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More of Richard Earle’s Tech Tips

Story and photos by Dale Wilson

In a previous issue, we brought you some tech tips by chassis builder Richard Earle of Suncoast Race Cars in Homosassa, Florida. Richard has been in the drag racing game for more than 30 years, building everything from Pro Modifieds to bracket bombers. He has learned a few tricks along the way. Here are some more.

"Concerning parachutes: You either need to use them frequently or take them out of the pack and stretch them out. Why? Because if they stay folded up in the pack, they have a tendency to rip on the folds. One customer of mine hadn’t popped his since 1992. We had to put a new one on his race car. It was deteriorated. Probably mildew. You couldn't tell anything was wrong with it from the outside, but you can’t take a chance. We also recommend putting baby powder or talc in the folds of any parachute when you repack it."

"Powder-coat the inside of headers when new if possible – at least the collectors. Why? It makes them last, stops the rust process, and you can actually pick up horsepower by retaining the heat inside the tube, just like with the outside of the tube, because it eases the flow of spent gasses to the outside."

(Dale's note --- We had our new Hedman South Hedman Hedders coated inside and out, and on our dragster, they seem to flows the spent gasses out better. Try it yourself.)


"John Winters of J.W. Performance Transmissions (Rockledge, FL) told me to do this years ago. Tie a pressure valve into the servo in your transmission and monitor it through a gauge just like you would oil pressure. It’s like with valve springs in a new engine – when you first put it together, you see what the springs read. With a pressure gauge, you also see what the pressure in your transmission reads, and then if it starts to drop off or vary, you know you have a trans problem. You can stop a lot of problems before they start. Your pressure will vary from trans to trans, so that’s why you get a baseline reading when you first put it in. Good pressure should be between 200 and 250 pounds."

"Most people don’t know how to properly set a line lock on a burnout. Here’s the way I recommend. Put the car in the water, set the button on the line lock, then pump the pedal. You’ll build pressure with each consecutive pump. We recommend a brake pressure gauge in our cars. You’ll get more holding pressure if you set the button first, then pump the brakes. If you pump it up and then set it, you’re just getting the pressure of your last pump. Auto Meter (Sycamore, Ill) has an electric brake pressure gauge that we use, and it is easier to install."

"Again, concerning the engine and trans, you should check the electric fuel pump volume from time to time by seeing how much will pump into a gallon container. It should pump a gallon in 13 or 14 seconds. Anything slower and you may have a fuel problem. It could be pickup, not enough fuel volume, a lot of things. And always take the line loose after the regulator, at the carburetor. With today’s engines, you have to be able to flow that much fuel."


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