Modifying and tuning-up any car or truck, whether it be a highly modified street/strip car or a standard run of the mill production car is a hands-on hobby. The best way to learn the basic how-to’s is jump straight in and pull everything apart, but, don’t rely on your memory, mark all the items you disconnect, put your camera to use (a picture is worth a thousand words). Use tin cans and boxes for parts and ‘flag’ all wires and hoses by wrapping masking tape around the ends, making a little flag to write on..
Books are a good source of info on any car tune-up how-to and can be your everything when problems arise and questions need to be answered. If you are new to the sport, have a general knowledge of mechanics, then street rodding can be a pleasure when you get things right. Tinkering with your car is the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t. The best advice is good advice so we’ve decided to give-you-some on a few of those things you’ve always wanted to do to your ride but just haven’t had the know-how. If you’ve got a fairly well equipped workshop or box of tools, there’s no time like now, just get started. In this how-to section, we’ll cover a number of different areas that are easy to improve and don’t take up much of your time.
Carburetors are a source of fascination and total confusion for many muscle car enthusiasts, especially for the newcomers. To help you out, we’ve taken the mystery out of what makes a Holley carburetor tick while adding some basics on how to tune the engine for better power and fuel consumption.
We’ve also thrown in some useful technical tips on the fuel delivery system to feed that hungry carb. Next, we’ll show you a simple driveway how-to on improving the shift firmness of a Turbo 350 automatic transmission, some great tips on installing an electric fan to keep your engine running cooler in the summer heat. We’re also going to give you some helpful installation hints on the right way to relocate your battery to the boot of your ride.
For you more advanced readers, we have an article on the proper procedure for starting a brand new engine for the first time. Finally, we have a section on precision tools used in engineering where we will instruct you on how to read a micrometer, (mike). We will take you through our little window of how-to’s and see if something grabs your attention. Then take up your spanners and try it for yourself. There’s an immense amount of satisfaction in a car tune up and a job well done. If you take things one step at a time and don’t rush any one job at hand you will find that re-fitting the jigsaw puzzle isn’t as difficult as it may seem at the onset, but the best part of all being able to tell your friends - you did it yourself and your car tune up was a success so far. If you are Looking4spares Part Find is your spares locator solution.
Tuning a Holley Carburettor
Bolt-on performance parts only improve the performance of an engine to the stage of how good your knowledge is to tune these parts accordingly. A four-barrel Holley carb is a prime example of easy bolt-on horsepower. The best part of a Holley carburetor is that these carbs are easy to work on, and if an understanding is acquired then a little goes a long way.
Tuning any engine or component thereof means changing parts. One very common problem on a carb is vacuum leaks. Often vacuum plugs can come off or deteriorate due to heat or old age, and cause the engine to idle roughly. Also bear in mind that cleanliness is next to holiness on any Carb. If the base gas has been removed or replaced make sure the correct gaskets are used when bolting a carb back on to the intake manifold. There are three different Holley gaskets, all of which will fit, but only one will work correctly.
Setting the Holley’s Float Level
Bolt the carb on and fire it up. Set the idle to a reasonable speed, so that the engine runs smoothly and allow it to reach to normal operating temp. This is an important step. Always see to it that the vehicle is parked in a ‘level’ driveway so that the float level can be set correctly. Incorrect float levels will cause the engine to run either too rich or too lean. On the side of the Holley carb is a bolt window, which must be removed. Changes can be made through this window to the float by loosening the lock screw and adjusting the lock nut. This moves the seat in relation to the needle to raise or lower the float. Turning the nut clockwise lowers the float level, while counter-clockwise will raise the float level, allowing more fuel into the float bowl. If you have an electric fuel pump use it to periodically fill the float bowls. The aim is to set the float high enough until the fuel just starts to seep out of the sight bolt window.
Setting the Holley’s Idle-Mixture
On most Holley carburetors, the idle mixture screws are located on the primary metering block. Thread these screws in until the engine stumbles. Then back them out until the highest rpm is reached. Most Holley carbs richen the idle mix when the screws are turned out, but some emission-application carburetors have reverse idle adjustment. Adjust one side and then the other side whilst trying to maintain the balance between the two sides as best as you can and fine-tune them both. Most start at about 1 and 1/2 turns from the fully screwed in position. After the float level and idle have been set, the idle rpm can be readjusted to a desirable speed.
Holley Carb Power-Valve Tuning
The power valve provides more fuel during high-load / high-speed operation, opening at predetermined vacuum point that is stamped on the valve. A power valve opens at 6.5 inches of mercury. The later manufactured Holley power valves have the number spread out on the face, but read the same as the old units. Power valve tuning considerations dictate that the power valve only opens at ‘wide open throttle’, (WOT) and not at idle. First use a vacuum guage to check manifold vacuum at idle and WOT. The key is to ensure the idle vacuum does not drop below the power valve’s opening point. For example, erratic idle and an over- rich condition is caused by an 8.0 inch idle vacuum with a power valve rated at 10.5 inches of manifold vacuum.
Holley Carb Secondaries
Once all the other metering gauges have been dialed in, attention can be turned to the secondaries. On vacuum secondary models, a spring within a vacuum diaphragm controls the opening rate of the seacondaries. Holley offers a quick-change kit (PN 20-59) containing six different secondary springs quick and easy to change. Holley also offers a spring kit (PN 20-03) containing six different secondary springs. During transition into the secondaries, a bog or stumble indicates that the secondaries are opening too soon; slow acceleration could indicate that the secondaries are opening too late. When the secondaries are opening at the correct time, the only noticeable difference will be an increase in power and a change in exhaust tone. A lighter spring will open the secondaries sooner, while a heavier spring will open them later.
Holley Carb Jetting
Spark plugs tell a story! Prior to testing, an easy way to diagnose your engine is to ‘look’ into the combustion chambers by removing spark plugs and inspecting them. Each plug has its own story to tell about the cylinder it lived in or came out of, so always remember to keep them laid out in the order they came out in, no matter if it’s a four cylinder, six or eight.
During part-throttle operation, the main jets handle the fuel-metering chores. An HC/CO meter is extremely helpful when tuning part-throttle metering, but performance experimentation can be just as helpful, as checking spark plugs. Dark carbon deposits on the porcelain of spark plugs indicate a rich condition, while a completely white or damaged spark plug can mean a lean air/fuel ratio. A correct air/fuel mixture will leave a brown ring on a plug’s porcelain. Jet changes may be necessary to compensate for different engine modifications, altitude, temperatures and other conditions.
The main thing to look for is a wet-black deposit on the inside of the threaded portion of the spark plug and on the plug insulator. This is caused by oil getting past worn piston rings or intake valve guides.
Black, dry and fluffy deposits are carbon caused by an over-rich fuel mixture, excessive idling or driving at slow speeds. All the plugs should appear the same in this case. The fuel mix will have to be corrected by tuning, however carbon build up caused by the way a vehicle is operated can only be partially corrected by fitting hotter plugs or by changing driving habits.
Holley Pump Cams and Shooters
The accelerator pump circuit is controlled by a combination of the plastic pump cam located on the primary throttle shaft and the accelerator pump ‘shooter’ located between the venturis. Hesitation on acceleration can be caused by too much, or more often, too little fuel introduced by the accelerator pump circuit. Holley carb books will reference the different pump cams while numbers stamped on the pump squirters determine their size. Larger squirters deliver more fuel in a shooter period of time. Holley offers a kit
(PN 20-12), that contains an assortment of cams. Finally, there are different styles of squirters; the one in the middle has discharge nozzles to better direct the flow.
Building and tuning a Street Rod is a process that involves chasing down and correcting ‘weak links’ in the performance chain and tweaking them accordingly. On the mechanical side, a hot rod is a collection of systems that work together that produce power and motion. If any of these systems fails to deliver its required function, the performance of the whole machine suffers.
Fuel delivery is such one case. As displacement and rpm increase, so does the engines need for fuel. If the fuel system on your hot rod fails to deliver an adequate fuel supply to the carburetor, then the fuel/air ratio will be affected toward the lean side. Lean air/fuel ratios tend to cause temperatures to rise and can, in extreme conditions, cause engine destruction.
While an inadequate fuel-deliver system is not only the cause for lean air/fuel ratios, it is a primary system that must function properly. If the fuel system doesn’t deliver enough fuel to your carburetor then no amount of tuning will achieve optimum engine performance.
There are three basic concepts regarding fuel delivery. One is the rated capacity for the pump, the second is the inside diameter of the fuel line, and the third is the pressure, measured in pounds per square inch. Pressure and volume are related in that sufficient pressure is required to supply fuel to the carburetor. Obviously a larger-diameter line will permit a greater fuel delivery volume. In this article we will concentrate on the pressure side of the fuel delivery “equation.”
Delivering an adequate supply of fuel requires that the system overcome the forces of gravity (since it must be pumped up to the carburetor while overcoming the car’s positive acceleration forces) and the friction of the fuel line. As a general rule, a fuel line with a horizontal length of 13 feet between the tank and the carburetor will lose four psi per g of acceleration. Losing pressure means that you are also losing volume, which means you’re losing power.
The solution to this performance problem is to design a system that has an adequate reserve potential to overcome the effects of acceleration and to install a fuel line that is of adequate diameter and is free of needless bends. It all begins back at the source, the fuel tank.
Good fuel pressure and flow begin at the fuel tank. One way is to take your fuel tank to a radiator shop and have a larger fuel tank bung installed. Caution is the key here. Do not attempt to weld the tank yourself. Take it to a professional. Often, inlet lines on tank-sending units can be easily enlarged by adding a larger pickup. If necessary, have the bung positioned low in the tank and toward the back so that as fuel sloshes during acceleration the outlet won’t be uncovered. Also, you should increase the diameter of the vent in proportion to the amount of fuel you anticipate using under full-throttle conditions. In addition, a high-flow fuel filter should be installed before the fuel pump.
Fitting the Fuel Pump
The mounting position of the pump is also important. The Holley “Blue” pump, like most electric pumps, pushes fuel better than it pulls. Therefore, mount the pump in a safe place at or below the fuel level and as close as possible to the tank.
Using the correct components in a proper manner is essential. We decided to keep this project as economical as possible, so we used Russell anodized aluminum fuel line. We used the line with 37-degree AN fittings and the tube nut/tube sleeve combination. The Holley “Blue” electric fuel pump produces 14 psi at the pump outlet and free flows 110 gallons per hour. In addition it will maintain 70 gallons per hour at nine psi. (This illustrates that pressure and volume are inversely proportional). The Holley “Blue” pump comes with a pressure regulator preset at 7 psi and we installed a Holley electric fuel pressure gauge at the regulator. The remaining regulator outlet leads to a Russell (part no. 4111) Holley carburetor adaptor kit with a predrilled and tapped hole for its fuel-pressure gauge (part no. 5033). Russell Cushion Clamps are used to secure the fuel line.
Fitting Fuel Lines and Fuel Guages
The fittings used with hard line feature a tube sleeve that provides a secure seal. Notice that the end of the tubing is flared. The flaring tool is used to flare the end of the tube to a 37-degree angle. Don’t forget to slide the nut and the tube sleeve on before you flare the tube end.
The advantage of using the Russell anodized-aluminum fuel line is that you can route the fuel line so that it has long radius turns with fewer connections compared to the stock fuel line. Remember, sharp turns and connections cause friction and reduce pressure and flow. The smoothest, most direct line to the carburetor is the most desirable. You will need a flaring tool and a tube-bending tool to achieve a professional installation.
To secure the fuel line to the frame or other support panels use clamps like the Russell Cushion Clamps, (similar ones can be purchased from most hydraulic shops). These clamps should be used every 2 to 3 feet or so. The clamps have a rubber sleeve to cushion the fuel line from vibration. Over time the vibrations encountered in an automotive application can cause the line to fatigue and possibly leak or break.
This is an example of how the various components fit around the carburetor. The under hood fuel pressure gauge is positioned very close to the carburetor. The fuel pressure regulator is installed as close as possible to the carburetor adaptor kit and the sensor for the electric fuel pressure gauge is connected opposite the mechanical gauge. Ideally, you want to position the gauges as close to the carburetor as possible. Some use two gauges between the carburetor adaptor and the fuel bowls.
Fuel Injection Pumps
Mallory has a range of Engine Competition Pumps, high-efficiency fuel pressure regulator for late-model fuel-injected engines. The return-style regulator is intended as a replacement for the factory fuel-injection regulator. The unit is adjustable 30 to 80 psi and comes preset at 38 psi. To adjust, simply loosen the locknut and turn the adjustment screw clockwise to increase the pressure. The new Mallory regulator also has a boost-compensating port for use in turbo or supercharged applications. If you’re going to install a regulator to increase fuel pressure to adjust air / fuel ratios on a fuel-injected engine, don’t forget to have the injectors cleaned and / or calibrated. The guys at The Carburetor Shop offer a state-of-the-art injector cleane r and test stand. The unit not only cleans injectors to restore factory flow specs, it will also check spray patterns and diagnose defective injectors. After all, it doesn’t matter how much pressure you have in the fuel rail if the injectors aren’t doing their part.
Introduction : Let’s face it, high-performance street machines, whether built for racing applications or all out street racing are fitted out with extremely precise engines that are built to very tight tolerances in order to run at high revolutions for prolonged periods of time. The smaller these tolerances become, to an acceptable clearance, the better the life of a high-performance engine. You must be able to measure these clearances accurately in order to engineer or machine the matching components to the minimum acceptable tolerances without allowing the metals to expand or contract to levels of ‘zero’ clearance thus resulting in component failure, (including and considering the vibration levels of distortion). Unlike a carpenter or a blacksmith, you cannot afford to be out by 1 or 2 mills and still be in the ballpark figure. We’re talking about clearances generally in the 0.02 - 0.03 mm range.
To put those figures into perspective, a single human hair averages about 0.036 mm. In order to measure these clearances in the engineering world, you must use a precision measurement tool and one of these tools is called the ‘micrometer’ or ‘mike’, which is
probably the most extensively used measuring tool besides a dial caliper, used for quick and pretty accurate measurements….there is no other way. Of course, mention precision tools and you also have to acknowledge that they don’t come cheap. But if you are going to build high-performance engines on a regular basis then these tools are the best investments you’ll ever make. Looking at the cost factor from another angle, all the tools in the article I have written on, would not equal the price of one blown engine lost because you didn’t measure the clearances accurately and methodically. The golden rule to engine building as I have mentioned before in my article on, ‘Engine Blueprinting’, is to CHECK, CHECK and CHECK again. Never assume it’s OK, the chances are, its not OK, and that one little mistake, as insignificant as it may seem, WILL make you pay, just how much is any ones guess!
Micrometers usually come in 0-25 mm steps up for each individual mike. While expensive, the best way to go is to purchase an entire set, usually spanning 1 to 6 inches. These sets can be purchased from most specialist tool shops, also comes with a slick wooden box and the six ‘standards’, used to check the accuracy of these mikes.
A more accurate and faster way to measure inside diameters is with a dial bore gauge. This tool features a 50 mm through to 150 mm range. It features a three-prong foot that accurately positions the gauge for precise measurements. Readings are displayed on the dial indicator guage, set at a known diameter. This gives quick indications of under or oversize bores. You can use this tool to determine cylinder bore taper and connecting rod big end inside diameters, for example, but are really more used to measuring the bore sizes of cylinder sleeves.
Snap gauges or inside mikes are often used as inexpensive substitutes for the inside micrometer. However, precision measurement is difficult obtaining accurate and repeatable measurements. Snap gauges work by setting the snap gauge inside the bore and then measuring the end to end of the snap gauge with the appropriate size micrometer.
A depth mike is often used to measure piston deck height. While the T-shaped depth mike is the most common, this dial indicator deck bridge can also be used. The dial indicator is set to zero out on the engine deck and then used to measure where the piston is in relationship to the deck.
The Basic Measuring Tools
There are three basic measuring tools that should be in any well-equipped engine builders toolbox or chest. These tools include a dial indicator and magnetic base, a vernier caliper, and at least two or three different sized micro-meters. Of these three, the dial caliper is probably the measuring tool that you will use most often besides the set of mikes. It can be used in literally dozens of applications from something as simple as pretty accurately measuring valvespring installed height. The more you use this tool, the more valuable it will become, as you will find out the day you are in need of one.
Generally these instruments are the most widely used measuring tools, used in nearly every workshop around the globe. Some verniers come fitted with dial indicators, while others are digital, and made for easy readings. The most common one is a basic sliding rule without any fancy screens.
The dial indicator is also extremely useful for measuring movement. Perhaps the most popular use for a dial indicator is measuring tappet lift when degreeing in cams. You can also use it for determining piston movement, valve lift, camshaft lobe positioning, crankshaft end play, piston deck height, rod bolt stretch, and probably a few more engineering applications that we haven’t even heard about yet. Best of all, one dial indicator can be used with several tools to do many different jobs.
Dial indicators are most often used with a magnetic base, which allows you to mount the dial indicator in sometimes difficult or awkward locations. A new twist on the magnetic base is this segmented magnetic base, which offers even more flexibility in positioning the base or uneven surfaces.
The outside micrometer is the most basic of precision tools and is a staple for measuring the outside diameter of components such as pistons, crankshaft rod and main journal diameters, valve stem thicknesses for taper wear, lifters, and anything else that requires a precision measurement in and around this mechanical world that we have created in just over 100 years. Of course, if you’re going to invest in precision tools like these, a professional hardwood case, is a wise investment to protect them. The items that come in the box are ‘standards’, which are used to determine the accuracy of the micrometer under varying temperatures and climate conditions that can affect accuracy and a adjusting tool for setting the mike back to ‘zero’.
How To Read a Micrometer
Reading a mike is not too complicated. Once you have mastered a few simple steps, its child’s play. After you have learned how to read a mike, the next most important thing is mastering the technique of measurement, or “the feel,” required for accurate measurement of engine components and the degrees of extracted materials taken there from. Most quality micrometers offer a friction thimble or ratcheting mechanism on the end of the mike handle that determines the correct pressure to apply to the micrometer. Too little or too much spindle pressure results in incorrect mike readings (only 0.01 to 0.02 mm out), that can cost money and possibly cause serious engine damage if not picked up. The best teacher is yourself, exercising the measuring techniques over and over until you have mastered them down pat!
Definitions are always a good place to start. The piece to be measured is placed between the spindle and the anvil. Once the proper tension has been placed on the thimble, the diameter of the component can be read by evaluating the relationship between the markings on the sleeve and the thimble.
Micrometer dimensions are determined by merely adding the sleeve and thimble graduations together. The graduations on the micrometer sleeve are usually broken down into 0.5 mm segments, or one complete revolution of the thimble. This means there are two steps between each 1.0 mm graduation that is indicated by the large numerical numbers 0 through to 45 + 5 making one revolution of half a millimeter or 50 units. Most measurements are anything but nice round numbers, however. In this case, you must also add in the numbers that range from 1 through 45 on the tapered edge of the thimble. Since each of these lines are graduated in …hundreth’s, each number indicates 0.01 mm.
Combustion Chamber Volume
I have added this short article in to enlighten newcomers to the engine building world on how to determine the correct combustion chamber cubic capacity or (cc). A 100cc burette or large syringe is the easiest way to measure displacement of a combustion chamber. The combustion chamber is assembled with valves seated and a spark plug screwed in tight to prevent the liquid from escaping. A clear Perspex sheet with a 2mm hole drilled in the centre of the sheet is positioned over the combustion chamber with a light grease film to seal off the two mating surfaces. The cylinder head should be placed as level as possible, using a spirit level should do the trick. The chamber is then filled through the hole in the Perspex sheet with a liquid, noting the amount of liquid that goes in, also checking that no air pockets are formed, usually rubbing alcohol or a fuel/ATF oil mixture is used to measure the chamber volume. The burette can also be used to measure piston dome or dish volume compression height. A large syringe can also be used instead of a burette.
Equation: Cubic Inches = 0.7854 x Number of Cylinders x Stroke x Bore x Bore
To convert cubic inches to cubic centimeter (cc) multiply by 16.39
For example: 283 cubic inches = 4638cc = 4.638 litre
To convert cubic centimeters (cc) to cubic inches multiply by 0.061
For example: 3000 cc = 3000 x 0.061 = 183 cubic inches.
Improving Automatic Gearbox Shifts
One of the easiest, yet most overlooked upgrades you can make to a street car is improving an automatic transmission’s shift quality. Although it won’t fix an ailing transmission, shift improvement kits can greatly enhance the performance of a properly operating automatic, making it shift much quicker and harder.
B&M Equipment offers Shift Improver kits to improve the shifting of most auto transmission gearboxes that were or that are made today. B&M also offers the Transpak Kit which is a step beyond the Shift Improver kit because it provides additional manual control. It will allow you to hold the transmission in low gear to any speed and downshift at any speed, (a real kick ass conversion). Conventional transmissions have a safety feature built into them that won’t allow you to do this and each kit will configure a trans in either RV or street/strip performance trim. The street/strip version offer a harsher, firmer shift feel for hammering the box when down or up gearing.
These kits can be installed without that much hard work, not much more than changing the transmission fluid and transmission filter and can be easily installed in an afternoon.
The procedure of removing the transmission pan is your first step. Then, drain the fluid and remove the filter and valvebody. Be careful when you remove the valvebody, because four check balls will fall out and more ATF fluid will also drain. We will now show you how to install the B&M Transpak kit in a typical Turbo 350 application.
Seven Automatic Gearbox Steps
1. After removing the valvebody, the boost valve sleeve can be removed. It is retained by a roll pin that can be removed by pushing on the end of the sleeve. It may be necessary to tap on the top of the valvebody with a hammer while pushing on the end of the sleeve. Discard the stock spring and install the orange spring (tapered end first) and reinstall the boost valve sleeve and roll pin. Perform the same procedure on the 2-3 shift control valve and sleeve and replace the stock spring with the white one supplied. Finally, replace the manual low-control spring with the special sleeve supplied.
2. Disassembling the valvebody may be nerve racking at first, but familiarizing yourself with all of the components will help you. The only components changed in the valvebody are the springs for the pressure regulator, 2-3 shift valve, and the manual low-spring control.
3. Once the valvebody has been reassembled, you can return to the transmission. Install one of the ¼ inch check balls in the orifice. The other three check balls are no longer used. A little Vaseline or grease will hold it in place and will dissolve once the transmission is used.
4. A small screen-type filter is installed in a passage leading to the governer that should be checked and cleaned if necessary at this time. Any foreign materials, such as gasket material, metal bits or filings, and clutch materials, will clog this filter and reduce overall fluid delivery and damage parts in a short distance, it wouldn’t take long.
5. Run a flat file across the surface of the spacer support plate to make sure it is flat and there are no high spots. First, install the middle support plate (silver) on top of the separator plate, and then the oil transfer plate (gold). The two holes in these plates should line up with the two holes in the separator plate and gasket. Then install the stock spacer support plate.
6. Install the lower valvebody gasket (with the “Z” –shaped slot in it) on the valvebody side of the separator and the upper valvebody gasket on the transmission case side. A small amount of grease or Vaseline will also hold them in place. Make sure the check ball is in place before you install the separator plate. The gaskets and plate should be aligned properly before going any further.
7. Install the valvebody and torque the bolts, working from the insideout.
Reconnect the manual linkage to the manual valve via the “S” linkage or offset linkage, depending upon model. Next, install the detent spring and roller, detent control valve wire, and detent control valve lever. Then install the new oil filter, pan gasket, and pan. Fill the transmission with new automatic transmission fluid, check the gear shift operation, and you’re ready to rock.
Blow Your Engine Cool
Overheating in any situation is plainly referred to as just, ‘overheating’ the pain of any hot rodder’s existence, a plague that stalks us more and more with every new engine mod we undertake. We’ll try just about all the pulley sizes, fit specialized water pumps, have radiators modified and made bigger and better, try out high volume fans and shrouds, all in an attempt to solve one problem, the overheating pains of engine modifications in the search for more power and speed.
In theory, a properly engineered combination of these components will cool the engine with ease. In reality, few of us stumble upon the perfect combination, of cooling diagnosis and remedy the first time it is made a priority and attempted. More airflow is the solution, and that means a powerful electric fan or bi-fans. But for some reason there is a seemingly universal apprehension over electric fans, that keeps most of us from trying this simple solution to overheating problems experienced in most high performance V8 powerplants. In fact, electric fans offer the benefits of both reduced weight and no horsepower draw when used without engine-driven fans, as well as on-demand cooling and greater safety, (No injuries to the hands and fingers!)
Mounting the Fan
The first step is to decide on which side of the radiator you want to position the electric fan. Your clearance measurements may determine this for you. Keep in mind that electric fans work better as “pullers” instead of fans that are expected to blow through radiator fins, which means mounted on the engine-side of the radiator. However, this usually precludes the use of an engine-driven fan, so you need room for an electric fan that’s large enough to be designated as a primary cooler . A “pusher” fan mounted on the front of the radiator may be used as a supplemental fan. You will have to measure the radiator area to see what size fan or combination of fans will cover the greatest amount of radiator surface with the most cfm possible.
Before finalizing the fan installation, it’s important to make sure the blades are installed properly. Most aftermarket fans come set up for “sucking air”, so you need to flip the blade over for optimum efficiency in “pusher” mode.
Mounting the fan correctly will often require removing the radiator from the car, providing that you have pre marked exactly where your fan or fans are going to be located. We’ve found that electric-fan installation demands a certain amount of custom fabrication. Try to mount the fan so it doesn’t vibrate and abrade the radiator fins by using suitable rubber pads, (usually included with aftermarket radiator fan kits).
Wiring the Fan
An electric fan may become a small generator that causes engine run-on if wired to an ignition power source without a relay. The power connection should be made to a direct power source to prevent voltage drop. The A\C clutch wire is a neat feature for air-conditioned cars (it turns the fan on whenever the air conditioning is on), or can be bypassed by grounding the terminal. The power wire should be run to a switched 12-volt source if you want the fan to turn off when the key is off.
On / Off Switch Fan Control
Another cool feature of the Fanstat is the ability to adjust the fan on/off temperature. A temperature probe is inserted into the radiator and a small screw on the side of the Fanstat allows you to adjust the on/off point from 140 to 220 degrees F, so you can more carefully control engine temperature. Setting a lower temperature turns the fan on earlier and keeps it on longer to prevent overheating.
When selecting your fans, remember that the mounting brackets will usually be parallel with the radiator tanks which will alter your fan selection depending on whether you have side tanks or top-and-bottom tanks Also, cfm ratings are taken with zero static pressure, i.e., not mounted to anything. Hence, a four-core radiator will require a higher cfm rating than a two-core because it poses a greater restriction to airflow.
Firing Up An Engine For The First Time
If you haven’t built up your own engine and don’t intend to because time is a factor or you just don’t have any pep to go the whole hog, then you can always go down to your local speed shop and buy one of their factory-fresh-assembled, crate motors. These engines can come in an array of different horsepower output, so you will need to define what your drivetrain is capable of handling in the performance department.
Lower the engine down into the engine bay and with every line, hose wire, and system has been reattached, the moment of truth has come…”How to start-up the new powerplant for the first time”. We have agreed to share some basic, sure-fire, start-up tips in the hopes that a little pre-planning will prevent a post-mortem teardown but giving you many years of driving pleasure.
Pre-lubricating the Engine
Step number one is to pre-lubricate the engine, but first make sure there’s oil in the engine and prime the oil filter before fitting it to the oil cooler adaptor or engine block. The preferred procedure is to remove the distributor from the engine and then rotate the oil pump in the proper direction, remembering that some engines rotate the distributor counter-clockwise. This can be accomplished by using either a drill motor or speed handle attached to an extension that emulates the distributor’s slot arrangement that couples it to the oil pump shaft. B&B and Moroso offer pump-priming tools. Should you move the distributor, make sure you mark the position of the rotor. Do not spin the engine to “pre-lube” the engine. This will cause the cam lube to be pushed off the cam, risking the chance of wiping out a lobe. The oil pump should only be spun until oil reaches all the rocker arms and pushrods and then stop.
The engine can now be static timed so it fires immediately. This is done by checking number-one cylinder (front left on a Chevy, front right on a Ford) to determine where top dead center is during the compression stroke. You can remove the spark plug and bump the starter until you feel air escaping out the spark plug hole.
Next check the location of the mark on the crank dampener before re-inserting the distributor into the block. Line up the timing mark on the crank dampener at between 14 and 20 degrees before TDC. This will ensure a quick start and a crisp fast idle.
Retarded timing may make the engine harder to start, heat up faster, and labor at idle. You may need a long screwdriver to rotate the pump so the distributor will seat and fully engage the oil pump. Now make sure that the rotor is pointed directly at the terminal for the plug wire that leads to the No.1 cylinder. With the timing set at the balancer, connect a test light to ground and place the probe to the negative side of the coil with the ignition on. Advance the distributor until the test light goes out. “Now you’re timed.”
Before the engine is started, remember that the engine needs to be filled with coolant. Bleed all the air out of the entire cooling system by loosening the thermostat housing slightly if there is no bleed screw. When there are no more bubbles escaping from under the thermostat housing, the bolts can be retightened and the cooling system topped off. Remember to leave a little room for coolant expansion. The ideal mix ratio is 50/50% water/anti-freeze.
Priming the Holley Carburettor
From a safety stand point, make sure that the car is in neutral or park, and the parking brake is set prior to cranking the engine. Starting an engine with a dry or new carburetor requires that the carb also be primed. This is easy if the car has an electric fuel pump. The pump will prime the entire system without having to turn the engine over. The best way is to fill the float bowl with fuel through the vent tube. Prime the engine with the accelerator pump and allow a few moments for the gas to vaporize before starting. Never prime a carb by pouring raw fuel in down the venturis.
Starting the Engine
I usually disconnect the coil lead and crank the engine over a few times before firing up the engine. Once the engine fires up, bring her up to a fast 2000 to 2500 rpm idle checking the oil pressure. It should be 40 to 60 psi. If you don’t have a fuel pressure guage make sure that the dashboard oil light goes off when it fires. Also look for leaks – oil, water, and fuel. Consistently vary the rpm at this fast idle for at least 10 – 15 mins. It normally takes a few seconds for the hydraulic lifters to fill up, so there will be some
lifter clatter at start-up. “This fast idle keeps the oil circulating and ensures that the lubricant will fully coat the cams and lifters.” “The longer (like 10–15 minutes) the better, but keep monitoring the oil pressure and water temp gauges. If the engine appears to be getting hot, then spray the radiator core with a garden hose”, to help keep the temp down. Prepare well before starting up.
Once the engine has been run for the first 15 minutes, shut it off and reset the idle speed and fuel mixture, check for leaks, and tighten any bolts, belts, or nuts that may have come loose during the initial break-in period.
Re-locating The Battery
Extra weight in any muscle car is taboo, but maximizing the placement of heavy components is just as important as the removal of them, no matter what the application. One of the easiest and most popular ballast transplants is the battery. This 30 to 40-pound weight can be moved from the front-end of any motor vehicle to the back-end of the ride, (behind the rear axle), which is usually the most desirable place for unavoidable weight, the boot. In the past, this exercise could be rewarded with hard starting, the potential hazard of 15 feet of live battery cable under the car, and no convenient connection for electrical power to run accessories such as a high-energy ignition systems. We will take you through these steps how-to install a boot-mounted battery kit that eliminates these problems and provides the electrical components necessary for a clean, professional, and trouble-free battery relocation.
You will find a plastic heavy-duty battery box at any marine supply shop. The battery relocation kit will bring power to the front-end of the vehicle through an eight-gauge wire to an insulated wiring block. From this block, accessories such as aftermarket high performance ignition systems, stereos and alarms systems can receive the required power needed without being wired to the rear-end of the car. An insulated terminal should be included to facilitate the quick connection of a remote bump starter for service work under the bonnet.
Safe Battery Mounting
In order to mount the battery in a safe manner, we felt it necessary to build a sturdy base that fits the battery box. We suggest the use of lightweight angle iron and some plating, but one could be constructed from aluminum to save weight. Rather than use a hold-down kit, which usually doesn’t prove durable, we suggest a ratchet style tie-down system to strap down the battery box. Provide large washers together with the bolts to use under the boot floor to secure both the battery box and the seat belt, tie-down lugs, this offers a quick- release method of securing the battery that should prove durable. Naturally, the tie-down materials could be damaged if brought in contact with battery acid.
Routing the Battery Cables
To avoid hard-start problems associated with boot-mounted batteries, battery cables that have fine-stranded core should be used for excellent conductivity. A heat-sleeve should be incorporated when routing the cable past the headers. The heat-sleeve cable cover should be an 18-inch flexible heat resistant conduit that insulates the cable and protects it from exhaust heat generated by the system. Also, by using a Start’m Up kit, the battery cable providing power to the starter is only live when the starter is in operation. With cars that have a full frame, the negative cable from the battery is attached to the frame and a cable from the front of the frame to the engine block is added. Be sure to grind off any paint road grime from the frame before bolting on the cables to ensure good conductivity.
It is critical that as the cables pass through the floor of the boot they avoid abrasion. We use grommets that fit the cables snugly and drill the appropriate sized hole for each grommet in the floor. Before you drill any holes, consider the routing of the cables and remember there are components under the chassis and the floor you don’t want to drill into, such as the petrol tank and framerails etc. Measure carefully and place the cables where they will contact the least number of obstacles; this usually means routing them along the chassis with the fuel or brake lines. Use good quality holder bats which can be purchased at most hydraulic hose fitting supply shops.
Since the cable that brings power to the starter is only live during engine cranking, a eight-gauge Tuff-wire that is abrasion-resistant and has nonflammable insulation is the answer to safely bring power to the front of the car to run accessories. A 12-gauge fusable link should also be installed to serve as short-circuit protection. All connections must be crimped using quality tools, soldered, and covered with heat-shrink tubing. Doing it right the first time will save time and costly repairs later. Since you are running ‘full length’ cables, ensuring that they are fitted correctly is paramount. Completely skip this section if you can’t do the job 100% correctly.
The boot won’t miss one square foot of space with the battery in its new location and the engine compartment now looks much cleaner with the battery absent from this area of your ride. Note that the start-up solenoid should be mounted on the back of the battery box bracket where it is less likely to be hit by items flying around in the boot from time to time. With a car capable of producing significant straight-line g-force, the battery should be mounted parallel to the axle. If mounted perpendicular to the axle, the battery acid and plates tend to be compressed towards the rear of the battery and can cause premature failure or damage.
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