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:
Down River Cryogenics
4300 AR Hwy 365
Jefferson, AR 72079
870/543-9917 cell (best way to reach him)
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
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