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The Fuel Rail

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It seems strange to think that 30 years ago electronic fuel injection systems as we know and understand them now were really only in their infancy. Computers of course were really only for the ‘nerds’ in our midst, and anyway were generally too large, not sophisticated enough or too slow to handle the information needed to process them. If you can remember back that far, the carburettor was king, and some pretty sophisticated versions were available. But the theory was simple....

The Air Filter

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Viewers of Grand Prix in recent years can’t fail to have noticed the increasing amount of debris littering the sides of the track as the race proceeds. Clearly this is the inevitable result of the high rates of tyre degradation and wear during the race, designed to ’spice up’ the on-track action. However such debris can be a serious hazard to the internals of an internal combustion engine. And where perhaps I can think of many applications in the past when racers...

Motorcycle Engine Dry Sumps

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The concept of using a motorcycle engine to power a small racecar or sidecar outfit is well established and very effective - bike engines are small, light and very powerful, giving excellent straight-line acceleration and weight-saving potential. There are, however, some fundamental differences between the bike and car-sidecar applications that can lead to oil surge and potential engine failures. The biggest differences in lubrication needs between an engine fitted in a motorcycle and one...

The Piston as Part of the Combustion Chamber

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It is often said that the combustion chamber is the heart of any internal combustion engine, although the lungs might be an anatomically more accurate analogy. What is in no doubt though is that it has a fundamental bearing on the efficient operation of the engine; it is where we convert our chemical reagents into other substances and release energy in the process. The piston is an important part of this in any race engine. In a diesel engine, the combustion chamber is mostly formed in the...


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The term ‘chromating’ is a contraction of Chromate Conversion Coating, which itself is a little misleading. They are not typical coatings in the sense we would normally define as a separate layer which is clearly distinguishable from the surface below. Chromate conversion processes chemically alter the surface to which they are applied, and the conversion coating becomes an integral part of the surface. The chromated surface is formed by a chemical reaction between the substrate...