How to stay comfortable in your race car

Posted by Robert McJannett on

Stay comfortable on Track | Video



By Chris Tropea | 

Just because it’s a race car doesn’t mean you have to suffer while driving it.

Mike Buca from Design Engineering, Inc., shows us a few ways to keep excess noise and heat to a minimum.

Presented by CRC Industries.





Design Engineering, Inc (DEI) make products that fit cars anywhere from Ferraris to full-out race cars. From your passenger car going down the street to your street rod and hot rods, we have coverage for anything you really have any kind of concerns about when it comes to heat and sound control.

So if you're planning a build, the thing you need to think about is everything that you're doing in that build, so heat management's one of them, sound management is another. So if you're building a car like this, like the Mustang, you know you're going to have heat issues in certain areas you need to plan for that during the build, it makes installing the products much easier and more effective than it does trying to retrofit them after the fact.

What are the major heat problems that you see in vintage race cars and and what products do you have to solve those problems?

Vintage race cars, in particular road racing cars like this, the biggest thing that you see as far as the heat goes, is driver comfort in the car. The foot well box gets very hot in a lot of the cars, the headers are run right alongside the foot well, so trying to maintain temperature in the footwell transmission tunnel and then line lines that go from the back to the front of the car, fuel lines, oil lines, things like that, you know the the motor generates a lot of heat. All the insulation is pulled out of the car so you really focus on the areas that are going to make a difference to the driver and the performance of the car.

Line sleeving is a big one and driver comfort in the the lower foot box is another big one. Starting with driver i see these look to be products that would help with that area but is there one type or is there 18 different types so it really depends on there's multiple types and it depends on the the type of car the situation that you're running but there's also some just standby products that we always go to.

Our floor and tunnel is one of them and this is a a floor pan from a car and this shows the floor and tunnel mounted underneath the car and this is done when you know you can get in there and do all the headers out a lot of times you can get in there and do it when the exhaust is in but it's a little more work so this creates a barrier and reflects heat from the exhaust coming into the the footwell to begin with so you would automatically install this before you put your exhaust system on knowing where your exhaust is. It's adhesive on one side, you try to snake it above the exhaust it'll start very difficult, align the inside of the transmission tunnel the transmission gets gets very hot in these types of cars people don't think about it but it does and that heat just radiates right up into the driver compartment in a lot of cases.

We'll take temperature probes and put them out throughout the car underneath and get readings of where the the heat's really generated. At some places the header may be too close to use a product like that, where the heat from the header is just going to be too much to to handle for the aluminum. Then we'll go to something like this in a spot area where this is a 4 000 stick stainless steel uh shield two-sided and it's welded on the inside or the outside with a high temperature insulation on the inside of it so this can be put into place where there's a very high heat area and add additional protection and block you know block the heat coming through in a spot area.

Let's talk about header wrap. These headers on this car have been coated, that helps with heat transfer quite a bit do you then wrap them or is it one or the other?

So the one thing that I tell guys, I get this question a lot you know, "My headers are ceramic coated, is that all I really need?" and the ceramic coating helps and there's a function to it there's a science behind it that works but a lot of guys will wrap the headers and it's not only when you're driving it but when you pull this thing in to work on it. You've got to get in there a lot of times you don't have time to let the car sit there and cool down for an hour before you start working on it so you need to get in there and start working on it.

So the question I ask the customer is, if you start your car and run it and bring it in will you grab your ceramic coated header with your bare hand? I'll grab my wrapped pipe with my bare hand. I won't hold on to it forever, but i'll grab it and I won't get burned. I don't think you could say the same thing about the ceramic coated header so you could hit your arm against it and not get spots yeah if you're doing plugs or doing any kind of work around the area the wrapping really helps and it really helps just to to knock down that radiant heat that fills the under hood compartment. I still think the wrap has a place and and has a function in there that that is a benefit.

okay even if you're doing ceramic coating you know to bench wrap a header like this this is off an ls it's a shorty header off in ls um this takes about 25 feet of wrap per side okay so about 50 feet of wrap total to do a set of headers.

If you've never done them before it may take you a couple hours if you've done them uh like if I were to do a set of headers I could probably knock out a set of headers in 35 40 minutes. It's all technique you know once you do a few of you you learn some ways that are easier to do than others yeah so it's just technique on it.

Let's talk a little bit more about sleeving lines.

So we have a a lot of different line sleeves that work for different applications this is one of our newer ones and this is a fiberglass sleeve with aluminum coating on it but it also has an adhesive flap on it. This is a product that works very well on the fuel lines on carbureted engines particular that run from the pump up to the carburetor to prevent vapor lock. It's very easy to install, it conforms very well to the to the tubing the fuel line and it stays tight so it doesn't it's not bulging and or bulky type of line so you don't have to disconnect everything, you can start at the bottom or the top and you slide this over the line start to put the adhesive flap and then just just push it down until you get it down to the fuel pump. Cut it and then easily cuts the length scissors.

We have different lines to do different things so this line is a split sleeve again that can be installed after the line's already in place that's great so you can put it over and then we recommend turning the velcro away from the heat source. So the sleeves facing the aluminum is facing the heat source we also have these where they're not split if you're putting it on a new line and then this is a silicone line sleeving with a an insulator on the inside. Same thing there this is 100 pure silicone, it's good to 500 degrees. These work really well on battery cables, brake lines, we have smaller diameters in this too so just to kind of add on to the sleeping part.

We have a couple other products that we can kind of consider in that area. Spark plug boots is a staple product we've had for for years, like one of our first products, it slides over the spark plug wire and covers the boot down to the end. Now your headers won't damage your spark plug, well it slows it down, you know it never really prevents it entirely, but it slows it down. We also have different generations of plug boots.

This was the original one, then we came out with ones in titanium that will take a little more heat and then we came out with a boot a couple years ago and it really was driven from the trans am series. A couple cars that we help out with products, the guys are telling me that they're burning spark plugs every other race, they're changing plug wires and the wire sets are 400 a set so they get real expensive.

So I came out with a spark plug boot that's instead of fiberglass it's silica, but we put a 304 stainless steel mesh over top of it. It looks kind of weird because you have this loose fitting mesh over top of it but what that does is that mesh keeps an air gap between the header and the plug boot and allows air to flow around it and the teams that were that are running those uh on their wires now are getting half a season to some guys getting a full season on a set of wires now versus burning a set of boots every other race.

You know it's all evolution, we see a problem when we try to go after it and fix it.

So if people want to find out more about this, what should they do?

Visit our website we have all the products listed there and we have them categorized, they can see kind of where by what they're trying to do what products would work for their car. They can call us they can get the number off the website if they have any specific questions we're more than happy to take a phone call. We have guys there that answer phones all day long they explain this stuff all day to you so they can help you out if you have a question. It's sometimes the best thing to do is just to call us and and we'll we'll help you get the right product that you need.

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