Got questions?

We’ve got the answers when the Summit Racing tech department tackles your automotive-related conundrums. This week, we help eliminate an engine knock problem.

Q: I just put a new 9.7:1 compression 383 small block engine in my 1969 Chevy pickup. It has less than 100 miles on in it and runs great until engine speed drops while under load. At this point, the engine also begins to knock/ping (usually while the truck is in fourth gear). The engine was built to give me more torque and power for pulling a trailer. It uses the same Edelbrock Performer intake, Quadrajet carburetor, and exhaust (tri-Y headers, 2.25-inch dual pipes) as the 350 that used to be in the truck. The ignition system is a new HEI distributor with an ACCEL Supercoil.

Retarding the timing eliminates the knock. Am I just running too much ignition advance, or do I need to re-curve the distributor? A water injection system was suggested to me, as was an MSD ignition with an advance control. Is there something else I should do to fix this problem?

aqua green 1969 chevy c10 pickup truck, rear passenger side

A: You may have to do a number of things to eliminate the knock. Retarding the timing obviously worked. You can also add octane booster to the fuel; your 9.7:1 compression ratio is too high even for 92 octane premium. Re-curving the distributor is a good idea, as is an MSD Timing Control to let you adjust the timing from the driver’s seat. You might also consider a gear swap to help take some of the load off of your engine. For example, if you have 31 inch tall tires, a 4.10 gear front and rear would work very well.