Quantum Mechanics for Dogs

Quantum Mechanics for Dogs

Dave talks to me about the stuff that he reads
A lot of it with words I can barely heed.
It makes me feel good when he talks to me
He explains things so I can almost see.

Dave reads stuff that sounds kinda strange
When he explains to me thru the human-dog exchange
He finished a book about Quantum Mechanics
These words tangle my dog tongue into panic

So he tells me this story about tiny little particles
Smaller than Iams Minnie Chunks these sub atomic articles
Hard to imagine until I thought about ants
Imagine a Dog speaking some science rant?

So he told me about things like protons, neutrons and quarks
I got so excited I started to bark!
Then he said the things called quarks have flavors
That made me drool all the quarks I could savor!

Tasty little buggers I could eat quite a few.
But he said quarks are too small and hard to chew.
Maybe for him but not for me.
I got “quark” incisors in my mouth you see.

He also said there things called photons
Much lighter than neutrons and protons
He said these particles are like bad Oregon Drivers
That crash into each other and leave strange survivers

With odd names like Gamma Ray Photon
Whose kid sisters name is Emily Positron.
I think she must be from a divorced family
With a different last name even a Dog can see.

Dave says that neutrinos are really strange
And that they have an almost limitless range
He says they can pass right through you and not hurt
I think I just felt one go thru my tail into the dirt!

Dave says there is also something called the Time Line.
This stuff is starting to straing my Dog IQ real fine
Dave says Mr. Proton and Mr. Electon had a traffic accident
Hit so hard they were all beat up and bent

When the kids flew out of the Proton Mobile
They went off on a tangent quite miniscule
When out of the bus came little Gamma Ray Photon
Dave says this is because of the wreck with Mr. Electron

So poor little Gamma went out the back door
Backwards thru the Time Lines front door.
So Dave says that’s how the kids go back in time.
For a repeat performance on the time line.

I have this Chuckit Ball that’s orange and bright
Dave says it could be photon of light.
When he throws it for me
I have become the photonic Dogton you see.

I think I’m starting to get this “Quantum” deal.
Relating science to food has it’s appeals
Now I’m the only Doggy on the block
That understands the sub atomic clock

I’m starting to feel like a real smarty pants.
And it all has to do with my recollection of ants.
Quantum Mechanics for dogs not very hard you see.
When Dave explains all of this to me.

Zephyr and Dave Proffitt
2:02 pm

The Sea of Infinity

It reaches through light years this ad infinitum.
From galaxies to units in quantum.
A sea stretching unto infinity
Endless objects related by gravitational affinity.

Gazing thru Hubble’s eye we view the past.
This microwave background radiation so vast.
Ancient stars whose light we see has fled.
Their distances rendering these worlds dead.


Massive stars that dwarf our sun.
Their stellar lifetimes outrun.
Saying goodbye in tongues of the Super Nova
To be reborn again in a gravitational ova.


Pushed past the Chandrasekhar limit.
Either a white dwarf or black hole starts it’s delimit.
These radical stellar children of cosmic catastrophe.
Warping space time and its entropy.


Standing on the event horizon of a black hole.
Able to swallow entire galaxies whole.
Its infinite gravitation and angular momentum.
Striping stars into overheated superstratum.


Spinning it up to relativistic velocities.
This gravity child commits the ultimate atrocities.
Burping out polar high energy jets
These high energy particles with no regrets.


On no audience with its singularity
Who cares not for their parity
Their lucky day.
Are still able to play.


Blasting through the universe at the speed of light.
In strange wavelengths this strange sight.
Doping photons into gamma ray bursts.
This illumination absolutely the worst.


Destroying matter at the sub atomic levels
The very fabric of the universe it deshevels.
This cosmic ray gun.
A relic of some distand and dead sun.


This planet eating monster eventually runs down.
It’s Hawking Radiation no longer around.
No longer speaks to the universe in its parlance.
God’s grace of universal balance.


And so it is within the universe’s ambiance.
Becomes a question of balance.
Not of if but when.
And so it begins all over again.


For every positive there is a negative
For every no there is an affirmative.
This matter-antimatter tango.
We are all witness to this fandango


If we take the time to see.
It ultimately affects you and me.
The univere is not confounded by tongues.
It’s wisdow on starlight is sung.


Gazing into the night sky
These wonders fill my eye.
Sometimes more than I can bear.
This knowledge for all to share.


 So it said to me that we are all stardust.
And it said to me “of whom do you trust?”
We are all of the same family.
Born from The Sea of Infinity.


Dave Proffitt
1:41 am

Out of The Blue

I just finished watching a movie on Netflix streaming video called Out of the Blue. It’s a documentary on UFOs. It also shows what asses our government has made of themselves playing down all the UFO sightings. All the agencies from the CIA to the Air Force have lied to us about UFO’s from the get go. Believe this!  I’m just now finding out that the Rosewell incident is based more in fact than the Air Force’s bullshit story of a weather balloon!. Gimme a break here!

   When the folks in the MIR Space Station are seeing UFO’s then the Air Force’s horseshit excuses such as swamp gas and weather balloons are invalid. I don’t think much swamp gas makes it into space or weather balloons.

    You also don’t need to be a scientist to understand that we aren’t the only form of life in the universe. Why our government thinks we need to believe this poppy cock is beyond me. All you have to do is read a few books on astronomy and you can start to get the picture of what a vast space we exist in, it’s filled with stars, galaxies, and solar systems. How big? Well let’s use our own Milky Way Galaxy as a yardstick. First of all I’d better define some measurements or galactic yardsticks if you like that term. Because the distances are so great astronomers use light speed as a yardstick. Most of us not living under rocks have heard the term “light year”?  It’s the distance light will travel in a vacuum (which is what space is essentially). Consider that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second that’s hauling the mail real good. The next thing up on our space ruler is the parsec. This is 3.3 light years. I like parsecs. They make comprehending distance easier to me at least. Like other multiples of measurement we also have the kiloparsec. (1000 parsecs). Megaparsec (one million parsecs) and Gigaparsecs. See how this goes? Not much use in going past kilo here actually. Okay back to home and the Milky Way. Our own home galaxy is 31-37 kiloparsecs in diameter. Whoa that’s way big!  It’s estimated to contain no less than 100-400 billion stars. Now to say that none of these stars supports a solar system to ours is rather boorish. Look at it like this in terms of odds; there is a 1 /400,000,000,000 chance that there’s no other life sustaining solar systems in our galaxy. Not too good of odds on that side wouldn’t you say?  This is just ONE galaxy in the universe! Our nearest galactic neighbor is the Andromeda Galaxy. It’s even larger than ours. Now we have two star systems and over double the amount of stars! This gets exponentially insane in a hurry.

   You would be more accurate to say “I believe there is life in the universe other than ours.” as opposed to saying there is no other life in the universe. I will go one better and say “I believe there is life in the universe other than ours, and lots of other types and kinds of life as well.”

   It just makes me want to puke when I hear some asshole from the government telling the media that some UFO report was the result of someone seeing the planet Venus! When was the last time the planet Venus did aerobatic manuvers then vanished? If you have ever seen Venus in the sky it just looks like a bright star, it’s impossible to mistake it for a UFO, unless you think stars look like a UFO? Or that it was a “Sun Dog” or swamp gas or a frickin weather balloon? In fact I dont’ think the weather people are even using the damn balloons anymore, they get most of their data from weather satellites I think. The press is just as bad trying to make people who are just as sane as you and I look like some “gyro Gearloose ” types, like their off their rockers because they had the balls to speak up about something they saw and can’t explain. We’ve had airplanes around for a long  long time. Everyone on the planet knows what the hell they are. We can tell the difference between hot air balloons, weather balloons, and kids birthday balloons, helicopters, large birds, and pterodactyles. Jesus! I don’t live in any areas that produce “swamp gas” either. Where did they come up with this crap? These people dishing out this shit, are in my opinion, way more “looney tunes” than the folks that are reporting the sightings.

   How long is the government gonna sit on this information? It’s so damn stupid of them anyway. Most people believe we have captured UFO’s in some obscure hanger in Area 51 any damn way right? Tell me I’m wrong? So what if they came out and said “yeah we lied we have reverse engineered a UFO .” Most people I know would just say “Far out man!” What do they think is gonna happen anyway? Everyone shoot themselves in the head? Mass histeria? Riots in the street? Hell we already had lots of that shit with the Rodney King deal. Old news.  Americans  are more than ready to hear something like this. I sure as hell am.

    Now you are probably mulling the idea around in your head,”Well I suppose Dave has seen a UFO then?”  Yeah I did, ask me about it sometime, I wasn’t the only one either, there were four of us that all saw the same damn thing one summer night, and you’ll know all the rest of the observers too. None of us will deny what we saw either. We even stopped the vehicle and shut it off and heard NOTHING. I don’t know what we saw and neither do my friends. I’ve never seen anything like it in the sky before I can tell you that. I’m not gonna get into anymore of this adventure, suffice to say I have no doubt that other people are seeing things like this. Honest, hard working people, trust worthy folks not prone to spin yarns and peddle bullshit. Most of the reports on UFOs are of this caliber too. I got this from more than a couple sources.

    Consider the numbers folks, that’s all I’m asking here. Use your head, there’s just too damn many stars out there to coun,t too many solar systems and galaxies for there NOT TO Be OTHER life.  As for swamp gas,well the only swap gas from the people peddling this horseshit is the type that comes out of them and we all know what that’s like.


Quantum Mechanics for Dogs

Dave my human was reading this book the other night in bed. I got up on the bed and lay down beside him. One of my favorite places in the world to be. I looked at the cover of this book. The only reason I know it’s a book is because I got into trouble for chewing the corners off of one of his books he really liked. He said in a disappointed at dog tone, “Ziggy look what you did to my book!” Because I really feel bad when Dave is upset with me I remembered what a book is.

So Dave talks to me about everything. I don’t understand half of what he’s saying but I like listening to him. It makes me feel good, I don’t get lonesome or bored this way. He was telling me that he didn’t get some of the things he was reading in this book. So he told me about these little tiny things that are smaller than Iams dog food chunks. He said they are way smaller than that. Hard to imagine, until I thought of ants. Then it made sense sort of. He says these things are called “particles.” I don’t know how humans say this sort of stuff it just twists up my tongue. Then he told me that they are called funny names. Things like protons, and neutrons, electrons, bosons, mesons, and these things that sound like candy bars called quarks. He said there were quarks with flavors!  Those made me drool a little. He saw that and said “you can’t eat them Zeph.” He also told me that they have even stranger names, like “strange, and charmed, and have this thing called spin.  Hey I could chase it if it was spinning! I’m starting to like quarks. I’ll bet their chewy. 

He said that there are also these things called photons. He says that’s why we can see. These little things must have eyes on them maybe?  There’s this other particle Dave called a neutrino. I guess they can go right thru you.  Dave says you can’t feel that. I think I did!  Woof!  Okay I’ll quit barking.  Now he says that these particles are like Oregon drivers and once in a while run into each other. Crash!  Woops!  Woof!  When this thingy called an electron crashes into another proton some of the kids in the car get kicked out. He said the kids names are Gamma Ray photon and funny names like that. Gamma’s kid sister’s name is positron. She must come from a divorced family I think. Now according to Dave the sister or the brother will crash into someone else. Wow what a bunch of bad drivers huh?  Now this part sort of hurts my head a little bit. He is pretty good at explaining this to a dog, that be me, so I’ll try and tell you how this works.  When Mr. Electron crashed into Mr. Proton, he was driving along this highway called the “timeline?”  Whatever the heck that is. Anyways when the kids flew out of the Proton mobile they went off on a tangent, I image they were kinda pissed off too.  So when sissy positron crashed into the next particle I think this was something called a neutron, there were more kids kicked out. One of the kids name was also the same and he is also Gamma Ray Photo. Dave says this is some sort of conservation of energy deal, I don’t get that part but I believe him. Anyway the other kid that got throw out of the bus went down and backwards out the back door of the “timeline.” Dave also said this kid was on a tangent too. Sounds to me like all these kids are really pissed. Dave told me that’s how things go back in time on what’s called the sub atomic level. Wow my head really hurts. I’m gonna go raise hell with Dave so he takes me outside to pee. I need to tear around the yard and chase the balls.

Okay we’re out in the yard. Dave has my Kong in his hand. He calls this the “proton.” Wow more school. Okay okay, I can dig this kinda school.  He says “now Ziggy (he calls me that when he plays with me) the Kong or proton is gonna be shot down the particle accelerator, which is my arm.”  “ I want you to follow the proton alright?”  Not to worry here Dave I’ll catch the damn thing!  He throws the Kong, woops “proton.” It wobbles; I guess protons wobble a lot then? Dog Logic.  Wobbly protons how awkward. I’ll have to tell my wolf cuz Wyatt about wobbly protons. He’ll laugh. So this thing lands and I’m on it. He says when the proton hits the saw horse outside the shop that the saw horse is really a neutron. Still looks like a sawhorse to me.  He said that because of the way the Kong, shoot proton, hits the neutron that due to its angle (haven’t figured that out yet) will go off on some tangent, (I guess the Kong got pissed off for hitting the sawhorse now huh?) Hey don’t tell Dave I called it Kong and sawhorse okay? So that makes it bounce up onto the deck.

    I got this orange Chuckit Ball Dave calls it a Gamma Ray Photon.  I guess that’s because it’s orange? Dave said this is a high energy particle. I’ll take his word for it. I also got this other ball with little knobby like things that stick out and tickle my gums. Dave calls this one a positron. Dave says this is something called “antimatter.”  Actually it “don’tmatter” to me. WOOF WOOF! Dog Humor. He says it’s opposite of an electron which my green tennis ball that L gave me. He talks to me a lot. He told me when I brought the proton (Kong) back to him that, “This is science Ziggy!” He seemed genuinely pleased with himself for teaching his dog what he calls Quantum Mechanics.  Dave told me he doesn’t really understand it very much but likes to read about it. He understands it more than I do. I like being the particle chaser though. He told me that you can’t teach monkeys Quantum Mechanics. I also believe that. I never thought monkey were very smart, Dave told me once he went to the zoo and the monkeys were throwing their own poop at people and masturbating. How undignified. When was the last time you ever saw a German Shepherd doing that?  Well I never!  Wuff. 

Used to make me mad when these scientist types used to say that monkeys are smarter than dogs. I don’t think so. Dave says he never thought that monkeys were smarter than dogs. Finally someone on the Discovery Channel did a show called Dogs Decoded. And I’ve become vindicated!  It also had a shot of my cousin Wyatt the wolf on there. The humans finally admitted that dogs, that be me!, were a lot smarter than the humans thought they were. Duh! Duh Duh!  It’s about time!  It showed this monkey trying to get this treat from under a cup. The human testing him would point to the cup and the monkey because he was so greedy, always got the wrong cup. What a dumb ass!  Woof!

I get lots of hugs for being a good “science doggy” Dave’s tag for me when he’s got his science teacher hat on.  Sometimes I get to be hot rod mechanic too. Dave lets me cruise around in the shop while he’s “wrenching” on his hot rods. I like the word “wrenching”, it reminds me of wrenching something lose with my teeth sorta like the time I “wrenched” the stuffing out of his old comforter. Dave didn’t’ like that much so I don’t do that anymore either. Sure was fun though. I was the dog hero rescuing my girlfriend doggie from the deadly comforter. Of course I had to kill it and shake it just a little.  I think my Quantum toys are outside right now. I don’t think rain will hurt my “proton” or the positron that L gave me. I like the positron a lot it smells like L. She’s nice. I like it when she kisses me.  Maybe I like Quantum Mechanics after all. Getting hugs from Dave and kisses from L for being a good science doggy is worth being a Dog Scientist!

Woof Woof!





Diagnostics Part II

When I wrote the other article about Diagnosis, I was experiencing a problem with my Olds. It wouldn’t idle. It would run fine off about 1500 rpm up but would die below that. At first I thought the problem was dirt in the fuel again. Turns out it wasn’t this at all, and I was a bit miffed. I spent a couple of hours rebuilding both 1850 Holley 600’s for nothing. During that process I became suspicious of my original diagnosis because I didn’t find much debris in the carb float bowls, or in the needle and seat assemblies. 

So the next logical step in the situation was to bolt the carbs back on after rebuilding them to see if I had exorcised the demon or not. Well I was not surprised to find that the demon was still there. The car ran exactly the same. It was just as if the idle circuit was completely turned off.  So I decided that maybe the 1850’s had circuits in them smaller and more prone to plugging up that did say any of my 4150’s. I had a spare 4780-3 4150 kicking around my shop that came off the race car. I also had a single four barrel top for the Offy Tunnel ram on the car now. I also wanted to see how the car ran with that top on it. After remaking both float bowl hoses, fabricating a new throttle cable bracket and a return spring bracket I put some fuel to it. I always pressure test the carb before I light it up don’t like fuel squirting all over the place with the engine running. This, by the way, is another reason to run an electric pump over a mechanical one, you get to say when the carb gets fuel and not the other way around. It’s also a great theft deterrent too. They might get your ride started but if they don’t know where the pump switch is they ain’t getting too far. In the case of my Olds they couldn’t even warm the damn thing up before it was out of gas! LAMO!  

Alrighty so no leaks. I lit the motor and it still did not want to idle. I didn’t think this combination would fix the problem I just wanted to swap the dual 4’s out for a single four. Now I’m thinking this carb was just rebuilt too so I know that all the gaskets and stuff inside the carb is all on the same page? Maybe. I’m getting ahead of myself here. I decided that the ignition system was worth a look. Mainly due to the fact that the distributor cap had been on there for over a year, as had the rotor. I’m running an MSD Pro Billet distributor on it with the small cap and rotor. I pulled the cap off and the center carbon electrode in the cap was toast. The contact strip on the rotor had a semi-shitty looking black spot on it where the cap had been shooting lightning bolts down to it. I ordered a new cap and rotor from Summit and got it a couple of days later. I love these guys.  Anyway, I installed the cap and rotor and cranked it back up. It was running a little better. It kinda, sort of wanted to idle now but still wasn’t smiling at me much. Ok so I decided to pull a spark plug. These were older than the cap and rotor and they looked it.  These were NGK BKR6E’s. I went to a heat range colder, BKR7E. Remember NGK heat ranges go colder with a larger heat range number. This is a V-groove plug and they have worked great in my race car and this engine as well.  I gapped them out to .041” too.  MSD won’t give plug gap recommendations per se. They have some suggestions however. I am running the HVC II Blue coil on the system so I have plenty of spark energy; I decided to run a wider gap. The more plug gap you have the more load it puts on the entire ignition system. It also helps get the mixture burning sooner and in most cases easier too, kind of a tradeoff. This is something you are gonna have to decide with your particular ignition set up. Most MSD systems in good health should smile at you on a .040” gap. 

This made quite a bit of difference. The motor fired up a lot easier and it was running about 50% better than before so I felt like I was getting closer. Sometimes when I get to a cross roads with a problem  I’ll just say pass and not mess with it for a while. My mind runs scenarios in the back ground while I’m trying to ignore the problem. So it dawned on me one morning drinking a cup of coffee.  First let me say that I pulled the valve covers off of it and checked all the valve springs to see if any had broken. They all looked good. I checked the timing and it was exactly where I had set it initially. I did a check for carb and manifold leaks. Found none anywhere. I rolled the motor over by hand with the plugs out and watched the rocker arms and valve springs, all of which looked fine. I did a compression test on it and had two cylinders that were low by 10 lbs. but nothing to worry about. One was 5 lbs. above the rest. These inconsistencies can be caused by cranking speed, due to a battery charge state, valve lash adjustment etc., so I didn’t jump to any conclusions. I wasn’t about to tear the heads off of the engine because of a 10 lb cranking difference in compression. Usually if the compression is bad in a cylinder the motor will run rough or even drop the low cylinder out of the firing sequence. My engine wasn’t doing this. 

So by running a compression test that told me a lot about the engine. It says that the valves and rings are good, and the timing was on and it was rock steady too. You have to start covering bases when you are chasing a problem like this. Then all you have to do is consider the symptoms and start ruling things out. I decided that I probably didn’t have any internal problems with rings, valves, broken valve springs, so I got to cross those potential problems off my list. One thing kept hitting me over the head and crashing into my face head on and that was that the engine was behaving like there was no idle fuel feed to it. 

Today I went back outside and pulled the carb off. I took the base off of the carb. If you are running a 4150 double pumper of any sort pay attention to this: Holley’s have about 4 different styles of base gaskets and all of the damn things will fit the bottom of the carb. That doesn’t make them right however!  4150’s like the early versions I have use a rudimentary secondary idle system in them. It’s not as sophisticated as the new four corner idle carbs on the market now days. However there is a transfer passage that runs from the front end on the primaries around back to the secondary idle orifices. Some of the gaskets have a hole that allows both holes to show thru the gasket and others only allow one of the two holes to show. These holes are on the very front of the primary side of the throttle base. They are located on the corners of the throttle bore radius on each side. If you install a base gasket that covers up the outside hole you have shut off idle circuit fuel and the carb will act like it has no idle system. Your idle mixture screws won’t do Jack Shit. I found this out the hard way on the race car one day. I rebuilt the carb and bolted it back on the motor. The car wouldn’t idle when I started it back up. Removing the base plate I found the problem. Changing over to the other gasket solved the problem. You’d think I’d have remembered it wouldn’t ya? Well I did, but I overlooked this when I was putting the carb back together because I had my mind on something else, something I should not be doing. What the hell I’m human. Well I found the exact same problem with the base gasket that was on the carb I had just rebuilt. Clumsy Me.   I swapped the gasket back out and installed the carb on the car. I fired it up and it still didn’t want to idle real well, but it was a hell of a lot closer now than I’d had it since this problem started. I ran one of the idle mixture screws in until it bottomed and it didn’t change the idle speed much. I tried the same thing with the other side and the idle started decreasing. So I put it back where it was and opened up the other side. Holley says a baseline setting is 1 ½ turns out from lightly seated so I opened up the shut down side one and half turns and the idle picked up above what it had been! Good sign! So then I bottomed the other side and ran it back out one and half turns. Now the motor was going about 1600 rpm. I closed the curb idle screw down in small increments watching the tach. When I got it down to 1100 rpm it was back to its cackling, gravel throated, bluesy, Olds voice. Love the way this motor sounds. Throttle response up from idle was excellent. It’s still pulling fuel thru the transfer slots but that’s because this carb was on a car with a big roller cam in it that had 4 inches of manifold vacuum and had no idle needle adjustment. One fix for it is to drill a small hole 1/8” or smaller on the leading edge of each throttle butterfly. This allows more airflow which reestablishes air flow thru the idle circuit. It gives back some idle needle adjustment. However on this engine that isn’t needed or at least the holes are a bit too large for this engine. I’m gonna install some undrilled butterfly’s in it and it should get the idle needle adjustment spot on. This will allow the throttle blades to be lowered back over the transfer slots so they are out of the picture. They aren’t supposed to run curb idle in the first place. 

So now the motor is happy again. And when she’s happy I’m happy. Funny thing about that ya know?


What It Takes to Run Top Fuel.

For all of you people that dig drag racing and wondered what Top Fuel is like here’s a little ditty I put together so you can see what a Top Fuel engine is like, how it’s built, and how expensive top fuel cars are to campaign. To do it on your own is next to impossible unless your last name is Trump.

  The cylinder block; Top fuel is so hard on parts that the block has to be robust in the exponential form to withstand the internal forces.  It has been estimated that these engines produce between 7000 and 8000 horsepower. No one really knows because a top fuel engine would shake a dyno to pieces in short order. There’s just no dyno’s that will handle one of these monsters. Besides that these motors are way too expensive to sacrifice one on a dynamometer. Back to the blocks, they are forged units. John Rodeck has pioneered top fuel hemi blocks for years.  Rodeck says that the block is first forged with a massive 8000-ton hydraulic press using a single die done is three strokes to produce the basic structure. After that, machining takes the block from 250 pounds down to around 100 pounds.

   After initial machining the block is heat treated using a specially made Rodeck-designed oven that bakes multiple blocks in one shot.  Then the blocks are bolted down in a specific way and final shaping and head bolt holes are machined to tolerances of plus or minus .0005” inch. That’s really tight! The block is them moved over to another CNC machine and it’s finished up. It takes approximately 12 hours to finish a block. Each block is custom made to the customer.

 Crankshafts: Bryant Racing Crankshafts produce fuel profile crankshafts on a billet assembly based on bearing spacing off of Chrysler’s 426 Hemi engines. The cranks are machined from 4330BM Timken steel. It takes Bryant 60 hours to produce a fuel crankshaft which includes post-manufacturing treatment process. These cranks along with having stress-relieving, and nitriding processes done are also cryogenically treated (frozen).  Each crank goes for around $3800.00 each. This also depends upon what the crew chief specifies on the crank being made.  A typical crankshaft usually will run anywhere from 12 to 15 passes. High dollar teams replace them after 12 runs.  This is assuming the crew chief gets the tune ups right. If he doesn’t he can kill a crank in one pass. Yeah these motors can be that hard on parts.

  Pistons: Pistons in top fuel motors are the sacrificial lambs of the engine parts. Nitromethane is just so violent it takes it toll on the pistons. Bill Miller Engineering makes some of the best fuel pistons on the planet. The pistons are made from an aluminum alloy 2618-T61. The front four pistons are down .030” compared to the back four, which makes average overall compression run about 6.8:1. The pistons are subjected to a low temperature hard anodizing process. Pistons made this way last about twice as long as they have in the past. How long is that? Well a piston can last from one run to 5 depending on the tune up. Teams usually buy pistons 40 at a time, price on that quantity is $62.50 per piston, or $2500 for a 40 piston lot. Nothing cheap about these engines. BME also manufactures wrist pins. Top fuel and funny car nitro engines produce forces on the wrist pins of as much as 50 tons. There are very few materials what will withstand this sort of force. BME uses VascoMax C-300 an exotic thusly expensive nickel-cobalt-titanium steel  “superalloy” with very high tensile strength, (294,000 psi) and an extreme fatigue endurance limit (one billion cycles at 125,000 psi).

    I’m not gonna go into the entire engine assembly, I wanted to get into some of the more astonishing data about these engines. Just know that the rest of the pieces in one of these motors is designed and built like the above pieces, with corresponding prices per unit piece as well.  Cylinder heads for example are usually Alan Johnson pieces which are a true work of art. They are CNC machined and ported so the heads are repeatable for each customer. Most feature a 2.45” intake valve and a 1.90” exhaust. These are the AJPE Stage VI Hemi Heads. Set up for a 4.187 bore diameter. A set of bare heads goes for $6850.00.  A fully assembled and finished set of heads goes out the door for $9000.00.

Camshafts: Ok here’s where the fun starts. Crane Cams makes top fuel cams on a 2.125 diameter base. The intake duration at .050” lifter rise is 298 degrees, and the exhaust is 296 degrees. Lobe centers are 112-114 degrees. Lobe lift is usually between .478 and .500” lift at the valve depends on what rocker arm ratio is being used. On the intake side they can run from 1.57 to 1.75:1. The exhaust side runs between 1.52-1.65:1. So doing some simple math let’s take the .500 lift cam lobe and multiply it by 1.75 on the intake side and 1.65 on the exhaust. Multiplying .500 X 1.75 yields .875” lift on the intake valve and  1.65 X .500 gives us .825.” That’s got the valves darn near an inch off their seats!  Push rods are huge. Big block Chevrolets back in the early days of 427 big blocks uses some 7/16 diameter pushrods on the L88 motors. Top fuel pushrods are 9/16” in diameter! Opening pressure on the exhaust side of a running top fuel motor is tremendous. In fact some teams are using solid steel pushrods on the exhaust sides.


If you think your SUV gets poor mileage then read on! 

  Fuel Delivery:  Because nitromethane only contains roughly ¼ the energy content of gasoline you have to wash a lot more of it thru the motor. Nitromethane brings its own oxygen into the engine with it unlike gasoline which has none. Gasoline’s stoichiometric air fuel ratio is 14.7:1. Or 14.7 parts of air to 1 part of fuel. Nitromethane’s Stoichiometry is 1.7:1. This means we can run it just about direct one to one air to fuel ratio. This takes a tremendous fuel system.

The fuel pumps are made by Sid Waterman. They are driven off the front end of the camshaft. The one of choice is called a “Mega Bertha”. These are billet assemblies set up in four sections. These fuel pumps can deliver more than 112 gallons of fuel per minute at 600 psi!  Most teams run them at 92 gallons per minute, and during a pass this equates to 1.3 gallons of fuel per second!  Top fuel dragsters carry 18 gallons of nitromethane on board, and more than 8 gallons of it are used up during the burn out and the staging process. Most of the balance is used up during the pass!  So these cars are burning almost 18 gallons of fuel in less than a quarter of a mile! Top fuel and floppers are limited to 1000’ under throttle.

And you thought your SUV got shitty mileage? To get this amount of fuel flow into an engine takes lots of injector nozzles. Usually 32 or more nozzles are used. 8 injectors are in the hat, another 8 located in the intake manifold and 16 more located in the intake ports. An onboard computer is used to sequentially turn on these “down nozzles.” It is linked to the clutch and other data sending areas. And you thought dragsters were simple?

In order to light off this sort of mixture takes one hell of a sparker. MSD’s 44 Pro Mag is the only one being used today. Not that it’s a bad one on the contrary it’s a great unit. Personally I don’t think the old Vertex and Schiefer Magnetos of yesterday would light off the fuel cars of today, just isn’t enough  spark energy in these older units. The MSD Pro Mag 44’s produce around 44 amps of current along with extremely high secondary voltage. Fuel motors have sixteen sparkplugs not 8 like a normal V8. So they run two front driven magnetos. If you have wondered why there are two red headed Pro Mag 44s in all the fuel and floppers that’s why.

Top Fuel and Top Fuel Funny cars are the hardest accelerating cars on the planet. They are every bit as sophisticated in their own right as a formula 1 car or any other race car for that matter. There’s nothing that sounds like a 500 inch hemi motor on 90%. Nothing has the throttle response, the sound, the idle it’s the ultimate form of the reciprocating spark lit, piston engine. No other engine on the planet makes anything even close to the power of what a fuel motor is capable of. It’s often trick to equate how many horsepower per cubic inch a motor can make. Chevrolet was the first American V8 to make a horsepower per cubic inch when the 283 cubic inch 283 horsepower fuel injected small block came out. Top fuel nitro motors make 16 horsepower per cubic inch! Sixteen times as much as the little 283 did back in 1957!

Just a little information for you.


References are:

Drag Race Technology: Top Fuel: So Much Power, So Little Time by Wayne Scraba.

Equipment Manufacturing:

Bill Miller Engineering

Bryant Racing Crankshafts

John Rodeck

Crane Camshafts

Sid Waterman

Alan Johnson

Primary Header Tube Diameter Calculator

Here’s the formula to figure out your primary header tube diameter. This formula also came from A. Graham Bell’s book entitled Four-Stroke Performance Tuning.

Don’t let the radical square root symbol fool you this is an easy formula to work. You just have to do the steps in the correct order. I always approach formulas like this;  I do the indicated function inside the brackets first. In the case of this formula it wants you to do the addition in the brackets first, then multiply that answer by 25. Then do the indicated division of that answer into the cc’s. after that, find the square root then multiply that answer by 2.1. I explained it in the text below.

Tube diameter is really important. On engines that have long strokes that don’t get revved much past 5000 rpm you don’t need a huge primary pipe. A primary that’s too large can kill low-speed torque and throttle response. This also applies to exhaust valve sizes in the heads too.


ID=primary header tube diameter

CC= cylinder displacement in cubic centimeters

P= Primary tube length.


First find the displacement of one cylinder by dividing your engines total displacement by however many cylinders it has. Mine is a 461 cuin. V8 so 461/8= 57.625 cubic inches. Converting it to CC’s rounding up and multiply by 16.3871 gives us 944.3 cc’s.


Primary tube length for my engine is 36”. So in the denominator do the addition in parenthesis first. P=36+3=39. Then multiply that answer by 25 =975. Divide this number into the numerator which is 944. So 944/975=.9682. So we can round that off to .968. Now take the square root of .968 which is .9838 so we’ll round this off to .984. Now multiply this by 2.1. .984*2.1=2.0664 inches. We can round that to 2.00 inches.

Most good header companies will have this all done for you, but they also have difference sizes available too. Just because you think your hot rod needs race car headers don’t make it so. Do the math and see what you really need. That’s why I put this here.

Good luck!