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Why are valves required to be ductile?

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When you visit a large motorsport trade show, as I recently did, there will be a number of engine component suppliers present, some of which will be selling high-quality valvetrain components. In the display cabinets ranged before you, among other things you are likely to see valves of all sizes, shapes and materials, there for you to examine and discuss with the various specialists manning the stands. Among these exhibits, there is sometimes a single, horribly distorted part, proudly...

Which performance to push?

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After having written in my previous article about process control issues, something occurred to me about the differences between engine applications. In general, RET-Monitor and Race Engine Technology magazine put an emphasis on high-performance engines. This often means also high-revving engines, due to the simple assumption that the easiest way to make power is make use of high rpms. What came to mind is what this statement means in regard to other engines. The reason I started thinking...

Keeping valve springs alive on a budget

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In the destructive world of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition, few parts take more of a beating than valve springs. "What kills them is going up and down 8000 times a minute uncompressed, as close as we can get them," says Jim Dunn, who runs his eponymous Funny Car race team from a small workshop in South Gate, California. Dunn is pretty much of a throwback to the earlier days of straight-line competition, a man who prefers not to use computers in his...

Reed valves: other applications in race engines

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In the previous article on valves, I turned to the subject of reed valves and their use in the induction section of a two-stroke engine. In race series where two-stroke engines are still popular, reed valves are commonly used and, owing to their mechanical simplicity, are likely to remain so. They require no mechanical drive or other actuation, and depend only on pressure differentials to open and close. There have been a number of uses of reed valves on four-stroke engines, some of which...

Welded rods, an advantage?

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In previous articles about pushrods, several designs have been discussed and explained. And although in these articles the developments, manufacturing and control processes are said to have matured over the years, there are still many race series worldwide where top-end pushrods are not used. Often the reason is product cost. These race series rely on performance parts that are not as sophisticated as the high-level series, or not even production components. That's not to say these...