Power Steering, Radiators, and Better Racing Programs with KRC Power Steering’s Cody Haskins
Kate welcomed Cody Haskins from KRC Power Steering in this episode of Racing Insiders Podcast. With his extensive background in racing and a dedication to innovation, Cody is an amazing source of information for racers and race teams.
Kate and Cody discussed power steering, racing programs, radiators, the myths about valve springs, and advice to other business owners.
KRC has been a repeat exhibitor at the CARS Racing Show for many years. You can visit them in Booth 113 at this years show. KRC Power Steering will have their products on display and will be happy to answer any power steering questions you may have.
A few topics discussed in this interview include:
- Cody’s Racing Experience and it’s Affect on KRC Product Development
- Tandem Pump Trends
- Front Drive Setup Recommendations
- V Belt VS Serpentine Belts
- KRC and CT525
- Money, Economics, and Racing
- Common Questions in Power Steering
- Replacing Belts and Pulleys – Rebuilding Your Power Steering
- The Horsepower Numbers Behind Power Steering
- Cooling and Horsepower
- KRC’s Specialty – Power Steering
- Myths, Rumors, and Voodoo Magic in Racing
- Bottom Restrictors – Are They Worth It?
- Racing Packages Around the Country
- Crate Racing Tips and Tricks
- Moisture and Power Steering Fluid
- Pitfalls in Myths and Rumors in Crate Racing
- Getting Youth Involved in Racing
Cody’s Racing Experience and it’s Affect on KRC Product Development (6:50)
Well, the dirt is kind of transitioning more to where asphalt was 5-7 years ago, it’s getting a lot more fine tuned, a lot more engineering is going into it now. But really, we can run about the same product. As far as the pumps go on each car division, whatever you want to want to have it there. As far as system pressures and flow numbers and everything they’re about at the point where they’re requiring the same because we’re putting more and more caster in these cars, trying to get either more aero platform or trying to get stuff turned a little bit better on entry hold a little bit more cross leaving. So the pumps are starting to get about the same on both sides of the industry.
Tandem Pump Trends (8:07)
The tandem pump, obviously, we’re trying to get all the weight in the center of the racecar. The tandem pump really the biggest benefit of it is getting the fuel pump off the block in case you get, you know, pretty heavy incident where a frame rail gets knocked over and either knocks the fuel line off so really it’s more of a safety deal than anything I don’t think- I’ve run a lot of I’ve been very fortunate for personal and business side I’ve done a lot of dyno work and I haven’t seen any benefit as far as horsepower consumption between the two so it really is just more or less a safety safety deal.
Front Drive Setup Recommendations (9:09)
With a dirt late model, or anything with a mid plate where rules allow – I would get you know, obviously get the fuel pump off the front. My thoughts on this you’re utilizing the flywheel with HTD pulley on the back I wouldn’t add a separate pulley on the front or on a power steering pump off the front it this point in the industry I would you utilize that so you’re not just stacking more and more and more weight off the front you know getting more front percentage which is leading to more wheel spin and stuff like that. So as far as the pulleys go, the single belt stuffs been great, we do have a tensioner kit for running that it’s kind of getting older and outdated. We’ve pushed everybody into that new single kit, I’ve got it as wide as you can go without breaking. You cannot get another ladder pulley system on the market. And like I said, I make all the stuff my racing, and try to get every opportunity and every advantage I can on everybody. So we’ve done a very good job with my engineers, you know, doing that and making sure that you know, it holds up and I’ve got a lot of a lot of winning cars out there with the stuff that don’t have any issues. So like I said, that’s kind of been the biggest shift on that side of things. 602 You know, it’s 50/50 some of the racetracks are still making you run the mechanical fuel pump. But all in all, everybody’s, you know, moving towards putting everything off the back.
V Belt VS Serpentine Belts (10:58)
So V belt, we don’t offer V Belt stuff. Old and antiquated. I just don’t try to push our customers that. HTD off the front, we’ve seen too many people chuck belts, there is some horsepower savings there. But you know, not everybody can sacrifice motor. So we push everything off the Serpentine, the biggest difference between the V belt Serpentine, our system, you can be up a pound and a half two pounds of difference, the V belt stuff is just so heavy, because you have to have so much belt wrap to make it you know, really engage and not slip. That’s really the only benefit between the two.
We offer some V belt pulleys for our pumps to because they those cars still have to run off the front with the power steering pump, and the fuel pump and all that stuff. So we offer a pulley for a range of different power steering pumps to run off the front with it. But other than that, we kind of stray and stray away from it and put all of our customers over on you know something more up to date.
KRC and CT525 (12:28)
So I’ve got a 525. I’ve been dabbling a little bit with it trying to run some steelhead, you know, limited races with it, we do offer the tensioner system for that, because you’ve got to run a alternator for the cool pack purposes. So about a time you get all the pulleys stacked up with the crank mandrel we just felt like it was best to run the tensioner where you can get the belt in and off and kind of utilize our whole bracket system that ties everything in together. So I don’t have a single belt system for it just because I feel like you know, on our side of things, design work we feel like tensioner is better suited for that package with the 525.
And you have some other accessories as well like your seamline kit, correct? (13:28)
So we offer the engine mount steamline kits, the breather system for the valve covers, pretty much anything to outfit a 525. Just drop it in it replaces of 602/604 and go racing.
Money, Economics, and Racing (14:41)
So, you know, kind of 16/17 years old I went on my own race, and so I’ve paid for it and owned all my equipment, you know, set all my race cars and all this stuff since then. So I had to be very careful of, you know, counting all these numbers. So, you know, you’ve got to put X amount aside for motor rebuilds for you know, chassis, tires, wheels, you know, all your consumable stuff, I mean, essentially, racing is getting to a point now where you have to operate it, just like a business, if you’re going to do it, you know, I think that’s where a lot of people come in run for a couple of years and you’re seeing them kind of teeter off, they either don’t understand the economic side of it, or you know, it is getting more expensive and harder to operate. So now it’s more crucial time than any time to really be keeping up with all these numbers.
Really break down obviously, your consumable stuff your tires and fuel I mean, you right there you need to know when you leave the house, it’s going to take x amount on tire wear, because most everything on dirt late model, you know, Carolinas, you know, your real sandy down here, you know, you’ve got the red clay and stuff with rocks in it eats tires up. So your minimum, you’re gonna put two tires on every week. So if you’re 20 or 30/40, lap race, you got to divide that, you know, you’re gonna burn 10 or 15 gallon E85. Your armbands, you know, rebuild $2,500, you know, you 1500 laps, divide that, you know, get all your numbers square where you need it. And then you can kind of move money around and potentially go after sponsors to help all that. And you know, this stuff costs a third of what the asphalt stuff does. So it was extremely crucial on that side of things to to keep up with all this stuff.
Common Questions in Power Steering (19:28)
I mean, obviously, like I said, we do all the front drives stuff we get. There’s there’s probably some we need to have at the CARS Show. Cooling System. I’ve actually done this stuff on my own and raced this stuff. And I’ve tried to make it as bulletproof as possible, but there’s a lack of education in it. You know? When I first started here I was having some heating issues – overheating issues and you know I have the resources to pretty much call anybody in the industry and talk to whoever I can to to get these resources figured out and you know like the radiator people say you want to do this and the water pump people say you want to do this and then we were telling people you want to do this and it’s almost tailored you know, I found that like, like on my dirt car I can go to a slow and slick facility and ask to speed the water pump up because as the racetrack blows off and get slicker then we lose rpm and then you’re under the threshold removing the maximum amount of water that you need to be moving. So whereas if we go some of the big places like you know Cherokee or somewhere where you’re always in the fuel you may need to put a bigger reduction pulley system you know, pulley kit on it, to be able to move less water to cool efficiently. Like I said, it’s almost getting words, it’s tailored per facility per car, you know, we’re trying to keep these cars sealed off to the racetrack as much much as possible. So, you know, the radiator needs to be you know, continually cleaned. There’s companies you know, starting out like Cert motorsports up in Mooresville, North Carolina, they will actually vibratory clean and impregnate the aluminum radiators, you know, on a weekly basis or you know, year end basis or whatnot to better cool the system down. So that, you know, they’re getting into many different avenues of trying to perfect the systems, you know, the single pass versus a double pass versus a triple pass, you know, high flow versus standard flow water pumps, one to one, 30% I mean, all, all this stuff makes a difference. But the biggest deal like I tell our customers, if you’re gonna go get your motor refreshed for 2500 bucks or whatever it may be $1,500-3000 Whatever. You’re gonna skip out over $250 pulley set. Like I would never, never I’ve been very frustrated with some engine builders send my stuff back prior to me working here. You know, pulleys don’t cost a whole lot. And if you’re going to do all this first racetrack you go to, you know, the belts gonna slit and overheat. You know, now you can’t touch heads up because you’re on your final rebuild. It was t waste. Over $250 Right. So I’ve walked through this a lot. I know. Humidity plays a big difference. And all this stuff down here. You know, it’s 95 plus degrees on the weekends 100% humidity, it’s almost impossible to cool down. You know, stuff like that I got people running a two Blade 17 race fan. It’s not going to cut it, you know, unshrouded, you know, the fan, four inches off the radiator stuff that might work up north or Midwest or somewhere where the humidity is a little bit lower. But you know, it’s not going to cut it down here. So fine tuning all this stuff running the biggest fan, I like to run the biggest fan you can get on there. I know you. I’ve dyno’d all this stuff. And the fan blades make two or three horsepower per blade difference. Put a four blade 17 or 19 inch on it and don’t worry about it.
Replacing Belts and Pulleys – Rebuilding Your Power Steering (23:18)
Not every rebuild. I would say every two rebuilds in to luck will run asphalt, we will get to certain facilities and come home and I don’t care how how good your stuff is what the material the pulleys were, some of these racetracks had a ton of sand and it was sandblast the pulleys knocked the hard anodized and off, then you got pulley slippage. And you go back to your local show or whatnot and run hot. So I think this is also depending on where you run, how good of protection you have, as far as a lot of the dirt late models, you know, they’ll run that the block off on the right, you know, right in front of the right front tire there so you don’t get everything sandblasted and beaten on the pulley system. You’re gonna get out of this what you put into it. And if you treat it like crap, you’re gonna have to replace it more often.
The Horsepower Numbers Behind Power Steering (25:21)
So we get that, like I said, cooling is a huge deal. With us manufacturing our own pumps in house with our own castings, all stuff, we can control a lot of different flow numbers for say, just like you could flow benching a carburetor, or set a heads or whatnot, we can kind of tailor a lot of the pumps in per rack ratio, steering box ratio, that’s where we really cater to the most with the Le Mans teams that we deal with and all the NASCAR teams there are sometimes we can get 5-7 horsepower out of a power steering pump, under full load on some of these cars. So just by changing flow, numbers, pressures, and whatnot. So we do a lot more fine tuning and tailoring with some of the higher end division divisions. But a lot of this stuff, you know, like everybody knows, all this is trickling into the short track program, and I think this is going to be something long term that a lot of racers are gonna have to put more thought into just buying, the the first pump that they can get, you know, it may take 10-12 gallons per minute, ours is this 3.5-4, which is at a more efficient ratio to what your system demands than just bypassing 50/60/70% of the fluid coming out of the pump. Every time you bypass that system, then it’s just creating more horsepower loss.
Cooling and Horsepower (26:56)
Well, yeah, I mean, naturally, anytime you can keep it cooler, it’s going to perform better. But your water pump pressure comes from cavitation. So it’s either RPM based or restriction, you know, restricted. And that’s the same deal with the power steering pump. So like, I don’t necessarily think on a short track car, you need to run out and put a put a cooler on the system. But if you could keep the hoses routed away from headers or whatnot, which is why I came up with the reservoir for the tandem pump, you know, get all that weight back, but also get all lines away from the headers. And right there incases by the firewall. You know, we dropped the power steering fluid temperature operates at a lower, you know, lower temp, you know, saves a little bit more horsepower. So, there’s all kinds of little things you can do is just putting in the time and effort it takes to do them.
KRC’s Specialty – Power Steering (28:09)
Yep, yeah. And one thing I found earlier in my career as well, I’ve been very fortunate to have the resources, kind of do whatever, but there’s all these new tricks of the week. And, you know, everybody’s gonna try to sell you on the next latest, greatest this and that, and I don’t know if you remember our first conversation, but I was kind of going towards creating something that you do like Crate Insider to offer the best of the best and point racers in the direction because I’ve essentially pissed away a lot of money trying to find, you know, the best combinations on this stuff. And I wish somebody would have done something like, you know, you’re doing and offer, XYZ brands use these two or three options, and the rest of them, you know, don’t mess with. So I see a lot of people going the wrong routes, and then spending twice the amount of money to come right back to where it needed to be.
And I feel like there’s a small group of individuals that have the same common goal, like doing what you do. And there’s a good bit of people that you can trust in the industry. But you know, the engineers are some of your best friends and your biggest enemies. And, you know, a lot of these theories for say, are just theories, I’ve seen some of the best stuff drawn up on paper that didn’t transpire work on the on the race track. And like I said, there’s a lot of this stuff being sold, that is just this magic for say, and it just doesn’t work, you really need to, you know, I like to tell people with engine builders you get with engine builder, you stick with them, whether that makes the most power is this that you find somebody you can work with trust, you know, has loyalty to you, you have loyalty to them, and just kind of move down that road with them. And essentially, at some point, you’re going to have some some sort of success.
Myths, Rumors, and Voodoo Magic in Racing (32:32)
Well, I mean, for the cooling side, everybody, you know, all of a sudden, we’re gonna go to triple pass radiators. That was the the biggest, and I’m not so sure if single pass isn’t the way to go. I’ve run all this stuff over the years, I’ve tried every size radiator, you know, oil cooler this, and I’m not so sure, just going back to a single radiator. And, you know, granted, if once you get some data with Steve, with a double, if we push, you know, it’s got twice the amount of surface contact because it goes through twice the amount of yada, yada, yada. So if we’re moving twice the amount, building twice the amount of pressure, isn’t it creating twice the amount of strain on the water pump?
(Kate) Yes. And in fact, two weeks ago, I did the podcast with Ken Anderson. And obviously, you know, Ken, and actually, you could pick them up because I know you’re a Race Fan dealer as well. And Ken and I started talking about cooling. And he said single pass is the way to go. I mean, that meant of course that’s what they’re using in NASCAR, he said, but even more than that, it was NACA, which is like the National Association of something like it like it’s the aeronautic engineers, like, like Wilbur Wright started this organization more than 100 years ago, and they’ve spent millions of dollars on trying to find out about cooling and whether it’s Formula One or any of those other ones it all came down to single pass. Now do I sell a single pass rate here? No, I do not. I have double pass radiators right now.
I can tell you I’ve probably got $4- $5,000 with the radiators hung up on the shelf that made two or three races that are just junk. I mean this is stuff that you know the snake oil for say that that was going to be the next latest greatest everything and going back to it for the you know, the best bang for the buck, I think going back to a single pass but I would like to collect some data on on, you know, just the dyno side of things to see if one does take less horsepower to to offer this.
Bottom Restrictors – Are They Worth It? (38:05)
I have, like I say, all this stuff, you might see some results on some things, not the other. I didn’t see any results out of it. But it might have been something that was better suited for single pass. And I had a double pass or you know, vice versa. And I didn’t see the results. But I think the biggest thing is just keeping stuff clean. Keeping the stuff clean and we run a dash 16 upper radiator hose. That’s enough restriction there. And we run 180-190 degrees with 90% humidity outside most the time and but we keep our stuff clean and all that stuff. No, we don’t run any water wetters or anything like that. Just basic water. I said just keep everything clean, and seems to work pretty well for us.
Racing Packages Around the Country (39:23)
Oh, absolutely. And a lot of it, like I said, I think has to do with the humidity difference. Even though they’re at elevated temperature. They don’t have that nasty swamp southeast weather we have but they’re in the majority of the Midwest tracks I’ve seen are you know, big sweeping in the field all the time, you know, keeping the RPM elevated, you know, for maximum amount of cooling and fan speed and all that stuff that that plays in into the fact of keeping everything cool. I feel like they can get away with less fan blades and a little bit less, you know, they can run a 20% or 15% 30% ratio where us in the south we get slowed down in the corners a lot of the places and, you know, with elevated temps and, and humidity, we’ve got to keep everything you know, moving a little bit faster here. So, yeah, I’ve seen it all over the, you know, all over the country. I mean, you go up and northeast, you could probably get away with a triple mass radiator and 50% reduction ratio with a two two blade fan, it’s just down here.
Crate Racing Tips and Tricks (41:02)
Oh, like I said, just keeping everything clean and maintenance, the power steering pumps, we recommend just, if you put a good quality fluid, like the stuff that you sell, or our brand, just don’t take the reservoir cap off. Throughout the season, we don’t recommend changing the fluid just you do yourself a disservice opening the reservoir and either getting a speck of trash in the system or something of that nature, the majority of rebuilds/pump repairs that we see that come in user failure, you know, like it’s almost they’ve went to the racetrack “Oh, I forgot check the fluid” take it off and a piece of debris fall off the decking end of the power steering pump and you know go through it and tear the system up or scar the rack cylinders stuff like that. So really maintenance keep everything clean and don’t wants the power steering pump gets on there just don’t mess with it. It’s designed to operate and go and not have any issues.
Moisture and Power Steering Fluid (42:10)
Normally, everything stays sealed up pretty good. I mean it’s my job to make this stuff fail. So one year I went I think it was like 60 Something races and start changing the fluid 60 It was almost 60 50-100 lap races, not just you know 20 lap and four or five lap practice, and it’s not I’m a whim, I practice 40 laps on Friday and then run 100 lap race on Saturday we didn’t change fluid all season. So I don’t think like the fluid can break down a little bit, but it’s not going to lose its you know, the viscosity or compression ratio or even, you know, from the the data that we’ve collected here and run on our dyno, we haven’t seen that lose any flow rate. So as I’ve just keeping the system sealed off is the biggest deal. And most of the time, you know, it doesn’t pull a whole lot of moisture out of the air. So I haven’t seen moisture be any kind of issue in the system.
So by opening your your pressurized system, and like it was just a question like, oh, not only trash, but would you get some condensation or moisture in there? Is that going to make a detrimental effect? (43:37)
Yeah, and that was one of my questions. You know, we worked with a lot of engineers when coming up with our formula for the fluids. So, you know, on a personal note, the brake fluid getting back to the wet and dry on asphalt car, we use a lot more brake temp and whatnot. And actually brake fluid once it’s cycled to it’s almost boiling point the first time it loses almost half of its rating for the second time. So if we didn’t change fluid from you know, 100 lap race to the next 100 lap race, if you got 800 degrees of brake temp, the first race and when you got to 400 the second race, you’d lose brake pedal. So that was something I really worked with our engineers to making some, you know, with the fluid engineers to make something that was repeatable, where we wouldn’t have those kinds of issues in the system because, you know, power pumps kind of get 15,16, 1700 pounds of pressure pretty regularly. And I’ve our NASCAR stuff with with the noses sealed off, we’ve had fluid temps up to 300 plus. So we’ve got a good brand fluid and now it’s like you said it’s pretty pretty good stuff and it doesn’t pull the moisture and have some of the issues that the brake fluid does after a cycle.
Pitfalls in Myths and Rumors in Crate Racing (45:32)
Valve springs and push rods. we’ve got some some pretty good stuff coming up, we’re probably going to debut with you closer towards the the show that you haven’t Charlotte, we’re not going to PRI. You know, we’ve touched on this subject multiple times I feel like it. The racers, I don’t see, from a racer standpoint, I tried to do everything here. It’s kind of a double edged sword. For me, I try to make all the business decisions here from obviously the business aspect. But also, you know, in the view of the racers, and I just, it’s getting harder and harder and harder for a local racer to travel to one central location to have a trade show every year. And that’s what you do, you know, do great with, you know, bringing it to the southeast region, because there’s so much history and so many racers in the southeast there that we can kind of congregate for a couple of days and touch on some of the stuff that we can’t afford to go to Indianapolis. We pulled out of some of the bigger trade shows to doing the more regional stuff, we’ve upped our social media department pretty heavily to get the word out. Obviously, this is the thing more with the times. Yeah. So we’re going to release some pretty cool projects we’ve been working on for multiple years now. It’s kind of been a long, long time coming. And hopefully, it’ll be another other tool to keep the cars steering.
Getting Youth Involved in Racing (48:34)
Obviously, we need to get the youth more involved in this. You know, we’re our biggest enemies at times we you know, we gotta have the next greatest latest, there’s that that cost the racers money. And I try to keep all that stuff in consideration when designing some of these products. That’s first time in my life when I’ve been racing for 20 something years that I don’t know where it’s headed. I just hope it’s headed in a positive direction at this point, you know, obviously, you know, going back five years ago, we never thought we would be in a pandemic like we were and some of this stuff and we never would have had the growth that we’ve all experienced last couple of years. But here we are living it. I just hope we get more youth involved and this deal, you know, continues to grow like it’s been growing.
KRC Power Steering is the leader in racing engine pulley kits. Serpentine, HTD, and V-Belt aluminum pulleys. They manufacture racing, aftermarket, and Hotrod Aluminum Power Steering Pumps at their factory in Kennesaw, GA.