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.

This is an image we pulled off MSD’s video on rotor phasing to show how an excessive rotor gap can make the spark jump too far. This will show up as all kinds of problems that can be easily fixed with an adjustable rotor. (Image/MSD Performance)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: What’s the Best Rotor Tip and Terminal Spacing for my Ignition System?

I have a question about the optimum distributor rotor tip and terminal gap. Modern replacement parts for our classics are all over the place, either in terms of length, cap […]

Setting idle mixture appears easy but the reality is that achieving an ideal mixture will require patience and attention to detail to truly get it correct.
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: How Camshafts Relate to Exhaust Smell

I have a ’68 383 Road Runner, I bought it as a non-running car and it had a considerable cam in it when I got it—I think it is the […]

The disassembled fuel pressure regulator illustrates its simplicity. The spring can be adjusted externally with a screw and lock nut. Note the small nipple connection on the dome on both the small red version and the larger black Aeromotive regulator. (Image/Jeff Smith)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: How to Install a Bypass Fuel Pressure Regulator on an EFI System

I’m building an LS engine to put into an early Chevy pickup and I’ve got a fuel delivery system question. I’m running one of those new Holley Sniper aluminum fabricated […]

If this API ‘donut’ appears on a bottle of oil, inspect the label as this means the oil is a current spec API legal oil with an SL, SM, or SN rating. This means it contains roughly an 800 ppm concentration of ZDDP and is probably not a good choice for a flat tappet camshaft engine unless the valvetrain is completely stock—and even then this might be taking chances with lifter/cam durability. (Image/Jeff Smith)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Can I Mix Zinc Additive with Off-the-Shelf Motor Oil to Save Money?

Why can’t I just add a bottle of zinc additive to my oil and then just use regular off-the-shelf oil? Won’t that work just as well as those more expensive […]

(Image/Findclassiccars.com)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Transmission Recommendations for a ’64 Chevelle

I have a 1964 Chevelle convertible. Several years ago I put a 700-R4 in it, which has never shifted correctly. It slips, doesn’t work right with the carburetor, etc. I […]

(Image/Trick Flow Specialties)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Best Performance Upgrades for a 283 Chevy Small Block Engine

Here’s a question you probably haven’t got before in your Ask Away! segments. I have a 0.060-over 283 that is now at 292 cubic inches. I just finished the short […]

This is the TBSS that we’ve used on several engines during dyno testing. We’ve outfitted it here with custom brackets to mount a Holley fuel rail. The throttle body mount is a four-bolt so there are plenty of options including Holley’s affordable Sniper 92mm unit. (Image/Jeff Smith)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Building a Performance Intake Manifold for a 5.3L LS

I’ve heard there is a really good factory LS intake manifold out there for cathedral port intakes but the friend who mentioned it didn’t know anything more than that. He […]

With a mild cam, decent heads, and a good carburetor and headers, 375 to 400 hp should be achievable. That may not sound like much today, but it is still 1.3 hp/cubic inch, which is pretty good. (Image/Jeff Smith)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: How Much Horsepower Does My Car Need for 12-Second ETs

  I would like your opinion on my ‘61 Comet 2-door wagon. It’s a car that will be used for local cruise nights and Friday night street-legal drags. My question […]

(Image/Detroit Demigod)
Q&A

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Troubleshooting Hot Starting Problems in a Chevy 454

I have a ’69 Camaro with a 454. I went to fill it with gas on its first run for the spring and drove it perhaps 20 miles. After stopping […]

In our very unscientific test, we immersed this strip of sheet aluminum in E85 for 9 months. We allowed the fuel to completely evaporate followed by full immersion. Note the presence of actual rust on the aluminum. This wipes right off and is probably due to metal particles that were present in the tub when we added the fuel. There was evidence of very minor pitting in the aluminum strip but hardly worthy of comment. The Holley metering block was also not damaged and showed no sign of damage or corrosion. (Image/Jeff Smith)
Tech Articles

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: E85 Pump-Gas Additives—Not Ethanol—Cause Corrosion

Hi, I was wondering if you could help answer a few questions and doubts I have about moving forward with my E85 build. I know there’s a lot of hype […]