point. Why am I telling you this?

Because my first vehicle and my current vehicle are the only ones that have lasted over a year without exploding. My first vehicle was a 93 Cherokee, my current vehicle is a 92 Cherokee.

$1,000 Jeeps seem to take literally everything you can throw at them.

Newer Jeep Reliability

This is where the whole conversation takes a massive turn. Jeeps of today are built much differently than Jeeps of the past. All models except the Wrangler have gone to fully independent suspension. What does that have to do with anything?

Well, I cover the relationship between off-roading and reliability in our Land Rover reliability article. Basically, you can’t be 50+ miles from civilization on a rocky trail and get stuck, or break something.

Quite frankly, I wouldn’t trust a new Jeep 50+ miles from civilization. The trails we have here in Arizona require a pretty capable rig, and independent suspension just doesn’t cut it.

The 3.6L and 3.8L Pentastar engine are good little engines. But, from the information I’ve gathered on Forums, the 3.6L is leaps and bounds better in both reliability and performance.

JD Power Associates

The 2013 Wrangler has an overall dependability rating of 2/5, whilst the 2013 Grand Cherokee has a dependability rating of 3/5. So, while the reliability of the Grand Cherokee is actually average.

The Wrangler is slightly below average, but is it as bad as something like a Land Rover? Well yes actually, it is nearly as unreliable as a Land Rover according to J.D. Power’s dependability study.

Honestly when I saw that 2/5 rating for the Wrangler I was fairly surprised. I have never heard anything bad about them personally. Maybe JK Wrangler owners won’t admit they bought an unreliable $40k Jeep? Maybe I don’t have enough friends with newer Jeeps? After all, most of my friends drive XJ Cherokees.

From what I can gather most of the reliability issues come from the drivetrain. Just like I said earlier, its the little things on the engine that will make a vehicle reliable or not.

Reliability rating source: USNEWS

So Are They Reliable?

As you might of figured out by now, the answer yes and no. Older Jeeps are incredibly reliable vehicles. But, its nearly impossible for Jeep to match the reliability of the 4.0L. It’s literally based off of a tractor motor, and its designed to run forever in any conditions.

The newer Jeep’s on the other hand aren’t so reliable. Strangely enough you’ll never hear a Jeep owner complaining about the reliability.

Are Jeeps Reliable?

According to this chart, the Jeep brand on average is 1 problem less per 100 cars than Land Rover. That’s surprisingly bad. Time will tell whether or not Fiat will increase or decrease the brand’s reliability. But, I feel pretty confident when I say that Fiat won’t screw up the Jeep brand.

So, if you were looking to buy a brand new Jeep, don’t. As a Jeep enthusiast and owner, it pains me to say this, but don’t buy a new Jeep unless you are willing to deal with the unreliability.