Remedy for Jeep’s steering ailments:

Solutions all hot rodders should know. By Archie Bosman: Many consider type CJ Jeeps, those in production from 1976 to ’86 susceptible to internal steering column ailments, particularly the open-top models where the column could be exposed to rain, snow, dirt and dust which hastens wear. The wear is not reflected in the steering column’s ability to turn the wheels—instead it’s conspicuous by looseness in up-and-down movement and also back-and-forth within the steering column. Many Jeeps from this era feature a steering tilt mechanism. The significance of efficient steering tilt was brought to prominence by Michigan steering specialists ididit whose history began in the mid-nineteen-eighties. At that time Street Rods were the foundation of their customer base and their multi-angle steering tilt was born of necessity. The chief annoyance among hot rodders was the awkward positioning of the steering column that was installed at a near vertical angle and never conducive to comfortable driving. This inconvenience spawned a succession of multi-angle steering tilt arrangements that increased the angle of articulation of the steering wheel and corrected the impediment. But for Jeep CJ owners, over time the tilt shaft assembly, which was offered originally as an option, became sloppy at the head of the column. The arrangement incorporates two aluminum castings and two shafts, an upper and a lower, both with forked ends. The ends are positioned 90-degrees apart and the assembly is completed with a grooved metal ball that is manufactured in two halves. Of course, the advantage of having access to a replacement steering column with efficient tilt mechanism not only rectifies potential wear troubles but also allows... read more

What makes turbocharged race engines so appealing? Actually, it’s rampant power & low maintenance

By Titus Bloom, Photography by MGI and Pro Line, Ball Ground, Georgia: In the lightning fast drag racing category known as Pro Mod three different types of power units compete: nitrous assisted, supercharged and turbocharged. Pro Line Race Engines are specialists in the latter and they burst upon the drag racing scene like few before it.  ou can read on the updates of their current projects on – one of the best online places to find out things about cars and F1 racing. After frenetic activity over the past nine years, Pro Line not only came under new ownership in 2005 and moved factory from Woodstock to a spacious 24,000sq ft facility in Ball Ground, Georgia in 2011, but also their engines won the NHRA Pro Mod championship in 2012, won Indy in 2011, laid claim to the world’s fastest Pro Mod eighth-mile speed (221mph-3.56secs), and still hold the NHRA quarter-mile ET and speed record when Melanie Troxel recorded 5.77-258.71mph at Englishtown 2011. When Doug Patton (49) and Eric Dillard acquired ownership of Pro Line in 2005, Eric was only 22 years old. He had started three years earlier under Doug as a helper. “He doesn’t have any college training,” says Doug, “but he has a knack for running the business. We currently employ a workforce of around fifteen—seven or eight in the machine shop and seven or eight in the sales offices.” Even though the machine shop maintains the same number of employees, component sales account for eighty percent of their business. How did this come to pass? As the Amish would say, it wonders me. Establishing... read more

Why Turbocharging? Simple advice for beginners

By Doug Erber: In the United States, OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are turning to turbocharging as a method of downsizing engine displacement and increasing fuel economy. At the other end of the spectrum, those in charge of developing high-performance and racing engines, are targeting it for substantial power gains. The OEM’s regard GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) as a key enabler for utilizing turbochargers to downsize the engine displacement. With modern direct injection coupled to variable cam timing, added power output generated by turbo boost is now exploited more fully than before without risk of detonation yet with significant benefits in fuel economy when running under light load. As a result, OEMs are shrinking the displacement of the engine, leading to weight and fuel economy savings. However, when power is required, the turbo kicks in to provide the boost, adopting the feel of a larger displacement engine. Turbos for OEM applications are sized to provide the best combination of low-end torque and peak power. In the Aftermarket, turbocharging is a relatively easy way to significantly increase the power density of an engine. In simplest terms, adding more air and more fuel to an engine will create more power.  Of course one must take care to assure engine and vehicle systems are adequately prepared to handle this additional power. Most systems will add an intercooler to reduce intake manifold temperatures and aftermarket ECU to control fueling and ignition. Depending on boost level, consideration for upgrades include, but not limited to, cylinder head gasket, head bolts clutch, pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft, transmission and differential. All components will be exposed to the rigors of additional power.  ... read more

Motown LS: Unfamiliar hybrid

By Sam Logan: What’s the motivation for adapting LS cylinder heads to a small-block Chevrolet engine? Why not just go out and buy a used LS-series? It’s a modern power unit; it’s bestowed with high flowing heads, it’s readily available and it’s affordable…all the benefits you could desire. Except there’s a catch—the inconvenient fact is there’s a ton of work required to get it installed properly, coupled to appreciable expenditures. If you are empowering any pre-1990s Muscle car with an LS-series engine it is usually not a simple swap. And it’s not just exploring engine and transmission mounting solutions and clutch actuation, but there are EFI and ignition considerations, a fuel system design as well as numerous cooling and engine accessories questions to resolve. The fact is that mounting a pair of LS-series cylinder heads on a small-block is a much more practical solution. Likely, the most interesting new engine for 2016 will be the Motown LS. Under the insightful command of Dick Boyer, the architect of the last year’s 454 Man O’ War Ford block, World Products committed to foundry tooling expenses for the production of such a hybrid. It is unique. Weighing 210lb and employing standard LS deck height, the Motown LS is a cast iron small-block that accepts LS-series cylinder heads. Boyer’s uncommon design made its first appearance in public at December’s PRI show. Available in two versions, a street-strip and a race variant, he had displayed the former although not yet tested. When tested the 427cu in engine generated just under 640hp at 6,400rpm. Not bad for a street-based engine. The drag race version uses... read more

Gibtec Pistons: Guide to top ring placement from Pro Stock to Street

By Sam Logan: Denver, Colorado: Though piston maker Gibtec was established a mere two and a half years ago, the individuals behind it have specialized in Pro Stock billet piston development since 2003. Notably, during this period their skills contributed to approximately 80 percent of the championship-winning Pro Stock engines. Recently, Tom Prock, the general manager of Venolia Pistons for thirty years said, “Currently, Gibtec is making some of the best Pro Stock pistons I’ve seen.” On the subject of top ring placement, Gibtec Pistons’ head, Rob Giebas explains, “On forced induction and on nitrous applications, which encounter extreme shock loads, we move the top ring down from the piston crown to around 0.300in. However, the top ring could be moved down by as much as 0.450in, depending upon valve size and configuration, as well as the positioning of the valve pockets, the radial width of the top ring and the piston pin height, “Often it’s the intake valve pocket, which is always bigger than the exhaust that determines the position of the top ring. Compact rings and therefore small ring grooves provide more potential for variation in ring placement than larger ring grooves. For example, a naturally aspirated engine with a top ring of 0.6mm (0.0236in) axial depth and 0.110in radial width, which requires a ring groove width of 0.115in, offers more pocket clearance than the top ring spec of a nitrous engine, which might measure 0.043in axial depth and 0.173in radial width. “But on most small-block applications with a standard in-line valve pattern and a power adder, lowering the top ring to around 0.300in protects it and... read more

You may not think it will kill your clutch but it will

Written by Moore Good Ink: Why precipitate the loss of a perfectly good clutch when it can be avoided? Ram Clutches offers two valuable tips: On chassis dynamometers Probably the greatest threat to the longevity of a clutch system is imposed by the chassis dynamometer. Because there is no tire slippage during the run, any hint of engine lugging can cause the clutch to slip. Consequently chassis dyno time is much more strenuous and abusive on your clutch system than racing passes at the drag strip. At the drag strip On the burnout make certain the tires are wet but not operating in the water. As they begin to gain traction with the pavement, depress the clutch pedal. Do not attempt to extend the burnout toward the tree. When the tires hook they exact a heavy load on the clutch, especially in 3rd or 4th gears. To extend the burnout further exposes the clutch system to a tremendous and unnecessary load. Though this may sound elementary, make certain your car is in first gear before you leave the starting line. Leaving the line in 3rd gear will almost certainly destroy your clutch system. So, prior to pre-staging always ensure you select 1st gear. Lastly, ‘hot lapping’ can transmit severe heat to the clutch. Though some events require consecutive runs always try to provide sufficient time for the clutch to cool. Focus on making quality runs rather than quantity. To understand the basics of Ram’s billet drag racing clutch systems click here. Source: RAM Automotive Company 201 Business Park Blvd. Columbia, SC 29203 Telephone (803) 788-6034 read more

Tips on inspecting the multi-disc oval track racing clutch

By Jim Mozart, Photos by Moore Good Ink: Commonly, multi-disc racing clutches vary from 4.25in to 7.25in. Racers often favor the smallest diameter clutches available because they believe an advantage can be found in its lighter rotating mass. Yet experience demonstrates that smallness rarely makes an appreciable difference—except in diminishing the clutch’s durability. Some clutch makers fervently believe that the slightly larger diameter clutch with thicker friction materials can withstand much more abuse than its smaller counterpart. Constant racing starts, for example, on a small unit can result in severe wear. Such doctrine is firmly held by Ram, the Columbia, SC long-time racing clutch maker. Monitoring the condition of the multi-plate racing clutch is an essential yet simple operation. When replacing the friction discs during servicing, renew the full pack and ensure the pads are in vertical alignment to apply the clamp load evenly down though the pack. Also, oils and grease cause slippage and damage to clutch components. Always check the oil pan and main seals. Here is how Ram checks their 6.25in Assault Weapon.  Source RAM Clutches 201 Business Park Blvd. Columbia, SC 29203 Telephone (803) 788-6034... read more

Flatness: How gas ports and flat ring grooves succeed with lightweight racing rings

By Sam Logan: A great many modern drag racing engines are equipped with lightweight piston rings. These rings require combustion pressures delivered through gas ports to achieve complete ring seal. Horizontal gas ports are used in oval track racing pistons to avoid carbon ingress while vertical gas ports are the preserve of the drag racing engine. In either case, the gas ports direct pressure downward and behind the ring to seal the ring to the bottom surface of the ring groove and also to force it outward and seal its thin outer perimeter face to the cylinder wall. To achieve this, it is essential to decide the correct diameter of gas port and to allocate the correct number of gas ports and to equally space them around the piston. Harnessing gas volume and evenness of pressure to a flat ring groove and flat piston ring accomplishes cylinder seal. “So, the number of gas ports, times their diameter creates a volume number,” explains Gibtec’s Robbie Giebas. “On smaller pistons we reduce the diameter of the gas ports and increase their number. To prevent flutter, pressure must be evenly dispersed around the ring. “Also the advent of flatter rings and ring grooves means you can run tighter ring-to-groove tolerances—often as close as 0.0004in to 0.0005in. A decade ago tolerances were significantly greater, probably twice this amount.” Having functional gas ports and perfectly flat rings and ring grooves—with tolerances of 0.00005in to 0.0001in—promote effective ring sealing. But also this sequence of events relies on the fact that every action is the product of a previous action.   Gibtec Pistons (PRI Booth #501)... read more

Custom Pistons

Any experienced racing man knows that the components of a successful race car should be compatible—all working in concert. But this formula is never more critical than with engine builders. Professional race engine builders are profoundly aware of how engine parts affect one another and have to be developed as an efficient group. For them, the key to successful race engine building lies in maximizing a power plant’s performance by creating a combination of components that complement each other. In most cases, developing complimentary components requires modifying readily available parts or creating custom ones. Off-the-shelf engine components are often acceptable to builders seeking modest performance gains, but they are hopelessly inadequate when summoned to generate significant power. Click here to read the full article as published in Australia’s Street Ford... read more