Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dork Shit.

All sorts of great info and calulators for harley based engines:


And...to settle the stupid argument i hear from every dumb shit about exhaust...."You need some backpressure"...

"We are going to state this very clearly...Backpressure does not increase horsepower. Period.

An often heard statement from the well-informed is "You need a bit of backpressure for an exhaust to work". Usually this comes from someone who is not a tuner or someone who is faced with a situation where he does not have the tools or means to adjust things. Anything you do in the exhaust will change the flows, the pressures, or velocities somewhat. The correct scenario is that the exhaust has to be properly designed and then you optimize the jetting, ecu data inputs, camshafts, port dimensions, valve sizes and the like. The exhaust has to be designed for the intended use.

This all dates from the early 1980's when Supertrapp invented a muffler designed for dirtbikes to trap potential sparks, or burning, carbonized, bits, so it could have US Forrestry Approval for off-road use. The "trapp" tells what the intended purpose was. If you wanted a Harley to barely work you had to stick a couple of pounds, or about 23-25 of these discs in the end of your exhaust. Of course this didn't really work, which is why they ended up putting a hole up the middle anyway. You don't tune an exhaust.

Your engine has 15 psi (1 Bar) of atmospheric pressure sitting at the inlet and another 15 psi lurking at the end of the tailpipe. The inlet stroke creates a pressure differential and the atmosphere goes rushing inward. The exhaust valve opens and there is a pressure rise in the tube followed by a strong vacuum signal as the gases head down the pipe. Note that we said "vacuum signal."

Pressure differentials can be seen in the exhaust of a jet engine. We have a high pressure pulse coming out our exhaust system but it's just not visible as in the photo above.

The pattern of evenly spaced rings sometimes visible in the exhaust of jet engine is typically referred to as shock diamonds or Mach disks. The phenomenon occurs anytime a flow exits a nozzle at supersonic speeds and at a pressure that is different than that of the external atmosphere. Most of us are probably used to seeing shock diamonds occur near sea level during the takeoff of an aircraft, like in the above photo of the SR-71 Blackbird.

Logical extremes are often used to illustrate a point. For those who argue that backpressure can be a help they might say, from an extreme position, "Let's throw away the exhaust system so we have no backpressure at all". They would then conclude that the motor would run like crap and we would agree completely. The only problem is that they haven't gotten rid of backpressure, they simply have introduced 15 psi at the exhaust port and have given up any inertia, gas speeds or vacuum signals that exist in a primary tube.

The vacuum signal or low pressure that follows an exhaust event can be used to help scavenge the cylinder during overlap when both exhaust and inlet valves are open. Conversely, during this overlap period, the increase in backpressure can cause these burnt gases to re-enter the combustion chamber and contaminate the inlet charge. Result...loss of power.

The proper way to look at exhausts is to view them as a way to maintain the highest velocity that will not impede flow. As velocity increases the pressure drops and the engine can become more efficient. We have all the variables of length, diameter, rpm, collector size, internal shapes and the reflective waves that all this causes. There is no "one answer".

For those of you who disagree because of anecdotal evidence we would agree with you also. Altering an exhaust's flow can correct someting else like mixure or spark timing. In the end, if you have to throw it off a cliff to win, do it. Only results count and if increasing backpressure helps your situation then do it.

As a final thought...Gale Banks doesn't make money selling increased backpressure exhaust systems. Think about it. That picture above is a dedicated exhaust backpressure gauge. We use them."

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