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Digging the dirt

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Although many might disagree, the sealing of the gap between two fixed surfaces is a relatively simple task. Variation in loading or changes in thermal expansion may require the joint to have some form of compliance, but in general the solutions are well understood and, as such, failures should be few and far between. But when it comes to sealing the gap between a rotation crankshaft and the engine crankcase, a wholly different set of rules apply. In this case not only does the seal have...

GT exhausts

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The new McLaren MP4-12C roadcar is a real looker, and has had some great reviews in the motoring press. It didn't take long before the car was taken from the road to the track, competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series in Europe. This is a race series specifically for GT cars. Stories in the press suggest that there are up to ten teams considering racing this car in 2012. The MP4 is powered by a 3.8-litre V8 turbocharged engine. I spoke to the chief engineer on the GT project, Andy...

Socket head fasteners with flank drive tightening features

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There is a fondness for using socket-head screws in race engines. They are neat, and one can use a number of them close together, allowing the use of high clamping forces. Taking the example of adjacent 6 mm metric screws, two socket-head types can comfortably be placed 10.5 mm apart, whereas two hexagon-head versions need 11.54 mm, plus tool clearance to allow for a socket or a wrench, between screw centres. In many circumstances, socket-head screws also have advantages in terms of tool...

The endurance oil

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Within the confines of an internal combustion engine, engine crankcase oil is expected to lubricate, cool, seal, maintain a high degree of cleanliness and protect against all forms of engine wear and corrosion. Not only must it do all this, it often also has to keep on doing so for long periods of time. In a sprint race of maybe a couple of hours' duration this may not be too much of a problem, but for the endurance racer, conducting what is becoming more and more of a series of sprint...

Any hose will do?

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Oil flow within an engine is something that is given great consideration during the design stage, be it by a manufacturer of a commercial unit or a bespoke race engine. However, ancillaries such as oil coolers and dry-sump systems are sometimes not subject to the same level of scrutiny. This can often be the case when the engine is being fitted to a car without the involvement of the engine constructor. Obviously correct sizing of the 'plumbing' is important - there is little point...