Yoder on the foolish selection of aggressive camshafts, roller lifter failures, and valve springs

The primary reason for selecting an aggressive camshaft profile is to bolster the inefficiencies of a cylinder head. The more aggressive the cam profile, the more spring loading is required to keep the lifter in contact with the lobe. Aggressive cam profiles are generally judged unnecessary for use with efficient cylinder heads.   For this reason, we favor returning to established profiles because they are less abusive on valve springs. Given an efficient cylinder head, a milder profile camshaft will make just as much horsepower. The proof of this is easily demonstrated by back-to-back dyno testing.   Roller lifter failures: Inadequate valve springs are the major cause of roller lifter failures. They enfeeble the valve train, allowing the lifters to be thrown over the nose of the cam lobes, damaging or crushing their needle roller bearings on the impact of landing. If stronger spring loadings are necessary and the durability of the needle rollers is in doubt, use roller lifters with bushings instead of needle bearings. Beehive valve springs: A Beehive valve spring resembles the shape of a whiskey barrel. These springs are frequently used in applications where clearance is at a premium, usually between the underside of the rocker arm and the outer edge of the spring retainer. They are also desirable in the quest for lighter moving parts. The Beehive’s narrow top end adopts a smaller retainer, thus achieves a lighter spring assembly.   Beehive springs are commonly used on late-model Ford and LS road-going engines. The LS factory-spec camshaft opens the valves to around 0.530in. Given its stock 1.7:1 rocker ratio, Erson’s aftermarket camshafts with 0.340in... read more

Valve springs, valve clearance, bounce, float, and surge: A few helpful details

By Archie Bosman: Valve springs have two primary tasks: first, to close the valve after the camshaft opens it and, second, to maintain proper valve clearance, also known as valve lash. Why valve clearance is required for solid tappets (lifters) Valve clearance, or tappet clearance, is the gap between the tip of the valve and the rocker arm when a solid lifter is positioned on the base circle of the camshaft. This clearance accommodates thermal expansion created by engine heat. Metal expansion rates differ between the block, heads, pushrods, valves, etc., and a gap commensurate with the collective expansion is set accordingly. Exhaust valve clearance is often greater than that of the intake valve as it runs hotter and, therefore, grows in length, reducing valve clearance. Unlike solid tappets, hydraulic systems operate with zero clearance. Inadequate clearance As the valve seat wears, the valve moves slightly upward in the cylinder head, reducing valve clearance. If clearance vanishes and the valve does not close fully, compression is lost. Furthermore, escaping hot combustion gasses burn the valve head. Similarly, when combustion occurs on race engines, heat and pressure can distort the valve head, cupping it and pushing the valve upwards through its seat, thus consuming some of its clearance. On overhead cam engines, which have fewer valve train components to absorb deflection during combustion, the effect of lost clearance can be evidenced by a little shock imprint on the camshaft’s base circle caused by the lifter. Excessive clearance In contrast, excessive clearance is detrimental to the entire valve train. As the bigger gap builds momentum, the rocker pounds the valve tip.... read more

Developing Benetton’s F1 Active suspension system

By Dave Hamer: I joined Benetton in 1988 when they decided to create an R&D department to support their Formula One active suspension ambitions. Both Lotus and Williams had already seized the moment, pushing well ahead with similar programs. Though Benetton was also running an Active test car, they employed a staff of only 80, considerably fewer than the other leading teams. The initial system was developed using various Citroen hydraulic parts, including accumulators and a pressure control valve. The hydraulic power was generated by a Sunstrand gear pump, similar to the high pressure oil pump of a central heating boiler, which Lotus also used at the time. However, these pumps were barely adequate for F1 use; operating at 2,000psi-plus, they required constant attention. The events that led to Benetton’s active suspension and the system’s major components The advent of aerodynamics and particularly ground-effect brought new challenges to suspension design. Ground-effect relied on the car running at a low consistent ride height and, as such, generated huge downforce and cornering power. Notably, spring rates had increased to 3,000lb/in., making the suspension almost solid. Yet due to tyre squash, the car’s ride height still changed with the car’s speed and its mechanical grip was poor. The solution came in the form of new technology known as Active suspension, which replaced the springs and dampers (mostly coil-over-shocks) and anti-roll bars with hydraulic actuators (rams) controlled by a computer. The system employed a pump to provide the pressurised fluid which was piped to a computer-driven valve (a moog servo valve) at each corner of the car. This either directed fluid to the... read more

How Kaase’s 2017 EMC-winning engine proved a point:

This two-paragraph brief from engine builder Jon Kaase was uncovered during our research of the more extensive accompanying article on valve springs, valve clearance, bounce, float and surge.   Excessive valve spring pressure and its effect on lifters  By Alfie Bilk   Excessive valve spring pressure is detrimental to power production, as it creates more friction on the lifters. “On my last year’s Edsel EMC contender,” recalls Kaase,” I had single conical springs and noticed the intake adopting a rhythm and floating the valves about 6,000rpm.  So, I installed stronger springs and lost 15hp. I speculated the deficiency may involve the intake valves only, and I put the weak springs back on the exhaust, as those valves are smaller and lighter, and the engine picked up 7hp.”   Most of the power losses implicated by the use of stronger springs are caused by lifter friction. “The stronger the spring,” he explains, “the harder it is to raise the lifter. Even though you get some of it back when it’s closing, you are pushing it sideways against the lifter bore. This sideways force is called the pressure angle. A flat tappet is less threatened than a roller lifter. In the case of the roller lifter, you impose all kinds of pressure on the sides of the lifter bores. So the more spring pressure you apply the more power it consumes. Cup car teams learned these lessons and, as a matter of course, run light valves and light spring pressures.”   To read the about Kaase’s 2017 EMC winning engine click here.   Source Kaase Racing Engines, Inc. 735 West Winder... read more

Resurrected from the depths after 34 years.

By Freddie Heaney:   Donald Campbell’s 300mph record-breaking jet-powered hydroplane, Bluebird K7, has been rebuilt. The vessel was salvaged in March 2001 from the bottom of Lake Coniston, in Cumbria, England, following Campbell’s fatal crash in 1967. It is now readied for testing. Forty-five year-old Campbell died when the 12-year-old watercraft became airborne, back-flipped, crashed and partially disintegrated. Campbell had been travelling at over 300mph in an attempt to break his own 276mph water-speed record. Two months after raising the remains of the Bluebird, in May 2001, Campbell’s body was discovered still wearing his blue nylon overalls. The Bluebird restoration project was undertaken by a team of volunteers from Tyneside in the northeast of England and led by diver and engineer Bill Smith. The restored craft, which has already traveled at 100mph on Loch Fad on the Isle of Bute near Glasgow, Scotland, is currently undergoing tests for water tightness and its ability to withstand wave buffeting. Smith said, “We’ve been 15 years in the rebuild – five years of stripping, cataloging, and cleaning, and ten years since setting the craft’s first rivet. Once these tests are completed, there’s the hope the Bluebird will be showcased at speed back in Cumbria.” The son of British speed record breaker of the 1920s and ‘30s Sir Malcolm Campbell, Donald set eight world speed records in the 1950s and 60s–seven on water and one on land. He remains the only person to accomplish both world land and water speed records in the same year (1964). In 1960 at the Bonneville Salt Flats, he was hospitalized with a fractured skull and burst eardrum... read more

Sig Erson: the rise of an unusual mind

This story languished for a month, at least; materials revealing the timeless technique of racing camshaft development seemed obscure and far away.  Then Californian Lyle Larson, the accomplished former drag racer, emerged with illuminating experiences from the nineteen-sixties and -seventies that we feared had been lost. Two weeks later, we found Steve Tanzi near Lake Tahoe with a further treasure trove of material, turning possibility into reality, especially during the 1990s and early years of this century.  More recently, Erson’s Jack McInnis discovered some wonderfully evocative printed materials and photographs that illustrate much of what has long been relevant to hot rodders and motor racers and like-minded persons.     By Sam Logan.   Five and a half decades ago, in 1963, the shop foreman at Isky Racing Cams in Los Angeles departed to form his own camshaft company. He called it Sig Erson Racing Cams. He orchestrated its agenda, and he led its pursuits until he sold it in 1982. In business, his central aim was inseparably linked to the tricky concept of keeping his customers and distributors happy. In outdoor activities, Erson was unusually adventurous and in practical terms, particularly in surviving the austerity of desert life, he was unsurpassed. In his youth, there were periods when he lived on the beach by himself and could readily sleep beneath the night skies unperturbed. In Mexico’s austere landscapes, both mountainous and arid, he would embark alone on an entire Baja 1000 pre-race reconnaissance. In spending his nights in the barren wilderness, he was undismayed by the threat of being stranded or perishing on the vast, silent desert soil... read more

Tom “Mongoose” McEwen

By V. Moore: Tom McEwen was a rare bird: he had an intelligent, productive mind, a gambler’s nerve, and a dependable nature. Remembered for his lack of envy and guile, he was one of the most popular and charismatic personalities in US drag racing. More importantly, his horizon extended beyond the dollar bill. He kept racehorses, as many as twenty, and though some were uncompetitive he cherished them anyway. During his heyday with Coors sponsorship, he had earned between 3 and 4 million dollars a year. Yet, on the topic of finances he described himself as “not too reliable”. On matrimony: “not easy to live with day in and day out.” On diet constraints, where his compulsive nature was well known, he regarded himself as, “on the goofy side—impossible to control.” On the topic of Prudhomme and others, he would warn: “By nature, racers are self-centered and often ruthless, at least most of the successful ones. To sustain relationships in professional racing, you have to bite your lip often.” And, on plotting a successful career, he reiterated Sam Clemens: “The trick in getting ahead is getting started.” His darkest hours came with the appalling tragedies of his two sons; Jamie died at the age of 13 of leukemia and Joey at 35 as a result of a car collision. No miracle of thrift was McEwen, and he consequently toiled with financial burdens and also with family troubles during his final years. Though, occasional mutterings would escape from his gloomy heart, he tried valiantly to ease his life’s increasingly complicated circumstances. Born in Florida in 1937, he moved with his... read more

Hot Rod Power Tour visits Chattanooga

Sunday, 10 June 2018: The grounds of the Chattanooga State Community College, located on the banks of the Tennessee River, hosted the first stop for the participants of this year’s Hot Rod Power Tour. Hundreds of Long Haulers, many revisiting the vivid images of previous tours, poured into the grounds of the Community College. Around noon, it would seem to any curious onlooker that a miracle of efficiency was occurring—how could the arrival of so many be accommodated? But accommodated they were, providing all a further glimpse of an extraordinary festival where the hot rod flourishes. Here in this limited photo library are a few of the more unusual.   Click here to view photo... read more

Competition valve locks: Brief guide.

By Fergus Ogilvy: Even a brief assessment of the valve lock will quickly convince us it’s at the heart of the competition valve train. If engines are exposed to over-revving—provoking valve springs and sometimes valve retainers to float—we are dependent upon the valve lock to remain locked or else… Pioneered by the original equipment manufacturers and virtually fail-safe, the ubiquitous 7-degree valve lock has been the standard for decades. Its 7-degree outer tapered shape fits into a similar taper on the valve spring retainer. Some engineers refer to its 7-degree angle as a locking taper. But, the shallower the taper, the harder it is to separate and remove, and drag racers constrained by time, understandably, grew impatient. It was infernally tedious, frustratingly tight and thus inconvenient. In their desire for efficiency, the 10-degree taper emerged. Though the 10-degree valve lock offers faster dismantling, the wider angle, unfortunately, cannot function reliably for sustained periods of valve float as the retainer can become separated from the valve lock, potentially causing the locks to fall out. Thus an 8-degree configuration is often the better compromise for the racer. It offers better retention during valve float than its 10-degree counterpart and remains in unity with the retainer under severe conditions. In addition, the 10-degree design will reveal wear on parts during valve float that don’t usually sustain wear.      Identifying the telling signs of over revving Engine builder Jon Kaase says, “Sometimes if the valve train gets out of control and it’s bouncing around, the valve locks get chafed on their bead locks or scored on their half-round portion beneath the bead... read more

2018 Hot Rod Power Tour: World’s largest traveling car show

  Meet the TorqStorm crew on the Long Haul.   TorqStorm co-founders Scott Oshinski (third from right) and Chris Brooker (far right), together with their factory crew, have committed to the Long Haul option of this year’s Hot Rod Power Tour, Saturday 9 June to Friday 15. Leaving their native Michigan on Thursday morning, they’ll roam 500 miles southward through Indiana to Bowling Green on the southern Kentucky border for Friday check-in. We also recommend reading Effuel reviews the device that checks things like your acceleration and braking habits, your gear-changing patterns, and other things like the car’s fuel consumption. Chris Brooker will drive the TorqStorm Cuda accompanied by his long-suffering navigator Rick Lewis! Scott Oshinski is taking the Twin TorqStorm-powered ‘69 Chevelle wagon, known as the TorqWagon, with Jeff “The Chef” Applehof, who’s charged with keeping the team nourished. Jeff Neibarger will tour in his TorqStorm-powered 2011 Camaro SS, providing social media updates along the way. Mickey Davis is taking his 2002 Chevrolet Silverado, using TorqStorm power to transport the extra necessities. Last but not least of the factory crew is Chris Beardsley, who will be driving his ‘86 Saleen Mustang, now on its 4th long haul but first time as the TorqStang. As always, the knowledgeable Beardsley will be driving and fielding TorqStorm calls from the road. More twin superchargers on the long haul Also participating in the TorqStorm group of Long Haulers are three close friends and customers, Wild Wes, Jay Mielke and Todd Mitchell. Wes is bringing his twin TorqStorm Wildcat Cougar and Jay is driving his twin TorqStorm ‘71 Camaro while Todd will campaign... read more

Joe Hornick provides technical aid to three top finishers at NHRA Topeka

Courtney Force, Robert Hight, and Shawn Cowie. TOPEKA, Kan., 21 May 2018: Courtney Force captured her first career back-to-back NHRA Funny Car victories on Monday afternoon at the 30th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals. Poor weather postponed track activity until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, resulting in only two rounds of eliminations for Top Fuel and Funny Car, and one round for Pro Stock. Funny Car: Courtney Force snatched Topeka dominance by powering her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro to a pass of 3.928-seconds at 329.83 mph to defeat defending national champion and teammate Robert Hight in the final round. Number 1 qualifier for the event, Force seized her third win of the season and 11th of her career. In the final round, they were fairly evenly matched until the 600ft mark where Hight hazed his tires, liberating Force to claim victory. Courtney Force’s incremental margins (negative if behind): 60ft (-0.012), 330 ft (0.001), 660ft (0.033). MOV: 0.1534 seconds (approximately 60 feet). Courtney Force’s incremental times: 60ft-0.894 sec., 330ft-2.271, 660ft-3.187/282.30 mph. Robert Hight’s incremental times: 60ft-0.888 sec., 330ft-2.278, 660ft-3.226/257.97 mph. Hight, who struggled throughout qualifying and consequently landing in 14th spot, pedaled his way through the first round, defeating Cruz Pedregon. In round two, he raced to a fine 3.924-second pass at 330.23mph. Then, during Monday’s semifinal round, he recorded a 3.911 pass at 330.55mph, setting fastest lap of the event and simultaneously defeating Shawn Langdon. In the final, Hight was obliged to concede lane choice to his teammate and smoked the tires towards the finish line of the trickier right lane. He ended his racing weekend with a 4.087... read more

They ran the company with prudence for 100 years, then ignored technology and buried it in ten.

Robots at the front desk and in the kitchen are among the fears prompting a possible strike this month by Las Vegas hotel and casino workers. It is yet another example reflecting the speed and pervasiveness of new technologies, to say nothing of software advances that will continue to disrupt most traditional industries, just check out the advance technology at http://laabadia.org/ for their casino online games and other uses. —<>— In 1998 Eastman Kodak comprised 170,000 employees and sold 85 percent of the photo paper used worldwide. Then their business model failed, and the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012. Kodak’s fate is likely to repeat in many industries within the next 10 years. Ironically, it was a Kodak engineer, Steven Sasson, who, in 1975, invented and built the first self-contained electronic camera. The first models embodied only 10,000 pixels and its development followed Moore’s law. Thus, as with most exponential technologies, it was discouraging at first before becoming superior and inevitably ubiquitous. Similarly by the early 1960s, the British motorcycle industry was in a state of collapse. The Birmingham-based Norton company won the inaugural Isle of Man TT in 1907 and by the 1930s had assumed total domination, winning 14 Junior and Senior TTs with remarkable single-cylinder supermacy in that decade alone. But after WWII, they and their British competitors refused to anticipate the prospects of superior multi-cylinder Italian engines built by Moto Guzzi, Gilera and MV Agusta, which were followed by similar advances by the Japanese. Better an emblem of progress than to perish in obscurity. The familiar process of change currently persists with advancements in Artificial... read more