First start with your Megasquirt (or possibly other standalone fuel injection system)

When I was ready to start my freshly built engine for the first time using my Megasquirt II fuel injection system, I ran into some issues that I could not easily find answers for. One of the reasons for this was how incomplete and disorganized the information concerning the Megasquirt is. I hope that this post streamlines getting your engine started the first time with your new FI system, and not getting bogged down looking for answers to simple problems.

I have written this post for engines with a distributor since that is what I’m dealing with. Distributorless system can be a little more complicated to configure, but this is covered well in the megamanual. This post also assumes that you installed your Megasquirt yourself (so you know how everything is connected), you read as much as the manual as you can, you have everything installed and are pretty much ready to run and are using TunerStudio. I am obviously writing this for Megasquirt users, but this information probably applies to any E.F.I. system.

So let’s get started!


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Tires – Sidewalls vs Air pressure

The Vredestein tires I’m running have very soft sidewalls (carcass) making for a smooth ride. Unfortunately, handling and stability has suffered and is something I miss quite a bit. So why not just inflate the tires with more air pressure to counter the compliant tire construction?

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Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta review

My trusty Nitto Invo’s had come to the end of their life and it was now time for some new meat for my 350z. If you read my previous review of them, you would know that I was very impressed with the Invo’s and that they held up to everything I threw at them – including a few track days. For some time now, I have had my eye on a somewhat ‘exotic’ tire called the Ultrac Sessanta from a little known company named Vredestein out of the Netherlands. For the sake of something different and not really well known, I decided to try them out.


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What is double-clutching?

Doing a quick Google search reveals that this question has been covered quite a bit, but I found that the explanations not to be very clear or completely wrong. I thought I would try to answer this question as if I were giving it to someone with only limited automotive knowledge…

Although the concept of double clutching is easy to understand, the reason ‘why’ its needed might not be. Here’s the definition in a nutshell – Double-clutching is a manual technique used to match the rotational speed of the gears in a non-synchromesh transmission to the rotational speed of the engine.

Here’s what actually happens: The first push of the clutch is to take the transmission out of gear and then to move the shifter so that the transmission is in neutral. The clutch pedal is then released while the transmission is in neutral so that the engine is only turning the transmissions input shaft (layshaft). Now, the driver will rev the engine so that the layshaft speed is matching the output shaft speed. The output shaft speed will be determined by how fast the car is going, so the driver will have to select a gear that will keep the engine revs in a acceptable range – this process is called “Rev Matching”. The second push of the clutch is used to enter the next gear. If the driver does not have the revs matched correctly, a grinding sound will occur because of the difference in speed between the shafts which determines the rotational speed of the gears that are on them. If the shifter does move into gear, usually accompanied with a ‘clunk’ because its very hard to get the revs match perfectly, the clutch is finally released connecting the engine to the rest of the drive line.

And there you have it.

It should be noted that no modern car needs to be double-clutched. All modern manual transmissions have a device called a synchromesh which does the job double-clutching was intended to do. So, this technique is pretty much reserved for the history books except for a very few special cases.


Frustrating issues with the race car

For some time now, I have been troubleshooting my old 3rd generation F-body trying to tie up loose ends and problems that have existed for a long time. Right now, I am stuck and cannot seem to find whats wrong with the engine. Cylinders 1 and 7 are quite a bit colder than all the others, cylinder 7 is the worst and is running 400 degrees down.

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What you should know about wheel spacers

I have been working hard lately on my old 1989 Pontiac Firebird to get it back on the road. We (my brother and I) recently got it running with a Megasquirt II and I have been tying up loose ends so it can go to the dyno without incident.  There has been one issue that has plagued the car for as long as we can remember, and its something that we really wanted to get sorted out before taking the car to be dynoed.

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Setting initial timing on a small block Chevy (SBC)

This is a little how-to for setting the initial ignition timing on a small block Chevy before its ever been run.

Note* this post assumes that you already know how to time a running engine, just not one that never been run before or has had its distributor removed and its timing settings lost.

**Updated to be more clear**

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Ever been ripped off by a mechanic?

If you use one, chances are you have. Strangely enough, since I always have done my own work, I have never known how bad it was. It wasn’t until a friend contacted me and wanted my opinion on what he thought was an unusually high bill that I learned that the business model of these shops were specifically designed to rip people off.

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