Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ol' mans build

Last weekend I had the chance to do something I've never done before... My mom and dad split just after I was born and my dad and I really didn't get to know each other that well until I hit my early 20s. Regardless, he and I both had a passion for motorcycles and that's pretty much what brought us back together. Guess what they say is's in the blood. Anyway, he (and my father-in-law) went on the Head Quarters PowerTour with us and we all had a blast. Only problem was that he was on a stock scoot...2008 FLHTCUI...and had a hard time with falling back when we starting hitting the mountains. Needless to say, he wanted to keep that from happening again. So we built our first engine HQ 103ST. He pulled in on Friday eve, had er running by Saturday afternoon then got rained out. After some tuning on Sunday, he rolled home with an "ok for now" tune at 102hp and 122ftlbs with stock head pipes and Vance & Hines Classic Slipons. There's more in there but the head pipes I think are holding the HP back a bit...will keep you updated on that.
Had to throw a couple pics in of em...well, you can tell it was a bit late. I don't think the man has ever seen a clock tick past midnight. We had a great time though...the look on his face was priceless after that first WOT run. He forgot to put his backrest back on and according to him..."that build made that seat REAL SLIPPERY"!! So, grab some beers, pull the grille down to the garage, invite some friends/family over, and support your local HQ Build Party! That's it for now....Happy Motoring!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Octane and Ethanol

This question has become ever more popular...I probably get it several times a week and it involves octane, ethanol, and how states require fuel to be mixed. Before I get too involved, let me first explain what "octane" really is. The octane rating of gasoline tells you how much the fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites. When gas ignites by compression rather than because of the spark from the spark plug, you get detonation. Lower-octane gas (like 87-octane gasoline) can handle the least amount of compression before igniting where higher octane like 93, can handle more compression, which is why we run it in high performance engines. Keep in mind the effective compression limit for 93 octane is very close to 10.5:1 CR (at sea level). To make it as simple as possible, the higher the octane, the "less flammable" the fuel.

So here's the scoop:

We already know we have E-85 fuels now which is a mix of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline but let's consider the much older alternative which is E-10...10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.

Ethanol is currently blended into about 70% of US gasoline, the majority as the E10 blend. Each state determines whether gasoline needs to be labeled if containing ethanol, so if you're in an area where labeling is voluntary or not required, you wont always know if the gasoline contains ethanol. Ethanol blends are offered extensively throughout the Midwest and are becoming more and more widely available from coast to coast. Because pure ethanol has an octane rating of 113, adding 10% ethanol to gasoline raises the finished fuel's octane rating by 2 or 3 points, improving the fuel's performance. Unfortunately, if you live in a state that doesn't require labeling, you don't know if you are getting a TRUE 93 after ethanol, or 93 plus 2-3 giving you 95-96 octane.

The problem is that if your bike is tuned on 93 octane (no ethanol) and all of a sudden you use E-10, you may feel as if you've lost power. You have, but not's not because it's "bad gas", it's because the fuel is less flammable. This can be worked out with proper ignition timing adjustments. Call your local clean air force, energy association, etc and ask if your state is one that requires ethanol blending to be posted at the pump. If they do and it's posted as 93, rock on. If they dont and they tell you the posted octane is before E-10 is added, you can be more aggressive with igntion timing and pick up more performance than those with a true don't sweat it....give it what it wants. I feel it important to note this is why "universal fit all" timing tables don't always work and can be another factor as to why identical builds can produce mildly different dyno results. A 2-3 octane jump can be worth a few degrees of timing.

Side note: altitude plays into this as well but we've already talked about that on the I won't go there. Camshaft selection also has a HUGE MONSTER affect on this too...that's why Head Quarters is here to help you out ;)

E20, E30, or E40 is already under development and testing so be ready for it.

Happy Motoring!
Kevin Baxter

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cyl Head Temps and Lower Fairings

I installed lower fairings on my FLH over the winter and have been riding with them on up until yesterday. It's bouncing close to 100F here in Atlanta, so needless to say, it's been a little warm. Over the past few weeks I've been doing some tuning, building maps, etc and of course I like to always keep track of cylinder head temperatures. I found what I expected on the front, just below 300 deg at the spark plug...perfect. Then I checked the rear...375F! Yikes...that's a bit too hot for my taste. I of course played with fuel mixtures and timing and nothing seemed to make a sizeable difference until I took the lowers off (with are "vented"). I was expecting it to lower temps a little but not 70F lower! Just an FYI.... Happy Motoring!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Oil Filter Research

I decided to do some oil filter research after what we found while designing the Black Ops lifters. Considering a lifter does such a great job of trapping small particulate, I figured we should be running the best oil filters we could get our hands on.

Abrasive engine wear can be substantially reduced with an increase in filter single pass efficiency. Compared to a 40 micron filter, engine wear can be reduced by 50 percent with 30 micron filtration. Likewise, wear can be reduced by 70 percent with 15 micron filtration. That being said....

The following is a good rule of thumb. A filter is considered nominally efficient at a certain micron level if it can remove 50 percent of particles that size. In other words, a filter that will consistently remove 50% of particles 20 microns or larger is nominally efficient at 20 microns. A filter is considered to achieve absolute filtration efficiency at a certain micron level if it can remove 98.7% of particles that size. So, if a filter can remove 98.7% of particles 20 microns or larger, it achieves absolute efficiency at that micron level.

Most off-the-shelf filters are based upon a cellulose fiber filtration media. Most of these filters are, at best, nominally efficient at 15 to 20 microns. They won't generally achieve absolute efficiency until particle sizes reach 30 microns or higher. High efficiency oil filters have filtration media made of a combination of at least two of the following: glass, synthetic fibers and cellulose fibers. Those that use all three are generally the best in terms of filtration. Those that use only two will fall somewhere in between. The best of these high efficiency filters will achieve absolute efficiency down to about 10 microns and will be nominally efficient down to 5 microns or so.

I researched many different filter brands (of course some were private labels which crossed over) readily available for HDs and would you believe that the Harley Super Premium 5 brand was the only one I could find rated at a nominally efficient 5 microns?

Happy Motoring,

More Lifter Info

One of our HQ Techline members, Battersby, was kind enough to provide these pics while "pre-charging" his lifters. Thanks. Here's a few more facts about lifters from Doug:
There is an expression in the lifter industry. ‘Hydraulic lifters are the best oil filters on the market’. In simple terms, that means dirt can get in a lifter through the oil feed, but can’t get back out. A lifter will capture dirt particles as small as 1 micron. A top quality fine oil filter only captures dirt 5 microns or larger. So clean engine assembly is a must.Over 90% of failed lifters are a result of dirty oil. Wear as fine as 50 millionths of an inch (that is 1/2 of 1/10th of ONE thousanth of an inch can make a lifter fail. And it takes only seconds.Clean engine assembly, clean oil and priming of the lifters before initial start up is essential.
Happy Motoring!