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Pistons that work

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When Rhys Millen Motorsports (RMR) decided to field a car in the 2010 Pikes Peak Hillclimb, it upgraded its Formula Drift engine to compete in the rarified air of the famous Colorado mountains and built an all-wheel-drive closed coupe, the RMR PM580, to contain it. The car and engine were completed in four months; there were only two tests before the climb. Using Hyundai's Lambda 3.8 litre naturally aspirated V6, as found in the production Genesis coupe and sedan, Millen's team took...

Piston ring blow-by

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After all this talk about the different types of piston rings - barrel, scraper, taper scraper and not forgetting of course the oil control ring - how do we assess their effectiveness and, perhaps more important, how do we know when things are starting to go wrong? One way, I suppose, is to look behind you. If you see a slight blue haze in the rear view mirror then either you have a fancy tinted rear window or the beginnings of a major catastrophe. And should it be the latter, there is no...


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Many of us will be familiar with nitriding as a method of providing a hard wear-resistant surface on some engine components. An additional benefit is that the surface is put into a state of residual compressive stress by treatment. The benefit of doing so are that the fatigue life of the component is extended, even where there is no use made of the wear-resistant nature of the surface. One point against nitriding though, in all of its forms, is the amount of time taken to carry out the...

Chassis dynamometers - roller size

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As a power unit engineer I must admit I still think in terms of engine dynos. In absorbing the power produced directly off the engine crankshaft - or, perhaps better still, a suitably designed PTO (Power Take Off) - this seems to me the easiest way to map an engine and optimise its performance. But as a pragmatist, I realise there are times when the engine may need to be tested in its environment, and in such cases it is much simpler and quicker to leave it in the vehicle. Yet while the...

Slipper clutches - coil or diaphragm?

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In a previous RET-Monitor article we looked at how these 'Back Torque Limiters' or 'Slipper Clutch' units operate, and their particular advantages in motorcycle applications. They allow a controlled slipping of the clutch until the speeds of both the rear wheel and the engine are matched, and have found their way into many motorcycle race formulae including World and British Superbike, Supermoto and even Motocross. While not exclusively suited to motorcycle applications,...