Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Operation EFI: False Starts

As always, no adventure is complete without a few mishaps. Such is the life of a gearhead, and we learn to live depending on our wits, hands, and caffeine to get us where we want to go. My trip to Oklahoma to move my 1967 Mustang to my new house depended on all three, as well as a bit of luck. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Squeaky Wheel: A Brief History of Automotive Lubricating Systems

The origins of vehicle lubrication systems predate not only the internal combustion engine, but the utilization of refined petroleum by thousands of years. From tallow and rapeseed oil, to mineral oils and refined petroleum splash systems and onward to wet and dry-sump pressure-fed oiling systems, preventing moving parts from wearing holes in each other has been a problem since the invention of the wheel. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Where it All Started: My Automotive History

When I was 12 or 13 my dad restored a 1968 Mustang for my two-years-older sister. Before this, I was mostly oblivious to cars and knew more about computers by far. I don't remember much of being that age, but I do remember riding in the back of my dad's coworker Mark's 1991 diesel F-250 Supercab, adding a few more miles to the 400,000 on the odometer as we drove southeast through Texas to pick up the car. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Operation EFI: On the Road Again

Everyone has that moment when they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the last month I've successfully illustrated that the light is at my end, and it's attached to the front end of a moving car. Since my last post I've put around 50 miles on the Mustang and it has proven as road-worthy with its limited tuning as it ever was with the carburetor. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Operation EFI: Adventure Time

The car had a partly successful though exciting outing two nights ago when I took it for a first drive. After getting a throttle return spring mounted and secured, as well as finding some bushings to eliminate the slop from size mismatch in the throttle rod/lever, the car was road worthy enough for a real test.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Operation EFI: It Lives!

It lives! After many months of hit or miss issues Operation EFI finally sputters to life. After many trials and tribulations regarding fitment of parts and painstaking hours bending lines and making hoses, the fuel system is complete and all basic functionality is in place, making it almost ready for tuning.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Operation EFI: Alternator Clocking and Intake Installation

The intake is finally installed and ready to go
Yesterday was productive. I cleaned up the old gasket material on the heads and block, finished the port cleanup work on the intake, installed the temperature gauge sender, and clocked the alternator 90 degrees to move the power stud away from the cylinder head. I also got hardware to mount the IAC valve, and discovered that the air cleaner will fit. Progress!

Another couple days, and I ought to be able to fire it up.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Call 911: A new project has arrived!

My uncle recently needed to make room in his garage and find a caring new owner for this lovely 1983 Porsche 911 SC. I jumped at the opportunity to buy it as I've seen it in his garage since I can remember, and I made sure it went to a good home to get the love and TLC it needs. I will, of course, update here once I get around to making some progress and pictures.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Racecar: Searching for the Limit in Formula SAE by Matt Brown

If you are looking for Matt Brown's blog, go to www.superfastmatt.com

My friend and old Formula SAE colleague Matt Brown wrote a book about his experiences in the world of FSAE racing. I highly recommend you read it!

Searching for the Limit in Formula SAE

by Matt Brown

In 2006, a small unavailing university auto racing team began building a racecar that would challenge the best engineering schools in the world. With fewer people and resources than any of the top competitors, the only way they were going to win was to push the limit, go for broke, and hope for more than a little luck. 

By the time they got to the racetrack, they knew: In the fog of fierce competition, whether you win or lose, you learn the hardest lessons about engineering, teamwork, friendship, and yourself.

Preview:   PDF | EPUB
Order:  Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Nook | iPad

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Rocketdyne J-2

On May 25th, 1961, John F. Kennedy set a seemingly impossible goal for the United States - to put an American on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. Despite being behind years behind the U.S.S.R. in the Space Race, the 1960's saw one of the largest growths of engineering talent, science and technology since the Industrial Revolution. Due also in part to a massive investment of money from the U.S. - $25.4 billion total in 1973 and up to .75% of U.S. GDP per year - the United States met its goal of landing a person on the Moon on July 20, 1969

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Operation EFI: Now with less fiery death!

Aluminum shell around a rubber sack filled with porous foam. It's like a canteen for a thirsty horse!
The glorious image you see above is my new fuel cell from Fuel Safe Racing Cells. It is a drop in replacement for the OEM tank with 16 gallon capacity. Fuel Safe added a return fitting to the sump just for me for about 20 dollars so I could run it with EFI, and I got it with the remote fill kit so I could use the stock fill point. It also has a factory-calibrated sending unit so I won't run out of gas unwittingly while running moonshine with Burt Reynolds driving to the store.

Odds and ends are slowly being taken care of as well. My wiring checked out good on all of my sensors so far, my fan turns on when commanded and my injectors all fire. I locked out the mechanical advance on my MSD distributor, and I'll be using the VR sensor that typically triggers the 6AL box to feed the ECU crank reference. Running an 8 tooth wheel on the cam is like running a 4 tooth on the crank, so the ECU is set up to detect it as such and send the signal to the MSD box trigger for ignition (white wire on the 6AL.)
Things to tackle: fuel lines and pump install, intake casting cleanup and install, throttle body clearancing and throttle linkage, distributor install, alternator bracket modification, fuel pressure test, and then idle tuning. Slowly but surely it's on the way. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Operation EFI: Going Haywire

Typical Bosch 40A DPST Relay
Since my last update I've done nothing but play with a bird's nest of wires. Bundling, zip-tying, heat shrinking, sheathing, undoing all of that and redoing it again trying to get every wire in its proper place. Also, my fuel cell is here!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Operation EFI: Fittings, Fuel and Frustration

After months of ordering parts from 400 miles away, most of my fuel system parts have come in and now it's a matter of fitting everything together and making sure all the bits and pieces I have are going to work. I imagined and drew diagrams and conjured visions with interpretive dance in an attempt to make everything right the first time. In typical project fashion, I hit a few snags.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Busting Cranks and Twisting Frames: An OMG Engines! Vibration Supplement

©Photo credit Mike Lippeth
The 1960 Impala above illustrates just what kind of torque an engine can develop. While the frame must support torque generated by combustion alone, it also has to absorb a range of other forces generated from the rotating and reciprocating components as they sling themselves around the crankcase. In this post, I am going to describe the physics behind this vibration and what it means to both engineers and gearheads.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

OMG Engines! - Rotation, Rotation, Rotation

The pistons push through connecting rods, acting on a "crank," or rotating lever arm that converts linear movement to rotation.
Now that we understand the processes that turn old dinosaurs into miniature explosions, there's got to be some way to link all those bouncing pistons together. Enter the rotating assembly. These chunks of metal have to take immense loads and all serve to turn fire into motion.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

OMG Engines! - A Five Part Series

This is the first in a series of five articles in which I will describe the basics of a modern four stroke combustion engine: from connecting rods to Helmholtz resonance, over the course of the next few posts I will try to impart a little bit of knowledge about what makes an engine tick. The principles of internal combustion aren't that complicated - suck some air and fuel in, squish it, blow it up, and push the old stuff out. We've been doing it since the 19th century, refining, building, breaking, and fumbling our way to increased efficiency and power. Before we delve into the details, here's a quick overview of what the internal combustion engine achieves.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Magic of Shifting Gears

There's something supremely satisfying about manual transmissions. Whether it's the joy of blipping the throttle to rev-match perfectly as you enter that hairpin or the feeling of dumping the clutch and leaving a layer of your Goodyears on the asphalt, it's a feeling of power and control no true gearhead will deny. In this post I am going to explain the basics of driving a manual transmission: what exactly you're doing when you push in the clutch and pop it into gear.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Operation EFI: Voodoo, Witchcraft, and Carburetors

Carburetors: You will never find a more complex hive of ports and orifices
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)
In Operation EFI: The Point, I insinuated that carburetors utilized wizardry to combine air and fuel. While this isn't entirely true, it isn't entirely false. The modern carburetor - which sounds like an oxymoron - is a highly developed device that operates quite ingeniously, with nothing but ports, valves, and orifices, and tricky physics doing the work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Operation EFI: Injection Methods, Part I

Fuel Injectors are precisely manufactured and electronically controlled valves.
I've touted the advantages of a fuel injection system in previous entries, and I wanted to specifically address some key systems and components to give the reader a good idea of how an EFI system works and how it compares to a carbuerator. In this entry I'll address the fuel injector, a key component in precisely controlling fuel flow into the engine.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Operation EFI: A Not-So-Quick Primer

Image of PE EDGE from www.pe-ltd.com
As I start collecting parts and making lists, I figured I'd start explaining a few things as I go along, both to help with my own thought processes and edify readers. I'll start by jumping into the benefits and capabilities of a modern EFI controller.