These tips will can help practically any engine run better and stronger.
Running a carburetor with an angled float can help solve incorrect fuel supply.
Fuel-pump cooling can be one of the small things you can do to add power.
Hot water can cost power. For the best performance, water temperature should be in the ran
One way to keep air to the engine cool is to wrap air cleaners with heat-resistant materia
The temperature range of the engine oil should be 220-230 degrees F.
During the dog days of summer, an additional advance of timing may be a source of better e
Wherever possible, electrical wires should be kept away from extremely hot surfaces such a
A simple way to read for a rich or lean fuel condition is by looking at the color inside
Racers are always looking for ways to win, but to win you must first be competitive. Being competitive takes a lot of dedication and attention to detail. Often a race program can lose focus on some smaller things that add up to a better race car. This is especially true when it comes to an engine. There are some things that can be done to secure better engine performance without taking out a bank loan.
With this is mind, we spoke with engine builders to get some suggestions on ways to secure more performance from an engine. Noted motor specialists James Lyle, Eddie Labretone, and Keith Dorton provided us with some pretty interesting suggestions on how to get improved performance under the hood. Taken individually or as a group, these ideas may provide new insight into a stronger engine program, and we think they are potentially--20 ways to win.
1. Proper carburetor jetting has an impact on engine performance. After an engine has been shut off, look inside the header tube to determine the header colo. This can reveal some things about the carburetor. Charcoal-gray headers are an indication that the carb is set up right, but powdery-white or dark-black colors may indicate the carburetor jet is set up lean or rich, respectively. This is a simple check that can lead to better engine output.
2. Incorrect fuel supply robs an engine of peak performance. Running a carburetor with an angled float can help solve this problem and regain or maintain smooth fuel flow, especially in the turns. In the turns, standard fuel floats can restrict the fuel, while an angled float does not. As a do-it-yourself project, this simple suggestion can be one more building block to better engine performance.
3. High fuel temperature is a source of power reduction. Insulation of the fuel line can help keep the fuel cool. Using a heat-reflective material to wrap the fuel line is one way to keep the fuel temperature down.
4. Heat transfer from an engine block to the fuel pump is a source for raising gas temperature. Providing a focused air source to the fuel pump will ease this. Fuel-pump cooling can be one of the small things you can do to add power.
5. Don't overlook the importance of fuel delivery because insufficient fuel volume to the carburetor can cost you power. It's recommended that fuel lines to the fuel pump should be #10 fittings so that a good volume of fuel is available for the pump. The exit out of the fuel pump should be a #8 fitting, which permits the fuel pump to keep the line constantly full.
6. Although it's general knowledge that excessively hot water temperature can rob an engine of power, it bears repeating. Hot water can cost power. For the best performance, water temperature should be in the range of 200-210 degrees F.
7. In the water system, severe bends in water hoses can steal power as well. Abrupt turns in hoses can cause water pumps to work harder, and that translates to performance loss. Water lines should have gentle bends for the best water flow and reduction of water-pump stress.
8. To keep water at desired temperatures, proper airflow to the radiator is required. It's important to make sure the air-induction shroud is completely sealed so that all the air flows through the radiator. This is another cumulative way of getting superior engine output.
9. Keeping air to the engine cooled is an often-neglected source of power. One way to keep air to the engine cool is to wrap air cleaners with heat-resistant material. Doing this can keep engine-compartment heat from elevating the engine-air source as it passes through an air-cleaner chamber. There are some companies that will apply coatings to air cleaners to achieve the same thing.
10. Since cooler equals free horsepower, consideration should be given to the use of a mechanical fan to move the air out of the engine compartment. In some applications where a mechanical fan makes sense, this can help engine performance. This is not a blanket suggestion that electric fans should be replaced. It is meant as a suggestion, an alternative for moving engine heat away from the engine compartment. Any loss in friction because of an added belt may be offset by reduction of the load on the alternators.
11. Keeping valvesprings cool is a doorway to good engine production. Many good oil-spray valve covers are available to help in spring cooling. A key to making these systems work to their fullest potential lies in the oil source. A separate oil line directly from the oil cooler is recommended. Taking the oil out of the block before it has gone through the oil-cooling unit is placing hot oil into a hot environment. Keeping valvesprings cool is a means of maintaining seat pressures. This translates into consistent power from the green to the checkered flag.
12. The temperature range of the engine oil should be 220-230 degrees F. High oil temperatures reduce engine performance. Use of a good radiator with an oil cooler embedded in the water tank or a good external oil-cooling unit can help provide a solution to this potential power bandit.
13. Make sure the distributor is set up right. Whether the distributor is new (right out of the box) or used, there are some spring and weight adjustments that should be done by a reliable speed shop that can do this kind of setup. This is a modest expense that can deliver confidence that a distributor is at peak operating condition. Most recommendations call for the curve advance, which should be adjusted to 3,600-3,800 rpm.
14. When working on a distributor, any replacement of caps, rotors, or other parts should always be from the same manufacturer as the distributor. Often, mixed distributor parts can lead to stuck rotors and other malfunctions. Following this rule may not be newfound power, however, it can prevent distributor failure, which equals no power.
15. In a 9:1 motor, running a locked distributor may be helpful in uniform power output. By removing the springs and weights, the plate may be locked so that it's always on full advance. With the timing set at 38 degrees, this can provide consistent power since the advance will not be coming in and out. Make sure you get help on this from a qualified distributor specialist.
16. During the dog days of summer, an additional advance of timing may be a source of better engine production. The addition of a couple of degrees to the distributor setting might make the engine happier and help in livening it up under the high-barometric and high-humidity conditions of summer racing.
17. A good electric impulse to the spark plugs is important for maximum engine power. Binding plug wires together can allow electric impulses to cross over from one wire to another and can cause impulse, dissipation, or interruption. A situation like this can rob you of critical electric spark and reduce engine output. The solution is to make sure that they are separated. There are many wire holders available for this purpose.
18. Excessive heat can produce electric-signal interruption as well. It's important to put thought into the routing of plug wires. Wherever possible, they should be kept away from extremely hot surfaces such as headers and so on. If your wires are too short to achieve cooler routing, there are a couple of companies that make custom lengths available to solve this problem. Any interruption of electric impulse can steal performance from an engine. Conversely, strong and uninterrupted signals can be a source of a powerful engine performance.
19. Power can be found with the right header setup. Not just the headers, but the entire header, collector, and crossover exhaust setup is important for engine performance. Depending on the torque range, header configuration can be an additional ticket to higher output. For most Saturday-night applications, good performance is seen with the crossover pipes located 11-13 inches in back of the collectors. As any part of the engine setup is changed, thought should be given to a change in header setup. For example, a change in a carburetor, camshaft, or other changes may call for a change in the exhaust system. Consulting with a reliable engine builder of exhaust-system combinations is a strong recommendation.
20. A rich- or lean-running engine is a source for reduction of engine performance. A simple way to read for a rich or lean fuel condition is by looking at the color inside a tailpipe. Using a light, look about a foot up into the pipe. You are looking for a color that is medium brown, which is an indication that engine fuel mixture is good. If the color is a powdery whitish gray, it's an indication of a lean fuel condition. A dark black color is an indication of a rich mixture. This quick read can be done without taking the plugs out. Removal of plugs at the track is always a potential source for introduction of power-robbing contamination.