Winter Rebuild

Starting a Blown Alky Motor

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What at times seems like a simple procedure is actually a very precise process. Firing up a high compression, blown alcohol engine takes practice. Though the driver may play a role, in most cases itís the crew person in front of the engine that is actually starting the motor. The start up procedure varies from one team to another. It also differs from a torque convertor set-up and a clutch car. Outlined below is a typical start up procedure a blown alcohol crew may follow just prior to making a pass.

How to Start a Blown & Injected Alky Engine

1. A removable aircraft style starter is attached to the blower. Cables are connected to a portable 36-48 volt battery pack.

2. A small hand wheel on the end of the starter is turned clockwise to engage the starter dogs. This prevents slamming the starter dog when power is supplied.

3. The driver ensures the car is in park or neutral. If a clutch car, the clutch is engaged. Pressure is applied to the brake and the magneto switch is in the off (grounded) position. The 3-way fuel shutoff valve must be in the open position.

4. Once a clear signal is received from a track official, a small amount of gasoline is manually squirted into the injector using a hand held primer bottle. Gas is used since it ignites much easier than alcohol at the slower cranking speeds.

5. The crew person engages a momentary toggle switch on the starter. Once the engine has reached full cranking speed (2-3 seconds), the magneto(s) are switched on.

6. As the engine comes to life, the crew person immediately primes the injector with additional gas. Even though the butterflies are closed, there is an air gap of approximately .010" and a vacuum sucks the gas in. If he delays, the engine may die since it takes several seconds for the main fuel system to pick up the alcohol from the fuel tank.

7. The driver should be watching for sufficient oil pressure at this time. If he hears the engine starting to die, he should not press on the throttle pedal. Doing so will open the butterflies allowing extra air to the engine though minimal fuel. Have faith in your crew.

8. Once the engine changes tone from a smooth idle to a slight crackling, the crew person can stop priming. The engine has picked up the alcohol and additional priming will cause too rich of a condition.

9. The starter is removed from the blower, the body is lowered and the driver is ready to make a burnout. There is no rush since blown alcohol engines build up heat very slow.

The above procedure may seem simple but actually requires practice and a keen ear. The engine will die if too much, or not enough gas is primed at the exact moment. One should also be careful removing the 40lb starter since it is very close to the turning blower belt. And one must always be aware of their surroundings since the car can lurch forward at any time. Only necessary crew person should be standing in front of the car.


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