Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back to School

So, what’s new at Lee’s Speeds Shop? Funny you should ask that. I recently finished up a 3 day, one on one, advanced cylinder head porting class for Harley Davidsons at Mondello Technical School. The opportunity to spend the time with the legend, Joe Mondello, fine tuning my porting skills was something I am very glad I did not miss out on.

sign at the entrance to the Mondello Technical School

When I call Joe a legend, I mean Legend with a capitol L. The list of those who have used Joe’s porting work reads like a who’s who of every type of racing. Don Garlits, Carrol Shelby, Andy Granatelli, A.J. Foyt, Connie Kalleta, Grumpy Jenkins, Eddie Hill, Don Prudhomme, John Force, Mickey Thompson, Smokey Yunick to name just a few of the most recognizable (and there are a boatload more who anyone with more than a passing interest in racing would likely know) Some of the major milestones set with Joe’s heads are: first to run 200 mph at the drags, the first to go 7, 6, and 5 second E.T.s in Top Fuel, the first 200mph runs in Top Fuel, Injected Fuel, Top Gas, and Fuel Altered. Like I said; Legend with a capitol L.

Now, why would a guy who has been porting Harley heads for 18 years and done more than 750 sets in that time (such as yours truly) need to go back to school? The obvious answer is "re-read the list above". Joe Mondello has been porting heads for over 50 years. The not so obvious answer is "new technology". You see, Joe, working with Lloyd Creek of Creek Flow Management, have developed "wet flow testing" to the point where it can fill in some of the blanks as to why some heads that show good flow on a dry flow bench do not make as much power as other heads with similar dry flow.

Besides bringing a couple sets of stock Twin Cam head castings to port under Joe’s tutelage, I also chose to bring along a sample of my "Bare Bones" ported heads as well as one of my top of the line "R-Port" heads. The first day at the school, while Joe was going over some theory with me, he had one of his guys do a dry flow bench test on the heads I had previously ported. I was happy, though not totally surprised, to hear from them that they were impressed with the flow numbers. (after all, I have a dry flow bench, so I already knew they had good flow numbers). The real test though, and a big part of why I was there, was to find out how they measured up in the wet flow bench testing.

In the mean time Joe and I went to work on the stock castings I had brought along. I have to admit I was unsure whether this part would be a waste of time, since I had plenty of experience porting. In retrospect, I must admit that the techniques, procedures and tricks that Joe taught me just in regards to the actual porting and polishing made the trip worthwhile! Not only are my ports looking better than they ever have, but I am able to accomplish the work in less time. That means I will be better able to keep the cost down for you, the customer.

the crew at Mondello's
L to R: Bret, Dave, Joe, and Mike

Wet flow testing did show that the heads I had previously ported had more fuel falling out of suspension in the combustion chamber than the heads Joe and I did together. That is not really bad news, since I now know that despite making very good power, my heads can still be improved.

The last head that Joe and I worked on was a quick job on one of the new Screamin’ Eagle 110 heads. Since I had previously ported a couple sets of these also, I knew we could get the flow figures up, but I was also curious how they would come out in the wet flow testing. As it turns out, the ported 110 heads have pretty decent wet flow characteristics providing one particular procedure is followed. What is that, you ask? Well, I’m afraid you’ll just have to send your heads to me for porting to find out.

Bottom line; armed with more knowledge and better techniques I fully expect to see even better results where the rubber meets the road, or more accurately where the rubber meets the dyno.

1 comment:

Even So... said...

Hey Lee, thanks for the link...blessings to you...