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A High Performance Exhaust System – The Key to More Power and Better Gas Mileage

A high performance exhaust system is one of the easiest and most cost effective modifications you can make to your car. Not only is a high performance exhaust system very effective and affordable, it is also fairy easy to install. These days, due to the rising cost of gas, the subject of gas mileage is on just about every driver’s mind. A high performance exhaust system will help increase mileage too.

If it seems too good to be true that a single modification such as an exhaust system would give so many benefits, it is most definitely not. Even better is that so many of the benefits of a well designed performance exhaust system, such as better performance and gas mileage, are usually mutually exclusive. Not the case here, though. Why are so many advantages to be had by simply installing an exhaust system?

It all comes down to the compromises made by the auto manufacturers. They have to balance many things when designing a vehicle; cost, weight, noise, performance, gas mileage, and a myriad of other things such as supplier relationships. In short, they can’t give you the best exhaust system available because it would raise the price of the vehicle too much. In addition, they have to abide by EPA noise restrictions and build a vehicle for the broadest number of car buyers. That alone requires compromise. The car, or any of its parts, simply can’t be perfect in every respect, for every car buyer.

Once it’s your car, on the other hand, you’re free to make any improvements you see fit. If a nice, low rumble doesn’t bother you, a performance exhaust could be just the answer you’re looking for. Like may performance enhancing modifications, the quality of available systems run the gamut from truly pathetic to finely engineered works of automotive art. Where on the spectrum you want to be is determined by your requirements and budget.

Keep in mind that to properly design exhaust system requires specialized knowledge, equipment and experience. If the system is improperly designed, chances are it will make more noise, but no more power or gas mileage. In fact, due to the high level of factory engineered systems these days, you may even hurt your cars’ performance with a poorly designed exhaust.

Because they are relatively inexpensive, offer decent performance gains, and is easy to install, most people opt for a system that comprises only the system from the rear of the catalytic converter to the exhaust tip. This is known as a “cat back” system. More performance can be had by installing a complete system from the exhaust manifold to the tip, however. You can even install a high performance catalytic converter to maximize performance and fuel economy.

There are some features you should look for when selecting an aftermarket exhaust system. The first is the type of material it’s made of. Any of the better systems will be either coated steel or stainless steel. The standard stainless steel alloy for a high quality exhaust system is T-304, steel alloyed with about 10% nickel and 20% chromium for strength and corrosion resistance.
You may also find exhaust components made from T-409 stainless. While this is a good material, it doesn’t have the strength or corrosion resistance of T-304, so it will exhibit discoloration over time and won’t last as long as a system fabricated from T-304. T-304 is harder to work with and more expensive to procure, so be prepared to pay a premium to buy a system made from it. As with many things in life, if you want high quality, be aware it costs more.

If you are after the finest quality exhaust system, you may find it’s made from T-316L stainless. This has even lower carbon content than T-304, and is used extensively in marine exhaust products, due to its superior corrosion resistance. The absolute best stainless steel material for an exhaust system is T-321 stainless, steel alloyed with the wonder metal titanium. As you might expect, T-321 is extremely expensive, and fairly rare in street exhaust systems, although common in race units, such as IRL and F-1. You’ll also find T-321 used in aircraft construction, where the margin for error is small indeed. If you’re after a price no object exhaust system, you can have one custom fabricated from Inconel 625, a nickel alloy used in construction of the X-15 rocket research plane. No, unless you’re driving a Ferrari, you probably can’t afford it.

Another advantage of stainless steel as an exhaust material is that it conducts heat less readily than does mild steel. This serves as a thermal barrier, keeping exhaust heat inside the exhaust tubes. If you are investing in headers or exhaust manifolds made form stainless, the benefit of the lower thermal conductivity will be better exhaust velocity. The higher velocity will give better scavenging, so you’ll get more complete exhaust flow out of your cylinders. This means more efficient engine operation, increased power and better gas mileage.

If you’re not prepared to pony up for a stainless exhaust system, you can find fine products made from varieties of coated steel, such as aluminized steel or ceramic coated steel. These have some of the properties of stainless, such as corrosion resistance, or, in the case of ceramic coated products, low thermal conductivity.

The next thing to look for in a high performance exhaust is mandrel bending. Mandrel bending ensures the tubes are bent without reducing the diameter, and thus adding restriction. This restriction will hurt exhaust flow, power and efficiency. With mandrel bending, there is actually a piece of tooling (the mandrel) placed inside the tube as it is being bent to prevent the exhaust tube from being reduced in interior diameter. While the best method of forming bends in exhaust tubing, it is quite expensive, and most low priced systems don’t use this method. The performance of the finished system will suffer, however. Some estimates are that for a system with 5 bends, mandrel bending reduces exhaust backpressure by about 30%.

A new high performance exhaust system is one of the fastest, most cost effective performance enhancements you can make to your vehicle. In addition, you’ll reduce weight, save gas, increase longevity, make it look better, and oh, that sound!

3 Simple Steps To Paying Your Property Taxes On Time

After buying or building your dream home in Houston Texas, and enjoying the peaceful yet exciting community experience that it offers, there are other annual matters of equal importance that you need to take care of. And that is paying for your property taxes.

If you haven’t settled it already, then you should make arrangements right after you read this article.

Property taxes are of two basic kinds: Real property (for land and improvements on land) and personal property (for movable man-made objects like vehicles). The percentage or amount of tax charged upon a property depends on its value, as well as the state or province in which it is located.

Your tax bills are normally sent around October, giving you ample time to pay your property taxes before January 31st of the following year. This year, the deadline remains the same which is on January 31 2012. Penalties will be added on to what you have to pay after February 1st.

If you haven’t settled yours yet, quickly follow these three simple steps:

1. Do the math.

Before you start scrambling for paperwork, you must first know the appraised value of your property as well as the tax rate in your county. If you have received the tax bill that was sent out last October, you may want to review that for the figures. You can also check with your realtor (for the appraised value of your property), or your local appraisal authority. No need to worry about getting the figures wrong though, as information on values and tax rates can be found online. For those living in the Harris County area, just go to this link http://www.hcad.org/records/Real.asp?search=name to search your property records and pull up property tax rate computations. For those in the Fort Bend area, visit this link https://actweb.acttax.com/act_webdev/fbc/index.jsp.

2. Deal with the paperwork.

Now that the numbers are in order, it’s time to fill out the year’s property tax forms. You should have received it in the mail, but if you haven’t yet, these are available at your local tax office. If you’re not sure on how to properly fill out the information required, you can use the tax billing that was mailed to you, or consult your local tax assessor/collector.

3. File and make payments ASAP.

Stress and hassles from property taxes can be avoided with early preparation and filing. If you’ve been busy on the last quarter of the year, start the year right by settling your property taxes early January. While you can still make payments after the January 31st deadline, remember that this would incur you penalty charges.

Paying online through credit or debit cards as well as over-the-phone payments are a couple of ways which you can utilize to easily settle your property dues. Simply visit Fort Bend County and Harris County website for more details.

Door Choices: What Doors Are Available for My Commercial Building?

Choosing the right doors for commercial facilities depends on a unique set of considerations that is very different from that of residential structures. These doors must not only satisfy safety and design considerations, but they also must comply with local building codes and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Commercial Minneapolis construction projects also need to fulfill the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire safety standards. Other factors to be considered include insulation properties, maintenance and installation requirements and the lead-time of the material.

Swing and Revolving Doors

Depending on the specific design requirements, Minneapolis commercial contractors generally choose one of four main types of doors. The most common is the swing door. These doors are hung on hinges or pivots opening toward the exterior of the building. In the event of an emergency, this makes it easier for the occupants by allowing them to push the door open rather than having to pull it toward them to open it.

Minneapolis construction projects that require a higher level of security, such as a bank or a large office building, will generally opt for revolving doors. Revolving doors are made of two or more intersecting panels that hang on a center shaft, and rotate around a vertical axis within a round enclosure when activated either manually or by some electronic means.

These doors are excellent security devices as the spacing between the doors can be varied to allow single-person entry and prevent “tailgating.” Certain commercial establishments use revolving doors that are designed with a sensor-activated brake for one-way traffic. Common examples include airports exits that prevent a person from bypassing airport security checkpoints.

Sliding and Overhead Doors

The third type of doors often seen in commercial construction is the sliding door. A sliding door is mounted on a track and opens horizontally by sliding. Sliding glass doors are popular choices for entrances to commercial structures. Minneapolis commercial contractors recommend sliding doors for locations where space is an issue, and it is important that the door not obstruct the width of a hallway.

Finally, there are overhead doors. Similar to garage doors, they are primarily used on vehicle maintenance facilities and loading docks. Sliding doors open vertically, rolling on tracks into an overhead position.

Other Considerations

Once the type of door is chosen, the next considerations are materials and hardware. The hardware for commercial doors differs from those meant for residential use. Minneapolis commercial contractors customarily use heavy-duty Grade 1 or Grade 2 hardware, which can withstand higher levels of abuse, on commercial doors.

The exterior skins of commercial doors are made from heavier or higher graded materials, with steel being the most common. Steel doors combine strength and security in a relatively cost-effective package. Glass and aluminum openings are also common, though they are primarily used for their appearance, as they are more vulnerable than steel. Other more expensive options include fiberglass doors that can last years with little or no maintenance.

To conclude, a number of decorative finishes are also available for commercial doors based on the material and application. While steel doors are typically primed and painted, fiberglass doors come in certain basic colors that will last for years with a little care. A Minneapolis commercial contractor will be able to help you make the right choice for the doors for your commercial building.