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Engine

How to Choose a Camshaft

Would you believe that one of these cams could provide an extra 200 hp to your combination? It’s true. Actually, the truth is that the installation of a stock cam will cost you as much as 200 hp.

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.

CAMARO FAVORITE

First-generation Camaros are all the rage these days, and no wonder. With so many ways to bring them into a new era, they make great selections. So, while the big-block power and a five-speed trans served owner Gary Johnson well over the years, rocketing gas prices led him to a more efficient LS2 option.

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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WHAT A CONCEPT

After recently purchasing a ’62 Thunderbird, it became obvious very quickly that the car needed a new engine. Our plan was to turn the car into a daily driver, and so, as long as we needed a new engine, we figured we’d add air conditioning to the car while we were at it. And if you really know your Ford history, you also know that the ’62 was the last model T-bird to come with a generator rather than an alternator—one more reason to consider an upgrade.

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.

1175 HP

This engine, and others like it, has opened up a brand-new chapter in the ever-evolving, wild world of Chevrolet power. By design it has a bore and stroke of 4.60 inches by 4.25 inches and Big Chief II heads, which are about 2 inches taller, that feature oval-shaped intake ports. This, they say, is for maximum cylinder filling. Years ago, creative racers would angle-mill heads to arrive at the desired combustion chamber size and to improve the valve angle in combination with the incoming intake flow. These heads are nicknamed “11-degree” heads, as they have been designed with a built-in 11-degree angle right out of the box. There’s no angle milling needed here. A special valvetrain is necessary, along with longer stem valves. Quarter Mile Performance feels that these heads are worth 200 additional horsepower over the very best “shorter” heads.

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