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Porting and polishing

Question : CAR enthusiasts talk about "porting and polishing" the cylinder head. I don't really know what that involves, but I've been told that doing so would boost power and fuel economy. Kindly elaborate on the terms and tell me if modification can be carried out, legally, on a vehicle.

Answer : A COMPETENT DIY enthusiast can successfully port and polish a cylinder head at home. Porting refers to the removal of small amounts of metal along the inlet and exhaust ports (tracts) of the cylinder.

This mild reshaping of the cylinder head reduces the restriction to airflow in and out of the engine, and results in increased horsepower and lower fuel consumption, as well as a smoother engine.

Porting can be carried out using simple tools such as hand files and grinding stones. But care must be taken not to remove too much material, because that will weaken the cylinder head structure.

Polishing refers to the smoothening of the cylinder walls. Again, this is a simple task that can be carried out using files and grinding stones. With smoother walls, there's less resistance to airflow.

Porting and polishing go hand in hand and while the tasks are not difficult, they are time-consuming. They are not modifications in the true sense of the word and can be carried out on any road-going vehicle.


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