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  How to build the “Worlds Fastest Nitrous Motorcycle”

Friday, August 31, 2007   

It’s only been a couple months since last we spoke and already the “Tiger” is ready to have its innards put back together. The Rick Stetson cases are ready for it’s transformation into a 200 HP working machine again and with a little help of my cousin Mike Caputo, owner of Maximum Performance Cycles in Toledo, Ohio… we shall begin.

We start with a set of cases that has had an MTC billet clutch basket and billet hub filled with all of my favorite parts from Brock’s Performance installed. The clutch cushion kit and Brocks famous billet shift shafts are just a few of the necessary items that reside inside these aluminum cases of metal parts. Carrillo Rods were already installed on the APE prepared crankshaft and an APE high volume oil pump gear thrown in for good measure. I can never say enough about the vendors I use to buy these much needed heavy duty parts. Without great internals, my motor would be history in the first 5 seconds of nitrous abuse. I am often asked what kind of oil I use in my motors when I run down the Maxton Monster Mile Let me say this once and for all for the record, you must run an oil that you feel is the best you can buy that will protect your motor for the strains of horsepower you plan to put upon it. With that said, all oils are not alike and synthetics are even better. I’m trying to beat around the bush, but I’ll just spill the beans, Mobil-1 Racing 4T is the only oil I have used since it first came out. Don’t beat me up and don’t feel bad for me. I know that everyone out there has their own favorite snake oils and if I used yours I would probably go faster right? Until someone proves to me that I’m using the wrong stuff, I’ll continue to use what has made me successful and have zero motor oil related problems, Mobil-1 Racing 4T.

As you can see from the picture here that the #1 piston has been installed on the rod and without any rings. Why you say? Well I’ll tell you why; I will place the cylinders on the #1 piston very carefully on the cases and tighten down the cylinders using spacers on the head bolts. This way I am able to measure how far down in the sleeve the piston is so that I can calculate how thick of a base spacer I’ll need. I’m going to sink the pistons an additional .080” of an inch into the hole for added nitrous ability, so I’m installing a much thicker base gasket to get the job done. Once that procedure is complete, I’ll remove the cylinders and start gapping my rings in each cylinder to match each piston to each hole it will live in for the next few million rpm’s.

You’ve probably noticed that I am using exclusively JE Pistons and only JE Pistons with the JE Pro-Seal Ringsets in my motors. I have used and tried many manufacturers pistons and have burned up many an aluminum slug in my quest for speed. Are there special qualities in each piston that allow me to pour the snot to them? Yes. Are they backed by a company that has been making pistons for many a year? Yes. Has their design and engineering allowed me to be the fastest nitrous bike on the planet by taking terrible nitrous abuse
down the track? Yes.

JE Pistons product manager for the motorcycle division is not just an engineering geek; no he’s much more than that. He’s also a rider and racer and knows how to make pistons take the regular beatings that racers put upon them. John Noonan, JE’s Motorcycle Product Manager is that man. He holds numerous World Land Speed records and knows how to make a piston take the abuse, take the power and give only superb performance back in return. To combat the continuous heat, flame and explosions that occur at over 180 times a second in the forbidden world of the detonation chamber and then have tons of nitrous oxide power applied to the top surface of that piston is what makes JE Pistons stand above the rest. The pistons that Tiger Racing uses are custom high dome nitrous pistons designed specifically by John Noonan himself. When you call John at JE, tell him you want the 84mm “Tiger” piston for nitrous, he will know exactly what you need. You may pay a bit more for those pistons, but I guarantee you will be happy every time you take your motor apart and inspect them.

I have set a ring into the cylinder cavity using a piston upside down to push the ring perfectly level down the cylinder wall. After measuring and gapping each set of rings into each cylinder where they will reside, I then fit the rings on to the piston meant for each cylinder hole. They have been marked and bored for each piston to very tight tolerances.

Measuring each and every ring and then hand grinding them to fit each and every cylinder is tedious work, but work that must be exacting when you are working with a high performance blue printed motor. Every measurement on every component has been written down and is compared when it is torn down to see where any trouble lies before it happens.

Yes that’s me in the above pictures making sure every component is in tolerance. Don’t let the large t-shirt fool you, that’s pure traction under that shirt.

This is where the action happens at the JE Piston manufacturing plant in Huntington Beach, Calif.
My custom pistons are somewhere in this mass of
CNC equipment, I just know it.

After installing the ring sets on to the individual pistons, I started the task of drilling and tapping the holes for the nitrous foggers that would reside in the intakes of my new Ward Performance Vortex Racing cylinder head. I spent many an evening this winter deciding on which performance company would be doing my cylinder head. My experience with Ward Performance has been an epiphany in speed racing circles. No one has been able to make a stock head with stock valves go faster and flow better than Rick Ward with his famous Vortex Racing Heads. I can guarantee you before the Dyno has even started that between my new exhaust system and my new Vortex head, I’ll make another 10 HP above last years motor setup. Notice in the picture that I have the head upside down with the intakes stuffed with foam (trust me I do) and a vacuum cleaner sucking any aluminum as I drill and tap the 1/8” NPT holes. Not every nozzle is in the same place on every intake, no no no my friend, they have to be positioned very carefully so that when I install the pro-mod braided lines, they fit exactly as I planned. As you can see in this next picture the nozzles have been installed and positioned along with the 4 JE Custom Nitrous pistons that are ready to install.

Now here is the part of this article where you actually get to see my cousin Mike doing something on my motor. I have asked Mike to install the pistons on the rods and set the cylinders on them. Easy enough proposition for most experienced motor builders and since Mike was hanging out this day, he got the job. Mike just loves working on my motor since he can do it pretty much blind folded because he has done it so many times in the past.

Getting the little circlips in place for the wrist pins was the first order of business
and once all four pistons are installed and completed,
the cylinders can be installed on the pistons.

Cylinders 2 & 3 have the pistons rings compressed and are in the cylinder sleeves. The crank is rotated and the center pistons will drop while raising the #1 & 4 pistons to meet the cylinders. As you can see, my cousin Mike is very carefully tapping the pistons and the block and checking every millimeter of movement that all the rings are seating correctly around the piston as it moves up inside the cylinder.

From the top view you can see all 4 pistons are ready to have the Ward Performance Vortex Racing Head installed. They almost look like small block Chevy 327 pistons from a distance, except that Chevy pistons are less expensive I’m sure.

Now how many times have you seen such an exquisite display of metal artwork going together right before your very eyes? There’s nothing up his sleeves and nothing slight of hand in the least about this motor. You can rest assured It will Dyno around 205HP if all figures and calculations are correct at the Tiger Racing Motor Laboratories.

The head was placed on the studs and Mike installs the APE cylinder head nuts on to the cylinder studs and then torques them 3 times in varying degrees of pressure. First torque is 25lbs, second torque is 50lbs and the final torque of 75lbs is applied to all the Cylinder nuts. When you are building a Big Bore motor and you plan to pour the snot to it, the” studs and nuts would be my recommendation, but that’s just my own opinion and you know what its worth. Having the head lift off the cylinders when you have mega amounts of nitrous and fuel injecting the cylinders where the pressures are so great, they can stretch a stock cylinder stud and allow the head to separate and
blow head gaskets.

Once the head was snug, it was my job to set the cams in place and adjust the cam timing. Not a hard job at all really since I will be using my buddy Brock Davidson’s special grind intake cam in the intake position. Then I will install a stock Busa intake cam in to the exhaust position. Easy, right? If your confused, don’t worry, maybe this will help. If you want more power and you want it in the right spot of the power band, then I recommend you pick yourself up a Brock’s Performance intake Cam for your motor, whether it’s a
stock motor or not.

Once my cams are in place, I setup the degree wheel and ready my dial indicator for reading my cam opening and closing numbers. No, I’m not going to teach you how to degree cams, that’s another article all together but I will tell you I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Lol

Suffice it to say that my cam timing is one of the top secret numbers I have sworn to keep secret, I've got to keep something sacred. But if you promise not to tell anyone its 106-108, now don’t tell anyone. That’s about it from here for now. In our next chapter, we’ll cover the Dyno results, exhaust system and our new 5 spoke Carbon Fiber Dymag wheels from, now how much more could you ask for?

I will leave you at this point knowing that the motor is ready to install into the Tigers frame and then we go to the Dyno.

Chapter 5