Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

 Here in Minnesnowda we are just wrapping up one of the coldest winters in recent memory. As much of the world commemorates Earth Day, today April 22, 2014, I could not help but think back to less than one week ago to an overnight snowfall here.  Lady, our shop dog, and I were spared the 10" of snow that fell about 1/2 hour north of here, but still had our hopes of spring dashed with a fresh covering of the white stuff as shown in the photos below.

And the (not so) good news?  The weather prognosticators say we may get a repeat next week!

"...but I thought you said spring was here..."
Lady shivering from the combination of more snow and a recent outing to the beauty parlor for a haircut (she has only herself to blame - I told her she should wait)
All of this leaves us with just one question:
Seriously folks.  We had one month this winter that our heating bill was north of $1500 while the thermostats were set so low that it remained long-johns and sweatshirt weather inside both the house and the shop.  My wife's legs were nearly crushed from the weight of extra blankets on our bed all winter.
So PLEASE, do your part to promote Global Warming.  Drive more ...and faster; preferably in your pre emissions vehicles.  Do more smokey burnouts! Have a camp fire in your back yard every night, and if you need to use all your trash to get the fire going, so much the better.  Don't worry, those big garbage trucks will still come around burning diesel fuel whether there is anything to pick up or not.  If you have room, you might even consider getting a cow.  It is said that their flatulence is a major cause of Global Warming.  I say a pair of vintage muscle cars idling in every driveway and a cow in every backyard!  With your help maybe we can get enough Global Warming going to save the planet for humanity!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Three Stooges and a Disappearing Act

About a week ago my old friend and racing buddy, Uncle Aard, dropped by the shop.  I hadn't seen him for a number of years, and while perusing the many pictures on the walls he mentioned that he no longer had any pictures from his time involved in drag racing.  That thought stayed with me long enough to spend a few minutes later in the week sorting through a stack of old photos that had accumulated in a small box on my desk.  That, in turn, inevitably led to this post.
I like to call this one "The Three Stooges"

The photo above caught my eye first.  Obviously taken before we became savvy enough to build stands to hold the drag bikes up off the ground high enough to save on the back.  But then, we were all young then and likely did not notice.  On the left is Uncle Aard hard at work on his Shovelhead.  Yours truly is in the middle attending to the Pro Stock Knucklehead and Neil Ryan on the right is probably chasing down leaks in his Shovelhead's air shifter.  My guess is that the picture is from 1989.  If so, that was the second year for the PMFR chassis with 8-1/2" slick on the dual carb Knuckle.  Neil also ran a PMFR chassis on his Shovel; the first one ever built for a Harley (mine was the second).  Neil's sported a 10" slick which he put to good use behind the 114" Shovel.  This picture may very well have been taken the weekend that Aard first put a 7" slick on his Shovel, promptly breaking the front motor mounts off his crankcases.  Nothing like the tire really hooking up to stress test everything else in the drive train!

Below is a series of photos from the early 1990's.  The dual carb Pro Stock Knuck had been replaced by a 120" Knuckle with a centrifugal supercharger in a lay down Top Gas chassis with 10" slick.   That's Dangerous Dan, our long time crewman (in black with red bandanna) enjoying the view ...well, at least for a moment.  I am pretty sure that is Aard piloting the bike, since he always wore a dark colored helmet and mine was white.  It was probably taken at the Sturgis race.

Going ...Going ...Gone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Do You Noah the Story?

NOAH, the movie
Given that we seem to be undergoing one of the larger movie advertising campaigns in recent memory, a logical question that a Christian might pose is: does this movie provide an evangelism tool (as some claim) or is it one more pagan attack to defend against?

One thing is obvious.  This film was made to appeal to both Christians and to the perennial fans of typical blockbuster special effects type movies.  As a marketing ploy it is probably a sure fire winner.  The "blockbuster" appeal will bring in most of the regular movie goers, and the Christian theme stands a good chance of drawing in many who tend to stay away from most movie fare due to their disgust with the typical sexual content.

 photo Russell-Crowe-in-Noah-2014-Movie-Image-650x456_zps9015d575.jpg

So how does the movie measure up for the Christian?  Well, admittedly I have not seen the movie (at this writing it has not opened yet), but that did not stop me from doing a little research.  A number of people have seen early screenings of the film, still subject to further cuts. Some "less than flattering" reaction led to the following disclaimer aimed at smoothing things over (or muddying the waters, depending on your point of view):

"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."

It seems that Darren Aronofsky, the director, is a self described atheist who was willing to employ a number of words not commonly used in polite conversation to proclaim his lack of sensitivity about negative audience reaction.  A couple thoughts come to mind.    A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.  Luke 6:45  And I don't just mean Aronofsky's comment.  I believe this verse may apply equally to the whole movie.

So, you may be wondering what I found when researching the movie.  Well, here are some miscellaneous quotes:

Joseph Brean in the National Post said this: "Noah has been re-imagined in a new movie as a virtuous eco-warrior in an age of global calamity, so appalled by humanity’s sins that he accepts, even encourages, their deliberate extinction by a vengeful god."  and  "The sins for which humanity is punished in the film include wanton disregard for the sustainability of their farming and mining, which ravages the Earth. Noah, in the movie, broods over this, comes to think humans deserve it, and even threatens to kill his own grandchild."

Billy Hallowell said this on The Blaze: "...For instance, at one point Noah is preaching to his family and telling the story of creation – one that is presented through an evolutionary lens..."  and  "Noah's character is conflicted about whether or not human beings should survive,” he added. “I think he borders on looking crazy and it’s hard to match that to the Genesis text..."

From Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis:  "In the movie, it seems Noah is a far cry from the Noah of the Bible. He’s angry, even crazy . . . . It makes a mockery of Noah’s righteous nature and is actually anti-biblical. . . . [In the Hollywood version] he’s a delusional, conflicted man, more concerned about the environment, animals, and even killing his own grandchild than he is with his family and his relationship with God."  and here  "Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather) is a type of witch-doctor, whose mental health is questionable." and  "It appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today."

(If you are not familiar with the Biblical term "kinds" as it applies to the animal kingdom, I would suggest that despite the indisputable fact that there is such a thing as a birddog, most of us would have no problem distinguishing between a bird and a dog as different "kinds" of animals.)

Now, armed with mostly negative  feedback from people who have seen early screenings of the Noah movie (or have spoken with those who have), in what areas do I think the film got it right?  Well, there really is a God.  There really is a man named Noah who built an ark (I believe I will get to meet him in heaven one day).  There really was a flood caused by God.  Noah, his family, and animals were saved from the flood by entering the ark.  Other than those points, there very well may be little or nothing recognizable from the Bible in this movie.  It seems to be the 180 degree opposite of the old tag line "the story you are about to see is true; the names were changed to protect the innocent."   The Noah movie tag line should be, "the story you are about to see is false; the names were kept to protect the guilty."

But back to the original question; does this movie provide an evangelism tool or is it one more pagan attack to defend against?  Isn't the answer obvious?  As an evangelism tool the Noah movie is about as useful as "The Last Temptation of Christ (another movie I have never seen) which reviews reveal to be equally anti Christian fiction.

So what about this so called disclaimer that runs with the commercials?  "... we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith ..."   Really?  They wrote that with a straight face?  If so, then surely they will have no problem with everyone who goes to see the movie, but finds that claim to be false, demanding their money back.  Ah, but my guess is that Hollywood is counting on the biblical illiteracy of the American people at large to be such that soon most of what they think they know about Noah will have come from this movie ...and that is a larger condemnation of our country than it is of this film.

As a matter of fact, I admit that when I read of this complete twisting of Biblical truth to line the pockets of Hollywood, my first thought was, "why doesn't God just strike them dead?"  Of course upon further contemplation, I remembered that this movie is just one of the symptoms of a much larger national drift away from Christianity.  Certainly the perpetrators of this movie would love to speed that along in any way possible.  That may be reason enough not to help finance their efforts but rather pray for their repentance.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Note in Passing

As it so happens, right now I have two sets of Evolution cylinder heads in my shop that I have seen before.  Both of them were previously ported by me.  What make this worth mentioning is the "when" that I last saw them.  One set has a porting job which I performed in 1994; 20 years ago.  It was the 131st set of heads that I had ported.  You may wonder how I can be so sure about work that I completed so long ago, but its simple.  I stamp an ID number into the heads I port and keep records.

Now, I don't know much about the life this particular set of head lived in the intervening years, but it was ready for new valves and guides.  Not totally shot, unusable junk; just out of spec on the valve to guide clearance and stem taper.  The present owner is not the one who I did the work for originally, and since another local shop brought them to me to freshen up, I don't know how many miles or owners they have gone through since '94. 

 photo evomikey006_zps26ef4b57.jpg

16 year old porting
The second set of heads received my porting work a scant 16 years ago.  They were the 273rd set of heads that I ported.  I have a little more info on this set due to the fact that I count the owner as an old friend, though I suppose that he would point out that it would be more accurate to say that I am his old friend, since I am about 10 years his senior.  This set has gone in excess of 100,000 miles, many with sidecar attached,  since I last saw them.  The rest of the motor is quite worn out, to the point of needing a new crankcase pinion race, oil pump, and even an oversize breather gear due to the amount of debris that has passed through it.  Somewhat surprisingly the guides did not need replacement on this set of heads, which is a testament to the design of the Evolution valve train.

 photo evomikey003_zps7d5266e6.jpg
guides still good - seats after valve job

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Patience or Approval

These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.  Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Psalm 50: 2-22

These two short verses should serve as a dire warning to those who would mistake Jehovah's patience for approval! 

In context this is addressed to the wicked, who are given a laundry list detailing "these things hast thou done."  It has been said that the wheels of justice turn slowly, and it seems to be human nature to think that our misdeeds which have gone unpunished have been forgotten.  Not so, says the almighty God!  He promises that one day all of our sins will be laid out before our eyes, and at that point there is no one who can deliver you from his wrath.

Consider that ...and if it brings fear to your heart, then perhaps you are ready to hear about the savior who CAN save you from the judgment you deserve.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Shovelheads Again

Unfortunately I was unable to get pictures to load for this post -  sorry - that would have made it much easier to follow and understand the material presented here.

It is not uncommon for me to receive a question in the comments section of my blog posts.  Sometimes it is an easy answer, but other times it requires a little more... and that may lead to a whole new post.  Such is the case here.  I recently  received the following in the comments section  of an older post:

 I'm interested in building a big bore shovel and have toyed with some do it yourself porting...there's some interesting views from the nightrider web site: How to Build a High Performance Shovelhead Engine.  I don't have a flow bench so was contemplating just smoothing out intake harsh edges and general polishing in lieu of redesign? Appreciate your thoughts if you care to comment...

First of all, a thank you to Dave for asking a very good question.  Probably most wrenches who worked in a dealership in the 1980's or before will recognize the sheets copied on the nightrider site.  I don't remember if they handed them out at the factory service school when I attended, or if my set was passed down to me from a previous attendee.  Either way, this info has been out there for a long, long time.  For reader's convenience I scanned my copies and attempted to place them her in the text, but to no avail.  Apparently the man behind the curtain at "Blogger" is too busy conquering the world to keep the picture uploading feature working at the moment. 

The material on shaping the intake ports presented therein (figures 5 and 6 in the link) has probably been the basis for a number of porting jobs.  However, before you drag out your TIG welder, consider this: if executed properly, this modification will indeed increase performance by way of greater flow.  Executed poorly, however the port modifications described can result in a net loss of performance. 

Unfortunately the difference between well executed and poorly executed can be very difficult to ascertain without the aid of a flow bench.  The reason is that the modification to the floor of the port leading to the valve seat (commonly called the short side radius) is one of the areas of a port that has the most potential for gain in airflow, but is also the most sensitive to shape.  The fact is, this area is one of the worst features of a stock Shovel head casting and also the most difficult to "fix."  It cannot be optimized by grinding; the problem is there is already not enough material there.  What is really needed is more material - just like this old performance paper suggests.

Stop!  I already warned you to hold up on dragging out the welder!  If you are going to start welding, you also may want to consider this; you will also need the ability to machine your heads for new valve seats.  Here is the reason.  If you look at Figure 6 in the link, you  will notice a dimension labeled 1.64 DIA. This smaller dimension just under the valve seat is commonly called the "choke" or venturi.  Let's stick with calling it the choke since there is also a similar situation in your carburetor also called a venturi.  And just to keep things on the up and up, I should mention that in porting discussions another choke is often mentioned, that being the place in the port that has the smallest cross sectional area other than the one just below the valve seat.  Of course that leads me to feel the need to point out that there is a 3rd item in the intake tract called a choke, which of course is in the carb and used for starting.  You can completely ignore that one!  So to sum up, there are 3 chokes and 2 venturi, but the only ones we are concerned with for this discussion are in the head.

This choke dimension (the one just under the valve seat - remember?), or more precisely the relationship of this dimension to the valve head diameter,  has an important relationship to airflow past the valve.  Now the nominal head diameter of a Shovel intake valve is 1.937 (1-15/16) often referred to as 1.94.  The 1.64 dimension means that this modification is calling for the choke to be just less than 85% of the valve size.  While it is easy enough to see where this 85% figure came from, putting my stamp of approval on it is a little harder.  The early SuperFlow  flow bench instruction books show a diagram of the ideal intake port area and shape and show the 85% relationship.  The key word there is ideal.  The only less ideal port shape than the Shovelhead which comes to mind are the tortuous switchbacks in the Knuckle/Pan intake tract.

Be that as it may, if you were to take your ordinary everyday Shovel head and measure the inner diameter of the valve seat insert, you may be surprised (or not) to find a number like 1.820".  Now if you do a little reverse engineering you will find that gives a choke percentage of almost 94% (1.820 divided by 1.937).   Now 94% is a far cry from 85%, but it gets worse (at least form the 85% perspective).  When  you were measuring intake seat insert, did you notice that it  that it really didn't line up with the aluminum of the port very well?  You aren't that observant?  Go back and look.  I'll wait....

Okay, visualizing the direction the mixture must travel, what do you think all of those 90 degree corners will do for your air flow?  What do you mean you left the head out in the shop?

So what you could do is remove the valve seat inserts, weld in all the areas shown in the drawing (and you may as well do something with the equally offensive exhaust port while you are at it) machine for new seats that have both a larger outer diameter and a smaller inner diameter, grind the port to match the diagram and do a valve job.  Piece of cake, right?  Oh... and before you decide to take a shortcut using some sort of porting epoxy, don't even consider leaving it hanging out over the seat insert as shown in the diagram.  It's life expectancy in an air cooled engine on the street will be far less than you like.

But, that is not to say there is no hope for you do-it-yourselfers.  First of all let's go back to that 85% choke figure.  It's probably a decent ratio for an exhaust valve, and maybe even for the situation in the diagram, but are you really going to spend the time and money trying to duplicate it?  Many, if not most cylinder head porters will tell you (if they are willing to tell you anything) that a good rule of thumb is to make the choke 90% of the intake valve diameter.  I have heard some of the very best say that you may sometimes need to go as high as 91% but absolutely no higher.  At least part of the reason is easy enough to visualized.  Air likes to turn in maximum increments of 15 degrees (which explains the angles used on a valve job) but it needs a little length for each of those angles - about .060" is enough.  But on a stock shovel seat insert with its I.D. at 94% of the valve, how much room is left on the inside for a 60 degree once the 45 degree angle is cut (or ground)?  Little to none, that's how much; and forget about adding a 75 degree angle.  Not much help in turning that air!

It is often said that one of the biggest factors in performance is the valve job.  But for the reasons stated above, I say: "Not on a stock Shovel!" On a stock Shovel about all the valve job can do is make a seal.  Sadly there is no material present to put good valve job on to help get that air turned.  Want to change that?  Put in a 2 inch intake valve.

Simple as it is, it improves several things.  First of all, suddenly there is enough meat left in the seat insert to add a couple more angles under the 45 degree seat.  Now your valve job can be a little more conducive to flow that the simple on/off spigot it was before.  Plus, now your choke percentage is a far more reasonable 91%.

As to the actual valve job, if you remember the 15 degree airflow rule of thumb, it becomes fairly obvious.  Just make sure that the outer edge of your 45 degree seat coincides with the outer edge of your valve.  That will leave the maximum room below that 45 for your 60 degree, 75 degree, and in the unlikely event that the I.D. of your seat insert is too small, a 90 degree.

Once you have an actual performance valve job in place, Dave's instinct to just smooth out the harsh edges is about right.  The turn that the floor of the port makes just before the valve (called the short side or short turn radius) is always a major offender on Shovel heads.  If the seat insert does not line up with the aluminum of the port in this area, don't be afraid to do a little grinding on said insert as part of putting a radius on this turn.  If you are more ambitious, get yourself a set of inside calipers and work at keeping the cross sectional area constant from the port opening to the short side radius.  And don't forget, if you want both heads to flow the same amount, you will want that cross section constant from front head to rear head also.

Finally, one disclaimer:  You don't get something for nothing. A 2 inch intake valve is heavier than a 1.94.  If your valve springs were marginal before, they are even less likely to provide good valve control with a heavier valve.  That's not too hard or expensive to take care of.  A bigger concern may be valve to valve clearance.  All things being equal, a .060" larger intake valve will be .030" closer to the exhaust valve when they pass each other during overlap.  The hotter the cam you have, the more likely that you will have issues.  If you decide to go with 2 inch intakes, you should check this whether it be via a full blown mock up on the engine or a bench check using the TDC lifts listed for your cam.

Of course that brings up at least one more question.  Is it possible to get a good flowing Shovel intake port without going to a 2 inch intake?  The answer is that you most definitely can.  With the aid of a flow bench many (myself included) have been doing it for many years.  But to do so one needs to make up for that poor seat shape somewhere, and that "somewhere" is most easily found via a flow bench.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

His Grandmother Was A Monkey

Now for something a little different ...humor.  Well, at least I find it funny.  A fine fellow who goes by the name of Dan Arel has a post on a humanist blog entitled "Why Bill Nye shouldn't debate Ken Ham"  Now, in order to appreciate my unorthodox attempt at humor here, one really must follow the link and read his post.  Then come back here and see how, with just a little editing (including a sprinkling of scripture), I have taken his post which is, how should I say this... less than flattering of Christians, and turned it into something someone on the other side of the debate might enjoy.  Keep in mind that my changes are in bold italic; the rest are Dan's words so I am not entirely sure I can be accused of name calling.  In any case, I offer this in the spirit of good fun and hope no one takes too much offense, though I firmly believe that my version will prove more accurate in the long run; long run being like, you know - eternity.

So, without further fanfare, back at ya Danny Boy:

Why Bill Nye Shouldn't Debate Ken Ham

Creationists should not debate evolutionists. Period. This may sound harsh but let's start by looking at what sparked this statement. TV personality and science advocate Bill Nye (Bill Nye the Science Guy) has accepted an invitation to debate Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis / The Creation Museum on February 4, 2014 at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

This is a bad idea and here is why.

Debating evolutionists offers their position credibility

When you accept a debate, you are accepting there is something worth debating. Political ideologies are worth debating, religion as it pertains to things like human well-being and flourishing can be worth debating, because these kinds of ideas claim to offer solutions to problems and they are debating the best way to solve such problems. While debates about the existence of God can be fun, they are not really that meaningful, since what can be known about God is plain to all men, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made(Romans 1:19-20).

Creationism vs. evolution however is not worth debating. Why? Simple, there is nothing to debate. Evolution is a fairy tale, backed by mountains of propaganda, peer-reviewed papers (i.e. reviewed by others "in the faith" of evolution) you could stack to the moon and an incredible consensus of those whose "foolish hearts were darkened "(Romans 1:21). Creationism is a time tested history that is based on the word of God, on faith and logic. It also has a mountain of peer-reviewed papers (i.e. reviewed by others "in the faith" of Christianity) to back up its claims. Creationism has absolutely no scientific consensus, which is meaningless since as Christians we do not judge what is true or false by "consensus" as so many in the "scientific" community do. Creationism is not even considered science due to the fact that, just like evolution, it cannot be tested.

Why would a scientist debate this? Nye would do more for his world view by going on TV and indoctrinating youngsters into putting their faith in evolution and the importance of secular education instead of giving Ken Ham any publicity and a public forum with thousands, if not millions of viewers, to present the truth. Ham is a wise man and Nye just offered him up a forum to defend God’s word. It would have better for Nye to simply repeat his mantra over and over; "evolution is science".

Nye is not a biologist

I do not know an incredible amount about Bill Nye other than I loved his show. However, a Google search only turned up that Nye has nothing more than a bachelor’s degree in engineering and three honorary doctorate degrees. [Note: a Bing search on the original author, Dan Arel, turned up even less in the way of education, yet this comes across as reading "clearly Nye does not have enough education to be considered one of we elite.  My apologies if he was not actually peering down his nose as he wrote it]  We fault Christian apologists almost daily for trying to ride their honorary degrees, it would seem only fair we hold Nye to the same standard.

So we have Nye, a very smart man with a degree in engineering, not biology, not anthropology, and he does not practice any form of research science. Nye should be credited greatly for his work in education; but as a qualified candidate to defend evolution, especially against the likes of common men like Ken Ham, he is not.

You must fully understand your opponent

This is mere speculation but I have no reason to believe that Nye has the firm grasp on creationism that would be needed to go up against the likes of someone like Ham.

To win a debate successfully you must understand your opponent's position better than they do, in fact, you should know it well enough that you could debate for them.

Evolutionist have no rules, their dishonesty stops nowhere. Nye will attempt to use popular opinion falsely labeled as science and reason to bring down Ham, but Ham will care little for any pseudo facts or invented evidence and will stick to common sense and will feed on man’s conscience and use terms like "irreducible complexity" to confuse evolutionists. Key phrases like "half a wing" will fly from his lips as he openly ignores so called science's amazing misunderstanding of the impossibility of the evolution of things like the eye, or wings. Ham will be relying on faith, wisdom and biblical teachings to inform the viewers and will attempt to call out anytime science was obviously wrong to tear down its facade of unimpeachable credibility.

This debate is being held at the Creation Museum itself and this will ensure that the brain-dead evolutionist zombies come out in droves to tear down Ham and loudly mock anytime he points out a fallacy of evolutionist doctrine. Meanwhile Nye will likely abstain from shouting out that his grandmother was a monkey.


I honestly think it would be sad to see Ham destroy Nye, since Nye’s reward is in this world only. A little known figure outside of his circles, Ham will continue to be ignored by those who love to mislead impressionable youth around the world.

The American people will likely distrust Ham’s motive in offering such a debate and if he goes down, he will take down a lot of faith and history with him. The American people, who are already wary of so called science due to the global warming scam, are still unlikely to disown the idea of evolution since most of them have been brain washed into that faith for most of their lives. Nye on the other hand has little to lose since a loss will be chalked up to his lack of education and will never see the light of day.

Nevertheless, evolutionism
is a worthless and uneducated position to hold in our modern society so kudos to Ken Ham for his willingness to expose it for what it is in the face of so many who, "claiming to be wise, have become fools" (Romans 1:22).