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Technical Tips by Doug Howard

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Manual Transmission gear change mechanism



Heat can serve as both friend and foe of the internal-combustion engine. While controlled amounts of engine heat can build power, higher inlet air temperatures will consume power, approximately one horsepower for every 10-degree increase- as air density drops. One way to reduce inlet air temperature is to replace a 180- or 190-degree thermostat with a 160-degree version. In the summer months, the 160-degree thermostat will allow the engine to build sufficient heat to operate correctly while reducing the heat buildup within the intake manifold. The 160-degree thermostat also produces higher inlet air density and more consistent power. Not for engines with computer controls.



Old troubleshooting tool

You have an engine cylinder that is not as strong as the rest, and you have determined that it is getting spark, but something is wrong internally.

A simple tool that can sometime locate the fault is the following:

Take an old spark plug that fits the engine, remove all of the porcelain and the center electrode, leaving just the outer shell. Braze an air fitting into the shell.

Now turn the engine over until the piston in the suspect cylinder at TDC (top dead center) on the compression stroke. Insert the modified plug and apply 60-80 psi air to the cylinder. You want enough air to follow through the procedure, but not enough to turn the engine. With air pressure in the cylinder, listen 1. if you hear air bubbles, it may be a leaking head gasket; 2. if you hear air in the exhaust, it may be a leaking intake valve; 3. air coming up through the carb, it may be a leaking intake valve; 4. a hissing from the oil fill tube or dipstick tube would indicate a piston or piston ring problem.

This simple homemade device can save a lot of time in diagnosing a problem.



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Page updated on October 31, 2009