Sensible Performance Mods for an Aston

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
Hi guys, I am new to these forums, so apologies if I have put this in the wrong place. Also if my question has already been answered I would appreciate it if you could point me to the proper thread.

I have just bought a V12 Vantage, which is my dream car - I have had to remortgage the house to buy it, and no I am not rich, or trying to be a poser. I am interested in the kind of performance modifications I could sensibly make with this car, if any? I know there is a question of "why in the world would you want to" here, but this car was originally tested at 600bhp and then lowered to 510 and I have to admit I would just like to see if I can sensibly make the car hit 0-60 in sub 4 seconds vs. the 4.1 claimed. I am looking for mods that would not ruin the car. One issue is that there is very little room under the bonnet, since they have shoe-horned the V12 into it, and it is a very tight fit. I am not saying I will automatically do these mods, but I will certainly investigate and do my homework on the them before deciding what to do.

So the kind of questions I have are:

1. What kind of performance improvement could I reasonably expect - if any?

2. What are the simple, straight forward mods I could do?

3. What are the more complex ones?

4. Does modifying these cars make any sense at all?

Thanks for your help and knowledge.
 

obi_waynne

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Hello and a warm welcome to TorqueCars. Good to have you with us. You have the right forum and you should never worry about asking questions on here. We'll all do our best to help you out.

You really need some simple mods to make the most of the car.

First up I would say drive it round for a while in it's standard form and then when you get the mods done it will feel like a new car all over again. Wait 6 months or so before modding the car.

I would recommend a sports exhaust to replace the standard one with custom headers. Adding a performance cat can add another 15-25bhp to these engines alone.

Next up get a remap done. This will push up the power a bit more and should approach your original target of 600bhp.

Have a chat with the guys at Paramount performance for these mods. I believe they have a custom exhaust for the V12 Vantage. Retail price for the exhaust will be in the region of £1500 but I'm sure you will really appreciate it when combined with a remap.

More complex mods include reboring the engine, bigger valves, gas flowed head, lightening balancing the engine and adding stronger parts.

Nitrous kits are relatively simple to plug in and give a big boost but TBH I don't think it is right to put nitrous on such a supremely awesome car.

Where abouts are you from? Please post us up some pics when you get to 10 posts.
 
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MasterAuron

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Mk1 Focus RS
Welcome along Tacitus. Congratulations on getting your dream car for a start. Not many of us would have the balls to just go for it and remortgage their house for a car!

I can't help you with Aston specific mods tbh as I have no experience with them whatsoever. Generally speaking though, Waynne is spot on about the exhaust system and remap. The next logical step imo would be head work, a proper job will cost you the earth on a 48-valve head mind!
 

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
Waynne thank you for a very helpful and knowledeable reply. Everything you say makes alot of sense to me in terms of what I have heard before. I am familiar with Paramount and what they do, and will eventually contact them. I was surprised that you thought a sports exhaust, plus remap would move the 510bhp of the car to the 600 mark. Have I understood that right? I didn't think remapping and sports exhaust gave that kind of improvement.
 

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
Thanks for the kind replies. I live up near Wigan. I bought this car because to me it has the balance of everything I want in a car - beauty, performance, a fantastic interior, and an image that is not pretentious or over the top. The one thing I find with people is that they truly love Aston Martins - even the young kids. So I don't worry about parking it up and having somebody trash it and I truly use it as an every day car. Over the next number of years I intend to put an awful lot of miles on the clock. I may die poor, but I intend to die satisfied.

What does head work involve and what does it do - I have never heard of this ?
 

MasterAuron

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Agree completely with on about the car. I think Waynne was being far too optimistic in quouting 600bhp. My guess would be something closer to 550-560.

When I say good head work firstly I'm also including cams. Camshafts with a longer duration and more lift will allow more air into the cylinder and give you more power. The downside being you normally gain the power higher in the rev range (depending on the duration) and lose it further down. Due to this I'd recommend something mild as the car is used daily. As for where to buy and prices, no idea but again it won't be cheap. Piper do reprofile existing cams.

As for modifying the actual head the results depend on how good the head is in the first place, and how good the bloke carrying out the job is. Gas flowing is the only way to go really. Firstly the head will be tested on a machine to see how well it flows air in and out, and then after the work with the valves fitted and at various stages of opening. The inlet and exhaust ports will then be smoothed and polished, any excess material rmeoved, matched to the manifolds, smoothing the edges of the valve seats, perhaps enlarging the valves etc etc. I could go on forever as there is lots that can be done and it's HIGHLY skilled work and as such you pay for it. Basically the idea is to get air in and exhaust gas out more quickly. Add to that more fuel and you have more power.

Just as an example, when I get round to having my pre-crossflow 8v head gas flowed at Ric Wood it will cost £700 or nearabouts.
 

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
Thanks Master Auron, this sounds very interesting. I am really getting into this stuff and you guys seem very knowledgeable. If you get this head and cam work done by somebody good - does it impact the longevity of the engine (e.g. does it shorten its life) or does it actually improve the engines lifetime performance?
 

MasterAuron

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It will make no difference to the longevity of the engine as long as you have it remapped afterwards and maintain a good AFR. If you're planning big work a remap is always last to account for all the modifications. Unless you want to spend extra money and get it remapped at certain points to see the gain each modification has made.
 

obi_waynne

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My power gains quoted was a guess based loosly on similar work on a similar engine and claims made by some tuning companies. The actual exhaust and remap chosen will have a bearing on the final figure. The way I understand it is that these engines have been restricted in power for reasons of emissions and economy. Ramping the mapping back up to the max will take it up a fair bit but it depends what AM have done to the engine to "restrict it".

Power gains for "normal" turbo cars on a remap can run to 30-40% of a power hike anyway. A lot depends on how restrictive AM have been in their mapping.

For a precise power gain you need to speak to your remapper and see what can be achieved.

Personally I wouldn't push for the max, you need reliability and economy so I'd settle for a lower power gain of 50bhp.

Before you ask AFR = air to fuel ratio;)
 

Tacitus

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Thanks Waynne, I think what you say makes alot of sense - at the end of the day I still want to drive this car day to day and not be filling up with petrol every two minutes. Something you have also triggered with me is I need to find out from my contacts at Aston, what they did to bring the bhp down, and why - should have thought about this sooner. What kind of impact do you think a 50bhp improvement would do on the 0-60 figure? I still would like to achieve a sub-4 second figure if possible (its not the end of the world if I don't though). Also another question I have is, will replacing the air filter with one of these lifetime performance air filters make any difference?
 

pgarner

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50 bhp should get you below the 4 second if your already at 4.1. biggest issue you will have is traction, remember and get some nice sticky rubber on the rear, but you will defenetly see a big improvement higher in the range.

also think you will need to spend alot to see an improvement on AM air filter
 

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
Thanks pgarner that is good to know, the traction is pretty good - Aston have put Pirrelli Corsa 19" race tyres on this car (which are not so good for the winter, below 7 degrees, I will have to replace them with winter tyres) and one thing this car definitely has is plenty of torque.

I ask about the air filters, because Paramount are advertising an Aston Martin performance air filter which they say will last for life, for the Vantage (I am assuming the V8 car) which will give an 8bhp improvement at circa £65. Is this too good to be true??
 

obi_waynne

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No it's not, but imagine if it was though MA! I guess that was a bad example to use really! :eek: I was just showing the potential for a standard block (rather badly).
 

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
I know I have imagined it! Paramount are offering a supercharger for the V8 vantage which takes it from circa 380bhp to a claimed 500bhp. It's costly though, and they don't offer much of a guarantee. But before I got this car, I was seriously tempted.

However my imagination has been working overtime - I thought that given there is little to no space under the V12V's bonnet, turbocharging would be totally out of the question - that is until I read on the website about remote turbocharging. It would be a totally rediculous thing to do, and would probably end up killing me - but it is fun to wonder what the outcome might be! What do you guys think would be possible?? Could you really do it, or would you totally outstrip the abilities of the car?

One thing about the V12V is that Aston have really paid attention to the handling abilities of this car. However, I have heard of Mercs (I think the Black) with circa 1000bhp - but you can't drive it, because the car can't put the power down on to the ground, and the traction control is not up to handling the car.
 

pgarner

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sorry tacticus your posts seem to be getting caught out by the spam filter. you should be alright now with having 10 posts.

you could remote charge it but its a lot of work and more likely to be damaged. basically you remove a silencer and fit the turbo in its place. this means its alot closer to the ground. then youve also got to try and get the air pipes down there also somehow cool the turbo itself.
not to sure on the v12 engine but you might find that your only able to run lowish boost.

yeah the merc it wasnt the power that was the problem it was the torque 1000nm which is around 738 ftlb not many tyres are going to be able to hold that sort of force
 

MasterAuron

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Anything is possible with the only limitations being money, imagination and maaaaybe physics :p

Getting oil and water to a remote turbo is easy. It's finding somewhere to route the boost piping and put the turbo itself because as pgarner said it'll most likely be under the car somewhere. Intercooler can still go at the front.

Don't dismiss weight-saving to make your car faster but that might be difficult without some big changes as AM have already implemented this and that no?
 

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
I think both a turbo and using NOS (I am assuming Nitro here) would redefine the word sensible on this car! Probably not a move I will make right now ;)

Interestingly, when I was at Aston Martin one of the their more knowledgeable engineers told me that when they were first testing this car all the test drivers were coming out of the test drive shaking their heads saying that the car was crazy quick and there was way too much power for the average driver. They then decided to measure the bhp the car was producing and found it was putting out close to a 1000. They couldn't figure out what was going on until they discovered the V12 they had put in the car was not the production engine, but was one out of one of the race cars. Just goes to show at heart the guys that do this are just boys at heart!!

On a serious note though, can I ask you guys to please explain to me how remapping works.

  • What types of things does it really change on a car? How do you decide the right mix?
  • Can you keep the original AM settings - or do you lose these?
  • Is it possible to set it up so that I switch between either map?
  • Is there a difference between the remapping somebody like Paramount would do, or am I better getting off one of these "Indian remapper" that I have heard about - to get a more tailored remap.
  • Is there a good way of figuring out who could do this safely and to a very high standard?
As usual thanks for all the great knowledge that you guys share.
 

pgarner

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remapping basically in short adjusts the fuelling and ignition.
indian remapper ? - i would advise going to someone like paramount for the AM rather than the more normal remappers as they will probably hardly ever see one. paramount will probably do a generic and custom map
 

obi_waynne

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The pics look great, thanks for sharing. :D

I'd also have a chat with Celtic Tuning and SR performance and see if they are able to offer a remapping service for your car, although it is quite specialised.

Ideally get this done after other mods have been done and it will tie in everything to the new mapping.

Article on remapping - http://www.torquecars.com/tuning/remapping-ecu.php
 

weber44idf

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there have been quite a few v12s turbo charged after market , & it does release the beast within . one example is for sale in edition 142 of the JAGUAR MAGAZINE , its a 1977 xjs . I know the history on this car and it was origionally owned and modified for kerry Packer , had an engine fire and was picked up by gary walker , rebuilt and extensivly modified to the power house it is today . for a everyday road going vechical it is unbeleivably smoth and reliable , as a sprinter its very very quick and well behaved . At full noise the speedo spins around like the needle on weight scales when a fat lady jumps on them , so dont dispair turbos can be fitted to any thing , its just a matter of having it done by the RIGHT people who know all the mods necessary .
have a look on google you may find the article under gary walker jaguar xjs wildcat v12 ?
 

Tacitus

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AM V12 Vantage
Thanks Weber I will investigate. Half the fun of this forum is looking into all of this stuff and figuring out what can be done. I always find the anticipation is more fun than the actual execution - at least with cars, hifi, etc. The advice I am getting here is superb!
 

ProTune

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BMW 530d E60
A custom Eisenmann Meisterschaft full exhaust system.
Carbon swirl induction intake plenums.
Performance cold air intakes.
Custom ECU remap.
 

obi_waynne

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Welcome rmrmd1956, nice to meet you.

What setup do you have then? 535hp sounds like a lot of fun, did the fuel economy or every day "driveability" suffer at all?
 

JFAutomotive

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Welcome to Torque Cars,

We have done a lot of work with Aston Martin at our head office in bromsgrove, so if there is anything we can help with let us know.

We offer complete custom remaps, with dyno, with insurance on every file. Have Fun
 

rmrmd1956

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Welcome rmrmd1956, nice to meet you.

What setup do you have then? 535hp sounds like a lot of fun, did the fuel economy or every day "driveability" suffer at all?

Every day drivability is close to stock and fuel economy is worse obviously. Centrifugal supercharger, throttle body injectors and 8lb of boost gets you strong performance, quite close to the ZR1 vette I recently took a drive in. Its faster than a stage 4 modded 996TT.
 
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