ProRPM Kuwait: High Performance Shop

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I was recently looking for a new Carbeurator for my 1965 Chevrolet Impala. Ofcourse, being in Kuwait it’s a bit difficult coming across parts for classic parts that don’t have to be ordered or overpriced. However, I came across a shop in Shuwaikh Called ProRPM, which sells high performance parts for American cars, that include classics (and classic muscle) and modern muscle.

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They had several performance items mainly from Holley and Edelbrock for classic cars as well as stock loads of items from various brands for newer cars. The shop is owned by Abdullah Al-Asfour who happened to be there when I came in the shop. The owner and the staff that are working there are very well knowledgeable about automotives and the performance parts they are selling, which I personally find to be a rare thing in Kuwait,

Several shops I go to will try to sell you the product for a rip-off price as well as not really being helpful. The guys at ProRPM were extremely friendly and helpful and will actually help you find out the best performance products for your car and not just sell you the product. They are very knowledgeable about the parts they sell and their applications which I find to be very professional. Aside from the things they have in stock, if you require a part be it for your classic or modern car, and they do not have it, they will actually order it for you and have them shipped to Kuwait for a very reasonable price. Ofcourse, their prices depend on the item you want to buy but I found their items to be priced very well compared to the rest of the shops I’ve been to. I bought the Edelbrock 600 CFM Carbuerator and Air Filter (Which I will post the installation process for both of them in my next post)

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What I ended up getting!

If you any of you guys are interested in checking out the place, and need to check out and order some parts: You can visit their shop which is located in Shuwaikh (Map):-

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Contact Details:

Telephone Number: 24828499

Instagram: @ProRPM

Email: prorpm@hotmail.com

Email: AL-394@hotmail.com

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The Struggle of being a Female Car Enthusiast(s) in Kuwait.

 

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“This car is not for a girl.”

“Why are you even into that? It’s a guy thing.”

“Umm..Girls shouldn’t even be driving that.”

“You have short hair..you like cars..you’re a tomboy aren’t you?”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d be a millionaire by now. Being a Female Car enthusiast is tough, especially since it’s a male dominant field. But you know when it becomes even more tougher? Being a Female Car Enthusiast, in Kuwait.

I, by occupation, am a mechanic (for clarification: I work in the oil sector, not in an automotive shop). I studied it for two years, I studied the theory. I’ve done the practical. I ran a full restoration project on my 1965 Chevrolet Impala. I’ve taken apart and put together engines. That doesn’t make me an expert, I still learn new stuff every single day.  that doesn’t make better than the guys, but that doesn’t make the guys any better than me.

My passion for cars started from a young age. Being heavily influenced by my late Uncle, who was heavily involved with cars and motorcycles, the first car that I wanted to own when I was a kid, was either a 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS or a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T. So when I graduated highschool, it wasn’t shocking that I picked Mechanical Engineering. It would be the next natural step for me . And I always knew, from the moment that I entered college, being in the mechanical Field/Car Enthusiast field would be a challenge.

In 2011, I got my licence. The first car I owned was the Hummer H3. I didn’t really want the car, but since I had no other option and no job, my hands were tied. I am a firm believer that your car is a reflection of who you are. And the H3? Wasn’t even close to defining me. So it wasn’t until I got my first job, and my first salary, that I began being interested into changing the car to make it look more like “me”. The rush of the sudden financial freedom, meant that I could pretty much do what I wanted. So the first thing I spent my salary on was new Mud Terrain Tires. It was here at this moment, that began my mark as a car enthusiast. I realized that by modding the car, be it just by appearance, kind of makes you develop a relationship with a car. To quote Jeremy Clarkson:

 “It’s what non-car people don’t get. They see two-tons of wires, glass, metal, and rubber. That’s all they see. People like you and I, have an unshakeable belief that cars are living entities. You can develop a relationship with a car. And that’s what non-car people don’t get.”

Fortunately for me the H3 didn’t stay with me for too long. The Inline 5 just wasn’t cutting it out for me. So the next thing I laid my hands on was a 2006 Nissan Titan. And my god, it is a beauty. The car itself just screams “THIS IS SARAH!” . Running on a 5.6 L V8 and a 6-inch lift of awesomeness. This car was an offroad goddess.

It was also during this time, that I started my move into the classic car field. The field I always wanted to be in. I purchased a 1965 Chevrolet Impala. The car required alot of work. It was here that I laid down a full restoration project. With the advice of friends, the help of the automotive shop. We worked 6-7 months to restore the car, to what I wanted it to be.

Besides all of this, barely anyone takes you seriously here. In fact, the majority of feedback I have gotten here is quiet negative. Ranging from dirty looks, to sexist comments, people believing that I have no idea what I’m talking about (Just because I happen to be a female), and that I’m into this just because I crave attention. The back talk, hypocrisy, and the amount of times people tried to rip me off (in shops and what not) is something I’ve dealt with, quiet a lot. This is just goddamn sexist nonsense.

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On my way to work!

In Kuwait, “mechanic” and “girl” are not mutually exclusive states of existence. In fact, the number of girls I personally know who are interested in cars and mechanics, is next to zero. It’s not to say that  they don’t exist, because they do, and some of them are getting up there. Girl Street Racers, Drifters, Dragsters, Motorcyclists, and a couple of others who also work in this line of work/own autoshops. However, they are, we are, the minority. Being a female in Kuwait is hard enough. But being a Car Enthusiast and a female. Is even more harder.

There is a concept called gender essentialism. If you guys have no idea what that is, I’ll just explain it in a few words. It’s the basic idea that men are men because they are men and there are a certain set of characteristics that are manly. The opposite is the same. Women are women because they follow a certain set of characteristics. And guess what? This is all just determined by your genetics. This just basically means that all women don’t like to work on cars, aren’t supposed to buy “serious” cars (performance/offroading/classics etc). Because we, as woman, aren’t really biologically capable of it.

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Me, taking apart a Smallblock Chevy V8 (350)

Where automotives are involved, the gearhead sexism is also here.

Going to Shuwaikh (The Industrial area, where most automotive shops are located) is a nightmare. Ripoffs, Dirty looks. Like, an alien creature that has just arrived at Earth. I do remember when I was looking to buy an engine for my Chevy, a guy tried to sell me a 350 that was in awful condition for 350 K.D (That’s about 1300 dollars). Why? Because he assumed that I, a female, did not know what a clean engine is supposed to look like.

I’ll give you that a woman who knows about car is not something common. But ripping us off? With this amount of money? That’s just damn pathetic.

And let me tell you something else, it’s not just with the guys here. I have to deal with women as well. I’ve had a couple of times women who come up to me and tell me that I shouldn’t be driving this car, or being involved in cars because it’s not womanly. “How are you supposed to get married when you are into this manly things!”  This question isn’t worth wasting my time to answer. Trust me, if I ever choose to marry, I won’t be marrying someone who has a mentality of an idiot. Seriously ladies. How are we supposed to move forward when we can’t even get support from our own? We get enough of it from the guys, now we have to deal with you too? Yes, I’m a girl, yes I love working on my cars and getting my hand dirty. That doesn’t make me any less different than you. You shouldn’t be making this even more difficult for us.

The complete restoration/work of my 1965 Chevrolet Impala includes: Engine Swap, Paint Job, Working on the Car Body, Brakes Exhaust and Electrical work completely redone.

The complete restoration/work of my 1965 Chevrolet Impala includes: Engine Swap, Paint Job, Working on the Car Body, Brakes Exhaust and Electrical work completely redone.

I am a grown adult. You are a grown adult. So get your brain in gear and start thinking. Just because you were born with XY chromosomes does not give you the right to undermine my capabilities/knowledge, to judge or to talk about me. The Automotive industry is not mutually exclusive for men. Not in Kuwait, Not in the Middle East, Not in the rest of the world.

I will continue to do what I do, despite what anyone thinks. If you think I’m a tomboy? Well, I really don’t care. You don’t like what I drive? Guess what? I don’t care either. What I do hope for though is for this society to grow up, and start respecting each other. Start supporting each other. How is any progress supposed to be made when all people are hating and trying to destroy one another? Be supportive. Be respectful. As a gearhead, I am no different than anyone. We are all joined by our passion for cars, the smell of burning petrol and rubber, the sound and power your engine makes, so we should not let any differences, especially ones that we have no control over, like our gender, come between that. We aren’t living in جاهلية anymore.

What I do have to say is thanks to all my female and male friends/family who have been supportive through my ongoing  journey in this field. You are awesome and I hope this society learns from good hearted people like you.

“She believed she could. So she did.”

And to all you who still think that females can’t do it? Well. Here you go:

http://jalopnik.com/5848758/meet-the-first-woman-to-lead-a-lemans+winning-race-team

http://jalopnik.com/5813981/ten-awesome-women-drivers/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/goodwood-festival-of-speed/8618437/Goodwood-Festival-of-Speed-2011-sister-act.html

Autoholics965 Special: Rotary Versus Pistons

Click the image to open in full size.

So you’ve probably been hearing about the Rotary engine for a while (Maybe not so much if you’re living in Kuwait). Well, if you’re wondering what a Rotary engine is exactly, and what’s the difference between the engine and the piston engine, well you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to break it all down to you.

Well, the Rotary engine is basically an internal combustion engine, basically the same one in your car. Everything back from the flywheel is pretty much the same, however infront of the flywheel, that’s where everything changes. The Rotary engine works and looks in a completely different way than your typical piston engine.

If you’re familiar with basic mechanics, you’d know that the standard piston engine uses a crankshaft and the connecting rods to convert the upwards and downwards motion of the pistons to rotary motion to power your vehicle. In the rotary engine the pressure is controlled in a small space by a part of the housing and sealed by a triangular rotor (imagine a spinning dorito, it pretty much looks like that). Which is what the rotary engine uses instead of pistons.

So for demonstration purposes, this is how your engine works:

With it’s 4 stroke cycle: Intake, Compression, Power and Exhaust.

And here’s how a Rotary engine works:

The triangular rotor follows a specific patter which keeps the peak of the triangular motor within contact of the housing, which engineered in such a way that the peaks of the triangular motor will always be in contact with the walls of the chamber. Each part of the housing is dedicated to one part of the combustion process.

The triangular rotor has peaks. Those “peaks” basically act like a piston. Since the rotor has three sides, those sides have pockets which increase the displacement of the engine to allow more increase of space for the air/fuel mixture.

As the rotor moves around, each volume of the gas in turn expands and contracts, which draws air and fuel into the engine, compresses it, and BAM! Power. After that, the exhaust is then that expelled.

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Here’s how the combustion process works in the engine:

1) Intake: Fuel/Air mixture is drawn in the intake port. (Notice the one of the main differences between the two engines: There are no valves in the Rotary engine, instead it uses intake and exhaust ports which are directly connected to the exhaust and throttle respectively.)

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2) Compression:- Mixture compressed in the yellow part

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3) Power/Combustion: Mixture burns, driving the rotor.

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4) Exhaust: Exhaust is expelled:

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The rotary motion is then transferred to the drive shaft by the eccentric wheel (Above, in blue). The drive shaft rotates once during every power stroke instead of twice.

Since we got the basics out of the way (and I don’t want to get into too much details here), I’m going to come right down to the battle. PISTONS OR ROTARY?

If we go down to the simplest 4 cylinder engine, it would have ATLEAST 40 moving parts, including your pistons, connecting rods, camshaft, valves, rockers, timing belt, timing gear, crankshaft etc. and you have more with the increasing cylinder counts once you move into V8, V10, V12 configurations etc.)  A two rotor engine has 3 moving parts (2 rotors and the eccentric shaft). This makes the rotary engine smoother, lighter, and produces higher RPMs. Your piston engine has to convert reciprocating motion into rotational motion and by doing so the pistons violently change directions. Rotary engine spin in one direction, and as a result are a lot more smoother.

One of the most important factors to put into consideration is that rotary engine are pretty much immune to total catastrophic failure. A rotary engine that loses compression, cooling or oil pressure will lose a large amount of power, but the engine is still able to produce power and operate. Piston engines under similar circumstances are prone to seizing or breaking parts that will result in major damage of internal engine parts resulting in an instant loss of power and operation.

Since it’s all good and dandy, here’s the bad sides:-

In a piston engine, the cylinder and piston have a rather large contact surface which is constantly lubricated and seals the combustion chamber against the crank case. In a rotary engine, the tips of the triangular rotor drive along the chamber walls to seperate the chambers. This means they have to be very precisely positioned and bear a lot of load, compared to a regular cylinder lining. The tips have to be extremely abrasion resistant and hard, but function as tight seals as well. That’s a difficult trick to pull of and makes the whole system somewhat less reliable. Also, a rotary engine will consume as much fuel as a V6, which gives it terrible gas mileage.

Also, the rotary engine is owned by Mazda. It’s design, improvements, and basically everything is owned by Mazda. You have thousands of companies in the world continuously working on improving the piston engine. With the rotary engine you have one company, which is Mazda, that’s actively restricting the ability of other companies to invest in it’s engine. Long story short, if you have 10 people working on one idea and 10,000 on another, you’re going to work more with latter idea. The piston engine is better-understood and its improvements are more accessible, someone working on a new engine improvement is more likely to start from that point than they are from a Rotary Engine point.

The average life span for a rotary engine is also normally less than that of a piston engine.

So, since you have all of that? Which would you chose? Rotary or Pistons?

Well, I’d personally go with my biased opinion.I prefer my engine Piston-runned. Viva La Pistons!

If you want to read/see more of the Rotary Engine:

http://www.nationalspeedinc.com/gear-and-tech/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-a-rotary-engine/

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/rotary-engine.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wankel_engine

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/07/27/this-is-what-a-six-rotor-wankel-looks-and-sounds-like/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BCgl2uumlI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyItjvs8nvI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocZ0veZjiBs