Minimizing spark scatter in the Vintage race engine

Minimizing spark scatter in the Vintage race engine

By Sam Logan Photography by Moore Good Ink & V&B Engines Often Vintage racing engines exhibit excessive spark scatter caused by torsional vibration in the distributor drive system. To correct it Virkler & Bartlett adds a miniature flywheel to the system. They mold a series of rubber couplers with a range of Shore A hardness, which allows them to tune the system. Note rubber coupler glued within steel ring.       How to get the best from a Vintage engine ignition system Chatham, Virginia:Vintage racers are often forced to live with points-and-coil ignition. But the most successful know the shortcomings of the ignition system and have it corrected. For the past forty years or so electronic ignition has been the standard, but most Historic race cars produced before the 1970s are equipped with something other. Unfailingly, coil-and-points ignition systems work best when optimized mechanically and electrically. But how is it achieved? Vintage racers seem to run a little faster each year, and as compression ratios and engine speeds creep up, deficiencies in points-and-coil ignition systems can precipitate the perfect storm of performance problems. Background Just over one hundred years ago, the brilliant engineer Charles Kettering invented the ubiquitous battery-powered “points-and-coil” ignition system that first appeared on the 1910 Cadillac. Remarkably, it was used in most cars until the mid-1970s. An engine-driven mechanical cam operated a set of breaker points, switching electrical current to the coil which converted it to high voltage required to fire spark plugs. A rotor within the distributor routed high-voltage impulses to the correct spark plug. The condenser had the dual function of extending the...
HydraMat: Why expectations in fuel delivery are about to change

HydraMat: Why expectations in fuel delivery are about to change

By Ben Mozart: Bowling Green, KY: Holley’s new patent-pending HydraMat fuel system is unique. It can deliver the last droplet of fuel in a tank or cell through the introduction of two clever principles: fluid wicking and surface tension. The term surface tension refers to sealing the tiny pores of the HydraMat media with fuel in the same way water clings to the fine mesh of a screen door. This has the rewarding effect of accumulating and sequestering fuel in the reservoir, delaying any vapor intrusion until the fuel supply is exhausted. Wicking symbolizes capillary action, which promotes liquid flow in narrow spaces and small diameter tubes. Capillary action is impressive because the flow is unassisted; it even defies gravity. As a result it invests the HydraMat with the ability to draw fuel from any area that has contact with it. Designed to operate in stock fuel tanks or racing cells, HydraMat’s shapes and sizes vary from a single section to cross sections and from square- to rectangular-shaped mats. Obviously, its attributes are indispensible during low-fuel conditions and on inclines where fuel runs away from the pick-up. But also it is highly effective under hard cornering, acceleration and braking. Some years ago I remember the mood of an indignant racer robbed of a Daytona victory. When the car raced along the 31-degree banking the fuel supply was satisfactory but on the flat section as it approached the last corner on the last lap it died! Source: Holley Performance Products 1-866-464-6553 HydraMat info click...
Of five major threats to a clutch system, what would you consider the most forbidding?

Of five major threats to a clutch system, what would you consider the most forbidding?

Archie Bosman: As you sit quietly reading these lines, a whirl of activity is taking place in the bell housing. Let’s imagine for a moment the clutch assembly could express its greatest anxiety, what might it be? Might it be the use of excessively harsh friction compounds on the clutch discs or inadequate clamping forces causing slippage? Perhaps, extremely sticky tires are the main threat? Enumerating the cardinal sins: Apparently ‘no’, according to Ram Clutches none of these represent its greatest fear…its principal concern would be mass—that is the weight of the car carried into motion by the clutch. A heavier vehicle imposes a greater load on the clutch system than a lighter one. Further perils include poor gearing, improper flywheel mass and, indeed, sticky tires. A high performance car with an inadvisably high rear-gear requires more manipulating of the clutch pedal to prevent it from slipping than one with a lower gear. A higher first gear (lower numerically) is also problematic as it, too, imposes a greater load on takeoff and, furthermore, can be detrimental to the clutch even when it is fully engaged. Linked closely with high first-gear ratio deficiencies is the flywheel. The purpose of the flywheel is to create inertia, which refers to preserving a state of uniform motion that helps to get the car moving. A heavier flywheel generates more inertia and thus makes it easier to accelerate from standstill. It also reduces clutch slipping on takeoff. On the other hand, with a properly geared vehicle, that is one with an appropriately low gear that invites the use of a light flywheel, it will...
How to find a vacuum leak in a gasoline engine

How to find a vacuum leak in a gasoline engine

Ray Bohacz is a journalist in the automotive field and author of CarTech’s book “How to tune and win with Demon Carburetion”. He is also a monthly contributor to Hemming’s Muscle Machines magazine. Additionally, Ray writes short articles for the agriculture industry and is featured in a series of videos as the SF (Successful Farming) Engine Man. His videos are short, informative features which apply to both farm and automotive equipment. Here Ray shows you how to find a vacuum leak in a gasoline...
Pressing on in difficult circumstances: the trouble with racers

Pressing on in difficult circumstances: the trouble with racers

By Vic Moore: ChumpCar has been a well-head of cost-effective endurance competition for the road racer since its founding in 2009. It introduces hours of valuable road racing experience with a special emphasis on long distance driving and affordability. The race cars are converted road-going machines mostly from the nineteen-eighties and nineties with strict cost limits in place to control spending. Competitive Dirt Late Model race cars often consume four sets of expensive racing tires on a weekend unlike ChumpCars that typically run two endurance races on one set of tires by rotating them. The principal safety measure consists of a specified roll bar structure. On the first Saturday of summer, I had come to Atlanta Motorsports Park. A mere seven miles from our office, I was there to compete with the Borg Warner team from Asheville, North Carolina in a 12-hour race organized by ChumpCar rival World Racing League. AMP’s compact 2-mile course is one of contrast. A short straight that runs past the start-and-finish line connects a seemingly unending sequence of undulating third and fourth gear corners. In my ignorance I had wondered why so many drivers missed their apex at Turn One. Now I understood: situated on falling ground it’s almost impossible to see and appraise the tricky turn from a low racing seat! On this occasion five of us would take the wheel of a 1984 Mazda RX7. For the Borg Warner team, who thrive on five or six endurance races each year, preparations had come together by the barest of margins. During Friday testing with ambient temperatures nearing three figures and humidity levels similar,...
Kaase abandons traditional two-piece big-block rear main seal

Kaase abandons traditional two-piece big-block rear main seal

∇ New one-piece seal conceived for use on Ford 429-460 big-blocks; Boss Nine; and P51 engines ∇ Simple assembly; reliable service ∇ See installation sequence below Winder, Georgia: Without wishing to diminish the performance of any current rear main seal for the Ford 385-series engines, Jon Kaase wanted more. “We had to go out of our way to find it,” he says. “In fact, we had to go out of the country—to England—to get the quality we were searching for.” Using the same manufacturing source as the Sprint Cup teams and following several years of testing, the seal makers produced the tooling, the prototype seals and now the production items exclusively for Kaase. This new seal is a one-piece device that replaces the conventional two-piece arrangement. On its face there is a dot—a small indentation—that represents the exact place to cut the seal with a razor blade for installation. Once cut, the seal can be wrapped around the crank and a daub of silicone sealer placed in the joint. Before lowering the crank into the crankcase, apply a light film of silicone to the outer perimeter surface of the seal and rotate the joint such that it is positioned in the main cap. There are numerous causes for rear main seals that leak: insufficient lubrication at the sealing lip edge, shaft roughness, lip hardening, lip softening and so on. But what offends the racers and hot rodders most is the indignity of having to do the job twice, which is often a day wasted if the oil pan cannot be removed without raising the engine half-way out of the...