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Why is it that when a motor is running lean (usually just before it blows up) it seems to be producing the most HP???

I had a snowmobile that was not jetted right and it was screaming just before the pistons melted. It's seems that a richer mix would produce more power, but I know that is not the case at all. Although being very bad on a motor, why do they produce more power in that condition????
 

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lean is good. lean makes power. Excess fuel (more fuel than there is oxygen to burn) cools... those pistons in the sled could have used some of that. Top fuelers spit 10' flames because too much fuel is the only cooling system they have.

Carbs are rotten, and because of that they are always jetted rich. That way the lean spots aren't so lean they melt pistons/.
EFI is better. That's why a modern V8 can put out 400 Hp and still get nearly 30mpg. They run lean. "Almost" to the point of pain lean. But not quite.

Ever run a lawnmower out of gas? Just before she quites, the rpm's go to the moon.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
lean is good. lean makes power. Excess fuel (more fuel than there is oxygen to burn) cools... those pistons in the sled could have used some of that. Top fuelers spit 10' flames because too much fuel is the only cooling system they have.

Carbs are rotten, and because of that they are always jetted rich. That way the lean spots aren't so lean they melt pistons/.
EFI is better. That's why a modern V8 can put out 400 Hp and still get nearly 30mpg. They run lean. "Almost" to the point of pain lean. But not quite.

Ever run a lawnmower out of gas? Just before she quites, the rpm's go to the moon.

that was a good explaination Jim. I'm addicted to horsepower TV on the weekends. Granted, they do not have a budget, but I was watching a show where they were doing the famous dyno run with an FI car. They produced a fairly good pull but said it was running a little fat. With a couple of click of the notebook computer, they got like another 70hp.....I about crapped. I have my 460 bbc running perfect on the front tubes, but I never changed the rears because I didn't want to pull the carb at that time to change the rears. I'm rear curious just how much better is will run on all 4's this spring when I pull those rear jets down just a bit. I'm at 3,200 in elevation and they usually come out of the box for sea level. I'm not expecting 70hp, but I think it will pull a little better.

I liked the top fuel info. That makes sense and I always wondered why they spit so much raw fuel. Best to watch at night huh????? Doesn't the alcohol blend counter the added heat of the nitro?
 
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