2014's Top Engine Posts

2014's Most Popular Engine Posts
by Don Terrill

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starting race motor during winter storage
Block groove above main bearing?
Freezing cam bearings before installation?
Cam bearing failure x2.. help...
Alot of timing to make it run...48
Using solid lifters on a Hydraulic camshaft
What is the best oil for flat tappet solid with high/press
3D printed intakes
Racecar batteries
Grumpy Chevy Book Volume 2 What If?
cam timing using cranking pressure
Can some have a look at this plug
SBC intake manifold dyno comparison
What is this telling me?
Rectangle port Intake on Oval port Heads
Exhaust leak-- car slows down
desperate for cold weather quadrajet advice!
Noisy Hydraulic Roller Lifter.. Causes?
header collector question
Valvetrain Geometry: Mid-Lift Method vs Valve Tip Pattern
What would a mid 80s sbc nascar engine consist of?
Oval Track Dizzy… Locked Advance or Not?
Intake port air speed
Popular cam companies / designers
Dumb history question for the carb guys
Best air-fuel ratio monitor?
Exhaust system sizing for big HP
Pump gas 496 hyd roller build and dyno test
Custom Race Header Power Loss
Exhaust restriction equals more torque?
Hotting up a 502 Crate
Cross Drilled Crank
Interesting Choice Of Break-In Oil
Who believes you really need 10 PSI oil pressure....
Too much cranking compression
How Much Would You Pay To Go A Lot Faster - Reliably
Fuel Injection Vs Carburetor: What Makes More Power?
X pipe
need help reading piston burn pattern
SBC 408 cid, is 600 hp unreasonable N/A
unshrouding intake valve near cylinder
ring to groove clearance, minimum?
Best hp oil filter
ignition timing at WOT question
merge collectors
Pushrod Length, best method
Drop Base Filter Update/closure
starting engine in cold weather
Why an engine makes more power off a burr finish
Can too much intake lobe area decrease performance?
High octane fuel burns slower?
Engine myths vs facts
Valve Shrouding
Why is there "premature" choke at Mach 0.6
Oil Sloshing

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Isolated Component Testing

Isolated Component Testing
By Don Terrill © - RacingSecrets.com

Thinking theoretically has huge value, but when it comes to getting every last horsepower (or other desired outcome), it's all about testing. Of course you have track testing and dyno testing, but if you're really serious you need to also isolate components and test them individually.

Reasons for component testing:
  • You don't own an engine dyno or race track.
  • It's easier to find every last horsepower.
  • You can drastically reduce variables during testing.
  • You can see small changes.
  • Some items are easier to test in isolation, like a wet sump oil pump.

How to build a component test rig:
  • Use an electric motor to drive the component and then measure electrical draw.
  • Use anything to drive the component and then measure drag with a load cell -- like your typical engine dyno.

Some items lend themselves to component testing better than others. The best are things that drag on the engine, like accessories.

Possible Applications:

Of course this applies better to wet sump engines as a dry sump pump can be easily optimized on the engine during dyno testing.

What to measure:
  • Pressure.
  • Volume.
  • Efficiency.
  • Power loss.

What to test:
  • Different oil pumps -- manufactures, designs, etc.
  • Reduced rotor height.
  • Change/adjust bypass spring.
  • Different pick-ups.
  • Different oils.
  • Oil temperature.

I'd probably use a junk block to build a water pump test rig. This way I could also measure where and how coolant flows.

What to measure:
  • Pressure.
  • Volume.
  • Efficiency.
  • Power loss.

What to test:
  • Different water pumps -- manufactures, designs, etc.
  • Underdrive pulleys.
  • Modified pump blades.
  • Of course you could use an electric water pump and move the drag to the alternator.

You'll have to figure out a way to load the alternator like race conditions. You'll also need to know the peak draw created by your car.

What to measure:
  • Output.
  • Efficiency.
  • Power Loss.

Things to test:
  • Different alternators -- manufactures, size etc.
  • Underdrive pulleys.
  • Turning off the field.
  • Fully charge battery.
  • Different batteries.
  • Multiple batteries.

Things to watch out for:
  • Frictional losses in your test rig that vary with temperature.
  • Testing in the wrong conditions -- like at an rpm that's too low.

There is one item I would never consider testing in isolation and that is the oil pan. The only way to do valuable testing on the oil pan is at the track, which is not very convenient.

The number of things you can test in isolation is only limited by the total number of components.

I've been talking about the engine in this article, but you could apply this to every part in your car.

Buy Don's New Book Today: The Horsepower Chain - [Click Here]

2013's Top Engine Posts

2013's Most Popular Engine Posts
by Don Terrill

what to do to equalize header temps Acoustic versus finite waves
Chamber Stall
VE and rpm related to the intakes valves L/D ratio
Exhaust Design - Exhaust Pressure Traces
Max Horse Power for Ford 302 block
Aluminum rods hitting cam
towing heads and cam question
piston damage question
Is Taylor a useful reference for racing engine design?
How to diagnose a random misfire?
Exhaust thrust
racing gasoline
Pinch point debate 2
History of the Chevrolet/GM BBC big block Chevy
Low profile intake manifold tuned for the 3rd resonance
Help rocker wear pattern w/ pics
Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams
Please school me on dry sump systems
Retarded timing acting like a rev limiter
Compression Ratio Limits and Iron Heads
Worn Thrust bearing .........…again
Even runner flow
how much oil pressure is too much?
Importance of Valve Job
Lean spot from 1800 to 2,500 light throttle
engine assembly horsepower tricks/tips
Dyno tune up---100 HP
Emulsion Part 2

2013's Top Engine Book: The Horsepower Chain

Garage Tech

Photo by Charlie Kindel

Garage Tech
by Don Terrill (c) SpeedTalk.com

One thing all racers have in common, no matter the type of racing, is the garage.

To get a little philosophical here, what is a garage? For me it's a place to escape the world, a place to tinker, a place to embrace our inner Edison. As men, it's in our DNA, we can't help ourselves -- we're wired to try and make things better. Women will never understand this drive, even though they have no doubt benefited from it. In fact, without this drive we'd all be living in caves.

Now on to the utility part of this article. Below are a few random thoughts, many coming from the mindset of "If I had it to do all over again." I have built a garage from scratch and I'm currently half way through another.

Designing a new garage -
To layout the inside of your garage, consider the method used to design golf courses -- draw the inside shape of your garage on a piece of paper. Next make paper cutouts (to scale) that represent items you want to put in your garage -- benches, etc. Then just move the items around on the paper until you find the best layout. Of course there are computer programs that can do the same.

Reorganizing your current garage -
This may seem daunting, but by far the best method is to pull everything out of your garage and then put back one item at a time. I think you'll be surprised by the number of items you don't return to the garage.

Finding more space -
Racers never think their garage is too big. Need more space? Think vertical. Move items that don't get used often towards the ceiling.

Kits / Workstations -
I hate having to hunt for things to do a job. So, depending on the task, I build a workstation or put together a kit. A kit is usually nothing more than a toolbox with everything needed.

Wiring -
If you're designing a new garage make sure you have plenty of outlets. You should also wire for items you may add in the future, like a welder, air compressor, hoist, etc.

Lighting -
I've never seen a garage that had too much lighting. Fluorescent lighting will be best in most cases, but if you want some ambiance, add some recessed lights.

Flooring -
I'm not a fan of painted or epoxied floors. I've yet to see one stand the test of time and use.

Heating -
In-floor heating is awesome, but would be hard to justify if you don't use the garage everyday. Overhead gas will probably be best for most. A home furnace can be used, just be careful you don't collect return air near the floor -- many flammable vapors, including gasoline, are heavier than air and sink to the floor.

Cooling -
For heating and cooling it's going to be all about where you're located. Unless you're using a home furnace, you're going to be stuck with a window AC unit or a mini-split system. Both of which are better than most people think and especially effective if you have divided areas (which is something to consider).

Insulation -
No matter where I was located I'd go overkill on the insulation. The nice thing about a post (pole barn) construction building is it allows for more insulation in the walls.

Water -
Nice to have, but if you're up north you'll have to worry about freezing pipes if you don't heat all winter. Maybe plumb it so you can drain the system or add rv antifreeze.

Compressed Air -
To me, with waterless hand cleaners I don't need water, but can't imagine a finished garage without plumbed compressed air. The debate over what type of pipe to use never seems to end  -- black pipe, copper or pvc. Heavy wall copper tubing has my vote.

Floor drain -
Seems like a great idea, but in my first garage I probably used it once in ten years.

Benches -
For me the keys are a nice top, the proper height and a very secure attachment to the wall and/or floor.

Rodents -
Where I live the mice are tenacious. They will find every single weakness in your structure, high and low. The biggest problem is them chewing through wires (which they love) and starting an electrical fire. Best advice: Great Stuff foam together with bronze wool.

Roof Ice -
Another problem here in the north. I fixed my icing when I stopped listening to roofing and insulation people. Icing has almost nothing to do with insulation. It's all about air flow.

If I could offer only one piece of advice it would be to make your garage a comfortable place -- A place you want to be -- a man cave.

And maybe, if society is lucky, you'll spend more time in your garage and invent something -- moving the human race forward.

Join the garage tech discussion at:

If you have some photos of your garage, we'd love to see them.