Only the dyno knows

Get­ting your en­gine tested with a dynomome­ter is the best way to ac­cu­rately de­ter­mine per­for­mance

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - AUTOS - PAUL WIL­LIAMSON

EV­ERY spring when the Man­i­toba Street Rod As­so­ci­a­tion (MSRA) hosts its an­nual Ron­dex Ro­darama car show at the East End Arena in Transcona, a pile of great prizes are given away by the event’s many spon­sors.

At this year’s show, Ralph Thomas — a mem­ber of the MSRA since the early ’90s and the owner of a stun­ning 1930 Model A Ford coupe — was the lucky win­ner of a dynomome­ter (dyno) ses­sion at Drag­mart Per­for­mance at 1248 Main St.

Dave Rogers, the owner of Drag­mart, pur­chased the com­pany’s Mus­tang-brand dynomome­ter in 2008 and has since put hun­dreds of lo­cal cars and trucks through the paces. Drag­mart’s Eddy-cur­rent dynomome­ter, a unit val­ued at more than $115,000, uti­lizes an elec­tri­cally con­duc­tive core mov­ing across a mag­netic field to pro­duce resistance.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing cu­ri­ous about how much horse­power his car’s en­gine makes, Thomas also wanted to help sort out why the en­gine was run­ning rich with fuel and suf­fer­ing from poor fuel econ­omy.

“It’s just a stock GM crate-350 mo­tor so it didn’t put much strain on their dyno,” said Thomas. “It made 200 horse­power at the rear wheels, and an es­ti­mated 260 horse­power at the fly­wheel.”

Af­ter run­ning the car on the dyno, Rogers of­fered Thomas a few sim­ple so­lu­tions to im­prove the car’s per­for­mance and fuel econ­omy.

“I’d been mean­ing to swap out the in­take and dis­trib­u­tor any­way, but the dyno gave me the nudge to do it,” said Thomas, who pur­chased a new Edel­brock dual-plane in­take man­i­fold and a Pertronix dis­trib­u­tor. Thomas in­stalled the new parts him­self in his well-equipped back­yard garage.

“A dyno is the safest and most ac­cu­rate way to test a ve­hi­cle’s per­for­mance and di­ag­nose any is­sues,” said Rogers. “It also pro­vides a base­line to build on.”

Ve­hi­cles tested on Drag­mart’s dyno have ranged from a stock Honda Civic that pro­duced less than 80 horse­power, all the way up to the Camaro race car Rogers owns that makes more than 2,400 ponies.

If you’re plan­ning on do­ing some per­for­mance mod­i­fi­ca­tions to your clas­sic or spe­cial-in­ter­est ve­hi­cle this winter, be­fore you get started you’d be well ad­vised to get it dyno-tested. Things usu­ally slow down at lo­cal speed shops now that drag-rac­ing sea­son has wrapped up for an­other year, and a dyno ses­sion typ­i­cally costs less than $200.00. As an added bonus, you get to hear your car’s en­gine revving at max­i­mum RPMs — without get­ting a ticket.

PAUL WIL­LIAMSON / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

This stun­ning 1930 Model A Ford coupe re­cently had its en­gine tested on the dyno at Drag­mart on Main Street.

Ralph Thomas at his well-equipped

home garage.

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