Daily Archives: March 10, 2017

Making (And Testing) Horsepower

If you know Motor Man and me personally, or you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that he is a professional engine builder.  He builds race engines. High performance engines. FAST engines for race cars and hydroplanes (race boats).  He’s been doing it since he was a teenager and he’s very good at it.

Several years ago, he added a dynomometer (“dyno” for short) to the equipment in his machine shop.

A dyno is a diagnostic tool that provides invaluable information to engine builders. Once Motor Man finishes building (or re-building) an engine, it’s placed on the dyno, which is connected to a computer.  He “makes a pull”, revving up the engine to simulate what the engine will endure on the straight stretch of a race track (or race course, for hydroplanes). The dyno shows horsepower, torque, fuel-to-air ratio, oil pressure and water temperature. A print-out is available for every pull.

If the numbers are good, he may not make any adjustments. But the information enables him to try different carburetors, timing, rocker arms or, in extreme cases, a different cam shaft.

The dyno also lets him know if he has any problems, such as an oil leak,  and the problem can be corrected prior to delivering the engine to the customer.

Long before I met Motor Man, I had an interest in racing. So it’s exciting to me to be at the shop when Motor Man has an engine on the dyno. It’s so loud…and powerful.

Wednesday, I did more than just watch. He needed to check something (during the test) that he wasn’t able to see from the dyno console. So he had me make a pull. And he wanted it on video. (No smiles because, although exciting, it’s a little frightening to hear that much power in the room beside you.  Granted, it’s a cinder block room, the window between the console and the dyno has safety glass, and there’s a sprinkler system in place.)

This engine is for our local short track, and that season begins on April 1.

The hydroplane race season began last weekend in Florida. One of our engine customers won both qualifying and actual races in his division both days.

To paraphrase Darrell Waltrip: “Time to go racin’, boys”!

~These Days Of Mine~