Car Weight Reduction

(30/03/2014, Type: Tuning)   View other Articles     [Add Your Own Article]

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Advice on how to reduce the weight of your car by replacing components with ones made from lighter materials. Weight reduction will increase performance and improve handling. Keep in mind that removing all the weight from one end of the car can upset the handling.

Free Weight Reduction
Some components or features of your car are there for comfort and convenience. These can be removed for free and can be refitted again if required. The question is what features and comforts can you live without?

Spare Wheel and Toolkit Removal
993 Spare Wheel and Battery in boot. Removing the spare wheel, jack and toolkit can save you up to 18 kgs. You can carry a can of puncture repair foam instead to get you home, but beware some tyre fitters will not repair a tyre after the foam has been used.

Fuel and Fluid Reduction
1 litre of fuel weighs 0.8kgs. By not filling your tank you can save weight. For example a Nissan 350Z holds 70 litres of fuel so if you only ever fill up half the tank then you will save 28 kgs in weight.
Disadvantage: Depending on how many miles you do per week you could find yourself making more trips to the petrol station.

You can also reduce the amount of the water in your wiper washer bottle. Some cars only hold 2 litres of water, buts some can take 6 litres. So only having a few litres will save more weight (every little helps).

Air Conidtioning Removal
Removing the entire air con system consisting of the pump, pipes and radiators can save you up to 18kgs.
Disadvantage: Depending on the temperature in which you use your car removing the air con might not be an option.

Sound Deadening and Carpet Removal
Removing sound deadening, carpets and mats can save more weight. At this stage you are getting to the point where you're starting to lose comfort and changing the appearance of your interior. You can use lightweight carpets to try and make the interior look more pleasant to the eye. On a Porsche 993 this would be a saving of 18 kgs and the lightweight carpet set would weigh 7 kgs - another 11 kgs saved.

Lightweight Wheel Replacement
Replacing the wheels with lightweight alternatives can save you up to 8 kgs. Popular weight saving wheels are:

- OZ Ultraleggera
- OZ Alleggerita
- RAYS VOLK Racing CE28N

Lightweight Exhaust Replacement
Replacing the standard exhaust with a performance exhaust doesn't just increase power, but can also reduce weight. On a BMW M3 E46 this would be a reduction of 13 kgs.
Another step which is not road legal due to emissions is to use Cat Bypass pipes to reduce weight and increase performance too. On a Porsche 993 just using cat replacement pipes at a cost of £200 saves 12 kgs.

Lightweight Battery Replacement
Replacing you battery with a lightweight racing alternative such as Odyssey or Optima Redtop can save you 5 kgs.
Disadvantage: If you don't drive your car frequently the lightweight batteries can drain quickly if not used and do benefit from being connected to a trickle charger.

There are even lighter racing batteries but these are only suitable for track use as they have no or limited cranking time.

Lightweight Seat Replacement
Replacing the seats can save a lot of weight especially if your current seats are electric, heated and look like arm chairs.
BMW E46 M3 seats weigh 28kgs each. If you replace them with Recaro Pole Position seats that weight 17kgs including mounts you will save 22kgs in weight. This lightness comes at a price (£1,200). There are other less expensive seats such as Momo Start Race Seats (£360 EA).

Disadvantages: Depending on mounting kit seats can have restricted adjustment, restrict access to rear seats and might mean the loss of other safety features.

Carbon Fibre Body Panels
Replacement Carbon Fibre or Fibre Glass body panels will reduce weight. You can get replacement bonnets, doors and boot lids. Carbon fibre panels are lighter but will cost more than fibreglass. Just be careful as some replacement panels can be the same weight as the original aluminium panels. The types of carbon fibre panels you can get are:

Wet Lay Carbon Fibre - formed by placing carbon fibre fabric over a mould and mixed with resin, sometimes having a fibreglass framed panels. The finished panel is not pure carbon fibre and the high amount of resin increases the weight.

Wet Infusion Carbon Fibre - formed by using a vacuum to push the resin through the carbon fibre, this gives an optimum resin usage and a better strength to weight ratio.

Dry Carbon Fibre - Also known as Pre-Preg or pre-impregnated - is carbon fibre fabric with resin already added from the factory. It is formed by baking the fabric mould in an oven and no additional resin is added. This process gives the highest quality of strength/lightness. It is used in F1 racing and aerospace engineering. It is also the most expensive process of manufacturing.

For example a Nissan 350Z dry carbon fibre boot lid / trunk will save 18 kgs over the standard panel, but the bonnet / hood will save very little as it's already made of aluminium.

Warning: If your car is not fitted with a full racing roll cage, replacing some panels might weaken the structure of the car and will also remove some safety features.

Window Glass Replacement with Polycarbonate Windows
Another racing weight reduction method is to replace the side and rear glass windows with plastic polycarbonate windows. Just replacing the quarter and rear windows on a Porsche 993 can save you up to 6 kgs. Cost £300.

You can't replace the front windscreen for obvious safety reasons.

Disadvantages: You will lose the heated rear window and windows will be more prone to scratching.

Created By: Michael     View Other Articles By Michael

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