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Thread: Horsepower & Torque

  1. #1
    Administrator 567chevys's Avatar
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    Horsepower & Torque

    The two most misunderstood measures of an engines power. So let's just clear it up.Torque is your engines actual power,horsepower is how fast you get it. Make any sense? Torque is the twisting force or energy placed on the crankshaft and horsepower places a time factor on how fast it makes that power.Most people read up on horsepower that a particular performance engine produces and they in turn want that kind of power.Now remember,torque is what you feel when you put the hammer down when the traffic light goes green.Making modifications that help produce low end torque is what you want for the street.Face it,if you've got and sense at all(and we KNOW you do) your engine is not going to ever see 6000 rpm on the street.



    There are a number of things you can do to increase your engines low end torque and still maintain drivability.All of us (yes,even the guys that don't think they want it!) want more power when we hit the gas. Let's keep in mind that a 500 horse engine is not going to idle very well in traffic and will rarely see 18 mpg! 100,000 miles between tune ups are a thing of the past when you consider anything more than trying to gain the free horsepower that your engine already has.

    Lets think about headers,cat-back exhaust systems and cold air intake systems for a minute.Headers help to balance compression,scavenge exhaust gasses and the engine breathe better.All a plus when thinking about performance and efficiency.Cat-back systems are just that,exhaust systems that are bolted or welded on after the catalytic converter.Almost all cat-back systems reduce back pressure by seriously reducing those tight wrinkle bends in your restrictive factory system helping your engine breathe better.headers and a decent cat-back system can help you gain very noticeable power.More so if there are other performance mods already in place.



    Now cold air intakes are something relatively new to the bolt on performance scene.The performance gain comes from the engine getting a smoother,straighter flow of air into the intake manifold. Now when you introduce fresh "cold" air into the equation then the performance value comes in.The colder the air you have coming into the manifold,the denser the air/fuel charge and the more air/fuel you are going to get into your engine.The air intake system will basically give you better efficiency due to the straighter,smoother air coming in but,chances are it will be a colder denser charge that adds to performance so you may not see much of a fuel economy increase but,you may see a power increase or you could get both,I've seen and heard of both.

    There are various other mods you could do like chip up grades,having your car or trucks computer parameters re-vamped or power programmers.It depends on your budget.If your Canadian like me,then a lot of us either get performance parts and upgrades to our vehicles or presents for the kids at christmas. With the products and parts that are available today,you could actually save yourself a little cash at the pump with some modifications because they increase your engines efficiency,that of course would depend on how you drive.



    Now,one could argue that is these things are modifications work so well ,why doesn't the vehicle come out of the factory like that? Well simple,from my point of view cars and trucks are built on an assembly line and it's easier and cheaper for the factory to do what they do. They also do it the way the do to keep things quiet,now for anyone that loves and respects that throaty rumble it's not what we are looking for. However,the factory does builder your engine with durability and efficiency in mind. And the majority of consumer want their vehicle to be quiet and smooth.

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  2. #2
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Re: Horsepower & Torque

    Torque is NOT power. Torque is a twisting force, as you say. More technically, it is called "moment" which is force multiplied by the distance that force acts. It's units are ft-lbs or sometimes lb-ft.

    Horsepower is torque multiplied by RPM. At 5250 RPM horsepower and torque are the same. In other words, if your engine is making 400 ft-lbs of torque at 5250, it's putting out 400 HP. Horsepower is torque divided by time, or how fast that torque is put to use...as in ft-lb/second. One horsepower is 550 ft-lb/second or around 750 watts. Watts is also power.

    There is no reason an engine can't deliver 500 HP peak and still get 18 mpg. It probably can't be done with a traditional small displacement SBC, but a fuel-injected LS or BBC doesn't have a hard time making that much power, and an overdrive transmission can get MPG up there. Your engine only needs to use enough fuel to make enough horsepower to roll the car down the highway, no matter what engine is used. Larger engines are a bit less efficient than smaller ones at low RPMs, but they have more torque which enables use of the lower RPM range which saves fuel.

    But youre right, torque is what you feel...that's why I have a Ramjet 502 in my Nomad. It puts out over 500 ft-lb from just above idle to redline...567 ft-lb peak stock out of the crate. I think mine is higher.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

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  3. #3
    Registered Member Run-em's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chevynut View Post

    There is no reason an engine can't deliver 500 HP peak and still get 18 mpg. It probably can't be done with a traditional small displacement SBC, but a fuel-injected LS or BBC doesn't have a hard time making that much power, and an overdrive transmission can get MPG up there. Your engine only needs to use enough fuel to make enough horsepower to roll the car down the highway, no matter what engine is used. Larger engines are a bit less efficient than smaller ones at low RPMs, but they have more torque which enables use of the lower RPM range which saves fuel.
    Bite your tongue. Speaking ill of the SBC!!

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    Next-Gen LT1 6.2-Liter V-8 for 2014 Corvette Revealed with 450 HP, New Tech

    Zero-to-60 mph performance for the new base Corvette is expected to be under 4 seconds. Efficiency is increased, making this one of the most fuel efficient 450-hp vehicles available. That’s right, an estimated 450 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

    This is the engine we've all been waiting for Program in as much HP/Toque as you can afford.

  5. #5
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mokicruz View Post
    This is the engine we've all been waiting for Program in as much HP/Toque as you can afford.
    I don't think it's quite that simple.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax

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    Torque is your engines actual power,horsepower is how fast you get it. Make any sense?
    Off to a bad start in the first line. Torque is not power. It is rotational force. Power (horsepower is just the units) is the rate of applying torque.
    Last edited by Rick_L; 10-16-2013 at 02:53 PM.

  7. #7
    Registered Member Bihili's Avatar
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    I remember Rick_L and Chevynut debating Torque and Horsepower eight years ago on another forum.
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  8. #8
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Bihili, I doubt it. I think Rick and I have a pretty good understanding of torque and horsepower. Torque is the "twisting" force that en engine puts out (force x lever arm), and Horsepower is the rate at which that twisting force or torque is applied. HP = T x RPM. This is pretty simple in concept and with both of is being mechanical engineers I can't imagine that we debated this, but if there was a debate it may have been centered on something else, or a misunderstanding which has often happened.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax

  9. #9
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    Maybe we were in a debate. Over this point, not with each other. Maybe us against someone else, or over a different point.

    If you want torque at the wheels with a SBC, just put a 5.38 gear in the car.

  10. #10
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Yeah, you may be right. I thought Bihili said we were debating each other, but just noticed that's not what he said.

    It's like the ongoing debate about putting a restrictor in your radiator hose to supposedly slow down the coolant to help your radiator work better and keep your engine cooler. LOL! I remember some guy saying he didn't believe the laws of physics anyhow, and laws are made to be broken. I laughed my ass off. And O shut down the thread because it got a little too confrontational for his blood. LMAO!
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax

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