Inadequate ignition timing:

The carb tuner’s most intractable problem By Sam Logan Photographs by Moore Good Ink   Ask Demon Carburetion of the greatest obstacle in tuning hot rod carburetors and they’ll tell you ignition timing. Highly tuned engines, those with high-performance camshafts, cylinder heads, and intake manifolds often exhibit a lazy response or, worse, hesitate under acceleration or die at idle. Interestingly, these perennial troubles are invariably resolved by increasing the initial or static ignition timing. This is achieved simply by loosening the distributor clamp and slightly rotating the distributor body. Consequently, either the points or an electronic pickup will be triggered earlier. This sends the current directly to the coil or to an electronic ignition box. The high voltage current then returns to the center of the distributor cap, making direct contact with the rotor. As the rotor spins the current jumps across the tiny gap to each of the small metal tabs, completing the electrical circuit and sending short–duration, high voltage currents to each spark plug on time. However, to increase the static timing also increases the engine’s progressive timing; that is, its total timing which is impelled by mechanical advance mechanisms or vacuum advance or both. Lazy response eradicated by increased static timing and decreased progressive timing Let’s say the engine operates at its optimum when its initial or static timing is advanced to fire at 18 degrees before the piston reaches Top Dead Center. Let’s further assume the distributor’s progressive advancing mechanism will deliver an additional 24 degrees, resulting in total ignition timing of 42 degrees—which is excessive for most hot rod engines. Generally high-performance small-block and... read more

Snake and Mongoose movie

A true story that inspired a movie By Archie Bosman Pictures by NHRA The Los Angeles premiere of the Snake & Mongoose movie brought a fine sense of occasion to the racing world on Monday evening, August 26. The new movie tells the tale of two of drag racing’s most illustrious drivers Don “Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen. Held at the Egyptian theater on Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood—the venue for the movie industry’s first premiere in the early nineteen-twenties—invited guests began arriving at 4pm. By around 5:30 over 500 had gathered, including movie and racing celebrities, at which time they began their walk along the red carpet toward the theatre. “We’d move a couple of paces then stop,” said McEwen, “I estimated there were 100 photojournalists taking pictures and conducting interviews, including the New York Times. It was an impressive affair—a much bigger event than I had expected. The place was packed and I was honored to feel part of it all.” Earlier at 11am the first showing was reserved for the film-maker’s production people, which was followed by another performance at 2pm for the world’s press. Afterward, they were invited to Sadies, a private night club adjacent to the theatre where they feasted on sumptuous cuisine at a $50,000 party with three or four open bars. Reveling in the warmest hospitality, “it was a high-class affair,” declared McEwen. Most memorable victory in 60 years of drag racing history In creating the movie narrative, former editor and racing writer Alan Paradise had devoted eight months to writing the script and a further four months to completing the re-writes. яндекс. His... read more

The racer and his infatuation with noise:

Blaring exhausts make hooligans of all. By Freddie Heaney Images by Moore Good Ink In all likelihood every U.S. road race track has received reams of complaints about excessive noise. Two years ago in England, Mallory Park’s very existence was threatened by the blight. It is the most malignant force currently facing our racetracks and the new spirit of our age, Track Days, has exacerbated it. When we were young, acquiring a noisy muffler was a priority. We were 19 and needed to be noticed urgently—what was wrong with that? The smart ones among us, though, knew that the way to speed was via stealth. Of course racers don’t have a monopoly on noise. Just attend any rock concert and the middle-aged will be standing there with ear plugs forced firmly in place. Even a half-wit observing this strange custom would sense the absurdity of it all. And more significantly still, most complainants, like those residents of every village surrounding Mallory Park, have no desire to see their local circuits closed. They just ask the enthusiasts to enjoy themselves while showing a little more consideration for others. The amiable answer To this end V&B provides a solution. They understand noise requirements and they know how to meet them with lightweight, finely crafted mufflers. These new silencing systems feature inner bulkheads and other devices that can be quickly adapted to suppress noise to the levels required. For more information contact: Virkler & Bartlett Chatham, Virginia (434) 432-4409 rgbartlett@vbengines.com www.vbengines.com... read more

Derek Scott forms Mid-South Performance

By Fergus Ogilvy Atoka, TN: Derek Scott has formed a racing parts supply house in Atoka, 30 miles northeast of Memphis, Tennessee. Serving engine builders chiefly, Scott is highly regarded having served the past dozen years or more at Comp Cams. He developed an early passion for the advancement of race engine components, and at various stages of his career has been crucially involved in most disciplines from NASCAR to the short–track ovals and from drag racing to truck and tractor pulling. Already established with Comp, Trend Performance, Diamond Pistons, Total Seal, Ram Clutches, KRC Power Steering, Wilson Manifolds and others, Derek Scott can be reached:   Mid-South Performance 245 Commercial Dr. Suite C Atoka, TN 38004 (901) 647-1377 dscott@midsouthperformance.com... read more

Kaase’s P-38 small-block Ford heads graduate to shaft-mounted rockers

Broad-base rocker management for high-speed stamina and stability Winder, GA: Kaase’s P-38 small-block Ford Windsor cylinder heads have graduated to shaft-mounted rockers—a move inspired by oval track, road race and track-day demands seeking high-speed valve train stamina and stability. The new kits comprise aluminum rockers, each with a nose roller, a hardened pivot shaft operating with a 0.750in wide needle bearing, and an H13 tool steel adjuster. Adjusters are furnished with ARP hardened industrial washers and 12-point Grade 8 nuts. The rocker system operates from the pedestals of a long steel stand stretching the length of the cylinder head. Heavy duty Torx-head bolts are used to fasten the rockers to the pedestals and the stands to the cylinder heads. When Kaase announced he had canted the valves of his small-block Ford P-38 heads (8 x 4.5 degrees and 10 x 4 degrees inlet and exhaust respectively), you wondered about the proximity of the original stud-mounted rockers. By angling the valves away from the cylinder walls for better cylinder filling, their tips congregated closely. In fact, they were so close only Crane offered an aftermarket stud-mounted rocker that could accommodate them without fettling. The notion of developing a shaft-mounted competition rocker to succeed the stud-mounted system seemed a stretch too far. But when oval track racers, road racers, and a growing track-day community discovered the merits of the P-38 heads, they requested a full racing valve train. Apparently, only a shaft-mounted rocker system could demonstrate the stability and stamina they prescribed, particularly during periods of sustained high engine speeds. During this spirit of innovation, Kaase adopted a slightly longer rocker... read more

Rattletrap Productions, Inc.

Rattletrap Productions, Inc. is a full service video production company pedigreed by Stacey David’s proven experience in television and video programming for the automotive enthusiast. Rattletrap has demonstrated expertise in the automotive and aftermarket industries with the production of the long running Stacey David’s ® television Series. Through its state of the art studio facilities and editing suites, Rattletrap provides sponsorship opportunities not only on the GearZ tv show and its websites, but also in commercial production, event coverage, product demonstrations, company documentaries and other custom tailored projects. www.rattletrapproductions.com Now entering its 8th season on network television, Stacey David’s GearZ® is a high-octane automotive program that covers all things mechanical and is designed to appeal to the gearhead in everybody. The show includes vehicle make-overs and transformations, builds of trend-setting custom vehicles, and even simple tips and tricks to help the viewer squeeze a little more power and performance out of a daily driver. The camera captures all the glorious details and excitement as vehicles are built, then put through the paces on road, off road, in the water or in the sky.... read more

Obituary: Dale Eicke has left us

By Victor Moore Photo by Moore Good Ink   Dale Eicke, who died on Friday, August 2, from a stroke and heart attack, will be remembered with endearing fondness by almost all who knew him. Eicke, a pioneer in NHRA Pro Stock engine development, was immensely innovative in racing induction systems and a skilled and an imaginative engine builder. Longtime colleague Gary Stropko once said, “Of all the people I’ve worked with in the Pro Stock race engine business, he was more of an outside-the-box-thinker than anyone I knew—including Bill Jenkins. He always seemed to have another way to examine the problem.” During his career Dale worked with several of the country’s leading Pro Stock racing teams but was best known for his outstanding work with Pontiac. Stropko remarked, “He was responsible for pioneering the first successful cylinder head in GM’s DRCE (Drag Race Competition Engine) big-block program—a design that remained competitive for probably ten years.” A tall man who literally towered above most of us, Eicke exuded a charm and modesty that belied a fervent engineering... read more

Kaase’s P-38 cylinder heads: Greatest Windsor news since 1962

By Sam Logan:   The Chevy faithful like to tell us that their small-block engine is cheaper and easier to build than the Ford counterpart—but it’s a myth. First, the cost of aftermarket high-performance and competition parts is similar whether they are Ford or Chevrolet. And with regard to the simpler engine build, the small-block Ford is probably the all-time easiest engine to build. In street form, the head bolts—of which there are only 10—don’t penetrate the water jackets, unlike the SBC, thus their threads don’t need sealer applied. In addition the Ford engines don’t have mirror-image pistons and ports, so they don’t have a right and a left piston—all the pistons are the same. Further, the Ford distributor is clamped directly to the block, unlike the SBC distributor which is located by the intake manifold. Therefore the height of the SBC distributor can alter if the heads or the intake manifold has been milled. Washers are often used to correctly position the Chevrolet’s distributor, allowing its gear to mesh correctly with the camshaft. On the Ford you can remove the intake manifold without touching the distributor. Moreover the Ford distributor is located at the front of the engine, thus more accessible for setting the timing compared with the rear mounted Chevy unit. Lastly, the SBC uses a cam thrust plate—a little bearing that pushes against the timing cover—that prevents the cam moving fore and aft when using roller tappets. When Kaase first conceived the P-38 cylinder heads for Ford’s small-block Windsor engines, they were created with high performance in mind. They were also obliged to be user-friendly. Porting to... read more

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... read more

Proper alignment of clutch discs is more critical on dual disc clutches

By Archie Bosman When installing a transmission, the first challenge is engaging the splines of the input shaft in the clutch disc and sliding it home into the pilot bearing without causing damage. But the complications are amplified when you have to mate the transmission with two clutch discs and the pilot bearing. Plastic alignment tools are inexact in their dimensions, which add to the problem. However, if using a plastic alignment tool ensure it slides easily in the splines as well as in the pilot bearing as you tighten the clutch cover assembly to the flywheel—always using a crisscross pattern. If the alignment tool is tight, the transmission input shaft will be tighter!  Useful alternatives to plastic tools are Ram’s new steel alignment tools. Simple, inexpensive and convenient, they are precision-machined to fit the splines and pilot. More appealing still, they feature an open-ended design with a shank that is smaller in diameter than the splines, allowing you to load clutch parts onto the tool when it’s already engaged in the pilot bearing in the crankshaft. In other words this device allows you the convenience of installing the flywheel on the engine, slipping the alignment tool into the pilot bearing and sliding the discs onto the tool one at a time with the floater plate sandwiched between. For further information contact: RAM Automotive Company 201 Business Park Blvd. Columbia, SC 29203 Telephone (803) 788-6034... read more

Looking over Mario’s shoulder: How to succeed as a photo journalist

By Freddie Heaney Captured here by photographer Dennis Gray, 1978 world F1 champion Mario Andretti studies tire temperatures and other data after qualifying for that year’s Long Beach Grand Prix. Driving the Cosworth-Ford powered Lotus 79, the first F1 race car to take full advantage of ground effect aerodynamics, Mario and his team mate, Ronnie Petersen, enjoyed a decisive advantage, claiming first and second in the 1978 Driver’s championship and easily delivering Lotus the Constructors championship. During the season Mario recorded 8 pole positions, 6 victories, and 7 podium finishes. The racing photographer Dennis Gray, a venerable master of US motoring photography who captured Mario Andretti in the cockpit of the Lotus 79, was attending last month’s Mont-Tremblant Historics event. Gray was in his element: feet well-planted, swiveling around through 140 degrees to focus on the approaching race cars, left arm extended holding a 70-200mm F2.8 Nikon lens, the old master followed through the motion: click, click, click. “What are you tracking Dennis—the driver’s face?” “No,” came the brief rebuke, “his eyes!” For many, Gray remains the definitive authority in debates about photography—the court of last appeal. Now in his sixties and with a lifetime behind the lens at the racing circuits, happily he shows no signs of slowing. And there’s news, good news. Next year, 2014, he and his firm, F8 Motorsports Photography Workshops, return to the circuits not alone but with students. Aspirations to become a better photographer? Gray, who runs F8 Motorsports Photography Workshops, teaches exacting standards in motor sports photography and in 2014, should you have a desire to refine your picture-taking techniques, you can... read more

Muscle Mustang & Fast Fords magazine celebrates 25 years

Tampa Florida: Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords magazine is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. And to help celebrate a quarter century of innovation in Ford power, it is building an over-the-top project, dubbed “Hypersilver” to be unveiled at the 2013 SEMA show. Featuring styling cues from the past two and a half decades, and a few that have yet to be seen, Hypersilver will be the most extreme Fox-body project car the magazine has ever undertaken. At the heart of Hypersilver will be a 427cu in P-38 engine from Jon Kaase Racing Engines. Expected to make over 600 horsepower, the Windsor-based engine will feature a JKRE cross-ram intake with their acclaimed canted valve P-38 cylinder heads on a Ford Racing Boss block. For more information, go to www.musclemustangfastfords.com or pick up a copy of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords at your favorite... read more