Why it’s important to keep the pin spinning: In each firing cycle the piston pin carries the weight of the entire car

By Titus Bloom, October 13, 2014 Race engine progress follows a basic pattern: As power increases, problems emerge and as the ingenuity of the race engineer solves them other problems appear. Race engines operate in a state of perpetual crisis. In the 1970s Top Fuel cars generated 2,500 to 3,000hp today they make 8,000 to 10,000hp. To get from 2,500 to 10,000hp a lot of problems needed solutions. When Trend Performance introduced its tool steel TP-1 piston pin in early 2013, first to drag racing’s Top Fuel teams and subsequently to all other engine categories generating big power, it possessed several attributes that weren’t easily copied. “Most people don’t realize that during the firing cycle of one cylinder the piston pin carries the weight—the mass and momentum—of the whole car and drives it forward,” says Michael Giannone, founder of MGP connecting rods. But beyond its strength and toughness, derived from its unique mix of materials, the TP-1 possesses a further intriguing element—its ability to spin reliably. The late Bill Jenkins once told Giannone, the irrepressible 25-year veteran of the competition con rod business, that the pin spins at around 2,000rpm during valve overlap. “We don’t know how Bill knew this,” says Giannone, “but we do know that when the pin stalls you destroy the connecting rod and piston. Typically, Bill allocated around 0.020in end-play and precise concentricity to ensure his pins wouldn’t stall. Pin spin is probably caused by the orbital path and oscillation of the big-end “If the concentricity between the pin’s inner diameter and outer diameter is not held to close tolerances, the pin becomes slightly eccentric...
Engine blocks have changed, so have cylinder honing practices

Engine blocks have changed, so have cylinder honing practices

Here’s how to apply new procedures and gain power By Alfie Bilk, September 2014: In the past two decades the metallurgy in engine blocks has changed—and not by a small amount. Cylinders are now much harder and with modern honing practices they accommodate rings that are much thinner, lighter, and lower in tension—often with exotic coatings. In addition lubricating oils have been modified significantly to reduce friction and viscosity. All of this has contributed to new power generated by the engine block, but to take advantage of it, new honing procedures have to be adopted. The techniques employed for the past twenty years are rapidly becoming unsustainable. Read the full story courtesy of Street Fords magazine by clicking...

Shifty Mach l. Power increase demands quick clutch upgrade

Written by Titus Bloom, September 2014 In its eleventh year, Gary Winter’s ’03 Mustang Mach I received a clutch upgrade. Nothing very remarkable there, you might think, as engine power increases so, too, must clutch holding power. Nor is the job arduous; that is if you have access to a lift and a transmission jack. At MV Performance the able Jason Carr completed the upgrade in around two and a half hours. Read the complete story courtesy of Drag Racer magazine by clicking...

Unwelcome drama for Speed Demon: ill-fated tumble on Salt Flats

By Archie Bosman, October 24, 2014 Bonneville, UT: On September 12, 2014 while hurtling along the Bonneville Salt Flats about three miles from the starting point, the intrepid George Poteet lost control of the Speed Demon, which flew 550ft distance before crash-landing on its side. Though bruised, the Land speed record holder Poteet was unhurt. At the time of the incident the vehicle’s wheel speed indicator revealed a velocity of 370mph. Given that the twin-supercharged V8 Speed Demon spins its wheels under acceleration up to and beyond 400mph, tail-wagging is the constant plight. The trick is to introduce the motive power to the salt surface as gently as possible. Of the three engines available to power the car on this occasion, it was running the one generating the most torque. In common with this year’s Bonneville Speed Week, which was cancelled a month earlier due to extensive rainfall, the September FIA meeting didn’t materialize either and instead was reduced to a test-and-tune session. Though conditions had improved the Speed Demon needs 12 miles of satisfactory surface on which to operate.   So the plan was to run the car up to around 450mph over 5.5 miles. Then deploy both parachutes, using the remaining two miles to bring it to a stop, and monitor the data acquired. In the event, no engine or drive train damage was sustained, although the bodywork and chassis didn’t fare so well. Significantly, discussions regarding upgrading the car had been on-going for a year. Now as a result of the accident, the decision about how to proceed will be taken in about a month’s time....