Benefits of an 'italian tune up'

Benefits of an 'italian tune up'

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Matt UK

Original Poster:

15,203 posts

167 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
I'm curious about this, from a technical point of view.

I was brought up in an era when Dad would take his cars out early on a Sunday morning and give them an 'italian tune up' - bacially, he went for a hoon.

But with modern engines, is it required / beneficial? Due to living in the congested SE and having a big lazy auto, my commuter car can spend all of it's time below 3k rpm. So I like to stretch it's legs every now and then.

But apart from it being fun, what is the technical benefit to modern engine stuffed with sensors and computers?

hornetrider

63,161 posts

172 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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I bought a Boxster a few months back. I'd always thought the clutch was a bit on/off but thought it was a characteristic of a sports car - it had recently been replaced by Porsche so knew it wasn't a wear issue.

Anyhoo, I recently took her out on a tunnel run, and ended up doing a few 'grand prix starts' shall we say. There was a point at which there was an almighty stink coming from the car and I presumed I'd given the clutch a bit of abuse so backed off somewhat for the rest of the day.

Fast forward to the next time I drove the car and the clutch was far, far smoother, with no transmission thump changing from 1st to 2nd.

I posted my thoughts on the Porsche forum and an indie on there explained I could have had deposits on the plate which could have made the engagement harsh, and by doing a few spirited starts I'd probably burned it off - he does it himself with most cars he gets now.

So to me, my Italian tune up certainly sorted out my teutonic motor!

Ry_B

2,256 posts

168 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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If I hover about in traffic for a week or two I don't notice my car being sluggish. If I then take it all the way to 10k repeatedly on a hoon I will notice that it seems to be more responsive when driving at slow speeds and more eager to rev.

This is with both my old car (MR2) and my current car RX8

Could be an imagination thing, but I like to do it if you don't get out of traffic much.

Oh and it's great stress relief too wink

Orangecurry

6,876 posts

173 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
Matt UK said:
I'm curious about this, from a technical point of view.

I was brought up in an era when Dad would take his cars out early on a Sunday morning and give them an 'italian tune up' - bacially, he went for a hoon.

But with modern engines, is it required / beneficial? Due to living in the congested SE and having a big lazy auto, my commuter car can spend all of it's time below 3k rpm. So I like to stretch it's legs every now and then.

But apart from it being fun, what is the technical benefit to modern engine stuffed with sensors and computers?
Sensors and computers don't keep an engine 'clean'.

If you take the engine up it's rev range, all the crap that accumulates from sitting at 3k rpm gets blown away out the exhaust.

That's the ITU theory anyway.

asbo

26,006 posts

181 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
Ry_B said:
If I hover about in traffic for a week or two I don't notice my car being sluggish. If I then take it all the way to 10k repeatedly on a hoon I will notice that it seems to be more responsive when driving at slow speeds and more eager to rev.

This is with both my old car (MR2) and my current car RX8

Could be an imagination thing, but I like to do it if you don't get out of traffic much.

Oh and it's great stress relief too wink
This is apparrently true of the RX8.

It doesn't like traffic and or low revs.

Something to do with carbon build up I believe.

kambites

61,738 posts

188 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
I can't imagine where crap could accumulate in the engine at 3000rpm from which it would get cleared at the top of the rev range? It's not as if any moving part takes a different path at lower revs so it could only be something that gets cleared by gas-flow.

It is fun though. driving

Dunk76

4,350 posts

181 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
It's a theoretical benefit to cars with adaptive ECUs which adapt to persistant driving conditions. But you'd need to hoon for some time to get the ECU to relearn a more aggressive map.

I did my work experience with a Ford Dealer in 1991, and the approved method of servicing a Cosworth was to change the fluids, filters and plugs, and take it down the bypass to rag it's guts out.

Mr Will

13,719 posts

173 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
kambites said:
I can't imagine where crap could accumulate in the engine at 3000rpm from which it would get cleared at the top of the rev range? It's not as if any moving part takes a different path at lower revs so it could only be something that gets cleared by gas-flow.

It is fun though. driving
I'd imagine that it is getting things nice and hot which makes the difference, an engine running at high RPM could conceivably "burn off" deposits that would build up in gentle use.

Six Fiend

6,067 posts

182 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
My E34 540 owner's manual says it should be allowed to rev higher in the range to clean it through if it's been used at low revs for a fair while.

GPT

2,742 posts

147 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
I know some cars have sensors that 'learn' your driving style and adapt various things (gearbox settings mainly I'd have thought) to suit it so I guess in one of those cars (anyone care to suggest one, I can think of a couple but I'm not 100% sure) then an Italian tune-up would have a noticeable affect.

Not staying with the 'modern' thing for a second, my first car was a 1.1l Ford Fiesta Mk3 which had been owned by my grandmother from new and had only ever been used for pottering about in. When I first got it, it could only hit about 45 in third gear, after driving like a 17 year old for a while it could hit 60. It wasn't an overnight thing though.

daz05

2,794 posts

162 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
asbo said:
Ry_B said:
If I hover about in traffic for a week or two I don't notice my car being sluggish. If I then take it all the way to 10k repeatedly on a hoon I will notice that it seems to be more responsive when driving at slow speeds and more eager to rev.

This is with both my old car (MR2) and my current car RX8

Could be an imagination thing, but I like to do it if you don't get out of traffic much.

Oh and it's great stress relief too wink
This is apparrently true of the RX8.

It doesn't like traffic and or low revs.

Something to do with carbon build up I believe.
Asbo is correct, there are a few reasons for this on the Rx8. Too many low revs in the causes excess carbon build up, revving it once a day will stop this. Not sure why maybe something to do with the natural oil consumption.

Its also to do with the throttle response its adaptive to driving style. I swear my Rx8 gained about 15bhp after my trip to the ring last year and Autobahn antics!! smile

The third is that the 3rd engine port in the Rx only gets used at high revs so it can get sticky if you've been in traffic for too long, very common for the USDM versions to suffer from this driving on Freeways at 55.



shirt

20,316 posts

168 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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it can help if you have an older petrol car that is about to be emissions tested for the MOT.

Crusoe

3,891 posts

198 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
When I had a new 1.2 fiat sporting (sprint blue, six speed with free insurance at the time), the manual recommended a monthly 5 minute run at motorway speeds in third gear to remove built up deposits if the car was regularly only used in town.

The huge increase in temperature when running at higher revs for long periods should be good to clean out internals and exhaust.

stephen300o

15,463 posts

195 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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Back when I was mechanicing we would have old dears bringing their cars in, complaining of bad running. Most of the time we would just drive a couple of miles properly and come back with a much better car. You can see these cars about doing twenty miles per hour with a constant trickle of water out of the exhaust, these cars are dying for a damn good tuning.

OllieWinchester

5,580 posts

159 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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I used to love getting part exchanges in from 'elderly' people who have had them for ages and thoroughly breaking them in. Best one was a 3 litre Omega that had been granny owned for 10 years and only really used round town. Very slow and hesitant to rev at first, after a few hours of consistent and sustained abuse it began to fly.

Hub

5,425 posts

165 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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It is definitely beneficial for diesel motors - a blast following a period of sedate driving or traffic sends a lot of soot out the exhaust and the car feels more responsive afterwards.

FWDRacer

3,561 posts

191 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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Definitely a benefit to modern Diesels - All variable vane turbo cars need the deposits cleared out of vane actuators. With DPF cars it is essentially to stoip them getting sooted up.

SkinnyBoy

4,635 posts

225 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
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at least once a week I'll give my car a damn good thrashing, the daily drive to work barely sees it go remotely near the VTEC engagement. It loves to be thrashed once in a while like all dirty minxes.

Matt UK

Original Poster:

15,203 posts

167 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
Hmm, an interesting read. I'll have to make sure the cars get a regular ITU.

No need for the MX5 though - since I bought it the poor little blighter probably thinks it's been exported to Milan hehe

John D.

13,985 posts

176 months

Wednesday 27th May 2009
quotequote all
I swear my car (172 Cup) feels better after a period of sustained hooning biggrin Say a few days in Wales or a trackday. Fits the theory as it can often only do a few miles around town during the week.