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2013 MAY

EngineBuilderMag.com

CHRYSLER 5.7L/6.1L Labor Costing Study

PG 25

>Old Iron


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Contents 05.13

Features

ON THE COVER

Small Engine Market

Labor Costing Study: HEMI When it comes to rebuilding late model 5.7 and 6.1L Chrysler Hemi engines, it may be difficult for you to know where you stand on price. While you should never set your pricing directly based on what your competition does, it’s always helpful to understand the playing field. Associate Publisher/ Editor Doug Kaufman presents our current labor costing study on rebuilding these engines, with a look at national and regional average labor charges ............................................25

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Engine Assembly Lubes & Oils

When metal-to-metal contact occurs in an engine, localized overheating is created. This can wipe a bearing almost instantly. There are other areas in an engine that don’t receive lubricant until a few seconds after the engine has been running and oil spray is established. Contributing Editor John Martin looks at what assembly lubes, oils and greases are needed and where..........................................................20

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Small engines are everywhere. They power lawn mowers, garden tillers, portable generators, all kinds of pumps, go-carts, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles, forklifts, even refrigerated trailers on reefer trucks. Most of these engines are single-cylinder four-stroke air-cooled motors that range in power from 5 to 15 hp or more. Technical Editor Larry Carley investigates the opportunities for shops in this market......................50

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Sportsman Flyer Motorbikes www.sportsmanflyer.com

Columns

Fast Lane......................................14 By “Animal” Jim Feurer, Contributing Editor Learning From Broken Parts

What’s On the Dyno? ....................18

By Jeff Schlemmer, Contributing Editor A GMC Inline-6 302 cid Proves to be a One-of-a-Kind Build

Old Iron ........................................56

CNC Parts Machining CNC-controlled lathes, mills and machining centers can be used to machine a wide variety of industrial and automotive parts. Most engine builders who have CNC equipment, however, use it primarily for engine block and cylinder head machining. But creativity doesn’t have to end there. Our Technical Editor Larry Carley explores the parts manufacturing possibilities of this equipment..............................................41

41 COVER DESIGN BY NICHOLE ANDERSON PHOTO BY KEITH BERR; RIDER: GUNTHER MAIER

By John “Gunner” Gunnell, Contributing Editor How a Legend Got His Start

DEPARTMENTS Events ..................................................................4 Industry News......................................................6 Shop Solutions ....................................................12 2013 Supplier Spotlight ........................................59 Cores/Classifieds/Ad Index ..................................62 Final Wrap............................................................64 ENGINE BUILDER founded Oct. 1964 Copyright 2013 Babcox Media Inc.

ENGINE BUILDER (ISSN 1535-041X) (May 2013, Volume 49, Number 5): Published monthly by Babcox Media Inc., 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Phone (330) 670-1234, FAX (330) 670-0874. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH 44333 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ENGINE BUILDER, 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333. A limited number of complimentary subscriptions are available to individuals who meet the qualification requirements. Call (330) 670-1234, Ext. 275, to speak to a subscription services representative or FAX us at (330) 670-5335. Paid Subscriptions are available for non-qualified subscribers at the following rates: U.S.: $69 for one year. Canada: $89 for one year. Canadian rates include GST. Ohio residents add current county sales tax. Other foreign rates/via air mail: $129 for one year. Payable in advance in U.S. funds. Mail payment to ENGINE BUILDER, P.O. Box 75692, Cleveland, OH 44101-4755. VISA, MasterCard or American Express accepted. Publisher reserves the right to reject any subscription that does not conform to his standards or buying power coverage. Advertising which is below standard is refused. Opinions in signed articles and advertisements are not necessarily those of this magazine or its publisher. Diligent effort is made to ensure the integrity of every statement. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage.

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Events

Industry Events June 2-4 SME 2013 Annual Conference Baltimore, MD www.sme.org/conferences or 508-743-8544

June 8 AERA Tech & Skills Regional Conference Hosted by Liberty Engine Parts Pittsburgh, PA www.aera.org or 888-326-2372

June 22 AERA Tech & Skills Regional Conference Hosted by National Performance Warehouse Los Angeles, CA www.aera.org or 888-326-2372

September 18 AERA Tech & Skills Regional Conference Dallas, TX www.aera.org or 888-326-2372

September 18-20

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68th Annual PERA Conference Dallas, TX www.pera.org

September 25-26 Rottler 6th Annual Open House Kent, WA www.rottlermfg.com/open_house.php

September 27 AERA Tech & Skills Regional Conference Hosted by Rottler Manufacturing Kent, WA www.aera.org or 888-326-2372

October 2 MERA Remanufacturing and Sustainability Conference Troy, MI www.mera.org or 248-750-1280

November 5-8 SEMA Show Las Vegas, NV www.semashow.com For more industry events, visit our website at

www.enginebuildermag.com or subscribe to

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Industry News

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Tognum America Opens Diesel R&D Center In Graniteville, SC Tognum America Inc. recently celebrated the grand opening of a new research & development center at its MTU Aiken Plant in Graniteville, SC. The $40 million expansion project was made possible in part by the support of Aiken County and the State of South Carolina, whose Secretary of Commerce, Robert M. Hitt III, offered remarks during the grand opening ceremony. The diesel engine facility is designed to develop cleaner, more efficient and more reliable engines for off-highway applications, such as the mining, commercial marine, construction and rail industries. The new, 19,300-square-foot research and development center at the MTU Aiken Plant is capable of testing new engines up to 4,500 kW (6,035 bhp) while simulating a wide variety of applications, load demands and environmental condi-

tions. The plant manufactures MTU Series 2000 and 4000 engines, primarily for the U.S. market. With its two business units, Engines and Onsite Energy, the Tognum Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of engines and propulsion systems for off-highway applications and of distributed power generation systems. These products are based on diesel engines with up to 10,000 kilowatts (kW) power output, gas engines up to 2,150 kW and gas turbines up to 45,000 kW.

Eaton Sponsors WMU Student Race Car Engineering Teams Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton announced that it has provided $8,000 to Western Michigan University (WMU) in support of three student engineering teams. The teams will design and develop vehicles to compete against other student teams in the American Solar Challenge, Baja SAE and Formula SAE

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races this year. Several engineers from Eaton’s Galesburg and Marshall, MI, facilities are serving as mentors, providing technical and engineering support to the WMU teams from its College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “These programs provide students with excellent hands-on experience in developing, building and racing high-tech vehicles, as well as an opportunity to learn from engineering experts,” said Rick Rachner, who leads WMU’s Development and Alumni Relations activities for the engineering college. “These projects are a great way for young engineering students to apply their newly acquired skills and solve real problems,” added Craig Sell, director of engineering for Eaton’s Vehicle Group. “At the same time, it allows Eaton to work with the next generation of engineers.” With the help of Eaton’s sponsorship, WMU students are competing in three programs:


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• The Sunseeker solar race team is developing a solar-powered vehicle for the American Solar Challenge, which is run on highways across the U.S. As one of only a handful of engineering schools in North America to have participated in every race since the biennial challenge was started in 1989, WMU has finished in the top 10 four times and has captured several postrace best design awards. • Formula SAE challenges colleges and universities around the world to design and build small-scale, Formula One-style cars. WMU has fielded a team for the past seven years in the Michigan portion of the series. • SAE Baja competitions test engineering and design skills as students build and compete in small, off-road vehicles across North America.

AVI Unveils A1 Engine Repair Test Prep Program Auto Video Innovations (AVI) has expanded its AVI Test Prep product line with the final volume of the ASE A Series Test Prep line. The newly released A1 (Engine Repair) program is available now on DVD and streaming on demand at www.auto-video.com. “Our AVI Test Prep programs have been a huge help to technicians preparing for the ASE tests,” says Katie Hallnan, AVI’s training coordinator. “We’re excited to complete the A series as we strive to continually expand and improve our ASE Test Prep

offerings. Everything a tech needs to know for the ASE certification test can be found in these test preps, and you can study from them at your own pace.” AVI Test Prep’s curriculum is developed by ASE Master Technicians and centers on focused task lists that detail the knowledge and skills required to complete each specific level of certification. Each multi-hour instructor-led, interactive, video-based program includes: • Instructional video • Study guide • Task lists • Glossary of terms • Practice test questions • Practice test quiz AVI’s A1 Test Prep Program is available for $124.95 for the DVD/Study Guide, or the OnDemand-only version is available for $99.95. For more information, visit www.auto-video.com or call 800-7187246.

Liberty Engine Parts To Host AERA Tech Seminar at Pittsburgh Warehouse Liberty Engine Parts will host an AERA Tech & Skills Regional Conference at its Pittsburgh warehouse on Saturday, June 8, 2013. Liberty’s Tim Fisher encourages engine builders in the Three Rivers area to attend the show at 6969 Lynn Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15208.

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Regional Conference Schedule (Tentative) 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Coffee and Rolls 9 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Host and Exhibitor Introduction 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Tech Session #1: Scooter Brothers from Comp Cams 10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Break 10:45 a.m. – Noon Tech Session #2: Dick Maskin from Dart Machinery Noon – 1:15 p.m. Host Lunch/Tech Topics at Tables 1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tech Session #3: Trey McFarland, Mahle Motorsports 2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Break 2:45 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tech Session #4: AERA Presentation For more information contact AERA at www.aera.org, or call Liberty Engine Parts at 412-661-7162.

SEMA’s SPC Changes Name, Focus, To Target Emerging Technology As part of its evolution, SEMA Street Performance Council (SPC) is changing its name to the Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) and will be open free of charge to all employees of SEMA member companies. “In recent times, the SPC successfully led the way for other SEMA councils and member companies in identifying and understanding emerging trends and technology,” said Nathan Ridnouer, SEMA VP of councils and membership. “While the group was delivering great value to the mem-


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Industry News

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bership, its name was not representative of what the group was accomplishing. The changes and the new name better reflect the group’s mission and will allow them to grow and be even more effective in their efforts.” The ETTN’s mission statement is to identify, understand and communicate emerging trends and technologies to

help members improve. The network will do this in a variety of ways, including building and fostering a community of like-minded members who share an interest in learning and gaining competitive advantages. To join the ETTN or for more details, visit www.sema.org/ettn.

MERA To Co-Host Fall Remanufacturing and Sustainability Conference The Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) will partner once again with the Golisano Institute for Sustainability to co-host a Remanufacturing and Sustainability conference on Oct. 2 at the Michigan State University Management Education Center in Troy, MI. Leading speakers will cover topics on remanufacturing, sustainability and corporate responsibility. MERA members and industry guests should save the date for this important and unique event. A conference agenda will be released in the coming weeks. For more information on the conference, visit www.mera.org.

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Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and a bipartisan group of legislators have introduced two bills that aim to alter the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), according to the AAIA Capital Report. Originally passed by Congress prior to the recession, the RFS requires gasoline sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum amount of renewable fuel, most of which happens to be the cornbased ethanol. Opponents of the RFS highlight the increased costs placed on businesses and consumers. Goodlatte’s first bill, the RFS Elimination Act, “eliminates the RFS and makes ethanol compete in a free market.” His second bill, the RFS Reform Act, would simply cap the amount of ethanol added to gasoline at 10 percent. EPA has issued rules that would permit up to 15 percent ethanol in 2001 and later vehicles; a decision that has been criticized by car companies and small engine manufacturers, who charge that these high levels of ethanol will cause severe engine damage. Those representing the ethanol industry defend the RFS by emphasizing the reduced cost to consumers at the pump while attacking the oil industry for trying to eliminate ethanol. Goodlatte’s press release can be found at goodlatte.house.gov/press_releases/383. ■ Have industry news to share? Email it to Doug Kaufman at dkaufman@babcox.com


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Using Multi-Layer Steel (MLS) Head Gaskets As the name implies, MLS gaskets are constructed from 2 to 5 layers (depending upon the application) of heat treated stainless steel. Each layer is separated by a thin layer of a nitrile rubber coating. They have also been embossed in key areas to aid the sealing process, and to maintain proper sealing forces between the cylinder head and block. The correct surface requirements on both the head and block are very important for maintaining a proper seal when using an MLS gasket. Most manufacturers call for a surface finish of 40 Ra or less. Check with the gasket manufacturer for the proper spec. If you are switching from a traditional composite head gasket to an MLS head gasket, both the block and the head will probably need to be resurfaced to achieve the finish required. Some older resurfacing machines can’t achieve this level of finish. Caution: Do not spray or apply any coating to MLS head gaskets that have a coating from the manufacturer. The surfaces of these gaskets that contact the cylinder head and the block are coated with a special nitrile material designed to seal not only compression from the cylinders, but also the water ports. Any added coatings can cause the gasket to move around more than designed, causing leaks. Scott York Advantage Engine Parts Lynn, IN

TLC for Threaded Fasteners To obtain the correct torque on a fastener, it is important that your threads are clean. You can achieve clean threads simply with a few easy steps. For threaded fasteners, remove grease or other surface contaminants by wiping with a clean rag or soaking in a chemical degreaser. After this initial cleaning, a wire brush can be used to further clean the threads and remove any remaining debris including rust, dirt or other stubborn 12 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

contaminants. Using a vise to hold the bolt will make this easier. But a wire wheel is a much faster method, and gives superior results. For cleaning internal threads, like threaded holes or nuts, thread cleaning chasers should be used. Thread chasers can be purchased individually or as a set. In a pinch, a bolt having the correct size and thread can be made into a thread chaser by grinding away a section of the bolt lengthwise. This gives the debris a place to go.  A nut can be used in the same way to clean up bolts or studs. Thread cleaning chasers are available for cleaning blind or through holes. A set of chasers is an important addition to your tool box and essential in properly preparing an engine for final assembly. Lamar Whitman Engine Pro Technical Department Wheat Ridge, CO

into how work flows through your shop. Better yet, it enables customers to get a feel for your operation by observing your employees. While walking your shop floor, customers are able to sense how your employees perceive your company by how they conduct themselves and interact with each other. These are the types of subtle attributes that make it attractive for them to do business with your shop. Also, shop tours promote networking among racers and car enthusiasts, which is one of the best ways to promote new business. If you don’t offer customer tours, think about why you don’t. Identifying the reasons might highlight areas of potential improvement and increased business. Jim Kovach Kovach & Associates Performance Engine Building Parma, OH

Customer Shop Tours Can Increase Business Among the sales and marketing strategies used to promote business, customer tours were by far the most frequently cited tool among the top shops in a 2012 Top Shops Benchmarking Survey. Nearly three-quarters of those upper-echelon shops recognize the value of opening their doors to customers, even though it is impossible to track how much new work can be directly attributed to these promotions. Shop tours offer the opportunity to personally introduce your equipment, processes and people in a way that isn’t possible through a brochure, website or even a video. Tours demonstrate not only your pride in your operation, but also your comfort level in showcasing it. In turn, your customers come away with the comforting feeling that their jobs will be processed with the same degree of care and concern they would exercise if they had worked on it themselves. Tours also enable you to demonstrate the control you have over your processes and the thought you put

Organizing Your Parts for Restoration Projects A piece of cardboard and a felt pen can help you keep the parts you take off an old engine properly organized. Being organized is a big part of restoring cars and engines. When you’re taking parts off a car one year and putting them back on two or three years later, you need a good way to keep track of them. Over the years, I have tried taping parts, labeling them with string tags or putting them in plastic bags. Magic marker notes wear off tape. String tags seem to attract grease that makes them unreadable. Plastic bags full of parts are al-


most as easy to lose or lose track of as parts themselves, and they can get very greasy and the bags are relatively expensive. I have found the best way to store parts is on old pieces of cardboard. To attach nuts and bolts to cardboard, simply poke holes in it, put the bolt through and tighten the nut on the other side. Certain parts can be attached to the cardboard with electrical ties. The very cheapest electrical ties will suffice. If you are storing nuts that came off studs, rather than nuts and bolts combined, you can use electrical ties to hold the nuts to the cardboard. You can even use different colored electrical ties to indicate where the nuts came from. If you’re keeping track of head bolts, cut the cardboard in the shape of the head and put the bolts in proper sequence. Label each position with a magic-marker. For some reason, the ink stays on cardboard much longer than on tape and string tags. A nice thing about storing fasteners and parts on cardboard, is that when it comes time to use a wire wheel to clean them, and some treatment to keep them from rusting again, you can take them off the cardboard, restore them, and put them back on the cardboard again. This is a very easy system to use and I think you’ll find it works great. So, start saving those nice pieces of cardboard you get in your parts shipments. You’ll need a lot of cardboard in all shapes and sizes. ■ John Gunnell Gunner's Great Garage/Restoration Shop Manawa, WI

Shop Solutions – The Power of Knowledge Engine Builder and Engine Pro present Shop Solutions in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine and at enginebuildermag.com. The feature is intended to provide machine shop owners and engine technicians the opportunity to share their knowledge to benefit the entire industry and their own shops. Those who submit Shop Solutions that are published are awarded a prepaid $100 Visa gift card.

Engine Pro is a nationwide network of distributors that warehouse a full line of internal engine components for domestic and import passenger car, light truck, heavy duty, industrial, marine, agricultural and performance applications. They also produce engine parts under the Engine Pro name that offer premium features at an affordable price.

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Fast Lane

Learning From Broken Parts When routine maintenance between rounds unearths a major problem

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n 1973, I was a sportsman drag racer. My car was the two-ton orange ’57 Mercury named, “The Big Animal.” The transplant engine was a pure stock Ford 427 FE 8V low riser I called “Old Reliable,” shifted by a top loader four-speed with a Hurst Competition Plus shifter. In August of that year, I was preparing my Big Animal for the next weekend. My 427 Ford – Old Reliable – had about 25 runs on the last oil change that produced three finals, a runner up and two wins. The weekend before, I made 8 runs at Oswego, IL. Two timed runs and six rounds to the win. The two wins in August at Oswego, qualified me for a special bonus. A double payoff if I won this event. The Big Animal was on my shop hoist for an oil and filter change and routine between race servicing. As I drained the warmed up 8 quarts of 50 weight engine oil in a container for inspection, I looked at the magnet on the drain plug. There on the magnet was a big chunk of unrecognizable metal!

Left to right: Low riser rod; broken low riser rod and piston from prior loose baffle incident; LeMans Rod; NASCAR Rod. 14 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

The car ran impeccably on Sunday. And it sounded great when I warmed it up. Oil pressure was normal, the filter did not show any debris. I knew instantly I needed to pull the pan. I always use magnetic drain plugs in my own and customers’ equipment, including the engine pan, transmission and rear end. Pulling any Ford V8 pan in a stock ’50s and ’60s chassis is tricky. You unbolt the motor mounts from the frame. Jack the engine up 3 inches and block it with something suitable between mounts and frame. I always use tapered pieces of wood I made for that job. You then unbolt the pan and drop it to the cross member. The crank needs to be turned so the rods kind of lay flat and do not

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR “Animal” Jim Feurer ajfeurer@enginebuildermag.com

interfere. Then comes the tricky part. With the pan lying on the cross member, you reach in and unbolt the oil pump – which thank the Lord is in front – drop the pump with pickup assembly and the pan sump. Take the distributor drive shaft out of the pump. Let it all lay in the sump. Then carefully maneuver the pan from under the engine. Reinstalling the pan and pump assembly is an even bigger treat. You old time Ford guys know what I am talking about. I looked into the pan; again I respond with astonishment. Next to my oil pump assembly was a balled up small baseball-sized hunk of metal in the sump. My heart skipped a beat! I realized the factory This is an example of a Ford FE pan with the infamous finned baffle. Always reinforce the fin's welds. This should be used with windage tray pictured.


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Fast Lane

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spot-welded finned oil baffle was missing from my special Ford factory optional 8-quart pan. Up inside of Old Reliable I found shiny marks on #4 and #8 rods where the loose baffle had tangled with them. I also noticed a small chip off the skirt of the #8 piston. I found that in the corner of the pan along with a few, now familiar, small fragments of broken sheet metal. Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my tire-smoked brain. Two years ago, I kicked out a rod in The Big Animal that I assumed was fatigue from 300 runs. When it happened, I did not investigate the carnage very close. In haste, I switched engines and put the wounded stuff in my warehouse next door and made it to the next race. I always save my broken and used parts. After this incident, I learned I needed to study them closely. I ran next door to my warehouse and looked at the torn up block and pan from two years ago. It had the same type of pan I just removed. Low and behold, with debris and all, was an identical ball of metal still in the pan. The finned baffle was gone. It looks like Ford’s spot welds stunk! That balled up loose baffle is apparently what broke my rod two years ago. This time, I got lucky. But when during these last 25 runs did that baffle come loose? I checked the engine over very carefully. I was still using the old 427 low riser rods. I looked at all the rod and main bearings and checked all vitals. I elected to put Old Reliable back together and run it, reasoning the slightly chipped piston skirt was not a problem. I dressed the chipped piston skirt with a point file. I replaced a couple of rod bearings, put new rod bolts in #4 and #8 rods and used a brand new Ford 8 quart baffled pan. Needless to say, I reinforce welded the finned baffle. I also added a Ford HP optional windage tray between the pan and block. My gamble to run Old Reliable was right. I won the event that Sunday, which was 10 runs: two timed runs and eight elimination rounds. The toughest round was the three car semifinal. It included NHRA Super Stock ace, the late Jeff Velde in his ’69


Mustang 428 SCJ. The other contestant was the bright yellow ’64 Nova called the Little Canary. Flipping coins for the bye-run, Jeff and I hoped for an all Ford final – it was not to be. We had to run each other for the semi. We were the closest run of the day and both ran right on our dials. Luckily, I got the win. In the final, I handily beat the Little Canary. I finished out the season with Old Reliable producing several more wins and the Oswego Sportsman Class (Run Tuff Eliminator) championship. Why had the loose baffle broken my engine two years ago and Old Reliable endured the same treatment? That – I guess – is how the engine got its name. The Big Animal wheels up at Oswego, IL. By 1975 “Big” sported a more powerful 427 Ford Tunnel Port.

Fast Facts: FE Connecting Rods The bolts in the 427 low riser rods are 13/32˝ instead of 3/8˝ like most FE engines. And the nut takes a 19/32˝ socket. The rod is very durable as long as it’s not revved over 6,000 rpm. Every Ford FE high performance mechanic will have a 19/32˝ socket in his box. A 5/8˝ six-point socket will work but dents the sharp edge of the nut. I’ve seen it done! Those odd 13/32˝ bolt rods were used in 1961 401 HP 390 tri-powers; ’62 and ’63 406s, ’63 and ’64 427 low risers and the ’68 to ’70 428CJ (Cobra Jet). ARP now has a replacement bolt for those rods, labeled as “CJ” rod bolts. I recently used them in my classic 64 R code Galaxie. For higher than 6,000 rpm, the stronger 7/16˝ cap bolted LeMans rods (see photos on page 14), used in 427 FE high risers, medium risers, tunnel ports and 428 Super Cobra Jets, is a better choice. Ford also offered a wider, heavier-duty 427 “NASCAR” rod that required a matching crank. Those huge rods would only fit down the 427 4.233˝ or larger bore. Today, stronger, lighter and slimmer aftermarket H-beam FE rods are abundant. ■ – Animal Jim

You have to wonder, if I was twice a victim of a loose baffle in that very same widely-used Ford part-numbered pan, how many others were victims? And, perhaps, with other types and brands of pans how often has this problem occurred? I learned to look much closer at all baffles or windage devices in all pans, ensuring they are secure and clear of anything in that engine that moves. And now I ALWAYS save and STUDY broken and used parts. And don’t forget a magnetic pan plug. ■

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CONTRIBUTING EDITOR JEFF SCHLEMMER JSCHLEMMER@ENGINEBUILDERMAG.COM

WHAT’S ON THE DYNO? Guy Henson’s Jimmy 302 straight-six is a one-of-a-kind build

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the air through that large chamber via hile automotive trends come a supercharger. and go, true collectors deHenson started with a fully racevelop a personal taste that prepped block, indexed and precision grows more interesting and eclectic as ground crank, and a set of stock rods time passes. Sometimes it comes down to owning things truly unique and one- that were beam polished, shot peened, resized, rebushed small ends (with oil of-a-kind. This GMC inline-6 is all of fed pin bushings), straightened by mill that and more. boring the bushings, and length corThe 302 cid inliner is one of the rected in the same process. Then he most sought after inline-6 engines, and this particular engine may be at the top added custom forged pistons with special designed domes and Teflon coating of the desirable list! Guy Henson, to reduce the additional friction and owner of Damn Good Motors in Minnesota built this engine by immediately heat developed by forced induction. He then added a custom Hellfire nitearing down a core engine and rechrome plasma top ring and designed searching its inefficiencies. It just so a vacuum reversion between the comhappened that the first core he was pression rings. working with had been previously With all the basics in hand and an built by Warren Johnson and could engine assembled, the fun really began! never be built to street specs. By startThe trick behind this engine was hiding with a stock engine, Henson was ing the Rotrex planetary supercharger. able to pinpoint the greatest faults and It was designed for inline-6 Jeep endevelop a game plan to correct them, gines, but could be easily adapted to which increased power, reliability and, many applications with a bit of imagimost importantly, drivability. He could nation. By using planetary gears, the also take cues from the Johnson engine Rotrex unit revs to 20,000 rpm quickly by spotting modifications and deducand provides boost from idle until its ing why they were made. efficiency is exceeded by the engine. In This particular engine has an enorthis case, it promous shared center intake The main goal of the dyno run vides 6-8 psi runner/plenum that was to initially break-in the enboost depending greatly affects the airflow gine and then calibrate the on the engine efvelocity from the intake ECU. Most of the pulls were low manifold into each intake rpm from idle to 3,000. The envalve pocket. By dumping gine could have made more the air/fuel mixture from power but the goal was to a high velocity manifold make it streetable at low rpm. into a large center chamber, the velocity drops and fuel will fall out of suspension. Liquid fuel puddling in the intake runners may be common in this engine, but it is certainly not a design goal. How can it be fixed? The head can’t effectively be recast with a smaller chamber (or 6 intake ports). Machining the head or adding an insert would be relatively ineffective. Adding fuel injectors into the head, keeping the intake runners dry, is virtually impossible by design. The logical solution is to push 18 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

ficiency at specific rpms. Now, how do you hide a supercharger? It’s belt driven, so Henson mounted the compressor in a position of low visibility, but it has to push air into the cylinder head and fuel has to be added at some point. The car owner insisted on maintaining the look of a carbureted engine. The real trick was to design a riser for the valve cover that could add function. Rocker arm tower trusses were integrated into the spacer design to stabilize and help correct valve train geometry, so form follows function. The exterior design was machined to mimic the block, and the tappet cover was also machined to mimic the same look. Viton rope seals are used top and bottom to keep oil where it belongs. Once it’s painted the engine color, it all appears original to the untrained eye. Then, an aluminum tube designed to deliver the boosted air was hand milled, CNC machined, precision welded, straightened, shaped and ported for air cleaners before being sent out for anodizing. This is really the most “trick” piece in the system. It is camouflaged in black and easily overlooked. It feeds compressed air around the front of the engine into the custom


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billet air cleaner housings, then down into what looks like Stromberg 97s. What are they really? The “Strombergs” are actually throttle bodies with two injectors installed inside each float bowl. They spray directly into a set of three custom GMC badged intake manifolds that, again, are the only ones in the world. The air cleaners? Well, they actually never have any air passing through them. Hidden behind the filter is a horseshoe shaped tube pushing air directly from the black intake tube into the throttle body. Trick! Last but not least, the cam is a custom billet grind designed to optimize efficiency and take full advantage of the boost. Later, intake valve opening times and lower duration correct the cylinder pressures and allow the engine to run smoothly on pump gas. Managed by an aftermarket fuel injection system, it burns fuel utilizing a heavily modified HEI distributor and custom crank trigger.

The Dyno Session

setting up the fuel mixture and trying a few timing settings, the FAST computer was set up well enough to make a full horsepower and torque pull to 4,000 rpms, the design limits of where the car will be driven. This is all documented in a YouTube video (Ed. note: Watch the Jimmy 302 in action at http://tinyurl.com/cpp8uqy). Then, in typical stress-induced dyno day fashion, the entire program disappeared from the FAST computer and everyone had to start over tuning! That’s when a very important trick was learned when tuning EFI systems: save your files while tuning to both the EFI program AND a separate folder in your laptop! Even with a constant power supply and perfect wiring, glitches like this can occur and will absorb an enormous amount of extra time. Other lessons learned from the dyno session included finding the proper oil level in the Rotrex supercharger cooling tank (easy to overfill). The team ran into some computer interface problems with the aftermarket

fuel injection computer. Even though the correct computer system with all necessary (included) sensors was used, there were a few issues with sensors not fitting the wiring harness. And despite having correct fuel pressure, air velocity, great spark, and proper timing, the system initially failed to read the rpm signal from the HEI module. However, swapping to a 7-pin HEI module cleared up the issue. No amount of preplanning can help you prepare for a 100% successful dyno session, but bringing a well versed group of specialists and not overcrowding the dyno cell will certainly promote the best possible results. With all the mechanical, fuel, and ignition systems specialists in house, this session ended in success with great results and a very happy customer! ■ Jeff Schlemmer owns Advanced Distributors in Shakopee, MN. He said the final numbers for this low rpm run came in at 400 lb.ft. of torque and 250 hp at 3,000 rpm but with further tuning could be more.

The Jimmy 302 was broken in and tuned on R&R Performance’s engine dyno with the help of the shop’s owner Ron Quarnstrom, John Garner from the Horsepower Ranch in Seattle, WA, Jeff Schlemmer from Advanced Distributors in Shakopee, MN, and Guy Henson the engine designer extraordinaire from Minnetonka, MN. The goal was to safely break in the cam, tune the FAST fuel injection system to safe air/fuel levels, check the operating temperatures, verify oil pressure while running, optimize the timing, and possibly get baseline torque and horsepower numbers if time allowed. Initially, the ECU requires you to set up some basic parameters including number of cylinders, firing order, and other design parameters such as crank trigger, type of ignition trigger, MAP sensor range, IAC, and cam sensor triggers. From there the engine can be started, roughly at that. Immediately the baseline AFR (air fuel ratio) is established and the 12x12 grid-design tuning chart gets filled in with more accurate figures in each of the 144 squares. Ron did a great job of running the engine at steady state in 500 rpm increments to establish the air fuel mixture under load. After more than an hour of Circle 19 for more information

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CONTRIBUTING EDITOR JOHN MARTIN JMARTIN@ENGINEBUILDERMAG.COM

Assembly Oils, Greases and Lubes

With as many options as there are, how do you choose the right products for your shop?

I

• Distributor drive gears more effective if the engine is to be n the August 2012 issue of Engine • Pushrod tips stored before use. Today’s passenger Builder, I wrote about engine • Rocker arm and valve stem tips car and truck oils don’t contain suffiassembly lubes and why you Although I’m a fan of using grease cient (ZDP) to protect parts which should consider using them. When I where it’s needed and heavy oil haven’t yet been broken in. was asked to write another article to everywhere else, I did experience The ultimate, of course, is grease. help engine builders better undersomething scary about some greases. Grease is simply oil which is constand and select engine assembly Some greases do not dissolve in oil. I tained in a waxy, soap substrate. The lubes for their operation, at first I was at a NASCAR shop when they substrate keeps the oil from running didn’t understand the assignment. I fired up a new engine. After a brief away until it is needed. When operthought I had explained everything ating temperatures rise, the substrate break-in regimen, the dyno operator in the previous article. But after a took the Oberg apart to look for enmelts, and the oil flows to the comvisit to a popular parts retail website gine damage. There were small, white ponent to do its job. that showed me 85 separate listings particles all over the surface of the Don’t use grease on every part of under engine assembly lubes from Oberg screen. From then on I've the engine because it is so stiff that it over 25 suppliers, I began to underinsisted on using assembly greases will make that first start difficult. Use stand why engine builders are havthat dissolve in oil. grease only where oil flow and suring trouble selecting these products! Those particles floating around in face protection is less than desirable For this article, I will try to help the engine make me nervous. What if such as: you make better informed decisions one of them blocks an oil feed hole? • Blower drive gears when choosing assembly lubes and One doesn’t have to gamble, since • Camshaft gear drives lubricants. First, do you need engine most greases out there dissolve in oil. • Flat tappet cams and lifters assembly lubes at all? As a physicistmotorhead who has There are a lot of products available for asbuilt and destroyed his sembling and breaking in engines, but know share of engines, I Photos from QMP Racing Engines which ones to choose can be a difficult task think so. When metalfor shops. Each component requires a differto-metal contact occurs ent lubricant to aid in the breaking in process. in an engine, localized overheating is created. This can wipe a bearing almost instantly. There are other areas in an engine (e.g., push rod tips, rocker arms) that don’t receive lubricant until a few seconds after the engine has been running and oil spray is established. As far as lubrication goes, any reasonable amount of oil will protect surfaces by preventing metal-tometal contact if it contains sufficient Zinc dithiophosphate (ZDP). Thinner oils can rapidly run off the surfaces they are intended to protect. Heavier oils run off more slowly, so they are 20 May 2013 | EngineBuilder


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Be sure to ask your supplier that direct question. If the engine will be fired up and broken in immediately, then heavy oil, STP, or a mixture of heavy oil and STP (with adequate ZDP) will probably give adequate protection. Before engine assembly lubes were invented, I used a mixture of STP and SAE 30 grade oil plus added ZDP as an engine assembly lube. Back then I still used grease on flat tappet cams and lifters. The problem with heavy oils and STP is they weren't formulated to be engine assembly lubes. New Shell Rotella, for example, contains less than 0.01% weight zinc. I like to see at least 0.02% zinc for initial startup. They will work, but chemically engineered engine assembly lubes contain ZDP chemistry for extreme pressure (EP) protection and rust inhibitors to prevent rusting of vital components. Rust on a valve spring can significantly affect its elastic limit or even cause it to break under ex-

treme circumstances. Tackifier agents are also used in assembly lubes to help the oil cling to the surface to be protected longer. None of the above will protect an engine if it is put together dirty. We mentioned that last time, but any speck of material which is harder than cast iron and larger than the bearing clearances can easily destroy the perfect engine build. Engine components can’t be cleaned too much before putting the engine together. I clean my blocks in soap and water and then spray them down with WD-40 in hopes of removing all potentially dangerous particles which might be embedded in the porous cast iron or aluminum. I clean lifters and rocker arms in solvent to remove machining debris, blow them dry, and then soak them in break-in oil. I’ve also begun using fluids on bolts which are to be torqued. ARP started this trend, and I agree with them. Using a lubricant on a bolt

Circle 22 for more information 22 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

does two things. First, lubricating the threads means the bolt will pull down more evenly with less stiction. Secondly, a lubricated set of threads means a bolt will be pulled down tighter at the same torque wrench reading (more bolt stretch), because friction between the threads has been significantly reduced. I should also comment about GM E.O.S. as a lubricant supplement. E.O.S. was originally designed to add more ZDP and other additives to ’60s design oils which weren’t very heavily compounded. Oils of today have two to three times the additive content of 1960s oils, with the exception of ZDP. The only thing they need to be more effective is additional ZDP, rust inhibitors, and tackifiers. I’m not certain E.O.S. is the best answer for today’s engines and oils. This brings up the subject of brand marketing. We all experience it every day, and it upsets an old technical guy like myself. Just because your grandfather ran a specific


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brand of oil that was great once upon a time doesn't guarantee that it is great now. The Gulf Oil Co. hasn’t existed for many years, yet the brand name is still out there owned by two current oil marketers. Lube specifications, lubricant formulations, additive suppliers, and the resultant products change every few years. Marketers promote brand names hoping you will be lazy and merely trust that brand name to protect your engine forever! However, as a scientist, I want to see actual test data, not testimonials from Joe Sixpack prior to making purchases. And scantilyclad ladies don’t necessarily know much about engine lubes! Therefore, how does one intelligently decide which assembly products to use? I’m going to ignore roller cams here, because rollers don’t have the EP requirements that flat tappet cams do. Rollers just need adequate, clean oil to allow their components to survive. Never use grease on rollers. If that roller skids across the

Circle 22 for more information 24 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

cam lobe a few times without turning, it can flat spot and fail. I recommend selecting an oil-soluble grease for use on cam lobes and lifters of flat tappet cams. Request that the various suppliers provide performance data. Use the grease you selected on all the components I mentioned above. Then if the engine has to set for a while, you’re covered. I can’t recommend brand names here, because I helped invent some of the products out there. Then I would select a heavier viscosity oil (e.g., 20w50), oil assembly lube, break in oil, or hot rod oil to put on all the bearing surfaces, rocker arms, etc. Don’t forget to put oil in the pan, so the engine isn’t accidentally started up dry. Some oil assembly lubes, break-in oils, and hot rod oils contain a vapor phase rust inhibitor that will protect stored engines longer. I prefer using these oils because they are safer for use if your engine won’t be fired up immediately. Don't forget to oil the crank-

shaft seals to prevent them from tearing on start-up. I use a thinner mineral oil (SAE 10w30 or 10w40), not a synthetic, on cylinder walls and piston rings. These areas don’t need as much EP protection – you actually want the piston ring face and cylinder walls to have accelerated wear at startup to better seat the rings, thereby optimizing their ability to seal combustion pressures. You can even use a little oil on cylinder walls and no oil on the rings, but I like to be conservative. I hope this discussion helps unshroud some of the mysteries about engine assembly lubes. You don't need to take any more chances with an engine build than you have to. ■ John Martin is a “motorhead” physicist who worked for Lubrizol for 25 years, and before that he worked for Shell. He has formulated and tested racing oils for NASCAR and NHRA Pro Stock engines for decades.

Circle 24 for more information


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ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ EDITOR DOUG KAUFMAN DKAUFMAN@BABCOX.COM

A

lthough Chrysler didn’t invent the hemispherical chamber, they were the first to build an engine with a hemi chamber for an American car back in 1951. Originally tagged the “Double Rocker Shaft V8,” it soon became “the Hemi.” It made a lot more power than the rest of the car engines that were available at that time, so some people say Chrysler started the “horsepower wars” with the Hemi. • With its good ports and bigger valves that opened away from the walls it had better volumetric efficiency. • It had a low “surface-to-volume ratio” which gave it better thermal efficiency so it made more power.

So, with the best chamber, plenty of cubes, generous ports and better airflow, it was a winner – except that it was heavy (a 392 cid Chrysler weighed 737 pounds), more complicated and more expensive to build – so it eventually lost out to the big wedge motors like the 383, 400 and the 440 cid. Chrysler has built three different families of Hemi motors since 1951. There were 12 different engines in the first generation that ranged from a 241 cid Dodge to the 392 cid Chrysler and spanned almost ten years from 1951 through 1958. The only engine in the second generation was the legendary 426 that was built from 1964 thru 1971. It was originally intended to be used for racing at NHRA and NASCAR tracks, but it ended up on the street because NASCAR told Chrysler that they had to sell at least 500 cars with the “street Hemi” to make it legal for the Daytona 500 that year. It died in ’71 because NASCAR had outlawed it on the track and the emissions police frowned on it for the street. But in the late ’90s, when Chrysler realized that it needed a new engine with more power and torque for the 2003 Ram pickups, the third generation Hemi was born. Since then, it’s been used in SUVs, Jeeps and RWD cars, too. Some purists say it’s not a real Hemi because it has squish areas on both sides of the chamber, but as Engine Builder technical (continued on page 30)

REGIONS

NUMBER OF STATES IN EACH REGION

EAST NORTH CENTRAL EAST SOUTH CENTRAL MIDDLE ATLANTIC MOUNTAIN NEW ENGLAND PACIFIC (Including Hawaii) SOUTH ATLANTIC WEST NORTH CENTRAL WEST SOUTH CENTRAL

(5) (4) (3) (8) (6) (4) (9) (7) (4)

EngineBuilderMag.com 27


engine & performance warehouse

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National Average, Median and Mode Labor Charges For Rebuilding The Hemi 5.7L/6.1L Engine Service

Average

Median

Mode

95% CI range

$64.00 $90.00 $70.00 $180.00 $200.00 $18.00 $65.00 $120.00 $25.00 $60.00 $120.00 $20.00 $55.00 $75.00 $50.00 $30.00 $20.00 $125.00 $60.00

$50.00 $80.00 $50.00 $150.00 $200.00 $20.00 $80.00 $160.00 $25.00 $80.00 $80.00 $20.00 $40.00 $50.00 $50.00 $25.00 $25.00 $100.00 $60.00

$67.50-77.40 $92.90-103.90 $78.80-95.50 $187.10-207.30 $214.00-236.90 $19.70-23.80 $68.60-77.10 $117.00-131.30 $27.30-31.50 $68.10-77.00 $115.40-130.30 $22.60-29.30 $57.40-63.50 $77.20-95.50 $48.60-65.90 $31.60-36.10 $24.40-30.20 $131.50-151.70 $68.10-82.30

$65.00 $125.00 $50.00 $175.00 $100.00 $100.00 $44.50 $60.00 $120.00 $25.00 $20.00 $150.00 $40.00

$50.00 $150.00 $50.00 $200.00 $100.00 $120.00 $40.00 $80.00 $150.00 $20.00 $25.00 $125.00 $40.00

$64.90-76.40 $130.40-147.30 $50.00-59.80 $170.40-189.40 $105.90-116.40 $98.70-111.20 $48.40-59.00 $60.70-71.70 $122.20-135.50 $26.90-30.80 $23.70-31.70 $151.90-170.30 $44.30-52.00

$45.00 $45.00 $125.00 $42.00 $175.00

$50.00 $50.00 $125.00 $50.00 $200.00

$44.40-50.10 $46.10-59.50 $122.80-133.80 $44.10-53.80 $166.40-185.10

$150.00 $32.50 $295.00 $500.00 $50.00 $45.00 $35.00

$200.00 $25.00 $300.00 $500.00 $50.00 $40.00 $25.00

$152.50-208.20 $33.40-38.50 $290.10-329.30 $491.10-549.30 $53.50-62.50 $44.90-48.10 $35.50-42.60

Head Work Clean/disassemble/estimate valve job (both) Clean & pressure test both cylinder heads Dye penetrant inspect heads Basic valve job both heads 3-angle valve job both heads Install 1 valve guide Install 8 guides Install 16 guides Machine and install 1 valve seat Machine and install 4 valve seats Machine and install 8 valve seats Test valve springs (8) Clean & surface cylinder head (1 head) Weld crack repair in combustion cham. (each) Crack repair using pin (ea.) Install spark plug thread repair insert (each) Other thread repair (each) Complete valve job (1 head) Dissassemble, clean/assemble rocker assem.

$72.50 $98.40 $87.10 $197.20 $225.50 $21.70 $72.90 $124.19 $29.40 $72.60 $122.90 $25.90 $60.40 $86.30 $57.30 $33.90 $27.30 $141.60 $75.20

Block Work Clean cylinder block Dissassemble, clean short block & estimate Magnetic powder inspect block Bore cylinders oversize and hone block Install cylinder sleeve & bore (1 sleeve) Resize big end of rods (per 8) Clean and magnetic inspect rods (per 8) Install rods on pistons (8) Resurface block decks Install core plugs (all) Thread repair insert (each) Align hone Install cam bearings in block

$70.60 $138.90 $54.90 $179.90 $111.20 $104.90 $53.70 $66.20 $128.90 $28.90 $27.70 $161.10 $48.20

Crankshaft Work Clean crank & check for cracks Straighten crankshaft Grind crankshaft Polish crankshaft Balance crankshaft

$47.20 $52.80 $128.30 $49.00 $175.60

Miscellaneous Services Prep for dyno Inspect cam, polish journals as needed Assemble short block Assemble long block Clean all sheet metal/covers Resurface flywheel Rebuild oil pump 28 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

$180.40 $36.00 $309.70 $520.20 $58.00 $46.50 $39.10


Circle 29 on Reader Service Card for more information

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of the engines (and from which much of this information has been drawn) it’s close enough for most of us. It has a hemi-shaped chamber with the valves canted toward the middle of the cylinder, four rocker shafts with good valvetrain geometry and generous ports. And, it incorporates some modern technology including aluminum heads, dual spark plugs, roller lifters and a “multi-displacement system” (MDS) that deactivates four cylinders under light loads. It can pump out 345 hp and still get 21 mpg on the road. Available in both 5.7L and the 6.1L configurations, it reintroduced the phrase “That thing got a Hemi?” into our culture. When it comes to rebuilding this popular engine, it may be difficult for you to know where you stand on price. While you should never set your pricing directly based on what any of your competition does, it’s always helpful to understand the ballpark in which you’re playing. To help, we present here our current labor costing study on rebuilding late model Hemi engines, with a look at national and regional average labor charges. The study covers various head, block and crankshaft service procedures as well as miscellaneous labor charges. The individual charts begin below. In addition, the detailed chart on page 28 represents the national average, median and mode labor charges for all of the procedures cov-

engine & performance warehouse ered in our survey. The “average” for a specific labor charge is the result of adding all of the charges for that service from all respondents and then dividing that number by the total number of respondents. The “median” is the result of ranking all of the survey responses from highest to lowest and then finding the number that falls exactly in the middle. The “mode” is simply the most-often reported number from all survey respondents. Additionally, our chart provides the “95% Confidence Interval (CI)” range. In real terms, if you were to ask all of the machine shops in the country what their labor rates were for each operation, it is 95 percent certain that the “true” average labor cost would fall within this range. You may find your prices are either lower or higher than these averages. Don’t worry – as we’ve tried to explain for years, we believe that knowing your costs is the only sure way to set your pricing. You may have updated equipment that allows you to be more productive than these charts indicate. Conversely, you may find your costs are significantly higher than others in your same area. These discrepancies should not be seen as indicating that your costs are either too high or too low. But they will hopefully give you an incentive to look carefully at what you charge for services…and why. “Some shops may include certain

Clean/Disassemble/Estimate Valve Job (Both)

30 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

operations in the process of doing others,” says Bob Roberts, Market Research Manager for Babcox Research. “This may lead to a higher dollar amount charged. Additionally, some shops may have given us an ‘each’ price when we wanted ‘all’ or they may have included an ‘all’ when we asked ‘price each.’” In a few cases, we did not provide a regional breakdown for certain services listed below. The information provided did not vary enough to give interesting regional breakdowns for a few categories, so only the national information is presented. Roberts says while the overall results are statistically reliable, the way some respondents answered the question may have skewed certain numbers slightly. “Some shops reported to us that they perform some repairs on a ‘time’ basis. We did not use a dollarper-hour value if they provided it. A few shops price all their repairs on a ‘time’ basis. This is most common with welding repairs. Some shops do not perform all the operations listed and this leads to a smaller number of observations and thus a less reliable average,” Roberts says. However, he says “In all cases, the national average will be the most accurate figure.” You can read Doug Anderson’s complete article on rebuilding the 5.7/6.1L Hemi on Engine Builder’s website (www.enginebuildermag.com) by searching for “Anderson Rebuilding Hemi.” ■

Clean and Pressure Test Cylinder Heads (Both)


BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Dye Penetrant Inspect Heads

3-Angle Valve Job (Both)

Install 8 Valve Guides

Basic Valve Job (Both)

Install 1 Valve Guide

Install 16 Valve Guides

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engine & performance warehouse

Machine & install 1 Valve Seat

Machine & Install 8 Valve Seats

Install Spark Plug Thread Repair Insert (Each)

32 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

Machine & Install 4 Valve Seats

Clean & Surface Cylinder Head (Each)

Other Thread Repair (Each)


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engine & performance warehouse

Complete Valve Job (Each Head)

Clean Cylinder Block

Magnetic Powder Inspect Block

34 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

Disassemble, Clean/Assemble Rocker Assembly

Disassemble, Clean Short Block & Estimate

Bore Cylinders Oversize and Hone Block


Circle 35 on Reader Service Card for more information

EngineBuilderMag.com 35


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engine & performance warehouse

Install Cylinder Sleeve and Bore

Clean and Magnetic Particle Inspect Rods (8)

Resurface Block Decks

36 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

Resize Big End of Connecting Rods (8)

Install Rods on Pistons (8)

Install Core Plugs (All)


BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Thread Repair Insert (Each)

Install Cam Bearings In Block

Grind Crankshaft

Align Hone

Clean Crank & Check For Cracks

Polish Crankshaft

EngineBuilderMag.com 37


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engine & performance warehouse

Balance Crankshaft

Inspect Cam, Polish Journals As Needed

Assemble Short Block

Assemble Long Block

Clean All Sheet Metal/Covers

38 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

Resurface Flywheel


Circle 39 on Reader Service Card for more information

EngineBuilderMag.com 39


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TECHNICAL EDITOR LARRY CARLEY LCARLEY@BABCOX.COM

Feature

Parts Making With Your CNC

Use your automotive CNC to expand your business

C

also able to do many jobs. omputer Numeric Controlled Although most of the automotive (CNC) machining allows engine builders to achieve almost CNC equipment that’s being sold today is geared for automotive head unbelievable levels of accuracy and consistency. The programmability of a and block work, there’s no reason why this same equipment can’t be digital computer not only automates used to expand your business in new the operation of the equipment but directions. When the economy went also provides a level of repeatability into recession and the demand for that can’t be matched by manual equipment. That’s why CNC has been engine building took a big hit, some the backbone of virtually all manufac- engine builders who had CNC capabilities began taking on custom CNC turing for the past 40 years. machining projects to offset the drop CNC-controlled lathes, mills and in their automotive work. The move machining centers can be used to to diversify the kind of work they machine a wide variety of industrial were doing not only helped them and automotive parts. Most engine weather the recession but to builders who have CNC equipment, strengthen and expand their cushowever, use it primarily for engine tomer base. Up to 50 percent or more block and cylinder head machining. of the work Even so, the possibilities that some of don’t end there. Some enUp to 50 percent of the work these shops gine builders are using the some shops are doing today is capabilities of their CNC non-traditional CNC machining. machining equipment to This includes making custom autodo all kinds of things, inmotive and non-automotive parts. cluding engraving valve covers and other parts, making carburetor adapter plates, custom engine parts, motorcycle parts, even industrial parts. “If you can dream it, you can machine it,” said one CNC equipment supplier. In other words, if you can design, map and program a part for a CNC machine, figure out a way to fixture it and acquire the right machine tools to cut it, the only limitations on what you can do are the physical dimensions of the part you want to machine and the size limitations of your CNC equipment. A full featured 5axis CNC machining center obviously offers the widest range of capabilities, but 3-axis and 4-axis machines are

are doing today is non-traditional CNC machining. This includes making custom automotive and non-automotive parts, machining various types of castings and other components, and even doing custom CNC programming for others. Tom Nichols of Automotive Machine & Supply in Ft. Worth, TX, says his shop specializes in high end import engines and Harley Davidson motorcycle engines, but that nearly half of his business is now custom CNC work. Nichols owns six CNC machines, including a 5-axis machining center that he originally bought to do cylinder head porting. His equipment also has a digitizing probe which he uses to copy and import parts dimensions into his MasterCAM CAD/CAM software. The software digitizes the dimensions of

EngineBuilderMag.com 41


Feature

parts that will be copied, and determines the machining strategy and tool paths to make the part. The information is then exported into GCode, which is used to run the CNC machining equipment. One of the custom jobs he did was to make a set of velocity stacks for an alcohol fuel dragster. A pattern for the velocity stacks was first hand shaped out of wood on a lathe, then flow bench tested and reshaped until the desired flow characteristics were achieved.The wooden stack was then digitized using the If you can design, map and proCNC probe and imported gram a part for a CNC machine, into the CAD/CAM softfigure out a way to fixture it ware to make the parts on and acquire the right machine the CNC equipment. Nichols tools to cut it, the only limitations on what you can do are said the digitizing probe althe physical dimensions of the lowed him to accurately lopart you want to machine and cate and mill the flats on the the size limitations of your CNC and equipstack so when it was inequipment. ment made stalled on the injection maniit fallin’ fold, it fit perfectly. “That down easy.” would have been a long manual job Some of the custom CNC jobs to machine, but the CNC software

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Nichols has done recently include machining Hemi connecting rods, idler bushings for a BMW supercharger kit, making parts for his own block boring machines, brake caliper


Circle 43 on Reader Service Card for more information


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adapter brackets, engine adapters for mating Isuzu diesel engines to GM pickup transAs simple as these parts look, they require mission housa high degree of accuracy that this engine ings, steering builder’s CNC makes easy. These are flare bushings for holders, used by parachutists during exhi928 Porsches, a bition jumps, such as those performed by set of custom the US Army's Golden Knights. oversized Pony emblems for a Mustang, Yahama luggage racks and metal replacement taillamp mounts for Harley motorcycles that were originally made out of plastic and prone to cracking. Some of his non-automotive jobs have included machining heads for industrial compressors, making custom 10-inch multi-groove pulleys for gas well compressors, parts for aircraft maintenance work, flare holders axis CNC machine with good used by parachutists during exhibiCAD/CAM software, said Nichols, tion jumps (US Army Golden but also all of the related equipment Knights), and even custom sport that may be needed to support and knives. do the R&D that’s required to deMaking custom CNC parts revelop and make custom parts. For quires not only a highly capable 5-

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automotive work, this might include a flow bench, balancer and so on. Nichols said he can do small CNC batch work from one to 200 pieces at a time, or just the CAD/CAM programming if a customer wants to do


THIS ISSUE:

PG 50 >> Small Engines

his own production. “There’s quite a learning curve with CAD/CAM software if you’ve never done it before. You can get the basics down in a couple of weeks, but it can take six months to a year to really learn everything the software can do.” Nichols said entry-level CNC equipment is not that expensive and can be learned fairly quickly. “For $10,000 plus maybe $3,000 for tooling and fixturing you can get yourself a small hobby CNC machine for low production custom parts. It’s a good way to learn CNC before you move up to larger, more expensive and capable CNC equipment.” “CNC allows you to do more work with fewer people. We used to have 6 to 7 people working in our shop. Now we do the same amount of work with just two people. The CNC machines do most of the labor that we used to do manually, but it does take longer to set up a CNC job initially. Some jobs can take one to two hours to set up the programming and fixturing. But once that’s

PG 565 >> Old Iron

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been done, the CNC equipment does everything else,” said Nichols. Gordon Schiffelet of Performance Automotive in Bethalto, IL, bought a 4-axis CNC machine for blueprinting blocks and heads. He says his equipment is absolutely vital for the kind of work his shop does, but that it also allows him to take on some custom CNC jobs, too. “We do custom valve cover engraving, make manifold spacers, modify main caps and other engine parts, and have even made parts for a local tool & die shop that makes big castings.” Monty Crawford of Arrowhead Speed & Machine in El Dorado, AR, is another engine builder who is using his CNC equipment for a lot of custom work. “Last month, I’d say about half of the jobs we did was something other than traditional head and block work.” Crawford said that sometimes a customer will bring him a rough sketch or drawing of what they want him to make. He then has to program the part, a task which he says

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comes naturally since his background is a tool design engineer. Based on experience, he can usually quote a price for a job that includes any required development time, programming, handling and cutting time on the CNC equipment. “We use the same shop labor rates for custom CNC work as we do for traditional automotive work.” Crawford said one non-automotive project he’s undertaken recently is machining lower receivers for AR15 assault rifles. “The gun market has gone crazy recently, and it’s hard to get finished parts for many guns. I have a source for the AR15 receiver forgings so I can machine them myself.” Crawford said the AR15 gun parts he is making is more of a hobby, but if they sell well it could open up a whole new niche for his business. Pat McCready of Nyes Automotive in Muncie, IN, currently has two CNC machines for doing automotive work. “Our CNC machines are busy all the time, so I haven’t had much opportunity to look into doing cus-

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tom jobs. But when I bought the machines, I was thinking that at some point down the road I’d like to branch out into some custom CNC work. I’m not there yet but hope to develop some new opportunities at some point.”

contours of parts with complex shapes. You’ll also need some type of CAD/CAM software to create a digital

Thinking of Buying a CNC Machine? Anyone who is considering buying CNC equipment should have basic machining skills and experience. Most suppliers of automotive CNC equipment include basic training to get you up and running, and most of the machines come with basic software for cutting and milling parts. The software may also include an engraving program for machining valve covers, plaques, plates and other flat surfaces – a feature that has proven to be very popular with a lot of CNC users for making signs and trinkets to promote their own business. For copying parts, a digital probe is a must for tracing the dimensions and

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Using a digitizing probe on your CNC is a good way to develop and shape parts by hand first and then digitize them to be imported and made for production later.


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blueprint of the part and to create the G-code to run your CNC equipment. Depending on what type of CNC equipment and software package you end up with, you can make anything from custom billet crankshafts and camshafts to complete cylinder heads and engine blocks. And once a project has been mapped and programmed, it can be stored for future projects so you don’t have to redo everything from scratch. Although many engine builders have bought their CNC equipment only to machine automotive cylinder heads and blocks, you also need to think about all of the other possibilities this type of equipment can open up for your business. As once CNC equipment suppler told us, “Don’t limit your thinking to the kinds of jobs you are doing today. Think about the kind of jobs you might be doing three to five years from now. Think about the work you are currently farming out to somebody else and how your CNC equipment might allow you to do the same work in-house. Think

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about all of the other custom CNC machining opportunities that may be available in your local area.”

What is CNC?

CNC is simply a means of automating the feed rate, cutting speed, location and angle of the machine tooling. The hand controls on a machine are replaced by servos that are operated by a computer. You tell the machine what you want it to do by typing on a keyboard or using a touch screen (such as bore the block, cut the upper and/or lower O-ring seats for the cylinder liners, align bore the block, resurface the block, etc.). You also enter the necessary parameters that tell the machine how much metal to remove. The part is then fixtured and located manually or automatically with respect to the tooling, and the computer takes over to run the equipment and perform the desired processes. What happens if you screw up and enter the wrong coding that controls the machine? If the CNC equipment has built-in software safeguards that can detect obvious input errors,

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or tooling travel or positioning errors, it should stop the machine and/or ask for corrections before proceeding. If the software lacks such capabilities, however, you may end up with an expensive hunk of junk in the machine, or broken tooling. Accuracy is essential so the machine doesn’t drill a hole in the wrong place or too deep, or mill off too much metal from the surface of a part. Programming is the key to CNC machining. That’s the part that intimidates many people who might otherwise want to get into CNC but are reluctant to do so. As we said earlier, most CNC equipment suppliers will provide basic training to get you to the point where you can perform basic machining. Additional hand-holding and tech support may be provided as needed so you’ll be happy with your equipment. It takes time to gain confidence, but with each job you accumulate more and more experience until eventually you can do just about anything. CNC requires input commands

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Feature that tell the controls how to move the tooling. In a 3-axis machine, the X, Y and Z coordinates correspond to in and out, left and right, and up and down. That’s basically all you need for basic engine machining. If you want to automatically repeat the same process for both banks of cylinders on a V6 or V8, or a complex work piece that has more than one surface, you need a 4-axis machine (the 4th axis is the rotation of the workpiece). For porting cylinder heads and making complex 3D components, the workpiece and tooling head both have to move so the tooling can follow complex curves and circular motions. This requires a 5axis CNC machine (the 5th axis being the circular movement of the tooling), and software that can program the intricate movements. CNC machines can be programmed manually using G-code or M-code commands entered on a keyboard or touch screen. The code commands correspond to various tooling movements in the X, Y and Z planes.

Each line of code tells the tooling where to move, how quickly to move and at what angle so metal is removed where it is supposed to be removed. G-code and M-code training classes are offered by many trade schools and online. Easier to use software allows “conversational programming,” so you don’t have to know G-code or M-code. You just enter dimensional answers to basic questions about where you want metal cut, milled or drilled. Some CNC control screens will even show you a 3D map of how the tooling will move as it machines the part. Most machinists can be up and running with conversational programming fairly quickly with minimal training. They won’t be doing any custom machining, but they will be doing boring, surfacing and similar jobs. The ability to do custom work will come as they gain experience with CNC. Once a CNC machine has been programmed, the work piece is mounted and fixtured in the ma-

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chine. Its position must then be zeroed relative to the machine tooling before you press the GO button. From that point on, CNC takes over and does everything else. You don’t need an operator to run the equipment or to babysit it. And if you are performing the same job over and over again on a run of similar parts, CNC will do each job exactly the same every time. The adaptation of CNC machining in the engine rebuilding market continues to grow – especially among those who would classify themselves as high-end or specialty engine builders. Most would agree that CNC has become a “must have” tool for their shops. Many have also found that having CNC capabilities in-house not only allows them to make their own custom automotive parts but to also make all kinds of different parts for a much broader range of customers. It’s all about making the most of what you have and making good money while you’re doing it! ■


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Photo by Keith Berr Sportsman Flyer Motorbikes www.sportsmanflyer.com

Pursuing

The Small Engine Market

From lawnmowers to bikes to forklifts, the opportunities are where you find them

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tion, etc.), by offering higher quality mall engines are everywhere. work, faster turnaround times, more They power lawn mowers, garpersonalized service, custom work othden tillers, portable generators, ers are unwilling or unable to perform, all kinds of pumps, go-carts, ATVs, more competitive pricing or warranty snowmobiles, motorcycles, forklifts, coverage or by getting involved in the even refrigerated trailers on reefer local powersports market. Opportunity trucks. Most of these engines are sinis where you find it. gle-cylinder four-stroke air-cooled motors that range in power from 5 to 15 hp or more. Finding Your Niche Some have vertical crankshafts and Some small engines can be profitable to some have horizontal crankshafts. rebuild while others are not. When Joe There are also V-twins, three-cylinder Homeowner fries the engine in his and four-cylinder small displacement lawn mower because he never engines, some capable of producing changed the oil in it, he’ll probably up to 75 hp or more. Many of these junk his old mower and head for the are four-strokes, some are two-strokes nearest big-box hardware or discount and some run on diesel, propane or store to buy a replacement. The same natural gas. goes for the aging portable generator, It’s a broad market that includes a garden tiller, snow blower, chain saw lot of subsegments, so there are ample or other small gas-powered machine engine repair/rebuild opportunities. when the engine dies. If you can buy a The question is, can new one for a few Some small engines can be profsmall engine rebuilditable to build/rebuild while othing be a profitable ers are not. Small motorbike niche or sideline for a manufacturer Sportsman Flyer traditional automotive builds a Honda clone GX200 for machine shop? its Bonneville machines and The answer to this even set a world record in the question depends on 175cc class. your local market, who your competitors are and most importantly, who your potential customers might be. The key to making money in small engine repair is to find a niche that nobody else is serving, or a niche that is currently being underserved and needs some competition. You can exploit an existing niche that is already being served by offering machining services that others can’t provide (things like surfacing, boring, milling, honing, welding, crack inspec50 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

hundred dollars, it probably doesn’t make economic sense to try to repair the old one. Many of these machines are simply disposable commodities. If a customer does want to repair an existing lawn mower, generator or whatever, it may be easier, cheaper and faster to replace the entire engine rather than rebuild it. Remanufactured engines are available from a variety of sources, so it’s hard to compete in this price-sensitive end of the small engine market. There are also those who will attempt to do their own engine repairs (often with limited success). But most will seek out a local lawn and garden dealer who does repair work or the local guy who runs a small engine repair business out of his garage or basement. Customers who typically patronize these types of businesses are usually looking for the least expensive


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repair – which is often a patch job rather than a complete overhaul. Consequently, there’s probably not a lot of opportunity or profit here unless the local market is really underserved. The best opportunities are to be found where the money is. As the cost of the machine that is powered by a small engine goes up, so does the likelihood that the owner will spend money on engine repairs if the engine fails or develops a serious problem. The motor in a lawn & garden tractor, snowmobile, ATV, motorcycle or personal watercraft is usually worth fixing because the cost of the engine work is much less than what it would cost to replace what the engine powers. A new ATV or motorcycle can cost thousands of dollars versus hundreds of dollars to repair or rebuild the original engine. As with all types of small engine repairs, you’re competing against backyard DIYers, local powersports and watercraft dealers, small engine repair shops and remanufactured engines from various sources (both local and

online). Most of the local competitors are really nothing more than parts swappers or engine swappers. They can take engines apart and replace worn or damaged parts with new parts, or they can replace the original engine with a reman engine that has been sourced elsewhere. But most cannot recondition or machine parts themselves because they don’t have the equipment for doing that kind of work. They might be able to manually hone a cylinder or drill grind the valve seats, but that’s about it. They can’t bore a cylinder to oversize. They can’t precision hone or plateau hone a cylinder bore. They can’t do a multi-angle valve job or machine a head to accept oversized valves and seats. They can’t remachine or repair a damaged engine case or recondition a worn connecting rod or crankshaft. They can’t balance an engine. They probably lack the proper equipment for crack detection or repairs. So there are ample opportunities for a full service machine shop that can do all of these things, either for

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other small engine repair businesses or for the engine owner’s themselves.

Powersports Opportunities Powersports of any kind can be a profitable niche if you have the desire and expertise for this kind of work. Powersports customers are attracted to shops that can offer services or expertise that other shops lack. Performance-oriented customers are often the best kind of customers to have because they want to spend money on their engines. They want modifications and upgrades that increase power and longevity, and are often willing to spend whatever it takes to gain an edge over their competition. The niche for doing small engine performance work is often totally untapped in many local markets. The closest machine shop or engine builder that offers such services may be hundreds of miles away or in another state. The physical separation between the customer and the shop doing the work adds shipping costs and delays, and in-


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creases the risk of miscommunication. Most people would rather deal with their engine builder face-to-face than call or send emails back and forth to someone whom they’ve never met. Offering local powersports customers a local resource for performance work is often all it takes to get their business.

Industrial and Agricultural Market Opportunities Another profitable niche is rebuilding small engines for industrial, agricultural or even truck fleet customers. This includes forklifts, all kinds of small engine powered pumps, small field generators, small engines for oil drilling rigs, even the engines that power refrigeration units on truck trailers. With these type of customers, time is often more valuable than the cost of the job itself. When a vital piece of equipment goes down because of an engine problem, the business that relies on that piece of equipment wants it back in service ASAP. Giving these types of customers priority service is

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an excellent way of not only getting their initial business but for also getting their repeat business.

Produce Top Quality Work to Build Your Reputation It goes without saying that top quality work is a must for building a good reputation – especially in the powersports and industrial small engine markets. People will spend serious money on a highly modified Briggs & Stratton engine for a go-cart or a Junior Dragster if you can deliver reliable, race-winning engines. Ditto for the Harley owner who wants more power out of his VTwin so he can keep up with the sportbikes that are trying to blast past him on the highway. Building a solid reputation takes time, so don’t expect customers to come flocking to your door after you’ve produced one or two engines. As long are you are doing top quality work and your customers are happy, word will get around and you’ll start to build your small engine customer base. The powersports market requires

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specialized expertise and experience. It takes time to figure out what works and what doesn’t if you are new to this niche. You can copy what others are already doing, or you can develop your own tricks and techniques that give your engines an edge over the competition. Much of the know-how that goes into building performance automotive engines translates directly into building small powersports engines – things like porting, valve and seat modifications, flow bench testing, balancing, etc. But if all of your experience has been with large displacement fourstroke engines and start doing small engines or two-stroke performance work, there’s going to be a learning curve before you can reach the top of your game. Two things you have to keep in mind with respect to rebuilding small engines (especially performance engines). One is that clearances are often different. The other is that some types of cylinders require special finishing procedures. Many of these engines are

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air-cooled so piston-to-wall clearances will change much more than in a liquid-cooled engine. Cylinders may be cast iron, plated, nickel silicone carbide or aluminum so you’ll need to research the type of honing procedures and surface finish requirements recommended by the engine, piston or ring suppliers. For example, on two-stroke engines the edges of the ports have to be chamfered after the cylinder has been bored and honed, otherwise it will affect the rings. And if you are installing a cylinder sleeve in a two-stroke engine, you have to go in with a die grinder and carefully match the ports after the sleeve has been installed so it doesn’t interfere with the way the engine breathes. Also, the kinds of modifications that work and don’t work can vary quite a bit with two-stroke engines depending on the application and desired power curve. It often takes a lot of experimentation to find a port configuration that delivers the best results.

Tooling Up One of the obvious differences between building automotive engines and small engines is the smaller physical size of the components. The cylinder head and bore finishing equipment and fixturing you currently have may be too large or unsuitable for working on small engines. Some small engines also require special tools for disassembly and reassembly. Special tools may also be required for governor adjustments, valve adjustments or other tasks. Special tools that may be needed for small engine work may include any of the following: • Special tools for valve work including a small valve spring compressor, valve seat puller, valve guide remover/driver, valve seat cutters (various sizes), small valve guide reamers (various sizes), and valve guide adjuster tools. • Special tools for camshaft work including cam bearing plug gauges (various sizes) for checking wear and clearances, a camshaft bearing puller, camshaft bearing driver, small flywheel puller and flywheel holder, and magneto bearing puller/installer. • Special tools for engine bearing work such as main bearing drivers and reamers (various sizes), roll pin drivers, Circle 54 for more information 54 May 2013 | EngineBuilder


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tag or shroud is missing, it can make the identification process very challenging. Correctly identifying an engine is important not only for replacement parts, but also for ignition parts such as spark plugs (which must be the correct heat range and gapped to the correct clearances for the engine to run properly). To wrap it all up, small engine

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machine work for local customers, powersports engine modifications and small industrial engine repairs are probably the most lucrative opportunities for traditional full service automotive machine shops that want to expand their local customer base. Exploring these niche opportunities is one strategy for dealing with the ongoing changes in the traditional engine rebuilding market. ■

main bearing plug gauges (various sizes), and oil seal driver (various sizes). • Special tools for small engine pistons and rings like a ring compressor and expander that can handle small pistons and rings, a piston pin fixture for removing and installing wrist pins, and a bore dial gauge set that will fit inside small cylinders. • Other specialty tools you may find necessary or handy might include a governor spring adjustment gauge (such as the one that is recommended for adjusting the secondary governor spring on Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Vanguard engines, and M29, M30, M35, M38 engines for generator applications), and some type of mechanical or electronic tachometer for checking/ adjusting engine speed settings.

Information Please Getting into small engine repair also means you’ll need access to OEM service information for these engines, including piston, ring and bearing clearances, valve specifications, torque values and similar data. Service manuals are available from the engine manufacturers and other sources and typically sell for around $30 to $40 per manual. Trouble is, you will probably need a lot of different manuals because most small engine manufacturers produce a wide variety of engines. The VIN or ID plate, tag or decal on a small engine provides key information about the engine model, specifications and date of manufacturer. Such details are essential for correctly identifying the engine application and for obtaining the correct replacement parts and service information. The ID plate, tag or decal is often located on or under the engine shroud on small aircooled engines, or somewhere on the engine block or cylinder head. If the Circle 55 for more information EngineBuilderMag.com 55


Old Iron

How a Legend Got His Start Ed Iskenderian, known as the ‘camfather,’ was one of the first to turn hot rodding into business success

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lows,” he pointed out. “When people ast March, when Ed “Isky” Iskwent to buy a cam or carburetor from enderian picked up the Robert Ed Winfield, they came back with a E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Hot Rod & little more knowledge, too. I bought my first cam from him and he Restoration Show in Indianapolis, he showed me the machine he had built. talked about the automobile engine I was fascinated by it, because you business in the early years. The Iskenderians were Armenians had to build your own stuff in those days.” who fled Turkey and came to AmerIskenderian built a ica around Model T hot rod that he 1910, settling In 2012, Iskenderian was honin Northern ored with the Robert E. PeterCalifornia’s son Lifetime Achievement award for his contributions to wine country. the hot rodding industry. When frost destroyed the vineyards, the family moved to L.A. and sold shoes. Around 1933, Ed got interested in the stripped down Model Ts or Whippets called ‘Gug Jobs’ (Get Up and Go cars) or ‘Hot Iron.’ He went to California’s dry lakes to see them race. Iskenderian attended Polytechnic High School in L.A. and his pet project was a Model T Ford roadster. He became familiar with early speed equipment, including overhead valve conversions like the Frontenac (Fronty) design and the “multi-flathead” setup engineered by George Riley. “If you really wanted to know about engines in those days you found your way to Ed Winfield,” Iskenderian said. “He was one of the foremost authorities on racing cams in 1933-1934. He raced right here in Indy. He brought his cams and carburetors there on test days before the big race.” Iskenderian stressed that there were no car magazines at the time. “We had to learn from the older fel-

56 May 2013 | EngineBuilder

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR John Gunnell jgunnell@enginebuildermag.com

still has in 1939. He replaced the Model T frame with a beefier Essex unit that could hold a souped-up V8 with Navarro – and later Edelbrock – intake manifolds. By 1942, he ran the car to 120 mph at the dry lake in El Mirage. A set of Jahn’s pistons took the compression ratio up to 13:1 and a Vertex magneto heated up the spark. Triple Stromberg 97s fed the fuel in and the original cam was a Winfield (later replaced with an Isky, of course). Other elements blended into the car included an Auburn dash panel, a 1939 Ford gearbox and a Ford rear end. After being quoted long delivery times for a replacement Clay Smith cam, Iskenderian experimented with his own grind. Iskenderian knew his ads in Hot Rod magazine worked, because he was selling five cams a week and making $20 on them. After he opened his business, the camshaft wizard answered customer letters personally. He sold a lot of cams through speed shops. In the beginning, he had two employees, but later he would employee as many as 60 people as the business took off and grew. “By golly, one day I got a call from a man in North Carolina who was racing in a new thing called NASCAR. He asked how much experience I had,” Iskenderian recalled. “I was scared I was going to have to tell him I was a hot rodder who had been in business for three months, but luckily he didn’t ask me.” The man had seen ads for Isky’s flathead Ford V8 cam and bought one. “You could hear an engine with one of my cams coming from a half block away,” Isky explained. “They


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must have liked that, because we kept getting repeat orders from North Carolina and I started to get traction.” Isky’s little ads were written to pass on tips about installing camshafts and hot rodders liked that. Isky was always afraid that some engineer would shoot his cam designs down. “Then, I realized that the engineers might have more expertise than me, but I had quite a bit of experience in making cams for different engines.” Ed found different ways to grow his business. “We were making lots of cams for the ’49 Olds. ’49 Caddy flathead springs worked with them and cost 55-cents net. I asked around and found I could buy from Ed made a cam for Don Garlits, Cadillac’s spring manuthen used his speed record to sell facturer for 40-cents each. more cams. His nickname "Isky" So, we made a complete was given to him in high school cam kit and called it an when some of his teachers could Isky’s 404 cam engineering kit and it not pronounce his name. was a hot prodsold well. It’s almost uct. Drag racer ironic I worried about Don Garlits purchased one for his criticism from engineers, but later got Chrysler 331 Hemi-powered dragster. successful selling a product called an When Garlits put it in a larger 392engineering kit.”

Old Iron

Hemi, it didn’t work well and he called Isky who said, “You need a different type of cam.” He sent one to Garlits. The racer used it to set a speed record and Isky advertised Garlits’ results and sold a record number of the same cam.

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Old Iron

Now, history like this is fun to read, but can it help modern rebuilders of vintage engines in their own businesses today? You bet it can! Isky started off on the road to success by developing a passion for racing roadsters. He built one and learned from

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Ed Iskenderian’s famous hot rod was built in 1939 and he still has it today. After building his first hot rod, he honed his expertise in cam grinding.

doing it. He went to school to learn more. He met the experts, listened to them and learned their tricks. He “bundled” parts into kits that helped

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his customers, while bringing in more dollars and more profit. He advertised in a smart way, targeting his ad purchases to markets where he reached specific customers and creating ad copy that told them how to use his products and how his cam kits had helped famous racing drivers set competition records. The vintage engine market of 2013 is a niche segment that very much resembles the budding hot rod industry of 60-65 years ago. Ed Iskenderian understood that hot rod market and knew that being successful in it depended largely on expertise, good communication and a reputation for dealing squarely with enthusiasts. If you can bring those same qualities to the vintage engine niche today, the chances are you’ll find plenty of good business waiting there. ■ John “Gunner” Gunnell owns Gunner’s Great Garage, a restoration shop in Manawa, WI.

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Product Spotlights

Mobil 1 Racing Oil 0W-50 Mobil 1 Racing 0W-50 is a fully synthetic motor oil specifically designed to maximize horsepower in a wide range of race engine applications, including highly loaded flat tappet designs used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Mobil 1 Racing oils were engineered to help on-track vehicles reach the peak of their performance potential. It is recommended for applications where a higher viscosity and thicker oil film are required such as longer duration races where heat build-up may be an issue.

Mobil 1 Racing

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Engine Pro High Performance Connecting Rods

Maxima Performance Break-In Oil is specifically designed for breaking in engines with flat tappet camshafts, roller elements or where elevated levels of anti-wear additives are needed. Complex 2X Zinc structure protects for an extended temperature range, outperforming conventional break-in oils.

Engine Pro H-Beam Connecting Rods are forged from 4340 steel and produced on CNC machinery. They are finished in the U.S. to ensure precise big-end and pin-end bore sizes. Rods are magnafluxed, heat treated, stress relieved, shot peened and sonic tested to ensure they provide the strength required for high horsepower applications. Engine Pro connecting rods equipped with standard 8740 bolts are rated for up to 700 horsepower in small blocks, and 850 horsepower in big block applications. Visit, www.goenginepro.com.

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Have You Been To EngineBuilderMag.com? The Engine Builder website - www.enginebuildermag.com - provides weekly updated news, products and technical information along with the same in-depth editorial content as the magazine. Technical, product and equipment, market research, business management and financial information is all searchable by keywords making it easy for engine builders to find the information they need from current and past issues. Currently the site receives more than 120,000+ page views/impressions per month and growing!

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Product Spotlights

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Final Wrap

Do You Have What It Takes? 2013 Performance Engine Builder Contest Now Taking Applications

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hen the gun fires, the Christmas Tree flashes down or the green flag flies, you don’t start the race hoping for mediocrity – you expect to win. As much as we try to remain humble, let’s admit that the real goal of our business is to be more successful than the next guy. Especially in racing, if you’re not winning, you’re losing – and more likely than not, the competitive fires burn brightly to not lose the next time. We have nearly 30 engine builders who are itching at a shot at redemption and, more likely, hundreds more who feel they’re ready to knock off the champ. Applications for the second annual Performance Engine Builder of the Year Award, presented by Engine Builder and Driven Racing Oil, are now being accepted at topperformanceshop.com. We’re looking for the best example of creativity and innovation, training and education, merchandising and promotion, professional standards and conduct, appearance, solid business management, commu-

nity involvement, business growth, achievement and victories. That’s a long list, and it’s an intentionally challenging track. We’re looking for the best of the best of the best. Last year, we received entries from fantastic shops all over the country. Each was a worthy candidate, but Ed Pink Racing Engines was the cream that rose to the top. Who will it be this year? One of last year’s competitors? Someone new? You? If you believe that’s you, you’ll find yourself in tough company...but the rewards will be rich. We’ll announce the winner at a special presentation during the the 2013 Advanced Engineering Technology Conference (AETC) in Indianpolis, December 8-11. The winner will receive a hefty cash prize, an Apple iPad, three nights’ lodging at the Indianapolis Hyatt during AETC, admission for two to AETC, the Performance Engine Builder of the Year Award Plaque, a feature article about the business in a 2014 issue of Engine Builder, as well as numerous

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other prizes from Engine Builder and Driven Racing Oil. The entry process is simple: those making the nomination need to provide basic information about the engine builder or shop being nominated at www.topperformanceshop.com and write a short essay explaining why that operation should be considered. From there, all entrants will be reviewed and a group of semi-finalists will be selected. Each semi-finalists will be asked to provide additional information for judging. A panel of judges, including representatives from Driven and Engine Builder will select three finalists and, ultimately, the 2013 Performance Engine Builder of the Year Award winner. For more information about the contest, visit toppperformanceshop.com. For information about AETC, visit aetconline.com. For information about our title sponsor, visit drivenracingoil.com. The race is just getting started and I can already tell, it’s going to be a close one. Congratulations in advance to the winner, whoever you are. We’ll see you in December! ■

Dean Martin dmartin@babcox.com 330-670-1234, ext. 225 Jim Merle jmerle@babcox.com 330-670-1234, ext. 280 Tom Staab tstaab@babcox.com 330-670-1234, ext 224 Glenn Warner gwarner@babcox.com 330-670-1234, ext. 212 John Zick jzick@babcox.com 949-756-8835

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