Tuesday

Carbon Fiber Hoods

There are a few reasons that carbon fiber has taken off in the past few years. It is a lightweight, rigid, visually appealing material. It has a unique textured look and a smooth finish. It is surprisingly strong, and doesn't flex much.

Take carbon fiber hoods for example. A lot of tuners like to add a carbon fiber hood on their cars. Opposed to the steel factory hoods, these carbon fiber hoods can reduce the weight of the vehicle by as much as 40 or 50 pounds on some applications. This modification, when added to other weight reducing modifications, can slightly decrease 0-60 times and marginally improves handling and acceleration.

The other reason is the cool textured looking finish. Add a few carbon fiber touches as a theme throughout the vehicle and this can score some major style points.

These carbon fiber hoods are fairly expensive for their weight reducing capabilities, but add a lot of style for the money. Once you have purchased the hood you want, it's time to get it installed. You may need a hand removing the factory hood due to its weight, but once it is removed, you should be able to handle the much lighter carbon fiber hood.

The installation is fairly easy, so here is a quick guide to help you get it installed.

Start your installation by removing the windshield washer jets for the factory hood. Disconnect the tubing that runs to them by unclipping or unscrewing them. If there is a light attached to the hood, go ahead and remove it, as you may want to reuse it on the new hood.

With these removed, and with some help on the other side, prop the hood up with the hood prop if applicable. Remove the 4 bolts holding the hood to the hinges. If your hood has gas shocks, remove them before removing the hinge bolts. Be careful to support the weight of the hood when removing the hinge bolts to reduce the risk of damaging the fenders or the windshield. With the hinges and gas shocks unbolted, this will free up the heavy factory hood. Carefully remove it from the hinges by pulling it away from the windshield and set it aside.

Set the new carbon fiber hood in place. It will be significantly lighter than the factory steel hood. Line up the bolts on the hinges and tighten them down. Reattach the gas shocks if applicable, or set the hood prop in place. Reattach your windshield washer jets if your hood permits, and run the lines on the underside. If you saved your light and want to reattach it, you can do so at this point. it can be attached using some 3M adhesive double sided tape, or you can carefully screw it in place, making sure to use screws small enough to not penetrate the top of the hood.

Close the hood and check for alignment. If you need to adjust the alignment, lift the hood and loosen the hinge bolts slightly, just to where you can make small adjustments. Lower the hood and make any adjustments and re-tighten the bolts. This should complete your carbon fiber hood installation.

Carbon Fiber Hood Installation

Once you have purchased the carbon fiber hood you want, it's time to get it installed. You may need a hand removing the factory hood due to its weight, but once it is removed, you should be able to handle the much lighter carbon fiber hoods. The installation is fairly easy, so here is a quick guide to help you get it installed.



Start your installation by removing the windshield washer jets for the factory hood. Disconnect the tubing that runs to them by unclipping or unscrewing them. If there is a light attached to the hood, go ahead and remove it, as you may want to reuse it on the new hood.

With these removed, and with some help on the other side, prop the hood up with the hood prop if applicable. Remove the 4 bolts holding the hood to the hinges. If your hood has gas shocks, remove them before removing the hinge bolts. Be careful to support the weight of the hood when removing the hinge bolts to reduce the risk of damaging the fenders or the windshield. With the hinges and gas shocks unbolted, this will free up the heavy factory hood. Carefully remove it from the hinges by pulling it away from the windshield and set it aside.

Set the new carbon fiber hood in place. It will be significantly lighter than the factory steel hood. Line up the bolts on the hinges and tighten them down. Reattach the gas shocks if applicable, or set the hood prop in place. Reattach your windshield washer jets if your hood permits, and run the lines on the underside. If you saved your light and want to reattach it, you can do so at this point. it can be attached using some 3M adhesive double sided tape, or you can carefully screw it in place, making sure to use screws small enough to not penetrate the top of the hood.

Close the hood and check for alignment. If you need to adjust the alignment, lift the hood and loosen the hinge bolts slightly, just to where you can make small adjustments. Lower the hood and make any adjustments and re-tighten the bolts. This should complete your carbon fiber hood installation. Now you can enjoy the sleek new design and take it out for a test drive!

Carbon Fiber is a Statement

From entry-level Scions to super-plush Maybachs, exotic and expensive composite carbon fiber is turning into the must-have automotive fashion statement.


"Carbon fiber says luxury, sport and performance," whether used to save weight or just for high-tech looks, says Jason Hill, president of design firm Eleven in Long Beach, Calif., who has worked on Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes.

The material, a black fabric weave held together by a transparent resin, weighs one-third to one-fifth as much as similar-strength steel but is seven to 10 times as expensive, says Steve Loud, editor of Advanced Materials & Composites News.

Replacing steel in a car body with carbon fiber could cut the vehicle's weight two-thirds, according to Energy Department research. The department wants to find ways to halve the weight of a family sedan by 2010, and sees carbon fiber having a key role in that.

Slicing weight would dramatically improve fuel economy and performance, and is why carbon fiber is used in race cars and jet planes.

The material's growing popularity and attractive image mean that demand from auto buyers could speed development of cheaper, faster ways to produce the material. Meantime, its high price brings a touch of exclusivity to cars that use it. That's enough lure that automakers sometimes don't hide the industrial-looking material.

For example, BMW's M6 coupe, on sale in Europe and due in the USA next spring, has an unpainted carbon-fiber roof. Not only does it save weight and lower the car's center of gravity, "it's so beautiful to look at. It has a high-tech feel," says spokesman Rob Mitchell.

"It's a material that designers love because it has all these beautiful visual and structural properties," says Stewart Reed, transportation design chairman at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. "We've used it on a lot of projects."

Cars on a high-fiber diet include:

•Chevrolet Corvette. The $65,800 Corvette Z06, available later this year, will use carbon fiber in the front fenders, front wheelhouses and floor. Along with other lightweight materials, carbon fiber helps keep the weight of the 505-horsepower speedster down to 3,132 pounds, Chevy says.

•Maybach 57S. The 604-horsepower, 172 mile-per-hour version of the $325,000 sedan will offer only two interiors: dark poplar wood or carbon fiber. "Carbon fiber is as exotic as you can get with interior trim. It reeks of performance," Maybach brand manager Wayne Killen says.

•Porsche GT. The $440,000 Carrera GT, to be discontinued this year, has offered a frame that makes extensive use of carbon fiber.

•Ford GT. The $140,000 GT has seat frames and a rear-deck panel of carbon fiber.

Ford also assisted in the design of carbon-fiber components for an America's Cup yacht.

Although still used mainly at the high end of the price scale, carbon fiber is gaining popularity in accessories for lower-price cars and small parts of others.

A popular accessory for Toyota's Scion low-price line of youth-oriented cars is a carbon-fiber gearshift knob — even though that small part is $49. Also hot: a $39 carbon-fiber fuel-filler door. Scion offers carbon-fiber appliqu├ęs for roof pillars, ranging in price from $75 to 189.

Cameron Hunter, 24, of Long Beach, is adding the shift knob, as well as carbon-fiber pedals on his xB. Outside, he has carbon-fiber skirting. Cost: $400. "It's probably the strongest material for the price available," he says.

Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution rally-style high-performance car uses a carbon-fiber air spoiler. And aftermarket makers sell loads of carbon-fiber hoods and other body panels to enthusiasts.

Automakers also are using carbon fiber in concept cars. Much of the frame in the dune-buggy-like Jeep Hurricane, which made its debut last January, was made of carbon fiber, says Chrysler Group spokesman Sam Locricchio.

Car companies, chasing the image that authentic carbon fiber brings to a car, also have begun installing plastic interior trim that resembles carbon fiber in cars priced too low for the real thing.

It has begun to replace the standbys, fake wood and faux aluminum, as the trim of choice.

Monday

Carbon Fiber Hoods

Carbon fiber hoods can be a great aftermarket exterior accessory for a sporty compact vehicle or even a customized SUV. Carbon fiber parts and accessories have become quite popular over the past few years and are considered a "must have" by many performance car enthusiasts. They are lightweight, durable, and stylish; not to mention these hoods often come in a variety of carbon fiber colors including the typical grayish-black as well as blue, red, yellow, and more.


You may be wondering where to get a great carbon fiber hood, as well as who manufacturers them. The two most popular manufacturers of these hoods are Seibon and VIS Racing. These companies use high modulus grade A carbon fiber waves that make the hoods more durable and long lasting. Furthermore, you can be assured that these hoods will look great as well as both of these manufacturers use a glossy clear coat to protect the outside of the hood. Both manufacturers also feature a OEM latch hook, so no modifications or changes should be mandatory during the installation process.

Carbon fiber hoods start at around $450 and can be priced as high as $1,500 or more depending on the features, durability, and manufacturer. Many of the pricier hoods have additional scoops or styling features not found on their cheaper counterparts. Make sure that when you are comparing various carbon fiber hoods that it is made of authentic carbon fibers. Many manufacturers have started using synthetic fiber that looks like the real thing, but is in fact much less durable and/or sturdy.

If your interested in getting carbon fiber hoods or other matching products such as mirrors, b-pillars, and more make sure to check out.