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Reading what you posted...I recomend first to
Re-install the CAT. You are not a track racer and the CAT (A catalytic converter is a device that uses a catalyst to convert three harmful compounds in car exhaust into harmless compounds.) not only cleans the air we all share and breath
but also keeps the exhaust temperatures high close to the head which makes for high velocity levels in the exhaust helping to maintain power output at low engine speeds.
Fundamentally speaking most retail offered cold air intake do not favorably work well enough for the daily drivers. They do look and sound good though.
Very few people in the world can feel a 10 horsepower increase in an engine (we are talking about this forum respectably)and most parts added to increase horse power are at the high levels of engine speeds. This is something that suppliers of aftermarket parts capitalize on when they advertise increases "up to"
in their ads.
The reason many engine upgrades tend to have the feel (illusion) like they have more power is the sound and driving style change after they are installed. Most of us like the new sound so we tend to throttle more aggressively. This leads to the MPG going down, using higher engine speeds then normal established driving habits equates to the false sence that we have gained more power. This "butt dyno" evaluation is often expressed on forums by members. If you ever did Drag Racing and kept your time slips or naturally the Chassis Dyno testing can show real world results often in conflict with reports on forums. BTW the term and suggestion to use a DYNO is all good I also recomend it but my guess is less then 1% of car enthusiasts that mod ever have it done and it may be the same for getting time slips at a Drag Raceway (track with a regulated starting tree )?
Suspension thoughts for improved ride quality is always the tires first. Most of the time when I do replace customers dampeners with even OEM from the dealer struts and shocks they often complain that the ride seems rougher. Riding on worn dampeners will often also give a softer ride on smooth and even roads. lol
Coil Springs DO NOT wear out
. Let me be precise here before I get "dogged" by a few that spend to much time on the internet instead of learning in a classroom about physic's. The rate of the spring(un-modified by heating or cutting) will not change with age or use but you can get spring "sagging which changes the ride height. In the factory Service manual you can find the specification for what your vehicle is suppose to be. Here is a funny thought, when you install lowering springs you are no longer at the engineered
and designed specification
of your vehicle.
I recomend ECU calibration only after all the engine upgrades have been installed to tie everything together to work in "harmony". Unfortunately this does not make the money for suppliers of ECU products and them selling "CAN TOOONS". So many will often recomend them first because of the power increase presented with the basic universal calibration. Yes many better ECU vendors can yield as much as 15-30 HP gain on many 4 cylinder platforms but that's it without supporting hard parts on or in the engine. i.e. a performance head and cam on most 4 cylinder platforms can make as much as 30HP gain. Add a well scheduled through data logged information, ECU calibration you can yield 35-45+ total HP gain. Cal So many times when you do the math 1hp gain per dollar cost may not fit into someones budget but should be a consideration for all the engine "go-faster" parts including a ECU/EFI Performance Calibration.
I will try to first recomend transferable items that will improve the overall performance in both power and MPG. That said a quality water/Meth system (SNOW PERFORMANCE
) will yield great results easy
for a DIY
even a first timer to install and can be removed and installed on another vehicle without having to un-marry it or pay for additional licence fee's like many ECU applications require.
Here is a write up I did that may be of interest to you?
Good Luck and HAPPY MODDING!