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Under The Hood: Fuel Choices

Under The Hood: Fuel Choices

By Rob Hosking – If you are a racer, you’ve probably had to make the decision of what fuel to run. Depending on your class you may have a few options, but what makes the most sense from a performance, and most importantly, a financial standpoint.

We’ll start from the top.

Pump gas. 87-94 Octane
For most classes, pump gas is adequate. Its cheap, convenient to buy, and you can only buy what you need.

It lacks a number of things from a performance standpoint. Its fairly volatile, because of its intended use in street cars with low compression there is little chance of preignition, but it has a hard time not preigniting when over timed or overheated. It is inconsistent because of (to name a few) Water content of the in ground tank, when the tank was refilled, when the tank was last flushed, and on what date is was made.

Even though there is some dispute over this, there is winter and summer mixes of pump gas. Winter gas is reformulated to ignite easier because of the lower temps. Depending on how busy your gas station is, you could have winter gas in the tanks come springtime and the first few races of the year.

Another real problem with pump gas, is the blending agents used in all pump gas, and the alcohol content used at some stations, namely Petro Canada and Esso.

In your street car you have a sealed evaporative emissions system, so no additives or alcohols can evaporate, in your race car that vents to open air, you are losing most of your octane throughout the week. The problem is with alcohol blended fuel, if they have used the alcohol to increase the octane 2 or 3 points, and most of it evaporates during the week, what octane is your fuel at come race day?

“AV” Gas. Generally 100 octane
Airplane fuel should be used in airplanes, and that’s about it. Almost everyone i know who uses av gas is constantly chasing jets and fuel related problems. This stems from the fact that the fuel and additives package is formulated for high altitude use. It is extremely humid above the ground, that’s why there are clouds up there, from Wikipedia: a cloud is a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body.

So the packages are developed with very low burn rates because of the lack of oxygen (engine needs more time to burn the fuel), medium volatility because of the low effective compression up there, and very little top end lubricants because of the moistness of the air. Av gas is a reasonable alternative to some racers, but not if you run manifolds. AV gas tends to continue to burn as it exits the exhaust port, and does a awesome job of melting off plug boots and turning manifolds red.

Its difficult to explain fully in a reasonable sized paragraph, but av gas burns slow, and cool. It is not an effective “power adder” it will stave of SOME preigniton, but is not a fuel for serious competition. And because of little additives, and no top end lube, the only way to use is “properly” is to add 1/4 pint per 5 gallons of non synthetic 2 stroke oil, 1; to get some lube for your top rings 2; to add some color and get a read on your plugs.

On a side note it work really well in (racing) snowmobiles during the winter, as 2 stokes benefit from the slow burn rate, the air is cold and moist like high altitude, low heat created by the slow burn (keeps pistons cool), and already have the 2 stroke oil in the mix anyways.

Conventional race fuel. 95 to 114 leaded or unleaded.
“Real” race fuel is not made for driving to Zellers, or delivering supplies to the Arctic circle.

The “myth” is that race fuel doesn’t add any more power, so why run it? That myth is true, and false. If you run a 9 to 1 engine and don’t change anything, it will make very little difference. But if you jet, adjust the mixture on the carb, recurve the distributor and retime the engine, there will be a definite increase in power. With race fuel you have the CAPACITY to make more power. Race fuel is blended to prevent preignition, burn hotter, run the engine cooler, cool the pistons rings and exhaust valves, and it smells wicked cool.

Because of the high octane preignition is rare, and because of this you can add more total timing and be more aggressive with the timing curve. Most people add timing until the performance falls off, and back it off a bit. The problem is with any other fuel than race fuel, the performance is falling off because of preignition, and the piston being forced down before it gets to top dead center. Even if you back it off 3 degrees, there is a very good chance there is still detonation going on and you are damaging something. When you time an engine with race fuel, you generally reach the limitations of the combustion chamber design before you get into engine killing detonation. There is a large safety window with race fuel you don’t get with other fuels. You may be off a jet size or two, or the timing isn’t quite right, but the band aid of race fuel tends to leave some wiggle room.

That’s not saying its impossible to burn a piston down with race fuel, you just have to be really bad at tuning engines.

Nowadays leaded fuel really isn’t that important compared to what is used to be. The main function of the lead was to cool the exhaust valves when unleaded seats were common. Unless you are using old heads that have never had seats, or are using copious amounts of nitrous, the difference between leaded and unleaded boils down on what you can get locally.

Fuel additives and oxygenated fuel and special blends;
I firstly believe that ALL tracks should own a fuel sniffer. Go Kart tracks have them, why shouldn’t they? There are some nasty additives out there, and just breathing them or mixing them is dangerous, let alone in the event of a crash and the 30% easier to ignite science project gets on manifolds etc. I don’t use them, because i don’t like what they do inside an engine, and i generally try to follow rules and guidelines set out by racetracks.

Special blends are are 2 way street, they are incredibly expensive, but defiantly add more power than anything legal. VP and ELF make some awesome fuel, but bring the deed to your house. Applications included Late model sportsman blends, crate engine blends, 2 barrel blends etc.

Oxygenated fuel IE VP MS 109, is for the guy that wants that very cutting edge or that last 10th. Its a prick to tune and get setup, but when you hit it, its more power than anything available. It has extra oxygen carrying additives and has the potential to make 8 to 10% HP over regular race fuel. And on a 300 HP engine, that’s alot.

If you are racing circle track, there are very few situations where you would need more than 105 octane. 105 will Carry up to 13 to 1 compression, and with the rules packages these days, we wont see that ever again.

Questions? Comments?  Ontario Oval and I would like to answer questions from you in an upcoming column, drop me a line and get your engine question answered here.

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Under The Hood: When It All Goes Wrong; The Blame Game

Under The Hood: When It All Goes Wrong; The Blame Game

By Rob Hosking – As engine builders, we all take in to account there WILL be failures. Blown up, grenades, oil pan failures (the oil pan failed to contain all the parts flying out of it) etc. It’s part of the game.  NASCAR engine builders throw away everything but the block, crank and heads after each race to ensure the overcycled parts do not fail. They don’t take the chance that a rod or valve is nearing the failure point.

Every component in your engine, whether it be 4cyl or Super Late Model, has an expiry date. To get the idea, 1 rotation of the crank is only half of one complete cycle. So for every 1 full engine cycle (Intake Compression Power Exhaust) the crank must make 2 complete rotations.

Here’s some numbers to think about;  You race at a track where 3500 to 6500 is your approximate RPM (Revolutions per minute) window, average that to 5000 RPM.

15 mins of practice= 15 x 5000rpm  = 75,000

2 Heats at 5 mins a piece= 10 x 5000 = 50,000

1 feature 12 mins= 12 x 5000 = 60,000

Single night total = 185,000 Crank Revolutions. And being that the valvetrain turns half the speed each valve has opened 92,500 times.

On a side note, that’s why MOST successful racers don’t practice the hell out of their equipment. You can see how the practice really adds up…

So in one night you’ve made 185,000 revolutions, you race maybe 15 nights? That’s a whopping  2,775,000 crank revolutions. Each individual valve has opened 1,387,500 times. Raise the top RPM to 7500, and the total rises almost another half a million cycles. Add to that every MINUTE your engine is idling, add another  1000 cycles.

Everyone can see that that is a large amount of stress on engine parts. Toss in the night that it was blowing water with 5 to go, or the one night you couldn’t get oil and ran on month old stuff, or the night the carb wasn’t working right and it misfired 40,000 times.

I’ll give you some worst case scenarios, and cause and effect on these

This was an engine that ran flawlessly for 2 years. It hydro locked the cylinder and obliterated the piston. It was pulled down it tech multiple times, hot (which you should never do, but what else should you do? Get DQd?) the stock heads bolts didn’t like this and after the final time uneven torque caused a leaky head gasket, which ended up getting real leaky and getting enough water in the cylinder to cause a major league boom.


This one was a mystery to me for a while, but I figured it out. Never seen such devastation on a rod before.  I pieced  it back together to try and figure it out


And I found that it had came apart (obviously) at the nut relief . Still didn’t know why, but I found out when I put the used plug wires on the new engine, and two were mixed up, all zip tied so they couldn’t reach the right cylinder. I had seen pre ignition hurt pistons, but not that kind of damage. But it was an older engine with resized stock rods that had done 100,000 miles and then we expected them to last a couple of million cycles in a racing engine under high stress loads. Well they didn’t.


This is what I found after checking through an engine with a burnt piston, which was also a mystery, until I pulled the carb adaptor as a last ditch effort to find the reason why. Someone had reefed the rear carb bolts and peaked the spacer causing an air leak. It was only on the one side, and on the one plane of the intake, and it found the hottest cylinder to burn down. Fluke one in a million, but it happened .


Now heres the irony in engine building. This rod was in an engine for at least 3 years, and someone dented the cap at the bolt hole, and just reamed it back together. Either didn’t notice or didn’t care. It ran great, no problems, and the bearing was mint. Luck is a strange thing.

I would estimate engine failures break down as this:

70% Parts failures, 20% owner caused issues, 5% Engine builder mistakes, 5% Crap luck

I have seen some ridiculous reasons for engines coming apart,

Transmission pushing against crank burning the thrust bearing out of it,

No cam button and the cam walking around and eating the sides off the lifters,

An air cleaner stud INSIDE the engine,

Accident tweaking the balancer and eventually breaking the crank,

In the early 2000’s everyone was having camshaft problems. Of course all the engine builders were to blame, they all forgot how to install camshafts over the winter. Turns out Zinc Phosphate (an anti wear additive) was eliminated from all API (Street use) Oil. Without anyone being informed of course.. Necessitating the use of “Racing use only” Oil from that point on.

Chunk of valve guide falling off and ending up on the other side of the engine,

Distributor not shimmed right and burning the oil pump out of it,

Pistons installed upside down and bending all the valves,

Hell, even my own engine!  It was .040 over (I generally don’t like going more than .030) and we figured, ‘well its ours and it’ll never blow up’ WRONG, made it 65 laps and it started coming apart on the back straight. I knew what was happening so I shut it off before much damage was done, and wouldn’t you know it, that .040 over block I would tell you not to run had ballooned the thin cylinder wall and had eaten up a piston. The block had a reasonable amount of core shift, but after it broke I cut it apart and it barely had 1/16 of an inch in one spot of the wall about the size of a looney. And the high cylinder pressure found that spot in a hurry.

Bottom line, take all the precautions you can to build a engine that won’t give you any headaches. Do you know exactly how many cycles are on the rods? Was the crank ever damaged in an accident? Did it run hot every night for 3 years before you bought it?

As the general perception of engine builders has always been poor (were all out to rip you off, that guy can’t build stuff that stays together, etc) we are out for your best interests, believe it or not. Because #1 overcharging or blowing stuff up doesn’t give us a good name. #2 We like the competition as much as you do. #3 this is our livelihood, and without good word of mouth, we don’t get customers.

So the next time your engine guy recommends rods, a new block, breaking in the cam on a run stand  or dynoing it, he’s not looking to pad his pocket with your hard earned money.

He’s trying to give you a trouble free engine that you will be happy with, will stay together, and sell engines for him.

Questions? Comments?  Ontario Oval and I would like to answer questions from you in an upcoming column, drop me a line and get your engine question answered here.

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Under The Hood: A Quick Free Tip

Under The Hood: A Quick Free Tip

By Rob Hosking – Here is a quick and free tip for you. I always laugh when I see people struggling to lift the fuel pump pushrod in a small block chevy.

Usually trying to pry it up with a screwdriver and scuffing the shaft, doesn’t work so great.

Here’s an easy way that I was taught as a kid.


(Photo 1) Grab a set of feeler gauges, take any one out (bent is preferred, but not that important)














(Photo 2) put the feeler gauge beside the pump pushrod on one side. Twist and slide the feeler gauge between the pump adapter plate and the pushrod.














(Photo 3) Push up. TA-DA!














If it has taken you longer than 5 seconds, you are doing it wrong.

Happy Racing

Questions? Comments?  Ontario Oval and I would like to answer questions from you in an upcoming column, drop me a line and get your engine question answered here.

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Under The Hood: Free Horsepower

Under The Hood: Free Horsepower

By Rob Hosking – Everyone likes free stuff, free horsepower is even better! The absolute number one thing to get all the free power you can handle is careful preparation.

Start from the top, is your air cleaner clean? Does the base seal to the carb so trash and unfiltered air can’t get in there? Is there sufficient room between the top of the carb and the air filter lid? Do your rules allow an airbox, but you don’t run one because “it’s a pain in the butt to build”?

Pulleys are more important than just running your water pump, an underdrive pulley set can add power you didn’t even know you lost. Pulley alignment can believe it or not, cost horsepower. If the belt is running off to the side it is causing more friction than normal and adding unnecessary drag on the crank.

If you are running rubber engine mounts, the lost torque wrapping up the mount isn’t being transferred to the driveshaft.

Running in high gear and not running through sets of gears and idlers or planetary gearsets can save you quite a bit of power.

Is your battery fully charged BEFORE you head to the racetrack? 95% of the time the guys with dead batteries in the pits, run poorly on the racetrack.

Exhaust all beat in and smashed from running into the trailer every Sat night? It’s not free, but replacing sections of flattened exhaust pipe is well worth the small outlay of pipe and your free labour.

Lining up your manifolds correctly instead of just reaming the bolts in and hoping for the best is very important if you want to run out front.

(Photo 1) As you can see, this is probably not optimal for making horsepower. If you manage to get the bolt in, it’s going to destroy threads. The ports are going to overlap quite a bit.

(Photo 2) This is a exhaust manifold spreader, it is under 20 dollars and can be bought at most parts stores. Just wind it, slowly (to avoid cracking the manifold if it has warped badly) Until the port lines up.

(Photo 3) All lined up and ready to bolt on

I use this tool even if the port lines up pretty good, to ensure the ports are lined up as close as I can get them.

Take a close look at your car and see what kind of free horsepower you can find, with a little labour. You’re going to work on it anyways, you  might as well go faster in the process.

Questions? Comments?  Ontario Oval and I would like to answer questions from you in an upcoming column, drop me a line and get your engine question answered here.

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Under The Hood: Choosing A Camshaft, And The “Science” Of Advancing And Retarding

Under The Hood: Choosing A Camshaft, And The “Science” Of Advancing And Retarding

By Rob Hosking – Choosing a camshaft is pretty simple. Other than your track size, the first thing you need to do is know the RPM where you pick up the throttle, and what top RPM you will see. Example you pick up the throttle at 3000 and are at 6500 when you lift. Most cam manufacturers give you a rough idea on track size, and a set in stone RPM range to go from, so the basic homework is done by them.

Once your RPM range is known, you will have an easy time finding some cams that may work, but how to narrow it down from there? Duration, lobe centerline, Intake closing point and overlap are all very important points to look at. A quick breakdown of these terms and effect:

Duration is the length of time, in degrees, the valve is open from the seat. The advertised duration is different from the @.050 lift. @.050 lift is the “Standard” for measuring cams. As the duration goes up, so does the RPM band that the cam works in. You will see a cam with a 280 duration may have a RPM range of 2500 to 5800, and a 300 duration may be  3500 to 6800.

Lobe centerline/Overlap are basically the same thing, but explained differently. If a cam has a 108 degree lobe centerline it means that the max lift on the Intake and exhaust is 108 degrees apart on the cam.  That also dictates that the overlap, or the time when both valves are open at the end of the exhaust stroke or Top Dead Center (TDC). A wide lobe centerline like a 112, provides a smooth idle and low RPM power, a narrow or tight Lobe center  at 106 has a rough idle and runs pretty poorly below 2000 RPM because of the amount of exhaust gas leftover from  both valves being  open for a while at TDC. A narrow lobe center is critical for high RPM use, as the RPM gets over 6000 there is little time for the intake to draw the mixture in, so the exhaust pushing out actually draws the fresh mixture into the chamber. (Warning, you may learn something here) That’s why Super Late Model and NASCAR type cars with unlimited style engines flame out the tailpipe under deceleration, the tight overlap sucking the intake charge into the chamber actually draws some raw fuel into the exhaust and it is ignited by the heat and air flowing past the tailpipe. They have extremely narrow centerlines, in the 98-102 range.

Intake closing point is just that, but is pretty important. Your swept (Dynamic etc) compression ratio is dictated by this moment in camshaft time. You have a static compression ratio that is measured with CC’s or a Whistler, and a swept compression ratio. The static CR is the parts “stackup”  like combustion chamber CC, head gasket volume and valve reliefs in the piston. It might be 9.1 to 1 Static compression, but the swept compression is only 6.5 to 1. Now your thinking, “How the heck does that work out?” It’s pretty complicated, I’m not going to lie. But the simplest way to explain it is the later the intake valve closes, the lower your swept ratio will be. Imagine a single cylinder engine, if the intake valve was to close as soon as the piston got to Bottom dead center, the piston couldn’t make it back up because it is now a sealed tube. In order for the piston to return up the cylinder, the intake valve stays open a slight amount of time        to bleed off enough pressure for the piston to “stall” at BDC and start its return up the cylinder.

This leads us into part 2, Cam advancing/Retarding. The only things you are doing when you change the cam timing in relation to the crank, is moving the events one way or the other. A by-product of that is changing the intake closing point. As gains go, you don’t make any more or less horsepower by advancing or retarding a cam, you just change the places where it makes its peak HP and the torque band. Any time you advance the cam, the intake closes sooner, which raises the swept CR. And that’s why everyone who advances the cam feels it is a whole ton faster, it melts the tires off, so its fast right? But then it’s a stone up top, why?

Advancing a cam makes more low RPM power and kills upper RPM HP, conversely retarding it takes away HP on the bottom and extends the RPM range and HP by about 500RPM. Your engine lay down at the end of the straightaway? Blow the tires off every time you stand on it? Retarding is your answer. Everybody kills you out of the hole but you start catching them just as you have to lift? Advance it.

If you HAVE to retard or advance a cam, there’s a good possibility you picked the wrong cam.

Questions? Comments?  Ontario Oval and I would like to answer questions from you in an upcoming column, drop me a line and get your engine question answered here.

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Under The Hood: Setting Rocker Arm Lash, The Simple Way

Under The Hood: Setting Rocker Arm Lash, The Simple Way

By Rob Hosking – The most common mistake I see with engines is in the rocker arm adjustment. There are dozens of ways people feel that rocker arms should be adjusted. Here is my take, and the least confusing way to adjust them.

There are two types of camshafts and lifters – Hydraulic and “Solid”.

Hydraulic lifters were designed for passenger car use, and have been engineered to be quiet, reliable and foolproof. They have a plunger in the center backed up by a spring, with a relief valve at the bottom.  Oil pressure comes in the side of the lifter, forces the plunger up, and the relief valve stops the oil from bleeding out. They are meant to be preloaded. Most racing hydraulic lifters are of the “anti pump up” design. Basically once you set the lash, the lifter plunger will not rise any further.

Solid lifters were phased out in the early 1970’s, and generally only used in racing now. The cam grind profile and lifter design require lash, usually between .015 and .030 thousands of an inch. 1/8th of an inch is .125, so this is not really an extreme amount of clearance.

Regardless of style of camshafts, the process for adjusting the lash is the same. Some methods involve rotating to top dead center and adjusting one intake valve on one cylinder, then an exhaust on another, then 90 degrees, and a different intake valve etc. This is time consuming and confusing, and unless you have the specs written down and are looking at them, virtually impossible to remember.

This is the way that I do it. It has served me well, and is pretty much foolproof.

(Note: If you are adjusting lash with a roller rocker arm, it should be somewhat difficult to remove the feeler gauge. The roller tip will slip and give you a false “feel”, you can be out .005 or more if the feeler gauge is not tight when you are adjusting it.)

We will use a small block Chevrolet for example. If adjusting a solid camshaft, insert feeler gauge when you start step 4.

1. Start on cylinder #1 (driver side front cylinder). Put your fingers on the pushrod cups of the rocker arms.

2. Rotate the engine clockwise until the intake valve closes, and rotate approx 1/4 turn. This insures the lifters are both on the base circle of the cam.

3. Back off both rockers until they move freely side to side. Spin out the center stud of the posilock until it protrudes out of the adjustment nut by ¼ inch.

4. For solid lifters, insert feeler gauge now. Spin the pushrod with your fingers while tightening the adjustment nut. When the pushrod starts to drag, you are at zero lash. Proceed to next step for solid lifters.  At this point with a hydraulic cam you have to know, how much preload do I need? Zero lash? ¼  turn, ½ turn??  That depends on who built your engine, and what cam you are running. Rough idea? *Generally* a ¼ turn. If you run at a track with a vacuum rule, probably ½. As a rule of thumb, less preload is more top end power, and more preload is more midrange. Put whatever amount of preload you need, at this point.

5. Most important step! When using posi locks (rocker locks, jam nuts) BACK OFF your adjustment nut 1/8th of a turn after you have set the lash/preload, LOCK the center stud, and retighten adjustment nut by that 1/8th turn. This is a must to retain load on the rocker and prevent loosening. If you lock the stud in place without tightening the outside nut again, it is not tight!

6. Continue down the driver’s side until finished. Start at the front of the passenger side bank, and work your way back.

7. Win Race.

This may not be the way some people do it, or the “by the book” way of doing it either, but in a time crunch between heats, speed is of the essence. This is the fastest, easiest, most repeatable way I have found to adjust valve lash, whether on the engine stand, or in the pits.

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Under The Hood: Engine Storage

Under The Hood: Engine Storage

By Rob Hosking – Because of our mild winter, storage of your engine may have not been at the top of your list of things to do. It should be. Your engine is the heart of your race car, and should be treated as such.

Most of this won’t apply if you are pulling your engine to rebuild, but if your engine stays in the car over the winter, or on the garage floor, all of these are musts to avoid damage to your investment.


-Plug the carburetor and exhaust so no critters get up in there. Don’t forget to remove them before you fire it up!

-Drain the whole cooling system at the radiator, and remove the block drain plugs. Use a 50/50 solution of distilled water and brand name antifreeze and run the car for at least 10 minutes to make sure there are no pockets of straight water that could freeze. Don’t cheap out – a block is much more expensive than 2 jugs of 14 dollar antifreeze. If you are pulling the engine out, add 2 litres or so of coolant into the thermostat housing until it dribbles out of the water pump. That way you can be sure all unprotected water is dealt with.

-Drain the fuel from the whole car – or at the very least the carb/injectors. Fuel WILL rot your fuel cell foam, especially oxygenated fuel. It also can rot power valves and gaskets inside the carburetor and destroy fuel injectors, plus the varnish build-up of evaporated fuel can plug emulsion holes inside metering blocks. If you use an ethanol enriched fuel (i.e. Ultra 94, Esso 91), the ethanol is hygroscopic, which means it attracts and absorbs moisture. So unless you want 5% or more water content in your fuel cell come race season, do the extra preventative work. If you have a carburetor, drain the cell and let the engine run out of fuel. If you have an injected engine, leave approximately 1 litre in the cell and let the engine run out, as the electric fuel pump won’t pump any fuel if there is no fuel behind it to pressurize.

-It’s a great idea to fog an engine with a storage aerosol spray. I use Mercury marine brand, but the brand doesn’t matter.

-I personally back off all the rockers so all the valves are closed, leaving each cylinder as it’s own microclimate. If you have fogged the engine and the valves are closed, there is little chance you will have moisture attacking the cylinder walls and rings. An added bonus is that the valve springs are not loaded, as this can weaken them over time. If you are unsure of backing off the rocker arms, take a piece of paper and track how many turns you took out of them until they rattle. In the spring you can go back, and if exhaust rocker number 3 took 2 turns, you can put that back in and retain your valve lash.

-I mist inside the distributer cap with WD40, to preserve the contacts and pickup from moisture. Go easy on the WD, too much can cause a pretty sweet bang when firing it up. 


-Don’t start the engine “every so often”, especially in an unheated area. If it is minus 10 degrees, and you run your engine up to 200 degrees, moisture starts to accumulate as soon as you shut it off. I’m sure everyone knows what the back of a toilet looks like in the summer? Imagine that condensation inside your engine. All of that water goes right to the bottom of your oil pan, and is the first thing your bearings see when that engine is fired up. Over the course of the winter and multiple starts, it could add up to disaster.

-Don’t just leave it on the trailer after the last race and fire it up the weekend before the first race of the season.  Take the time to follow these steps, and ensure the health of your engine for years to come.

Spring Start Up

-Use brand new fresh oil for the first start-up. Don’t take the chance of old acidic oil eating any part of your engine. Any water trapped in there and whipped into a milkshake-like consistency will cling to rocker covers, under the intake, rocker arms, etc, and will take a full night of racing to come out of suspension. ALSO, any trash that was in your engine will have fallen to the bottom of the pan, and now couldn’t be a better time to get rid of it.

-If you have fogged it, replace the sparkplugs, remove the intake and exhaust plugs, relash the valves, fill it up with fresh fuel, and enjoy the season!

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Under The Hood: The New Kid On The Block

Under The Hood: The New Kid On The Block

By Rob Hosking – Some of you may not know of me, and some of you may know me well, but most all of you will recognize my last name.

My father was Mike Hosking, a very well known man in the high performance scene. He built engines and chassis for drag racing, circle track, and hot rods/custom cars in the Toronto area for many years. He won races and championships for everything he ever built, from go karts to drag boats. He passed away in 2005, and I am carrying on the family tradition of winning races. I’ve brought my brother Dan into the business over the last few years, and it’s a way of life for us.

 I have literally been going to race tracks all over Ontario since I was born. Over those years, I have been fortunate to work with some of the most knowledgeable people out there, and asked a lot of questions along the way. I started helping my dad on weekends when I was 6 years old, washing and painting parts. It steadily progressed until started working as a team shortly before his death.

Hosking-powered cars have won 8 championships at Barrie, 5 at Peterborough, countless races at Mosport, Sauble, and Flamboro – everything from Super late Models to 4 cylinders.  We take engines, and winning, very seriously.

I’d like to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years with’s readers, and give everyone the opportunity I had to learn more about what they love to do. I’ll be giving tips on everything  and anything engine-wise, and will be answering questions on any engine, ignition, and carburetor  questions you might have.

Rob will be providing regular contributions to If you have a question or a topic you would like Rob to address please contact him at

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