Power Bank that can start a car

A very good morning to all my fellow Carnity Enthusiasts. I wanted to share this simple but useful device which I had bought recently from Dragon Mart, a bit expensive, but totally worth it.
This is a power bank which can easily fit in the palm of your hand and includes all wires to connect and charge your mobile phones, laptops and more importantly start up your dead car battery. It is a bout 12000 MAH power bank that can easily start up your dead car, I have tried it twice with 2 dead cars and it works like a dream, no need to keep it charging for long. Just connect, switch it to 12Volts (it has a switch 3V, 6V and 12V for different applications), and start up your car. It sends a strong charge to the car battery and just starts it up. If fully charged it still has enough juice to charge your 3000 MAH battery completely. Forgot to mention it has a torch also, not so powerful, but useful to eliminate dark spots. Awesome device.
This is what it looks like, I like the case also, very handy and useful.

Most comprehensive list of off-road gears and recovery tools

Recovery Gear
Below is the most comprehensive list of all commonly used off-road gears and basic recovery tools - this is the stuff everyone needs and it has to be easily accessible at all the time, while driving in off-road terrain (Sand and Rocks).
MANDATORY KIT
AIR COMPRESSOR Bush Ranger Black Max, ACE @ Festival City. Also available Pro Air, Max AirII at different price points. ARB Air Compressors from ARB Abu Dhabi (call up and order, will deliver C.O.D) Chinese stuff at Dragon Mart - if you're feeling lucky. Other compressors at Carrefour/other Hypermarkets or car accessory shops are not really recommended. RADIO / WALKIE TALKIE Motorola, allegedly 20 mile radius, from the small Sabka shops Dhs.325 Dragon Mart, higher output (will fry your ears), cheaper, clearer. TOW ROPE / SNATCH STRAP Bush Ranger heavy duty tow (dhs.200 or so) or Pro snatch kit (Dhs500+) from Ace Viking rope from Robbie's Garage (to the left of Times Square, Shk Zayed Rd) Dhs265, I think. Kinetic Rope from International Trading Co. Opposite Everhot Water Heater - Al Qusais. SHACKLES Are available at ACE, 3.0 T to 4.75 T very reasonable rates, make sure you get the shackles with the screw and not the pin-type shackles. SAFETY FLAG - available from shops that sell Quads, alternately use Fishing Rods fastened with a bolt to the spare tyre rig, also available is the FireStik range at Robbies which is very expensive but very neat and professional). You may also want a gutter-mount for the same (if your vehicle has a rain gutter). SHOVEL Fancy chome-plated stuff rom ACE or other accesory shops - expensive & of debateable utility. Bushranger tri-fold shovel with its own cover - about as expensive, easier to carry. Regular construction shovel from a hardware or construction material store - Dhs.25 and much more effective but not so compact. Fiskars super-lightweight camping shovel. Most expensive but is also lightest (you want to carry sand, not metal!). I recommend this, but this is very budget-sensitive. BASIC FIRST AID KIT Available at all pharmacies, auto kits available at ACE and some specialized offroad joints, you can also put one together yourself or your vehicle may have one supplied with it. Should contain: Gauze (Large, Medium & Small sizes) Sticking Plaster & Adhesive Strips (Band Aid variety) Surgical Cotton Surgical Spirit/Antiseptic Basic medication/ointment for minor cuts and bruises Burnaid other burn treatment Scissors & Forceps Cotton Buds BASIC TOOLKIT + FIRE EXTINGUISHER + JUMP STARTER CABLES + USABLE STEPNEY HYDRAULIC JACK & STRONG WOODEN PLATFORM/PLANK (or HiLift Jack base) An alternative is the very expensive and equally heavy but neatly packaged Exhaust Jack Series II (dont buy Series I) from ACE, its upwards of Dhs.800. A Hi-lift jack is something a lot of people like to carry prominently like some sort of badge, but this is of doubtful utility in our really sandy terrain. Very useful in Wadis etc. DEFLATION KIT Valve remover for tyres - most tyre shops Dhs.10/- Pen-type pressure gauge (marked in PSI, not LbFt) - Dhs.25/- most car accessory shops. Other gauges are also available, the pen-type stuff is considered good. Use trusted brands like Milton, PCL, ARB, Victor, Rolson or Monkey grip. 4 Spare Tyre Valves to replace any lost while deflating. CAN FOR ADDITIONAL FUEL FOR LONG TRIPS Available from Ace Hardware, good for long distance trips where you are not sure about the petrol stations on the way, very handy in places like Liwa. YOUR VEHICLE SHOULD HAVE RECOVERY POINTS - FRONT AND REAR.  
OPTIONAL ADDITIONS
Collapsible water can from ACE (Dhs.35 or so). Cool box with ICE (also useful for medical emergencies) and fluids of your choice (for more guidance, ask Kash). Cargo Net & Elastic Tie-downs to keep things securely fastened. GPS - Make sure it can store way points, record a track and pay the track back in reverse. Miscellaneous stuff that you should never need, but would want to keep handy - tire sealant gel/foam/goo, radiator leak-stopper (powder that you pour into your leaky radiator), exhaust leak fix (for small leaks, not cracked exhausts), flashlight, etc from ACE. Just to be on the safe side, one small 5 litre fuel can (Dhs.25 from any petrol station) and a manual siphon hose to borrow fuel from others (15-20 bucks). Duct Tape, Insulation Tape, Bush Knife/Pen Knife & Plastic Zip Ties. For camping trips - collapsible chairs/tents/sleeping bags/lanterns/BBQ kits/use your imagination. Small bottle of concentrated liquid Camp Soap or Dettol Hand Sanitizer + lots of Kleenex/tissue rolls. Working gloves to handle hot stuff in the engine bay + cloth/cotton waste. AAA or IATC Assistance as a sort of insurance for major breakdowns.
Hope this helps. Please let us know if you need assistance or further information.

Self recovery guide: how to get unstuck in sand?

Basic Guide to Self-Recovery
For newbie here is the recommended to read beginners guide to off-roading before you jump to reading this topic.
We have already looked at the very basics of driving in the desert, lets look at another aspect. Sooner or later you will experience another, but not so pleasant but inevitable facet of this sport or hobby. Getting stuck, now we will talk here about that or to be more precise, how to get yourself unstuck without any help or if you are on your own, which by the way is not a very good idea to start with, specially if you've been just introduced to this activity.
Getting bogged down happens all the time, whether its your first day in the desert or your a seasoned professional with the scars to prove it. The very first thing to do is NOT to panic. You are not the first one this has happened to and your not going to be the last. Panicking will only make the situation worse, so its always better to keep a calm and collected mind to help you through this ordeal.
The other thing is to realize that your actually stuck and leave it at that and learn to accept that, yes, you are stuck and not going anywhere anytime soon. I have noticed many a times that someone does not accept the fact he is stuck and making the situation worse, What usually happens is the individual goes into denial mode and thinks that power alone can help him out, forgetting that his old friend momentum has abandoned him because he was mean to it. Then you see huge trails of sand being thrown up as he or she digs deeper into the earths crust.
You see every time a wheel spins in a stationary position is displaces more sand underneath it effectively acting as a drill, remember our goal is to stay on top of the sand not under it, so this ego push will make things worst.
Most of the times by simply reversing out to where you came from will solve the problem, specially when you have a slightly rising gradient in front of you. But start of with the gas slowly making sure not to spin the wheels, a little slip here and there is acceptable. Best way to do this is to pop your head out of the window or simply open the door and peek at your wheels. The advantage of this is two fold, first you can see your tires and second very quickly you'll learn not to spin them as doing so sends a tons of sand in your direction and fill the interior of your car with sand.
Also before you do this, its best to step out of your vehicle and analyze the predicament you've gotten yourself into. This gives a good idea of what exactly needs to be done next.
One effective technique and one that I personally feel is dying out is the art of rocking. No its not some kind of ritual dance to appease the sand gods so they will let you free from their clutches. It is pretty much what it says.
You literally rock your car out. This usually works best if you are knee deep in it and on relatively flat surface, has limited to no effect if the car is stuck sideways at a sharp angle. This works best if your driving a manual transmission but not totally ineffective on autos too.
First thing to do is engage low ratio as this gives you more torque and you shall require oodles of it here. In low gear now bring the clutch to it's friction point, and I do hope you know what that is, if not look it up. Just when you feel the car is about to move, press it back in, just before it stalls. You don't need to use the gas pedal here. You might even stall a few times but its perfectly OK to do so, try again.
Now once you do this you'll realize that the car gets a slight jolt like some one just gave it a wallop. Do this a few times and you'll feel with every movement of the clutch the car gets more movement than the last. What is happening is your disturbing the sand that has a death grip around your tires. With every jolt the car is trying to make forward, some of that sand is moving into place where your tire used to be, all the while making some space for the tire to move about.
After a few attempts in one direction change gear, if you were in 1st put it in reverse and vice versa. Now this pushes the sand on the other side of the tire. All the while you will see your movements getting bigger and bigger gradually, now the trick is to keep the clutch engaged just long enough to move the vehicle as much as possible before it stalls out and you will see the car has now started to rock.
What is happening now even if you have half a foot or less of travel in either direction is, sand is sliding in when you move and when you go over it the weight of your vehicle is compacting it, so you will slowly start to rise out of the sand. Sometimes the surface could be flat or the sand coarse and not sliding in at a fast enough rate or not at all. Now what you will do is what many will find extremely odd some might even disregard it. Pile up sand on your tire sidewalls. When I mean pile up, I don't mean bury your entire tire, just till sidewalls should be enough and you might have to repeat this. When you do this and rock that sand pile flows into that little tract your making like a small bulldozer and slowly the elevation starts to get higher.
Now that you've got a good rocking motion going for you, you can feel your almost free. Now get the timing right on the edge of your swing, throttle it down and most of the times you will jump right out, sometimes you might misjudge it or the sand is playing tough, you might have to start over.
Another thing to keep is mind is you have to make sure you are not grounded. This is when any other part of the undercarriage i.e chassis, differential etc is in contact with the sand, even if by a little. You'd be surprised how stubborn sand can be sometimes. Best to clear your car to such an extent that nothing other than your wheels are in contact with the ground.
For an automatic rocking is less effective simply because of lacking a clutch, and not being able to give those life saving initial jolts. What one does is play between D and R. D a little movement forward, the same in R. Do this a few times and see if your getting any movement in any direction and if only in one direction, then play with that side first and then slowly going in the opposite direction. The concept is the same but just takes longer and your not rocking, rather paving your way out. You can try and achieve a rocking motion by alternating between a gear and N, but this is not recommended. Also keeping in mind not to over do it and automatic transmissions are prone to overheating, give it a little rest in between tries by simply putting it in park or neutral to cool itself down.
Another way if your driving an automatic or you cannot rock for whatever reason. Is crawling. Now this is different and nothing like rock crawling. Crawling is basically struggling and fighting your way out. More like a battle with the sand to show it whose the boss, but don't get too cocky here, mother nature always has the upper hand. You might win the battle but will always loose the war.
First of all is see if there is a downhill slope in any direction, even a very slight one, always remember to never underestimate the power of gravity. Similarly aim away from any uphill slopes, yes even very tiny ones and this goes for almost all types of situations where you get bogged down.
How to crawl, very simple but can be physically strenuous at times. As always engage low ratio and apply differential locks if you have them. Now if the down hill slope is behind you engage reverse or forward if in front, first we have to get it going, then if it is on any one side we try to come out of it.
You have to give it enough throttle that your wheels start to spin slowly, again stick your head out of the window for the two reasons mentioned above. Usually this is in between 1500 to 2000 rpms. Initially you might have to go a little over just to get the ball rolling, easing back down once you do. I don't think I need to mention again that you do not want to be spinning them as if your doing a burnout, just keep it steady.
Now while that is happening, do full lock to lock turns with your steering wheel from left to right and than from right to left again. Do it with a little enthusiasm and not as if granny is trying to parallel park. You might notice that front wheels might stop turning between those lock to lock turns but that's OK. Keep at it.
What is happening here is that your oscillating wheels are clearing out loose sand from its path and depending in which direction you are moving either pulling or pushing your car. Of course the rear wheels are also helping. Also if you got mates with you a little push also helps out a lot.
By this time you should have some kind of movement. At first it could come is short bursts, but keep at it. If you notice you are getting lateral movement only within a specified arc of the steering i.e only half a turn in either direction and rest of the movement of the steering wheel is pretty much doing nothing. Then limit the the turns to that much. Trying out complete lock to lock turns again in the middle to see if the situation has changed or you lost movement in the your intended direction.
If the downhill slope your aiming for is on one side then steer more on that side. Limiting turning to the opposite side. If your lucky and there is a downhill slope close by you will feel the car is starting to struggle less as it tries to free itself and gravity giving it a good helping hand, this is when you start to give it a little more gas. this is also when you realize how even a slight slope helps.
Slowly but surely if you don't over spin you tires and keep at it, your vehicle will come to a harder patch of sand and now all you have to do is keep going until your well clear.
And of-course when all else fails, use your trusty shovel and a little bit of elbow grease. But know how to use it wisely don't just go about it, a little shoveling in the right place goes a long way, rather than a lot of shoveling in the wrong place.
First of all make sure as mentioned earlier nothing other than your tires should be in contact with the ground. If there is a build up of sand in front or at the back of any of the tires, clear that out as well. Once you've done that try to break free if it doesn't work the first time see where the problem is and shovel a little more and give it an another shot.
One type I will not cover in detail here as it is a subject all on its own is when you get stuck sideways, only the very raw basics as it is always advisable to get help from others first, only if your by yourself and you have no other option. The simple aim here is you want either the nose or tail of the car to point downhill as much as possible. If it is very steep slope with very loose sand and your tires dug in quite deep on the down side, in that case call for help.
If it is not that steep, or high and the sand is not all that soft and your not dug in too deep, then you can try to get out of that situation, but raise caution again if your not 100% confident of what your doing it is best to ask or call for help.
Anything over 30 degree of tilt I would leave it alone, more experienced drivers might attempt steeper angles but they know what they are doing and do not try to emulate them.
Thing to do here is see which side of the car is pointing more down and has a clear path that is no obstructions like bushes. You want to go in that direction. Sometimes you could land up in what will once again have your car stuck, i.e: a ditch or pocket but being stuck level in a ditch is any day better than being stuck sideways on a slip face. Try to crawl out first but of course not steering up in this case. If you feel your getting some kind of movement then keep on going if not, give it up.
Assess the situation very carefully and correctly and then you might want to physically move some of the sand out of the way and try again but very very careful and cautious as sometimes that sand on the lower side wedged up against your car is the only thing keeping it from rolling over. So if you disturb that you could end up in a world of hurt.
And last but not least as every stuck is unique and requires its own set of solutions to get away, sometimes you will have to use one of the techniques mentioned here sometimes all of them, or even more, never give up on ingenuity, but always step out and access your situation before you start trying.

Basic guide to off-road

Welcome to a basic guide to off-road venturing.
Most of us would like to venture into the vast dunes we see on either side of the road, but it can be tricky for the uninitiated to take the first step off the tarmac and into the unknown,
Well the first thing to remember is sand is almost like a liquid surface and our main aim is to stay above it, buoyant if you will and not sink. How do we do that? Lowering the tire pressure. How does that help exactly? It increases the contact patch or footprint of your tires. Which basically means now there is more ground to support the weight of your vehicle and you wont sink in as easily.
At first stick with 15 - 18 psi, going any lower exponentially increases the chances of the bead of your tire losing its seal with the wheel and letting go of all the air (pop out), usually at the worst time and place possible. Once you understand and gain more experience in the art of desert driving you can go lower according to the vehicle and terrain at hand. But in the beginning lets stick to 15 - 18 psi to keep our first steps in to the desert as trouble free as possible.
Now that you have your tires ready for the terrain what do you do now. Full throttle starts are mostly never a good idea but rather gentle acceleration, some situations you need to give it more go than normal, but if starting from a flat and relatively smooth area it is always better to be gentle. Hard starts will usually end up in digging yourself in if not careful. But don't be a granny about it either, remember this is not your typical tarmac surface and gentle blips on the throttle will not get you anywhere. You have to learn to achieve that balance. 
Once you get going you have to remember what was mentioned earlier, that think of sand as a liquid surface. You have to keep your momentum, in fact momentum is your biggest friend out in the desert and once you have an intimate relationship with momentum, it will help you out in a lot of places. What you initially thought were impassible tracts of sand, momentum will take you through them.
Think of this as water skiing, once the boat slows downs the skier tends to start going lower and lower into the water until he finally sinks. Although the desert will not consume you and your car like a body of water but getting back to that speed and motion is going to be real hard, and in some places its just not possible to build that momentum again and you will either get bogged down or have to change route.
Don't be afraid to let your engines stretch its legs to keep the momentum going. Most people are afraid to rev their engines too much simply because they are not used to it. Don't change up gears too soon, as the lower rpms will rob the wheels of the required torque to keep the momentum going. But also just don't stick in one gear and let it scream in pain. If you're driving an automatic keep the pedal planted in just enough that it does not shift into the next gear or mashed totally into the carpet that it downshifts and starts to over rev. Automatics in this regards can be a slightly tricky, but they shift gears in milliseconds and keep the downtime in between gears to a minimum. While on a manual you have to be quick and crafty with you changes as too long between gears and you could have broken that fine balance keeping you afloat.
Again taking similarities between water and sand, more like ice in this example. Steering. it will not be as sharp or as responsive as on a hardened surface. The vehicle will not turn on a dime. There is a small delay in where you want the nose to point and where the car itself wants to go. Basically you turn and then you wait for the rest of the car to catch up before it actually starts to and this delay gets worse as the speed of your vehicle increases as well as the softness of sand your driving on. So you have to be a little ahead of time, a sort of a mini time traveler if you wish and be able to predict where you want to be going in the next few seconds rather than waiting for the last moment.
Sometimes no matter of future predicting ability can help you when gravity becomes in charge, this usually happens on slopes and we will talk about this later.
Now that you got your self going, what about stopping? And as always braking, this is different here too, you just can't slam on the breaks. Because all this does is digs your tires into the sand and then trying to move again becomes a hassle if not totally getting stuck. Always gently ease off the throttle and apply the breaks slowly and when ever possible let the car come to a halt on its own. Also makes a big difference where you choose to stop. If your facing uphill and the angle is high enough. 9 out of 10 times you will not be able to carry on forward any further. Always try stopping facing downhill even if it a a very gentle slope. You'd be surprised how well gravity works !
OK, now that we know how to drive on flat surfaces, lets tackle some fun stuff ! Going up a dune ! Sand dunes have two sides to them. One is a gradual climb leading up to what I refer to as the slip face. The other side, a real sharp drop and most of the times there is a nasty bit in the middle of these too. Which I like to call the blade but usually know as the ridge.
At first always try to go up the easy side first. Always look for a smooth and straight line up. Which is clear of all bushes, dips and bumps, basically as smooth a ride up as possible. Then comes the tricky bit. Now what you need is power but in very measured quantity. Too less and you won't make it and too much will send you flying off into the unknown on to the other side.
So to make it simple, the thing to do is give it as much as you got at first but easing it off or totally letting it go before you go flying off. Three Fourth way up the climb you should be able to guess from the forward momentum of the car that whether you need to keep the pedal mashed into the carpet or you need to back off or totally let go and let your old friend momentum take care of the rest with just some gentle blips from you here or there. 
Keeping in mind the amount of run up you have had before the climb. If you had enough speed before you hit the dune and specially of it is not a very big one, say twice the height of your car. It would be unwise to mash it as you already had loads of speed and your own inertia will take you over just keep the throttle steady or give it a little more if you feel your losing forward motion on the way up. Sometimes you might even need to slow down if you don't want your bumpers from smashing into the wall of sand.
What do you do once your on the top? Well hopefully your not on your own and you are following someone so keep an eye on that car what it does, goes over, turns to one side etc etc and try to replicate the same thing. If your following someone give it sometime before you attempt the climb yourself, in case there is a problem you cannot see. If there is you should see someone come over the top to tell you or if you have a radio you should get an all clear.
If your by yourself. Always a good idea to go on foot and see whats on the other side. If you don't make it the first time round. Put your car in reverse and slowly come straight down. Sometimes this can be tricky as you may be a bit disorientated from the angle or which way the tires are pointing. Remember gravity and the delayed steering. Gravity will initially pull you down straight and then the delayed steering will come into play and you could end up sideways on a slope. Also never freewheel down, always keep in gear and let engine braking help you down plus this also helps you keep in control of the situation. 
Then back up a little further if possible and give it more throttle the next time. Also keep in mind that sand is also a little bit like pie. A hard-ish crust on top with being softer on the inside, and once you drive over a patch you have effectively cracked the crust exposing the softer inner side. So try not to follow your tracks of the previous attempt as you will be treading on the softer exposed sand. The more cars that pass the more churned up and softer it gets. Sometimes it is not possible to get a fresh patch of sand. Only one small exit out of a pocket or only a small crossing on top that is not sharp enough to cross over. In that case try to be on as much undisturbed sand before you are forced to get in line.
As with all things, what goes up must come down. Going down is one of the easier parts of desert driving and sometimes the most scarier parts specially if your a beginner, but don't get too easy about it either. Things can still go wrong. First basic rule is too keep you wheels and the nose of your vehicle pointing straight down. This might be harder than it sounds, remember what was mentioned earlier about reversing down a dune, the same thing can happen while going down nose first. Again never freewheel in neutral down a drop and don't brake too aggressively this will cause your nose to dig in and in a worst case scenario cause you flip over, head over heels. Although this is very rare but this might happen.
Another phenomena while slithering down a dune is fish tailing. That is when the end of your car wants to over take the front, So it starts to come up sideways from behind. What needs to be done is to make the appropriate steering correction and slightly accelerate for your front to get back up to speed with the back. But gently, over enthusiasm here can end up worse than the initial symptom of fish tailing.
If coming down a sharp and steep downward slope engage low 4, 1st gear or D 1 if an auto and then let the car comedown with the help of gravity and engine braking. Better is to start off with less sharper gradients and practice this with being in D 1 or 1st. Once you get used to it you should be able to complete this task in D and just the brakes. But it is always handy to know this technique,
In the end driving in the desert is a delicate balance between momentum, gravity and power and only practicing and driving as often as possible can get you better at it and develop a sixth sense about it. You will learn to interpret the feedback of your vehicle and steering wheel is giving you. You will learn to read the terrain better, even before your vehicle gives up on you, you will realize your not going to make the climb and its better to stop or if you have enough momentum left to come back down. But its better to start of with the correct basics instead of getting ingrained with the incorrect technique right from the start.
This is just a very basic guide covering only some of the points. Remember nothing beats real world practice. 
Hope this has been of some help in making that transition from tarmac to sand. Feel free to add or edit or even post questions. I will try my level best with whatever knowledge I have to try to answer your queries.

How to perform car engine compression test

When a car engine become weak and looses power due to age or any other failing reason, it is the best to go for engine compression test to mechanically diagnose the true status of engine health. A compression test is used to determine the condition of components inside the engine cylinder such as head gasket, piston rings, valves and valve seats. 
This is a very simple test and something you can do it at home even, interpreting the results is a different matter and something we will discuss later that require bit of knowledge and set rules. 
You will need a compression tester kit which can be picked up relatively cheaply from any tool shop within 50 - 100 AED (25 USD).
Engine Compression Test
The first thing you need to do is to remove the fuses which supply the power to the fuel pump and injection system. You don't want fuel in the cylinders while doing this compression test.  Next remove all the spark plugs, I have covered this in another how to topic here. Then disconnect the wire supplying power to the coil to eliminate the risk of sparks or electric shock.  Screw the threaded end of the compression tester into the spark plug hole on cylinder number 1. Screw it in by hand, reasonably tight but do not use tools or over tighten.  Now hold down the throttle full and turn the engine over with the key switch. You need to turn the engine over until the reading on the tester becomes stable. I usually just turn the key and count to 5.  Take a piece of paper and write down the reading on the tester.  Now repeat the above process on cylinder number 2, then cylinder 3 etc until you have tested all cylinders in the engine.        
Reading the test data
As a general rule, a healthy engine should have all cylinders reading around 100 psi or more but all engines are different and a new engine will produce a higher reading than one with a few miles on it. Anything around 130 psi or above is extremely good, anything below 90 psi is verging on extremely bad. Read about your own engine and see what the averages are. 
If you are getting very low pressure readings in any one or few of the cylinders, then perform the test again, but this time pour some oil into the cylinder through the spark plug hole before screwing the compression tester in. Not too much, around 10 millilitres is plenty. If the pressure readings are higher than before, this indicates that the piston rings are leaking. If the results of the test remain low, you should look towards a problem with the valves and seats. 
The results for all cylinders should be the same +/- a 10 psi. If one cylinder wildly varies from the rest, you know there is a problem with this cylinder and it will make further diagnosis easier because you know which cylinder to start looking for problems in. 
Another thing to look out for is that if 2 cylinders have a low pressure reading and these 2 cylinders are directly beside or opposite each other, it can indicate that the head gasket has blown between these 2 cylinders. 
 
**Disclaimer** I accept no responsibility for any harm or damage caused by anyone performing compression tests or misinterpreting results. Always consult a qualified mechanic and read the workshop manual for your car before performing any work. 

Top 10 things to check after a car accident

1. STAY/STOP
Never leave the scene before the police arrives or the issue is resolved even if it’s a minor accident. Not contacting the police at all is illegal in the UAE, so make sure to wait for them to come or report the minor accident with Dubai Police App if you happen to be in Dubai. It’s really simple and just take 2 minutes to get report on SMS. Not only fleeing from the scene of an accident is morally wrong, but it’s a criminal offence to do so as if you are hiding something. Always, and I do mean always, stay at the scene of the accident. Off course move the vehicle aside on the hard shoulder (yellow line) so that you don't block incoming traffic.
 
2. Check yourself
Before you can help anyone else, it’s crucial to know that you’re capable of doing so. Do a quick test to determine whether you can move all your body parts: arms, legs, head, neck, shoulder etc just to see if anything hurts. It doesn’t hurt to quickly see whether you can remember your name, address and something of significance, just to ensure that you don’t have a major concussion.
 
3. Check the occupants
If you’re conscious enough and can establish that you’re okay, briefly ask or check whether everyone else in the car (if present) is fine. If it’s something minor and the person is able to move, help them. If they are unconscious or are feeling neck or back pain, don’t move them an inch. Doing so could lead to serious, sometimes permanent damage. Wait for the paramedics to arrive.
 
4. Alert the authorities - Call 999 (In UAE) for any road accidentsObviously the next step should be alerting the authorities so that the paramedics, the police and even the fire department (if needed) can come as soon as possible. The sooner they are alerted, the sooner they can come. This may further prevent casualties and save lives. You only need to call Police at 999 and if ambulance or fire is needed they will ask you and take care of the rest. When Police arrives at seen and evaluate the whole situation, they might fine you if they find it's your fault to cause an accident. You can check the here the comprehensive list of  RTA Fines and Traffic Fines in UAE
 
5. Protect the scene/Prevent an accident
If the accident happens to be at a dangerous location, say a sharp blind corner or a crest (an uphill section) making the accident difficult for other road users to detect, get out of the way first. Get everyone involved to safety at the side of the road at least, and alert other road users if you can. Place the red safety emergency triangle few meters before the your car to warn other incoming traffic to slow down and be aware of your situation.
 
6. Give a true statement
When the police arrive, be sure to give them a true statement of everything you can remember. Everyone knows that you might be in a state of shock so they won’t take anything against you if some details do come up later on, but make sure you don’t lie or give false information just to cover up and save yourself. The truth will eventually come out. If you’re asked whether you’re hurt and you can’t determine for yourself, say that you’re not sure instead of saying no. It’s better to get checked out right away as car injuries often surface hours or days after the actual accident.
 
7. Check your vehicle
Go over the condition of your car. In more than 80 percent of car accidents, the vehicle is still in a drive-able condition if the damage is purely cosmetic. Don’t be fooled by the exterior however. Inspect the engine bay and if possible, the wheel arches along with the underside of the vehicle. Make sure there’s nothing leaking out and nothing critical is broken or hanging out. Having a busted headlight or a chipped wheel may not be that big of an issue, but a broken control arm certainly is.
 
8. Don’t rush it
If you car is in drive-able condition and you didn’t have to call a tow truck, take it easy. Just because it looks okay doesn’t mean it’s the same as it was before the accident. Slow down and get the car home in one piece. Avoid driving it until you have it checked by a mechanic to confirm it’s safe.
 
9. Inform the insurance company
Make sure to inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Be truthful about what happened because if they discover that you’ve been lying, you can end up with no coverage from their end, even if you weren’t at fault.
 
10. Go to a doctor
If you’re experiencing some problems the following days, don’t hesitate to visit the doctor. Even if you feel perfectly fine, it’s normal to do a check-up visit especially if it was a bigger accident. Don’t be scared to go to the hospital, delaying it can only make the problem much worse.
 

Turbocharging

Turbocharging Basics
Turbocharging is a great way to make your engine produce more power but it is not as simple as just bolting on new manifolds and a turbo.
The purpose of adding a turbo is to force feed as much air as possible into the cylinder which means you can burn more fuel and therefore produce more horsepower. A naturally aspirated (NA) engine can only suck in a certain amount of air before the inlet valve closes, sealing the cylinder and preparing for compression. This is generally only around 60% of the cylinder volume. Even using the latest and best tuning techniques, the best you can hope to do is increase this to around 80%. Adding a turbo can increase this volumetric efficiency to around 120-150%.
Running higher amounts of boost means you can effectively have a small turbocharged 1.6 engine producing more power than a lazy big V8.
One thing to be aware of is that as you add more air and fuel, you are also effectively increasing the compression ratio. Too much compression and your engine will go bang. In order to reduce the chances of this happening, pre-boost compression must be lowered. An issue of high compression is pre-detonation, also known as pinking. This happens when the air/fuel mix has been compressed so much that it ignites on its own without a spark from the spark plugs and before the piston has finished the compression stroke. This explosion of the air/fuel mix effectively tries to push the piston in the opposite direction from which it is travelling. If you’re lucky, you will only end up with small pits and marks on the piston crown and cylinder head. If you’re unlucky, you can end up with broken connecting rods and a hole in your engine block. There are a few ways to reduce the chances of detonation such as using water/methanol injection and higher octane fuel but if you’re planning to run high levels of boost, you must reduce pre-boost compression. This can be achieved in different ways such as a rebore with wider pistons, use specially designed low compression pistons, fitting a stroker kit, using a thicker head gasket (I have also seen some people building engines using 2 head gaskets).
Direct injection technology as originally used on diesel engines has now found its way onto petrol engines. Fuel is injected later into the mix than before. This lowers temperatures and helps to deal with the pre-detonation problem.
When adding a turbo, you will have a lot more gases flowing through your engine so it will also help to do some work to the cylinder head to maximize gas flow. Polished ports, larger valves, larger exhaust manifold will all help.
Fitting of an adjustable boost controller will help you fine tune optimum pressure and timing advance.
Now that you have more air flowing into your engine, you need to pay attention to fuelling. If you don’t have enough fuel in the mix and the engine is running lean, it will be running a lot hotter than before which can result in melted pistons. This can best be managed by using an aftermarket ECU which has been specially designed for turbocharged applications. An aftermarket ECU also means a new wiring loom and new sensors so don’t forget to budget for this as well.
Before you even think about turbocharging your engine, you should research and read as much as possible about your particular engine, see what other people have done before you. Make sure your engine has a good strong block. Not every engine will be strong enough for turbocharging. There are a lot of bolt-on turbo kits on the market for a lot of cars but don’t forget, it’s not as simple as just buying the parts and bolting them on and you’re finished.
 
**DISCLAIMER** I accept no liability for any harm or damage caused by anyone modifying their car. Always read the workshop manual for your car and consult a qualified mechanic before starting any work.
 

Petrol Engine Tuning – Basics

The goal for the majority of car modifiers is to make your car accelerate harder and travel faster. This is relatively easily achievable by spending money and changing some components in the engine. There is a big temptation to just open up a catalogue and order everything but realistically, this does not always work, there are some modifications that just do not perform well together.
For example, if you have a gas flowed cylinder head and add a high lift camshaft, if the two parts are not matched correctly, you could end up with a truck load of horsepower but a torque band that is narrow and unusable. If the parts are matched correctly, you can end up with more power than the sum of the individual parts. Say a high lift camshaft gives you 10 BHP on its own and a gas flowed cylinder head gives you 10 BHP, using the correct two parts together can give you an extra 30 BHP rather than 20.
The first thing you need to understand is how a 4 stroke petrol engine works. The piston moves up and down twice during each cycle creating the 4 strokes, Suck (down), Squeeze (up), Bang (down), Blow (up). A mix of fuel and air is drawn into the engine (suck), the fuel/air mix is compressed (squeeze), the mix is ignited by the spark plugs (bang), and finally the exhaust gas is emptied from the cylinder (blow).
The second thing you need to understand is what you’re trying to achieve which is get as much of the correct mix of fuel and air into the engine as quickly as possible (more fuel & air = bigger bang = more power), compress it as much as possible and when finished, get it out of the engine as quickly as possible.
Let’s look at some modifications you can try to achieve this:
Breathing modifications
These are modifications that help your engine breathe easier, i.e. air intake and exhaust. Your car comes from the manufacturer designed to pass emission and noise regulations which can strangle your engine. One of the first modifications most people do is to ditch the factory intake and exhaust and fit uprated items. Performance/sports air filter, induction kit with nice smooth pipes and less joins to help the air flow better, performance exhaust manifold, complete removal of catalytic convertor or fitting of a less restrictive item, larger bore exhaust pipe with free flow silencers.
Internal modifications
Items such as high compression pistons (do exactly what the name suggests), forged conrods (bigger bang means bent/broken conrods which can burst through the block and ruin your engine). However, when using a big turbo/supercharger, low compression pistons are used to prevent the effects of turbo lag and to reduce the chances of ignition problems. There are also other ways to increase the compression ratio such as decking the block and skimming the cylinder head. More compression can lead to pre-detonation of the air/fuel mix (pinking) which can damage the surface of the pistons and cylinder. This can be countered by using fuel with a higher octane rating.
Cylinder head
There are many modifications you can make to the cylinder head to increase power. The internal ports within the cylinder head can be polished and channeled to allow gases to flow more freely in and out of the cylinder. Larger valves can be used, again letting gases flow faster in and out of the cylinder. The angle of the valve and seat can be changed, again having the same effect as above. The camshaft can be changed for one which opens the valves to a different height and for a different length of time.
Engine rebore
As the Americans say, there’s no replacement for displacement. An engine rebore can give you a few extra hundred CC which effectively means you have a bigger engine in a block the same size as the original engine. This will however require you to use other parts such as larger diameter pistons and rings. Not all engines are suitable for reboring, such as aluminium ones with cylinder liners but most cast iron blocks are fair game. Another way of increasing your engines CC is to use a stroker kit which consists of special crankshaft, conrods and pistons.
Crankshaft grinding/polishing
Grinding a polishing a crankshaft has the effect of making it lighter which makes it easier to turn, resulting in a freer revving engine. It is also very important to make sure that it correctly balanced which will enable you to run a higher maximum rev limit without the engine shaking itself apart.
Forced induction
Forcing more air into the cylinder by using a turbo or supercharger means you can add more fuel, giving you that bigger bang you’re looking for. Both turbos and superchargers have their own advantages and disadvantages. Turbos produce more power than superchargers but only produce it when the engine is at speed, thus creating a noticeable surge of power when the engine produces enough exhaust gas to activate the turbo. This time delay is known as lag. Whereas a turbo only produces power some of the time because it is driven by exhaust gases, a supercharger produces power all the time because it is driven by a belt and pulley system. It is very easy to change the power output of the supercharger simply by changing the pulley.
Fuelling
Because you have more air going into the cylinder, you need more fuel. This is easily achievable on older cars by simply fitting a different carburetor. It’s still pretty simple on more modern cars by adding a larger capacity fuel pump, adjustable fuel pressure regulator and larger injectors. However, this is also the tricky part as you need to make sure the air/fuel ratio is perfectly balanced. If you run too lean, i.e. too much air, not enough fuel, the engine will run too hot and you can melt pistons and spark plugs. If you run too rich, i.e. too much fuel, not enough air, you will end up with black smoke from your exhaust, carbon build up on your spark plugs, carbon on the valve seats which mean they don’t close correctly.
ECU tuning
There are different ways to modify your cars ECU which can enable you to adjust things such as air/fuel ratio, spark timing, boost, and rev limits. Some ECUs and software will even allow you to add features such as launch control and run different engine maps for different situations such as one for everyday driving and one for racing. On most cars it’s relatively simple, just connect to car to a laptop with the correct software and off you go. On other cars the ECU is locked by the manufacturer. This can be overcome by using a piggyback ECU which sends false signals to the cars own ECU to allow control of the above functions. In some high performance applications where money is no object, it is possible to even throw the cars original ECU in the bin and use a special dedicated sports unit.
 
**DISCLAIMER** I accept no responsibility for any harm or damage caused by anyone modifying their car. This is just a simple guide on the basics of tuning. For more information on a particular topic, please ask on the forum or read a book. Always consult a qualified mechanic and read the workshop manual for your car before carrying out any work.