New belt-drive assemblies for big-block Ford engines

Innovators West has revealed details of its new belt-drive assembly for big-block Ford 385 series engines. The hallmarks of a competent belt-drive assembly are to generate less friction; effectively dampen adverse harmonics before they reach the valve train; maintain precise valve timing, particularly at high engine speeds; and demonstrate convenience in valve timing adjustments. The Innovators West new belt drive assembly distinguishes itself by not only accomplishing all these familiar requirements but also makes it available in two indispensable forms: one style is equipped with integral side brackets for serious track use, the other without. The side brackets are regarded as unique. Provided with big-block Chevrolet hole spacing, they accommodate motor plates, power steering pump, alternator, crank trigger as well as external oil pump or a vacuum pump or a belt-driven fuel pump, often a requirement for turbo or blower engines. 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. An adjustable drive-belt idler is included to allow for precise adjustment of drive belt tension. This is important when taking into account the production tolerances of new belts and the re-tensioning of used belts. The crankshaft pulley is made from heat-treated steel and the cam pulley hard-anodized billet aluminum. For concentricity, both pulleys are machined in one operation in a multi-axis lathe. Also, a cam retaining plate is provided with two encased roller bearings—one operates between camshaft and plate, the other between cam pulley and plate. Optional high-vacuum seals, alloy steel drive hub, and camshaft drive adapter... read more

Ryan Hunter and his hunt to perfect the MLS gasket

By Titus Bloom: SCE Gaskets, headed by Ryan Hunter, recently introduced a new line of MLS (multi-layered steel) cylinder head gaskets that extend to 14 applications with plans to expand LS coverage and to penetrate the Ford Modular ranks. The starting point, he explains, involves forming embossments in the outer stainless steel plates. “The coolant seal is a less aggressive ‘Z’ shape; combustion seal is formed into an inverted ‘U’ shape capable of sealing much higher pressures. My job as a gasket designer,” Hunter says, “is to calculate the clamp load generated by the total number of cylinder head bolts and direct it to where it needs to go, seal embossment shape is a key part of that process. “Combustion pressures are typically between 1600 and 1800psi in a naturally aspirated high performance engine, but less than half-inch away I’ve got 22 to 45psi coolant pressures. In round numbers, 10 head bolt fasteners generate around 100,000lb of total clamp load. What I need to do is to make 60,000lb available to seal the combustion pressures—thereby devoting 40 percent of the clamping pressure to coolant sealing.” The manufacturing process for the MLS gaskets is thus: embossing the sealing areas, cutting to shape and then stress-relieving. If stress relieving isn’t executed at this stage, the embossments tend to revert to their original shape. Stress relieving after forming normalizes the stainless steel plates in their embossed shape resulting in increased spring pressure against the block and head at the seal location. The increased spring pressure – or memory – retains seal integrity during lateral movement between cylinder head and block that occurs... read more

Wilwood Named as a Series Sponsor with ChumpCar

Wilwood Disc Brakes has teamed up with ChumpCar International, Inc. as a Series Sponsor in 2016. Building on ChumpCar’s abundant racing success, Wilwood has announced a new partnership with the endurance racing specialists, supporting their enduro efforts at more than 40 events annually across four divisions (East, West, Central and Canada). In addition to being listed as a series sponsor, Wilwood will provide contingency ($100 product certificates) to competitors at every ChumpCar event. Each competitor will be required to run at least two Wilwood contingency decals on the sides of their competition vehicles. “ChumpCar’s approach is simple; it provides an affordable series for the ‘average Joe’ that loves driving fast and it operates without gimmicks and high price tags,” says Steve Cornelius, Director of Sales and Marketing at Wilwood Engineering. “Wilwood has been creating race- and championship-winning road racing products for decades. Partnering with a series like ChumpCar is a perfect fit for Wilwood. We look forward with enthusiasm to providing its competitors with support and guidance to choose the right brake application no matter experience level or budget.” Click here for the full 2016 schedule and to register for an upcoming event.... read more

Phoenix Systems and Ford-Branded Brake Fluid Test Strips

Probably the most implausible aspect of the Phoenix Systems test strips is why auto shops have taken so long to grasp the innovation. A brake strip check takes seconds to conduct. It confirms the health of the brake fluid, brings peace of mind to the motorist, and often introduces new business to the shop. But now Ford brings refreshing stimulus…   Phoenix Systems has just announced a licensing agreement to produce and market Ford-branded brake fluid test strips. The most interesting aspect of the test strips is the innovative thinking behind them. Though automobile brake lines are made of steel their bores are coated with copper, which eventually deteriorates and contaminates the fluid. The test strip alerts you to the degree of contamination, if any. A brake fluid test strip takes seconds to conduct, provides proof of a needed brake fluid service and often results in additional business for a shop. If, indeed, the fluid needs to be renewed there’s the added benefit that, during the process, evidence of frozen calipers, torn seals or seized ABS units might be detected and addressed. Brake fluid is regularly renewed in race cars, particularly road race cars though less so in passenger cars. However, the practice toward regular checks is gaining ground. Motivated by a simple color test that takes approximately 60 seconds to mature, it provides a visual indication of brake fluid health. Phoenix developed the Ford product with the understanding that the brake fluid test needed to show the exact condition of brake fluid—no more guessing. Changing brake fluid when appropriate halts corrosion, extends the life of brake parts and... read more

How two valves working in tandem prevent crisis

Nitrous Supply’s latest developments. By Alfie Bilk: The long 5/8in OD supply tube extends down into the nitrous oxide cylinder, its flared end reaching within 5/8in of the cylinder floor. Like a velocity stack the 45-degree flare is formed because fluids or air don’t react well to deviating more than 15 degrees says Nitrous Supply’s Mike Flynn. “If we left it squared-off, the flow in the tube would be adversely affected”. Their valve, he claims, has the highest flow of any valve you can put in a nitrous bottle, so forming the bell mouth at its entry helps smooth the flow and uses the full capacity of the tube. The supply tube is connected to the bottle valve which, in turn, is connected to the nitrous oxide bottle or cylinder via a number 8 fitting. The seal between the two components is aided by a white Teflon® O-ring. On one side of the bottle valve a pressure relief device is positioned. Sometimes known as the racers’ safety valve, it is an emergency mechanism that vents dangerously high-pressure gases into a tube through its nozzle end. Set to deploy should the cylinder pressure escalate to 2700psi, the vent tube, which is connected to the safety device by a -8AN fitting, is routed outside the vehicle. Recently, the nozzle of the safety device has evolved and now features four 3/32in holes rather than one large hole. The four holes act as an effective diffuser should pressure build and activate the emergency relief mechanism. In dire circumstances, one hole can be potentially dangerous suggests, Mike Flynn. What would cause the pressure relief device... read more

EPA threatens ruin to motor sports

About twenty days have passed since three SEMA delegates paid a visit with two senior EPA enforcement officers in Washington DC.  SEMA had uncovered a few sentences buried in a 630-page document and was seeking clarification. The document related mostly to the emissions of heavy-duty on-road diesel vehicles but also included further proposals that would have extraordinary ramifications to our aftermarket industry. The EPA’s current interpretation of the Clean Air Act is thus: any vehicle that conformed to emission compliance when constructed but is now out of compliance is in violation. The SEMA representatives asserted their disagreement and informed them that their opposition would be robust. Four days later a conference call was made to several heads of state. The callers included approximately twenty associates from our industry, including those representing SEMA, NASCAR, NHRA, IMSA, and original equipment manufacturers. Currently, SEMA is seeking legislative relief and considering judicial relief in the courts if necessary. When they released their petition earlier this week, SEMA’s goal was to obtain 100,000 signatures. By Wednesday evening, numbers had exceeded 119,000. In the hope of ending these destructive policies, please go to the Click here! request below and add your signature.     SEMA has issued a press release informing the public that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aiming to make it illegal to convert automobiles originally designed for on-road use into racecars, even though such conversions have been made for decades.  Under the EPA’s proposed rule, it would also be illegal to sell any performance-related products for those cars.  The EPA’s proposal would have a devastating impact on motorsports since many types of... read more

How hospitality wins the day: Stroke of marketing genius

By Vic Moore: There are many things for which the 2016 MPMC conference will be remembered: the fact that I didn’t have my accommodation at the host hotel booked on time, which caused me to encamp around the back at the Best Western—saving $200! Or the fact that my visitation card had pegged its limit at 42 meetings over the three-day conference—a convention held each January in Orange County, California by the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council, where 100 of our finest innovative companies meet the media. But no; for hospitality one meeting overwhelmed all others. Who could forget the welcome as Autometer’s irrepressible Joseph Mills allowed us to settle in then proffered a glass of Jack Daniels? Furthermore, the grateful recipients automatically became the fortunate winners of a prize. Momentarily, mine was a battery charger until an opportunist, mentioning no names—MONGOOSE McEWEN— deftly reached forward and snatched the spoils, saying his need was more profound than mine! But who could argue with hospitality that energizes the relationship, rejuvenates the day and, no doubt, assisted several imbibers through their afternoons!   Tach season is upon us – generous discounts always leaves favorable impression with racers There are few things more recognizable in the performance world than an AutoMeter tach. From the legendary Monster Tach to the highly advanced Ultimates, their mark on the racing world is undeniable. During the months of February and March, AutoMeter is making this essential piece of equipment even more affordable with their Tachs Season Rebate Special. Simply purchase any AutoMeter tachometer from an authorized retailer before April 1st, and you’re eligible for rebate savings of... read more

Kaase revives Ford FE

Some recent production at Jon Kaase Racing Engines included the building of several impressive Ford FE hot-rod engines, not least of which a beguiling Cammer version.

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NHRA changes for 2016

By Martha Maglone NHRA moves from ESPN to Fox Sports 1 This year, NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will be broadcast on Fox Sports1 (FS1), which will cover sixteen events throughout the season. On the Thursday following each national event, Fox Sports 2 (FS2) will air a one-hour program of select races during prime time from 9 to 10pm. Also, FS1 will re-air the one-hour telecast within three days of the original FS2 broadcast. To find Fox Sports’ channel listings click here. Good news for Funny Car In 2016 NHRA will celebrating the Funny Car’s 50th anniversary. A season-long campaign, it will include bringing special attention to those who drove the cars, recalling their greatest duels, featuring the most dynamic cars of the era and explaining the evolution of the class. Mike Dunn Recently the IHRA appointed Mike Dunn as President. A former successful race driver and team organizer, Dunn had acted as the NHRA’s on-air analyst for the past 14 years and represented the countenance of major league professional drag racing for ESPN. Dunn is replaced by two-time Funny Car national champion, Tony... read more

How to sell your wares

By Martha Maglone: Each January, 100 manufacturers of high-performance and racing parts are introduced to the media over a 3-day period at the MPMC conference (Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council). Held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Santa Ana near the John Wayne Airport in California’s Orange County, the MPMC, a SEMA-based organization initiated in 1998 and now in its nineteenth successive year, brings unique opportunities for both parties. Media members, editors and publishers, visit with up to 14 exhibitors each day of the conference, culminating in as many as 42 meetings throughout the three days. For their part, media members have experienced momentous disorder among their ranks in the past two decades and widespread cash flow problems at its core have strained staff loyalty. It would be easy to become disillusioned. Yet our auto racing and aftermarket media, while not quite in its full flower of yesteryear, appears positive. With good reason, the manufacturers have sustained momentum despite the proclamations of our political analysts. Successive governments, they contend, have failed to recognize the effects of globalization since the 1970s and as a result our middle class has been devastated and thus their spending power vastly reduced through wage stagnation. No doubt our market isn’t as vibrant as in previous times but it’s unlikely that globalization is cause for concern. Ours is a relatively low-volume highly specialized industry and therefore has been sheltered from the detrimental effects of global intervention so far. And so it was, the manufacturers arrived in force with their latest products on display and key personnel on hand to provide technical details and background information. Private,... read more

Air Flow Research (AFR) at MPMC

Chris Sperling and Tim Torrecarion of Air Flow Research introduced three new products:   BBF cylinder head 270, 285, 300cc – intake runner volume 390CFM – 427CFM – depending upon intake runner size 85cc or 75cc – combustion chambers .250in raised exhaust – available for 285cc and 300cc heads Starting at $2099 a pair – fully assembled  BBF intake manifold Clover leaf design Equalized runner lengths Port shape matched to BBF heads 4150 or 4500 carburetor flange available Starting at $348  18-degree BBC head – Circle Track and Drag Racing 510cfm at .900” lift 457cc intake runner volume Valve Sizes – 2.400in intake, 1.800in exhaust Raised exhaust port Approx. 95cc-97cc combustion chambers Copper seats Titanium retainers Triple valve springs Expected Release Date Summer 2016 Pair, fully assembled – Pricing: To Be Determined   Air Flow Research Valencia, California www.airflowresearch.com Tel (661)... read more

Blueprint Engines at MPMC

Blueprint introduced their new 400cid Chevrolet-based engine. It features a cast-iron block, aluminum heads, hydraulic roller cam, roller lifters, oil pan, chrome-plated valve covers and ships with individual dynamometer results. As the 400 nomenclature suggests, these engines are equipped with bigger main-bearing journals and available in five configurations: The base engine combines a cast-steel crankshaft and Hypereutectic pistons, produces 460hp / 470lbs ft torque and costs $4,999. Top of the line unit uses forged crankshaft, forged pistons, forged connecting rods, produces 508hp / 473lb ft torque and costs $ 7,454   BluePrint Engines Kearney, Nebraska www.blueprintengines.com Tel (800)... read more