Don't Drink the Racing Kool-Aid

Don't Drink the Racing Kool-Aid
By Don Terrill (c)

Kool-Aid Drinkers - The term was coined in 1978 when 913 members of the
People's Temple cult committed mass suicide on the direction of one man - Jim Jones. Today the term is used to describe anyone so committed to a position that they senselessly ignore the facts or any other viewpoint.

Areas where racers tend to drink the Kool-Aid:

(1) Coatings must be applied to every engine component - I hate to break it to you, but there are winning engines out there today that don't have a single coated component.

(2) Low component weight is crucial to making power - Yep, it's a move in the right direction, but the "weight" given to this variable is insane. There are much better areas to put your money to work.

(3) Rods and Pistons must balanced to a milligram - This is an easy one to knock down - Think about the carbon on top of pistons and oil clinging to parts during engine operation. How do you take into account for these variables?

(4) Grinding a crank makes it weaker - Actually, if the crank grinder knows what he's doing, he can actually make a crank stronger by increasing the corner radius while grinding the journals down.

(5) Spark Plug indexing is critical to making power - Anyone believing this needs to seriously look at the accuracy of their testing methods.

(6) Too much spring pressure breaks valves - The cam lobe design is what dictates how hard the valve impacts the valve seat, not spring pressure. Without enough spring pressure the valvetrain will not follow the lobe's closing ramp design and thus will increase the valve's impact speed.

(7) If an engine likes tight lash it needs more cam duration - Nope, it's quite possible the tighter lash decreased the intake valve closing bounce which in turn increased the engine's dynamic compression ratio.

(8) Grout will stiffen cylinder walls and seal leaks - The performance improvement of grout comes from how it changes the engine's cooling characteristics, not cylinder wall stiffening. As for grout's sealing ability, it has none.

(9) Lower viscosity oil makes more power - Not if you don't match it with a proper bearing clearance and oil temp.

The moral of the article? QUESTION EVERYTHING.

Want to send off a nasty email about how wrong I am? Well, first read this and then write your own article.