Jeff Perrin

Mar 282009







Progressive-ness of the PWI-2 system.

The PERRIN PWI-1 system stood out amongst competitive systems because of it being one of the first truly progressive water injection systems. The new PWI-2 is still just as progressive as the older system but it stands out from the crowd for a few other reasons.

Less expensive non-progressive systems are simple and cheap, and are restricted to a fixed volume of water that can be delivered.  These systems suffer from too much water at lower RPMS and not enough water at higher. This can cause a loss in power, at both lower RPMs (too much water) and high RPMS (no detonation control).  The PWI-2 system is progressive which means it injects a varying amount of water/methanol depending on the engines load. Meaning it will inject the same % of mixture versus fuel throughout the entire RPM and load on the engine.  This means no loss in power down low because of too much being injected, and no loss in power up top due to less flow.  So in other words you want progressive!

Progressive using IDC or 0-5volt input

The PWI-2 gets its progressive nature by reading engine load one of 2 ways, IDC or a 0-5volt signal.  There are many other “progressive” systems out there that use the 0-5volt signal from a MAP sensor to become progressive, this is not where our systems stands out.  While we included the 0-5v input, this was the secondary method of it picking up engine load.  IDC or Injector Duty Cycle is the primary method the PWI-2 was designed to pick up load.  This is not common amongst the other water injection systems out there because of the added costs and design.  While this is the case, it is the best way to pick up load.  Why, because engine load is based on fuel.  More engine load (boost, RPM,TPS, Hills……) means more fuel needed.  Since the PWI-2 injector water/meth based on fuel flow it becomes very easy to inject the recommended 10-20% mixture of water/meth vs. fuel flow.

When using the 0-5volt input (like most of the competition does) on a MAP sensor (boost) the system will only inject more with more boost. This means once the system hits its peak boost, additional water/meth will not be injected.  This is not truly progressive even though some of the competition calls this progressive.   Some of the completion adds an RPM pickup to add a more progressive nature to the system. While this works, this adds more parts, more install time, and sometimes additional parts need to be purchase to pick up the tach signal properly.  Then add to all that is the need to “map out” the injection.  Again more time, and more setup.   Using IDC (Injector Duty Cycle) eliminates all these added steps and costs, which is why the PWI-2 uses this to start with.   Don’t be fooled by progressive systems that use only a 0-5volt input to be “progressive”.

After all that, the PWI-2 brain takes the input signal and varies the voltage to the pump to control how much it flows. IT does this by pulsing (at high frequency) 12 volts to the pump creating a simple and accurate way to drive the pump at different speeds.

NEW High Pressure High volume Pump

Our PWI-1 system used a very high quality, expensive high pressure pump, which worked great, but lacked in one department, flow. This pump could only flow about 320cc/min of flow, which not quite enough for guys making huge power.  So one thing we wanted to make sure we did when making the PWI-2 system is to include a pump that flowed more than the first one, and was less expensive.  Well we did it!  This new pump is smaller, lighter, less expensive, flows more, and quieter!  So what is the downfall to this new pump?  Nothing, other than we do not recommend running 100% methanol through it.

How does this pump compare to other pumps on the market?  This is a diaphragm style pump that uses a motor driven pump head, which is like others out there. But where our pump shine brighter than the rest is in the size and looks.  Nearly all the completion uses the common Shurflow pump.  This pump is HUGE heavy and ugly. None of which we feel our pump is.  Even if you can get over the looks, there is one huge flaw when using this pumps, the pressure switch.  These Shurflow pumps have a pressure switch that cuts power to the pump when the pressure exceeds a set amount.  This is bad because these systems runs at pressure that constantly bump this switch on and off.  This causes a fluctuation in water/meth flow and also makes it very inconsistent to tune.    The PWI-2 pump doesn’t have a pressure switch at all, as it doesn’t need one.  So you get smooth consistent flow from the system.   Something your tuner will love!

We spent a lot of time with water injection systems over the years and one thing we realized is no one had actual data on how much there systems flowed in real world applications.

We first tested the PWI-2 using a custom built Injector Duty Cycle generator (thanks Richard at Aquamist) to first show how much the pump flows at different injector duty cycles (different loads).  We then tested how much the system flowed with no nozzle, with a .7mm nozzle, 1.0mm nozzle, and dual 1.0mm & .7mm nozzle. Then we added boost!!  We tested the 1.0mm nozzle under 14psi and 30psi of boost, then did flow testing with the dual 1.0mm nozzle and the .7mm nozzle.  The results are for sure impressive and for sure not something ANY other water injection system manufacture has done before.  Here is a chart showing the pump flow at different PSI’s.


Here is a pic of our test fixture we built to do this test:


Look for a huge writeup on our testing and install on our EVO X HERE SOON!!!


Proper atomization of water is crucial. A poorly designed nozzle can cause an unequal mixture delivery to each cylinder, or worse hydro-lock your engine. The tried and true Aquamist nozzle is the standard from which other systems are judged from. These nozzles have a special swirling action that causes the water/methanol mixture to come out in a very fine mist.  Even the huge flowing 1.0mm nozzle has a near perfect atomization because of the design.

To maximize the performance of the PERRINTM water injection system, the kit includes 2 precision Aquamist nozzles. Choose from the included 1.0mm, and .7mm nozzles, which will cover flow rates needed to support 250-600 horsepower. (Other nozzle sizes available see your PERRINTM dealer)

Each PWI-2 kit includes a nozzle seat. This seat has a 1/8NPT fitting on one end allowing easy installation of the injection nozzle into your boost tubes.  The nozzle seat allows for quick, simple change of different nozzle sizes without wearing out the threads in the boost tube.  Simply drill and tap a 1/8NPT hole in your boost tube, screw in the nozzle seat, and decide which nozzle to use and your off!


The PWI-2 system has two main components. Pump assembly, and Dash display. We have simplified the system compared to the old one to make installation simpler. Besides these parts, you have 3 wires to hook up to the car and 1 harness to the display and your done!  With proper planning the system can be installed in roughly 2 hours!

Pump Assembly

The pump assembly consists of the pump & head with built in electronics for controlling the pump.  The 4 rubber legs provide easy installation and a near noise free operation.  That and 4 wires come off the pump, very simple!

Dash Mount Display

The dash mounted display contains the brains to make the system work, 2 trim pots to adjust the setting, a few LED’s to give you an idea what is going on and an on/off switch.    The trim pots control when the water/methanol starts to flow (based on IDC or load) Inside the Brain Box are three trim pots to fine tune the injection start points, pump gain, and nozzles flow rate.  Additionally, the box contains a terminal for the dash controller wire harness and a multi-screw connection terminal allowing the main wire harness to be trimmed to any length for a clean install.





 Posted by on March 28, 2009 Dyno Test & Tune, Part Design & Tech Tagged with: , , ,
Dec 292008

Everyone has an air filter on their engine (at least you should!) and this goes true for all types of things that that suck in air constantly.  Yes even you have a filter; your nose has them built into it as does your air passageway.  But we are talking about your car here which sucks in way more air than you do, so it has much more special filtering needs.  Also we are talking about a filter for your performance engine where we care about air flow. If you are reading this article and thinking this is all about high HP engines, there is some good info even grocery getter GEO owner can get from this.

Why do I need a filter?  If you like coffee, you need to filter out the grounds so your cup isn’t full of the gritty grounds.  If you like to breathe clean air in your house, you need a filter on your heating/cooling system.  Your engine also likes clean air to keep dirt out of its precise and vital inner workings.  With out a filter over thousands of miles, small dirt particles can cause engine wear which leads to loss in performance, efficiency and can lead to engine failure.  Imagine sand paper dragging across every little part in your engine eventually wearing down things like piston rings, bearings and causing build up on valves, killing power and efficiency.  No one wants that!

A filter needs to filter dirt out of the air, and still allow air to flow into the engine.  A filter needs to do this while acting as though it’s a big open hole allowing air into the engine (no restriction).  So how can you make a big open hole also keep out dirt and debris?  Lasers could work, but lasers and the dirt-tracking system might not be cost effective.  But really, there are lots of ways to do this simply and cost effective.

Types of Filters

There are lots of types of filters out there.  The most common is the OEM style paper filter, simple effective, but not efficient.  Oiled Paper is along these same lines, but not very common (GT-R has them), more restrictive but even better filter.  Then we get into the aftermarket world and the name K&N comes up. These are also known as gauze filters, and there are tons of versions of this style out there. By far this is the most common type in the aftermarket world.  One recent variant of this is a dry version which doesn’t use oil like the K&N.  One of the more little known types is foam. Foam is the least popular not because it doesn’t work, but rather because it’s not marketed very well, and K&N has a much bigger budget here.  What’s funny is the story is quite opposite if you are a motorcycle.  In the off road world foam is the winner! One more to mention is the Stainless Steel mesh type.  This is a dry type filter consisted of a very tightly woven Stainless Steel mesh.  We will hit on all these filters below and give them a fair comparison.

Paper Filters

As I said filters have to filter, and flow at the same time.  In order for a filter to flow, the microscopic holes have to be open enough or a large enough quantity of them, to allow air to pass through it.  In order for it to stop dirt, these holes can’t be too big or your filter won’t filter very well. OEM’s have to balance the size of the filter’s microscopic holes and the quantity of them (surface area) to get the most from the filter.  Because the OEM’s typically use a paper type of construction (inexpensive method of construction), they are limited in a lot of ways.  This paper type of filter is the most common type of filter, and isn’t too much different than your coffee filter. The only real difference is the way the OEM pleats the filter to gain more surface area.  This is an essential part to making a paper filter flow more air as they are restrictive in their nature.

The cross section above (while crude) shows how pleating adds at significantly more surface area to the filter.  These paper filters are a single dry layer of material simply blocking dirt bigger than its smallest hole. While good this means in order to block small particles of dirt, it must be restrictive.   One last benefit of paper filters is the media is rigid. This keeps the filter from collapsing on it self and eliminates the need for a cage.  One large downfall is when the filter gets dirty you throw it away and buy a new one. This not only cost you more money be also creates more waste. Do not try to wash this type or you will quickly discover that the media expands and turns into a block-er not a filt-er.  While this is the most common, there are many may more types of filters besides paper.

K&N (AKA Gauze)

The next most common type is the gauze or K&N type.  K&N is very well known and they should be as they really are the ones who brought performance air filters to the aftermarket world.  Their principle works very similar to a paper filter, but 2 things make it work much different.  The media is much more open (significantly bigger holes), and the media is oiled!  The filter media is a few layers of very open gauze material.  The larger holes/air passages are what make this flow so well.  But the bigger holes mean more dirt gets past it, right??  This is where the oil comes into play. The oil creates a sticky layer that as the dirt runs into the media, it gets stuck in it.  So instead of blocking dirt it’s catching it!  Oil on the filter is what really makes this rather “open” filter work.

An up close picture of a layer of the gauze material.  Left is one layer right is multiple oile layers.

The K&N filters are also pleated to increase its filtering ability and to increase its dirt holding capacity.  While this does make it similar to a paper filter, if you look closely you will see a screen on both sides of the filter. This is needed because the gauze material is very flimsy and it needs support.  The “cage” provides the support so the media doesn’t get sucked into engine and also makes for a durable outer layer to protect against large debris.  The diagram below shows a cross section of a gauze filter and you can see the screen on the top and bottom of each layer and the gauze in the middle.

The diagram below shows how dirt typically collects on any type of pleated filter. As dirt tries to pass through it, the dirt collects in the corners.  While this doesn’t affect the filter from filtering dirt, it makes it very restrictive and doesn’t provide a very longer service life before it needs to be cleaned, or thrown away.  Go out to your car and grab the OEM filter or the K&N from your intake and you will see this example.

The other revolutionary thing about the K&N filter is its washable!  You do not have to throw it away, you just clean it and re-oil it!  But you do loose some of the material every time you wash it.  It sounds like we are saying the K&N type of filter is the way to go, but hold your horses!

The K&N filter in almost everyway is better than an OEM filter, but if you compare it to other filter types you start to see some major downfalls.  K&N filters do have “The Name”, the marketing and celebrity endorsements, which is why they are so well known and “seem” to have a superior product…………

New World Filter

In the world of aftermarket filters, everything is cleanable.  Most use oil as the media the catches the dirt, which then is cleaned and re applied, some are dry type filters and are just washed and dried but either way the aftermarket filters are always reusable in one way or another.  So we won’t get into that to much as this is a something to expect and something you shouldn’t even have to ask of an aftermarket filter manufacturer.

Foam, something you sit on everyday, sleep on at night, and something you find in your morning latte and even in filters??  Foam filters are not something we invented but we are here to educate you why they are the best.  To do this we created some diagrams to help you better understand foam filters and how they work compared to the K&N.

The diagrams should help explain how foam, gauze and dry type filters work.  The first thing to understand is filters are filters. They have to stop dirt by either blocking or catching it. Most aftermarket filters catch dirt by using thick oil on the media.  This allows for a more open filter element to flow better and still allow for the filter to filter.  Some of the dry type filters really block more than catch.  The dirt is kept from passing through the filter by very very small openings. Which works fine for filtering, but not for flowing when dirty.  All these points have examples below.

Paper and Dry Filters

First up is a dry type filter which is like an OEM paper type or like the stainless steel mesh type.  These are a single layer of filtering media and are a blocking type of filter.   Below is an example of 15 and 50 parts of dirt on a single layer of filtering media.  The filtering media is much closer together as it needs to block the small dirt particles.  The below drawings are to give you an idea of how they work and may not be 100% accurate.

You can see at 50 parts of dirt, its really not a filter anymore.  Even at 15 parts its starting to get restrictive. A paper filters relys on one thing to keep functioning, you buying a new one every year! The Stainless Steel mesh type filters rely on you stopping the engine.  When you stop the engine and there is no vacuum pulling on the dirt and it SHOULD fall off.   But does it??  Does dirt just fall off your car when you stop?  If it did I wouldn’t need to buy so many micro fiber towels to wash my car.  Dry filter companies try to push their product as safe with MAF sensors.  Its true they are safe with MAF sensors and don’t have a chance to get oil on the precision parts of a MAF sensor.  But oil from a foam or gauze filters rarely gets to the MAF.  This is true when cleaned properly.  More on this later…

Gauze vs. Foam

Next up is an example of a cross section of a gauze filter versus a typical foam filter.  We say typical because they can be much denser or more open.  The gauze filter is constructed of a few layers of gauze (not to much different than your bandages).  Again this is a typical version of the filter as there could be more layers than shown or less.

With a low amount of dirt (represented by 15 parts of dirt) flowing through the filter you can see it’s very open and still flows air just fine.  Start to add more dirt (50 parts of dirt) and you can see how it can clog up.  The dirt gets stuck to the oil coated gauze.  As far as this goes it’s a great filter and it captures dirt just fine.  But the more dirt, the less flow.  The less flow, the less power!

In this example comparing the gauze type filter with 15 parts of dirt versus the foam with the same 15 parts, you can see how they are both pretty open.  But comparing the gauze with 50 parts and the foam with 50 parts you can see how the gauze gets clogged and the foam is still very open.  The 50 parts represents what you will see at a normal service interval of 5-10K miles.


The foam has a much larger cross section and also has more places for the dirt to stick to.  It also is much more open which is great for flow.  The large open cross section is has very random passages through it which means the air can’t go straight through it. The dirt also can’t go straight through it, which is how the dirt gets “caught” in the filter.  The many layers foam has, and the passage the air/dirt has to take is the main reason foam works so well.

The below diagram is an extreme loaded situation where 100 parts of dirt represent a filter with more than 2 years of service.  You can see that the gauze is basically clogged and while still filtering dirt the air flow is significantly cut down.  But it’s not something you will notice as this process is very gradual. What you will notice is that when you clean the filter your car will get better mileage and feel snappier.

In these extreme conditions 100 parts of dirt in a foam filter is nothing!  In fact 200 parts in these examples still leaves room for air to pass through.  There is a reason why foam has a cleaning period almost 2 times longer than a gauze filter (the period before a loss of performance is felt). Imagine you are a dirt bike and you operate in dusty conditions.  Which filter are you going to want?  This is kind of extreme but there is reason to why foam filters are found on nearly every single off road vehicle in the world.

This is an example of how foam collects dirt.  In this pic you can see the dirt being trapped through the whole filter, not just the top layer like gauze filters and other dry type filters.  This filter is was cut in half with only a few hundred miles on it to show how the dirt gets trapped through out the whole filter.

This is an example done with the typical gauze filter and our foam filter.  A single layer of each filter was put on a light table (LED lights) and under each piece is a sticker in the shape of an arrow. You can see how thin the gauze filter is by how much light is let through it. The light represents holes and represents in turn its lack of potential filtering.

Keep I mind these are just basic examples of how filters work and examples to help explain in a somewhat simple way how one is better than another.  Yes they may be slightly skewed to favor foam, but there is a reason why we push foam over all other types!


Companies with these dry type or gauze types of filters all show the same thing comparing them to other filters using graphics like this.  These kinds of graphics are used to throw you off the trail of the better filter and make theirs look best.  This one is trying to sell you on a gauze filter.

Shown above is a stock type filter, foam filter, then a gauze type.  Notice how the stock panel filter is depicted at not filtering very well. OEM filters filter very well, which is why they are restrictive.  Then notice how the dirt is collecting in the corners of the pleat.  This part of the diagram is correct.  Then they show a foam filter not filtering which is not typical of how they work.  To be fair, a foam filter can be made with varying cells per inch and they could be depicting one made with too few cells per inch, making it very open and not a good filter.  Lastly they show a filter of their own where ZERO dirt passes through it which is basically impossible as all filters let some pass through.  Then it shows how the dirt collects on all surfaces, not just he cracks.  Again, this is not correct.    You can see that there is some fudging going on here making one filter look better than another.

Another example showing how OEM filters and Foam filters are bad.  The numbered points are not something we have put together, the manufacturer has.  These are the drawings and words right off K&N’s website.

Disposable Paper Air Filter
  1. Pleated wood pulp bonded together.
  2. As dirt builds, passages are plugged and filter must be replaced in approximately 10,000 miles.
  3. Irregular passages filter out dirt on a go/no go basis.
  4. As fibers swell from moisture or oil blow-by vacuum pressure increases and airflow decreases.
  5. Turbulent filtered air.

As the dirt builds up it does get more restrictive, this is true on all filters.  The need to replace the filter at 10K miles is also true, but so is cleaning your aftermarket filter at 10K.  The fibers can swell when blow-by oil touches it, but no modern engine plumbs the crank case vents in front of the filter, so there is no way oil will see it.  These points are kind of lame on their part.

Typical Foam Air Filter
  1. Lack of surface area hinders air flow and dirt holding capacity.  Open cell foam usually saturated with oil.
  2. Dirt builds on outside and blocks the openings.
  3. Higher vacuum pressures distort the cells drawing dirt deeper into the filter.
  4. Airflow is reduced as cells become blocked.
  5. Turbulent filtered air.

The lack of surface area??  If you could actually measure this, foam would have many many times the surface area of a K&N.  Dirt doesn’t build up on the outside; it builds up trough the whole filter allowing it to flow when dirty.  If higher vacuum pulls more dirt deeper into the foam, then doesn’t that give more dirt hold capacity?  Airflow is reduced as cells become blocked; this is true, but reduced by how much??  It takes significantly more dirt to “block” a foam filter than a K&N so why would they say this?  I know why…….

Another thing these diagrams are showing is how air gets turbulent passing through it.  On any filter that has multiple layers (where the dirt can’t pass straight through) the air has to make turns before it passes through.  This creates turbulence.  So, even the K&N type creates turbulent air as it passes through it.  The only filter that may not have turbulent air is the SS mesh type, but these are still pleated which leads to turbulent air. In the end this doesn’t matter a single bit on a turbo car (I think on any car actually) because the turbo creates a lot more turbulence than any air filter will.  This is an over played fault of OEM and foam filters and supposedly non-existent on K&N type filters.

All companies have a section that explains why theirs is the best.  The big companies (that think they do not have to sell you on their filters) hide or manipulate this info to throw you off track.  It’s a good thing because some of this info is contradictive, or if compared to another filter can raise questions.

Another thing you will see is there are lots of tests filter companies have done comparing lots of different filters with air flow tests, dirt holding capacity tests and things like that. But they tend to leave out foam, I wonder why??


HP??  Are you sure??

We sell our filters by saying all filters when new flow about the same.  But when dirty, foam continues to flow more air. In an example of an OEM filter being replaced with a PERRIN foam filter (on an STI), we see about a 3 wheel Horse Power gain.  This is not much at all and not something you can generally notice.  So its not that your stock filter when clean is super restrictive, but throw 10,000 miles at it, and the story changes.

Another feature our filters have is we make them thinner than OEM filters.  In many cases this helps with making HP by freeing up area between the air box and filter.


Our filters have a CPI (cell per inch) spec that we feel is perfectly optimized for both performance and filtering.  Some foam filter companies use a very low (meaning very open) CPI, and while these can flow better initially, they do not filter very well. We are talking about Air “filters” here so the filtering aspect is an important one to consider.

Above shows 2 different variations of cells per inch. You can see the top one is more open and the lower one is denser.  A perfect balance of open vs. closed is necessary to get performance from the filter as well as good filtering.

Oiled for your protection!

All our foam filters are oiled with special thick, oil that clings to the foams structure.  This special oil is what makes our filter, filter!  The oil is what stops the dirt from passing through the filter getting into your engine.  The oil is what catches the tiny little particles that would normally pass through the open holes in a dry type filters.  The only dry type filters you will find around our shop are OEM ones we have thrown away or our foam filters in the middle of being cleaned!  Dry filters rely on the very very small openings (as seen in the pics above) to stop dirt. Then they rely on being cleaned very often to get rid of the dirt to keep it flowing freely.


Unlike other cleanable cone type filters, our filter is easy to clean, and clean well.  Typically when its time to clean your K&N or similar, you have to spray it down with degreaser and hope you got it deep enough to clean through the entire filter. Then when its time to oil it, you have to over oil it to ensure you get oil through the whole thing.  If you remember earlier I mentioned how dry filter companies push that their filters don’t hurt MAF sensors due to no oil.  Over oiling is not good for MAF sensors and this is another reason why our filters are so good.

Our new version filter lets you remove the foam part of the intake separate from the cage. This means you can physically work the degreaser into the entire thickness of the foam to clean out ALL of the dirt.  Then when it comes time to oil it, only a small amount of oil is needed as you can work the oil through out the whole filter.  This means less oil is used and less chance of over oiling that might affect the MAF sensor.  Also it keeps waste to a minimum.

Here is a video we made showing this off.


No rubber here…..

The way our filter is constructed is also different than others in the materials we use. The cage is a zinc plated steel cage to keep the filter media from collapsing on its self.  This is very normal for all filters, but where ours differs is in the base.  Our base is made of urethane.  Urethane is like rubber, but more durable, and more resistant to heat than rubber. Also over time urethane will not deteriorate and crack like rubber.  It also has a broader range of operating temps compared to rubber, which means when extremely cold out, it won’t get brittle and break.


Panel Filters and Cone Filters

We have shown you how a foam filter is superior in many ways over all other types, its important to understand how it all comes together with an intake system.

Up till now the discussion has revolved around OEM and aftermarket type panel filters which are meant to fit in the OEM intake boxes.  The same logic can be applied to cone type filters if you are comparing similar sizes from one another.  But keep in mind that with OEM intake systems, these are limited to airflow and filter area based on the size of the filter it starts out as. Meaning if you have an OEM air box that has a 8″x8″ filter in it, you can’t install a bigger filter, nor can your aftermarket panel filter have more surface area to flow more air. It still can’t flow more air than the 8″x8′ hole.  This concept is important to understand as the big gains in HP from replacing filters isn’t had by replacing panel filters with better aftermarket panel filters. In this case the biggest feature is, not having to replace the filter every year.

Big gains can be had when a properly designed intake system that uses a cone type filter is installed.  The cone type filter has a huge benefit of sucking air through a nearly infinitely size space.  This is an important thing to understand.  If a cone filter is sitting in a fender well, the filter has a huge amount of area to suck air from.  This allows a larger overall size filter to be used which increases the surface area of the filter for flow and for collecting dirt.   If you put this same larger filter a box that an 8″x8″ panel filter was in, its still restricted in its flow and cleaning ability as its now crammed into a tiny area.  Imagine going out for a run in park then going for a run in a bathroom.  Where do you want to go for a run?  This is where big HP can be had.  When a large cone filter can be used the maximum amount of air can be ingested by the engine.  In many cases we have seen ZERO gains in HP when removing a properly sized cone filter from an intake on a turbo car.  Foam filter of course!

One thing to keep in mind, with aftermarket intake systems (not just the filter) is cars that use MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensors can be greatly affected by installing a high flow cone filter.  These filters can affect the MAF sensors readings and change how the car runs, sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes its worse!  In these cases keep in mind gains or losses in HP may not be properly realized without retuning of the ECU.   Make sure the intake you buy or cone filter you install doesn’t affect your HP in a negative way!

Many big intake system manufactures use this MAF trickery to add HP. Then claim its their wonderful filter making the HP, when it fact its not.  An example of an intake system that doesn’t effect the MAF signal is one found here.

This shows our intake system installed on an EVO 9.  The before and after shows the Air Fuel Ratio being the same not to mention 30 more Wheel HP.  This Intake makes HP the legit way by freeing up the intake side of the system, not by screwing with the MAF sensor.

This is an example of an intake system with a very picky MAF sensor and is one that requires an ECU retune in order to make the intake run the car properly.

In this example the intake leans out the AFR to the point of being dangerous.  This does add power initially, but the lean mixture led to engine knock, and is why the run was not completed.  You can see how in some cases the intake system weather it be a complete new system or a simple filter change, can make a huge difference in how it runs.  This is just a small snipet of how and why filters can effect power.  Look shortly for a much more indepth look at how and why intakes work.


The history of PERRIN filters started life back in 2002.  Our first filter was a barrel shaped dual layer foam filter with inner and outer cage.  We felt the outer cage looked kind of cool and gave it a look much different than other filters.  But was a little heavy and later on we moved to a cone shaped filter version and hard top with no cage. This removing of the cage was a good step as it allow for much easier cleaning.  This was a great benefit of our filter and we heavily played it up as a new feature. From there we changed to barrel shape and a couple logos later we came to the new two piece version.  In all this time people didn’t really take our weird foam filters and it might have been because of the color, which we took note of. The most recent change was to a black foam!  This eliminates the issue had with the looks of the filter and makes for an innovative way to determine if the filter needs cleaning.  The “white” logo is used a guide for cleaning intervals.  And it makes it look really cool!


PERRIN Performance produced its first foam filter in 2002. The first filter was a barrel shaped dual layer foam filter sandwiched between an inner and outer metal cage.  The outer cage looked cool differentiated PERRIN filters from others on the market.


First major design change moved away from a cylinder shape to a tapered cone. It fit better under the hood and looked a little less sterile


The second major design change came out of necessity. The outer filter cage was a little heavy and made the filters almost impossible to clean. This new design used a lightweight internal cage for support making the filter lighter and completely changed the look.


Black foam  which looks cleaner as the filter loads with dirt. The white logo will actually start to fade as the filter collects with dirt helping the driver determine when to clean the filter. The new two piece design allows the user to remove the foam filter sock from the support cage for easy cleaning.

Video of how to remove filter sleeve



  • Foam filters filter better than any other filter.
  • Foam filters hold significantly more dirt than any other filter.
  • Foam can be washed and reused hundreds of times.
  • Foam filter service interval is 2-3 times that of other filters.
  • Reusable foam filters are environmentally friendly with little to no waste.
  • Foam filters are free flowing, increasing the performance of your engine.
  • Foam gives better fuel economy between service intervals.
  • Priced only slightly higher than an OEM paper replacement.


Here is an independent test done on the largest Mitsubishi EVO forum, This test compares many popluar filters together, and all done on the same car on the same dyno, and same day! Again more proof the PERRIN Foam filter is the best.  If your name is John Leitl or Adam Taft, the secret password is endlink and if you actually read this, you get a free lunch on me! This is only valid for one lunch!


Foam filter video from Trueflow filters.  These guys are not affiliated with us but have gone the extra mile with this video to show you foam at work.

Below is a test done by someone in Nevada rating all the main types of filter using SAE approved methods.

Here’s the info I have on air filter performance. Tests were done using SAE J726C Test Method 5-best –> 1-worst

Oiled foam (AMSOIL,UNI) Paper Oil Bath Oiled Gauze (K&N)
Large particle efficiency 5 5 5 4
Small particle efficiency 5 4 1 2
Airflow capacity 5 2 3 5
Dust holding capacity 4 2 5 2
Load up characteristic 4 1 5 1
Backfire characteristic 3 2 5 3
Cleanability 4 1 4 3

As you can see, K&Ns are great for airflow, which is what they were designed for. Their original application was on racing engines, where airflow is important and ultimate engine life was of little consern. They are not as good at filtering as paper or oiled foam types.

Ed Hackett           The Desert Research Institute

DoD #0200  WMTC  BMWRA  DIOC             Reno, Nevada   (702) 673-7380

KotLS  KotLE  DotD #0003

900SS  K100RS  501 CAMEL

 Posted by on December 29, 2008 About Your Car, MINI Only, Part Design & Tech Tagged with: , , , ,
Nov 252008

We finally got around to retesting all our parts on the new 09 JCW.  WE have very good results on our 07 and 08 R56 Minis when we tested every single ALTA part back to back.  To this day we have proven these results over and over again with customer cars and new R56′s we purchased. You will see below once again we have proven the same parts on this new 09 JCW.

We have learned  a few things over the last couple years with these cars. The first years of R56′s had some significant mapping differences than newer cars.  This was evident when we tested our catback exhaust on our early R56 where the Exhaust actually made 2psi more boost everywhere.  On later cars the boost stayed the same which made the gains less, but still a significant 20whp.   These later cars ECU’s seemed to have better logic for the boost control and was something we expected to see on this 09 JCW.  And sure enough we saw evidence of this but more on this later.  With that all said, the gains we saw were still very good overall. But one thing this car is dying for is more boost!  The very last dyno run is evidence of something every single R56 owner will be dying to get their hands on…….


Onto the testing!  To make the results as legit as we could, we prepped the car by removing the bumper(for better FMIC access and install), removed all but one or two key bolts on the turbo heatsheild, and of course a couple on the Intake system.  These allowed our swapping of parts to be as quick as possible to minimize any skewing of the results.  An important thing to note is every part we installed we took the averaged gain as the result. This means the first run (generally the most HP) and last (generally the least HP) was thrown out.  You can see evidence of this using the colored dots on the side of the dyno graphs. The Red and yellow were never used.


First up is the most obvious and easiest to install the ALTA CAI.  Some of our other tests we had done we experimented with hood down, hood up, fan in the scoop area and so on.  This time we left the hood open but no fans providing fresh air to the filter.  I know it sounds counter productive, but the results were still impressive.


Above is the intake only dyno results.

Just as we had shown on the older  R56′s, 10 or so Wheel HP was had with the intake.  Also just as we had shown on the older car, the bulk of the power is from 5000 on up.  But some decent gains in TQ from 3000-5500 were had too. The special ALTA foam filter and smooth silicone hose could be why this works well. Next up is the FMIC on the stock car.


Above is the intake results, then we added the FMIC

The graph is showing the stock car, with the FMIC only installed, then we added the CAI to the mix.  Again a decent gain from 5000 RPM on up.  More solid proof the ALTA CAI works! Before we moved on, we tested the ALTA turbo inlet hose compared to the OEM JCW hose.  As some may know the OEM  JCW hose is an upgrade from the normal R56 hose. So our ALTA hose may not actually make more power, and we were a little worried as to what we would find.


Above is the turbo inlet hose added to the ALTA intake

We were relieved to find the ALTA does out perform the JCW part. And while it may only make 7whp or so it is a gain!  Looks like another worthy part for you R56!

For the FMIC test, we were excited to show it work on a stock car.  In the past all the testing was done with turboback exhausts installed or intake and turboback. We did this because we truly thought no one would be installing them on a stock car, but what do we know!   At least once a week people ask how it would do on a stock car, so we finally did it!  It really wasn’t a surprise that it made power, but it was a surprise as to how much and where it made power.


Above is the FMIC tested on a stock car.

The test above with done with the bumper removed from the car.  In one way this really helps the OEM FMIC out because the bumper covers up a good portion of the bottom of it. In another way, the gains shown above are favoring the OEM FMIC, but ours still makes more power!  Because of how we did this test, we were able to feed both FMIC’s the same amount of air, and very consistent at that.


This next graph is a little out of order, but it does show the gains our FMIC had when running it back to back with the ALTA turboback and CAI with inlet hose installed.  Not quite as much as with the stock car, but if we had a way to turn the boost up……..


Above is the results when adding the FMIC to our car with the turboback exhaust, CAI, and turbo inlet hose.

Ok and last but not least the turboback results.  On the 09 JCW the exhaust system is a bit different than the older cars. There is one central location for the cats, the downpipe.  On the older cars there is a cat in the downpipe and one in the middle of the exhaust. And we built our turboback system to suite these early cars.   On the 09 JCW, the downpipe has 2 cats, but both very large diameter, and stuck one on top of the other. This is great  for keeping back pressure to a minimum and it might me our results may not be as good.  The other change is to the middle part of the exhaust. There is a cat missing here that normally would suck up some of the sound, so Mini made the resonator about 2 times longer than it was.

The ALTA 3″ system we were installing  was the one we made for the normal R56, so it has 2 cats, one in the downpipe and one in midpipe.  What this means is for the 09 JCW the entire system has to be installed as the catback or downpipe can not be installed separately with the OEM pieces.


Above is the results we got with installing the turboback exhaust on a stock JCW.

The gains are a little lower than we had seen before on the early R56, but still very good.  The things you can’t see on the dyno is how much more responsive the car is. With the large 3″ Stainless Steel tubing and the significant drop in back pressure, the turbo spool time is greatly reduced.  Also re-spool time between shifts is another place you really notice it. One more thing you can’t see with dyno graphs is sound. Finally this 09 JCW sounds like it should, mean and fast!

In conclusion, every part by them selves works very well, and makes a noticeable difference.  But as we had seen on the newer cars with somewhat limited boost, they don’t all add up the same. So from start to finish, our Mini started at 197whp peak, and after all the parts were bolted on we ended with 217whp peak.  This is only a difference of 20whp peak, the real difference is seen before and after these peak numbers and the overall drivability.  The car gets to a point and the difference they make becomes less and less.  What this car is really crying for is a way to turn up the boost and put those parts to use.  As we had teased earlier, here is something you can expect to get in the near future with your 09 JCW…


No comment………








 Posted by on November 25, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, First Look, MINI Only Tagged with: , , , , ,
Nov 182008

How do you get more boost than the spring pressure in the wastegate?

In Part 1, we describe the basics on how your boost control system works and the components involved. Some of the diagrams in Part 1 were common items found on stock turbocharged engines, and some only found on aftermarket turbo systems. In both setups, its possible get more boost from your turbo, than the wastegate spring pressure. This is done by using different methods to change the boost signal getting to the wastegate actuator.  Part 2 of Boost Control Systems Explained will hit on the most common ways of doing this.

In order to get more boost than the spring pressure in the wastegate actuator, pressure needs to be bled off or blocked from the hose going to the wastegate actuator.  This in turn delays when the wastegate will start to open and control boost. Think of this as tricking the wastegate as to what boost it’s seeing.  Boost pressure can be bled off in a few ways, using a mechanical bleeder type system with a needle and a seat, a small opening or bleed hole, or the more reliable and accurate way using an electromechanical solenoid.

Manual Boost Controllers

Starting with one of the simplest forms of boost control, lets look at a Manual Boost Controller.  These are mechanical devices that are set manually and have no feedback and are not connected to the ECU in any way. Manual boost controllers are simple, cost effective ways to increase boost. But they are not perfect…..


How does our PERRIN Manual Boost Controller work?  There are 4 main components to it, the body, stem, spring and ceramic ball.  Boost enters the body but is blocked by the ceramic ball.  The spring behind the ball keeps the boost from getting past the ball. Adjusting the tension on the spring adjusts when boost pressure pushes the ball off its seat. When the ball moves off its seat, the boost flows through the boost controller and actuates the wastegate actuator. The ball simply delays when the boost gets to the actuator. The adjustment to when the ball lifts (effecting boost) is the tension on the spring. In our design, the stem gets screwed in and out of the body which changes the spring pressure on the ball. One key thing to our MBC (Manual Boost Controller) is our bleed hole. In the stem is a bleed hole that serves 2 purposes. One is to relieve pressure from behind the ball, when the turbo is not making boost. If this wasn’t there the wastegate would be stuck open after the first time it made boost.  The second purpose is to bleed some of the volume of air flowing through the MBC.  This helps with keeping a steady boost curve that doesn’t drop off severely at higher RPM.


You can see the install is very simple. Hose in on one side and out the other!  This above diagram is showing an external type wastegate, but same thing applies for an internal type wastegate. For most customers its about 10 minutes to install and a couple of good runs on the road to adjust. The downfall is there is nothing controlling the boost.

With a manual type boost controller there are some variables to the actual boost achieved. Temp out side, temp of the exhaust manifold, load on the engine all effect the actual boost level.  This means from day to day, or even road to road, you can see a fluctuation in boost.  For some customers, its not a problem as they have had their ECU tuned to account for the different levels. The problem is that your car can have varying performance, which not everyone likes.  Also at part throttle, you can get get full boost (almost full power). This is also not a desired feeling as it removes some of the modulation of power. Most cars when stock are setup to deliver half the power at half the throttle. That way as you roll past half throttle, you add more boost/power, making the car more drivable.  Power can be great, but if its like a switch, that can be hard to handle in corners!

Overall the Manual boost controller is cheap and easy to install, and its adjustable by anyone with a boost gauge. Those are great benefits for some customers, and a Manual Boost Controller shouldn’t be overlooked when deciding how you should increase boost on your car.

Electronic Boost Control Solenoids

A solenoid is a simple valve that is mechanically opened (or closed) when battery voltage is applied to it.  This is done using a coil winding surrounding a ferrous metal actuator.  The battery voltage passes through the coil and causes a magnetic field which moves an actuator that pulls open a valve.  Typically these are setup to bleed air from the hose going to the wastegate actuator.  Keep in mind, the solenoid doesn’t work as on off as describe, in fact the valve is turned on and off very fast to vary the amount of pressure bled from the hose. The speed and length the valve is opened, effects how much pressure is being bled off thus effecting boost. This process isn’t self contained in the solenoid, but rather driven by the ECU (engine control unit) in your car, or sometimes by aftermarket controllers.

tech_boostcontrol_boostsolenoidatrestsmall tech_boostcontrol_boostsolenoidenergizedsmall

This above diagram shows a typical solenoid  used for boost control at rest and also with voltage applied to it. The blue represents the coil that when engergized creates the magnetic field. The Green represents the ferrous metal, the red represents the valve being actuated and the orange arrows indicate the air flowing.

As mentioned above, the speed and length at which the ECU turns the solenoid on and off, effects the amount of air being bled and when the wastegate actuator actually opens.  The ECU produces this pulsing (on and off) signal in based on tables in the ECU and many calculations.  This pulsing signal is commonly known as the wastegate duty cycle. This duty cycle is a percentage of how long the solenoid is open for a given time.  Because the solenoid can open and close only so fast, it has a normal operating frequency.  The frequency is how many times it can operate in 1 second, referred to as hertz (not the rent a car company).  Typically solenoids work in the 10-30hz range, but this is not what the ECU is changing to increase boost.  Back to the duty cycle.  The duty cycle is a calculated a percentage of time the solenoid is actually open.  Meaning 50% DC (Duty Cycle) means the solenoid on for 50% of the time, and 100% means the solenoid is on all the time. The more time the solenoid is on, the more air is bled from the system, and in turn the longer the wastegate is delayed from opening.



One second of time show above.  This example shows a solenoid working at 5hz (turning on and off 5 times in 1 second) and then shows 25%-100% duty cycle. This allows you to visualize the amount of time the solenoid is actually open at different duty cycles.  NOTE: the 100% doesn’t show it operating 5 times in 1 second because its on all the time.


The ECU can vary this duty cycle signal to the wastegate solenoid to vary the boost higher or lower, to account for temp changes, atmospheric pressure changes, provide a steadier boost curve and even cut boost in situations when a failure has occurred.  The ECU has many special maps/tables that determine the DC to use to control boost. This includes target boost tables, min and max DC tables, Boost error trim tables, air temp trims, speed trims gear trims and many more.  The ECU uses these with a complicated algorithm to calculate duty cycle and then adjust it to reach its target boost.  Here is an example of how this works and an example of the diffent typs of maps used to control boost.




If the ECU sees the driver giving 70% throttle at 4000 RPM it reads a map that says it needs to hit 14psi.  The ECU starts with a duty cycle of say 50%.  Say it only hits 12psi at 50%, the ECU knows its off by 3psi and adds more duty cycle based on a boost error trim table.  Say this equals 5% more duty cycle.  Now its running 55% and the ECU is seeing 15psi of boost.  Its still a bit high and using this boost error trim table it now pulls some duty cycle from the overall 55%.  Lets say it removes 2% and now is at 53%.  Now it hits its 14psi target and the ECU is happy until the boost starts to fall as the RPMS rise, or until the driver gives 100% throttle making for a new target boost.  The calculations start all over again.  This back and forth, and calculating happens many times a second to provide the engine with a steady boost curve.  This is a very simple version of what actually happens. There are things like the time it waits to see if the calculated duty cycle actually worked, and start RPM’s, gear ratio comps air temp trims, and many other things.  This is a pretty complicated process but its what makes modern day turbo cars function so well with little turbo lag and all the safety features.

This duty cycle signal exists in all electronic boost control systems and is very important to understand in order to better use the PERRIN EBCS Pro solenoid.



Above is a diagram of a typical OEM boost control setup using a typical 2 port solenoid.  First is the system at rest with 10psi of boost coming from the turbo.   At this point the solenoid is off and redirecting pressure to the wastegate making it open and in turn controlling boost to 10psi.


Now the solenoid is turned on bleeding pressure from the system.  This in turn takes away the pressure that was pushing the wastegate open, and lets the wastegate close increasing boost pressure. Now imagine that happening all very fast on and off varying the degree at which the wastegate is actually open.


Below is an boost control system from a Subaru using the above diagrams as a reference.  This shows a great example of a bleed type system that most all OEM’s use.  While it does work, its not the most efficient.  All main parts of the boost system can be seen here, excetp the solenoid. The solenoid on most system is mounted somewhere off the turbo, and engine. Typically mounted to the chassis away from extreme heat.




In OEM setups, like the one above, the wastegate duty cycle can get maxed out to 100% and still doesn’t provide the desired boost. This means in some applications power is being held back because the solenoid can’t do its job properly.  In many OEM “bleed” applications this is remedied by using a restrictor in the hose coming from the boost source.  This is put in place to limit the amount of work (Bleeding) the solenoid has to do. While a bleed type system can control boost, they leave a few things on the table that can be improved on.

One is boost response.  The factory type 2port solenoid bleed type systems are always putting some amount of pressure on the wastegate actuator which means its already starting to open the wastegate (before it hits its boost target) and in turn loosing some turbo response.  This may not seem like much pressure pushing it open, but you have to consider the exhaust pressure is also trying to push it open at the same time. The exhaust pressure can be double the boost pressure and also greater than the wastegate actuator spring.  Which means even a small amount of pressure can start to open the wastegate and effect boost response.  In some cars the exhaust pressure completely blows open the wastegate making for increasing boost nearly impossible.

Secondly a bleed type system may not be able to bleed enough air at higher RPM to reach the desired boost pressure.  While changing the size of the restrictor can help this, its still a band-aid for a poorly working solenoid and poorly working system.

The good thing with these types of system is they are simple, only a few parts to install and go wrong not to mention they are cheap to make.  Also if the solenoid fails it would default to the wastegate spring pressure for boost control.  This safety aspect is important in all boost control systems and holds true with the PERRIN EBCS Pro. The PERRIN EBCS Pro (Electronic Boost Control Solenoid) utilizes 3 ports to control boost, which can be setup in many ways other than the stock “Bleeding” type system. This allows for better boost control, quicker response and more boost from your turbo!  Find out how you can use a PERRIN EBCS Pro to get more power from your car by continuing to Part 3 of Boost Control Systems Explained.

Continue to Boost Control Systems Explained Part 3


Missed First Installment?  Click here to go back to Part 1



 Posted by on November 18, 2008 About Your Car, Part Design & Tech
Nov 062008

This collection of parts above are typical items you will find in a modern boost control system and many aftermarket type system.s  Some items may not be recognizable, but after you read this, i think you will be able to pick out any of those parts and understand what they do and how they work.

Modern day boost control systems rely on both mechanical and electrical systems to control boost.  The main electronic component is the ECU, which drives an electro-mechanical device that controls the wastegate actuator.  Besides the ECU being an important electronic device in controlling boost, the second most important part is the electo-mechanical device known as the boost control Solenoid.  Below is the PERRIN EBCS Pro (Electronic, Boost, Control, Solenoid) which replaced the OEM Boost control solenoid to provide better more accurate boost control.


In most turbo applications the boost solenoid is used to bleed boost pressure off the hose that actuates the wastegate actuator.  In these applications the boost control solenoid has 2 ports, an IN and an OUT.  The PERRIN EBCS Pro can be setup like the stock solenoid, to “BLEED” boost from the system, but that is not where the EBCS Pro has its advantage.  The PERRIN 3 port EBCS Pro can be setup to “block” pressure from getting to the wastegate actuator. This makes for a more responsive turbo and for much better boost control, not to mention higher boost levels are possible with proper tuning.  In this case 3 is better than 2!

In some cases the EBCS Pro can work with your stock programmed ECU, but to use the EBCS Pro to its fullest, a reprogramming of the ECU must be done.  These days this is no big deal as its something that can be done with nearly any car.  The EBCS Pro also works very well when using stand alone type ECU’s where adjusting boost tables are possible.  The EBCS Pro can be used to replace a worn out, or damaged aftermarket solenoid used in a standalone Electronic Boost Control system. In these cases the EBCS Pro will fuction the same, but cost half of a replacement part.

Now included with each PERRIN EBCS Pro is a female harness plug, that plugs right into many OEM wire harnesses. This means no cutting of wires, just simply unplug the OEM one, and plug ours in! Simple as that!  Along with this convenient plug we include a set of instructions to show how to install the EBCS Pro in nearly every type of turbo application out there. I say turbo application because I know there are those guys with their normally aspirated Honda’s reading this thinking they can add more boost to their car!  Sure you can, just like you can add a BOV!  If you don’t know what a BOV is, that’s another article in the works!

How does the boost control system work?

So you are sold our the PERRIN EBCS Pro, but how does it actually work in controlling boost.  First understand the mechanical aspect of the boost control system.  There is a actuator which turns boost pressure into a mechanical action that pushes the wastegate open on the turbo.  The wastegate has a spring in it set to a specified boost pressure. Boost pressure has to exceed the spring pressure before it starts to open the wastegate and control boost.  An example, a wastegate actuator set to 10psi will not open the wastegate until it hits 10psi, in turn controlling boost to 10psi.  The most basic boost control consists of a hose running from a boost source directly to the wastegate actuator.  So what is a wastegate, and wastegate actuator, and how does it actually work?

What is a WASTEGATE?

First thing to understand is what a wastegate is and how it works. On most turbocharged engines there is mechanical system called a wastegate (Turbo diesel engines do not have them a lot of times, but that is a whole other story). The job of the wastegate is the same weather internal or external.  Think of the wastegate as a door that opens up and lets exhaust flow around the turbo.  Internal type wastegates are built into the turbo, and External Wastegates a separate mechanism that bolts to the exhaust manifold before the turbo.  Either system functions the same by by-passing the exhaust around the turbo to control boost.



The wastegate opens and by-passes the exhaust around the turbo it changes the speed of the turbo. Which in turn controls boost.  By opening the door, it slows down the speed of the turbo (making less boost).  When it closes it forces the exhaust to flow through the turbo, speeding it up (Making more boost).  The system doesn’t work as “on or off” as just described.  Its not just opened or closed to control boost, but modulated to many varying degrees to divert just enough exhaust around the turbo to create the desired boost.  The above diagrams shows an internal wastegate in both the open and closed modes.  The first picture illustrates the exhaust passing through the turbo with the wastegate door closed. The second picture illustrates the wastegate door open and it diverting exhaust pressure around turbo.

tech_boostcontrol_506_originalwastegate tech_boostcontrol_wgactuator


Tial 44mm External Wastegate                                 Garrett OEM Style Internal Wastegate Actuator

Both internal and external function the same using a “door” to control how much exhaust is diverted around the turbo.  But what makes them different is how the “door” works and how its actuated. In an internal wastegate setup the door is a mechanical door that blocks a hole on the turbos exhaust housing. The door is attached to an arm that is then attached to the actuator. The actuator is a separate part that bolts onto the turbo with an arm that opens and closes the door.

tech_boostcontrol_wgactuatorclosed tech_boostcontrol_wgactuatoropen


Above is a cutaway showing the basic construction of an internal wastegate actuator.  Picture 1 is showing it in resting position and picture 2 shows it with boost applied to it.  The Red represents the diaphragm, the green represent the spring.

An external wastegate doesn’t use a door but rather a valve not much different than an exhaust valve inside your engine.  The valve has a seat that it sits on blocking the exhaust pressure.  The valve simply lifts off the seat to divert the exhaust around the turbo.  The valve is actuated by an actuator like an internal wastegate but the actuator and valve are all one piece.

tech_boostcontrol_externalwastegateclosed tech_boostcontrol_externalwastegateopen

The above picture shows a cutaway of an external wastegate.  Picture 1 shows wastegate in resting postion, and picture 2 shows the wastegate open.  The red represents the diaphram, the green represents the spring, and the blue represents the valve.  The orange arrows represent exhaust flow.

ACTUATOR what is that?

The actuator for both types is the most important part to understand as it is what ultimately controls boost.  Actuators have a pneumatic portion that controls the mechanical movement, and the movement is resisted by a spring.  Using the above diagrams you can see they have chambers divided by a diaphragm.  Pressure can be applied to either side of the diaphragm.  As pressure enters these chambers they cause the valve to actuate but only after the pressure exceeds the springs pressure.  Meaning if the spring is a 10psi spring, the valve will not start to actuate until the pressure in the chamber goes above 10psi.  An internal wastegate typically only has 1 chamber were pressure is applied to (shown above).  An external wastegate can have 2 chambers as shown above which we will get into later.

Both types have to work against exhaust pressure. So the design of the wastegate can be very important to ensure that the exhaust back pressure doesn’t effect the desired boost. In many OEM setups this is a factor that works against the boost control system. Meaning that maximum boost may not be able to be reached because the exhaust back pressure is opening the wastegate regardless of what the actuator is doing.  This is not good for us when trying to make big power, but it is smart for an OEM to design a system with this in mind as this inherently has some safety features built into it.

Now that you understand how the wastegate changes the speed of the turbo, and how the wastegate is actuated, the next diagram will make a lot of sense.


This above diagram shows a turbo representing the boost source.  As the boost pressure goes up, that pressure is routed to the wastegate actuator (weather internal or external) and when the boost pressure exceeds the spring pressure in the actuator, it will then start to open and control boost. This example is below.




 How do you get more boost than the spring pressure in the wastegate?

Above we describe the basics on how your boost control system works and the components involved. Some of the diagrams were common items found on stock turbocharged engines, and some only found on aftermarket turbo systems. In both setups, its possible get more boost from your turbo, than the pre-set wastegate spring pressure. This is done by using different methods to change the boost signal getting to the wastegate actuator.  Check out Part 2 of Boost Control Systems Explained, and you will find out how you can get more boost from your turbo!

Continue to PART 2……


Oct 182008



Introducing the ALTA Tensioner Stop!  While the idea of this part is not new, our execution of it is.  This unique design allows the end user to install the part faster than other designs, and function the same with ZERO chance of failing.

Why do you need an ALTA Tensioner Stop?  At some point in your cars life, the serpentine belt that allows the crank pulley to drive the Supercharger and AC, will fail.  When it fails, there is a failsafe built into the OEM tensioner mechanism to keep the tensioner from destroying other parts, but the failsafe fails!  When this happens, the 3 parts that get destroyed can cost $300 in parts and not to mention the labor to replace them.  This is where a tensioner stop comes into play.  It a failsafe for a failsafe!

The ALTA Tensioner Stop essentially hooks around both ends of Tensioner dampener and limits the travel of tensioner arm. We have designed it to limit the travel of the tensioner to the same point as the OEM tensioner stop. This allows for normal travel of the tensioner up to the point at which the OEM tenionser stop fails.

Some designs require you to remove the OEM tensioner assembly from the car (jacking up the motor is necessary) and completely unbolt the tensioner dampener to install. The ALTA Tensioner Stop still needs the motor slightly jacked up, but allows the Tensioner assembly to be left in the vehicle and only the loosening of one bolt is needed for installation. This saves about 30 minutes of shop labor to install it.

In our testing of the ALTA tensioner stop, we had gone through a few designs one of which was a version using a cable with crimped on ends.  We ended up not using this as of the 3 prototypes we had crimped (proper crimping machine) one of them failed on our fixture!  Even though the ends are rated for more than enough to hold the tensioner, the varience in how they are crimped caused a failure. This led us to the design you see here.  With this design there is no way the tesnioner/spring will overcome the tensile strength of the Stainless Steel strap.


Make sure to check out Video we made showing how it works, and showing how the OEM one doesn€™t work!

Anyway, we told you guys and gals we had a few R53 things up our sleeves, and this is one of 3! Be on the look out!





 Posted by on October 18, 2008 First Look Tagged with: , , ,
Aug 192008

It was inevitable that we would get one of the newest coolest Mini coopers out there.  Some might think we just do this for fun, but don’t forget our fun is also our business.  Getting the newest coolest cars is important for us to develop new parts and prove our existing parts on.  Our business does have its benefits!
The car we got is actually a special launch JCW R56. This means that there are few special items already installed on the car.  The launch package consists of a few things like special badging, illuminated shifter and some other minor things.  This launch package consists of certain options like the body kit, wheels, and some of the other trim pieces like a sunroof.  The sunroof is nice and all, but it adds lots of weight and cuts down on the headroom for a helmet!  This may not be a problem for most people, but the first time you go to an event that requires a helmet and you don’t fit in the car with it, you will see what I mean!

We actually ordered a Pepper White JCW car a few months back and it was planned to be delivered this October.  When our local dealer called and said they had a special launch JCW Mini, it only made sense that we bought it to get ahead of the competition on this car.

So what is different about this new car?  To the normal onlooker the new mini looks just like the others out there.  But we are not normal onlookers.  From the outside the new JCW factory equipped car has a few minor badge changes like the JCW badge and the winglets on the front fenders.  Gone is chrome around the normal R56 badge.  I am not a huge fan of chrome and I was glad to see the chrome on the front upper grill gone!   The side trim still have the chrome but its still better than it was.

The JCW model has much more aggressive wheels than the stock R56 wheels.  I think these are almost perfect (just need to be wider and black) and personally I think that this will not be one of the first things a customer will chang when they get their Mini.  I am sure we will just because we can€™t leave the car stock.  Our shop car has the JCW body kit, which is an item you can order on the normal R56 as an option.  The body kit has some really cool side vents and much more aggressive front and rear bumper.

Speaking of options, normally you could get the JCW upgraded brakes, but the JCW brakes that come on this car are not just red calipers and special rotors.  These are nice big Brembo calipers with huge 12.44″ rotors.  Yes the car is small and may not NEED bigger brakes, but who really NEEDS more power either!  For street driving they may be overkill but for those who hit the track once and a while these brakes will have significantly less fade.  These are very different looking calipers compared to others seen on STI’s, EVO’s and 350′z. They seem be a little bulkier, but still a significant upgrade from the stock Iron calipers.  At a closer inspection, you can see some interesting clips holding the pads into them.  Poking a bit further find that these clips simply flip open and allow the user to swap pads with out the need to pull clips or pins.  This will be a very handy thing to have at the track!

The last and final thing that makes the JCW “Look” different is the tips on the exhaust. They are much nicer, much more racier looking. They are a single wall tip that sticks out just a little more than the normal tips and says, hay look at me, I am not stock!  Initially the exhaust looks just like the other, but there is one really important thing missing, a Cat!  The older R56€™s had 2 cats in the exhaust. One right after the turbo and one a little further down stream.  The last one was not monitored but the ECU, but more of a scrubber.  Many newer turbo cars have these dual cat setups.  For us to be as legal as possible, this meant we needed to build an exhaust with two in it. Well now we can build an exhaust with one cat legally and maybe get a little more power from this new car! This will come at the expense of sound, but we can fix that!  That is about it for the outside of the car.  Now its time for the more important change of the new JCW.

The engine is now rated at more than 200HP. Mini has taken its super sweet, super high tech Direct Injected powerplant and unleashed more HP.  On any turbo car the one thing that makes the biggest difference is boost from the turbo and also the size of turbo itself. Yes, mini changed the compression ratio a bit, and cams, and some other things, but these are very very minor ways to change the power.


On any engine, airflow equals HP.  On a turbo car, this same rule applies.  Mini could have just pushed the stock 3K turbo to 200 engine HP, but the downfall is as you push the turbo further and further, it becomes less and less efficient.  While we have made way more than 200 Wheel HP on the normal R56 Mini, at 220 Wheel HP, we were definitely pushing the efficiency of the turbo.  So we are “blessed” that Mini used a bigger turbo to get this power.  This allows us to push the Mini even further than before!



With this new bigger turbo, I would have hoped Mini would have upped the Intecooler size.  Well they didn€™t, it€™s the same short intercooler that€™s partially exposed to ambient air. This thing needs an intercooler!  We will for sure be doing another back to back run on this car with our intercooler.



Ok, so Mini “claims” 208HP and 198 ft-lbs of torque.  We saw consistently 200-202 Wheel HP and a peak of 210 ft-lbs of torque. This is pretty amazing since the normal drivetrain loss on a FWD car is around 15%. The car should have put down closer to 176 HP at the wheels!  So already its no wonder why this car is a faster than other cars in its HP class, its slightly underrated!   Like with most turbo cars, it comes down to boost. The old cars boost curve was a wavy curve that started at 10psi, went up to 11psi, dropped to 8psi then back to 12psi, then finally 8psi at redline. This up and down curve also makes for an equally strange torque curve.


The new 09 JCW with the bigger turbo also has a similar strange curve. Because the slightly larger turbo is a little laggy, the boost starts lower, but it hits 12psi at a very low RPM of 2100, then climbs to 15psi, then down to 13psi, then slowly climbs up to 20psi at around 5700RPM. So Its pretty obvious why this new car makes more power than the old car. More boost!

A bigger turbo does have its trade offs. Bigger means slower to spool and in turn means its slower to make power.  This responsiveness is called turbo lag.  But Mini did a great job at sizing the turbo just right. Yes the normal R56 turbo is quicker to spool, but it is almost too quick to spool. Its almost too twitchy at times when an exhaust is installed. This new turbo is perfect! With an exhaust installed, this turbo will be very smooth and be very powerful!


Ok so the engine is better and makes more power. But what else is different under the hood?  The one thing that sticks out is the new turbo inlet hose.  Its now plastic and looks to be a little better overall.  The placement of the crank case vent is in such a place that our current inlet hose will not just work. But no problem, we will be making a new one of those. Other than that, there is nothing else visual that has changed………..  Yes even the intake is the same.  We thought we would have gotten the JCW intake (with the paper cone filter) and to our surprise, NOPE!  Why is the question??  I am also lost and maybe this is a special launch package item??  Maybe the builder forgot to install it?  Who knows, but I have heard of 3 others with the same thing.


And here is the AFR curve. Its a little richer as it goes to redline, but not much.

We discovered this while it was still bolted to the dyno, so of course we were going to test our panel filter at the same time (although should have been our JCW filter).  As we have seen before, the gains are not super huge on a stock car. But the benifit of not having to buy a filter every year and the slight increase in HP makes it a great option the first time you have to replace it.


The JCW launch package car does have the JCW strut brace. It’s not quite as nice as the M7 strut brace with the built in SRP’s but it does the job!  While we were checking out the strut bar we pulled it off to weigh it and noticed that there were slots in the strut tops!

Finally Mini made a way to adjust camber on these cars.  We hadn’t seen this before, so we stared pulling strut top nuts off of cars, and our older R56 and sometime in 08 Mini starting slotting the tops.  Both cars we had seen had the bolts pushed to the middle of the meaning that if you did lower the car there would be just enough to remove the unwanted camber. Its almost as if Mini took notice of people modifying their car.


Ok that’s about all we can say with the car just sitting here being critiqued and taken apart, next up is the test drive.  So with all those new things there were a couple things that stand out after 5minutes of driving. The steering is always stiff as though you have the sport button pushed.  The next thing that I noticed is the brakes. WOW are these touchy!  The larger brakes teamed with better pads definitely works! Doing some hard stops from the speed limit (of course nothing higher) showed almost zero fade and felt great.  After a few minutes I got used to the touchy pads and really started to like it.

Ok and the MOST important part is power! This thing does feel like it has 200WHP!  The normal R56 feels great at low RPM but suffers up top. The JCW, just like the dyno shows, stomps the normal R56 from about 2700RPM on up.  The very small portion of the RPM band where the normal R56 makes more power, is absolutely not even slightly noticeable.  The slightly larger turbo is a perfect match for keeping the Mini super responsive and adding more power.

What are our future plans? Simple, show our existing parts make power on the new car, and lastly tune the ECU and make even more power!  More boost baby!  We have 1 really innovative product up our sleeves and it will be debuted on the R56!  Just wait and see!


 Posted by on August 19, 2008 First Look, MINI Only Tagged with: , , ,
Aug 082008



It all started back in March (2008) after trying a few other cars for a wile (mustang GT, BMW M Coupe) I just had to get back into and Evo.  So I was looking at the used ads for a wile without telling any one, then I saw this GG IX SE with only 10k miles driven by a girl.  This is every thing I wanted in my next Evo, the 5sp, aluminum roof where the most important but I also really like the SE front lip, red stiching in the seats and the BBS wheels (for winter snow tires)

Now that I have the car it was time to mod right away.

Wheels -

I ordered a set of the Enkei  NT03 +M in 17 x 9.5 ET38 From our friends at JSC Speed.


Ummmm, Ya I think i need some suspension work. (read on)


SIZE 255/40-17




 Posted by on August 8, 2008 Project Builds Tagged with: , , ,