77 Must-Know Muscle Car Tips And Tricks - Tips O' Performance

Here Are 77 Ideas That Belong In Every Enthusiast's Databank

Super Chevy Staff Sep 1, 2002 0 Comment(s)

Cooler Carb
To keep heat out of the carb, use a thick, insulating-type gasket with plastic anti-crush washers built into it. Fel-Pro has them for spread-bore and square-bore carbs. They will only raise the carb about 1/4 inch, so hood clearance shouldn't be a problem.

Torquing Engine Fasteners
When torquing an engine (e.g. head bolts), it is always advisable to torque the fastener on the last full rotation of the nut or bolt. Using a socket wrench (ratchet), tighten the fastener until you feel there is approximately one more full rotation left before it becomes fully secured (in this case, it's better to estimate looser rather than tighter). If using a "click" torque wrench, set it for a figure less than the required torque. All fasteners should be brought up in equal torque values in stages. Pick a set of figures such as 20, 40, 60, 80 percent (these are percentages of the full torque figure) and then full torque. Follow the torque sequence determined by the OE manufacturer. The idea is to equally tighten the fasteners (such as those found in a cylinder head or intake manifold sequence) in a similar manner, effectively "sneaking up" on the desired torque value.

Chamber Maid
How much volume will a head lose when milled? Generally speaking, a Chevy engine will lose 1 cc of volume from the combustion for every 0.004-0.005 inch of material removed through a standard milling operation. Something to think about.

Last Degree
When degreeing a hydraulic camshaft, don't attempt to run through the steps with a hydraulic lifter in place. The clearances inside the lifter are too large. As a result, accuracy is impossible. You can make a special "solid" test hydraulic lifter by reworking the piston and cup, but why bother? Instead, use a new solid lifter for the job. Simply replace it when the degreeing job is done.

Pressure Points
How much oil pressure is required in a high-performance application? Here's the guideline used by several successful engine builders: A typical Chevy needs 10 psi for every 1,000 engine rpm. So, if it runs a maximum of 7,500 rpm, it needs 75 pounds of oil pressure at that rpm level. How is this achieved? Don't run excessive clearances. Stick to the factory recommendations for connecting rod and crankshaft main bearing clearance numbers. Think about using a standard-volume oil pump. For most street car applications, there is simply no need to run a super high pressure, super high volume pump. Simply check the oil pump end clearance to determine if it is on the money and use it. Just remember: Don't goof up on the internal engine clearances.

Changing Faces
If you have a close look at all V-8 engines (Chevys included), you'll find the connecting rods can be installed in one of two ways. The big end (crank pin) of the rod has one side finished with a healthy radius. The other side doesn't. In operation, the end with the radius matches the fillet radius on the crank. The flat end faces the other connecting rod it's paired with on the journal. To install them correctly, always face the radius end toward the crank fillet.

Jet Set
Air density decreases inversely with temperature. Hot air is less dense than cold air. The air/fuel ratio in the engine has to be changed to compensate. This is accomplished by reducing the jet size or jet number (lean the engine). An old racer rule of thumb states you should reduce one jet number for every 20 F of temperature increase, but it isn't cast in stone. The best way to compensate is to decrease jet numbers one at a time until either the performance improvements cease or the spark plugs show that the mixture is too lean.