TECH5 is a regular feature where EngineLabs asks industry leaders five technical questions. This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Marty Staggs, the U.S. representative of Nornda. Today’s topic is focused on timing components and different ways to dial in your timing.
Nornda is the parent company of the Australian timing chain company Rollmaster. A manufacturing company that is wildly popular and revered for their high-quality timing components down under. Recently, they have expanded in United States in order to reach out more and show the American automotive enthusiasts what they have to offer.
Engine Labs: What are the reasons for advancing or retarding the degree of a cam?
Marty Staggs: “There are two reasons, one of which is that cams are typically not ground perfectly straight up – they’re offset a little bit. Adjustable timing set gears allow the engine builder to dial in and get the cam set straight up, or adjust it to their preferred method of operation in order to maximize the power output.
The other reason is, depending on the combination, that some engines might like a little bit of cam advance and some might like a little bit of retardation; it’s an engine-builder- and a combination-type-driven area. Providing timing sets that allow for these adjustments enables the builder to dial in that specific combination.”
Engine Labs: How does the gear set accomplish these adjustments, and how precisely can the user dial in the cam timing with this setup?
Marty Staggs: “There are two different types of crank gears. One has multiple keyways which allow you to change the phasing between the crank and the camshaft in two-degree increments. So, the relationship from the crank keyway to the camshaft sprocket is two-to-one, meaning the amount it advances or retard of the camshaft is in one-degree increments.
Also, we can supply the crank gears in undersize or overbore to accommodate crankshafts that have been reground, and snout size may be different on some builders like Buttler Performance. In this instance, they require undersized gears which allow them to hone the gear for a precision fit.
So everything is made to OEM standard, but over and under sizes are available. Rollmaster also makes another set which is vernier adjustable – like you would see in a modular motor application – which has an additional adjustment at the cam gear, as well, making it a multi-piece cam gear that lets you fine tune it down a single degree.”
Engine Labs: How much does the nitride coating further harden the gearset, and how does this improve the performance of the Rollmaster gear set?
Marty Staggs: “The thing with the Rollmaster gear sets is that they are already made out of a heat treated alloy. The additional nitride hardening treatment can be provided to further increase the hardness of the timing set, and some engine builders insist on, or prefer the security of this option.
It’s for that end user who’s looking to get the most performance or have the least issues with their equipment. For someone who is looking for the ultimate and truly wants the best of the best – that’s the way to go.”
Engine Labs: How does the addition of a Torrington bearing improve the functionality of the timing set?
Marty Staggs: “Some engine blocks need to be machined to accept a Torrington type bearing. So, our cam gears are cut to accommodate and come with the timing set.
Again, I think it more of an engine-builder-preference kind of thing. It’s one of those things where the market will tell you what they want, but it’s up to you whether you want to listen and provide it.
We’re always working with these engine-builders; the reason why we have oversized and undersized gear sets is because they ask for it – not because we just decided to do it and told them that’s what they need. They ask, and we try to provide things that meet their specifications and requirements.”
Engine Labs: What is the reasoning behind using Iwis chains? Is there an advantage in using this company over the rest?
Marty Staggs: “They’re the best in the world, and for the Rollmaster timing sets we have the exclusive on the Iwis seamless roller chain. That is the strongest chain set on the planet – there’s nothing that comes close. The quality control is absolutely right on, and we make the gears and everything else in-house.
Any other components, like the Torrington bearing (that is, a real Torrington bearing), are sourced from the United States. The chain is made for us exclusively by Iwis, who is the number one chain manufacturer on the planet.
They manufacture their chains for us in Germany. The parts that you don’t make, you source from the absolute best suppliers you can. That’s how we operate.”