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The rear crankshaft oil seal

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Historically, the rear main bearing oil seal has always been a challenge for the engine designer. Ask any modern competitor of a classic or vintage racecar when apart from getting the engine started in the first place, the second most important quest is to keep the oil where it belongs - in the sump and not on the garage floor! Hidden out of sight somewhere between the rearmost main bearing on the crankshaft and the engine flywheel, the zone is rarely awash with oil but neither is it...

MotoGP exhausts

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MotoGP represents a real technical challenge for those who have the resources to design a bespoke race engine. The rules are refreshingly simple and short. There is very little to restrict irresponsible levels of spending, apart from common sense. The engine may have any number of cylinders in any configuration. Where Formula One dictates the number of cylinders and layout of the engine, MotoGP allows any design. Although we don't currently have anyone using more than four cylinders, we...

Anti-rotation washers

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There have been a number of articles about fasteners that have mentioned friction, and as we have discussed, this has an important effect on the relationship between tightening torque and tension. Although torque-based tensioning of fasteners is not ideal, having a large number of unpredictable variables, we often don't have much choice other than to use this method. The torque-tension relationship relies on a number of geometric parameters that are often under our control, or are...

Ethanol and water - and disappearing octane!

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It could be that I'm giving the wrong impression here but on a cold winter's evening there is nothing I like so much as a small glass of whisky. Settling into my favourite armchair alongside the dying embers of a log fire and savouring the delights to come, I watch carefully as the dash of tepid water (not too much now!) is added to the tumbler and then slowly mixes. That it does so is one of life's extraordinary things, as the surplus electrons of the water's oxygen atoms...

The oil pressure relief valve, or when to leave it alone!

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In the world of automotive engineering there is a strong belief that unreliability creeps in when humans interfere. Take servicing the engine oil system, for instance. Consisting of a pump, a filter, some bearings and one or two other components - not forgetting, of course, the oil - when assembled under the cleanest of conditions and serviced regularly to the same standards, we can expect the engine to last for the full design life (generally at least 150,000 miles, or 240,000 km) and...