Most of us are familiar with the classic equation for determining an engine’s airflow needs based on engine cubic-inch displacement (cid), max engine speed (rpm), and volumetric efficiency (VE) at peak engine rpm:a
The origins of horsepower are simple on the surface, yet complex in detail. The basics tell us that atmospheric pressure pushes air and fuel into a cylinder, a piston mechanically squeezes that mixture, a spark ignites it, and the cylinder pressure created forces the piston down. The spent gases are then pushed out the exhaust valve and the whole process begins again.a
The ABC Performance GM A-body mini-tub kit includes CNC-laser-cut, steel-frame plates and a new tubular crossmember that serves as the upper mounts for Viking Performance coilovers, which are available separately. The mini-tub kit requires you to change to coilovers in the rear.a
One of the most rewarding experiences in building a car is putting the motor together. A used junkyard engine might get your car running, but in terms of long-term safety and reliability, a fresh, healthy motor is essential. If your muscle car is ready for an engine rebuild, there are a number of options out there. Crate engines will do nicely for some, and many new motors can be made to look old and correct. Many of you are fortunate to have an original car and can rebuild its born-with engine. Then there are those of us who are attempting to piece together a car that carefully mimics the higher-performance cars that were built in the '60s and early '70s. My Coronet fits into that category.a
Old muscle-car divorced chokes don’t work with aluminum heads lacking exhaust heat passages—but Integral electric choke conversion kits won’t fit divorced-choke carb main bodies. That’s a problem for unique setups like Chrysler’s 440 Six Pack that have no modern carb upgrade path. Westech Automotive’s solution: modding Six Pack intakes to use ’76–’79 Chrysler Holley 2-bbl remote electric choke thermostat and controller parts. Start by removing the intake for machining.a
The ’82–’89 Turbo-Hydramatic TH700-R4, ’90–’91 4L60, ’92–’00 electronic 4L60E, ’01–’05 4L65E, and the ’06-and-newer 4L70E were all designed to replace the tried-and-true TH350. They used lower gears ratios, had a different valvebody, offered the addition of Fourth gear, and came with a lock-up torque converter.a
Mark “Mr. Explosive” Sanders (Facebook.com/MrExplosiveNitro FunnyCar) returned to nostalgia Funny Car racing in 2013 with a ’70 Ford Mustang SportsRoof to replace his Nova Funny Car. The new car ran well at the ’13 March Meet, putting down a nostalgia Funny Car track record 0.98-second 60-foot time and posting a best quarter-mile pass of 5.765 seconds at 251.53 mph. This year’s March Meet wasn’t so fruitful. On Saturday’s final qualifying session, the engine over-revved, tearing one of the connecting rods in two and causing such a spike in crankcase pressure that one of the valve covers blew apart. Nitro tuning is as much an art as it is a science, and all it takes is a bit of tire spin for teams to suffer engine failures like this, which is why each team stocks bore sleeves and spare pistons for just such an occasion.a
Proper exhaust-pipe size is a function of both engine output and displacement. The higher the engine’s output, the larger the pipes should be. Likewise, larger engine displacements call for bigger pipes. But you don’t want to become a victim of “More’s Law,” either: While up to a point reducing exhaust restriction generally helps both power and gas mileage, going too large can over-scavenge an engine and actually decrease engine output as well as fuel efficiency. The accompanying exhaust system size guidelines are compiled from Flowmaster Mufflers and RoadkillCustoms.com data. To avoid becoming a restriction, all muffler and catalytic converter inlet and outlet sizes should correspond to the exhaust pipe sizes, and design your exhaust system to use the minimum number of bends.a
Hardly anything can make a car more miserable to drive than a persistent shake. And it's not just annoying; over time the oscillations generated by imbalanced or worn parts can literally tear a car apart.a
Why would you want a Jeep Grand Cherokee steering box in your ’64–’72 GM A-body? The ’96–’98 Jeep Grand Cherokee uses a Saginaw 800-style box that was used in many GM midsize cars and light-duty trucks, but with all of the best specs for A-body use. It has the quick 12.7:1 ratio that results in more responsive steering, and it has the proper amount of rotation of the sector shaft, at 43 degrees, 45 minutes. Even if you could find an F-body or G-body box with the elusive 12.7:1 ratio, internal stops in the box would limit the pitman-arm travel and, consequently, your A-body’s turning radius. The best part is all first-generation Grand Cherokees from ’96–’98 used the same steering box.a
You’ve no doubt heard the stories about the legendary ’69 Pontiac Ram Air V, the exotic, rev-happy V8 with cylinder heads that reportedly outflowed the vaunted Chrysler Hemi. Stuffed between the framerails of a GTO or Firebird, it offered the Pontiac faithful a stab at an 11-second timeslip. It was an engine that was set to rewrite muscle-car history before it was canceled at the eleventh hour. The Ram Air V saga was yet another agonizing chapter in Pontiac’s history, one full of potential and promise, shot down by upper management unwilling to rock the boat on any level. There would be more such sad chapters in Pontiac’s history before the axe finally fell on the brand in 2009.a
We’ve carefully disassembled this Garrett TP-38 turbo, making sure to clean all the parts before reassembly.a
There’s considerable controversy over whether it’s best to hook up the master-shutoff (“kill”) switch to the battery’s positive or negative side. NHRA rules still mandate a positive-side hookup, but most stock-car sanctioning bodies want the kill switch on the negative side. I vote for the negative side if it’s legal. On a switch connected through the positive side, the exposed terminals on the back of the switch or a broken positive cable could contact the sheetmetal or frame during a crash, creating a short to ground and safety hazard. The negative cable connects to the body ground already—so there’s no additional danger if it rubs. It’s the same principle as why you should always disconnect the battery’s negative side first before performing electrical service.a
Fasteners provide the critical joining forces that hold our hot rods together. All of our cars have them, we all buy them, but traditionally the bolts we use have been based on four factors: what size do we need, how strong do they have to be, what does the local hardware store have in stock, and can we afford them? The problem is that hardware-store fasteners represent a compromise, adequate for most general-purpose use within their strength limitations, but not necessarily optimized for critical usage in specialized applications. Today, there are specialty fasteners specifically designed for high corrosion resistance (titanium), extreme strength under tension (alloy steel), high ductility, or even nonconductivity (plastic). Some feature reduced-size or internal-wrenching heads that save space in close quarters. Others, such as 12-point fasteners, both save wrenching space and are more resistant to round-off when being tightened or loosened.a
Chrysler, like most of the big American car companies, used both forged and cast components in its engines over the years, and it can be confusing trying to figure out which you’ve got in your block, or what to buy off a swap-meet tarp.a
Generally speaking, the driveshaft’s U-joint yokes are most susceptible to snapping when subject to high torque and good traction during a dragstrip launch, while the driveshaft tube is most vulnerable at high speeds. So a lighter-weight car with street tires is less apt to snap a U-joint or yoke than a heavy car with slicks. GM, Ford, and Chrysler have all used their own U-joints designs, which roughly compare in size and strength to 1310 or 1330 series Spicer U-joints. Most racers upgrade to the bigger 1350 U-joints for more strength. According to Spicer, the 1310 joint is rated at 400 lb-ft of continuous torque (down the track) and 800 lb-ft of short-term torque (launch at the line). The 1330 has the same size caps as the 1310, but the U-joint cross is the same size as a 1350. The 1350 is rated at 1,240 lb-ft of continuous torque and 1,680 lb-ft of short-term torque.a
Not everyone has access to a dyno or even a racetrack for A/B comparative testing. Is it possible to determine whether a given cam profile should be installed advanced or retarded when you first plug it into the motor?a
Disconnecting the battery while the engine is running isn’t a valid test for alternator function and may damage sensitive electronic parts. Instead, use a common voltmeter and the following test procedure. Although some of the steps reference typical GM alternators, the basic methodology is valid for any charging system.a
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