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Discussion Starter #1
No, these are not from the Discovery Channel. Instead they come to you from the archives of tall tales told by straight-faced old codgers after a few beers in the shop.

The first claim sounded like a great way to blow up a perfectly good engine. The advice given for improving engine performance by re-seating the rings was to drive up a steep grade at freeway speeds and after the crest, slip the car into neutral and race the engine at high RPMs on the downslope. Crazy, right?

How about the semi-automatic transmission? Supposedly a foot-operated pump could be rigged in place of the floorboard-mounted high beam switch on street cars to let the driver control when an automatic transmission shifts at the drag strip.

Neither of these stores seemed believable 20 years ago, but since we have the internet to debate them, let's get these myths out there for the bustin' - beers optional.
 

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Both sound like things that old timers would have done.
Whether effective or not, it's hard to say.

I reckon a floor switch could be used on an old vacuum shifted trans.
 

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I've heard local greybeards tell of the ring re-seat method, but I expect it has more to do with clearing out carbon deposits in their church-bound Buicks and Crown Vics than anything related to piston rings. I'm not sure what freewheelin' downhill would add to that process.
 

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The old Mercedes with automatics had that switch on the floor, at least the ones with diesel and automatic had it like that, looked the same as the hibeam switch on our cars, and it was a kickdown switch, push it to perform a kick down, and also when you floored it and held down that switch at the same time, you could take it up further on the rpm before it shifted, just let go of the switch when you wanted to shift
 

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I've heard local greybeards tell of the ring re-seat method, but I expect it has more to do with clearing out carbon deposits in their church-bound Buicks and Crown Vics than anything related to piston rings. I'm not sure what freewheelin' downhill would add to that process.
There would be absolutely NO load on the engine, thereby rapping it up to a higher RPM, And would agree, more about trying to get rid of the carbon deposits in the pistons due to lots of stop/start driving. Also a good way to toast said engine when you just bought it from the little old lady Not from Pasadena(sp).

Just my 1/5 of a dime

lloyd
 

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Another myth;
If you drove a car harder during break-in the car would be faster. "Break it in like you plan to drive it"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I failed to mention the ATF down the carb trick for carbon deposits. That is one I've seen in action, and don't think I'll ever see again due to the immense smoke cloud it generated.

Imagine doing that next door to your Prius-owning neighbor in today's world. They'd have the EPA on the phone in a minute!
 

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I used to do that regularly back in the 70's in my old 67 GT. Would hit the mall parking lot on a Sunday when it was closed, and pump out huge clouds of smoke. I took it as gospel that doing that cleaned out the carbon. Any truth to that?

Colin


I failed to mention the ATF down the carb trick for carbon deposits. That is one I've seen in action, and don't think I'll ever see again due to the immense smoke cloud it generated.

Imagine doing that next door to your Prius-owning neighbor in today's world. They'd have the EPA on the phone in a minute!
 

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In h.s. I tried pouring water out of a small dixxy cup down my carb (not enough to stall) to combat carbon. I also would turn engine off with key (in park) and quickly turn key back on just before engine was at zero rpm and "recatch" the engine. Both techniques were given to me by an older backyard mechanic, so I would try it now and again, not knowing any better. Never did crack that motor back open to see if the tricks worked to reduce carbon deposits...
 

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Hey, don't go making fun of,........ I might be considered one of those OLD TIMERS, and never heard of either of these tricks.

Regarding BREAK-IN, well I always felt it should be driven like you ARE GOING TO BE DRIVING IT, but never allowed a new engine to IDLE, or run at the same RPM/SPEED very long.

In my case, just drove the H---- out of it. I had a new 57 Vette and had it on the drag strip the second day I owned it. Didn't seem to hurt it.

Dale in Indy
 

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All the new engines we test being from all the different manufactures run a break in cycle before testing. Usually 50% throttle and various rpm cycles. This allows the rings to seat and componets to mate before subject to high heat and load conditions. Toyota has a very detailed break in cycle.
 

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Like Kevin, I have heard of (and done at one time or another) the water down the carburetor trick to reduce carbon build-up. Whether or not it works, I don't know but I think it might. The reason I think this is that on numerous engines that I have seen while working as a machinist when there was a head gasket problem, cracked head or the like which resulted in water/coolant being present in the cylinder, the carbon deposits were always conspicuously gone/missing as compared to the cylinders which did not have water/coolant enter them.
 

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The water thing does work. I worked at an emmisions repair shop for a while, and that was one of our tricks. We would put it in a container that was designed for an "AIS" (air induction service) that you put chemicals from BG into. You hook compressed air to it and put the nozzle in the throttle body, adjust the flow, and wedge the throttle to hold around 2000 RPM. We ended up not ever using the chemicals anymore because we were getting the same results with water.

I can see how the "hill" method might work, but not well. Climbing the hill would raise the combustion temps because of the higher load on the engine. Then racing it in nuetral would help blow the heated carbon off. I doubt it would be effective enough to warrant the chance of blowing the engine though. It sort of reminds me of when I blew a piston ring in my first car. 200,000 miles on an original 350 Rocket and my dumbass runs it up to 120 MPH, guess them old rings couldn't handle all that heat and pressure.
 

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"I've heard of that!" and a long thread-hijack....

The "carbon-blasting water" idea had been around for at least over 60 years; and even used one time (at least) while setting a "Time-in-Flight" endurance record; right here in my hometown. "The Longest Flight" (copyright 1998, Bobby Woodhouse and Jim Gillaspe) explained the activity very well; but I don't have my copy at-hand right now; so I'll just paraphrase what I was told by Mr Gillespe:

"About 2/3 the way through the flight; the engine started developing an once-in-a-while 'miss'. (Pilots) Bob (woodhouse) and Woody (Jongeward) figured the plugs were carbon fouling, but they didn't want to end the record attempt just to change plugs; so they talked it over with the guys on the ground and decided to try an old car repair trick. They cut another hole in the firewall and exposed a vacuum port on the Continental (engine) while the ground crew fixed up a big jar with two little pipes in the lid; one pipe just went through the lid, the other went clear down almost to the bottom. They filled the jat with water, and on the refueling run, passed it up to the plane; which they then took up as high as they could go. While Bob drove the plane, Woody hooked a hose from the jar or water to the vacuum port, and the engine stared sucking water. She coughed and sputtered a bunch, but the cool water hitting the plugs blasted the cr*p
right out of the plugs. They did it a couple times, and she ran good for the rest of the flight"

Mr Gillespe passed away in an automobile accident just a week ago today. I had never met the man until the preparations for the 50th Anniversary of the "City of Yuma Endurance Flight". He was instrumental in locating the original Aeronca 15AC (N1156H); helped drive the 28' Ryder van (carrying the Aeronca) from Minnesota to Yuma; helped 'restore' the Aeronca to her "Flight Condition" (there had been lots of mods and a couple of wrecks in the 50 years since the flight); and was the Pilot-in-Command for her post-restoration recertification. I was just the dummy who was then the Yuma Jaycees president at the time and helped fit and polish the aluminum wings. (The Jaycees were the organization the held the first flight). While working on the plane, Jim and I got to know each other; and we found out that we had some strong commonalities because of the Endurance Flight - and not just our first names.
Jim was a 40 yr-old former Naval Aviator who left Oklahoma and "moved West" in the mid 60's; landing in Yuma to find work and build up his cash reserves prior to continuing on to California. In 1959, my Dad -a former Army Air Corps Aviator - sold his dairy farm in New York, packed up his wife and three kids and "moved West"; landing in Yuma to build up their cash reserves prior to continuing on to California. My Mom and Dad found jobs at Yuma Proving Grounds (an Army Testing Facility north of Yuma); and when Mom came up pregnant with a 4th child (ME), they decided to stay, and advanced in their respective jobs at YPG. Dad had started out as a "Control Tower Operator" at YPG's Laguna Field. He ultimately retired having become YPG's "Airspace Officer"; responsible for the enitre YPG reservation from "dirt to 85,000 feet". One of his first duties in that job was to interview prospects for the position of "Control Tower Operator"; he hired Jim Gillespe.
My one and only flight in a small plane was in the "City of Yuma"; with Jim at the controls. He even let me "take the wheel" for a little while - the biggest thrill (after my wedding and the births of our three kids) of my then37 year life.

RIP, Jim. You and Dad can "Show 'em how to fly REAL PLANES with PROPELLORS" together now.
 

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My ex-racing partner made a "homebrewed" water injection for his Plymouth Volare. Rather ingenious, he used a reservoir from the junkyard, a flow control valve with an arm attached connected to the carburetor so the further the throttle was opened, the more water was sucked into the engine through a vacuum port.
Calibration was a little off, coming back from his vacation in Florida the engine blew a head gasket. I helped him pull the head, all four pistons on the LH bank were sparkling, no carbon whatsoever!

Wade wasn't one to say anything when he really f****d something up but he did trade cars shortly thereafter....
 

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Another myth;
If you drove a car harder during break-in the car would be faster. "Break it in like you plan to drive it"
I had a brand new 283 CID/270 HP 1957 Chevy that I bought to be used for transportation and drag racing. From the day I picked it up at the dealer I did nothing but full throttle accelerations. This car ran C-gas and lost only one time in two seasons. I sold it with 20,000 miles on it and it was still screaming fast.
 

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I had a brand new 283 CID/270 HP 1957 Chevy that I bought to be used for transportation and drag racing. From the day I picked it up at the dealer I did nothing but full throttle accelerations. This car ran C-gas and lost only one time in two seasons. I sold it with 20,000 miles on it and it was still screaming fast.
Hey Ken, LTNS!! How's things? The ECI mobile is coming along nicely, 'teck it out buddy!
 

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I had a brand new 283 CID/270 HP 1957 Chevy that I bought to be used for transportation and drag racing. From the day I picked it up at the dealer I did nothing but full throttle accelerations. This car ran C-gas and lost only one time in two seasons. I sold it with 20,000 miles on it and it was still screaming fast.
Post or email me some pics if you have any, I'd love to see it.
 
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