What to Upgrade Before Upgrading Your Fuel System: The Ultimate Guide

What to Upgrade Before Upgrading Your Fuel System: The Ultimate Guide

If you're looking to upgrade your fuel system, it's important to do your research first. Upgrading different parts of your fuel system on their own could result in big problems. And upgrading you entire fuel system for horsepower gains can be a big investment.

In this guide, we'll give you the best options to increase your car's performance before investing in fuel system upgrades. And answer the questions: What issues could occur if you don't make those upgrades? What are the consequences of not making any changes before upgrading your fuel system?

So whether you're just starting to think about upgrading your fuel system or looking for some quick ways to increase your horsepower, this guide will help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

What to upgrade before upgrading your fuel system

As we've said, simply installing some bigger fuel injectors or a new fuel pump will most likely result in poor engine performance unless the entire system is upgraded the right way all at once. If you are looking for quicker horsepower gains here are a few options to consider.

Performance Air Intake

The best way to get more air is by upgrading your vehicle's air intake. A regular car or truck has a decent air intake, but it still has many drawbacks that make every vehicle less suitable for the average buyer. A high-performance Intake, also known as a cold air intake, helps improve airflow in two primary ways.

The first reason is that it has fewer restrictions than a factory intake. Stock intakes are designed to be quiet and efficient. An aftermarket performance intake lets the air flow directly into your throttle body which can make the car louder and more powerful.

Not only does a cold air intake get outside air from a more ideal location, but the colder temperature of this air also allows for more oxygen. And as we all know, with more oxygen comes the potential to burn more fuel and create even more power.

High Flow Air Filter

High flow air filters are another great addition to boost engine performance. It won’t make a large difference by itself, but in combination with a performance intake, a high-flow air filter can help your engine move more air and make more power. These filters offer less restriction than the factory filter, and many of them give you a larger surface area.

That means that more air can be pulled through into the engine, and the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to do it. That makes your engine more efficient, lets it burn more fuel, and makes it more powerful, which is exactly what you’re looking for. While a performance filter in the stock airbox can make a difference, it’s best to add a larger aftermarket air filter for an even bigger boost.

Cat-Back Exhaust System

Once you replace your intake, you need to get that air out of the engine. You do that with a high-performance cat-back exhaust system. A performance exhaust uses larger diameter pipes than the factory exhaust so that they can flow more exhaust. They use smoother bends called mandrel bends that reduce restrictions that slow exhaust flow. They increase how fast the exhaust flows, sucking the exhaust out of your engine. Less restrictive mufflers also help move more air out, letting you pull more air in through your intake. A cat-back exhaust attaches after your catalytic converter, saving you from having to install a full turbo back system.

This type of system is used to maximize airflow while still maintaining a safe level of back pressure. It also helps to reduce emissions and lets your engine breathe more easily which results in improved performance.

Engine Computer Tuning

The final step to upgrade your fuel system is by tuning your ECU. Engine computer tuning can change the way your engine runs and uses fuel, allowing you to make more power more efficiently. Tuning can also adjust ignition timing and spark advance for better performance. It can also adjust the way variable valve timing comes into effect for improved throttle response and acceleration.

The factory ECU is designed to work best with a stock intake and exhaust system. If you’ve swapped out any of those parts for aftermarket performance options, tuning your ECU will help your engine make the most of those changes, resulting in more power and better overall performance.

An ECU tune for a newer car is as simple to install as connecting a computer cable into the OBD-II port. Most tunes are done by this method, which is located under your steering wheel. You have the capability of changing the air fuel ratio (or you can always leave that to expert tuners), and some even allow you to add or change features on your vehicle that come straight from the factory.

Light Weight Wheels

Power at the crankshaft is not the only thing that matters when you hit the gas pedal. The power that makes it to the pavement is also important. Engine power is used up by your transmission, driveshaft, and differential, and every part between your pistons and the pavement that spins. You can’t make most of those parts more efficient, but you can install lightweight wheels to keep more of your power.

Light wheels reduce vehicle mass, making your car accelerate more quickly and feel more powerful. They also make your vehicle more powerful by taking away less of the power that the engine makes. Spinning heavy wheels takes away power before your car ever moves.

If you have a 200-hp car, you could potentially increase its horsepower by 10 hp or more simply by using lightweight wheels. Not to mention, lightweight wheels also make your vehicle stop better, handle better, and get much better gas mileage.

High Flow Throttle Body

If you have successfully increased your engine's airflow and tuned the computer to utilize said air, then the next logical upgrade would be a high-flow throttle body. By definition, a larger throttle body allows more air to enter the engine-- thus granting more power and better performance overall. If you're only seeking that last 10-15 horsepower, though... You could also install a throttle body spacer. These are positioned between the intake manifold and actual throttle body; they work by helping create an optimal pathway of airflow straight into your engine. Plus, they are much easier to install and cheaper than purchasing a new high-flow throttle body.

Note, that this upgrade isn't first on the list for a reason. This should only be upgraded if you have already increased airflow that is reaching your existing throttle body. If you install a larger throttle body without increasing airflow the upgrade wil have little to no effect.

Performance Exhaust Manifold

While this list has been focusing mainly on the air going into your engine, the next step would be to focus on getting the engine exhaust out. A performance exhaust manifold replaces the stock one with a much larger design which allows for better flow and less restrictive exhaust.

This means more power is produced from every stroke and better efficiency. Many performance exhaust manifolds also come with heat shields that help reduce the amount of heat your engine bay is exposed to, allowing for more consistent and reliable performance.

High-Performance Turbocharger

Many newer cars, trucks, and SUVs come equipped with a turbocharger. Not only do these improve performance, but they also help boost fuel economy. Consequently, nearly every automaker uses them in some capacity. However, you can get even more power by fitting a larger turbocharger than the stock part.

Good news if you don't have a factory turbo- there is an affordable way to add power and performance to your car. A turbocharger kit will do the trick and for less money than anything else that would provide similar results.

Simply put, an engine is an air pump. A turbocharger supplements this by using exhaust gasses to spin a fan which then forces more air into the engine- we call this boost. The increased airflow allows for more fuel to be burned and thus results in extra horsepower. For example, 14 lbs of boost is equivalent to doubling the size of a 2.0L engine, resulting in double the horsepower output.

Bolting on a turbocharger to your car can be an intimidating task, but you'll find that it's not as hard as it looks. With the right tools and parts, anyone can successfully install a turbo kit in their garage. Plus, you don't necessarily have to buy a complete set; there are plenty of aftermarket companies offering individual components.

Intercooler Upgrade

By compressing air inside a turbocharger, you are also heating up the air. When you squish the air, it gets hot. Hotter air is less dense and has less oxygen. This lack of oxygen then leads to needing less fuel for horsepower. However, by using an intercooler device, you can get rid of unwanted heat while still maintaining high-pressure air with more oxygen in cylinders.

An intercooler works by using air from outside the engine to cool down the pressurized air coming from the turbocharger before it enters your engine. It’s like a radiator but instead of using air to keep the engine coolant cool, it uses outside air to keep the pressurized air from the turbocharger cool. This, in turn, allows for more air to enter your engine and provide it with the extra power you are looking for.

The benefits of an intercooler upgrade can include improved acceleration and throttle response, higher peak horsepower numbers, better fuel economy, and reduced turbo lag.

What happens if you don't make modifications before upgrading your fuel system? 

It's important to make certain modifications before upgrading your fuel system in order to avoid problems. If you don't make the necessary modifications before upgrading your fuel system, it could cause:

  • Incorrect fuel pressure or flow rate can lead to poor performance and engine damage.
  • Uneven fuel distribution can cause misfiring, stalling, and other problems.
  • Leaking or damaged fuel lines due to increased pressures and higher temperatures.
  • Damage to fuel injectors due to incorrect flow rates or pressure.
  • Incorrect tuning of the engine can lead to poor performance or even engine failure. 

You can see that upgrading a vehicle's fuel system requires more than just swapping out the old parts for new ones. Modifications are often needed in order to ensure that the system operates correctly and can handle the increased pressures and temperatures associated with higher performance. This prevents damage to components, improper operation, or even engine failure. Without making the necessary modifications, you won't be able to get maximum performance from your upgraded fuel system. 

What is a fuel system and what does it do? 

Your vehicle's fuel system is responsible for delivering the right amount of fuel to your engine. It's made up of several different components, including the fuel tank, fuel lines, injectors, and other parts that work together to ensure your engine runs smoothly and efficiently. It's important to understand how your fuel system works and what kind of upgrades can be done before you start making changes.

Here are the components of a fuel system:

  • Fuel tank: The fuel tank is where your vehicle's fuel is stored. It needs to be properly sized and vented for optimal performance.
  • Fuel lines: Fuel lines are responsible for carrying the fuel from the tank to the engine. They need to be properly sized and insulated in order to ensure proper delivery of fuel and prevent leaks.
  • Injectors: Injectors are responsible for delivering the right amount of fuel to the engine. They need to be properly calibrated and maintained in order for them to work effectively.
  • Regulator: The fuel regulator is responsible for controlling the pressure of the fuel system. It's important that it's properly sized and adjusted in order to ensure optimal performance.

There are several different types of fuel systems. The type of system you have will depend on the make and model of your vehicle. Some common types of fuel systems include:

  • Carbureted: This type of fuel system uses a carburetor to mix air and fuel before entering the engine. This type of system is generally less efficient than other types of systems, but it's also easier to maintain.
  • Fuel injected: Fuel injected systems use electronic injectors instead of a carburetor to deliver fuel to the engine. This type of system is generally more efficient and requires less maintenance.
  • Diesel: Diesel fuel systems are designed to use diesel fuel rather than gasoline. They require a different type of injector as well as other components in order to operate correctly.
  • EFI (electronic fuel injection): EFI systems are the most modern type of fuel system. They use electronic components and sensors to control the flow of fuel to the engine, making them more efficient than other types of systems.
  • Turbocharged: Turbocharged fuel systems use a turbocharger to force more air into the engine. This helps increase the power output of the engine, but can also lead to increased levels of wear and tear on the system due to higher temperatures and pressures.

Each type has its own set of requirements for optimal performance and must be properly maintained in order to ensure peak performance.

Why upgrade your fuel system? 

There are several reasons you may want to upgrade your fuel system. If you are here, you are probably looking for ways to increase your horsepower. But there are multiple benefits. By upgrading the tank, lines, injectors, and regulator, you can:

  • Increase horsepower or performance capabilities. By replacing stock parts with upgraded ones, you can create more power and better performance.
  • Improve fuel economy. By making sure components are working properly and at peak efficiency, you can get the most out of your vehicle's fuel system and save money at the pump.
  • Extend the fuel system's lifespan. Keeping your fuel system in good condition will help ensure that it will continue to work properly for many years to come.
  • Improved reliability and drivability. By making sure everything is running smoothly, you can create a vehicle that's more reliable and enjoyable to drive.
  • Upgrading your fuel system also allows you to customize it for your specific needs. By swapping out parts and customizing your setup, you can create a system that works perfectly for the way you drive and the vehicle you have.
  • Reduce emissions. By keeping your vehicle's fuel system running efficiently, you can reduce emissions and help protect the environment. 

How much does it cost to upgrade a fuel system?

The cost of upgrading a fuel system can vary greatly depending on what components you choose to install and the complexity of the installation. Generally, simpler upgrades such as replacing worn or damaged parts can be done for relatively low costs. More complicated modifications such as installing an EFI system or performance exhaust manifold may require more money and time to complete. 

Contact Snake Eater Performance Today

Upgrading a vehicle's fuel system can be a complex and expensive process. However, it can also result in huge gains in performance, reliability, and efficiency. Before beginning any upgrades, make sure you understand what needs to be done and how each component works together for optimal performance. With the right parts and setup, you can create an upgraded fuel system that will last for many years and improve your vehicle's performance.

We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of what to upgrade before upgrading your fuel system, why modifications are necessary when it comes to upgrading a fuel system, and how to upgrade your fuel system properly. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can save time, money, and effort while creating a fuel system that will last for years to come. 

Contact Snake Eater Performance today to learn more about how to upgrade your fuel system and get the most out of it. We can help you determine what modifications are needed, as well as provide advice on the best components for your custom build. Whether its a set of 1000cc injectors or an upgraded fuel pump- with our expertise and experience, we can make sure that your vehicle is running smoothly and performing at its peak potential. Get in touch now to get started on upgrading your vehicle's fuel system. What are you waiting for? Let's upgrade! 

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