Can a vehicle have too much horsepower?

Mopar General Discussions

  1. Mopar87

    Mopar87 Well-Known Member

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    Other than in all out racing situations where more power is never enough, can a normal car have too much power?A case could be made that my 1994 dodge ram 4wd with a turned up Cummins is a bit too fast.Its pushing 310 hp and 686ft-lbs to the rear wheels on the stock turbo.With the mechanical control its very touchy in town,requiring delicate throttle discipline to keep it within the speed limit.That being said the egts spike whenever I try to use that power on the highway.Passing single vehicles is kinda a waste of time because it pulls so hard that by the time your safely around someone you are well into the triple digits.It however, blacks out the highway and the egts are pegged.So it needs a bigger turbo to clean up the top end which in turn will give it even more power.It moves alot faster than a 4wd, solid axle, heavy brick should.My 1984 Nissan 300zx Turbo has 200 hp but it weighs about 2500 lbs so it goes fast enough to get you thrown in jail in the states.I got it after a carport collapsed on it so its rear end is an aerodynic nightmare so it can only do 115 mph(GPS verified) out of its original 150 mph top speed.It however is more fun to drive than say my dad's 2013 chevy corvette Z06 because 10 seconds of WOT fun in it, will be enough to throw you in jail anywhere on the planet,my Z can actually be at WOT for a little bit without immediately going to jail.Now for the part that's actually relevant.Eventually, my 73 plymouth scamp will have a fairly hot 318 that's expected to push out around 400 hp,with a 5 speed manual, with a rear end ratio of 3.90 or 4.10 and 10.5" wide tires,at what point do I reach the point of diminishing returns where more horsepower just results in tire smoke without going faster?
     
  2. 66jim

    66jim Well-Known Member

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    In a word Yes I agree, its gotten to the point of being stupid. Horsepower numbers
    for the sake of numbers and technology for the sake of technology.
     
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    • famous bob

      famous bob mopar misfit

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      Personally I`d like to have one of the new 1000 h.p. crate hemi`s , never enough !
       
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      • MRGTX

        MRGTX Well-Known Member

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        Guys, we live in an era where any old granny can get into a Tesla, push a few buttons and blast off for a 10 second 1/4 mile.

        Build your car so it's fast enough to be fun but still tame enough to be enjoyed and driven. A box-stock performance Mopar from back in the day was a blast and they're still fun today even if a Hyundai could keep up with them in the straights and leave them in the dust in a curve.
         
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        • toolmanmike

          toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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          More horsepower than the suspension and tires can handle. It's cool to be able to burn the tires for a city block but meanwile a 4 wheel drive pick up drives past you. LOL
           
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          • famous bob

            famous bob mopar misfit

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            not likely to happen !
             
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            • robert flippo

              robert flippo Well-Known Member

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              Does anybody every consider keeping your foot a little lighter on the accelerator , just because you can melt the tires or go 150 mph ,don't mean that you have to, it just means you have the capability , I had a Kawasaki Mach III bike in the 70s, came from factory , at 111 mph in the 1/4, we built it to 125 mph in the 1/4, and that was never getting out of 3rd gear, i had 4th and 5th gear left,never had the courage to push it to the top in 5th gear, it being a street bike, i rode it at speed with the flow of traffic, i didn't drive between cars on 4 lane and i passed them at a normal rate, didn't have to prove i could blow the doors off as i went by. I learned early on from a friend that had a 69 chevelle 454 , that head on at 135 mph into a tractor trailor that the need for speed would put you in an early grave, the wrecker we called wouldn't needed, you could pickup all the pieces of the car by hand, and speaking of hands, the biggest part of him we found was a a hand still on the arm, the rest of him was shoveled into a body bag.
               
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              • A408Cuda

                A408Cuda FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                I don't understand the question...
                 
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                • adriver

                  adriver Blazing Apostle

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                  Most people I see on the road have no trouble going fast.
                  It's stopping they can't seem to master.
                   
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                  • rumblefish360

                    rumblefish360 so close yet so far away

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                    Only in a manor of speaking, yes. The only time(s) I feel there is to much HP is when ;

                    The suspension can not handle the power.
                    The body twists up and stay bent.
                    When the driver is scared
                    The throttle is super touchy/difficult to control. Which also makes a good case for the rest of the drivetrains set up/combination. Super high stall loose converter/ gear ratio.

                    400 hp in even in a light weight Scamp is not a lot. The manual transmission adds something in a possible lack of control combined with a higher gear ratio and tire size. As in height or diameter. At 10.5 wide, that should hold the road pretty good unless your clutch dumping at high rpm. Next item up for inspection would be rear springs.

                    It is a cumulative thing. It just engine power. Like a math equation, the more plus signs you add up due to equipment not being up to par or farther away from stock adds up. Add up those things. The more things you add up, the worse it gets.

                    My 5.7 HEMI RAM can over power the tires and/or suspension at some point in the throttles travel.
                     
                  • MRGTX

                    MRGTX Well-Known Member

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                    We get that you don't need to use all of the power every time you go out...So are you saying that it's worth it to live with a wild cam, high compression, giant rear/tiny front tires that can't make a corner, exotic fuel, expensive parts all around, etc...just so you know that you can blow the doors off of other vehicles? If someone feels that it's worth the money and the trouble, God bless them. :D

                    Our old dinosaurs can be surprisingly quick for what they are...but they will never be the quickest cars on the road. There's always modern stuff, there's always motorcycles, there's always electrics.
                    Sure you could build a Hemi powered Dart that would run 7s on the street...but that's going to be more finicky than an old Ferrari. Why bother? IMO, having a car with good enough power to push you back in the seat, a car that feels good to drive with a well set-up chassis/suspension, good/well-matched tires, is money well spent.

                    The other problem with constantly chasing "more power" is that we get used to it. 20 years ago, people were thrilled with a 14 second quarter and that felt damn good behind the wheel. Now, that ET is would be a joke and that power level feels boring. :D It's all relative.

                    EDIT: No offense to anyone who runs in the 14s. That's about where my car is these days. Just saying that standards move as time goes on. Acceleration is quickly becoming a less important measure of a performance car.
                     
                    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019 at 8:44 AM
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                    • Divenut

                      Divenut Well-Known Member

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                      NO
                       
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                      • 66fs

                        66fs Well-Known Member

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                        In an emergency will your car go, or sit still, frying the tires. Yes, you can have too much power on the street.
                         
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                        • '63GT

                          '63GT Well-Known Member

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                          AGREED !

                          I will almost never use WOT in low gear in my Dart. Those 295's try to hang on but I never know which way it will want to go. The last thing I want to do is bend up my little car..

                          Also too, we're living in a post video game world.. I'm tired of dealing those who grew up watching fast n furious thinking they have 500+ hp but, can't out-run a stock vette.
                          … or building hp means a bigger turbo.

                          My best answer, yes and no. No to those who know and respect HP, and yes to those who don't and total a new Hellcat before there's 300 miles on the clock...
                           
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                          • doogievlg

                            doogievlg Well-Known Member

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                            In my opinion no. Those are nice rides you described but once you get into a fast car those will seem slow. I had a cousin with a twin turbo Cummins. It made about 700 hp and 1600 ft lbs of torque. It was an absolute blast.
                             
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                            • retroron

                              retroron FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                              As an older person, I offer the following: "Horsepower is inversely proportional to an individuals age". If you need interpretation you're not old enough :rofl:
                               
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                              • Rick@Laysons

                                Rick@Laysons FABO Vendor FABO Vendor

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                                "Can a vehicle have too much horsepower?"

                                In a word....YES!

                                The absolute worst thing for a high performance car is a low performance driver.
                                 
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                                • barbee6043

                                  barbee6043 barbee 6043 FABO Gold Member

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                                  That Cummins truck mentiond in #1 is designd to pull heavy loads, and run races up the road.
                                   
                                • rumblefish360

                                  rumblefish360 so close yet so far away

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                                  Ooooooooo- BAM BABY!
                                  That’s it right there.
                                  No offense to anyone. As I would fall under that category as well. Ones performance level should never be grossly over stepped.

                                  I wonder and marvel at some people’s suggestion and exclamation of just “Doing it” and building and getting into a ride that is 400+ hp & tq more than I have now and there advice of just drive it like you stole it. You’ll be fine.
                                  (That would exceed 850 hp....)

                                  And there serious!

                                  I had some ass comment that I should give my yet non diving son a 650hp big block Duster for his high school car. When I balked and scoffed at the notion, he even went further to make the comment, & with an attitude, “Why not? Isn’t he man enough?”

                                  No bullshit! Totally not kidding about that.

                                  Really? A 16 YO?
                                   
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                                  • 66jim

                                    66jim Well-Known Member

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                                    Yes a boy racer
                                     
                                  • MopaR&D

                                    MopaR&D Nerd Member FABO Gold Member

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                                    IMO the majority of people who think they need more power really don't. 500 wheel HP in a 3500 lb. street car is way more than enough. I've got barely 400 wheel HP in my Duster and even then the only place I can go WOT all the way to redline (6000 RPM) is a highway on-ramp due to my 2.94 gears. And it gets up to speed in a hurry, in normal driving I'm barely pressing on the gas pedal. My plan is lots more suspension upgrades because I feel like I can't fully use the power I already have.

                                    I saw a douchebag in a Hellcat Charger on my way home from work the other day just mashing it every chance he got and weaving in between lanes like he thought he was on a NASCAR track. Maybe that's fun to him but he's endangering other drivers and overall just pissing off everyone else on the road. I don't keep up with the local car scene made up of people my age because they have a retarded perception of power and performance. The internet made everyone think 1000+ HP is normal and if you have less than 500 your car ain't worth shit. They're also obsessed with imports from the 1990s-early 2000s and are too naive to realize it's all nostalgia. The original Toyota Supra and Mazda RX-7 were great cars but now it's like the muscle car craze, they're going for stupid money and everyone still lusts after them. There's also a weird thing that's fairly popular now where people swap huge high-HP engines into POS old throw-away cars (or home-fab a giant ghetto turbo setup), I don't get it I guess it's supposed to be funny? Won't be very funny when you die the first time you nail the gas. Then again they usually blow up almost instantly because they have no idea what they're doing.

                                    I agree with Rumble, a car with too much power means either the suspension/chassis can't handle it or the driver doesn't know how to control it.
                                     
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                                    • doogievlg

                                      doogievlg Well-Known Member

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                                      I’ll add that you should defiantly work your way up to any big power cars (500+). I see a lot of wrecked hellcats and street cars that guys jump in without ever being behind the wheel of a car like that. When I first went to a V8 after a slant six I thought my car was fast and it probably only had 250 hp at the wheels. After a few years it lost its excitement. In went a 350 hp engine. That felt slow after a couple years. Now its at 420 hp...give it a few years and look for me in the big block abody section.
                                       
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                                      • dartfreak75

                                        dartfreak75 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                        I say it all the time to everyone questioning my build! Yes too much power in a street car is not only unnecessary but can be dangerous. A true 400hp street car is alot of power and is plenty! I have a perfect example i use often I have a good buddy that build a 69 Camaro, absolutely beautiful car he put all his money in the engine and body. He built a all out 454 with 7 or 8 hundred hp (his numbers) with a 410 rear and a power glide. But left the stock suspension and stock 4 wheel drum brakes.... he totaled it on the first outing. Got on it at about 60 mph and broke traction hit the brakes and they locked up putting him into a slide right into a tree on the drivers side door! He is lucky to be alive. Like I said it was his first outing he had no insurance no tags nothing it was a total loss of over 30k. He did sell the engine and got some of his money back . I'm sticking with my 300hp 360 lol
                                         
                                      • MopaR&D

                                        MopaR&D Nerd Member FABO Gold Member

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                                        Good thing for us at least it was 'just a 1st-gen Camaro' and not a Mopar... lol

                                        For real though I'm glad he's OK and I hope he learned from that experience. Gotta consider the whole package and keep everything balanced! Even the automakers figured that out, most stock 1960s muscle cars had terrible brakes along with sh*t tires from the day and lots of young inexperienced drivers died or ended up in the hospital because of it.
                                         
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                                        • dartfreak75

                                          dartfreak75 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                          Yea I agree alot of it is driving experience I see alot of new hellcats mustang's Camaro Bugattis etc getting totaled every day and these new cars have impeccable braking and handling so even with all the bad stuff eliminated from old cars poor driving is the number one cause of wrecks.
                                           
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