Prepping for SEMA 2019

This year I will make my way back to the  SEMA show. For the international readers, SEMA is the Specialty Equipment Market Association which has what I believe to be the world’s largest trade show every fall. It is a business to business show to provide product information, skills (seminars), demonstrations and some fun experiences like driving exhibits, builder competitions, etc. It isn’t open to customers or enthusiasts and one needs to go through a company qualification process to be allowed to register.

My first last visit SEMA I was gathering information on dynos and piggyback ECUs. This year I am going in with a much different set of goals. Here is what I hope to look at and why:

  • Nitrous. I really think nitrous can answer the lag issue in with a quick and relatively cheap solution. Compounds sound and look sexy but sizing needs to be correct and the financial outlay can be pretty high depending on the turbos used. Nitrous applied under full throttle with low boost will put extra oxygen into the manifold to burn the fuel. Once the boost is reached, it shuts off and allows the turbo to do its work. I see people mention propane but the problem isn’t power, it is not enough oxygen for fuel!
  • Meth. There are to companies of interest for me. Snow Performance, now owned by Nitrous Express, and AEM. I would like to find the competitive advantages of each. I see meth as a good alternative for the daily drive that may occasionally see higher boost levels and EGT. I don’t see it as a complete solution for the enthusiast with hard-driving habits.
  • Turbo wheels . My first trip to SEMA I saw several manufacturers of wheels in the Performance Pavilion but wasn’t too focused on them. This time I want to see what data they have to warrant their product and the cost to change wheels and balance the turbo. Balancing will be important so I also need to keep my eye out for equipment to do that too. I have looked online and you can spend a small fortune on a machine…
  • Rods. This *may* be the subject of an upcoming blog but for the USA, or western hemisphere customers, acquiring quality rods at an affordable price can be hard to do. I thought I had it all figured out but after most of my rods were sold, I received a Tariff bill (import tax) from FedEx that added 25% to the cost! If I add the tariffs to the cost (which I have done) then add ARP bolt cost, the price becomes a problem. I have already talked to a MAJOR USA rod manufacturer about private labeling rods but I need to start out with an investment over $8,000 and the price will start to approach AutoVerdi. Honestly, I would expect them to be on par with AutoVerdi coming from this manufacturer but hopefully at SEMA I can get some alternatives
  • ECUs. I still expect to get into a gas engine one day so I will drop by all the ECU booths I walk through to see what they have.
  • Turbos. Cummins/Holset, Borg Warner, and Garrett will also get my attention so I can get some basic product knowledge
  • Mahle & NPR.  I would like to see why I cannot purchase some parts available in the European divisions here in the USA.

Right now that is the shortlist of objectives for vendors. I have also booked a ton of seminars as well as reserved my spot in the SEMA Ignite show at the conclusion of SEMA. During the show, I hope to do some highlight videos at various booths but it is hard with all the people. I think there were around 80k participants when I went in 2017!


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