Fresh off his inaugural piece in January's Oval Track Tech and Parts Guide, we caught up with Gary Geving from Chick-O-Motorsports to give us some tips and tricks on post-season teardown maintenance on an alcohol-fueled motor.
But before we get into the nuts and bolts, first a little background on why you should listen to what Geving has to say. 2008 was an extremely successful season for the Chick-O-Motorsports team. The team competed both at its home track of Petaluma (CA) Speedway and with a traveling series running 360 and 410 Sprint Cars wheeled by Gary's daughter Alissa. The 17 year old became the youngest female ever to win a winged Sprint Car championship when she captured the 2008 championship at Petaluma. Alissa added Rookie of the Year honors to her resume with the ultra-competitive Hoosier Racing Tires Civil War Series in 2008 with a Fifth Place finish in the point standings.
Geving gets to work tearing...
Geving gets to work tearing down the motor in anticipation of a trip to his machine shop.
In addition to 12 weekly events at Petaluma Speedway and the 15 Civil War touring events, the team also ran two Golden State Challenge races, the World of Outlaws Gold Cup, and three races at Silver Dollar Speedway in the fire-breathing 410 Winged Sprint Cars. Add appearances in the Mini Gold Cup, Silver Cup, and Fall Nationals at Silver Dollar Speedway, and the team has competed in nearly 40 nights of racing in 2008, all without a single engine failure.
Obviously, Gary Geving builds fast and reliable motors for the team as witnessed by the successful use of a single, that's right, just one, 360 ci engine in more than 30 events without a failure. All Geving did was a mid-season freshen up.
After removing the throttle...
After removing the throttle linkage, magneto, and spark plug wire from the engine, Geving unhooks the throttle linkage from the fuel-injector assembly and removes the butterfly assembly from the injector-intake manifold.
So just how did he coax so much failure-free performance out of his engine? For starters, Geving highly recommends finding an experienced, race engine savvy machine shop partner to ensure that all of the engine components are built for maximum performance and reliability. Geving uses ALC Machine in Santa Rosa, California, which is close to the team's home base in Penngrove. Post season, Geving relies on the machine shop to inspect his heads and perform surfacing and/or cc'ing the chambers if needed. This is especially true if you are running in a series/track that requires you to meet certain compression rules. Geving also has ALC perform a valve job, check the valve seals, and install new items such as springs, retainers, locks, and more based on his specific needs.
In addition to the stout machine shop, excellent maintenance practices are absolutely critical to success according to Geving. While some of these steps are specific to the alcohol-fueled 360 Sprint Car engines the team runs, most of the teardown process is common to all V-8 racing engines.
Remove the down nozzles from...
Remove the down nozzles from the cylinder heads. Sonic clean the nozzles. Geving uses an ultrasound jewelry cleaner and then gives them a good coating of WD-40. Finally, place them in Ziplock bags to keep them clean and free from contamination.
1. Before pulling the motor from the car, remove the spark plugs and spray a liberal coat of WD-40 or Marvel Mystery Oil in the spark plug holes.
2. Aerate the cylinders by pushing the car in gear (or crank the motor with the starter) to push out any remaining alcohol. This is a key step since alcohol sitting inside the motor will degrade over time and leave you with a big mess followed by a nice repair bill.
3. Remove the throttle linkage, magneto, and spark plug wires from the engine. Then unhook the throttle linkage from fuel-injector assembly and remove the butterfly assembly from the injector-intake manifold.
4. Remove the down nozzles from the cylinder heads. Sonic clean the nozzles. Geving uses an ultrasound jewelry cleaner and then gives them a good coating of WD-40. Finally, place in Ziplock bags to keep them clean and free from contamination.