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Cryogenic Treatment

So Brad and I move to a tiny Arkansas township. Four wheelers, deer hunters and sweet tea. Gotta love it, but it's no metroplex. One of the funniest things for our Triumph racing selves, though, is that we moved to a property not two miles from one of the few (and Arkansas' only) cryogenic treatment businesses! It is a little shop run by a gentleman named Mike Pate.

This is one thing we were skeptical of. I mean, so you superfreeze it, temper it, and it is now SuperEngine?

Okay, so we learned about cryo treating. It basically makes the metal (and some plastics) stronger -- not harder, which can make metal brittle. If done properly, it creates a permanent change in the material that alters many wear characteristics. It is still not very well understood, but the results are very clear. There is an increased resistance to abrasion and fatigue; a change in vibrational damping; increased electrical conductivity; stabilization in metals to reduce warping under heat, stress and vibration; transformation of austenite to martensite in ferrous metals; and precipitation of very fine carbides in ferrous metals that contain carbide-forming elements. And the change is in the metal mass, not just the surface. You can machine the metal afterwards (which Mike recommends for turning cranks and honing cylinders, etc.) and it will not affect the benefit.

Apparently this is very big in the brake rotor business -- racers and fleets are seeing two to three times the life of untreated components even under severe racing conditions. The rotors are also less prone to warp or crack. The USPS specifies this process for their fleet rotors and is getting up to three times as many miles as they were with untreated rotors. You can also cryo treat the pads for benefit.

All of the major racing series, police fleets and other businesses are using cryo-treated components. Mike does a good business in sawmill blades, gears and nylon bushings. He also treats musical instruments -- it helps the overall tone of the instrument. Clutches; springs; gears, shafts and assemblies; engine parts and bearings all benefit from this treatment.

We were still thinking "snake oil" as Mike gave us a handful of safety razors and a couple boxes of pantyhose. Cryo-treating pantyhose keeps them from running if a hole happens to be made in the hose, neato. The razors were what won us over. These are basic Gillette cheapie disposables with the lubricating strip, that have been treated. Brad would have to throw one of those away after about three to five days. Mike gave us the razors in early June 2004, and Brad started using the first one then. He finally quit using it in DECEMBER! He did not use another razor, and yes, he did continue his regular shaving routine. SEVEN months of sharpness. Wow. So Brad had most of his TR3 racer's engine cryo treated at Mike's. And we treated the front rotors of my Dakota quad-cab, which is notorious for warping problems. No warping yet!

Mike is very knowledgeable and has designed his own process and built a good bit of his setup. His prices are very reasonable as well. We would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone. His contact info is:

Mike Pate
Down River Cryogenics
4300 AR Hwy 365
Jefferson, AR 72079
870/543-9917 cell (best way to reach him)
501/397-7189 office

We have no financial interest in this (darn it!) -- we just wanted to pass along something that might help some of you out there. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, holler, and we'll take you by there for a visit. (Added benefit -- no building A/C needed in summer!)

Have a great night and
Keep Triumphing,

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