What makes turbocharged race engines so appealing? Actually, it’s rampant power & low maintenance

What makes turbocharged race engines so appealing? Actually, it’s rampant power & low maintenance

By Titus Bloom, Photography by MGI and Pro Line, Ball Ground, Georgia: In the lightning fast drag racing category known as Pro Mod three different types of power units compete: nitrous assisted, supercharged and turbocharged. Pro Line Race Engines are specialists in the latter and they burst upon the drag racing scene like few before it. After frenetic activity over the past nine years, Pro Line not only came under new ownership in 2005 and moved factory from Woodstock to a spacious 24,000sq ft facility in Ball Ground, Georgia in 2011, but also their engines won the NHRA Pro Mod championship in 2012, won Indy in 2011, laid claim to the world’s fastest Pro Mod eighth-mile speed (221mph-3.56secs), and still hold the NHRA quarter-mile ET and speed record when Melanie Troxel recorded 5.77-258.71mph at Englishtown 2011. When Doug Patton (49) and Eric Dillard acquired ownership of Pro Line in 2005, Eric was only 22 years old. He had started three years earlier under Doug as a helper. “He doesn’t have any college training,” says Doug, “but he has a knack for running the business. We currently employ a workforce of around fifteen—seven or eight in the machine shop and seven or eight in the sales offices.” Even though the machine shop maintains the same number of employees, component sales account for eighty percent of their business. How did this come to pass? As the Amish would say, it wonders me. Establishing a niche—the turbo advocate Pro Line specializes mostly in twin turbocharged technology, but more than this they specialize in the complete turn-key combinations, which include the race motor,...
How Stef’s developed first crankcase vacuum pump kits for drag racing engines

How Stef’s developed first crankcase vacuum pump kits for drag racing engines

Written by Moore Good Ink One night in the dyno room at Jenkins Competition in the early 1990s, engine builder Gary Stropko and shop foreman Stevie Johns were discussing the merits of scavenging the gases from John’s Competition Eliminator engine and wondered what might happen if a vacuum could be applied to the crankcase. So they asked Bill, or “Grump” as they called him. “Yeah,” said Grump, “You could take an air injection reaction pump and modify it to create a vacuum.” He went on to describe exactly how to accomplish the task, and Stropko scrupulously followed his advice. “It was worth a ton of power and soon we realized the more vacuum we created, the more power we made,” bridled Stropko. “Moreover, we were able to exploit the advantages of running lighter rings and less ring pressure.” At that time Joe Stefanacci had recently formed Stef’s, specializing in custom and production racing oil pans, a trade that had occupied him since 1974. Joe knew about the crankcase vacuum pump innovation, and asked Bill if he would allow him to build the kits and sell them. But Bill had him sworn to secrecy and asked him to wait a year. One year later Joe again inquired if he could produce the revolutionary kits. Bill said, “Yes,” and Stef’s began developing and supplying the first complete crankcase vacuum pump kits for drag racing engines. Today Stef’s news is of the first complete oil filter adapter kit for LS engines with aftermarket steel oil pans. Like the crankcase vacuum pump kit from the early 1990s, it is unique. Read about Stef’s...
Under Pressure: why hot rod oiling systems fail

Under Pressure: why hot rod oiling systems fail

By Ray T. Bohacz: If a fluid is considered incompressible how does any hydraulic system create pressure? An engine’s oiling system bows to many laws of hydraulics even though the oil is not considered a working fluid. An example of a working fluid is brake fluid, which is used to perform the task of forcing brake pistons against brake discs to retard the motion of a vehicle. Pressure is created in a hydraulic system by limiting or restricting flow. The simple garden hose is the best teacher of this theory. A hose without a nozzle has a high rate of volume pass through it but with negligible pressure. When the nozzle is attached the discharge pressure increases but the rate of flow decreases. The nozzle is a restrictor that varies in orifice size. Thus, a restriction is needed to increase pressure. In a hydraulic system the pressure and flow are inversely connected. System pressure in an engine is used for a number of things: it pushes the oil through the intricate passages so all of the parts can be lubricated. It also creates an oil film between the crankshaft journal and the bearing that prevents the two parts from touching. The oil allows an engine to keep running, avoiding the catastrophe of seizure. Reading the engine oil pressure on a gauge is the cumulative effect of the bearing clearances (both rod and main), the viscosity (thickness of the oil), the length, diameter and surface finish of the oil passages referred to as galleries, along with the output of the pump and the speed of the engine. Most engines employ...
How Kaase created a cylinder head for modern street-strip use

How Kaase created a cylinder head for modern street-strip use

Written by Moore Good Ink. If you were engaged in a conversation with a barmaid and she asked you to illustrate differing valve angles and to explain their relevance in simple terms, you might be challenged. So here’s how it’s done. In addition we depict the cylinder head’s short-turn radius and describe its merits, identify the deck thicknesses and indicate its benefits, and characterize the difference between a standard port and a raised port. Free beers all round please!   Valve angles:  These cutaways provide an invaluable insight into the evolution of Ford Windsor cylinder heads, particularly the induction tracts. At the top a high performance Ford cast-iron GT 40 cross-section is depicted; in the middle the induction section of a high quality 225cc aftermarket cylinder head; and at the bottom Kaase’s innovative P-38. The intake (and exhaust) valve angles of the top and middle examples are inclined to 20 degrees from the deck face whereas the intake valve of the P-38, in contrast, adopts a much reduced angle of 8.5 degrees. Its exhaust valve is set at 10 degrees. Thus all valve tips are inclined inward toward the induction system. However, unlike the top two, the P-38 additionally adopts a cant angle: intake 4.5 degrees and exhaust 4 degrees. This means the tip of the valves also leans either fore or aft (frontward or rearward). Induction shapes It’s odd isn’t it, for you’d think the induction tracts of the top two cutaways offer the fastest route for induction gases traveling to the cylinders? In fact, they probably do just that as eight percent of the gases moving toward...
Torsional vibes break crankshafts!  How could you identify them and, if necessary, eradicate them?

Torsional vibes break crankshafts! How could you identify them and, if necessary, eradicate them?

By: Bertie Scott Brown:  Harmonic balancers dampen torsional crankshaft vibrations and they perform their function adequately on common engines. But if changes are made to the engine, particularly to a racing engine, harmony might be lost. For example, if engine speeds at full throttle are significantly increased, the harmonic balancer could become out of tune. How would you ascertain if threatening torsional vibrations have accompanied the higher revs and how would you measure them? If necessary, how would you eradicate them? This problem is particularly acute on historic and vintage race engines where engine speeds have inevitably increased over time, yet often no provision was made for the harmonic balancer on the original engine. Earlier this year Virkler & Bartlett, (V&B) the accomplished Virginia race engine shop and hard-core problem solvers were invited to analyze potential crankshaft torsional vibrations in a vintage Maserati racing engine. Their calculations anticipated significant fourth order torsional peaks at 7,600rpm and smaller, fifth order peaks at 6,200rpm. What are fourth and fifth order torsional peaks? Camshafts and crankshafts vibrate torsionally (in twist) in the running engine. Camshafts are affected by the forces related to the opening and closing of the valves; crankshafts by the combustion events. As a result twisting deflection occurs in both shafts. Two of the many terms used to define torsional vibration are Frequency and Order. Frequency refers to how many things occur in a period of time; Order by the number of events per crankshaft revolution. If, for example, a rotating shaft is disturbed by two of these vibrations or resonances each revolution, they are defined as second order and...
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