By John Baechtel Extracting every last scrap of performance from a racing engine requires a detailed examination of each individual engine component to determine if there’s lost power due to undiscovered problems such as poor design, component compatibility issues or inaccurate tuning. Among the many critical components in your engine, the pushrod’s contribution is rarely considered as part of the overall power equation. For many builders, it’s simply a matter of selecting a hardened pushrod with the correct length and tip. Unfortunately that leaves a lot of untapped performance on the table, according to the experts at Manton Pushrods. “The pushrod is the least considered part of any racing engine,” says Manton’s Al Perkins. “Pushrods are absolutely critical to valvetrain stability.” Read more
Prehistoric valve timing! Three gears centered between the cam and crank gears, with an idler in the middle. A bar moved the idler in either direction to advance or retard the timing—activated under full power or not. A cable operated a small piston nudged by oil pressure, moving the bar and idler gear. The driver pushed the cable one way to advance, or the other to retard timing. Invented by Ollie Norris while at Offenhauser in the mid-1960s.
After installing the new bolt-in transmission crossmember, and finishing up a long list of small “need to do’s”, I snuck the truck out for a trip around the block. With no plates, just insurance on it, I didn’t want to get too risky. That and being a complete rebuild, I want to take it slow with a few shake down runs before getting wild with her, and I still need to get my engine limiters installed before beating on it too hard. But, it drove pretty good, and wasn’t as harsh with the motor plate as I had been expecting. The transmission shifted great, and the brakes worked just as expected. I can tell the truck will be fun as I did goose it a bit and spun the drag radials a bit unintentionally. I still have a few things I need to get done before I start driving it on a regular basis, such as fix the damn drivers side header gasket that makes it sound like a damn tractor. Fine tune my ignition map to try to help eliminate the part throttle hesitation. Finish tuning the carb now that I can actually drive it. Replace the junk electric cooling fan controller that decided to go belly up a few weeks ago. But, to finally have her back on the road after four long years, it’s incredibly satisfying and well worth it. I still have a ton of work to do, another engine to build, and my least favorite aspect, bodywork. But, it’s crossed a milestone and it feels pretty good!