Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Road Shark rocket-bike! Hot-rod Newport update!

This custom-built motorcycle fills me with lust. If only its engine was a bit more dramatic than a 27-hp tractor engine:

Click the image to see the story.

In other vehicle news, I have finished removing everything needed to be removed before installing a cache of new hot-rod parts for my Chrysler Newport. By this coming weekend, I expect to have all these parts, including a bunch acquired since my last post. The latest bits are less exciting than the previous - though vital for the engine's long-term reliability - including:

  • Sanderson stainless-steel exhaust headers. These let the engine breathe better on the exhale, necessary because performance parts that increase intake only work well when the engine can also exhale the same amount. A bonus is a slight increase in gas mileage. And - dude! - stainless-stell headers are sexy.

  • Aluminum performance radiator. The stock radiator works, but had a number of minor leaks (plus - when removed - came apart in my hands... whoah!), and the brass-and-copper stock design can have trouble getting rid of the extra heat made by producing more power. I found an aluminum radiator on eBay that's a direct fit for full-size Chryslers and is about the same price as having my radiator overhauled.

  • Comp Cams Beehive™ valve springs, plus valve-spring retainers and locks. These are a recent innovation: Note how they narrow toward the top. This reduces the weight of the spring (allowing it to respond more quickly to radical cam lobes), reduces the necessary pressure to quickly close the valves (reducing valvetrain wear and increasing service life), and eliminates potentially damaging harmonics (by varying spring diameter and cross-section). They cost about twice as much as regular, performance springs, but the benefits far outweight the costs.

  • Shop manual! Don't tear into your car without one. I love the cover of this thing: The design is so very 1960s. Nothing but the essential facts (a "service manual" for "Chrysler" and "Imperial" for 19"66" - the latter repeated a lot).

  • Rhoads V-Max lifters. The lowly lifter (or, in the UK, "follower") is often neglected during an engine build. Its sole duty is to rise and fall as it dutifully rides its camshaft lobe, lifting the pushrod which pivots the rocker arm which in turn opens the valve. Valve-spring pressure holds the lifter against said cam lobe, and only a thin film of oil stands between smooth operation and catastrophy. Most lifters are of the flat variety, smooth surface against smooth surface, though some use rolling wheels (I considered these but decided against it due to the added hundred$ in cost); most lifters in our cars use a hydraulic piston to soften the valve-open blow and make for better reliability on the street. These patented Rhoads lifters have a nifty feature that allows them to essentially vary the cam timing, providing a nice idle, excellent vacuum for things like power brakes, and good gas mileage at low RPMs while allowing the engine to behave like a full-on hot-rod at higher RPMs. The best of both worlds! The only drawback is a supposed noisy valve-close event. I can live with that.

  • Cloyes true double-roller timing set. This consists of crank gear, cam gear, and timing chain; it's how the crankshaft turns the camshaft. Mundane but vital.

  • Full Fel-Pro gasket set. I could have only gotten the gaskets I knew I'd need, but if you do that, you end up having to make several trips to the local auto-parts store with the engine half taken-apart. Better to spend a little extra at first to avoid the headaches.

  • Complete set of stainless-steel bolts. When you're taking apart your engine, why not replace those old, worn, ugly bolts with shiny new one's that'll never rust? And - conveniently - the seller packages and labels them all for where they'll go. Nice!

I think I demonstrated great self-restraint in buying those valve springs rather than a complete new set of Edelbrock Performer RPM 440 heads. They're dyno'd to produce about 450 horsepower with my combination; I'll have to settle for just over 400 using my stock heads. *sigh* I just couldn't justify the additional thousand bucks over the new Beehive springs and associated parts (that was the decision-point: fancy new springs or complete, assembled heads?). Should I ever need to rebuild the stock heads, well, then I'll get the aluminators and swap in my Beehive springs.

Tags: hot-rod newport, vehicles

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