Articles written by: Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith has had a passion for cars since he began working at his grandfather's gas station at the age 10. After graduating from Iowa State University with a journalism degree in 1978, he combined his two passions: cars and writing. Smith began writing for Car Craft magazine in 1979 and became editor in 1984. In 1987, he assumed the role of editor for Hot Rod magazine before returning to his first love of writing technical stories. Since 2003, Jeff has held various positions at Car Craft (including editor), has written books on small block Chevy performance, and even cultivated an impressive collection of 1965 and 1966 Chevelles. Now he serves as a regular contributor to OnAllCylinders.

Q&A / Tech

Ask Away with Jeff Smith: Dialing in a Cleveland

I’m trying to dial in my old Ford friend of 45 years, a 1972 Ford Mustang with a 351 Cleveland with 2-barrel heads. The engine has a Crane hydraulic roller […]

Tech / Tech Articles

Ask Away with Jeff Smith: Building Blocks for a Big Block Chevy

I am tackling a 1969 Corvette. The 390 HP L36 427 was rebuilt but now needs to go to a 0.060-inch overbore. My buddy and I have been considering building a 454 […]

Tech / Tech Articles

TDC: An Important Tuning Position That Should Not be Overlooked

It’s the classic rhetorical question: “How high is up?” Luckily, finding Top Dead Center (TDC) in an engine is far less taxing from a theoretical standpoint. TDC refers to the […]

Q&A / Tech

Ask Away with Jeff Smith: Is 10:1 Compression Compatible with 91 Octane Fuel?

I want to build a 350 Chevy with iron heads and a 10.0:1 compression ratio. Will that work on 91 octane pump premium fuel? H.C. Seemingly simple questions like this […]

Q&A / Tech / Tech Projects

Ask Away! with Jeff: How a Mismatched Head Gasket Can Cause Big Problems!

I’ve got a 400 cubic small block Chevy that I had the machine shop bore to 4.155. I’m collecting parts to put it back together and used some of my […]

Tech / Tech Articles

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: How Much Oversize is Too Much When Custom-Setting Piston Ring Gap?

I have a 4.030 small block Chevy with 1/16 inch rings. I have a 4.125 inch bore ring set that I’ll never use. Can I use the larger rings and […]

Tech / Tech Projects

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: How to Make a Flat Tappet Cam Live

I have a survivor ‘66 Corvette 427. I selected the Factory Muscle solid flat tappet cam as I was trying to stay as true to the original build as possible. […]

Tech / Tech Articles

Timing is Everything: How Initial, Mechanical, and Vacuum Advance Work Together to Make Power

Everyone knows the classic four-stroke engine cycle: intake, compression, combustion, exhaust. While all four play a part in performance, it’s the combustion step that relies on the critical sequence of […]

Tech / Tech Articles

Ask Away! With Jeff Smith: Improving a G-Body Monte Carlo’s Handling and Stance

I have a 1988 Monte Carlo. I want to improve the stance and handling, and perhaps even do something to improve braking. I don’t want to build a race car […]


Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Getting the Best of a Chevy 307 Without Blowing it Up

I have a 1971 Chevrolet 307 that I’ve decided to hot rod. In my search to find the best setup, I’ve had many different answers, mostly from helpful suggestions to […]