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Monaro Tuning

"Turning a Monaro into a monster"

When you think muscle car we tend to think of big American cars like the Mustang and the Challenger. Australia have turned out a stunning muscle car and in the UK it is badged as a Vauxhall, elswhere in the world it is badged as the Holden and Pontiac. So what model are we talking about?

It has to be the Monaro, both well recieved and highly praised by the various media outlets we are starting to see some stunning tuned Monaros hitting the road. Vauxhall introduced the VXR but other tuning houses are offering remaps, reworked engines and superchargers.

Whatever version you have most owners will often ask if it is possible to get a little more power (or a lot if TorqueCars members are anything to go by!)

So first up lets look at improving the handling. This is no feather weight car and it will respond very well to a program of weight reduction but we would suggest some suspension upgrades as well. Throw on some decent coilovers and make sure the bushings are in good condition.

You can drop the car by as much as 35mm and fit stiffer dampers (or better still get fully adjustable shocks). Set the rear damping to be less than the front and it will give the car a nice balanced cornering feel. With adjustable shocks you can play with the setup until you get it right.

Turning our attention to the Monaros engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end raise the rev limit and maximise the full torque range as far as possible.

With just a few mods you can transform your Monaro into a fun car, it seems well suited for drag and drift but with the right suspension setup it is a great track day car too.. 

Vauxhall Monaro Tuning modifications.

You really need to keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a wide power band rather than a top end spike. These are lazy toquey engines and need to be treated with respect.  One of the best mechanical mods you can do is to fit a fast road cam.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to uprate the fuelling. Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel. A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

The largest power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is easier to bolt on a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working on the Monaro. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it hard to map. It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Adding forced induction will usually require a lower compression ratio or water injection but we have seen forced induction set ups running at 10.5:1 compression ratio on the Monaro with no reported problems.

Vauxhall Monaro Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. On the Monaro engines (including supercharged and turbo models) an induction kit will help increase power providing you address the problem of needing cold air. Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can find this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 2 to 2.5 inches.

Getting the head ported and polished will further help more air into each cylinder. This is definately a job for a professional with a flow bench.

Read our article on clutches for more information about high performance clutches and clutch problems. NASP engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications although the Monaro responds well to some tighter timing parameters but the best gains come from internal engine modifications combined with a remap.  

Vauxhall Monaro Wheel modifications.

Alloy wheels will help the brakes cool down. Large Monaro alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio which kills your acceleration. Aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases we do not recommend going above 18 inches without doing some extensive suspension realignment work.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Monaro options in more detail with our Monaro owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Vauxhall tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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