Category Archives: Featured

Building Ford Race Engines for the Daytona 500

Roush Yates FR9 EngineHere's a fun video I had the opportunity to produce for my friends at Roush Yates Engines a few months back.

They wanted something to celebrate the beginning of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup racing season, so we came up with this concept about building a Ford FR9 race engine that will go into one of the cars. Of course, after an entire off-season spent on research and development, most of the guts of the engine were still top secret--so a few steps had to be left out. Still, it's always fun to hear a Cup engine on the dyno.

And by the way, Penske driver Joey Logano won the Daytona 500 with one of Roush Yates Engines' Ford motors. Not saying this video was a lucky rabbit's foot, but if any Cup teams want to hire out the Horsepower Monster for a video next year just in case, we won't complain!

One of a Kind V12 Ford

Jan Baker had an idea. A longtime racing fan, he always felt like Ford should have built a V12 engine to compete with the likes of Ferrari at LeMans back in the '60s. Of course, Ford never built a V12 for racing, so Baker took matters into his own hands and built one himself. Baker…
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Easy Rev Limiter Tuning with a PerTronix Flamethrower

Pertronix DistributorOne of the pleasant surprises when working on The Horsepower Monster's 427 Stroker Engine project (if you haven't seen it, check it out here) was the built-in rev limiter on the PerTronix Flame-Thrower distributor we used.

The PertTronix unit is a really nice piece because it puts out a nice strong spark, the mechanical advance system is easily tuned for both maximum and rate of advance, and is really well made. But that's the obvious stuff. What we also came to appreciate during the built is the ingenious rev limiter the engineers at PerTronix have baked right into the Ignitor III module for the distributor. Adjusting the rev limiter is pretty easy and requires no extra equipment.

But seeing is believing, so we thought we show you the process here.

Great Racing Action from Lancaster (SC) Motor Speedway

  We love heading off to the dirt track for a Saturday night of dirty racing action. Lancaster Motor Speedway is our local dirt track in Lancaster, SC. The Late Models are usually the headlining class, but the lower levels can really mix it up too. One of our favorites is the Vintage class. The…
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Our (Mis)Adventures Painting the Horsepower Monster Project Camaro

Patina is popular these days, but the kind of dead silver paint, road rash and random rattle-can primer that came on our $2,200 Camaro was just plain ugly.

Camaro LeadStill, our 1978 Camaro is a project car, and the beginning of a project is no time to invest in an expensive paint job. We originally thought about simply wiping down the body, spray bombing it in primer and hoping for the best. The problem with primer for paint, however, is it isn't UV resistant and it starts turning chalky within a few months. Instead, we found Eastwood's single stage paint to be the perfect compromise between high quality and low cost.

Eastwood's flat black comes in a kit--either in quart or gallon size--which includes both the paint and activator. It is UV resistant, 50-state compliant and does a good job covering minor flaws in the bodywork. Two coats provided ample coverage for the entire Camaro--including the underside of the hood and trunk, door jambs, wheel wells and inner fenders--and we ended up using approximately one-and-a-half gallons. Among several color options, Eastwood offers two different versions of its flat black. We chose the Rat Rod Satin Flat Black one gallon kit (pn 21857ZP) but if you want zero shine they also have what they call the Dead Rat Flat Black kit (pn 51075ZP for the gallon). You save money because you don't have to spend money on clear coat, plus clear coat is also the most difficult part of the paint job to learn to do well. You can see the final product in the shot above, and we think it looks fantastic.

Camaro Chin SpoilerThe great thing is the paint job not only looks great, but because it's a single stage paint, touchups will be much simpler if any body panels get damaged during the buildup (and they most likely will). So hopefully, the old Camaro will remain halfway decent looking throughout the builup. Afterward, we'll decide if we want to stick with the flat black or go with another color, but there's no doubt we'll be sticking with Eastwood after the good experience we had the first time around.

Of course, there's more to a good paint job than simply spraying on the top coat. In the video we show you the process that we took with the Camaro, from soda blasting the old paint to re-installing trim pieces. The car always had a nose-high look, so to help with that we also installed a Z28 chin spoiler from Classic Industries. The three-piece spoiler installed just like it should, makes the front of the car look more agressive and even helps improve the proportions. We couldn't find any documentation that the chin spoiler showed up before the 1979 model, but we're not making any apologies for putting it on the '78. It's obvious we aren't trying to stay period correct anyway.

So check out our progress on the project Camaro in the video up top. I'll never claim to be a painting expert, so you will see the value of having friends with skills you can call on. And not all of it was pretty--or even perfect--but getting this Camaro into its new black suit sure was a lot of fun.

Camaro Paint

How to Measure the Chamber Volume of Your Cylinder Heads

How to CCBeing able to check volumes is critical for anyone building engines. You can calculate your engine's compression ratio based on what you think the combustion chamber volume in your cylinder heads might be, and what the catalog says the volume of the valve pockets in your pistons should be--but you are really just hoping unless you can verify it.

Checking volume is as simple as pouring liquid from a marked buret into the space your are measuring and then seeing how much remains in the buret. Of course, there's a little more to it than that, and we'll show you all the tricks in the video.

Checking combusation chamber volume is by far the most common use for a CC'in kit, but once you've got the particulars down it can also be quite useful to check intake and exhaust port volumes, cylinder volume at piston TDC, intake manifolds, heck, anything you can think of.

And by the way, the CC'ing kit I used in the video came from Powerhouse Products. The same is true for the cylinder head stand. The cylinder heads are aluminum Dragonslayers for a Chevy small block from Brodix that will be showing up again soon on our 427 cubic inch small block project engine. Check it out when you get a chance.

Secrets to Dialing in a Mopar Valvetrain

Like most Mopar engines, this 340 LA-series small block utilizes a shaft-mounted rocker system that provides superior stability but requires a few extra precautions during installation to make sure the geometry is correct.   There is no doubt that the stud-mounted rocker systems that are commonplace in small block Fords and Chevys are simpler and…
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