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Lightening The Load
There are numerous ways you can reduce the weight of your car. Remember less weight means quicker ET's and more mph. a lighter vehicle accelerates more quickly because of a better power to weight ratio.
Every car weighs a little bit different so it is difficult to say what a specific car weighs. The best thing to do when you want to start removing weight is weigh your car. This will give you a good idea of where you are starting from. You can get the car weighed at any public truck scale... you may want to ask for help the first time.
To reduce weight, you can do it in a variety of ways: 1) removing the part altogether, 2) relocation/ replacing a part. A good rule of thumb: Lose 100lbs = drop a tenth, relocate 100lbs = drop .05 second.
1) REMOVING PARTS
Removing the seat is a good track option. It's quick and it will help save some weight. You can remove the passenger seat and the rear seat... heck if your a hardcore racer, who needs passengers! The rear seat weighed in at 15lbs but I haven't weighed the front seat, I have the cheap cloth front seat and it can't be much more than 30lbs. Power seat will be much heavier, I believe about 60lbs.
Removing all of the unnecessary accessories such as the 1) smog pump, 2) power steering, and 3) the air conditioning will drop a significant amount of weight. Depending on your opinion, these may or may not be unnecessary.
1) If you do noy have cats and do not have to worry about emission laws, go ahead and take out the smog pump. If you remove everything associated with the smog pump, you lose about 15lbs. After you take the pump out, plug the back of the heads, remove the tube from the H-pipe, and plug the necessary vacuum lines.
2) Depending on how much you parallel park, you may want to consider dropping the power steering. This reduces the parasitic drag on the engine and drops another 15lbs (the brackets are pretty heavy along with about 10 lbs for the pump). When switching, you have several options: You can replace the rack with an
after market manual rack, or you can find a rack at the wrecker (79+ Mustang, 78+ Fairmont), or you can just remove the pump and use the power steering rack. The last option leaves the rack open so you pump air as opposed to fluid... definitely the cheapest alternative. BUT, this is supposed to be tougher than running normal manual steering. I just pulled out the pump but I haven't driven the car yet (not till the spring of 2000). Just remember, this isn't recommended with regular sized tires.
3) If you can hack the heat, removing the air conditioning is a good way to drop about 30lbs. When taking the system out, remove the compressor, the condenser, the accumulator, and all of the associated lines. Don't forget to have the system discharged by a professional before you remove anything.
If you don't mind a loud ride, you can remove all of the wool insulation and the sound deadening. The wool insulation is on the underside of all of the carpeting and behind all of the panels. This stuff is really easy to remove, just pull it off. the sound deadening is a hard, tar type material stuck directly to the floor. This is harder to get off and you may need some heat to pry it up. It comes up good when you get a big piece going.
Rear axle vibration damper is on the drive shaft side of the differential. It is only needed when you have the stock gear ratio. If you have put in different gears it is basically useless so pull it off and save 5lbs.
At my last visit to the exhaust shop, I spent a little time looking at the underside of my car. I grabbed a pryer and started scraping some of the gunk off the car. I haven't done this yet but spending some time under there could result in some significant weight loss. Other cars like Darren's are too clean and really won't gain from doing this.
Basically, when stripping weight off of the car, if you feel it is unnecessary, get rid of it. The moral is " if you can live without it, get rid of it". They are all basically free mods, so go do it!
2) RELOCATING/ REPLACING PARTS
One thing you really want to move from the front to the back would be the battery, just make sure it complies with NHRA rules.
Replacing parts with lighter parts can drop a lot of weight. Things you could do include fiberglass bumpers and hoods, aluminum heads and radiator, lightweight rims, seats, drive shaft, k-members, roll cages...
The only problem with this stuff is that it isn't cheap, at least not as cheap as getting rid of stuff!
Written by: Eric Hartman