Straight Talk on Angle Plugs On small-block Chevy angle-plug combustion chambers, engineers moved the plug tips closer to the roofs of the chambers, supposedly to improve combustion efficiency and gain power. The first heads to feature the angle-plug configuration were a special parts-counter-only version of the conventional production straight-plug, 64cc chamber, “492” casting. Other than the angled plug location, the casting was identical and carried the same “492” casting number; hence, it offers a useful yardstick for comparing just the effects of altering spark plug location. The consensus was that original angle-plug heads were worth 10-12 hp on high-compression engines using high-dome pistons because they reposition the plug higher in the chamber so the flame front is no longer blocked by the piston dome. In fact, angle plugs made practical the use of even higher domes (with correspondingly higher compression ratios); previously, really big domes on … [Read more...] about Small Block Chevy Angle Plug Combustion Chambers – Ask Marlan
Cracked engine block symptoms
QUESTION After my 1955 Chevy V8 hasn’t been driven for a week or more, when going downhill under engine compression braking, fairly heavy white smoke comes out of the exhaust ports. Why is this happening Batanides Via email ANSWERThe cause of “white exhaust smoke syndrome” could be as innocuous as water in the exhaust pipes condensing and boiling off or as serious as a cracked head or block. You can narrow down the cause by observing the exhaust smoke’s color and when it occurs.I don’t think it’s water condensation in the mufflers or tailpipes because that would happen at cold-start whether the car was stationary or moving. The symptoms as you have described them—they occur only after the car has sat for at least a week and only when going downhill, decelerating under engine compression braking—indicate to me there’s some sort of fluid accumulation over time, which under high engine vacuum, gets sucked out of the motor and … [Read more...] about Pit Stop: Diagnosing Engine Exhaust Smoke
Q: I just installed a 305 engine into my ’86 El Camino. When I went to install the bolts on the torque converter, I pried it a little with a screwdriver until it mated with the flexplate and the crankshaft moved forward. After installing all the torque-converter bolts, I did it again—the crank moves front and back. Is this normal? If not, what do I do about it? A: An engine’s crankshaft is supported in the engine block by the main bearings. The bearings and the oil film between the bearings and crank must be able to contain, absorb, and manage loads induced by the combustion process driving the pistons and rods. These loads encompass both radial (spinning) and longitudinal (fore and aft) forces. As the pistons drive the crank around the crankshaft axis (the radial loading), they also try to drive the crank toward the rear (the longitudinal loading). Although all the main bearings are designed to cope with radial loads, one of these bearings—the thrust … [Read more...] about Paul From South Orange, New Jersey Asks… How Much Crankshaft Endplay Is Normal?
There’s nothing worse than hitting the road in your mean machine and overheating. Smiles become frowns and steamy, boiling torrents douse the tarmac as your baby bleeds to death on the side of the road. To avoid the embarrassment, you need a capable cooling system, one that can dissipate excess engine heat efficiently regardless of traffic speed, altitude, load, or ambient temperature. New cars from the factory spend months at the manufacturer’s proving grounds long before release to ensure adequate engine protection in any conceivable situation. But once these cooling systems spend a few years in service and become partially clogged by inevitable mineral formations, or are subjected to a highly modified engine package, it’s time for a rethink. Remember, the liquid-cooled internal combustion engine relies exclusively on water, or water-based fluid, and airflow to remain cool. It works like this: The engine block, heads, and (usually) intake manifold are cast with … [Read more...] about High-Performance Cooling System 101: Keep Your Cool!
Flatheads at War Tommy Boger Steve Magnante: Tommy Gun, you’re correct that Detroit advertising mavens whetted the public’s demand for ever-growing horsepower numbers more than half a century ago. As for the use of American V8s in tanks, troop carriers, or other military vehicles, remember that most post-WWII military machinery went to diesel power for the torque and minimized threat of fire from fuel hits, but when it comes to the legendary Ford flathead V8, we dug up some surprises from World War II. Keeping in mind that Ford was one of the globe’s first huge, multinational corporations with assembly plants and dealer networks positioned all over the world as early as 1930, it is understandable to learn of the flattie’s role—on both sides—in WWII. On the good side, with the Ford flathead V8 also being manufactured in England soon after its 1932 U.S. debut, the Royal Air Force (RAF) adopted the compact, potent powerhouse for use as a stationary … [Read more...] about Flatheads in WWII, Chevy 427 Oil Pressure, and Cracked Powdered Connecting Rods
What’s up, DOHC? Pontiac Solstice Engine Swap? via CarCraft.com: We just scored a ’72 Vega on eBay, and for the first time, my boy got excited over a car-what a proud day. He just turned 16 and can’t drive until he’s 18, which gives us two years to get it on the road. He is not ready for a 6.0L V-8, but we are drawn to a turbo 2.0L Pontiac Solstice type swap. Fabricating is not an issue, but being a V-8 addict, I am not up to speed on the interchange on the different GM four-cylinder engines, transmissions, turbos, and the like. I personally would choose a five- or six-speed, but the kid may call auto. Any tidbits of info you could supply would be great, maybe contact info for a company that caters to car crafters by supplying complete drivetrain takeout assemblies. I think this has potential to be a great experience with a very entertaining outcome. Jeff Smith: This is uncharted territory, but let’s take a stab at it. It does sound like the least … [Read more...] about Pontiac Solstice Engine Swap & More – What’s Your Problem?
If you ever get the chance to talk with Robert Bernstein about his 1969 Plymouth Barracuda, you’ll quickly find out that he isn’t your ordinary car nut. We all love our muscle cars, and they claim a very special place in our garages and our hearts, but in Robert’s case, it’s really hard to figure out where Robert ends and the Barracuda begins. It’s not so much a case of obsession, it’s more like the car is an extra limb—an arm or a leg. You see, Robert could no more easily disown his Barracuda than he could cut off a finger. We’ve known car fanatics who eschew family, jobs, relationships, and all manner of interaction with the greater world in order to fulfill a single hot rodding dream—let us assure you that Robert is not that guy. Married for over a quarter century to his understanding wife, Debby, and father of two lovely adult daughters (Stacy and Denise), Robert is, for lack of a better term, a normal human being. With no … [Read more...] about 1969 Plymouth Barracuda – Old Faithful
► New Clio RS 200 vs used Mk6 Golf R ► Golf’s 262bhp plays the Clio’s 197bhp ► Which is most fun, though? Find out... A solid £11k separates a new £30k Mk7 Volkswagen Golf R from a £19k Clio 200 Turbo. But let depreciation kick in and that gulf vanishes, though you do need to step back a generation to the Mk6 Golf R.Built between 2010 and 2012, Golf R prices typically span £14-£22k. Pay Clio RS money and you’ll bag a corker like the one we’re testing. It’s a late model with 44,000 miles and a full-service history, yours for £19,990 at Volkswizard.The 2.0-litre turbocharged Mk6 produces 262bhp/258lb ft, and scoots to 62mph in just 5.5sec with help from its Haldex all-wheel drive. The Clio’s 1.6-litre turbo musters 197bhp/192lb ft, and chews its front tyres alone to hit 62mph in 6.7sec.We loved the old RS Clios, but first impressions don’t auger well. Throttle response is poor, the … [Read more...] about Icon buyer: new Renault Clio RS 200 vs used VW Golf R Mk6
Excessive Horsepower Disorder is a terrible thing. A sufferer can own a 505hp Corvette Z06 and still feel a nagging urge for more. Luckily, there are plenty of tuners ready to relieve 'Vette owners of their money– I mean symptoms. Despite their noble intentions, few garages can be trusted to monkey around with the complex workings of the Z06's heavily-breathed-upon small-block V8. Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) is one. For over two decades, the Indiana-based Corvette concern has been transforming America's Sports Car into American psychos. Their new engine package is gloriously, predictably, wonderfully nuts.Our Z06 LPE test car was prepared by Twenty First Century Muscle Cars of Dallas, Texas. It's a monotone monster: black paint, black wheels, presidential window-tint and blacked-out hoops. In case you missed the point (Lord Vader), the new tires add an extra 20mm of rubber up front and back, intensifying the Z06' already aggressive stance. And that's it– … [Read more...] about Chevrolet Corvette Z06 LPE Review
Showtime.That was the word going around in our heads as we lined up America's latest-and perhaps greatest-supercar, the Saleen S7, on the half-mile drag strip at Carlsbad Raceway in Southern California for our first instrumented test. We'd been waiting for that big moment for almost three years. Back in August 2000, Steve Saleen, then 49, the longtime builder of Mustang-based rockets, announced plans to produce a $400,000 mid-engined, V-8-powered challenger to the world's most revered supercars, such holy grails as the McLaren F1 and the Ferrari F50. But we'd heard similar proclamations before. Remember the Cunningham? The Vector? The Cseremeister put it best when he said, "Now let's see if he can follow through." As you'll see, Saleen has indeed come through: The S7 is the real deal, the quickest production car built in the U.S. This supercar is hand-built alongside Saleen's Mustangs in a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing and engineering facility in Irvine, … [Read more...] about Saleen S7