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Engine

4/7 SWAP

We showed you how to build a small-block engine that could make over 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque on 87-octane gas. It was a motor that could be driven just about every day with a hydraulic-roller cam and a good carburetor, making acquisition and maintenance almost nonexistent. Like many things we do in the engine world, the results we enjoyed—while good—just weren’t satisfying anymore. We wanted more.

HOLLEY CARB TUNING

Holley carburetors have long been a staple in the go-fast world of high-performance motoring, whether it’s NASCAR, drag racing or on the street. Much like other performance-oriented products—perhaps even more so with a carburetor—a carburetor requires a fundamental setup and a degree of maintenance, and that’s considering you have chosen the correct-size carburetor for your application, at least to get it in the ballpark. Knowing how to adjust, maintain and even repair your Holley carburetor goes a long way toward helping to ensure that your carburetor will make optimum horsepower for a long time. Because of this, we decided to compile a few troubleshooting and repair tips for the popular 4150-series Holley carburetor, which is the series designation for Holley’s street/strip and racing carburetors.

MAKING GAS

Alternative-fuel sources and hybrid cars are all the rage today. Everyone from major automakers to backyard inventors is pursuing alternative fuels and energy sources. While the ultimate goal is generally to eliminate dependence on foreign oil, for hot rodders there is also the desire to invent and create a better-performing engine.

Firewall Mayhem

Crankshaft trigger mechanisms have been used in racing applications for a considerable length of time. In truth, they’ve actually been in service for decades. It’s a simple known fact that one of the best ways to improve engine performance is to ensure that the ignition timing is stable. That’s the whole purpose behind such a system, and that’s why racers regularly use them.

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THE HYDROGEN HIGHBOY

Enter Carl Casper, a man best known for building custom cars and promoting his huge custom car show every year in Louisville, Kentucky. Casper has long been a self-thinker and innovator with plenty of experience under his belt, and he was intrigued with the concept of alternative fuels, hydrogen in particular. During our conversation with Casper, he summed it when he said, “I feel many of the solutions will come out of the car guys. I want the mechanical wizards who have taken street rodding and auto racing to the highest levels imaginable to start putting their creativity into alternative-energy systems. I’m putting my money on them. Everyone seems to be waiting for the big corporations to pull us out of this energy crisis, and they tend to forget that from the very beginning of time it’s often the little guy with a shop behind his house who creates the next great idea or invention of our time.”

Keeping Your Cool

Even though we all dream of blasting through the desert at 130-MPH like Robby Gordon, most of our 4×4 adventures take place at a much more reasonable pace. Unfortunately for our engines crawling along a boulder strewn dry river bed or climbing a goat trail through a mountain pass does not always allow enough airflow to keep our engines cool with a belt driven mechanical fan. Belt driven fans are designed to keep your engine cool when traveling down a street or highway not while crushing boulders at 3-MPH and 1,500-RPM. So what can we do to keep our rigs from boiling over this summer? Follow along with us as we install a pair of 11-inch electronic cooling fans along with a programmable fan controller both from SPAL USA.

CHILL OUT

Be Cool is no newcomer to cooling heavy metal. For years it has provided cooling solutions for some of the most impressive high-performance engines to rumble down the streets and dragstrips of America. The folks at Be Cool understand that having the proper cooling components in any car or truck is vital to keep an engine safely within its operating temperature range. They also understand that to make cooling and installation easier, they had to design a full bolt-in system, a system that would fit hundreds of applications for classic cars and trucks, as well as more modern vehicles that also need cooling help.

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NOT JUST AN EVERYDAY CAM

It can be argued that one of the best mods you can make to an LS-based or Gen III motor is a camshaft change. With the number of aftermarket companies making many different types, a good cam can be found for anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending upon what type of power you want to make and how sophisticated the cam package is. Because 99.99 percent of all vehicles on the road today are computer controlled, most aftermarket companies are able to suggest whether a new tune will be necessary or if the stock one will suffice. But with so many different options out there, it can be quite confusing as to which is the right one for you.

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THE GRILLEMEISTER

Those who longed for their engines to look as they did back in the old days of multiple-carb setups were out of luck. Cool as they were to look at, there are lots of reasons why the multi-carb setup fell out of favor, and most of them had to do with the fact that they were a bear to sync. The advent of the four-barrel carb was the death for these systems, though the purists among us prayed for a breakthrough. Thanks to Ken Farrell and his company, Retro Tek, those prayers have been answered. Farrell started off converting old mechanical fuel injection systems (Hilborn & Enderle) when the first aftermarket EFI systems became available. His new system, which uses the latest in EFI mated together with the classic Stromburg 97 design, came about when Farrell saw that there was interest in the benefits of EFI, but he also knew that they were lacking in the looks department. The idea was simple take the best aspects of both and add them together.

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