Optimizing my setup
My car has been on the road now since January of 2006 and
so far things have been going pretty good. I like cruising to car shows,
taking friends for rides and of coarse, playing around on the freeway
on-ramps. But one thing has been in the back of my mind this whole time...
'am I really getting everything from the motor that I should be'! What do
I mean by that? Well...let me try to explain.
I'm running 11:1 static compression on pump gas (91 octane hear
in Ca.), I've had the timing backed off a little just to be on the safe
side (so it don't have detonation). If the engine starts to detonate, it
wouldn't take long before that would destroy some pistons. Now this was
all something I had thought about when I was in the planning stages of
building the motor years ago. And there were a couple of things that
I've done to help this out, like using aluminum heads and a large
overlap cam shaft. So far this has been working because I haven't
experienced any problems. On the other hand, what is the optimum timing
setting for my engine combination? If I were to change it by a few
degrees, how do I know if I'm going in the right direction (because it's
really hard to tell using the seat of your pants method)?
One of the other things I really didn't know about my engine was, how
rich or lean the air/fuel mixture is with my carburetor at part throttle
(freeway cruising) and wide open throttle (WOT). I've taken out
a few sparkplugs over the years and examined them but it's really hard
to tell, at least it is for me. I thought about buying an air/fuel
mixture gage that reads your exhaust gases but that unit costs around
three to four hundred bucks, depending on which one you buy.
So how do you find out all of this information? One way is to take
your engine to a place that can dyno it for you. But that would require
me to tear apart the whole front end of the car just to get the engine
out, and I don't think I want to do that. But there is one other option
out there, take the car to a place that has a chassis dyno.
On April 24, 2009, I went to
a place called
Group in Mira Loma, Ca. Westech has both types of dynos, chassis and
engine dynos. Their located about 45 miles from my house which
makes it an easy drive. The only down side to this is... if something broke
on the car while dyno testing, I'd have to get towed home. But I'm happy
to say that I made it there and back on my own power and I had a great
time while I was there and learned some stuff too.
is what the chassis dyno area looks like. One of the nice things about
this type of chassis dyno is that I didn't have to drive the car up on
some kind of elevated rack. Westech's is built into the ground so just
about any kind of car can use it. Another nice feature is that rollers that the rear tires
sit on is a two piece deal (split drive rollers). That's good news for
people like me that have a low front-end which makes getting into
position a piece of cake.
Notice the two big fans at either end of the
car. These help keep the engine cool and remove exhaust gas's too. If you needed more help getting rid of the fumes,
they have a dual suction unit along with some flexible tubing which gets
vented through the roof too (large metal hose on either side of the car).