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.
Geving's cylinder head has...
Geving's cylinder head has been machined to use an O-ring around the intake-runner ports, which eliminates the intake gasket that can slip out of place during assembly. If the intake gasket moves, it can partially block the intake ports disrupting flow and robbing horsepower.
5. Remove the injector-intake manifold. Note that on Geving's motor the cylinder head has been machined to use an O-ring around the intake-runner ports, which eliminates the intake gasket that can slip out of place during assembly. If the intake gasket moves, it can partially block the intake ports disrupting flow and robbing horsepower.
6. Remove the rocker arms and pushrods, closely inspect each one for wear to evaluate if any may need to be replaced. A good way to do this is to roll the tips with your finger to discover any tightness or scuffing of the roller tip. Also inspect the rocker arm bodies for any signs of contact where clearance problems may have existed. This is especially critical if you purchased the motor used and are tearing it down for the first time. There should never be clearance issues in a correctly built valvetrain.
7. Depending on the cylinder heads being used, you may have to remove several valvesprings in order to gain access to the head bolts. This is typical with many of the spread port heads and offset lifter configurations being used on today's racing engines. If this is the case, we recommend that you remove all of the valvesprings before removing the heads. Be sure to use a leak down tester to hold up the valves in the cylinder to ensure that you do not damage them when removing the keepers, retainers, and lash caps.
The valvesprings and rockers...
The valvesprings and rockers are now exposed and ready for inspection.
8. Lightly tap on the valve stems to free up the valve locks before you begin to remove the springs. We recommend that you use a high-quality valvespring compressor like the one Geving uses from LSM Racing Products. It makes the valvespring removal process easy and also prevents possible damage to the valve locks, retainers, and valve stems. Discard the springs after removing them from the engine.
9. To prevent damage to valves after removing the springs, place a zip tie around each valve stem to keep them from falling into the cylinders after each spring is removed. Inspect and clean the valve locks then put them into a Ziplock bag.
Lightly tap on the valve stems...
Lightly tap on the valve stems to free up the valve locks before you begin to remove the springs.
10. Remove any water hoses, fittings and temperature senders from the cylinder heads. Loosen and remove the cylinder-head bolts. Carefully remove the cylinder heads and place on a workbench. Thoroughly clean and inspect the cylinder head studs, nuts, and washers, then clean thoroughly and store them in your trusty Ziplock bag.
11. Find a suitable-sized box and place the cylinder head on top of bubble wrap, packing peanuts, terry towels, or other material in the bottom of the box to protect its surface from damage on the way to the machine shop.
12. Remove the lifters and inspect them carefully for wear. Take special notice of the roller tips and be sure they roll freely. In a 360 Sprint Car motor, a typical life cycle for lifters is about 30 races. It's not recommended to extend service life of even the highest quality lifter, as the valvetrain is constantly under tremendous stress with today's extreme cam profiles and high rpm demands.
To prevent damage to valves...
To prevent damage to valves after removing the springs, place a zip tie around each valve stem to keep them from falling into the cylinders after each spring is removed. Inspect and clean the valve locks then put them into a Ziplock bag.
13. Rotate the engine upside down, and remove the oil pan bolts. Clean and place in a Ziplock bag. Remove the oil pan, taking care not to damage the mounting surface when prying it free. Disassemble the pan (if applicable), placing the small parts in a Ziplock bag, box up the pan for the trip to the machine shop.
14. One by one, loosen the connecting-rod bolts and remove the rod cap. To loosen, gently tap on the rod cap with a plastic or rubber mallet. Push the rod down and away from the crankshaft journal, being careful not to scratch the crankshaft surface or cylinder walls with the end of the rod. Remove and inspect the rod bearings as they provide valuable clues to any internal problems in the engine that may need to be addressed.
15. Remove the spiral locks and wristpins disconnecting the rod from the piston. Measure the pin and rod end bushing diameter for proper clearance to determine if you will need new wristpin bushings and pins for the rebuild.
A high quality valvespring...
A high quality valvespring compressor like the one Gary uses from LSM Racing Products makes the valvespring removal process easy and also prevents possible damage to the valve locks, retainers, and valve stems. By the way, discard the springs after removing them from the engine, you'll need new ones for next season.
16. Remove and discard the piston rings, being careful not to damage the piston ring lands, skirt, or tops of the piston during removal. Place these components in a box, be sure to use adequate packing material to prevent damage in transit to the machine shop.
17. Remove dry sump pump, water pump, and front timing cover assembly.
18. Remove the gear drive bolts and components. Remove the cam, taking care not to damage the lobes or bearing surfaces by supporting the cam on both ends. There are several specialty tools available that make cam removal easier to accomplish. Be sure to carefully pack the camshaft in a box with protective packing to prevent damage.
19. Remove the main bearing caps, clean and place in a box. Then, carefully lift the crankshaft straight up out of the block, taking care not to scratch or damage journals. Pack the crankshaft in a suitable box, again utilizing packing material to protect against damage in transit to the machine shop.
Geving will remove and discard...
Geving will remove and discard the piston rings, being careful not to damage the piston ring lands, skirt, or tops of the piston during removal. He takes all of these to his machine shop.
20. Pack the block, cylinder heads, and other engine components in your truck and head to the machine shop. Then, go back to the shop and clean up your work area so that you will have a clean environment for engine assembly when you get your parts back from the machine shop.
Each time the engine is rebuilt or freshened up, be sure to disassemble, clean, and inspect the dry sump pump and replace components as necessary. Take apart the oil tank and clean it thoroughly. Carefully inspect all braided lines and pay particular attention to fittings. Replace the lines and fittings if they are showing wear.
1. Remove the dry sump pump from the motor and then remove the drive spud or pulley, followed by the scavenge manifold and port adapter fittings.
When you remove the oil pan,...
When you remove the oil pan, do not damage the mounting surface when prying the pan free.
2. Disassemble the pressure and scavenge sections, carefully removing the gears and shafts. Clean and carefully inspect for wear and damage. Replace any parts that need attention.
3. Disassemble the oil tank and clean thoroughly. Take special care to locate any debris which may be hidden in the tank or that could find its way into your motor. Remove the port adapter fittings, cap, and breathers. Clean thoroughly and place in a Ziplock bag until reassembly.
4. Replace O-ring seals or gaskets in the tank before reassembly.
5. Remove all oil lines, scavenge manifolds, and oil filters and mounts from the engine and race car. Flush all of the oil lines thoroughly, rinse with clean water, and dry with compressed air. Repeat the process with the remaining oil system components, then store in Ziplock bags until reassembly.
With the pan off you can now...
With the pan off you can now disassemble the remaining engine components, a big part of which includes carefully lifting the crankshaft straight up out of the block, taking care not to scratch or damage journals.
6. Replace all lines, hose ends, port fittings, and O-rings that show signs of wear.
1. Remove header bolts and exhaust bracket and remove the headers.
2. Carefully inspect all header flanges and welds on header tubes, mufflers, and turn downs for cracks or damage. Repair and replace components as necessary.
3. Clean header flanges and check carefully for warping or damage. Remove all residual gasket material, sealant, and other debris.
4. Clean the exterior surface of system thoroughly. Geving recommends that you refinish these components with a high temperature spray ceramic coating or send them out for a professional coating treatment.