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Old 6th July 2013, 12:19   #1
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Talking Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-hbfs-title-poster-copy.jpg
Umm, First of all Good ____ (fill the space here ) fellow BHPians . In the process of deviating M200 Chevrolet Spark from its stock nature, I’ve been doing some modifications – both cosmetic as well as performance oriented. I'd like to use this place to archive all the modifications which are onto my car over time. Thanks a lot for your support!

This thirst for modifying my can has come from 2 things:
  • One, obviously TBHP especially the Tastefully Modified cars thread and
  • Two, the Chevy USA lineup ::Corvette::Camaro::SS::
Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-hfbs-ins.jpg

If you are unaware of my car, then you can go ahead learn about it here (A Solemn Promise - Chevrolet Spark M200 - 41K kms Report)

Hopefully, after a couple of years I will have transformed my Spark into something unknown and unpredictable at this point of time. Once again, I'd like to thank everyone at TBHP for posting knowledgeable info on their cars, modifications etc.

So, let's roll

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 6th July 2013 at 13:22.
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Old 6th July 2013, 12:53   #2
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Default Review K&N 57i Kit|Building a Harder,Better,Faster,Stronger Chevrolet Spark

In the performance regard, I’ve installed a K&N 57i kit last year which you *might* have come across in Long Term Ownership section.

FAQs

Why a performance filter?
A performance filter like K&N improves the volume of air breathed by your car. This simple video proves it,


Do K&Ns make more noise?
In normal driving conditions no. But when you floor it, it is noticeable.

Do K&Ns mess with the MAF sensors?
Well, regarding this I've come across variety of answers. In my case, it's working fine. No issues at all.

Do K&Ns let in more dust particles than stock filters?
Well, I cannot comment on this. In my case, I've not experienced any issues with my engine performance like deteriorating etc.

This was the answer provided by them when asked if "K&Ns let in more dust"
Quote:
Originally Posted by knfilters@youtube
All of our filters meet or exceed OE spec. All filters have an initial efficiency of 96-99%. Our filter oil cannot damage any part of a vehicle. We have proven it not only can’t pull from the filter, but submerging sensors in the oil caused no damage at all. We have videos on our channel showing the tests with MAF sensors and our oil.
Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc03127.jpg

I've quoted the review from my thread below:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eminenttismo View Post
Attachment 970253
Yes , I'm out of my mind. If not, Why the heck will I go for a Performance Filter on a "Spark"!? Check Out!

To put the words right out of my mouth, I'd now bash Internet for making me have countless 'sleepless' nights. Aaye, Don't get the formula? Internet=TBHP=Car Lovers,Modified Cars=Endless Wishes for Admirers... The counter effect? You'll end up sleepless,day dreaming. In the worst case (as mine), you'll be making a wishlist for your car. And it'd be mile long. Well, that's Enough said!

Attachment 970255

Had a hard time explaining why my family! would be needing a K&N Filter. Anyway's they were kind enough to get me one. My elder sibling bought it in USA via Ultrarev.com.

The kit has the Filter, Various Mounts, Screws, Washers, Plumbing required along with Instructions (Other wise, I would not have fitted it myself) . It's time consuming. Safely assume you will have to spend 1-2hrs for the procedure. Don't forget to disconnect the negative terminal of the battery while carrying out such work.

Attachment 970257

Attachment 970256

Positives:

The most noticeable change after the K&N will be the smooothness. Engine settles smooth at lower rpm and feels less strained across the band. It feels much more positive and “seamless” to drive the car around.

Don’t expect the car to rumble as if it’s got a V8. The car’s got “stock silence” at idle and at lazy city speeds. But as you progress, the car gets aggressive with its sound note.

Growls as you toy with the car around. You hunt down others down the road, their ears will surely notice.

Negatives:

Oil based unlike OEM Paper based. Oil + Dust=Pain for the eyes.

Most importantly you’ll have to check the mounts now and then.

Have to be careful while I get the car water serviced.

Long term effects are unknown. It’ll mess up with the Mass Airflow Sensor, if my car has one!

Finally, I’m happy with the investment I’ve made. As I’ve stated above, it makes the car more “refined”. Easily flick able around the city; overtaking is a pleasure with a “very mild” turbo like whoosh.
Now, I've completed approximately 9K KMS using the filter. I'm definitely satisfied with the investment I've made.

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 6th July 2013 at 13:20.
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Old 6th July 2013, 13:39   #3
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Default Automech FFE|Building a Harder,Better,Faster,Stronger Chevrolet Spark

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-pos-copy.jpg

Well, this time, Ive taken the plunge and purchased a custom free flow exhaust from AUTOMECH Engineers, Mumbai. Before going straight into the review, lets go through some FAQs below.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FAQs

Why FFE?
To help dispose of the exhaust gases from the combustion chamber as *efficiently* as possible thus reducing backpressure and improving engine performance.
This efficient disposal of exhaust gases is done by, headers which have smoother bends (greatly reducing air-exhaust wall friction). The plumbing used in FFE is generally of larger diameter, thus accommodating greater volume of exhaust gases.

What are the Advantages of FFE?
As said above, increases the *drivability* of you vehicle. In most of the cases, an FFE most also increase FE of you vehicle.

What are the disadvantages of FFE?
The main disadvantage is that a true FFE involves removal of CATCON (catalytic converter) which increases the pollution caused by your vehicle. The pollution increase doesnt affect your cars road worthiness since modern engines are direct injected (Vivek said me).

*Additionally an FFE leads to increased noise as there is less noise cancellation at the end can/muffler.
More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermarket_exhaust_parts

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 6th July 2013 at 13:50.
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Old 6th July 2013, 13:48   #4
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Default Automech FFE|The tale of Buying & Fitment

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-img_1375-copy3.jpg
Once, this FFE fever struck me, I quickly started to acquire some knowledge on it through TBHP and other sites. Through positive reviews of many including our guru GTO and many others Ive contacted Vivek Bhat of Automech. We had a really long conversation over Emails regarding the FFE.

Vivek Bhat, in a word is a really nice person to talk to, he definitely knows his work. The Automech team as a whole have been very responsive to my Emails, answering my every (some silly) query. I rate them 5 out of 5.

My requirements were,
  • Noticeable improvements in drivability, especially, in Low & Mid RPMs.
  • Stock silence at city driving, nice deep sound at the higher grounds-More on this later.
  • A meaty exhaust tip. Yummy :P
  • And importantly an all Stainless steel structure.

Vivek said that they can definitely do one and quoted a price of 14000 for the unit excluding 12.5% CST.
Overall, it was 15750 for an all SS FFE Kit.

Now the problem is Mumbai is 857kms away, and travelling down to Mumbai for getting 4 pipes is the last thing I wanted to do on earth. Thanks to logistics, I dont need to go there. * smiles*.

The deposit was made in Automechs Bank account, and Vivek promptly started his work. Within 4 days, he replied me its done and dispatched. And you know the eagerness of us BHPians. The next 3 days (as in the movie!) were intensely, ummm, you know, sleepless. Sleep deprived, I woke up one morning expecting the package. But naturally, due to gods play(!) it was delivered @ 8PM night. Yawn.

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04456.jpg

First impressions? Oh my god, its freaking heavy(later when I held stock ones, they were even heavier). Who said FFE helps in weight reduction?!(Read it somewhere)I quickly grabbed a cutter, undressed the gleaming beauty(was packed in a gunny bag). Finally, I touched it. Yahoo!. I happened to, errr, kiss the headers which were sooo delicious. Quickly took some photos of every component in all possible angles, since I cannot do that once I get it fixed!Again it was sleepless as I had the raw materials in hand but no capacity to fix it myself. Next day, with a heavy heart I had to cancel the fitment as I had to attend my high school get together.

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04457001.jpg

Ohh Yea, I forgot to say you. Who the hell is going to fix this for me? As we know this aint Maruti to have many workshops other than ASS. Also, the manifold (the stock one) was looking soo complicated; itd be a nightmare the whole thing removed and get the FFE fixed. What if I end up with a broken stock manifold while I remove it? Getting back the stock components in their pristine condition was a concern of mine (they werent that screwed up to be thrown away). Then my situation suddenly was nothing short of Bradley Coopers in Hangover. I dont have many contacts @ KUN Chevrolet (my local dealer). The Bradley Cooper state wasnt long, I remembered Mr.Khalil (senior technician there). Met him explained him that I need help regarding exhaust. He smiled [may be that was because I was messing (in their point of view) so much with my car] have me an appointment the next day morning @ a work shop he knows.

Fast forward next morning; I was waiting for him in the car. He came, saw that the cars rear seat was folded. He said, Ohh boy, thats a complete exhaust kit! He he, although thats what Ive said him about yesterday he apparently thought I was talking only about the end can.
He said, its a big job (it is) and require more time. He said that he can do it comfortably without other work tensions (he works at Chevy, has come down to other workshop for me to spare an hour or so). I explained him my situation. I said him; I cannot have more sleepless nights. Finally, he agreed to get it done by the evening. Charged INR800/-

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 6th July 2013 at 14:35.
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Old 6th July 2013, 14:02   #5
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Default Product Review|Automech FFE

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04477.jpg

Before Fitment /First Look:
As I said before, the kit is quite heavy. The material and the build is *solid* which is very very apparent once you touch it. 95% of the body is Polished finish, except the (I don’t know what to call them) joints which are painted in silver. Next, ummm, the muffler tip is huge which I didn’t expect. Although there are pictures in their website, I didn’t happen to think it will be huge. That’s it.

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04465001.jpg
The "things" which I suppose are not of Stainless Steel

Fit:
The FFE utilizes all the stock mounting locations, and fits precisely. Except for the muffler tip which touches the rear bumper. If you observe closely the Spark’s stock end can looks a little weird with end can right behind the bumper, but the tailpipe comes from the other end of the end can. This is, errr, quite hard to explain! Therefore the pipe is little towards the center of the bumper, on the inner side I mean. But this FFE doesn’t use the *cut* in the bumper which the stock one has. Pheww, let the pictures speak. This is hard.

After Fitment:
After fitment, my knees were shivering whether it’d work fine/ not. I was told to switch the vehicle on, to check for leaks. Remember, the vehicle was in a 3 way enclosed (by walls) workshop. Brrrrrrrrr - pur pur pur(pop sound) – Brrrrr - pur pur – Brrrrr. There you go, my Spark got a notch higher, and the whole place tasted a new sound. After a preliminary check for leaks, we went for a test ride. I was driving, and once I leave behind the “civilized” driving, *all the hell breaks loose*! Regarding the sound, there is a constant bass you hear on the inside (when music off) and outside (always).

Okay, let us keep sound out of the equation. Once, I switched the car on – Makkan Yaar! – The car made it official that it’s breathing much healthily. Vivek’s cast a spell on the car! Once I hit the road, the car is much eager to move. Suddenly the car felt as if it was riding on – Low rolling resistance tires, fully synthetic oil, and blah blah – simply put *less friction everywhere*. The car felt as if it recovered from 6 years of *cold and other breathing issues*.

Now on the performance front, yes FFEs tend to improve the drivability and FE. Definitely, Yes. In my case, the car has transformed completely into a different animal. The power band has definitely shifted into lower rpms. If you are a Spark owner, you realize you have to wait patiently for the power to build up once you pass a pothole/speed breaker. Well, that is really annoying especially in 2nd gear. Now the car says I’m available anytime, anywhere.

Now, I stated that the FFE was optimized for Low/Mid range improvements. Heck, if I had a tacho I’ll have explained it better. Previously my car would top up at 90 or so. But on a recent trip it dared to go obtuse. 117kph for the first time, very comfortably. Athletic, agile, handsome, robust and more so ever sweet car it has become.

The other day I had to perform an overtaking maneuver in 3rd and I was too busy to shift to 4th. Yet, the power delivery would not terminate even at high rpm. I loved it. I’m sure; the car is now able to handle higher rpms at ease. Also I need not change gears frequently, it picks up in a higher gear without the knocking/jerking issues.

Regarding sound, the car is stock silent but there is a constant bass you hear when idle as well as you drive. The sound delivery is so sophisticated and happens in stages, *artistically/beautifully* building up, in every gear. The sound is all harmony at lower gears. All the *substance* is from the mid range where the sound transforms into a wilder note. Let me say, there is a *sharp tapering effect*at the muffler end at mid/high rpms.

The FE has definitely improved. I’ve recently done a 350KM trip and the petrol expenditure was about INR1300 or so, which by my regular standards is very less.

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 6th July 2013 at 14:49.
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Old 6th July 2013, 14:14   #6
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Default Pictures|Stock vs Automech

In the following pictures, the top picture is of stock one, the bottom one is AM FFE.

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc044591001.jpg
Stock Manifold inlets vs AM FFE Header Inlets

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc044592001.jpg
Stock Manifold inlets vs AM FFE Header Inlets(Closer Look)

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc044611001.jpg
Stock Manifold inlets vs AM FFE Header Outlets

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04466-copy001.jpg
CATCON in Stock Exhaust & next component in the FFE Kit (Not to Scale)

Other Pictures:

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04462001.jpg
RHS View of Headers, O2 Sensor at the Right

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04464001.jpg
Closeup of O2 Sensor

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04471001.jpg
Closeup of welds

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-dsc04472001.jpg
The copper piece to prevent leakage @ 4 to 2 joint (I mean 4*2 joint)

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-img_1660001.jpg
Man!!! Catcons are very busy busy(nevertheless they do a very good job)

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-img_1662001.jpg
Stock End can

Last edited by Eminenttismo : 6th July 2013 at 14:47.
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Old 6th July 2013, 14:52   #7
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Thumbs up A Happy Ending|Automech FFE

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-img_1567-copy001.jpg
A very happy engine

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-img_1568-copy001.jpg
I love that roasted color!

Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review-img_1375-copy2001.jpg
She herself gave a pose, I didn't even ask her to dress up like that. May be the FFE Effect!

Thanks to Vivek and his team, each and everyone @ automech who worked on my FFE. Thanks!, I’m so satisfied. I’d recommend Automech to any car owner who has a thing regarding his car.
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Old 9th July 2013, 01:01   #8
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Default Re: Building a Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Chevy Spark|Includes Automech FFE Rev

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th July 2013, 10:53   #9
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Default Re: Pictures|Stock vs Automech

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eminenttismo View Post
In the following pictures, the top picture is of stock one, the bottom one is AM FFE.

Attachment 1106422
Stock Manifold inlets vs AM FFE Header Inlets

Attachment 1106423
Stock Manifold inlets vs AM FFE Header Inlets(Closer Look)
Man, from the pics it looks like the exhaust ports on the head are square, but its not a problem if the round header flange entries cover the square ports. However in the photos it looks like (based on the OEM manifold entry size) the round header entries are significantly smaller than the ports. That is not ideal.
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Old 9th July 2013, 14:16   #10
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Default Re: Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review

Nice report & super pictures.

I'm loyal to Automech. Love the sound & bump up in performance their exhausts provide. Plus, my Vtec & Civic never had to revisit the shop for so much as a loose bolt! The install is absolutely perfect.

Suggest you verify & take corrective action as per Sankar's post though.
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Old 9th July 2013, 15:44   #11
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Default Re: Automech FFE|Building a Harder,Better,Faster,Stronger Chevrolet Spark

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eminenttismo View Post
What are the disadvantages of FFE?
The main disadvantage is that a true FFE involves removal of CATCON (catalytic converter) which increases the pollution caused by your vehicle. The pollution increase doesnt affect your cars road worthiness since modern engines are direct injected (Vivek said me).

Very nice mods Eminenttismo! Certainly would give it a detailed read but of course, with the increase in pollution, the road worthiness of the car is affected. Without the CatCon, there will be emission of dangerous gases in the environment, and the car will fail the PUC check!
Agreed that there might not be any deterioration in driveability of the car.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 9th July 2013, 16:20   #12
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Default Re: Automech FFE|Building a Harder,Better,Faster,Stronger Chevrolet Spark

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
Man, from the pics it looks like the exhaust ports on the head are square, but its not a problem if the round header flange entries cover the square ports. However in the photos it looks like (based on the OEM manifold entry size) the round header entries are significantly smaller than the ports. That is not ideal.
Thanks a lot man! I felt something fishy while joining that pictures, but I was in some "nasha" of the performance boost. I've put up a mail to Vivek Bhat regarding this. Hope he clarifies.

By the way, what if the outlet on the engine cast is circular? I hope it is!


Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Nice report & super pictures.

I'm loyal to Automech. Love the sound & bump up in performance their exhausts provide. Plus, my Vtec & Civic never had to revisit the shop for so much as a loose bolt! The install is absolutely perfect.

Suggest you verify & take corrective action as per Sankar's post though.
+1
Thanks a lot! I've put up a mail to Vivek, expecting a reply by tomorrow. Will update then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Very nice mods Eminenttismo! Certainly would give it a detailed read but of course, with the increase in pollution, the road worthiness of the car is affected. Without the CatCon, there will be emission of dangerous gases in the environment, and the car will fail the PUC check!
Agreed that there might not be any deterioration in driveability of the car.

Regards,
Saket
He he! Thanks! Yea, I can feel that the pollution has increased. The car smells bad, I mean the smoke.


@ GTO, can you please clarify, did your car pass PUC test?
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Old 9th July 2013, 19:12   #13
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Default Vid: Chevrolet Spark/Matiz M200 Free Flow Exhaust | Automech

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Old 15th July 2013, 12:53   #14
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Default Re: Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review

Got a reply from automech:

Quote:
Originally Posted by VivekBhat@Automech
Dear xxxxx
The diameter of the ports in the header is desgined according to the size of pipe to be used. The engine is not harmed by this factor.
Rgds
Vivek Bhat
How is the size of the pipe determined? Sankar can you please help?


Thanks!
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Old 15th July 2013, 21:05   #15
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Default Re: Building a Harder, Better, Faster Chevy Spark | Includes Automech FFE Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eminenttismo View Post
Got a reply from automech:



How is the size of the pipe determined? Sankar can you please help?


Thanks!
Well, I asked Mr.VivekBhat on how the diameter is calculated and he said they have a formula(which he apparently cannot share) depending on Engine Displacement.

So far, the vehicle has been so good. I'm enjoying the ride.
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