Speed enthusiasts are always trying to make their cars faster. They get stronger engines, install superchargers, and all but forget that the reciprocating engine relies on support components as much as it relies on the main parts.
One such support component is the piston, it is the first stage in the power generation process in reciprocating engines and for it to withstand strong power demands it must be expanded or reinforced accordingly.
As you tune your engine, remember to get stronger pistons, a supercharger pushing stock pistons is more or less an insult to the art of car tuning.
Forging pistons is one way to make them more bearable to the extra power created by your newly installed turbo system.
So, how much horsepower do forged pistons add?
Directly, none, but unlike the stock option, forged pistons allow you to push as much power as you like.
A car with forged pistons will move faster since its primary power source is well altered to accommodate any power needs. A well-forged piston can handle up to 30 psi of boost.
The piston converts heat energy to mechanical energy in the combustion process. When the fuel expands during combustion, it pushes the piston up and down.
The pistons transfer this force to the crankshaft which then rotates the flywheel. It is this continuous cylindrical process that creates the mechanical energy that powers the engine.
If the power demand by the engine is higher than the amount the pistons can handle then the pistons are said to be weak.
By forging pistons, you increase the power generation rate while at the same time making them more adaptive. Forging pistons involves squeezing a piece of metal onto a piston- this makes them push harder although they end up heavier than normal.
The added metal is susceptible to expansion due to the high temperatures- you might also need a higher piston to cylinder wall clearance.
How Much Boost Can Forged Pistons Handle?
With well-forged pistons, the amount of power you can push is nothing short of massive. As long as the other components are well built, forged pistons can handle up to 30 psi- just ensure the power does not take a toll on other parts?
Do Bigger Pistons Make More Power?
Yes, larger pistons with enlarged valve openings allow more fuel and air in-this greatly improves power generation.
Bigger pistons come with larger bores and relatively shorter rev, this will definitely result in more horsepower.
You should however take it easy with the forging- too much power might make it harder to control the amount of power hitting other less resilient parts.
What Is Better, Cast Or Forged Pistons?
Each has its advantages and downsides; the reliability of each depends on the area of application.
Cast pistons are lighter than forged pistons. The cast pistons are factory-produced and maintain their original weight- if there are no abnormal power needs, they will serve just fine.
The forged pistons on the other hand undergo rigorous metallurgical processes which make them pretty heavy to carry. The heavyweight however is more of an advantage than a downside- the strong build allows them to serve in extremely hot environments like the piston cylinder in supercharged engines.
The standard nature of cast pistons allows for mass production which in turn pushes the prices down. The mass production however makes customization harder. Those looking to have their pistons customized have to contend with forging.
If you are driving at high rpm and need more weight, the extra weight in the forged pistons should do you good.
Another issue to worry about is the respective pistons’ expansion rates. Forged pistons are known to expand due to the extreme heat, this calls for expanded cylinders.
Wider cylinders come with a few downsides, they consume more fuel, you will need to warm the engine before pulling out and they might be noisy.
If you need an everyday car with no high power needs, go with the cast pistons. They are light, consume less, and are easy to replace.
Those driving tuned cars and need to feel the extra boost and sharp pushback will have to bear the downsides that the forged pistons bring on board.
The forged pistons might be expensive, noisy and all but performance car enthusiasts are already used to this- every aspect of these cars only adds to the fun.
Why Are Forged Pistons So Strong?
The answer lies in the build. Forged pistons are created by adding more metal to already heavy metal. The thicker metal makes it more resilient to heat and other harsh conditions in the cylinders.
The increased explosions and rough pushes are no match for the high-density pistons.
How Much Horsepower Can Cast Pistons Handle?
Most mechanics will say 600-650 horsepower although other factors come into play when the horsepower question is on the table.
There are reports that cast pistons can handle slightly more horsepower than their forged counterparts, no wonder almost every budget build manufacturer prefers them.
Factors like car speed, weight, and road terrain affect horsepower making it pretty difficult to answer the horsepower question off the bat.
Do Forged Pistons Make Noise?
They knock due to the expanded cylinder walls but the noise is usually too mild to be noticed, you’d have to be very keen to hear pistons knocking. Engine noise will easily disguise the noise.
This mainly happens when the engine is cold, you’ll hear the knocks when the engine is left to idle and warm up.
Are Forged Pistons Worth It?
Forged pistons are expensive and noisy; this makes them very unappealing to ordinary car owners. For a performance car driver, however, the cost issue is non-existent while the loud engine can handle the pistons’ noises.
So, yes, when in the right hands, forged pistons are in every aspect worth it. The pushbacks and fast accelerations are priceless- mere piston costs are nothing.