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Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

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Old 11-27-2007, 02:44 PM   #21
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

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ORIGINAL: JMD

http://store.summitracing.com/egnsea...115+4294840126

While there may be some marginal differences in hard acceleration when using an aluminum flywheel, the difference in price for a consumable product seems hardly worth the money to me... IMO the money spent here could be better spent in other places where a user would get more bang for the buck.... which is basically what I was trying to statein my first post...

While I don't disagree with your long explanation above, the loss of overall efficiencies when using an iron or steel flywheel in lieu of an aluminum piece are marginal at best.....

When this is taken into account in conjunction with the $300.00 difference in price when compared to it's cast iron counterpart,IMOadding "like 15 HP"can normally be done easier and cheaper by making other mods and improvements.

Themanufacturer claims that an aluminum flywheel is "like adding 15 HP", this to me is "like a tricky use of wording"... It may be "like adding 15 HP under ideal conditions in an all out 1/4 or 1/8 mile drag, but this is entirely misleading for a street car. I contend that the "like 15 HP" is not a middle of the road statement by the manufacturer,but, even if we accept this figure, we are talking about $20.00 a HP, in reality the figure is probably more than $50.00per HP. All IMO of course.

I also understand that some people have installed these and they can feel the difference, this I believe, but my point is that I just do not consider this the best place to spend an extra $300.00 Worth of mod money on a 300 HP car....

Another poster (sorry can't remember who for sure without going back and looking) here plainly stated that there are down sides to installing an aluminum flywheel, and these issues should be considered prior to spending $360.00+ on a flywheel.

I realize that I am probably taking this issue a little bit too serious, but it is not always in the best interest of a car owner to dump hard earned money in a modification that may not be the best option at the time..... Not everyone has an extra $300.00 to kick around.... $300.00 will buy a nice radiator, an nice intake, a big piece of a new carb, a nice performance clutch that will bolt to an iron flywheel, etc. etc....

I do not mean any disrespect to anyone here, I simply differ in my opinion....
I agree that the money on a fairly stock engine can be best spent elsewhere..I only added one after the fact I had done every internal engine mod, external mod and suspention and drivetrain mod...this was a final supporting mod to the drivetrain..and was bought in conjunction with a aluminum driveshaft, heavier duty axles, aluminum rear end stud girdle and aluminum flywheel... and MM pan hard bar for my 85 gt...all together the mods really complemented each other and worked well as a overall noticable improvement......all I say when supporting productsIsuggest speaking from experience on what you have used and not read onlytheroy..because what you actually see and experience often don't line up hand in hand and defy what theroy states.. because a theroy is just that ...not fact which can be changed based on new and ever changing empirical evidednce
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Old 11-27-2007, 02:56 PM   #22
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

Mostly true, but you may need to have a slightly better "feel" with the lightweight unit to ensure both clean starts and minimal clutch wear. The NVH part (more vibration with a lighter unit) is probably true simply because crankshaft torque isn't really constant when you look at it over extremely short time steps (piston force isn't constant, and neither is the leverage offered by the crankpins). Mileage on the highway might go up, but if it goes up by enough to notice that means that you aren't holding a steady speed all that well either before or after. I'd believe a slight city-driving mpg improvement first.

In the somewhat more extreme, 5.5" triple disc clutches with small diameter lightweight racing flywheels are not considered streetable at all. Not enough inertia to get a street car moving without doing either a burnout or a lot of clutch slipping, and not enough durability to put up with the necessary slippage.

With respect to the 'consumable' thought, most aluminum flywheels give you a replaceable steel insert friction ring, so you need not replace the whole thing.

I might swap up to one for a semi-serious auto-X build, but probably not for pure street. Any chance of a swap for streey duty would probably depend on what the OE iron wheel weighed (a 40-lb'er I'd probably swap out when it came time for a normal clutch replacement, probably not if it was a 20-25).


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Old 11-27-2007, 04:10 PM   #23
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

Take a look at this site http://www.pumaracing.co.uk/FLYWHEEL.htm it explains things very well (it's a british site, but they are very knowledgable). Theres some excellent articles if you scroll to the bottom of the home page too.
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Old 11-27-2007, 05:30 PM   #24
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

Yeah, I'd also agree that the cost of aluminum certainly needs to be weighed vs what the car has. Like norm said, many of them have steel insert rings too, so you just replace those when worn, no need to ever get it machined or buy a new flywheel, so in the long run of a vehicle's lifepsan, the initial cost may be offset by money saved, especially depending on how hard you drive and how often you change clutches/machine flywheels etc. For a stock engine it's pretty much a waste, but like mjr said, when you've done most everything else then things like aluminum flywheels etc start to have a bigger impact, and everything comes together.

Also, good posts by Norm, where've you been btw? Haven't seen you around lately.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:32 PM   #25
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

Mostly lurking when I've had the chance.

With one exception - let's just say that an '08 GT of uncertain detail description is on a very short list (hint: that's at least onehint ).

And now, back to your regularly scheduled discussion . . .


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Old 11-27-2007, 09:40 PM   #26
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

Ford claims the aluminum flywheel in the 03-04 Cobras (which weighs 11.2 pounds) shaves 0.2 seconds from the 0-60 time. That is abig difference in performance, equal to quite a few ponies. Two-tenths in a quarter mile for a 3500 lb carwould be about 15 HP difference (at 12.9 vs. 12.7 seconds). If you can get one for $300, that is 'like' paying$20 per HP, not a bad price(like a cold air kit and tuner - $600, to gain 30 HP on an 05-08 Mustang GT). (And I realize we're not talking about any more torque from the engine, but HP is a factor of torque and RPM, so it is 'effective HP' you're buying.)
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:21 PM   #27
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

If Ford hadn't been lazy, and put the Termies on a diet and gave them screw superchargers instead, they woulda been low 12 cars easy. Still though, they have good performance for their price.
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:41 PM   #28
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

No one has stated that a lightened flywheel would decrease acceleration performance, as it will. It will not increase power. Lightening your car also increases acceleration performance, but does nothing for power. Both are efficiency considerations.

Unlike others, I've actually swapped out only the flywheel with a lighter weight unit. While the engine was peppier, it wasn't worth the hassle on the street. Five speeds typically have lower 1st gear ratios to help with the appearance of losing the smooth engagement with a lightened flywheel. The system must be taken into account, which is well beyond the quoted high school physics...and beyond beginning college physics classes that neglect many of the important variables.
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Old 11-28-2007, 12:28 AM   #29
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

The whole point of the basic physics was to show that usable horsepower can be increased by lightening moving parts in a machine, resulting in less inefficiency loss in the system. It takes power to move a car, period. If removing weight from a flywheel makes the car go faster, but the vehicle's weight remains the same(minus the flywheel weight, which had a larger impact on car acceleration than the total weight lost in the car because the flywheel is rotating and going through a series of gear reductions), then you HAD to have freed up power to propel the car faster. Remember that horsepower is force x distance / time, or rather work / time. The amount of work that you can do in a given time period is horsepower, so if a lighter flywheel causes you to cover the same distance in LESS time(faster acceleration) with the same amount of work, you produced more power. Or you could cover a greater distance in the same amount of time, you did more work and therefore have more power. Though in actuallity you'd be using power to move from one point to another, so you've converted potential energy(usable horsepower)into kinetic energy in the form of movement.

Remember, horsepower is not a thing, it's a measurement ofthe relationships invloved in a conversion process. Same with torque,which isa relationship known as work, which measures force and distance, horsepower measures force, distance and time. Changing mass, speed, time, force etc,all that changes the relationship, and therefore the power. I think the thing is too many people view power as something akin to an object, but it's much more abstract than that. Horsepower is simply measuring the relationship of a given force, exerted across a given distance in a given amount of time. Increasing mass in an object increases the moment of inertia, which means when the same force is applied there's more resistance to movement, so LESS distance is traveled in the same time period. That's why an engine with heavier internals/flywheel revs more slowly than one with lighter internals/flywheel. Less distance(fewer rpm's)with the same forcemeans less work, and therefore within the same time period,less power. Remember, the horsepower we measure from an engine isn't really a thing that's produced by an engine, but rather it's a measurement of usable potential energy that is left over from a process where chemical energy was converted to mechanical(kinetic) energy in order to release some useable potential energy.

With lighter parts inan engine,you're not really producing more power, so much as losing less energy to other parts of the system through the conversion process. That yields a higher horsepower rating, because there is more potential energy available after the process. But horsepower is a measurement, not a thing.Engines don't produce anything(other than exhaust gasses and heat), they CONVERT one form of energy to another. Horsepower and torque are just ways of measuring the relationship of the conversion preocess. It's more accurate to say that engines don't produce power, they LOSE power through the inefficiencies of conversion, and the horsepower and torque we measure is just what's not been lost after the conversion process. A more efficient engine doesn't make more power so much as it loses less.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:08 AM   #30
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

My point was that Ford (presumably based on actual tests) claims that the lightened flywheel reduced 0-60 times by 0.2 seconds in the 03 Cobra. That 0.2 seconds (when applied to a 1/4 mile time in a 3500 lb car) is equivalent to gaining 15 HP(that is, it takes 15 more HP to cut 0.2 seconds from a 1/4 mile time in a 3500 lb car). Yes it comes from reduced rotational mass (lessenergy required to overcome inertia)rather than more engine torque, but 15 HP(or 0.2 seconds 0-60 time) from a $300 mod is not a bad investment (though a lot of work!). Whetheryou would get that from a small block (or any engine for that matter) depends on other factors (as Colorado_Mustang noted). But, in this particular application (03 Cobra) the improvement was pretty substantial.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:03 AM   #31
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

My first post regarding this issue kind of centered on cost vs benifit for the particular application that the flywheel would be used on...

While I admit that I could be wrong, I am still in the same place.

We have covered many flywheel issues in this thread, but I still have to wonder why Ford uses "conventionally weighted" flywheels in it's new Mustangs, (they are about 28 lbs I think) the OEM seems to frown upon adding any more weight / Material than is really needed to achieve the desired purpose or is otherwise mandated....

While I could see Ford not wanting to go to an aluminum unit due to it's cost, they could do better than 28 lbs in steel or cast inon.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:28 AM   #32
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

We're getting a little closer to design at this point. Weight becomes a function of clutch disc diameter (durability) and flywheel thickness (its own durability).

If the spreadsheet I have here that looks at comparative acceleration is still set up with the information for my thumbnail car, you can reliably get down to about 20# in an iron wheelif you can live with a 10.5" disc. That's my experience over somewhere north of 150,000 miles and either one or two resurfacings (must be getting senile - I forget which ). But my experience may not reflect Ford's in-house requirements as I'm pretty easy on clutches.


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Old 11-28-2007, 11:41 AM   #33
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

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ORIGINAL: Colorado_Mustang

No one has stated that a lightened flywheel would decrease acceleration performance, as it will. It will not increase power. Lightening your car also increases acceleration performance, but does nothing for power. Both are efficiency considerations.

Unlike others, I've actually swapped out only the flywheel with a lighter weight unit. While the engine was peppier, it wasn't worth the hassle on the street. Five speeds typically have lower 1st gear ratios to help with the appearance of losing the smooth engagement with a lightened flywheel. The system must be taken into account, which is well beyond the quoted high school physics...and beyond beginning college physics classes that neglect many of the important variables.
Not true, I too have done this and want to see the results with a 4 speed before 5 speed swap...I like to see the improvements that one single part makes....and sorry to hear you had such a hassle but mine was hassle free on the street and off..I too speak from experience and I guess everyone has different senerios they encounter to base their argument upon but check these out the results don't lie

best et before aluminum flywheel swap and 4 speed tranny.....=13.79 @ 101mph = 1 week previous

returned with aluminum flywheel swap and same trac conditions present and temps here's the video proof in the pudding13.59 @102 best et ever in it.... all around my 60 ft was quicker all day and quicker revs and acceleration
http://s242.photobucket.com/albums/ff63/mjr46/?action=view¤t=DSCN1070.flv
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Old 11-28-2007, 12:06 PM   #34
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

I would guess cost is part of the reason (a big part)Ford goes with the heavier iron and steel flywheels, as well as longevity (as Norm Peterson noted- thicker flywheel [heavier] lasts longer). The other reason is probably driveability and smooth acceleration/deceleration. A lighter flywheel will probably cause the car to bog at low RPMs while a heavier one will have enough inertia to keep it going (all things being equal). So, for the average car, they go heavy. For the performance cars (03-04 Cobra) they go light for acceleration.

In a similar discussion on coral they said the Feb 2006 Popular Hot Rod has an article about this (and apparently concluded it's worth the cost).
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:31 PM   #35
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Default RE: Aluminum Flywheel - How much hp will it add

I'm sure the biggest single reason(among several) for oem iron flywheels is cost. Cast iron is a bit cheaper than steel, and aluminum is the most expensive. The thing with steel and aluminum is they have higher tensile strength, so they can be made thinner in certain areas, and thus lighter while still retaining strength. Using the cheapest of the 3, cast iron, saves a bit of money, but also it needs to remain thicker to have the same strength, which also cuts down on machining operations which are now not neccessary(and unsafe since it just weakens the iron flywheel), and therefore, cost. There's no sense in going to a slightly more expensive metal like aluminum or steel, unless you take advantage of it's strength by machining it lighter. And when you're making millions of them, $5 here and $20 there adds up to a boatload of money. Many average production vehicles have a lot of compromises in them which primarily revolve around the almighty dollar. And since the vast majority of people who buy a Mustang for example, prolly don't care whether they have a cheapo iron flywheel or a high dollar forged, machined aluminum one, the factoryopts for a cheaper setup, and let the performance junkies spend their own money on a different *insert part here*. That and some setups may not really benefit from something like an aluminum flywheel, and like some have said, in certain cases it's $300 better spent elsewhere.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:25 PM   #36
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:51 PM   #37
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My understanding at its most pure and basic level:

1) Energy IS CONSUMED while increasing the speed of any drivetrain rotational mass (baaad news).

2) The same energy is then released during the decelleration.

This released energy is NOT applied to any productive task as the car is slowing down.

Who want that rotational energy when their off the throttle?

Unless you have rigged up regenerative braking in your classic Mustang, the lighter the better IMO.
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:51 PM
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