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Saturday, June 19, 2010

160 - The Conclusion

Like Pogo, we can all be our own worst enemy. Thinking too much, or too little, can lead us astray.

Here's the picture from my second post on this problem. All the clues to the problem are right there for all to see. Although it's hard to see the primary breather tube (the stock one from the head), it and our new wowie-zowie breather both terminate into the spiffy spun aluminum catch can. What could be better?

Maybe a breather hole for the catch can to release the pressure?!?! In our efforts to make sure that no oil escaped we had sealed the hoses to the catch can. This created a sealed plenum that resulted in LESS (as in ZERO) breather capacity rather than more! 

The answer came to me when I woke in the middle of the night with one of those Ah-Ha moments. Even the best rings and valve guides allow a slight bit of pressure to pass. This is normally vented by the breather hose with little notice. But racers have much greater needs since they stress their mighty machines to much higher levels on the track. Don't they?

Maybe, maybe not. Certainly not so much in the Formula 160 class where everything must remain stock. In the case of our engine we had over-engineered a small problem into a large disaster, and thus became our own worst enemy. Had we stuck with the original cheesy water bottle that we were using we would have had no problem but since we had a race bike we went all out to make it the best it could possibly be. As usual, good intentions lead to horrible results.

The remedy was simple. A third hole to allow the pressure to escape. 30 seconds of drilling and it was all fixed. We took the bike out for 10 miles of high speed running and not a drop (or cop) was to be seen. Problem solved!

Thanks to everyone who helped with this. Several suggestions gave us insights into the bike and others gave us valuable links that I was unaware of. Now that it's over I can look back and think, "That was fun!"