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August 2013 – Page 2 – Moore Good Ink
Induction: How Keith Wilson made bad air flow good

Induction: How Keith Wilson made bad air flow good

By Ben Mozart. Pictures by Moore Good Ink: It’s not inconceivable that the induction system of a four-cycle engine just might be its most complicated component. Keith Wilson made a career of manipulating air flow in racing engines. At 17-years old he was employed at a Florida company called Air Speed Engineering. There he spent ten years porting cylinder heads and intake manifolds. Then in 1985 he branched out on his own and formed Wilson Manifolds. Quickly he seized the opportunity to not only rework cast aluminum intake manifolds but also to explore his theories on cylinder filling in conjunction with induction designs constructed of aluminum sheet metal. As you might expect, these are the fundamentals around which Wilson Manifolds has evolved. Recently we sat down with Keith Wilson to hear his thoughts. He began by explaining the most basic: the carburetor spacer. Wilson maintains, “Good spacers are the least expensive form of tuning hardware known to the racer.” A spacer attaches to the intake manifold between the carburetor and the mounting pad, or more precisely the top of the manifold plenum. The charge (the fuel and air mixed together) exits the throttle body or the carburetor and flows through the spacer into the manifold plenum. From there it’s distributed to the individual runners and onward to the ports of the cylinder head. For the best engine performance, the charge distribution in the manifold needs to be even so that each cylinder not only receives the same mixture strength but also uniform volumetric efficiency. If the distribution is uniform but the emulsification of the fuel (the mixing with air) is uneven, performance...