How to Maintain the Carburetor and Fuel System (1)
There is no substitute for a well-designed fuel and air delivery system. By ignoring these two critical areas, all the work of building a strong powerplant is wasted.
For maximum horsepower, the coolest, most dense air possible should be available at the carburetor inlet. Keeping restriction in the inlet path to a minimum - or better yet, pressurizing the air - is also desirable.
The denser the air, the more you can get into the cylinders. This allows the engine to burn more fuel and make more power. We recommend that a hood scoop or outside air intake should be installed wherever rules allow. Under hood air is heated by the engine and headers and reduces the amount of power that can be produced. A reduction in temperature of 10 degrees F. is approximately equal to a one percent power gain.
There should be a minimum of three inches of clearance between the top of the venturis and a hood scoop. If an air cleaner is installed, the tallest possible element is preferred with four-inch element preferred for racing engines over 500 HP.
When a hood scoop or external air intake is used, it is highly suggested that the carburetor be sealed to it. Otherwise, air will flow across the top of the carb and out of the inlet tract rather than into the air horn. If air is forced past the carburetor it can siphon fuel, causing the engine to run lean. Windshield snorkels are especially notorious for siphoning unless the rear is sealed. Air pan kits for sealing the carburetor to the scoop are available or they can be fabricated. An air bell or radiused intake should be used whenever possible to increase air flow into the carburetor.
It is not unusual for a drag race car to improve ETs by 0.3 second and increase top speed by as much as seven miles an hour after installation of a sealed scoop. A car will not pick up ET after the scoop is sealed off if the scoop is too short or the fuel delivery system is inadequate.
On oval track cars, the same is true. Paying attention to the inle tract design will pay off. Depending upon track length, oval track cars will typically improve lap times by 0.1 to 0.5 second once an optimized air intake system is installed.
Many racers experience fuel delivery problems without ever being aware that something is wrong in their race car's fuel systems. Today's state-of-the-art engines produce a lot more power than a race engine of ten years ago. The process of producing horsepower revolves around the conversion of fuel into energy. The more pounds of fuel an engine can burn efficiently per hour, the more horsepower it produces. Even though your car may not miss, pop, bang, skip or do anything else peculiar, it may not be getting all the fuel it needs to make maximum power.
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