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>Business Toolbox

>Future Alternative Fuels

>Magnum Charity Build


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Contents 12.13

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Alternative Fuels Can Be a Gas Why is natural gas becoming a more common fuel for tomorrow’s engines? As technical editor Larry Carley shows, natural gas is cheaper and cleaner than gasoline or diesel fuel, and it burns much cleaner in a diesel engine than diesel fuel. Discover other reasons for the growth of gaseous fuels and which ones will be the most popular engine fuel sources in the future. ......................................18

18 Building Blocks Every engine project starts with the block because the block is the foundation for everything else that follows. Technical editor Larry Carley shares engine building tips and secrets to help engine builders get the most bang for their buck, and block. ..........................................................24

Land Speed Racing Those in the automotive land racing groups will tell you that the Speed Trials group is really taking off. Contributor Bill Holder travels to the Ohio Mile race track in Wilmington to report on this growing motorsports activity and show you the types of engines racers are using to power their vehicles. ................42

42 Columns

Fast Lane......................................14 By Animal” Jim Feurer Learning to Race Pro Stock


Profitable Performance ................36 By Dave Sutton Magnum Charity Build

Business Toolbox Marketing your shop is an important tool for growing your business. As shops get ready for the new year, we provide you with a special management section to help you focus on ways to increase customers and improve profits. Topics addressed in this section include: improving time management, using Social Media more effectively and developing loyal customers. ..............................................28



DEPARTMENTS Events ..................................................................4 Industry News......................................................6 Editor’s Page ........................................................10 Shop Solutions ....................................................12 Product Spotlights................................................51 Cores/Classifieds/Ad Index ..................................54 Final Wrap ..........................................................56

ENGINE BUILDER founded Oct. 1964 Copyright 2013 Babcox Media Inc.

ENGINE BUILDER (ISSN 1535-041X) (December 2013, Volume 49, Number 12): 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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Industry Events January 27, 2014 APRA Heavy Duty Remanufacturing Group Summit Las Vegas, NV

February 22-23, 2014 Race & Performance Expo St.Charles, IL or 815-727-1208

March 6, 2014 HRIA Education Day and Training Detroit, MI or 909-978-6690

October 28-30, 2014 Engine Expo Novi Novi, MI

For more industry events, visit our website at Circle 14 for more information or subscribe to

What’s Ahead‌. Coming in the January 2014 issue of Engine Builder magazine: 2014 Racing Engine Changes See which racing venues have had engine and rule changes that could impact engine builders and parts suppliers. Trade Show Reviews: SEMA, PRI Catch up the latest news and technology that dominated the recent trade shows that focus on the engine building and performance markets. Performance Engine Builder of the Year Engine Builder magazine, along with Driven Racing Oil, names its top engine shop for 2013.

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Building for Mini Sprint Customers The Mini Sprint circuit is growing and if you or your staff builders have any experience in motorcycle engines, you may want to get in on some of the engine work. Variable Valve Timing Vehicles with variable valve timing (VVT) have become commonplace over the last decade and are making their way into your engine shop. 4 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

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Industry News

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Tony Kanaan is the 100th ‘Face’ on the Borg-Warner Trophy

The 100th image on the BorgWarner Trophy, featuring 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, was unveiled to the general public at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum in early December Cast in a checkerboard pattern with the winner’s name, victory year and average speed under each sculpted head, the trophy features the three-dimensional sterling silver image of every Indianapolis 500 winner dat-

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ing back to Ray Harroun in 1911. Kanaan’s image was sculpted by renowned American artist William Behrends, who has created the winning drivers’ images since 1990. James R. Verrier, president and chief executive officer of BorgWarner, was impressed on the unveiling: “Unveiling the 100th face on the Borg-Warner Trophy was a true milestone in a long tradition of achievement at the Indianapolis 500. Each image represents a driver and team that rallied to reach the pinnacle of performance. At BorgWarner, the same spirit of competitive performance drives us to maintain our own track record of technology leadership. We are proud to be part of this historic event.” Kanaan also had some profound words for the media: “It was an honor to win the 2013 Indianapolis 500, something I’ll remember and cherish for the rest of my life, to take my place in history as the 100th face on the Borg-Warner Trophy alongside my friends Dan (Wheldon) and Dario (Franchitti), and other great Indy 500 winners like Foyt, Mears, Andretti and the Unsers is truly humbling.” The Indianapolis 500 has been won 97 times in the past 103 years (Why missing six? Fun fact: there were no races during WWI and WWII). However, in 1924 and 1941, two drivers actually shared the win, one for starting the race and the other for finishing it. In tribute to his rejuvenation of the track and the inception of the Indianapolis 500 following World

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Industry News War II, a 24-karat solid gold portrait of late Speedway owner and president Anton “Tony” Hulman, Jr., was also added to the trophy in 1988, bringing the total number of images to 100. Two bases have been added to the original trophy, providing added extra room for more winners until the year 2034. The Borg-Warner Trophy stays on permanent display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. To console the winner with a personal keepsake, BorgWarner established the BorgWarner Championship Driver’s Trophy (also known as the “Baby Borg”) in 1988, which includes a duplicate image of the winner. The BorgWarner Team Owner’s Trophy was also established in 1998. Both sterling silver replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy will be presented during the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit on Jan. 15, 2014. For more information about the Indy 500 and its trophies, visit

Maserati Enters its 100th Year as a Company With the month of December, Maserati officially enters the 100th year of its history. A company 100 years young, Maserati showcased at the Los Angeles Auto Show in early December its new brand look and marketing communication campaign. Both are inspired by “The Opposite of Ordinary” concept, a testament to the company’s first 100 years and a guideline for the next 100. For, as the whole history of Maserati proves, while some automobiles are inspired by basic geometry, Maseratis are simply inspired. Maserati was founded in Bologna, Italy, on Dec. 1, 1914 and officially started operation on Dec. 14, 1914. The nucleus of the company was then

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represented by Alfieri Maserati and two of his brothers, Ettore and Ernesto. They all had an interest in mechanics and a love for speed. Though engaged in all matters technical and commercial of their new enterprise, they all at one point sat behind the steering wheel of their racing cars in the golden days of motor racing. A 7

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Industry News fourth brother, Bindo, joined the company when Alfieri died in 1932. A fifth brother, Mario, is credited with designing the famed Maserati logo, drawing inspiration from the Neptune fountain in downtown Bologna. Maserati produced its first car in 1926 – a race car named Tipo 26. It debuted with a victory in the 1926 Targa Florio, the first of an endless string of wins which include two editions of the Indianapolis 500, 9 wins in Formula One and the 1957 F1 World Championship. In 1947 Maserati stunned the world with its first passenger car, the A6 grand tourer. And in 1963, with the first generation Quattroporte, Maserati gave the automotive market a car that simply wasn’t there – the world’s first sports luxury sedan. Maserati is planning a long series of activities to celebrate its first 100 years as events will be organized in all major Maserati markets in the world. The zenith of the year-long

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activity will be the official Maserati gathering in Modena from September 19 through Sept. 21, 2014. An estimated 250 Maserati models will convene in Modena from all over the world. The three-day program will include drives on scenic Italian roads tied to Maserati’s history and multiple sessions on racetrack. A full and detailed program of the event will be released at a later date. A dedicated Maserati Centennial website – – will keep Maserati friends, fans, clients and collectors informed of all the activities planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary. As Maserati’s Centennial celebrations get underway, the special section to mark the occasion makes its debut on The section provides exhaustive details on the legendary Maserati marque, from its establishment in 1914 to the present day. The Maserati Centennial year will officially end on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, with a dedicated event.

Ocean to Ocean Record Set by Vintage Adventurer in 83-Year-Old Ford Australian motoring enthusiast Rod Wade, aka the “Vintage Adventurer,” set a new world record in the Ocean to Ocean Driving Challenge with Evans Waterless Coolant running through the engine of his 1930 Model A Ford. The non-stop drive was completed in 50 hours, 20 minutes and 6

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seconds, beating his goal by almost 10 hours. The journey began on a Friday morning, precisely at 12:01 a.m., where Rod and his co-driver, Michael Flanders filled a bottle with water from the Atlantic Ocean. The engine ran reliably through snow and rain, and hills and plains, until arrival at California’s Venice Beach Saturday night at 11:20 p.m., where they poured the water from the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean, officially completing the Ocean 2 Ocean Challenge. Rod and Michael traveled the 2,947 mile trip averaging just over 58 miles per hour without any water in the cooling system, and without worries of overheating either. Evans Waterless Coolant was used to ensure the cooling system functioned under demanding conditions. Water was on board, but used where it was needed the most – to hydrate Rod and Michael during their marathon adventure. Just before departure Rod said, “Evans waterless coolant performed so well when we drove through Asia in the hot summer that we insisted on using it for this trip. We are very confident with Evans.” This past June, the car completed the Peking to Paris Rally, considered to be the world’s greatest motoring challenge. Along this rigorous route, Evans waterless coolant successfully demonstrated its capabilities of performing under extreme conditions. With a boiling point of 375°F, Evans High Performance Coolant

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Industry News will function well past the failure point of water-based coolants. Evans High Performance Coolant provides permanent cooling protection for the life of the engine, and protects against corrosion, electrolysis and cavitation erosion. The next goal of the Vintage Adventurer team will be to take on the Ocean to Ocean Australia, again in the Model A Ford. Scheduled for June 2014, that event is a timed challenge from Queensland to Fremantle and return. Rod’s goal is to raise awareness and much needed money for Kidney Health Australia and the American Kidney Fund. For more information on Evans Cooling Systems, Inc. and Waterless Engine Coolants, visit

ExxonMobil And Toyota Extend Partnership Underscoring the performance benefits of high-quality motor oil technology, ExxonMobil has renewed its multi-year technological partnership with Toyota Racing Development U.S.A. (TRD). ExxonMobil will continue to provide its Mobil 1 racing oil technology to TRD-supported NASCAR teams. Since the 2010 season, TRD-supplied NASCAR engines have been filled with specifically customized synthetic motor oil based on the same technology of Mobil 1 engine

oils. The TRD-specific Mobil 1 motor oils deliver a unique low-friction synthetic lubricant technology and anti-wear additives to protect and extend the life of engine hardware during high-performance applications, the company states. The extended partnership with TRD complements Mobil 1’s “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR” status and ExxonMobil’s lubricant technology relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing and sponsorship of Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For more information about this partnership renewal and Mobil 1, go to

SEMA’s Gen-III Innovator Award Goes to MSD’s Petersen Todd Petersen, the chief innovation officer of MSD Performance, was awarded the SEMA Gen-III Award during the 2013 SEMA Banquet. The SEMA Gen-III Award credits a young individual that generates a game-changing product or service to our industry. Petersen has been instrumental in leading the MSD Performance team to develop their line of Atomic EFI systems for carburetor replacement and GM LS applications as well as their new Brainwave Vehicle Management Network. Petersen’s forward thinking in focusing on the customer’s experience while installing and using products

has led to breakthrough technology that has set the foundation for MSD’s Atomic EFI systems with an emphasis on reduced wiring and self programming to ease the intimidation of modern electronics. For 2013, Peterson led the MSD engineering team through the development of their Brainwave vehicle management network that was introduced at SEMA 2013 and was a major topic at the Connected Car panel. This innovative technology ( ties multiple vehicle control systems into a single communication network and point of control via a tablet or smartphone device. To learn more about MSD, visit ■

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Editor’s Page

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On-Site Improvements

EDITOR Ed Sunkin gets an upgrade As we head into a new year, the staff of Engine Builder magazine wanted to let you know we’ve done a little performance upgrades of our own. Team Engine Builder is proud to announce that we have redesigned our website to help engine shop owners like yourself stay on top of the latest industry happenings. Featuring an updated look for the news, technical and products sections of the website, the launch was scheduled to coincide between the industry’s top engine building and performance events — the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow and the Performance Racing Industry tradeshow — both of which occur in late fall. We believe that the updated website is a true resource for engine builders and performance engine builders, and encapsulates not only content featured in the print magazine, but the latest news, products, videos, shop profiles, technical articles and tips from the engine building industry. The site’s redesigned layout provides for larger photos and easy-to-view sections, including the Tech Center, Management, Events and Gallery section. Under the “Magazine” tab on the homepage, technical articles and columns from the past 10 years are better organized, allowing Download a digital version of Engine Builder magazine from your computer or tablet anytime using the “Magazine” tab on the homepage.

10 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

visitors improved access to our archived content. And, we have uploaded to the site digital versions of each issue, beginning with the February, 2013 issue. These digital issues, also archived under the “Magazines” tab, can be easily viewed anytime from your computer or wireless tablet. As technology of increasing power from engines continues to evolve, so too has our website. The website boasts a modern, colorful design that’s not only pleasing to the viewer, but is full of the technical and management content that’s necessary for shops to stay profitable today and into the future. The staff here at Engine Builder continues to regularly update the site to bring our visitors fresh con-

tent that serves all segments of the engine aftermarket, from passenger car and light truck to performance, racing and heavy-duty diesel. You also can have engine building and performance-related news delivered each week to your email account simply by signing up to the Engine Builder e-Newsletter. The e-newsletter contains not only industry news, but engine-related and performance videos, technical tips and features, the latests tools and components available to stock and performance builders and details on upcoming industry events. To sign up, use the “Subscribe to Newsletter” function at the bottom of the homepage. Share with me your thoughts on the updated website at

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12-13 Shop Solutions 12/17/13 9:11 AM Page 12

Piston Ring Gapping Tip Some of you may know this ring end gapping tip, but I have never seen it anywhere. Not even in ring package instructions. This has to do with checking the flimsy oil rail gaps. Most conventional size bores are not much of a problem. The rails on those sizes usually have a lot of leeway. But, when you do some odd, custom bore sizes, the ring package may be a closer fit, and out of the box the oil rails tend to have closer gaps and need more clearance. Under these circumstances, it is much harder to measure the rail gaps accurately. For example, I am building an engine right now that inspired me to write this tip. It is a Ford 428CJ. It was already +.040˝ (4.170˝). My customer wanted a Scat stroker kit. I instructed Scat to make the pistons .045˝ over for the kit, for a bore of 4.175˝. The extra .005˝ would clean up some irregularities and scuffs and afford me enough to torque plate hone to a perfect tolerance. When the stroker kit arrived, it included the file fit Total Seal special size rings necessary for the odd size bore. The Total Seal instructions required minimum .015˝ gap for the oil rails. The engine is for a frame off restored ‘63 Ford Galaxy street cruiser. It will use premium gas with perhaps a touch of octane booster. No power adders, so no wide ring gaps. Gapping the two top rings was an easy job. They only took about nine cranks each using my old manual ring grinder. The Total Seal instructions required a minimum .015˝ gap for the oil rails. It is not easy to measure a thin .024˝ x .132˝ wide rail with that narrow of a gap on a large bore. When I squared one in a bore, the gap looked pretty narrow. It was impossible to snug a feeler gauge in the gap without disturbing the ring. Here is what I did; I took the 1/16th thick stiff top ring, which I had already gapped to .020˝, and squared it back in the cylinder. Then 12 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

I placed the oil rail on top and lined up the two gaps. Gently, but firmly, I used my squaring device to snug the rail firmly atop the 1/16˝ ring. That keeps the oil rail square and tight and does not squirm or fold up when checking it with a feeler gauge. I was able to fit a feeler gauge snug in the rail gap. I was thrilled! The gaps were .017˝. That would be perfect. No way could I have measured it that accurately without the 1/16th ring supporting the rail. Needless to say, the same can be done with gapless rails or exotic thin rings or spacers. A used top ring can be used for support if it is the proper size. It can be gapped wider to make lining the two ring gaps easier. For this 428 with an odd size bore, I just used the new gapped top ring for the supporting role. No pun intended! Jim Feurer Animal Jim Racing Lacon, IL

Your Shop’s Rolling Billboard

If you need to attract new customers, take a tip from many large, successful companies. Consider wrapping your company truck with advertising. A rolling billboard can create thousands of impressions per mile. Your message will be read by people you might not otherwise reach, even when it is parked! Steve Rich Sterling Bearing, Inc. Kansas City, MO

Checking Valve Heights in Solid Lifter Heads I have made a simple tool to check installed valve heights in nonadjustable solid bucket cylinder

heads. The tool is a short square bar with a dial indicator affixed to the end. This allows you to use the cam journal to easily center over the tips of the valves and record the valve heights before disassembling the cylinder head. By keeping the solid lifters in order, and noting the valve heights before machining the head, you assure yourself an accurate valve lash upon reassembly. This is a great time saver tool! Sylvain Tremblay Competi-tech, Inc. Quebec, Canada

Rod-to-Piston Interference in Early 466T John Deere Model 4440 Engines

Here’s a caution for engine builders. In John Deere 466T engines, do not use the connecting rod (Howard #R71074) from later model 4450 engines in the earlier Model 4440 engines. The pistons look similar, but the area under the combustion bowl of the late piston has about .090˝ more clearance than that of the early piston. L. Arnold Howard Enterprises, Inc. Lynn, IN

Keep Parts in Stock for More Sales Keeping popular head gasket sets, head bolt sets, piston rings, bearings and valves in stock is a proven way to make more sales.

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Contact your supplier and ask him what discounts you can get for placing a large stock order. Ask them for a list of the most popular numbers in your part of the country. You may be surprised at how willing they are to help you out. Also, ask for special terms for a stock order. Many shops don’t stock parts and the customer simply goes somewhere else because of the convenience factor. Having parts on hand boosts our parts sales more than 20 percent. Jeffrey Myers MAR Automotive, Inc. Philadelphia, PA

Shop Solutions – The Power of Knowledge

What’s the Latest Buzz on Your Radio? Are your customers complaining about having a buzz or static on their radio? Today’s cars are electrical computers on wheels and no one seems to pay close attention to ground wires. I recently had a customer complain about noise on his radio. I showed him some dirty grounds, removed the bolts, cleaned off the rust and replaced them. The radio works like a champ again and the headlights seem brighter according to the customer. Keeping electrical connections clean and rust free also prolongs the life of your electrical system. Roy Maloney Engine & Performance Warehouse Houston, TX ■

Engine Builder and Engine Pro present Shop Solutions in each issue of Engine Builder Magazine and at 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

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Learning to Race Pro Stock A blast from the past: Racing to the Finish Line in the ‘Stone Pony’

y transition in 1975 from Moving On Up Moving into Pro Stock was much bracket racing a 122˝ different. Horsepower was the key wheelbase mid-eleven second, two-ton ’57 Mercury to rac- factor. You ran all out, heads up. I ing in a low nine-second 99˝ wheel- had to get a ProStock license, and base, Pinto Pro Stock car, was quite keep up with changing safety rules as well as performance and modifia jump. I was jaded with bracket cation rules. The car had a miniracing and wanted to run heads mum weight requirement. up – all out with a door car. So, Pro Back then, Pro Stock minimum Stock was it. weights were factored as pounds In September of 1975, I bought a per cubic inch. Decided by brand, used UDRA/Chicagoland Pro type, wheelbase, performance hisStock Pinto called “The Stone tory of engine, etc. The factors Pony.” It was a serious player – engine was a 366˝ Gapp and Roush ranged from 6.8 to 7.2. The Pinto had to be 7.2 pounds per cubic Cleveland coupled with a Lenco 4 speed and Dana rear end. Rear sus- inch. Most Pro Stocks back then used de-stroked small block enpension was a four link, Panhard gines for that reason. bar, and Koni coilover double adDriving with a Pro Start fourjustable rear shocks. The Pinto had tenth single been running low 9s at As time went on in my Pro 150-mph +. Stock career, I learned many However, my drag things about the car as a packracing philosophy was age. But maximum horsepower about to radically was still the main ingredient. change. My goal with bracket racing was to pick a comfortable break out, be consistent, cut a good light and know when to take the stripe and when not to. Also, endurance is a must to go many rounds at a race and for the season. Once a comfortable E.T. was established and you could go rounds, tuning or further modifying to go quicker was not wise. I worked hard at the above mentioned recipe, and it often paid off. I won a healthy share of Run Tuff Eliminator bracket events and the ’73 and ’74 Oswego, IL, Track Championships.


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yellow bulb was no problem. I found it easier than a full 5-bulb tree. Going three seconds quicker and 35 mph faster in a much lighter and shorter wheelbase car, I got used to it quickly, and it was a blast. As I said earlier, keeping the Pinto competitive, qualifying and go-rounds within the rules was another matter.

Pinto Power The former Portage, IN, Pinto owners, Mark Seaman and Pete Rich were a big help. Due to business demands they were retiring from drag racing, so they were willing to show me all they could. As I got to know them, I realized it was a matter of pride.

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Fast Lane

They wanted me to do well in a car I learned things like the importhey built. tance of piston to head quench clearWhen I decided to buy the Pinto, ance. The first time I pulled the Mark and Pete had my crew chief heads off that Cleveland, I could see Rick Davis and I come for the weekthe machining marks in the soot on end. The Pinto was still apart like the flat part of the pistons. when I looked at it the week before. Alarmed, I called Jack Roush and The Gapp and Roush engine was he told me that is exactly how it apart. So were the Lenco 4 speed, should look. The tighter that quench Hayes Pro Stock Clutch and Dana area can be compressed safely, the rear end. For two days, Mark and more power will be made and less Pete had Rick and I help put it all chance of untimely detonation makback together, teaching us as much ing it possible to run more timing. as possible. Going with the Flow By Sunday, the Pinto was ready. Jack Roush was my mentor in US 30 Drag Strip was only a short those days. As my Pro Stock effort distance away. Being early Septemprogressed I bought a couple more ber, US 30 was open. All four of us Roush engines and parts. took the Pinto to the track so I could Roush would coach me along. make a couple timed runs. And eventually I built my own Pro Mark and Pete's driver and Stock engines. UDRA Pro Stock Champion Joe During my Cleveland Small block Gouger met us there. He showed me era (1975 to 1983), I had many of what to do. At the trailer, Joe had me these engines ranging from 339 to sit in the car and talked me through 430 cubic inches. Some with Can-Am mock runs. Aluminum blocks and Furnace We went up to staging. We Brazed Blocks. planned to make an easy run, so we kept the rpms 1,000 lower than an all out run. When my turn came, I drove just as Joe instructed. The little Pinto rang up 9.50 at 150 mph. Wow! I knew this car would run low 9s all out. In April of 1976, I did my Pro Stock NHRA license runs at Byron. It all went smooth. The track owner Ron Leek let me run all six license runs in one day. As time went on, I learned many things about the car as a package. But maximum horsepower In the ’70s, most all Pro Stock was still the main ingredidrivers were hands on mechanics ent. and/or engine builders and In the ’70s, most all Pro worked on their own cars. No big Stock drivers were hands on crews – usually one or two volunmechanics and or engine teers or a partner or spouse. builders and worked on their own cars themselves. No big crews. We usually brought in one or two volunteers or partner or Before long, I got myself a flow spouse. bench. I worked with it constantly. To keep up in Pro Stock, I got For myself and for my customers, it more involved in engine efficiency than ever before. I learned head port- created a whole new business. I worked on any kind of brand of ening, using exotic parts, special tolergine imaginable. ances, torque honing skills, different I got into serious porting, learning balancing methods, filling blocks with epoxy, keeping slipper skirt that much of it from my efforts in Pro Stock racing and affiliations with the punished cylinders alive and round. 16 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

likes of Jack Roush and other big time engine builders, racers and manufacturers. I became an expert about valve trains, cam tuning, oiling systems, carb mods and jetting, ignitions, indexing spark plugs, fuel, and list goes on. I used lot of this knowledge, where appropriate, with my customer's projects as well. What I found interesting was that all brand Pro Stock short blocks were very similar – with super lightweight sub 400 gram, gas ported, slipper skirt pistons with 80 gram .075 wall tool steel wrist pins and .043 oil rings. Most of the engines used Chevy 2˝ or 2.100˝ rod crank journals, pickled and billet cranks, lightweight aluminum windage rods and big roller cams. Most everything was still built using stock block and head castings. Induction was a highly modified tunnel ram with two modified 1050 Holley 4500 Dominators. Sheet metal

intakes were not in vogue yet. Production tunnel ram castings were hacked, plenums reversed, extensively ported, welded and epoxied with Devcon inside and out. No two were alike. Heads were a huge determining Fast Lane continues on page 50

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Tech Feature

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Future Alternative Fuels Could be a Gas Abundance of natural gas could impact engine designs


lternative fuels such as E85 and biodiesel that were once considered fringe fuels are now mainstream. You can burn any mixture of gasoline and E85 in any vehicle that is Flex Fuel capable. As for biodiesel, blends ranging from B05 (5% biodiesel) to B100 (100% biodiesel) are being used in all kinds of diesel applications. So what other alternative fuels are being considered today? The front runners right now are natural gas and propane. Thanks to fracking, natural gas is plentiful and relatively cheap. Natural gas has long been used as an alternative fuel by some fleets (such as utility companies, waste haulers, buses and municipal vehicles), but it appears now to be moving toward a wider market. In 2013, natural gas provided the go power for only a small fraction of the vehicle population (less than 1 percent). The U.S. Department of Energy says there are about 112,000 natural gas powered vehicles on the road in this country. Most of the vehicles that burn natural gas have to be specially converted from gasoline or diesel to burn the gaseous fuel. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all offer "bi-fuel" pickup trucks that have a dual fuel capability so they can burn either natural gas or diesel. The only passenger car currently available with a natural gas option is the Honda Civic, but that may be changing soon as more and more auto makers are looking at offering natural gas versions of their cars and trucks in the U.S. market. Some of 18 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

these would be straight natural gas while others would be dual fuel gasoline/natural gas or diesel/natural gas. At the recent Tokyo Auto Show, Mazda unveiled a natural gas powered Mazda3 concept car. The car has a dual fuel system that reportedly gets 20% better mileage when running on natural gas. The Skyactiv 2.0L engine has a 14:1 compression ratio, so it works very well with natural gas.

Advantages Why natural gas? It's cheaper and cleaner than gasoline or diesel fuel, and it burns much cleaner in a diesel engine than diesel fuel. Natural gas produces


lower carbon emissions (about 20 to 25% less than diesel) and contains no sulfur. Natural gas currently sells for a gasoline-equivalent price of $1.95 per gallon, making it a third less expensive to burn as a motor vehicle fuel. In Europe, Asia and even South America, natural gas vehicles are relatively common (over 14.8 million vehicles worldwide according to the DOE). Many see natural gas as a major component in our future energy plans, and a better option than using food-based renewable fuels such as ethanol made from corn or biodiesel The BMW H2R (Hydrogen Racecar) is one of the first of a new breed of racecars adapted to run on liquid hydrogen fuel.

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Tech Feature made from soybeans. One application that may soon see greater use of natural gas as an alternative fuel is big Class 8 over-the-road 18wheel heavy-duty trucks. In fact, according to the DOE, if all Class 7 and 8 trucks were converted to CNG or LNG, it would reduce our nation's appetite for oil by 14%. Natural gas has long been used as an alternative fuel in stationary engines and off-road engines, but recently diesel engine manufacturers have been developing natural gas versions of engines for highway use. Cummins recently introduced two new spark-ignited diesel engines (8.9L ISL-G and 11.9L ISX12G) that can run on either natural gas or diesel. When burning diesel, the engine can meet emission standard without a diesel particulate filter or urea aftertreatment. Cummins also has a 15-liter Westport ISX15G diesel engine that runs on a mixture of 95% natural gas and 5% diesel. Volvo is also introducing a high pressure direct injection natural gas/diesel option. The difference in fuel mileage when burning natural gas compared to diesel

can range from a 5% to 20% decrease to a 5% to 20% gain depending on the type of fuel system and the modifications to the engine that are made. When an engine is optimized for natural gas, it can deliver nearly the same fuel mileage as diesel or gasoline. Natural gas has a very high octane rating (130 Research Octane Rating or RON) and a low cetane rating (less than 10), but burns at a slower speed and lower temperature than gasoline or diesel. Increasing the engine's compression ratio to take advantage of its high octane rating improves thermal efficiency, while careful injection and ignition timing (when a spark is used) optimizes combustion. The economics of burning natural gas depends on the application, and whether the engine is a factory option or an aftermarket conversion. Installing a dual fuel system on a passenger car or pickup truck can cost thousands of dollars, and on a Class 8 truck a natural gas fuel system can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of the truck! Even so, many say the cost savings between the price of natural gas and diesel provides

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a relatively quick payback as the miles add up.

CNG & LNG Natural gas is actually a mixture of gases, typically about 91 to 95% methane (CH4) with traces of other hydrocarbons such as propane, ethane and butane in the mix.

Historically, it has been a byproduct of oil well drilling but today it is being recovered directly by hydraulically cracking ("fracking") gas-bearing rock formations deep below the surface of the ground. It can also be recovered from landfills and even cow farts! Natural gas can be used as an alternative motor fuel in either gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Methane is a low pressure gas at room temperature. Since it is already vaporized, it mixes well with air when injected into an engine via a spray nozzle or dual feed injectors. However, for natural gas to be stored in a fuel tank, it must first be compressed or chilled and liquefied to increase its density. When compressed, it is typically 19

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Tech Feature CNG or LNG, but a dedicated natural gas vehicle usually lacks the range of a more conventional fuel -- and public CNG/LNG refueling stations can be hard to find in many areas. For longer range driving, LNG is a better option because it is much more dense when it is chilled and condensed into a liquid. This allows a greater quantity of fuel to be stored on the vehicle for an extended driving range. Public CNG and LNG refueling facilities are available across the country (about 1,500 of them and growing), but that's still only about 1% of all retail fuel outlets. Many more will have to be added before natural gas can become a mainstream alternative fuel. This will require a major investment in refueling infrastructure. Adding CNG or LNG capabilities to a new or existing filling station costs about half a million dollars according to the National Association of ConvenThis Gaseous Fuels Chart ience Stores. A listing of compares energy output of alternative fuel stations can be various future fuel sources found at with gasoline. One of the advantages of using CNG as a motor fuel in a private vehicle is that the stored inside a reinforced fuel tank at 3,000 to 3,600 PSI. When vehicle can be refueled in a home garage if the home has a natural gas line for the furnace, stove and water heater. A home liquefied, it is chilled down to minus 260 degrees F (-162 degarage high pressure CNG refueling pump costs about $4,000, grees C) and held in an insulated cryogenic tank. which is nearly two to three times the price of a 240 volt home CNG is typically used in applications where vehicles travel charging station for a plug-in Chevy Volt hybrid or Nissan less than 200 miles in a day and return to a central location for Leaf electric car. refueling. Centralized refueling works well for local delivery fleets, buses, cabs and municipal vehicles that are running on Fuel Tanks

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Tech Feature The Blue Flame is the rocketpowered vehicle driven by Gary Gabelich that achieved the world land speed record on Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on October 23, 1970. It’s now on display in the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in Germany.

CNG and LNG fuel tanks are bulky and expensive, though not much heavier than a conventional fuel tank in most vehicles. Because of the size limitations, fuel storage capacity and range are not as great as with a conventional fuel -which can create range anxiety if a vehicle has a single fuel system that runs on CNG only. Trucks have more cargo space and can usually accommodate much larger fuel tanks, giving them more range on CNG or LNG. The other option is to have a dual fuel system that

allows the engine to run on natural gas or a conventional fuel depending on which is available. Refueling takes somewhat longer than filling a vehicle with gasoline or diesel, and requires special hose connections, fittings and dispensing equipment (a high pressure compressor or a cryogenic storage tank). Safety may be a concern with high pressure CNG or super cold LNG, but if there is a leak methane is lighter than air and rises and disperses quickly. It also has a much

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higher ignition point than gasoline or diesel, making it less of a fire hazard than conventional motor fuels.

CNG As A Racing Fuel

Through CNG has long been used for ordinary everyday driving and to power stationary engines, it has also found a small but growing niche among racing enthusiasts. Back in 1970, a CNG fueled rocket car called the Blue Flame set a land speed record of 630 mph. The Blue Flame produced an estimated 58,000 horsepower and was the first vehicle to exceed 1000 kilometers per hour. The rocket car is on display in a museum in Germany today (which is interesting, considering the car was built and driven by an American!). Patrick Racing has developed a natural gas powered race car for the American LeMans Series. The purpose of the Prototype Challenge natural gas race cars is to raise awareness of the perform- 21

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Tech Feature

wells and oil refining, and the abundant supply means it is cheaper than gasoline, though not as cheap as natural gas. Propane currently sells for around $2.40 to $2.50 per gallon, and is available at several thousand outlets around the country. It's used in everything from fork lifts to buses to pickup trucks, and there are numerous companies who can do propane conversions on existing cars, trucks and other types of vehicles (a conversion typically costs about $4,000 to $6,500 depending on the application). Currently, there are about 160,000 propane-powered vehicles in the U.S., and more than 13 million worldwide. Propane's chemical formula is C3H8 so it contains less carbon than gasoline. That makes it a cleaner burning fuel than gasoline and more ecofriendly, but it also contains less heat energy per gallon than gasoline (91,000 BTUs for propane versus 115,400 for gasoline), but on a pound per pound basis propane contains more heat energy than gasoline (19,750 BTUs versus 18,970 BTUs for gasoline). Because of this, most engines develop about the same amount of power with propane or gasoline unless the engine is optimized with a higher compression ratio to take advantage of propane's higher octane rating (112 RON). When higher compression ratios are used, propane will produce more power. Like natural gas, propane is a vapor at room temperature. But unlike natural gas, it can be liquefied if chilled to minus 44 degrees F, or compressed and held under pressure inside a sealed tank. It only takes about 128 PSI to keep propane in a liquid state at 80 degrees F, which is much less pressure than is required for a CNG fuel system. Consequently, propane fuel tanks have a working pressure range of 175 to 250 PSI. Propane is available in various

Embracing natural gas as a safe and abundant racing fuel, Patrick Racing Team last season entered into an agreement with the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron (ALMS), to identify development and testing opportunities for natural gas to power the Series' Prototype Challenge class.

ance potential of natural gas. Interest in green fuels has been growing lately, with E85 ethanol alcohol finding a niche as a less toxic alternative for methanol alcohol in circle track and drag racing. The U.S. Dept. of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have developed "Green Racing" guidelines to help foster development of alternative fuels that can be used in future production vehicles, to enhance energy independence and to reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles. The Prototype Challenge cars are powered by a 6.2L Chevy LS3 engine that tuned to deliver 450 horsepower on natural gas. At the recent Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals car show in Chicago, there was a vintage Pontiac GTO that has been converted to run on CNG. The car features an Chevy LS engine under the hood with a high pressure CNG fuel tank hidden in the trunk behind the back seat. The CNG fuel filler fitting was concealed behind the license plate in the back bumper. A very slick setup, indeed.

Propane Another gaseous fuel that will play a growing role in transportation is propane (also called LPG for Liquified Petroleum Gas). According to the National Propane Gas Association, we have propane coming out of our ears. The U.S. became a net exporter or propane in 2010, and in 2011 propane production exceeded consumer demand for the first time ever. Propane is a byproduct of natural gas 22 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

grades for various purposes. The version that is used for motor fuel is HD5, which contains 90 percent propane, plus small amounts of butane, methane and propylene. Propane burns similar to gasoline and requires a slightly leaner air/fuel ratio of 15.7 to 1 (versus 14.7 to 1 for gasoline). Propane mixes with air readily but can be slow to vaporize at subzero temperatures. Because of this, a tank warmer may be required to deliver fuel vapor to the engine during cold weather. Propane can be used in a single fuel or dual fuel system on a gasoline or diesel engine. Engines burning propane typically run much cleaner than gasoline or diesel engines, so valves stay cleaner and the oil lasts longer. Motor oils with special additive packages for propane are usually recommended.

Hydrogen Another gaseous fuel that can be burned in an internal combustion engine is hydrogen gas (H2). It's the lightest and most abundant element on Earth, but it has to be made from something else such as methane, methanol, coal or even water (via electrolysis). Because it has to be extracted from something else, production costs make hydrogen expensive (about $4 a gallon gasoline equivalent). Hydrogen is the cleanest of all alternative fuels, producing only water vapor when it burns. It contains no carbon so there are zero carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) or hydrocarbon (HC) emissions. However, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) can still be produced as a byproduct of high combustion temperatures. Even so, EGR and a catalytic converter can clean up any NOx in the exhaust, leaving only steam coming out of the tailpipe. Because hydrogen is a gas at room temperature, it displaces air if it is fed into the intake manifold by a throttle body spray nozzle or individual port injectors. This can cause a loss of engine power of up to 20%. By using direct injectors to deliver hydrogen directly into the combustion chamber, and by increasing the engine's compression ratio to take advantage of hydrogen's high octane rating (130 ROM), engine power can actually be increased as much as 15 to 20% over gasoline. Add a turbocharger or supercharger to cram more air into the cylinders, and hydrogen can fuel a real screamer! Like natural gas and propane, hydrogen must be highly compressed or

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Tech Feature liquefied and held in a high pressure or cryogenic fuel tank. Typical storage pressures for hydrogen can be as high as 10,000 PSI! To liquefy hydrogen, it has to be chilled down to -423 degrees F (253 degrees C)! Hydrogen can be stored at room temperature and low pressure by using other materials to absorb it like a sponge. These include metal hydrides and even charred chicken feathers or corn cobs (no joke!). By volume, hydrogen has a very low volumetric energy density, only about one third that of natural gas. On the other hand, by weight it has 3X the energy density of gasoline. That's why rocket fuel is often liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. You can get a lot of bang for the buck when you burn hydrogen. When used as a motor fuel in an internal combustion engine, hydrogen can run very lean (stoichiometric for hydrogen is 34.3 to 1). Auto makers have been experimenting with hydrogen internal combustion engines for years. BMW has built a number of hydrogen-powered cars, including a H2R concept car and a dual fuel luxury sedan called the Hydrogen 7

KE. The latter sports a V12 engine that can run on gasoline or hydrogen. The BMW Hydrogen 7 KE gets about 17 mpg on gasoline but only about 5 mpg on hydrogen. Why such a difference? The engine was not optimized for hydrogen and it lacks a turbocharger or supercharger to take full advantage of hydrogen's higher octane rating. With a 45 gallon cryogenic fuel tank, the car's range on hydrogen is only about 100 miles. Most of the interest in hydrogen these days is going towards developing hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. When hydrogen gas is fed into a fuel cell, the platinum catalyst inside the fuel cell causes the hydrogen to react with oxygen to make electricity. It works better than trying to power an electric car with a battery, and it delivers much high fuel economy (say 60 to 70 miles per gallon!). But so far fuel cells have been very expensive and temperamental. A fuel cell produces a lot of waste heat that has to be carefully managed with cooling fans. If the cell overheats, it can be damaged. General Motors, Honda and other

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auto makers have been driving fuel cell test cars for years. Recently, I drove a hydrogen fuel cell Chevy Equinox and was amazed that it felt exactly the same as a hybrid or gasoline-powered vehicle. Toyota and Hyundai have both announced that they will start selling productionready hydrogen fuel cell cars next year, even though there isn't much infrastructure yet for refueling these vehicles. Government programs are helping to fund the expansion of alternative fueling stations across the U.S., so as we move forward a greater and greater percentage of our vehicle population will be using some type of alternative fuel (CNG, LNG, LPG, hydrogen or biofuels) or an alternative energy source (plug-in electric or hydrogen fuel cell). For now, the numbers won't be huge (only a few percent) so there will be minimal impact on engine builders who depend on the internal combustion engine for their livelihood. But even as the numbers grow, it will create new markets for servicing the engines and powertrains of the alternative fueled vehicles of tomorrow. â– 23

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Building Blocks The Foundation of any Engine Build is the Block BY LARRY CARLEY, TECHNICAL EDITOR


very engine project starts with the block because the block is the foundation for everything else that follows. The block determines bore and stroke, camshaft and lifter location, oil pump location and oil galley configuration, what kind of main bearing caps can be used to support the crankshaft, and what kind of cylinder heads, oil pan and bellhousing can be bolted to the block. If you're starting with a used block, you have to clean it and thoroughly inspect it to make sure the block is free from cracks or excessive wear in the cylinders, cam, crank and lifter bores that would make it unsuitable for rebuilding. A seasoned engine block that's accumulated a lot of miles can provide a stable foundation for a performance rebuild. But the accumulated stress and wear that comes with lots of miles also increases the odds that the block may have reached the end of the road and is better suited to serving as a boat anchor. With every passing year, it gets harder and harder to find good rebuildable used blocks for engine projects -- especially the more desirable engines and displacements. What's more, some types of racing specify a certain type of block (such as Midwest 305 Sprint Cars which require a cast iron 305 block). So if you can't find a stock block that meets the requirements, your only option is to go with an aftermarket block.

Aftermarket Engine Blocks If you can't find a good original 24 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

equipment engine block for a project, or the original equipment block doesn't have enough clearance, strength or rigidity to handle the kind of power you want to make, there are plenty of aftermarket blocks from which you can choose. Aftermarket blocks are usually purpose-built blocks that feature numerous improvements over the original equipment design that they are based upon. Today's thinner OEM castings save weight and cost, but also allow more cylinder bore distortion when power levels exceed factory limits. Push them too far and they often blow up! A stock Chevy small block with two bolt or four bolt main caps can usually handle 450 to 500 horsepower, but when you start pushing it to much higher horsepower levels with nitrous oxide, or lots of boost pressure from a turbo or blower bad things start to happen in the cylinders and bottom end. For such applications, an aftermarket block may be the only safe way to go. Cylinder bore distortion affects piston ring sealing, so the more the bores distort under high loads, the greater the blowby past the rings. Blowby wastes power so the more rigid the block, the better. An aftermarket block that has more metal around the cylinders will experience less bore distortion and produce more usable horsepower – up to 20 to 30 more hp in some cases with no other changes! Many aftermarket blocks have thicker deck surfaces to maintain a better head gasket seal and to reduce the risk of cracking. More metal in

the deck also means they can be resurfaced down the road without weakening the block. If you're building a stroker motor and need a taller deck height to accommodate more piston travel, you can usually get that too. It's the same with raised camshaft locations for added crank clearance. Many aftermarket engine blocks are available with standard deck heights or taller deck heights, standard cam locations or raised cam locations, and/or with oversized cam bores to accept cams with oversized journals. Another plus with some aftermarket engine blocks is that you have greater flexibility with the kind

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Tech Feature of cylinder heads that will fit the motor. One supplier makes a modified LS Chevy block that uses a SB Chevy crank and oil pan but accepts late model LS cylinder heads. The cam in this particular block is 0.135 inches higher, allowing the use of a larger 55 mm camshaft with a 4-inch stroke crank. Some suppliers also add extra bolt holes around the cylinders so you can use special heads with additional head bolts for better head gasket sealing. What kind of crankshaft do you want to use? Many aftermarket blocks for SB Chevy applications give you the choice of using a 350 or 400 Chevy crank. You can also get blocks with billet steel main caps and a splayed bolt pattern for added strength. Some blocks have special reinforcements in the lifter valley and on the outside of the cooling jackets to improve stiffness and support. These kind of improvements are especially valuable in high horsepower applications were rigidity and strength are critical. The back of the block is another area where aftermarket suppliers give you more flexibility. You can get blocks with a standard bell housing configuration, a late model configuration or a sprint car bell

housing mounting pattern. The blocks may also have multiple motor mount bosses so it can be used with a variety of different mounts.

When Bigger is Better Do you need more displacement? Adding cubic inches is a great way to add horsepower and torque. You can get SB Chevy blocks with 4.5 inch bore spacing and BB Chevys with 5-inch (or larger) bore spacing. One supplier has a block with 5.300 inch bore spacing that can handle cylinder bores up to 5.080 inches and a crank with a full 6-inch stroke. Do the math and it adds up to 973 cubic inches. Others are pushing the envelope to over 1,000 cubic inches! The point is, if you can dream it somebody is probably making it or will custom make it for you. A lot of street performance applications are running BB Chevys over 600 cubic inches these days, so to achieve that kind of displacement you need a block that can handle bigger bore diameters and a long stroke crankshaft. You can also get blocks with standard or oversized lifter bores, and fitted with bronze bushings for added durability if that's what you want. Some also offer blocks with

This Chevy LSX block is available with bore sizes ranging from 3.990 to 4.25 inches. It can be fitted with a 4.5 inch stroke crank, or up to a 5.0 inch stroker if you want more than 500 cubic inches of displacement.

With CNC machining, you can get essentially anything you want, like 650 cubic inches in this partially finished aluminum block.

relocated lifter bores to improve valvetrain geometry.

Getting Better Lubrication Stock oiling systems often leave much to be desired when it comes to performance engine applications. Some aftermarket blocks have reconfigured oil galleries for better oil flow to the lifters and valvetrain. On factory LS engines, for example, cam and lifter bore wear is often a problem, making up to 50% of salvage blocks unusable. By changing the way oil is delivered to the lifters, these kind of wear problems can be eliminated. On SB Chevy engines, oil is fed to the cam bearings at the 6 o'clock position, which is fine for a stock valvetrain. But when stiffer valve springs are used, the cam can be pushed down against the oil feed holes and restrict oil flow to the cam bearings. Relocating the oil feed holes to the 5 o'clock position solves this problem as assures a steady supply of oil for the cam. Many blocks give you a choice as to the type of oiling system you can use (internal wet sump or external dry sump), and the oil pump and filter location on the block. Different oil pan rail configurations may also be available giving you more freedom as to the type of oil pan that can be bolted under the motor. 25

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Tech Feature

Addressing Cooling Issues Cooling problems in many original equipment blocks are caused by limited coolant circulation between the cylinders. Some aftermarket blocks have larger water jackets and extra ribbing to help cool the engine. These kind of improvements are especially important with large displacement stroker engines that need more cooling.

Cast Iron and Aluminum Blocks You can buy aftermarket performance blocks in a variety of materials including cast iron, Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI), cast aluminum or machined billet aluminum. Cast iron blocks are usually the most affordable option, and often use a higher grade of cast iron that what is used in many OEM blocks. CGI blocks use a

Need cubic inches? How about a CNC block with 5.3 inch bore spacing.

stronger, higher density form of iron which improves overall strength and wear resistance. CGI also allows portions of the casting to be thinner for added weight savings. But CGI can be very difficult to machine because of its hardness so there are some tradeoffs if you choose to go this route. You can buy unfinished blocks and do your own machining, partially machined blocks that only require final honing and clearancing, or fully machined blocks that are ready to assemble. Often, the cost difference between a raw casting and a fully machined casting isn't that much (less than $100 in some cases), so you need to consider the advantages of doing the work yourself or having the supplier do it for you. The main advantages with aluminum blocks are lighter weight (up to 100 lbs. or more depending on the engine), easier machinability and better cooling. Aluminum blocks may be made from a high grade 357-T6 aluminum or other alloy. Aluminum blocks are usually sleeved, typically with centrifugally cast ductile iron sleeves. Iron sleeves are compatible with all Circle 26 for more information 26 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

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ring types and added much needed stiffness to an aluminum block. Most are dry pressed in sleeves which means the sleeves can be replaced if necessary if a cylinder is damaged or worn. There are also some wet sleeve kits for cast aluminum blocks, but they require extensive CNC machining to install. You can also get aluminum blocks with cooling jackets, partial cooling jackets or a solid block with no cooling jackets at all (for drag racing). Cast aluminum blocks are expensive, however, and may cost $4500 to $5500 or more depending on the application and whether you are buying an unfinished block or a machined block. Additional weight reduction by CNC machining adds to the cost. The most expensive aftermarket blocks are ones that are CNC machined from a solid chunk of aluminum. Most of these engines are a work of art to behold – and are priced accordingly. Some billet aluminum blocks can cost upwards of $12,000 dollars, so they are mostly

toys for the big boys like Top Fuel and Alcohol dragsters and IHRA Pro Stock race cars. A billet aluminum block is typically much stronger than a cast aluminum block (36% higher tensile strength and 66% higher yield strength according to one supplier of billet blocks). It's also 20 to 30 pounds lighter than a typical cast aluminum block thanks to the intricate and precise machining that goes into making one of these blocks. The stiffness of the block also means less bore distortion and more usable horsepower. Ductile iron dry sleeves are used in most billet aluminum blocks for the same reasons they are used in cast aluminum blocks, to add stiffness, durability and serviceability. Because billet aluminum blocks are all CNC machined, they are custom made one-at-a-time and offer a lot of machining options (bore size, deck height, cam and lifter location, etc.). These are built to spec engines so you can get just about anything you want. ■

Dart’s LS Next block has conventional style main caps and oil pan, which eliminates the windage problems associated with the stock LS engine’s separated crankcase bays. Circle 27 for more information 27


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Identifying and Removing the “Time Stealers” from Your Shop One thing your shop can’t build is more time


our engine shop may be great Time Stealers at rebuilding powerplants for Each day, engine builders and shop customers, but one thing your owners are confronted with a myriad staff can’t do is build “more time.” of choices as to what to do with their Whether it’s silver, gold, plattime. inum, diamonds, rubies or even cold, Furthermore, each day, everyone hard cash, we take numerous meashas a vast number of time stealers ures each day to protect our valuable that are unmercifully ready to take items, some more drastic than others. what they don’t protect. We use locks, banks, safes and Much like steam rising from the alarms to ensure their safe protectop of a boiling pot of your favorite tion. We lock our homes, cars and pasta, once time is gone, it’s gone businesses in order to safeguard our forever. personal possessions and the things that are important to us. And yet, what is commonly overlooked, is To get the most use out of shop something more valuable; time, schedule work accordingly and have a plan. For example, so valuable that once it’s when using the dyno, outline lost, you have no hope of beforehand what you want to ever recovering it. We all test and what specific parts you have the exact same need to test in order to use amount of it each day, your time more wisely. and tomorrow, we start off with a fresh batch of it. Some of us use it much better than others and make the very best of it. What I’m talking about is time. While we don’t know when “our time” will ultimately end, we do know that each day we are given 24 hours or 1,440 minutes. It’s up to us to make the most of that precious time and do everything in our power to protect ourselves from nonproductive use of it.

28 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

Identify Them Like any security flaw, it’s necessary to first identify the weakness before putting measures in place to better protect one’s valuable items. So, let’s look at some time stealers and see if you can relate to a few.

Lack Of Planning This is when you show up at the shop and the day takes on a life of its own. You find yourself surfing from one challenge to another and really not getting anything accomplished

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until after you have put out most of the fires. Suggestion: The best way to combat a potential lack of planning is to start off each day with a list of items you want to accomplish and consider that list your road map for the day. Like any journey, you may have side trips, but by the end of your day you’re closer to your destination. Starting out your day in this way will help keep you on track.

E-mail, Internet And Smart Phones Wow, these can be the “black hole” of time stealers! According to The Harris Interactive Poll, the average person spends 13 hours a week on the Internet via their computer and smart phone. Another recent study by Nokia says that we check our smart phone once every 6 1/2 minutes, which amounts to 150 times in a 16-hour day! Suggestions: Check the Internet and answer e-mails during down periods. Remember that keeping up with things on the Internet won’t change their outcome. Also, a ringing phone doesn’t always need to be answered; let it go to voicemail and tend to it when you can dedicate time to the person who called.

Interruptions Have you ever found yourself working on a project and someone stops in with a “quick question”? Well, it never really is quick and it can take you 15 minutes to get back on track once you wrap things up with the person who just dropped in. Suggestion: Have a method in place to communicate to your staff whether you are available or not. At Vic’s, I have a sliding sign on my doorway that shows my availability. If the sign indicates that I’m on “Green Time,” I’m available for any need. Whereas, “Red Time” signifies that it’s not a good time unless there’s an emergency. This works out really well for us and I have shared it with others who have effectively put this practice into place.

Phone Calls As a shop owner, you are most likely off the counter and your shop/service manager is ordering parts online, right? If not, they should be, as it boosts their productivity. As an owner, your phone rings for different reasons. Just because it rings doesn’t mean you have to pick it up, as mentioned earlier. Let it roll into voicemail and get to it when you have the time. Also, if you want to be really focused, set your cell phone on “do not disturb” and you won’t be tempted to pick up the ringing phone.

Meetings Whether it’s with a customer, vendor or employee, professionals spend 5.6 hours a week in meetings, according to the Microsoft Office Personal Productivity Challenge (PPC) study. Suggestion: Plan your meeting objectives well in advance and set time limits for each specific area of discussion. Planning is applicable mainly to your vendor and employee relationships.

Know How To Say ‘No’ As a general rule, if people – customers or employees – can dump their issue at your feet, they will. We had a customer who needed her 90,000-mile vehicle service done in two hours because she and her family were leaving for their vacation that afternoon and she had forgotten to come in earlier. While my answer was “Yes, I can get you in and perform the service,” we completed it on our schedule, which was later than she wanted. Our customer did not get to leave when she wanted, but her lack of planning was not going to be an emergency on our part. Even a performance engine shop considers themselves as being in the service business. It’s in your nature to want to please our customers, whether they are internal or external customers. Learning when to say no can be beneficial not only financially, but also when it comes to being more productive time-wise.

The Bottom Line If you don’t guard your time, no one will. So take inventory of the areas that need to be addressed and you will give yourself more time to do what pleases you, and take charge of your day. The end result will be a happier you and a more profitable shop! Want to share your time-stealing tips? Drop me a line at vic@Vics Vic Tarasik is the owner of Vic’s Precision Automotive, The Woodlands, TX.

30 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

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Business Toolbox

Time Out: Internet Interaction At The Moment Of Need I bet that you not only get solicitations from hundreds of vendors for your website, SEO and Facebook services, but also, just like your customers, you are asked to consume so much information in your inbox and on your phone, that it’s impossible to process it all. In fact, the amount of data generated on the Internet every minute (YouTube users upload 48 hours of video, Facebook users share 684,478 pieces of content, Instagram users share 3,600 new photos, etc.) suggests that new engagement strategies are needed. In essence, your customers only have so much time per day as well. The experts at AutoVitals researched the clicks on videos embedded in dozens of auto repair shop websites and the results are disappointing. Videos on the homepage of websites are clicked on between 1% and

9% of the time. Videos as part of blogs embedded in auto repair shop websites below the fold (visitors have to scroll down to watch them) are clicked on less than 0.5% of all clicks on that page. Why are the results so devastating? The answer can be summed up in two words: User Experience. If the information is not presented in the moment of need, it goes by unattended. The visitor of the website should find the answer to the reason why they came to the website in the first place. The good news is that performance shops are not e-commerce businesses like where no personal contact is possible and all products are commoditized and readily available for price comparison. The key is to focus on the value a local engine shop provides to the local community. You are your own brand with these fea-

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tures: Trusted, excellent customer service, personalized recommendations and performance-specific engine information. Save Time with Social Power Your business is on Facebook, isn’t it? If not, check out the next story in the Business Toolbox – beginning on page 32. Millions of motorists are on Facebook and have at least one friend who comes across your business page, or the business page of another engine shop that’s affiliated with the association to which you belong. Where individual reach might be limited, an association’s wide presence can help in attracting the motorist’s attention. Uwe Kleinschmidt is the CEO and founder of AutoVitals ( in Santa Barbara, CA ■ 31


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Connecting with Your Customers

Firing Up Facebook for the Engine Shop


acebook is great for exposure – it will help you grow a stronger relationship with your current customers and it will help you to reach your best prospects: your customers’ friends. However, you can’t think that by just setting up a page, people will find you, like you and buy from you. You need to put time into it and make the page work for your business. Here are six ways you can take your page to the next level:

3. Be conversational: Posting a lot about your business deals is not branding, it’s spamming. The biggest reason people use social media is to connect with family and friends, not for business. So, connect with your customers and get them to interact by talking about things that happen in everyday life and what is going on around your community. Show them new projects your shop is working on or ask your fans what they would do with a specific performance engine.

1. Have a nice looking page: Yes, how your Facebook page looks matters. Think of it as the first impression many prospects will have from you. If it looks unfinished, you are telling people The Cover Picture is the first you don’t really care impression a customer will have about how your business of your business online, so pick looks – and people will something appropriate that believe that you don’t makes sense for your business. care about your customers as well. Make sure your page has a good design and looks organized. 2. Create cool content: People are on social networks to be social, so give them plenty of opportunities to interact. Post funny things and ask questions to your fans. You can do caption contests and “fill in the blank” posts - they are very popular and help to get fans talking.

32 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

It is ok if you post about your products and services every once in a while, just don’t do it all the time and don’t try to sell all the time – people don’t like to be told what to do and they won’t buy from you just because you told them you are the best in town. 4. Use apps: The more options you give to your fans, the more they will interact with your page. Facebook has tons of apps you can use to promote fun. A great

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example is the Fan of the Week, a free application that motivates people to engage with your page by rewarding the person that interacted the most. Other great apps to use are MenuTab, Involver and Woobox – the last two will help you to add all types of tabs, like forms, coupons, contests, Instagram and Pinterest. These are great to have your customers share photos of their engines, performance upgrades or just their day at the track. 5. Use the features in your favor: There are many features on Facebook that small engine shop business owners can use to get more business. One of them is the “Offers” tab located on the status update box on your page. Facebook will then give you three types of offers to choose from: InStore Only, In-Store & Online and Online Only. Choose the one that best fits you and follow the instructions. Another less known feature you can use to get more business is the Facebook Check-in Deals – they work just like Foursquare specials and customers can get offers by just check-in at your place on Facebook. To setup a deal, go to the Admin Panel and click on EDIT PAGE. Then click on UPDATE PUBLIC INFO. On the left had side, click on DEALS. Select the type of deal you want to offer and follow the instructions. Check-in deals are great because they will motivate customers to keep coming back and because they help you to show up first on Facebook searches. Also, the deals are easy to track and you’ll have a better idea of how your social media efforts are working.

do just a little bit a day, your fans will notice and they’ll remember you. On Facebook, exposure is based on how much interaction and engagement your page gets (for more in depth info, see Facebook EdgeRank). The more you talk to your fans, the more they will reply and the more exposure you’ll get. In addition, by having a nice page, you will be building a strong relationship with your fans and keeping your business on the top of their minds. So make sure you take the time to improve your page, talk to your customers and post things they’d like to see. That way, you’ll take your page to the next level and turn your fans into real buying customers! If you have any questions about this article or about any social media channels, feel free to contact me at

Show Off Your Shop Using a Facebook page to promote and market your shop can be a great opportunity to better represent your business. But it also can be a great disappointment if you don’t set it up the right way. To be sure you have a great design, choose a picture that represents your business and that will impress people, like a recent engine build, a performance car shot or something remarkable about your business history. Remember: the Cover Picture is the first impression a customer will have of your business online, so pick something appropriate that makes sense for your business!

6. Work on the relationship: Facebook is all about creating conversations. The platform is a twoway road, so you really need to talk to your customers. Make sure you reply to comments, ask questions and show the personal side of your business. Most of businesses don’t reply to fans or talk to them, so even if you Circle 33 for more information 33


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Creating Lasting Customer Loyalty


Win a customer over before they even win a race


hile providing good engine rebuilding work is an essential component of customer satisfaction, perhaps even more important — when it comes to cultivating loyalty — is delivering exceptional customer service. After all, customers expect us to rebuild and engine or get more horsepower out of it. What they don’t expect is a convenient, easy and enjoyable experience. If you can excel in the customer service arena, you will give customers a reason to return.

Making A Good Impression

customer when they walk in your door shouldn’t involve you explaining a confusing promotion on a performance rebuild. And, don’t forget to monitor your online reputation. With so much engine work being shipped cross-country, using the Internet as a means to do business is a helpful tool. But you also need to keep up with it and addressing bad reviews will show your willingness to discuss concerns. So, what happens when a customer finally visits your shop? He or she should encounter a clean facility, staffed by The more you can connect with your customers and other people in friendly,

your market area, be it at races, You may not realize that swap meets, car shows, etc., the a customer’s interaction more you increase your chances of with your shop starts bethose people coming to you when fore they even walk in they are ready to buy performance the door. and engine work. A customer is going to form opinions about your business based on your advertising materials, website, internet reviews and even the causes you support. Having a user-friendly website that features testimonials, photos of your shop and the benefits you offer customers is a great way to build trust with potential new customers. When it comes to advertising, make sure your offers are clear, easy-to-understand and easy to use. For example, maybe they saw a promotion of yours at a local track. Your first conversation with a 34 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

articulate, well-groomed employees. Remember, there are more women these days becoming involved in racing or wanting their car or truck’s engine modified. So keep your entrance area clean, organized and maintained. First impressions say a lot and you have only a few seconds to provide a perception of integrity and superior service.

Separating Yourself From The Pack Serving customers well is tricky because the definition of what is considered excellent customer service keeps changing. Benefits that were once

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considered unusual, such as engine build warranties and extended hours on weekends, towing in a racecar for a customer are now becoming the norm. Don’t be afraid to tap technology to improve convenience and communication. You can incorporate an online booking form on your website to allow racers/customers to communicate their appointment preference without them ever picking up the phone. Instead of having customers call you to receive updates on the status of their performance build, keep them informed via text or e-mail. New applications also allow you to send photos of damaged components that are found during a teardown, inspection reports and estimates directly to customers’ smartphones and tablets. Efficiently managing the flow of engine builds through your shop and effectively communicating with customers will help you establish a reputation for strong customer service and a favorite for local racers.

What Can Customer Do For You Maybe you have a good reputation around the local racetrack for building winning performance engines. Or you operate a shop in a farming community that depends on you getting the locals’ diesel-powered machinery and equipment up and running smoothly back in the fields. Or maybe you are the shop of choice that area fishing businesses turn to get their marine engine rebuilt to keep their head above water. Do you feature testimonials from these satisfied customers on your website? If not, you should consider using your customers to tell your story.

Customer-Focused Culture You can have the best intentions of delivering unparalleled customer service, but if you fail to train your staff on how to treat customers, how to better communicate during order shipping, discussing pricing for performance upgrades and other business tasks, you’ll fall short. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of shop owners drop the ball because they either don’t have the time or don’t make the time to establish customer service procedures. Don’t make that mistake. Create written standards outlining how you want your shop to look, how to handle customer inquiries, parts and labor formulas and how to communicate during the engine build process. Train employees on those standards and let them know you’ll regularly review their performance. Communicate often about changes in promotions and policies, so employees have the proper information when talking to customers, especially outside the shop at the track , tradeshows, etc. If you create a customer-focused culture, and then reinforce that culture through training and evaluations, you’ll give customers a reason to stay loyal for life and recommend new customers. Tim Ross is president of Mudlick Mail, a leading provider of direct mail campaigns to the automotive repair industry. Mudlick Mail has worked with close to 1,000 automotive repair and transmission shops across the U.S. and Canada, helping them improve their car count and increase sales. The company teaches its clients how to understand consumer-buying habits and shows them how to create effective systems to maximize the value of their marketing campaigns.

If you have the money, hire a third-party to gather customer feedback. These consultants can use various techniques such as focus groups and surveys to really get an insight as to what your customers are saying about your engine shop. Circle 35 for more information 35

Profitable Performance

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For The Love Of A Good Cause


Building a 392 Magnum for the Independence Fund


ver since the column I did in about stroker motors a few years ago (“Love the One You’re With,” Engine Builder, March 2010), the idea of building one of these engines, a less than everyday stroker combination, has been on my mind. To recap, the premise of the article was simple — Look at the potential of building a small displacement, non-performance V8 into a bored and stroked tire blazer. Instead of searching out a rebuildable muscle motor to swap in it’s place, use the money you save your customer by not getting a second engine, and all that it might take to put it in their vehicle. Instead, purchase a stroker crank, a more expensive set of pistons (possibly custom) and a good set of heads. It’s done everyday, I know. A 302 Ford becomes a 347cid stroker. A 350 Chevy becomes the ever popular 383, and so on. The LA 318 was a 318 cu in (5.2 L) relative of the A 318 and predecessor to the Magnum engine released in 1992. Like the A 318, it has a larger smog bore at 3.91 in, as well as a stroke of 3.31 in. Appearing shortly after the 273 in 1967, this engine proved tremendously successful in the 1970s and continued its run until 1991. It used hydraulic lifters and a two barrel carburetor for most of its production, though performance carburetors were used in police applications in the late 1970s. In the mid-1980s, the 318 received roller lifters and a fast-burn cylinder head.

Photo courtesy of Chrysler 36 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

Nothing new here. But what if you aren’t starting out with an engine that has multiple stroker kits waiting to be purchased right off the shelf? In my 2010 column, I proposed many combinations that wouldn’t take much imagination or break the bank. Examples you say? If you have a 360 Ford, the building blocks are no different than if it were a more muscular 390. With the right crankshaft and a bore cleanup, we easily surpass the legendary 427 and 428 cubic inch marks with a 434 cid engine. That’s a massive 74 cubic inch increase and a perfect candidate for a Cobra kit car or a Thunderbolt clone. Got a Pontiac? There are several

combinations available to turn a 350 into a 383, or a 389 into a 421 or even something just over 450 cubic inches. I could list many more. Now we come to our project. I’ve been toying with the idea of two different Mopar engine builds for years. There’s something about your first love, and your first car that you never forget. Mine, car that is, was a 1963 Plymouth Savoy that had spent most of it’s life on the drag strip. It had a 383 in the car when I got it, and maybe we can tackle a project like that someday, but for now, we’re building a big inch small block. To set this up, your customer has a 70s-something Dart, Demon, Challenger or any one of many

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How to Build Big-Inch Mopar Small-Blocks At one time, if you wanted big horsepower in your Mopar muscle car or truck, your choices were limited to a big-block swap or a coveted Hemi. At the very least, you needed different engine mounts, K-members, transmissions, headers, etc. – and Hemis have never been cheap! But now there's another way to get more horsepower: boring and stroking your Mopar small-block to get more cubic inches – up to 476 cubes! The small-block Mopar is one of the easiest engines in which to increase displacement without extensive modifications or specialized machine work; the engine was practically designed for more cubes! This book shows you how to get that big-cube power, and then it shows you how to optimize the small-block's other systems -- induction, heads, valvetrain, ignition, exhaust, and more -- to make the most of the extra cubic inches. Author Jim Szilagyi served as a performance specialist for Dodge Motorsports and Mopar Performance Parts. In this book, he covers building big-inchers from Mopar 318/340/360 ci LA or Magnum 5.2L/5.9L engines, using both factory and aftermarket parts. If you want to make big power from your Mopar small-block, this is the book for you. Publisher: CarTech: Paperback: 144 pages Photos: black and white. Dimensions: 8.5000" x 11" Product Code: SA104P (In Stock)

midsize Mopars. Their plan is to remove the tired old 318 and find one of the more popular muscle car V8s — like a 340, 383 or 440 to fit in it’s place. Maybe he or someone else has

38 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

played with the motor a little over the years and it’s now running an aluminum manifold and a 4bbl carb. But it’s tired and he wants more power.

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Mopar Magic What if instead of searching out a good rebuildable core for one of these motors, he’s interested in having it rebuilt? And, you offer to meet his needs

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with the iron we have right here? Besides, with its slightly smaller bore size, the short block of your 318 isn’t that much different from its coveted 340 big brother. Add a small overbore and a 4-inch stroke crankshaft and we’ll now have a small block package that’s displacing more cubic inches than a 383, weighs less and with the help of a set aftermarket late model Magnum heads, will make power like the big block. The “more often than not” overlooked 318 has been around since 1957. However, it’s a durable lightweight engine that has proved it had more than enough strength to grow another 42 cubic inches in the factory 360 form. Plus, there’s a good amount of aftermarket parts available for this engine. But what I believe is the best bonus about this engine is that after so many years of production there are still plenty around waiting to test their potential and their relatively inexpensive. With a few upgrades we’ll not only increase its power potential, we’ll have a very durable street rod motor.

Game Plan So this is what we plan to do. With the help of our good friends at Grawmonbeck’s Machine, their dynamometer and a mix of stock and performance parts we’ll build a 6.4L, 392 cubic inch Dodge Magnum. It even sounds like a factory motor, and that is more or less how I see us building it. We’re building the muscle car engine Chrysler never did. And muscle it should have. With a 4˝ stroke, a medium length rod and the Magnum heads this motor will make good torque numbers and enough horsepower to thrill a former 318 owner and should have a fairly flat torque curve. And like Dirty Harry and his Magnum Force, we’re begging to ask the question, “Are you feelin’ lucky?” Because this engine could be yours following its auction. Bid on it, and you’ll be serving others who have sacrificed a great deal for our country in the process. We have decided to choose the 392 Magnum for our first Charity Engine Build. We’re all conscious that there are a lot things happening in this world that are a lot more important than building horsepower. After all, we are still at war. And, we at Engine Builder plan to honor some of the brave and wounded men and women returning back to civilian life. I was recently introduced to the Independence Fund and learned about its “missions.” One of this fine charity’s goals is to supply hi-tech motorized wheelchairs (shown to the right) for our wounded veterans. So far they’ve raised several million dollars to buy these off-road capable hi-tech machines to try to help restore some since of mobility and freedom for these heroes. And I for one get very excited just to think I can be Circle 40 for more information 40 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

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Profitable Performance

a part of this noble endeavor. And so can you. During the next year we’ll continue to discuss the premise of building the less popular motors to meet the need, options for our Magnum and the steps and parts we use to complete it. We’ll run it on the dyno and see just how well we’ve done at proving the point. But that’s not where it ends. After completion and dyno testing we plan to ship our street rod-worthy-and-ready creation to PRI 2014.

It will be featured in the Engine Builder booth, and we hope to give you a chance to win it, with a small donation in the form of raffle tickets. Proceeds will be donated to the Independence Fund ( where they’ll go towards a portion of the cost of one of these wheelchairs. ■ Note: Special thanks to: Joe DeGraw, Stacy Remond and Steve Tosel of Grawmondbeck Machine and John Steinauer and Steve Tosel who donated our 318 core motor.

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The Independence Fund is an entirely 100%, all-volunteer, non-profit whose board of directors is comprised entirely of combat veterans. The organization's administrative costs are less than 1% each year! That means that more than 99% of every dollar that it receives goes directly to a veteran – thanks to amazing people and communities like YOU! 41


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start, getting up to speed and passhe East Coast Timing Associaing through a 300-foot speed trap at tion (ECTA) might be a mysthe end of the first mile and then gettery to some motorsports fans. ting it stopped before running out of For nearly 20 years, its vehicle concrete. and motorcycle racing venues have It could be loosely compared with been held at two defunct airports drag racing, but the difference is that east of the Mississippi. But those in the know will tell you the max speed takes place in the middle of the track instead of at the that the Speed Trials group is one of end. The effects on the engine are a number of automotive land racing harder with land speed racing, since venues in the country that is really the engine is under load for a much “taking off.” longer period than the several secThe organization was formed onds of a drag run. in 1995 by two ex-Bonneville racers who started racing on a deserted Speed Run Engines WWII Army base near Maxton, NC. One might visualize the super-sleek However, in 2011, the promoters streamliners would be the vehicle of were notified they could no longer choice, but that's just not the case hold racing events at the site. So, after 16 years of using the North Car- here. The sport is designed to be affordable with numerous classes with olina air base for grassroots speed engines as small as 44 cid engines up trials, the association took flight to hold venues at another airpark. Big power is made from this Enter the town of 1971 Nova with a 540ci blown big block. Wilmington, OH, which had been financially devastated by the departure of freight hauler DHL U.S. Express. The shipping company’s departure left behind not only a gap in the city’s budget, but a vast aircraft facility with miles of smooth, wide runways. Deals were made and starting in 2012, ECTA racing was initiated at that location.

Rules of the Road A little explaining is probably required on the “hows and whys” of this growing motorsports activity. The goal is to determine the top speed of a vehicle from a standing 42 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

The actual vehicle seen here is a modified 1955 Crosley Super Sport.

to blown big block machines. With that in mind, it's easy to understand that speeds vary from well less than 100 mph and up to 250 mph. Land speed powerplants are many times one-of-one, varying greatly with single and multi-carbs,

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The East Coast Timing Association LLC (ECTA) is the principal sanctioning organization for Land Speed Racing in the Eastern United States. Four times a year, scores of car and motorcycle racers gather at the Airborne Airpark in Wilmington, OH, to speed down the Ohio Mile race track. Vehicles range from production cars and bikes (basically off the showroom floor) to exotic, purpose-built racers. Source: ECTA fuel injection, turbo-charging, supercharging, nitrous, and just about anything else. Some of the engines are professionally built, while others are created in the home garage. Engine brands were also quite varied with both American and foreign brands represented.

The C Production Firebird at speed, its best effort being a 190 mph effort through the traps.

Track Stars The following are a few of the powerplants that have taken on the Ohio Mile, as well as some details on their build.

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1988 Firebird/355ci Carbureted Chevy This C Production machine uses a 355ci engine with a steel Bowtie Performance Block, Holley 750 cfm double pumper carb, a .660 lift Crane Cam, Dart Steel Heads, and considerable valve and head work. It makes 560 hp at 8500 rpm burning 110 octane pump gas. This is its fifth year of racing.

This 355 Chevy engine provides 560 horses to its '88 Firebird.

The $15,000 engine uses a mechanical fuel pump for safety reasons. Wrench turner/driver Fred Mulliver explained, "If the engine stops, there is no fuel flowing." Mulliver explained the importance in this engine design. "We have a flat torque curve between 4000-6500 rpm. It's needed because there is a lot of air to push. We get most of our speed in the first half mile of about 160 mph in a 190 mph run."

Would you believe the powerplant below is a blown Flathead Ford? It makes about 450hp!

Oil temperature reaches 230 degrees F at the end of the run. Mulliver indicated that the car is owned and co-driven by Jeff Jacobs.

XF Class Drop-Tank Lakester/239ci Blown Flathead Ford If that looks like a tip tank, that's exactly what it is. It’s actually off of a WWII Navy Bearcat, said owner Ron Sangiovanni. "It was buried and was part of an old bomb shelter. I considered it as the 'holy grail.’" Cradled within is a vintage Ford 239 Flathead V8 (which Sangiovanni builds) with a quite unexpected 6.71 blower on top, this engine makes an amazing 450 horsepower using 117 octane fuel. Sangiovanni explained that this isn't an original vintage speed run vehicle, but he built it to resemble the originals as close as possible. "There are just a handful of those Circle 44 for more information 44 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

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late 1940s Lakesters left today, and some of them still run," the Wallington, CT, native explained. The engine was built to live with a late 1980s French flathead block. "They were cast with a high nickel content which really made it a rock." A drag racer, Sangiovanni echoed the common opinion that speed runs are a different animal. "With the longer runs, the tune-up is very important and I work hard to get the same pressure on each of the eight cylinders. "The goal was to enter the speed trap at about 6400 rpm. I put it into third gear shortly before hitting the trap. My best time is 171.89 mph," he exclaimed.

1971 Nova/540ci Blown BB A look at Ron Sangiovanni’s tip-tank Lakester as it rounds the airportbased track in at Wilmington, OH.

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Feature Keith Vandenburg readies his 540ci big block powered Chevy Nova for another run around the track.

the first time. I really enjoyed it more since there was time to check the gauges and make changes during the run," the Ontario, Canada resident explained. His best effort on the drag strip was 145 mph done in 10+ seconds. "In the speed trials, I was able to reach 210 mph,� he said, adding, "With the dragster, the engine is hitting 6000 rpm after the quarter mile.

'94 Nissan/183ci Dual-Carb Half-Ford V8 One of the few import-label cars was this unique Nissan 240SX. It was identified as carrying small block Ford power, but that didn't jive with the Three Liter Class in which it ran. Owner/driver Don McMeekin of Westerville, OH,

Chevy Keith Vandenburg admits that he's an amateur at this speed trial game, but he's learning fast. His '71 Nova carries a custom alcohol-injected 540ci big block Chevy hooked to an F2 Pro-Charger Supercharger, which enables in excess of 1300hp. Cooling is accomplished by a homemade One of the few import racers to seek a record time was this intercooler that Vandenburg constructed from unique Nissan 240SX owned spare parts. and driven by Don McMeekin. "I have used the car for drag racing up until now, but decided to try it in the speed trials for

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who works as an industrial designer, explained his unique powerplant. "I wanted something a little different, so I actually cut the V8 in two and used half of it,” McMeekin said. “Then, I added a pair of Holley 350 cfm two-barrel carbs. I spaced them so that they would line up with the ports and provide better flow. I initially tried a single four-barrel, but this set-up worked best. "Next I added some good parts with a flat 180-degree Moldex Crank and a Racer Brown Roller Cam. It's got a dry sump oiling system, and finally, there is an FMS aluminum cylinder head. It makes about 300 horsepower at about 8,000 rpm." McMeekin indicated that he thinks this is a The father and uncle of Brad Keselowski pretty optimum set-up for this type of racing. "I fielded this car. That's father Bob on the dad) and Bob (Brian's ran 173 mph at Bonneville where the record is right and brother Ron on the left. dad) were on hand with 174. At Wilmington, I ran 151. It's a ball of fun for the car and made an me and I hope to keep getting those trap speeds awesome 250 mph run through the traps. Both had rachigher and higher.” ing careers using Mopar power. 2010 Dodge/358ci Dual-Carb NASCAR V8 For this application, a modified nose was installed One of the most familiar vehicles at the event was a which provided better aerodynamics. Also, the off-set of NASCAR-appearing Dodge Charger with the even-more- the body was eliminated by removing the right rear familiar 'Keselowski' name down its side. Cousins Brad quarter. There is also a larger spoiler in the rear. and Brian are now driving in NASCAR. Engine modifications saw the addition of a twin fourAs many know, that family and that engine brand barrel carb set-up which provided about 845 horsepower have been uttered as one for many years. Ron (Brad's from the 5.7L NASCAR Mopar engine. The car first ran in 2012, but many more runs are planned with further refinements.

1955 Crosley/44 ci Carbureted Crosley Granted, there are a number of classes in ECTA, but when you hear that the Class XX allows engines of less than a 100 ci, you have to be surprised. Would you believe that a '55 Crosley Super Sport carrying a 44 ci engine capable of putting out 60 hp at the wheels could top 100 mph? It’s true. Using a tiny Weber 2-barrel carb, it was clocked at 108+miles per hour through the traps. ■ The Keselowski team uses a NASCAR Mopar 358 engine with a non-NASCAR legal pair of four-barrel carbs.

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Fast Lane Continued from page 16

horsepower factor. The photo on page 16 is an example of a Roush Pro Stock Cleveland head by 1980. Even though a Cleveland head had great flowing attributes, they still received serious modifications. That’s why they were so dominant back then. First, the exhaust side had 1.400˝ milled off. An aluminum plate that thickness 2 5/8˝ high was bolted in place relocating the exhaust ports higher. This was known as high porting. The original iron part of head port was welded or brazed and recontoured to match the plate port, making the exit as smooth and straight as possible. The longer you could keep the primary header tube straight off the port, the better the flow. A 19˝ long 1˝ wide X .250˝ thick steel girdle was used on top the aluminum plate. Torque sequence and poundage was also altered. The intake port also had radical modifications. It was ported to the max flow and the pushrod boss cut through. Then braze or epoxy sealed that area. The intake rocker studs were moved over .250˝ to the right along with the push rod slot. The guides were plates cut, rebridged and welded. Then blades were carefully installed in the port entrance to calm the turbulence. That blade installation had to be done on a flow bench. If placement was not perfect, it could ruin the efficiency. Then we had offset dowels to index the head. We reinforced the headdeck by posting. Posting was drilling, tapping and installing 1/2˝ studs into the larger open areas in the head’s deck against the roof. Then mill the deck smooth. Another must were the 3/8˝ load bolts from the outside ends of the heads through tapped holes nestling against the thin intake seats on #1 and #8 to keep them round. The work done in the combustion chambers was an art form. All was handwork. No CNC.

There were ghost porters back then. A renowned engine builder would work up a sample cylinder, then have a porting talent do the other seven. Jon Kaase told me once he had a porting guy chained to a bench in the basement (I’m pretty sure he was joking!). All this modification was legal. There were limits, however. Imagine the cost of doing a set of heads like that today. In 1980, a typical Roush Pro Stock engine complete from carbs to pan was only $10,000. Everything I learned as a Pro Stock, and later as a Pro Modified racer, was a double positive. It benefited me and I passed on what I learned to my customers when applicable. One huge thing I learned was judgment of cause and effect and how to correct them. I find that not knowing cause and effect is the

Here are examples of lightweight parts most all SB Pro Stocks ran. The piston on right is a classic narrow cylinder punishing but bigger HP slipper skirt. Piston on left is the stronger but heavier full skirt. The Brooks "Windage" rods were light and incredibly strong. In my 339 cid Cleveland, we spun those parts almost 12,000 rpms. 50 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

biggest problem with the novice hotrodder. Not realizing what they are looking at and jumping to conclusions. Therefore, not knowing how to properly correct or move forward.

End of the Run There is a myriad of information I would have never known if had not become a Pro Stock racer. I could write a million words on this subject. As the years passed and I moved up, I won more races, championships and awards. Much of what I learned in almost 50 years has become rudimentary to me, but is probably unknown to some general hot rodders or technicians. Today, that situation is better thanks to trade magazines like this one. ■ Want to read more about Jim’s racing history? Visit: Even though a Cleveland head had great flowing attributes, they still received serious modifications. That’s why they were so dominant back then.

51-53 Spotlights 12/17/13 8:45 AM Page 51

Product Spotlights

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Engine Pro High Performance Connecting Rods 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,

Engine Pro

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Phone: 800-ENGINE-1 Circle 111

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Product Spotlights

51-53 Spotlights 12/17/13 8:45 AM Page 52

Web-Based Valvetrain Parts Catalog SBI has released a Web-based version of its acclaimed catalog in order to provide users with real-time updates on additions to the company’s line of replacement valvetrain parts for close to 3,000 applications divided among late-model domestic and import passenger car, light truck, performance, marine, agricultural, heavyduty and forklift/industrial. The catalog also features listings of K-Line Bronze Bullet-brand valve guide liners and miscellaneous K-Line tooling stocked by SBI, Exclusive Master Distributor for K-Line. Based on SBI’s CD-ROM catalog, the SBI Web-based catalog allows the user to search the database by part type/part number, vehicle type, engine manufacturer, or specific engine and make codes.

S.B. International Phone:1-800-THE-SEAT Circle 102

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51-53 Spotlights 12/17/13 8:46 AM Page 53 is the new address for performance. Whether you’re into drag racing, circle track, road racing or street performance, has you covered! Speedville features all of the quality technical content that Babcox Media can provide and that readers have come to expect from its top-notch trade publications. Be sure to stop by and sign up for the Pit Crew to earn miles towards gear in the Speedville Mall and a chance to win prizes! 330-670-1234 Circle 113

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Product Spotlights


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Simply the Best Lists:

To Advertise in CLASSIFIEDS! Call Roberto Almenar at 330-670-1234, ext. 233 Visit The Engine Builder website - - 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 100,000+ page views/ impressions per month and growing!

Engine Builder Phone: 330-670-1234

Automotive Aftermarket Truck Fleet & Powersports Markets

What Type of Direct Marketing Initiatives Do You Have in Store for 2014? Direct Mail E-Mail Marketing Telemarketing New Business • Prospecting Drive Web Site

Traffic Database Enhancement Catalog Mailing Promote Upcoming Tradeshows

Don Hemming, List Sales Manager Babcox Media, Inc. Phone: 330-670-1234 x286  Fax: 330-670-0874 

Need Reprints? Call Tina Purnell at 330-670-1234, ext. 243 54 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

54-55 Class-Cores 12/17/13 8:42 AM Page 55




$30,000 CALL FOR LIST 973-823-8887



JAMISON EQUIPMENT 1908 11th St., Emmetsburg IA 50536 800-841-5405 Check out our used equip. list at

Call now to order or to receive a free 2014 catalog 1-800-434-5141

Advertiser Index COMPANY NAME American Cylinder Head, Inc. Avon Automotive Products Brad Penn Lubricants Brock Supply Chrysler Group LLC Cometic Dakota Parts Warehouse Dart Machinery Ltd Darton International Dipaco Inc. DNJ Engine Components Driven Racing Oil, LLC Dura-Bond Bearing Co Egge Machine Company Engine & Performance Warehouse Engine Parts Group


PAGE # 17 36 4 38 7 27 9 40 4 20 1 Cover 2 21 19 53 13

Engine Parts Warehouse ESCO Industries GRP Connecting Rods Injector Experts Liberty Engine Parts Mahle Motorsports Manton Pushrods & Rockers Maxima Racing Oils Motovicity Distribution Packard Industries Permatex Inc ProMaxx Performance Rottler Manufacturing Roush Yates Performance Products Safety Auto Parts SB International Scat Enterprises

41 26 46 8 5 43 48 6 33 47 15 Cover 3 Cover 4 44 39 3 11 55

Final Wrap

56 Final Wrap 12/17/13 8:41 AM Page 56

Stop the Bleeding Industry Veteran Challenges Participants To Change


rian Benson from Dakota Parts Warehouse says he’s tired of seeing this industry stand by and watch itself bleed to death. “I have been involved in this industry for over 30 years and I have noticed more people who have been in the industry longer than myself are just up and calling to say that they are done and closing their shops. Sadly, most often the cause given is that they are getting close to retirement age and can't find anyone who is willing to take over their business,” he wrote recently in an open letter to the industry. “Remember back when you were a teenager and you walked into a machine shop for the first time and how you were blown away watching them tear down those greasy engines?” he asks. “When you saw the inside an engine for the first time and you wanted to get your hands greasy and check it all out? Back then you could watch a crank being ground and wonder how they set it up or watch someone boring a block – you just knew that this is what you wanted to do!” Brian has done something we probably don’t do often enough – encouraged us to look back at why we got into this business in the first place – before it became a headache … a hassle … a job … when it was a passion. 3550 Embassy Parkway Akron, OH 44333-8318 FAX 330-670-0874


Here’s what he suggests: The next time a young person comes in and asks questions, take the time to visit with them and encourage their interest. If they show real interest then maybe offer them a part time job cleaning parts. Tell them everybody starts out by cleaning parts to prove they can work and learn other jobs as they go. Some states offer a program called OJT (on the job training). Check with your local or state unemployment office about it and if you can find a person who qualifies for it the state may pay for the training up to X amount of hours. “Also take some time and go to the local high school or Vo-Tech – if they have a shop class, talk to the teacher and find out if he or she has a student that might be worth talking to about a future in the industry. Offer the teacher a chance to do a field trip to your shop to let the kids check it out – you never know, you might find a good employee out of the bunch,” he says. I’d also suggest making a presentation to students in the physics classes, math classes and engineering clubs – those smart ones who know numbers and can understand technical information could make ideal trainees. Though their numbers have certainly declined, high schools and tech

Publisher Doug Kaufman, ext. 262

Tech Editor Larry Carley

Editor Ed Sunkin, ext. 258

Advertising Services Tina Purnell, ext. 243

Senior Executive Editor Brendan Baker, ext. 228 Graphic Designer Nichole Anderson, ext. 232

56 December 2013 | EngineBuilder

Director of Distribution Rich Zisk, ext. 287 Circulation Manager Pat Robinson, ext. 276 Sr. Circulation Specialist Ellen Mays, ext. 275

Sales Representatives Bobbie Adams 330-670-1234, ext. 238 Roberto Almenar 330-670-1234, ext. 233 David Benson 330-670-1234 ext. 210 Don Hemming 330-670-1234, ext. 286 Jamie Lewis 330-670-1234, ext. 266


schools are still helping develop those kids with gasoline in their bloodstream. Our sister publication Tomorrow’s Tech magazine ( is testament to the passion that still exists in young people today. And, a strong number of colleges are doing a great job training gasoline, diesel and high performance machinists and engine builders. In 2014, look for a regular column in Engine Builder from training instructors all over the country who will extol the skill and preparation of the next generation. “If you’re nearing the age of retirement, you need to start talking to the employees you have now,” Benson says. “See if they’re interested in owning your place one day. If you’re proactive, you can teach them what they need to know to own the business … and keep this industry alive.” Brian Benson’s concern is legitimate: “Things have to change or there won’t be any shops left.” Let’s change our own mindset first: the days of the automotive industry being the only option for those not going to college are over. We need to bring passion and excitement back to our shops and the sooner the better. ■

Dean Martin 330-670-1234, ext. 225 Jim Merle 330-670-1234, ext. 280 Tom Staab 330-670-1234, ext 224 Glenn Warner 330-670-1234, ext. 212 John Zick 949-756-8835

Babcox Media Inc. Bill Babcox, President Greg Cira, Vice President, CFO Jeff Stankard, Vice President Beth Scheetz, Controller In Memorium: Edward S. Babcox (1885-1970) Founder of Babcox Publications Inc. Tom B. Babcox (1919-1995) Chairman

C3 promax_Layout 1 12/17/13 9:17 AM Page C3

Circle 59 on Reader Service Card for more information

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Circle 60 on Reader Service Card for more information

Engine Builder, December 2013  

Engine Builder provides valuable information on numerous engine markets served by both custom and production engine builders/ rebuilders –...

Engine Builder, December 2013  

Engine Builder provides valuable information on numerous engine markets served by both custom and production engine builders/ rebuilders –...