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Design features to improve top ring sealing

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Sometimes, when we run a new design of race engine, or have made a big change to one, we find we cannot get a good ring seal. Poor piston ring sealing can cause loss of performance through loss of combustion pressure and poor oil consumption – neither of which are desirable in a race engine. We can detect problems when we see high levels of blow-by on the dyno using our blow-by meter, or alternatively an unusually high rate of oil use. If this is an effect which is repeated over a...

Applications and design considerations of anodising

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Although anodising can be applied to a few other metals, the vast majority of applications in motorsport will be on aluminium. This is a reflection of the popularity of aluminium in the construction of race engines and transmissions, and the fact that anodising is not a process that is commonly applied to other materials such as titanium. There are several benefits to anodising, but we should make an early distinction between hard anodising, which applies a relatively thick oxide surface...

Flow benches and cylinder head performance

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For many years, flow benches have been an integral part of the engine builder’s tuning arsenal, allowing quantifiable data about port flow rates to be obtained. Although the principles of operation have not changed drastically over the years, the latest generation of flow benches and associated ancillaries are capable of providing greater levels of insight into cylinder head performance than ever before. One area that has long been of interest to cylinder head tuners is the analysis of...

Superfinishing of transmission gears

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The gears in racing transmissions are subject to loads that far exceed those in production cars. As such, careful attention needs to be paid to gear construction and design to ensure they are reliable and efficient. In the past we have looked at gear materials and manufacturing methods, as well as the benefits of surface coatings such as DLC. However, there is another useful technique that can be used to improve the performance and reliability of gears: superfinishing. It is well...

Some design considerations for timing gears

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Although the North American passenger car market still uses overhead valve (pushrod) valvetrains, they are very much out of vogue in the rest of the world. While big-capacity, lazy, low-revving engines are common in the US, where gasoline is relatively inexpensive, small-capacity, higher-revving engines are used where gasoline is more costly. Small engines power small cars, and these require less fuel. Higher-revving engines are a challenge for the valvetrain, and the overhead cam engines...