Over the past few months we have been busy tuning Project Evo's engine, brakes, and suspension. This month we focused on some of the minor but important details that every performance car needs.

Ark Products
Every car with aspirations of track driving needs accurate instruments, and the Evo is no exception. Factory gauges are very inaccurate, often lagging far behind what is actually going on. In the case of the Evo, most of the important gauges are simply missing-it only has a water temperature gauge, which is ridiculous for a high-performance car.

A turbocharged car that is always being tuned needs a boost pressure gauge, all cars need an oil pressure gauge, and cars that are track driven need very accurate water and oil temperature gauges because turbo cars always seem to run on the edge of meltdown when pounded on a road course. Factory gauges are notoriously inaccurate, usually only signaling trouble once the damage has already happened.

In the past, getting decent gauges in your car would mean a triple-gauge pod and the installation of a few more gauges in the dash. Some people like the lots-of-gauges look, but some people don't. A pillar pod with three big gauges is a pull-me-over signal for the police and a dash full of aftermarket gauges in all sorts of places screams Knight Rider. If gauges are hidden in a glovebox they aren't doing much good either-what good is a hidden gauge? With a lot of wires to hook up and run around, a plethora of gauges usually results in a bunch of untidy wiring underdash and in the engine compartment, with a problematic bunch of wires going through the firewall where they can chafe. In our experience, about 70-80 percent of all on-track failures are related to wiring and plumbing issues and, frankly, stringing a bunch of wires around the car makes us nervous; besides, proper wiring is a lot of tedious work.

Ark came to our rescue with its Multi-Function Display (MFD). The MFD can monitor 10 different engine vital signs: boost/vacuum, water temperature, rpm, vehicle speed, throttle position, injector duty cycle, and O2 air/fuel signal through OEM sensor input signals to the vehicle's ECU. The MFD has additional analog inputs using its very accurate standalone sensors for critical functions, like water temperature, oil temperature, and oil pressure. Importantly, the MFD has a peak hold feature and user limit settable warning alarms for monitored parameters. The warning function provides an audible and/or visual notification when a user-defined level is reached. The MFD features an easy-to-read, 2.4-inch wide-screen color TFT display that replaces a huge number of gauges. The MFD offers six different display options where one, two, four, or even eight vehicle vitals can be viewed at a single time, with a choice of a traditional analog meter view or a digital bar graph display.

The MFD wires into the vehicle's engine harness reads the ECU's sensor input directly. We asked Ark why it does this instead of the more common and easier way to monitor sensor functions, which is by plugging into the vehicles OBD-II CANport. Ark says that tapping directly into the sensor wiring gives more accurate and faster readings with less latency, especially on many late model cars where CAN data traffic is very high.