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.


Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Cylinder Wall Glazing – What it is and How to Get Rid of It

This may sound like a simple question, but what is cylinder wall glazing and how is it created? I hear about it all the time when people talk about piston […]

This is a comparison of a cold heat range plug (left) versus a much hotter heat range plug (right). Notice how the distance between the ceramic and the spark plug shell on the hotter plug requires heat to travel a farther distance, which maintains more heat in the spark plug. A hotter heat range plug is preferable for engines that only see light duty applications as in mild street driving. (Image/Autolite)
Tech Articles

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Determining Correct Spark Plug Heat Range

How do I tell the correct heat range spark plug for an engine? – Mark S. Jeff Smith: Simple questions sometimes require a bit longer answers. This is one of those […]

(Image/Jeff Smith)

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Why Do I Keep Killing Alternators?

I did a LS2 swap in my ‘54 Belair. The engine came from an ‘05 GTO. It has a modest stereo system operating on a 10-amp fuse. It has a 16-inch […]


Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Engine-Building Strategies for 700 HP in a ’71 El Camino

I’m asking this for a friend and I know you will have suggestions. He’s building a ’71 El Camino and has decided on an LS swap. He wants 650-700 hp […]


Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Bottle Brush Honing vs. Machining Cylinders on Used Engine Blocks

I just bought a used 5.3L iron block engine out of a truck. I’ve decided to put new replacement pistons and rings because I found a set of cheap take-out […]

Make sure the spark plug is not too short. This photo shows what happens when a too-short 0.460-inch reach spark plug is used in a Vortec head. Note how the electrode is absolutely buried inside the spark plug mounting threads. You can barely see the ground electrode. This absolutely kills combustion efficiency. (Image/Jeff Smithi)

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: How Much Power Can I Make By Adding Ported Vortec Heads to My SBC Engine?

You did a tech answer around two years ago which was about adding a set of Vortec heads to a small-block Chevy. How much of a horsepower gain could you […]

On the left is a fine-wire spark plug. On the right is a standard copper core spark plug. (Image/EngineLabs)

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Should I Use Fine-Wire Spark Plugs in a Small Block Chevy?

I’m confused. I see all kinds of opinions about iridium and platinum spark plugs versus the normal copper plugs. Some say they’re good while others say not to use them […]

This is the four pole brake-light switch mentioned below. The lower connections are normally closed, which would route power to the 700-R4. When the brake pedal is depressed, the switch opens and power to the torque converter clutch is removed and disconnects from the input shaft. Simple and effective. (Image/Jeff Smith)

Ask Away! With Jeff Smith: Troubleshooting Lockup Converter Problems on a 700R4 Transmission

I recently purchased a’71 Camaro with a small-block and a 700R4 overdrive trans. The guy who I bought it from said the trans has a lockup converter and that everything […]


Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: Fixing a Dangerous Front-Wheel Shake in a ’66 Chevy II

I have a ’66 Chevy II with a 355 cubic inch small-block and a Muncie four-speed. Over the years, I’ve made some small suspension modifications with Global West De-A-Lum bushings. […]

This is a pre-assembly photo of Holley’s Ultra-Pro fuel line and its specific 90-degre hose end. Note that we’ve already installed the ferrule over the PTFE liner. The instructions say to use a sharp razor knife to trim a small portion of the liner flush with the ferrule and then install the fitting into the socket and tighten. (Image/Jeff Smith)
How Tos

Ask Away! with Jeff Smith: How to Build a Custom Fuel Line for EFI

I’m building an in-tank fuel pump for a fuel injection conversion in a ’69 Nova with a small-block. I have no experience running lines for relatively high pressure injection stuff. […]