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Pistons for offshore racing

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One benefit to building a maximum 510-cubic inch big block Chevrolet engine for American Power Boat Association (APBA) offshore racing, is the cooling. Because cold water constantly throbs through the block and cylinder head, there is very little fall-off in performance and very little micro welding in the ring lands to deal with. According to Stewart Van Dyne II and Stewart Van Dyne III (Tres) of Van Dyne Engineering in Huntington Beach, California, "We tend to like pistons with...

Rings of steel

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The UN summit meeting in Copenhagen, COP 15, has come and gone. A meeting whereby 192 or so countries met together to fudge some kind of global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions yet again attracted that section of the environmental lobbyists who seem to be determined to press their cause via mayhem and violence. It is little wonder therefore that the authorities seeking to maintain law and order, and according to journalist types, threw a 'ring of steel' around the venue...

Thermal deburring

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In racing we rely much more on machined components than our counterparts in the arena of series production engine design - we need to make parts quickly, we need the flexibility to make swift design changes and we want to take advantage of the improved mechanical and fatigue properties that high quality wrought materials offer us compared to castings etc. Whilst we all want to save money, especially in these straitened times of financial recession, we have less financial constraints than...

The chassis dyno

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Believe it or not measuring the precise output from a reciprocating engine has always been a controversial and sometimes, difficult task. Even in the confines of the engine test cell, day-to day repeatability can often be onerous not to say expensive and so it is easy to understand why many competitors may prefer to test their engine while it remains in the vehicle - on a chassis dynamometer. Engine dynamometers are generally the province of serious tuners and the OE engine business....

Transmission and driveline offset

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One of the problems faced by race car designers is the conflicting requirement of keeping a low centre of gravity for the engine (and transmission), whilst keeping the driveshaft within acceptable values. Whatever the chosen method of coupling excessive angularity will lead to increased power losses and ultimately, failure of the joints. Putting some numbers to this, consider a Formula Three car whose engine is dry sumped and running a 140 mm diameter race clutch on a lightweight flywheel....