Tappet Camshaft Failures (Hydraulic & Solid/Mechanical) Recent changes in oil and engine
technology are likely the cause of premature camshaft
failure; here’s how you can protect your engine.
flat tappet camshaft failure has been on the rise recently
and not just with one brand or type of camshaft. In almost
every case, the hardness or taper of the cam lobe is suspected,
yet most of the time that is not the problem. This growing
trend is due to factors that are completely unrelated
to camshaft manufacture or quality control. Changes in
today’s oil products and “advancements”
in internal engine configurations have contributed to
a harsher environment for the camshaft and a potential
for failure during break-in. But there are several things
you can do to curtail this discouraging trend.
note: I was on the website of our friends at Powermaster
Performance , makers of racing alternators and
starterts, and saw this very informative article that
I thought would be helpful to share with you here.
The torque output of a starter is the most important
consideration. The starter must be able to spin the
engine, and do it without overheating internally. Since
there is no such thing as having too much torque -even
on a street vehicle - a 200 ft.lb. starter will work
note: I was on the website of our friends at AED
Competition, makers of competition carburetors,
and saw this very informative tuning tutorial that I thought
would be helpful to share with you here. Although it naturally
applies best to tuning an AED Competition carburetor, some
of the principles will apply universally.
short reference guide is intended to explain in plain
English the correct method to set-up your new AED carburetor.
It will cover all of the basic adjustments that you
may run into in a step-by-step guide to ensure both
your car and your new AED Carburetor will perform to
their best potential.
Diagram of Part Names & Location
sure to use a new carburetor-to-manifold gasket
Be sure all fuel supply lines are secure and free
sure you are using fresh fuel that is free of trash/debris
pressure should be set @ 6 to 7 psi. Max (gas models)
racers, we’re getting close to the time of
year when we all head to our respective bracket finals.
Wherever you live and whatever track you race for, if you’ve
had a good season in either NHRA or IHRA ET bracket competition,
you’ve secured a spot on your track’s team and
will be going to do battle with the best of the best of
all of the tracks in your division. Some of you might have
a long tow ahead of you, and some of you might not be used
to towing for long distances. Before you take to the road,
here’s a handy check list to refer to before heading
out. You should also refer to Basics
of Proper Trailer Towing.
always have a spare trailer tire, and if possible
carry two spares. If you have a blowout of a trailer tire
and you use the spare, then you’ll be completing
your trip with no additional spare. Another issue is the
remaining tire that was on the same side as the blowout
may have taken a lot of abuse when it had to support all
of the weight on that side by itself. It’s possible
the tire has been compromised. When it comes time to replace
the tire that blew out, you should replace the other one
at the same time. Make sure that when you check the tire
pressures on the truck and trailer before hitting the
road, you also air up the spare. If it's been sitting
for a while, it's likely not inflated enough to last very
long while carrying a heavy load.
you do have a blowout on your trailer,
the easiest way to get that tire off the ground is to
drive the good tire up onto a ramp. I keep two ramps I
made of wood in my tow vehicle (pictured). If
I do blow a tire, I put the ramps on both sides of the
trailer and drive it up evenly. You’ll want to break
the lug nuts loose before getting the flat tire off the
to your auto parts store and stock up on emergency road
flares to use if you need to pull over on the
side of the road. Also pick up a tire plug kit.
Not all flats are blowouts. Many are punctures from a
nail or screw that are easily repaired with a rope plug.
You can then air the tire back up using the portable compressor
you keep in your trailer to air up your slicks. Don’t
have one? Time to get one!
your tow vehicle an oil change, and if possible
new transmission fluid. A little bit of cheap maintenance
can go a long way toward keeping your rig happy and healthy.
you’re traveling a long distance to get to your
bracket finals, you may find yourself parking your rig
in a hotel parking lot
on the way to and from the event (when you’re at
the event, you’ll likely unhook the trailer and
leave it at the track as you go back and forth to the
hotel). This brings up the questions of security. How
much would THAT stink to go out to the parking lot the
next morning to find an empty spot where your truck, trailer
and race car were parked. A good insurance policy is a
trailer security system like the Pro-Tec
System One, which monitors and protects the
trailer and its contents. Any movement of the trailer,
or the opening of a door will trigger the alarm. This
will cause the electrical brakes of the trailer to be
applied making movement impossible in addition to exterior
alarms alerting the public.
but not least, know your loaded weight! Take your fully
loaded trailer to a weigh station or scrap yard with a scale
and find out how much you’re really towing. Good luck
and safe travels.
of Proper Trailer Towing
we all log a lot of miles transporting ourselves and our cars
to the dragstrip on a weekly basis. This is no small task
but many of us take it for granted. Think about it: we’re
not only driving a vehicle, but that vehicle is towing another
vehicle that’s carrying yet another vehicle. Then think
about how many knucklehead drivers we encounter on a daily
basis when we’re driving our regular cars. It’s
bad enough having to take evasive action when driving a daily
driver. It’s even worse when we’re driving a loaded
a properly equipped and loaded trailer won’t prevent
any encounters with knucklehead drivers, but it can change
the outcome from being catastrophic to being a minor annoyance.
Proper towing means having the right equipment, knowing
how to load and employing safe drive habits.
may recall that I had an electrical fire in the trunk of the
Dodge last season. My alternator developed
a dead short and it overheated the wire running back to the
battery. Then, VOILA!... smoke and fire. It was at that time
that I realized the wiring in the Dodge had to go. Not just
some of it, but ALL of it. I spoke with my friend and fellow
Englishtown bracket racer Steve Russell,
who's a bit of a Mr. Wizard when it comes to wiring and electrical.
He took my thought a step further and suggested not just replacing
the wiring but upping the size, making a new fuse block, adding
relays, and installing a nice switch panel.
we documented the before and after here. Not only is the
Dodge safer, but it also starts easier and the fuel pump,
water pump and fan work better. It also looks great under
the hood. If you race a vehicle that still has the original
wiring, trust me. Replace it. It's a great investment. If
you're in the NJ/PA/DE area of the country and are interested
in having Steve do the job on your car, his contact info
is at the end of the article.
I recently made a big change in my routine: I switched to
a different brand of oil. As a racer using a flat tappet camshaft
I always knew that oil is critical to lobe life, but the way
I went about it was not very good. I had been using a pretty
heavy mixture of oil, thinking that heavier is better. My
builder raised an interesting scenario when he found some
wear attributed to lack of oiling. He said I'm never getting
the engine hot enough to really flow the heavy oil that I
was running. I then did some research and made the switch
to Joe Gibbs Driven racing oil (I went with their organic
HR2 10W-30). I then started reading some of the technical
articles on their website and wanted to share some of them
Fall For The Myths! We separate fact from fiction with some of these
more common—and harmful—oil myths
live in a world where more is better. More money in
the bank account, more friends in the Facebook account,
we even know some people with more tattoos than we care
to count. But among all types, horsepower freaks and
gearheads may be the worst. When it comes to horsepower
more is never enough, even if it means sacrificing durability
had an electrical fire in the Dodge earlier this season.
those of you who’ve never had an electrical fire,
it’s pretty scary. The Dodge was in my shop and
I had just put my new motor in it. I had just started
it up and had it running, getting some heat into it. I
had my back to the car as I was getting my timing light
ready. All of a sudden it just shut off, but I could hear
the fan still running.
turned around and saw plumes of thick, acrid smoke billowing
from the trunk, which thankfully had been open. I ran
to the back of the car and found the alternator wire in
recently in the Tech section of COMP Cams'
website and found this very informative piece on valvesprings.
I figure they're pretty much the experts on anything valvetrain-related
and being that it delivers excellent info I'm sharing it
here with you here. I hope you find it to be useful.
101: Heat Your Tires Without Beating Your Parts
We love doing them, but do we know how to do them properly?
In a recent issue of National Dragster, David Reher
had a great column entitled "Are Burnouts Abusing Your
Engine?" I thought his article was so important that
I referenced it here earlier this year as a must-read.
separate occasion, I had a conversation at The PRI
Show with Milodon about a new
oil pump they came out with because racers were breaking
regular oil pumps on the burnout due to excessive shake.
Effects of Heat and Dehydration on Performance
System Info & FAQs
attending the 2012 Performance Racing Industry Show
in Orlando, I was especially intrigued by one company in
Systems, manufacturers of personal
cooling systems. Being a racer from the hottest place
on the planet (central New Jersey in August), ...
racers, we're always looking to go fast, but slowing safely
is actually much more important. Additionally, for the footbrakers
among us, it's the braking system that holds the car at
the starting line as we're way up on the converter. That's
why when I saw this technical piece about brake systems
on the website of Mark
Williams Enterprises, I knew I had to share
it here with you. The article continues at the link below,
and discusses Pedal Ratio & Master Cylinder, Master
Cylinder Selection, Caliper Alignment Clearance and Position,
Proportioning Valves, Brake Lines and Fluid, and Troubleshooting.
across an interesting and informative technical piece on
the website of Mark Williams Enterprises (www.markwilliams.com)
that discusses driveshafts. I thought it was good information
so I'm sharing it here with you.
David Caine, ATI Performance Products, Technical and Sales
of the most important pieces to any winning combination
is also one of the most misunderstood. Your torque converter
is the biggest variable in the driveline. To better understand
a converter, you need to look at how it really works.
class of motor sport, engine power is increasing in impressive
leaps. Even small displacement engines now produce horsepower
that only ten years ago was considered the realm of exotic
mills hundreds of cubic inches larger.
sizeable cubic inch power plants regularly produce over 1,000
horsepower in street trim with a cast aluminum intake manifold
and a single carburetor. There seems to be no end to the power
head technology with increased air flow and combustion chamber
design has led the charge. Many of these advances have been
accomplished by improving the performance of the valve train,
achieved largely by state-of-the-art test and development
equipment such as the Spintron, and also by the latest computerized
across a very interesting and informative technical paper
on the website of Mark Williams Enterprises (www.markwilliams.com)
in which various types of axles are discussed. I thought
it would make a good read here for the visitors of The
Dragtime News, especially for those of you who
are in the process of perhaps building a new rear for the
paper compares the differences between flange axle , full
floater and live axle type, as well as safety aspects of
philosopher Jon Kaase (Jon Kaase Racing
Engines, Winder, Georgia) had an idea that nagged. For too
many years, he’d watched the ubiquitous 302 amass
part upon improved part, but observed nary a deviation from
the original cylinder head configuration. He thought he
could produce cylinder head castings that looked like ordinary
Windsor 302/351 parts on the outside but inside would be
entirely different from the original blueprint. Article
- we’ve all received it or innocently
passed it along at one time or another. I’m sure
you have your own examples of it.
of mine pertained to torque converters,
and ATI helped educate me. Follow the
link below to read about my experience.
been around dampers
for a long
time and traveled to different engine
test actual crankshaft twist for the past 16 years. Throughout
these years I have collected a lot of information that
allows me to make informed decisions on “how much”
damper certain engines need. When given the crank weight,
peak normal operating RPM, horsepower, rotating system
materials, rules about the damper specifications (if racing),
and the application of the engine (road racing, oval or
drag), I can make a very good prediction of how much inertia
weight and what sort of dampening device your vehicle
will need. Let’s stop for a second and think about
the way a crankshaft is designed. On one end, you have
your flywheel, torque converter, or a clutch. On the other,
you have your timing chain / belt / gear drive, and then
a small “snout” sticking out on which to bolt
your damper and any needed accessories. In between all
of that, you have a main caps and bearings that hold your
crankshaft in the motor.