Thursday, 30 June 2016

One month to go and popping pistons !

 . . . yes, only three weeks till I fill up my transportation crate and fly my 250cc pushrod off to the United States for Speed Week, Bonneville.
   And in true time-honoured tradition, as time runs out for the preparation of my machine, what can go wrong is going wrong,  and is manifesting itself in a succession of blown pistons.

But it's OK because thats the way it goes, and like Burt Munro the Bonneville legend, if you don't have an alter of 'sacrifices' to the gods of speed in the form of broken engine components, then you are either very lucky, or just not trying hard enough.

I look at it this way,    . . .  rather a load of problems before I go, than no problems till I get there.

You see my point ?

With the significant additional stresses on my engines due to demands of competition, individual components are increasingly stressed in pursuit of more speed and performance.   This can lead to components failing under test and for my bike it is manifesting itself in the form of 'popped' pistons.
This is where the heat during operation around the spark plug gets so high (600 c+) that the aluminium based alloy of the piston starts to over-heat,  soften then tear removing all compression in the chamber and causing failure.

Establishing the exact cause is not so easy as various factors are influencing this situation,   but I have some great engineers who will fix things,   and that makes all the difference.

popped piston in a cylinder.
earlier offering to the gods of speed !

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