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Weekly Race Maintenance

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Quick fixes during down time

Racers either love it or hate it. Whichever side of the line you fall on, there is always work to be done to occupy one’s mind in between races. There is the inevitable body panel repair (or replacement if you happened to trade a little more than paint) and some basic maintenance that should be performed weekly.

With that in mind we hit up our resident Race Guru for some ideas, and this is what he came up with on the fly:

Perform a leak down test on all your cylinders. This helps to detect any major issues, such as bent valves, cracked heads, leaking head gaskets, and failure of the ring seat. Speedway offers an excellent Dual Gauge Leakdown Tester for this purpose, and instructions can be found here.

While you’re working on the Leak Down test, it’s a great time to inspect your spark plugs. Your plugs can tell you a great amount of information in regards to what is happening inside your engine. Below is a quick table on a few of your more common plug reads.

  • Normal: Grey/tan in color, signifies proper heat range and correct air/fuel mix.
  • Overheated: Clean white insulator indicates overly advanced ignition timing, lean air/fuel mix, or a leaking intake manifold.
  • Oil Fouled: Indicates possible bad rings, worn/scored cylinder walls, or possibly worn valve guides
  • Carbon Fouling: Indicates rich air/fuel mix, characterized by sooty black deposits on plug.

You should also check the valve lash and valve spring pressure while you are running the leak down test.

Change the oil, and cut the filter apart to inspect for any metal filings. (Here’s a hint; shavings are not a good sign.) Speedway’s Oil Filter Cutter can be used on any canister style filter from 1-1/2” all the way up to 6-1/8”. It even has a replaceable cutting blade if you start chewing up your filters instead of cutting them cleanly.

Check the timing. Break out the timing light and make sure that nothing has changed. Race engines get abused, and things can, and do, loosen up from time to time. Wouldn’t want to have your distributor turn on you in the middle of a heat would you? Just make sure everything is where it is supposed to be and that it’s still tight.

Last, but definitely not least, is to check your valves, and readjust them if necessary. And what do you know; Speedway Motors carries a variety of different wrenches to do just that. Click here to look over the options available to you. A little heads up here…If you have a valve that requires a large adjustment, you’d better start digging. You could have a bad spring, flattened cam lobe, or it just wasn’t tightened in the first place and backed off.

Now, there are many things that we did not add to this list, we feel that these are the most important ones that should be done regularly.

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