New head gaskets for racing engines

New head gaskets for racing engines

By Titus Bloom:   Two months ago, in February 2015, JE has announced a new range of multi-layer steel (MLS) cylinder head gaskets for high-performance and racing engines. They are called the JE Pro Series. Originating at the turn of the nineteen-nineties, the unorthodox MLS gasket shook the establishment. Complex and revolutionary by comparison to its forerunner, its fundamental difference was its multi-layer construction—usually consisting of at least three layers. Kentucky-based World Products engine designer, Dick Boyer, says “MLS offer several significant advantages, particularly when situated between two different materials. Dissimilar metals, like a cast-iron block and cast aluminum cylinder head, for example, expand at different rates and the MLS gasket allows more movement than the conventional-style head gasket, because of its multi layer construction.” The conventional gasket is typically composed of a single steel core with paper gasket material attached. The inner portion of the MLS, which is made of stainless steel, serves to provide the finished gasket thickness. It also acts as the layer on which the top and bottom layers press against and, importantly, it contributes to the gasket’s sealing properties. The outer layers, which are also made of tempered stainless steel, feature raised beads or embossments that encircle critical sealing areas particularly the combustion openings and water jacket ports. The spring steel raised beads of the upper and lower layers resist flattening and it is this spring pressure that creates the seal, particularly when the engine is operating. Race engine builder Jon Kaase refers to the unique quality of the MLS gasket as “its springiness”. Unlike the conventional gasket, which cannot expand and contract, the...
Magnetos: several things you should know

Magnetos: several things you should know

Today the remarkable electric Tesla accelerates from zero to 100mph in 8 seconds and runs 250 miles on a charge, such is the progress from industrialist Elon Musk’s unique car company. A century ago the magneto was the star at the rich core of our motive lives.

Ford of 1910: changes to make you ponder

Ford of 1910: changes to make you ponder

Data loosely compiled by Martha Maglone, April 6, 2015: For this Ford of 1910 only 144 miles of paved roads existed in this country. In fact, only 8,000 cars existed in the entire nation, the maximum speed limit in most cities was 10mph and fuel was available from drug stores only. More importantly life expectancy for men was 47 years. In 1910 the average US wage was 22 cents per hour and only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub and 8 percent a telephone. The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year. In 1910 more than 95 percent of all births took place at home. Ninety percent of all doctors had no college education! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned by both press and government as ‘substandard.’ In 1910 eggs cost fourteen cents a dozen and sugar and coffee four and fifteen cents a pound respectively. Most women washed their hair only once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo. There was no such thing as under-arm deodorant or tooth paste. Canada, warm-heartedly, passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering their country for any reason. In 1910 the five leading causes of death were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke In 1910 crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t yet been invented—neither had Mother’s Day nor Father’s Day....
Fancy a quick lap of the Silverstone GP circuit?

Fancy a quick lap of the Silverstone GP circuit?

As Radical’s latest RXC Spyder prototype drew closer to completion, track testing is imminent. Now spring and antiroll bar rates are settled and the damper settings, roll centers and Ackerman angles operating at their optimum, you’ll enjoy sweeping through those ancient curves of Copse, Abbey, Maggott’s and Beckett’s at speeds approaching 125mph. Watch the video: The new Radical RXC Spyder is powered by a 2.9 liter V8. It produces 460hp, weighs a mere 200lbs and transmits its power through an ingenious 7-speed transverse transmission. Visit:...
Camshaft lobe separation angle: what does it mean?

Camshaft lobe separation angle: what does it mean?

By Freddie Heaney: The lobe separation angle of a camshaft is typically determined by the engine’s purpose, its displacement and its compression ratio. A 350cu in oval track racing engine, for example, often runs on a narrow lobe separation angle of 106 degrees. In contrast, a smooth-running high-performance street engine might use a lobe separation angle of 112 to 114 degrees. Five-hundred cubic inch NHRA Pro Stock engines that rev to 11,000rpm operate on 116 degrees and 800-plus cu in Pro Stock Mountain Motors 120 to 122. The lobe separation angle or LSA is the angle in camshaft degrees between the maximum lift points, or centerlines, of the intake and exhaust lobes. It affects the amount of valve overlap; that is the brief period of time when both the intake and exhaust valves are open. A narrower LSA adopts more overlap and with it a lumpier idle and a narrower more specific power band. The narrower separation makes the engine sound choppier. Some engine specialists refer to it as that 106 sound—the NASCAR and short track oval sound where preferred lobe separation is usually specified between 104 and 106 degrees. The primary function of narrow lobe separation is to impel urgent acceleration off the turns when the throttle is opened. A wider LSA, on the other hand, reduces valve overlap, offering better idle and cruising qualities. Supercharged engines typically benefit from a wider LSA because they don’t require as much overlap for exhaust scavenging as does the naturally aspirated engine. “Changing the lobe separation angle,” says Doug Patton of Pro Line Race Engines, “changes the amount of overlap that...
What can we learn from an intelligent belt-drive assembly?

What can we learn from an intelligent belt-drive assembly?

Salina, Kansas: Innovators West has introduced two new belt-drive systems for Ford Windsor 302 or 351 engines. They serve wet- or dry-sump arrangements. One style is equipped with integral side brackets for serious track use, the other without. The side brackets are regarded as unique. They accommodate the mounting of an external oil pump or a vacuum pump or a belt-driven fuel pump, often a requirement for turbo or blower engines. Hole-center spacing is similar to that of the big-block Chevrolet. On drag race cars, external competition pumps are customarily mounted on the 1/4in thick aluminum engine mounting plate, but this is rarely satisfactory as the plate is apt to deflect, resulting in imperfect belt alignment. Besides generating less friction, the essential proposition of a belt-drive system is its ability to maintain precise valve timing, particularly at high engine speeds. It also has the capacity to eliminate harmful harmonics. Acting as a damper, it absorbs vibration and noise transferred from the crankshaft to the valve train, thus guarding against valve train instability. As expected, Innovators West has machined slots in the cam pulley to degree the cam. This simply means that valve timing events can be advanced or retarded, which is convenient during dyno tuning. Significantly, an eccentric idler pulley is supplied to overcome difficulties of tensioning the belt when using different diameter pulleys and compensating for belt stretch over time. The cam pulley, incidentally, is of hard-anodized billet aluminum while the crank pulley is made from heat-treated steel. Both pulleys are machined in a multi-axis lathe in one operation to ensure exact concentricity. In addition, a cam retaining...
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