Too Smart By Half

Too Smart By Half
By Don Terrill (c)2005

Think you've got it all figured out? Maybe you do, maybe you don't.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." --- Albert Einstein

Here are some of my, too smart by half, favorites:
  1. Worthless dyno testing - Number one in this area is testing oil pans on the dyno. I'm completely blown away how many people still think they're getting accurate results. Now, if you want to know which oil pan makes the most power with the trans in neutral and the car sitting still, then be my guest, test away - those results will be accurate. Next in this area is cross jetting the carburetor. Same problem, does not take into account the g-forces of actual racing conditions. Lastly, testing hood scoops or cowls on a chassis dyno - WASTE OF TIME, well unless the chassis dyno is in a wind tunnel.
  2. Thinking you can visualize airflow - This actually happened during my Nascar days. I was running a bunch of dyno tests when the head of the cylinder head department wandered in and looked at the data. After pondering the information he announced with great certainty that "It looks like the air is clogging up behind the intake valve." I shit you not - that is a quote. Engineers at NASA are probably the only people on the planet that can even come close to visualizing airflow, but I doubt it.
  3. Thinking you can visualize everything that goes on inside an engine - For example, what goes on inside an oil pan during competition. About 10 years ago I thought I had it all figured out and designed an oil pan on how I thought the oil was behaving. It ended up slowing the car by a tenth of a second. In fact, the car picked up some of the lost ET when we added extra oil (hydraulic cam), a sure sign something is screwed up. This was one of my many, too smart by half moments.
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