VIEWS: 25 PAGES: 3 CATEGORY: Engineering & Energy POSTED ON: 6/3/2010
Today, almost anyone can begin with a good basic combination, but many racers struggle to find the tune-up that will extract maximum power from the engine and maximum traction from the chassis to produce the right numbers on the time slip. Couple that with data gathered at the track and/or on a chassis dyno or engine dynamometer, and you have all of the tools needed to find (and maintain) maximum power from any drag race engine.
Racing Technology with Evan J. Smith Horsepower Is In The Tune O ver the years, racers have found different ways to tune their engines while searching for the ever-elusive “perfect run.” Those who have mastered few hundred bucks, and many are advertised in National DRAGSTER. And with the bevy of affordable air/fuel ratio the difficult art of tuning have gained great equipment on the market from companies like prominence in our sport, along with championships Innovate, Dynojet, Altronics, Computech, and others, and race wins. Tuning, in simple terms, refers to the knowing your air/fuel ratio is not that hard. Couple act of dialing in the variables that affect that with data gathered at the track and/or on a performance, and this can mean changes to the chassis dyno or engine dynamometer, and you have engine, clutch/converter, transmission and rear-end all of the tools needed to find (and maintain) gearing, and/or suspension. maximum power from any drag race engine. Jeff Bardekoff has a strong-running Max Wedge Today, almost anyone You have to wonder how Plymouth. The question was, with tuning, could we make can begin with a good anyone can spend thousands it quicker? basic combination, but of dollars on a set of many racers struggle to headers, collectors, or other then hooked up the data-logging oxygen sensor into find the tune-up that will performance parts and not the collector and went to work. We systematically extract maximum power know what effect it had on made our baseline runs, which showed us the engine from the engine and the tune-up. How can you was very lean. I was amazed at this considering how maximum traction from determine if a new part did well the car had been running. Normal operating the chassis to produce or did not work if you don’t range for most naturally aspirated race engines is the right numbers on the know why it caused a change 12.8-13.3:1. Nine times out of 10, you’ll find the time slip. in power/e.t./speed? How sweet spot somewhere in that range, but if an engine With regard to engine many people make a change is out of that range, chances are power is not being tuning, many things affect and claim the new parts maximized. performance. Ultimately, Before making any changes, we made three baseline worked or didn’t work but By the end of the day, we threw the biggest jets we want the engine to runs. It can be difficult running a car with a loose have no idea why? Bardekoff had at the 426 Max Wedge and found 10 ingest as much air as converter on a chassis dyno because when the throttle For example: Did those horsepower at the peak and even more below the possible (for this, we rely is kicked open, the rpm can spike, which leads to new headers lean the engine curve. Torque production jumped 13 foot-pounds, on weather conditions), erroneous numbers. Thankfully, we had the help of Jim out, therefore causing a gain and, remember, this is at the wheels! then we make the D’Amore and JDM Engineering in Freehold, N.J., to help in power? Did they make it Because the dyno monitors weather conditions, necessary jet or fuel map us make smooth, consistent pulls. go dead rich, killing power it’s able to correct as the day goes on. Additionally, changes to mix in the and e.t.? Perhaps if you got we were careful to monitor other variables, such as correct ratio of fuel, and we set the ignition timing to the engine back in the proper air/fuel the temperatures of produce an efficient burn, which hopefully results in range those new headers that cost the intake manifold maximum cylinder pressure. When this is achieved, the you .04 might have actually showed a and coolant. While we engine makes plenty of force on the pistons and a lot
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