Obituary: Steve McAllister (1956 – 2018)

Obituary: Steve McAllister (1956 – 2018)

By Victor Moore:  The inventor of modern drive plates for boats and dynamometers Steve McAllister died from liver failure at his home in Monroe, Georgia on Saturday, 7 April, 2018. At age 62 he had been in declining health since initially diagnosed with kidney troubles, then more accurately with stage-four prostate cancer in December 2015. Though without pain, his final weeks were disrupted by chemotherapy as the insidious disease invaded his bones. Like many of us, Steve McAllister might have expected his name to sink to oblivion, but as fate would have it he is one of the beloved engineers of our time. An enticing conversationalist and generous friend, it was friendship that structured his life and work, together with an inventiveness and engineering legacy that befits an ingenious career. Born in Glendale, Southern California and growing up in the Sacramento area of Northern California, he returned to Los Angeles after graduating to start his career with Mr. Gasket. Engaged in their Mallory division, his work included productive collaboration with Top Fuel racer Jeb Allen. After marrying in 1979, he joined Cyclone Headers, remaining in California before moving to Speed Distributors Warehouse in Chattanooga, TN in 1981. While there, he represented the firm in outside sales. This period was followed by thirteen-year tenure at Manley Performance as a southeast salesman. It was during this time his passions were stirred by the potential for designing and developing flywheels and drive plates for off-shore powerboats. As a result, he and his wife, Cindy, formed a side business, Innovation Engineering at their Georgia home premises. Says Harold Bettes of Power Technology Consultants:...
We should have done better in promoting it:

We should have done better in promoting it:

Relying on your own initiatives for growth. By Victor Moore:   Writing lives or dies on read times. If you prepare a seven-minute article for your website or general consumption and the average read time reports 2mins 22secs, you lost your reader. You may think you prepared work of value but its value was zero. Time and money wasted. When composing website materials, it’s probably better to omit mission statements and similar content, for few read them. Old-fashioned and usually disingenuous, these types of materials are not just confined to the written word, for videos that contain them are also annoying. One of the most agonizing was produced some years ago by Delta Airlines, whose CEO spoke interminably of his company’s mission and its endless admirable qualities. The captive listener was buckled to a seat with no mute button and no escape. I once observed a woman beating the seat-back monitor with both hands in exasperation. All commercial operations should be aware of the old adage: When a company boasts of its integrity, or a woman of her virtue, avoid the former and cultivate the latter. The better path to creating value is to compose compelling content. Years ago, I asked engine builder Jon Kaase about his topic for the AETC conference at that year’s PRI exhibition. “I’m hoping to tell my audience something they didn’t know before,” he replied. He was right, for in the art of engagement, enlightenment trumps all. And if you can pepper your content with credible testimonials or quotations from noteworthy sources, so much the better. This valuable tool is often neglected as it...
Give it the gas! Why gasoline may be a better choice for your next truck.

Give it the gas! Why gasoline may be a better choice for your next truck.

By: Ray T. Bohacz: As racers and enthusiasts, it is hard to not fall in love with a 900 lb-ft diesel pick-up truck; one that flattens the hills with the goose-neck trailer hitched on the back. But if you are contemplating the purchase of a new tow vehicle for your toys, it may be wise to take a look at today’s gasoline engines. I think their performance will surprise you. Diesel disadvantages The two major obstacles are the upfront cost and the complexity of the emission control systems. Order a diesel in a pick-up truck and you just added around $8,600.00 to the price over its gasoline counterpart. Would that money be spent better elsewhere? In most instances I believe so. What you receive with a diesel is a huge amount of torque over a gasoline engine. Torque is what moves the load. We all “buy” horsepower but “drive” torque. The diesel combustion process allows the cylinder pressure to remain more constant than that of a spark ignited engine. In addition, all pick-up truck diesels are turbocharged. This fills the cylinders with more air, tricking the engine into thinking that it is larger than it really is. Between the combustion characteristics and the forced induction, the diesel is a real torque monster. However, modern gasoline engines have become more powerful and are superior in performance to the diesels used in pick-up trucks just a few years back. Let’s look at a comparison of then and now: 1988 Diesel 1998 Diesel 2018 Gas Ford 188 HP/345 TQ 215 HP/425 TQ 385 HP/430 TQ Chevrolet 160 HP/285 TQ 215 HP/440 TQ...
Oil Leaks, Tuning Issues, and Proper Crankcase Ventilation

Oil Leaks, Tuning Issues, and Proper Crankcase Ventilation

By Gordon Young: Is improper control of blow-by gases in your crankcase causing problems in your engine?  If any of these questions below sound familiar, then read on. “Why does my engine leak oil?  I took care when fitting the gaskets and seals.” “Why do my valve covers persistently display oil around the breathers?” “Why does my car smell oily?” “Why can’t I perfect my idle tuning?” Imagine a small tailpipe constantly pumping combustion byproducts into your engine’s crankcase.  In effect, this is what is happening when your engine is running.  Blow-by gases entering the crankcase by leaking past the pistons and rings during the combustion process need proper evacuation.  If left unchecked, they cause numerous side effects, inducing engine problems that may seem unrelated. Side effect #1:  Crankcase pressure (“My engine leaks oil”) The job of the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system is to remove blow-by gasses from the crankcase by vacuum and recirculate them via the intake manifold to be burned in the engine.  If the engine is producing blow-by gases faster than the PCV system can dispose of them, an increasing surplus becomes trapped in the crankcase, causing excess pressure and, inevitably,  oil leaks.  Even the most carefully sealed gaskets leak when confronted by rising internal crankcase pressure. A properly functioning PCV system will expel the gases from the crankcase faster than the engine produces them.  In addition, the low-level vacuum draws in fresh air to the crankcase from the crankcase breather. In 99% of normal driving conditions, this is how a properly functioning PCV system works. Obviously, the gasket’s job is made easier when the crankcase...
Custom-made billet camshafts:

Custom-made billet camshafts:

A few questions, some interesting answers – By Bertie S. Brown: Most camshafts look indistinguishable from one another—even custom camshafts. “Not mine,” declares blown alcohol pulling tractor champion Mike Wilhite. “Mine are 2.5 inches in diameter.” Wilhite, who runs an engine shop in Bardstown, KY, thirty miles south of Louisville, purchases a 12ft length of 2.5in case-hardened 8620 alloy steel or S7 tool steel bar stock. He then takes the long length of round bar to Russ Yoder at Erson Cams, who makes four camshafts from it. When finish-ground and heat treated, Wilhite installs the custom-made billet camshafts in the engines of his alcohol pulling-tractor customers. Six-cylinder inline engines adapted for pulling tractor competitions begin life as 200hp diesels revving to 1,500rpm, but when increased to 505ci (Light Super Stock) and converted to alcohol and assisted by three turbochargers they generate close to 4,000hp and 7,000rpm. On the topic of pulling tractors, Yoder says, “We’ve made camshafts for 7.8 liter Ford diesels to an A22 International, from Cummins to Walkinshaw, Oliver to Massey Ferguson, Allis Chalmers to antique pulling tractors with engines originating from the 1920s.” Why no shelf stock for the extreme categories? “Its common practice for competition engine builders to increase cam bearing sizes, and our shelf-stock materials accommodate increases of up to 60mm for big-block Chevrolets and also big-block Fords and for some Hemi engines,” says Yoder. “But, beyond this it just isn’t practical to inventory cam cores of such diversity.” Hence, in this regard, Erson identifies the optimum grade of steel required, the customer brings them the appropriate round bar stock (some measuring 70mm), and...
Page 3 of 5212345...102030...Last »