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Making the Right


Replacing Cranks, Rods and Bearings

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Contents 06.14

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Machine Shop Market Profile In this issue, we present our Annual Machine Shop Market Profile, an in-depth industry overview written by Publisher Doug Kaufman, who provides results from our examination of the machine shop market. In this report, Kaufman addresses trends in the production of engines, cylinder heads and crankshafts, as well as specific business data to help your shop.

Replacing Crankshafts, Connecting Rods and Bearings The crankshaft, connecting rods and bearings are extremely important in every engine build. There are three things that need to be considered when replacing a crank, rods and bearings: strength, clearance and balance. Read this piece to find out how to make these three ingredients work right in your engine build.

20 Improvements on Cylinder Heads Cylinder heads are a product line that warrant almost constant research. Both the OEMs and aftermarket are creating new applications that solve problems, save time or money and generally make life easier for engine builders. But, these improvements are only beneficial if those builders know what is out there waiting to help them. Check out our feature to get the latest on head improvements.


32 Columns

Memory Lane ..............................14 By Randy Rundle Reflecting on the Kart Kraze

Track Talk ....................................56 By Bill Holder Race Enthusiasts Set Sights on Wilmington Mile Records

Profitable Performance ................64

Front-Mounted Oil Pumps On late model engines such as Chevy LS, Ford modular V8s and Chrysler 5.7/6.1/6.4L Hemis, engineers have moved the oil pump from its cozy location inside the oil pan to the front of the engine under the timing cover. Traditionally, most wet sump oil pumps have been mounted under the engine inside the oil pan. Is the move to front-mounted oil pumps good or troublesome?


By Dave Sutton The 6.4L Magnum Build Marches On

DEPARTMENTS Editors Page ........................................................4 Industry News......................................................6 Events ..................................................................6 Shop Solutions ....................................................12 2014 Supplier Spotlight ........................................67 Cores/Classifieds/Ad Index ..................................71 ENGINE BUILDER founded Oct. 1964 Copyright 2014 Babcox Media Inc.

ENGINE BUILDER (ISSN 1535-041X) (June 2014, Volume 50, Number 06): 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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Editor’s Page

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Making Natural Gas the Natural Choice I

f you attended Woodward Dream Cruise in Royal Oak, MI, last summer and peered under the hood of a certain dark-colored 2003 Ford Mustang – you may have seen an unusual fuel set-up. That’s because the pony car’s engine, which makes about 470 HP, runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). The street-legal CNGpowered Mustang is a project of Daryl Patrishkoff of Shelby

Township, MI, who has a vision for the American automotive industry – that our nation’s fuel of choice should be CNG, not gasoline. Patrishkoff heads up a three man technical team developing CNG engine design technology, and insists the advantages to this fuel are: • A 40% savings in fuel costs at the pump; • A 25-30% reduction in harmful vehicle emissions; • A 100% U.S.-provided natural gas product; • Meaningful employment for the U.S. economy; and, • A CNG-powered vehicle runs on fuel that can be mined in the U.S. Although CNG is used in more than 15 million vehicles worldwide, acceptance of this alternative fuel has been slow in the U.S. There are only 120,000 CNG vehicles in the country, most of them company fleet and municipal buses, which have been in service 4 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

for decades. Patrishkoff said it has taken thousands of hours and a significant amount of money to get the Mustang developed to automotive engineering standards. It is now a legitimate road vehicle which puts out 470 HP at the rear wheels (over 500 HP at the crank) on either fuel using alcohol injection. While having demonstrated that using CNG does not decrease HP from a gasoline baseline, Patrishkoff said the next step is to show it can increase HP. For that reason, Patrishkoff is looking for about $55,000 of funding to test his theory. About $15,000 of the money is needed for highperformance CNG components and $10,000 is required for engine calibration refinements on the dynamometer. The remaining $30,000 is slotted for EPA 75 testing. In order to raise funds for this final phase of this project, Patrishkoff recently launched an Indiegogo campaign. For more information on this project, check out Patrishkoff isn’t the first to consider using CNG in a performance engine. About four years ago, Mark McConville used a CNG-powered 1966 Pontiac GTO to generate awareness and educate Americans on the versatility of CNG. With a trip along America’s favorite byway, McConville set out to show the “freedom” domestic natural gas

can provide U.S. EDITOR Ed Sunkin drivers from foreign oil. So, McConville and his friend Keith Barfield, drove the first CNG-powered muscle car from Santa Monica to Chicago on Route 66. The pair partnered with CNG stations, car aficionados and supporters of natural gas to make their dream a reality during the summer of 2010. The 2,400-mile trip – which included a special refueling truck – facilitated classes, lectures and appearances to educate the public about natural gas as a viable automobile fuel. “We’re just a couple of knuckleheads who modified their 1966 Pontiac GTO (Goat) to run on Compressed Natural Gas,” said McConville, who’s website

documented the trip. “Our goal is to highlight the use of alternative fuels towards eliminating our dependency on foreign oil.” Will CNG power more performance and muscle cars of the past into the future? It’s hard to say, but interest in using CNG as an auto fuel is growing among some engine builders. ■

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Industry News

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Speedway Motors Founder "Speedy" Bill Smith Dead at 84

Victory Lane fell silent recently as the performance automotive community lost a pioneering racer, hot rodder and entrepreneur. “Speedy” Bill Smith, founder and owner of Speedway Motors, died May 30 at his home in Lincoln, NB, just weeks before his 85th birthday. He is survived by four sons, their wives, 10 grandchildren, and an extended family of Speedway Motors employees and thousands of loyal customers.

Lifetime Achievement honors coming from the likes of SEMA, NSRA, Goodguys, IMCA and USAC. He actively supported organizations and sanctioning bodies that shared his mission to make rodding and racing safe, fun and affordable. A desire to preserve racing history led his family to establish the Museum of American Speed in 1992. This world-class collection of racing engines, cars and automotive artifacts has allowed the Smith family to give back to the automotive community and share their profound love of racing and rodding with future generations.

Melling Engine Parts 2014 Catalogs are Here

1977 when Goodson Shop Supplies was a division of Winona Tool Manufacturing Co. The purchase of the company was finalized on June 4, 1979 and initially employed seven people. Today, Goodson Tools & Supplies for Engine Builders employs 38 in three states. To read more on Goodson milestones during Biesanz’s tenure, visit and search”Goodson.”

King Presented 2013 Overall Quality Award From Jasper King Engine Bearings has received its second consecutive award from Jasper Engines and Transmissions, North America's largest remanufacturer of gasoline and diesel powertrain and drivetrain components. King was awarded the 2012 Jasper Outstanding Service Award, as well as the Key Supplier

Melling Engine Parts has announced the release of a new 2014 Engine Parts Catalog as well as a new Cylinder Sleeve Catalog. Included in these 2014 catalogs are new charts, tech information, new part numbers now in stock and available, and a complete full color brochure insertion about Melling with a message from company July 24-26 president Mark Melling. Motor State Challenge The Melling division, Dura-Bond Watervliet, MI

Industry Events

Smith got hooked on cars early in life and began buying, fixing and selling Model Ts for profit as a teen. Soon he was racing – first motorcycles, then cars – while attending classes at Nebraska Wesleyan University. After earning a degree in education, Smith followed his automotive passion and opened Speedway Motors in 1952, aided by a $300 loan from his wife Joyce. A combination of passion, tenacity and innovation allowed Smith to grow a small 20x20 storefront into a flourishing mail-order business and manufacturing empire. During its 62 years in business, Speedway Motors has grown to become one of the largest manufacturers, distributors and retailers in the performance aftermarket. Working side-by-side with his beloved wife and all four sons, Smith built what is recognized as America’s Oldest Speed Shop. Smith’s countless contributions to rodding and racing have been recognized by dozens of organizations, with Hall of Fame and 6 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

August 28-September 2 NHRA Chevy Performance US Nationals Indianapolis, IN or 317-718-8750

October 28-30 Engine Expo Novi, MI

November 3-6 AAPEX 2014

Bearing Company, has also released Las Vegas a new 2014 catalog. For more information, visit November 4-7

Scott Biesanz Celebrates 35 Years with Goodson June 2014 marks the 35th Anniversary of Scott Biesanz purchase of Goodson Tools & Supplies for Engine Builders. Biesanz has led the company since

2014 SEMA Show Las Vegas

For more industry events, visit our website at or subscribe to

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Industry News

and Partner award, followed by the most recent 2013 Jasper Overall Quality Award. Only four suppliers out of more than 1,000 were awarded with this honor, based on Jaspers stringent requirements. Jasper's Overall Quality award is based on scorecards that track specific manufacturer performance across multiple measures such as issue resolution, overall response time, product quality inspection, and overall perception of quality, to name a few.

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event known as the Ohio Mile, in Wilmington. (For more on the cars from that event, check out Track Talk beginning on page 56 of this issue).

DIYAutoTune's 240SX Land Speed Car Breaks World Record DIYAutoTune’s Land Speed project has already led to broken records in their class. At only their second event with the car, the DIYAutoTune team managed to crush the existing F/BGC record of 165.25mph by posting a run of 177.09mph. This run was made at the ECTA sanctioned

Beck/Arnley Celebrates 100 Year Anniversary The 240SX is powered by a Toyota 2JZ turbocharged ‘straight-six’ built by Ball Engines in Lilburn, Georgia and runs on the full lineup of King Engine Bearings. At this event the team was able to prove the potential of this car and what it can do to move the bar for this class. With some additional time behind the wheel and some improvements in putting the power to the ground, this 240SX is primed to break even more records in 2014. Watch for more updates as these records continue to fall, particularly at Bonneville Speed Week in August, known as the ‘Big Show’ in land speed racing. Follow the team’s journey at their website

ATMC National Excellence in Training Awards

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program overview, needs analysis, learning objectives, program materials/elements, delivery methods, measurement of the program’s effectiveness and program maintenance. The application process is free to all ATMC members; $150 for nonmembers. The deadline to apply is Sept. 1. Awards will be presented in a special ceremony during the ATMC reception November 5th during Industry Week in Las Vegas. For more information or an application, see the Awards tab at or call 703-669-6670.

The Automotive Training Managers Council (ATMC) has issued a call for entries for the 2014 National Excellence in Training Awards. The annual program is designed to highlight the importance of training to the success of the transportation industry by honoring highly effective or innovative training programs The awards are open to any person or entity providing training in the industry. The submissions are judged by an ATMC panel and awards are presented to programs that meet a prescribed level of excellence based upon several criteria, including the

Having reached the milestone of their 100th year in business, Beck/Arnley has marked the historic event with a variety of celebrations and materials celebrating their first century. “We are very proud that

Beck/Arnley still carries on the strong business traditions established by Irving Beck in 1914,” said Sandy Norris, director of marketing. “We have adapted and changed with the industry, and the fact that our brand has not only survived but flourished for a century is a huge milestone and one we are honored to continue.” Part of marking the event is the release of a special video and the creation of an anniversary section on their website. Both highlight the rich history of the company and its many accomplishments with vintage photos accompanied by historic advertisements and catalog covers. For more information visit

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Industry News

Federal-Mogul Vehicle Components Renamed Federal-Mogul Motorparts Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation has announced the next step in its ongoing strategy to drive the global growth of its premium products and leading brands. Effective immediately, the company’s Vehicle Components division will be renamed Federal-Mogul Motorparts. Federal-Mogul Motorparts is a leading provider of premium brands, including MOOG, Fel-Pro, Champion, Wagner, ANCO and Ferodo, to the global aftermarket. Federal-Mogul Motorparts also provides high-quality vehicle braking, chassis and wiper components to global original equipment manufacturers. “For more than a century, we have remained focused on providing the highest quality components across each of the product categories and regions we serve. Vehicle manufacturers recognize this, as our friction products are found on seven of the top 10 vehicle models in Europe, and the best-selling vehicle in North America,” said Daniel Ninivaggi, CEO of Federal-Mogul Motorparts, and Co-CEO of FederalMogul Holdings Corporation. “Our aftermarket products are designed and engineered around the principle that vehicle safety and product performance matter most. Federal-Mogul’s premium brands are synonymous with quality, which will continue to be the way we differentiate our products from others available in the market. The new Federal-Mogul Motorparts name and logo will be rolled out globally effective immediately, leading into new marketing campaigns for its product brands.

equipment market. The new members will be recognized as part of the festivities during the SEMA Installation Gala, Friday, July 18, 2014, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, CA. The inductees include one of the association’s founding members, along with three former SEMA Person of the Year winners. Nile Cornelison: Having been involved in the industry as a machinist, racer, retail store owner and warehouse distributor (WD), Cornelison’s diverse background — coupled with his passion and innovativeness — made him uniquely qualified to lead the industry in what was unchartered territory. Jim Cozzie: Cozzie served as SEMA chairman of the board in 2008–2009. The 2004 SEMA Person of the Year winner used his foresight and knowledge to help SEMA do more than simply persevere through the recession. During this time, the association developed its strategic focus on vehicle technology and expanded efforts to help U.S. manufacturers find opportunities in overseas markets. John Menzler: He was among SEMA’s most active and passionate volunteers, having been involved on several SEMA councils and committees. Menzler was instrumental in establishing a number of valuable SEMA programs, including the SEMA Hot Rod

Industry Alliance (HRIA) Education Day. Menzler was named 2011 SEMA Person of the Year and 2010 SEMA Mentor of the Year. Fred C. Offenhauser: Offenhauser began his career in the industry in the ’30s. In 1944, he was inspired to start his own company and launched Offenhauser Sales Corp. He began making aluminum intake manifolds, which were sold in every speed shop and distributed by most major distributors over the years. The mass distribution made it possible for thousands of racers to modify their engines and increase performance in ways that were not available elsewhere. Offenhauser was among the original charter members when SEMA was founded in 1963. Although the innovator passed away in 1992, his company continues to manufacture and sell intake manifolds out of the same building the company has resided in since the mid-’50s. The SEMA Hall of Fame’s four newest members join 143 previously inducted industry icons.

Porsche Announces New 4Cyl Boxer Engine Porsche’s decision to develop a new four cylinder engine stems from its need to improve fuel efficiency and emissions ratings across its model line. The new engine will come standard in the Boxster and Cayman models. There has been talk of a four-cylinder 911, but that’s rather unlikely.

SEMA Hall of Fame Gets Four New Members Nile Cornelison, Jim Cozzie, John Menzler and Fred Offenhauser will receive the industry’s highest honor and be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame—an elite group of leaders who shaped and inspired the $31 billion automotive specialty-

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Industry News

The new engine features a horizontally opposed, “boxer” engine, denoting a flat configuration where the pistons move synchronously in and out, as opposed to in an alternating rhythm. For a displacement, we’ve heard 2.5 liters thrown around as the magic number, but that may be subject to change. Expect the new engine to come in either direct injected or turbocharged variants. Engine output would

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probably max at around 395 hp, which is higher than the current output of even the most powerful Boxster and Cayman model variants. There has also been talk that an entire new family of flat four engines will be developed. The 2.5L variant mentioned above would be the most powerful, but 1.6L and 2.0L variants are also reportedly in the early stages of design. A 1.6L variant would put out 210 hp, the 2.0 would produce 286 hp, while the aforementioned 2.5L would have a base output of 360 hp.

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Since the next generation of Cayman and Boxster aren’t due for quite some time, it’ll be at least near the end of the decade by the time this engine sees production, unless the engine appears in the face-lifted versions due to be released in 2016; this is possible but less likely. Porsche also employs a 2.0L straight four in its upcoming Macan crossover, but that one isn’t anywhere near as powerful or as advanced in terms of efficiency. Source: View more news at

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In Depth Deck Discussion I've found another use for a deck height bridge. When replacing seats on race cylinder heads, especially Big Block Chevys, I use a deck bridge with an indicator extension to first check where the valve was and should be. Then, when machining the seats, it's an easy way to get all the valves to the same depth from the gasket surface. This can be very important for piston to valve clearance and equalizing chambers. It worked for me. Randy Torvinen Torvinen's Machine Menahga, MN

A Business Without A Sign Is A Sign Of No Business The U.S. Census reports 18% of households relocate every year, meaning new potential customers pass your building every day. A onetime investment in a well-designed sign will pay for itself very quickly. Signs are cheap to produce and if they are mounted on your property or hang on your vehicle there is no monthly advertising cost, and they work 24-7. Three signs to consider: 1) STREET signs should be large enough to be seen from all directions and include just enough information to let drivers know the nature of the business. Include your company name, type of business and phone number. 2) BUILDING signs can include more information because the reader is generally stationary. These signs should include your company services and other contact information like your web address. 3) VEHICLE are rolling billboards and are a great form of advertising. At the very least your company 12 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

vehicles should display removable magnetic signs listing your company name and phone number. More aggressive marketers will paint a permanent message, or wrap the entire vehicle in advertising. Don’t miss out on maximizing your advertising potential by not utilizing this cheap form of marketing. Signs are a great advertising value. Steve Rich Sterling Bearing, Inc. Kansas City, MO

Saving The Old Parts Will Save You Money Many times a customer sends a head in with spark plugs in it, a temp sender or an exhaust gasket still attached. No matter what is on the head or block when it comes in, save it. From time to time, our customer will come back looking for his old plugs or gasket to re-use. We end up buying him new ones since we threw it out. No matter how bad the part is, let him or her make the decision to throw it out. Jeffrey Myers MAR Automotive, INC Philadelphia, PA

Too Tight Tensioner Torque We have found that failures on 4.0L Ford SOHC secondary timing tensioners may be due to over torquing the tensioner at the time of installation and failure to replace the volume reduction plug. We compared the revised instructions included with the OEM Ford tensioner (32 lb.-ft.) and the instructions given by other industry sources (49 lb.-ft.). From now on, we will include the installation instructions from Ford with our parts. DNJ Engine Components Chatsworth, CA

Main Bearing Rapture For The Raptor Here are some bits of info on the new Ford 5.8L modular engine. It seems Clevite, nor any other bearing manufacturer, have a listing for the main bearings for this engine. Here is a helping hand. Order part number MS2202H quantity of 2. From the second set of main bearings, use the lower halves of position 2, 3, or 4 to replace the halves bearings in the first set that do not have a receiver notch provision in the block. This is a quick fix for those who want to build this engine and/or want the aftermarket Clevite bearing for extreme boosted applications. I have contacted Clevite to investigate the findings to confirm, but it worked for my customer. Roy A. Maloney Engine & Performance Warehouse Denver, CO

Spark Plug Plugs Most popular engines have 14 MM and 18 MM spark plugs. The paper cup type from engine equipment suppliers, or tape, will pop out when the engine is turned over. I discovered an economical way to plug the spark plug holes. 1/4 pipe loosely threads into 14 MM spark plug holes. 3/8 pipe fits about the same way into 18MM spark plug holes. Our hardware store has plastic NYL 3/8 pipe by 3/8 barb fittings with a 3/4 OD hex and 1/4 pipe with 3/8 barb and a hex, just like brass universal fuel fitting. Only the plastic ones are only 59-69 cents a piece. When snugged down with a thin 6point socket, the plastic hex locks down against the head, and the plastic fitting will stay put. To cap the 3/8 flare I use a 1.5 inch piece of 3/8 ID cheap clear vinyl hose. I cut a small piece of new red scotch bright, fold it and stick it flush, or slightly below, in the top 1/2 inch of the cut off hose. Push the open end of the hose over the first barb. Now the spark plug holes are protected, and you can turn the engine over

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freely and not have the caps pop off. Another plus is, if storing for long periods, light oil can be applied onto the scotch bright to wick down into the cylinders. Or just remove the hose caps and put a few drops into the barb's opening. Animal Jim Feurer Animal Jim Racing Lacon, IL.

Shop Solutions – The Power of Knowledge 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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Memory Lane

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Reflecting on the Kart Kraze CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Randy Rundle


he year was 1956. Art Ingeles is a veteran Hot Rodder who spends his days working for the Kurtis Kraft Company. The Kurtis Kraft Company was a well-known fabrication company known for building midget cars, quarter midget cars, Bonneville Cars, USAC Championship Cars and Indy Cars. The company was founded by Frank Kurtis who built his first midget car chassis in the late 1930s. In his off hours, Art designed and built a lightweight tubular chassis that was strong enough to hold his 210-pound body. To that frame, he added a set of semipneumatic tires and a simple steering mechanism. He then rounded up a surplus West Bend 2-cycle lawn mower engine and attached that behind the seat. Using a steel sprocket gear on the engine and another on the left rear wheel assembly, he connected the two using a bicycle chain. Adding a gas tank and some controls and Art had a car‌ of sorts. When Art drove his new creation in the back alleys and tennis courts in the

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neighborhood, crowds of people would gather wanting to know where they could get one of those little cars. Fast forward‌its 1958 and Duffy Livingstone and Roy Desbrow are partners in a muffler shop called GP Mufflers located in Monrovia, CA. Both Duff and Roy are quite handy at fabricating and building projects out of

metal. After seeing Art's creation the two partners decide to build a "car" of their own. They ended up building a couple of extras for friends including one for Bill Jeffery who in exchange did the upholstery for all of the cars. Bill Rowles a local sales rep and a regular at the GP Muffler

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DAN COX owner, H&C Brakes & More

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Memory Lane

shop, found a source for cheap 2-cycle West Bend engines from a bankrupt rotary lawn mower company. The GP Muffler Company was officially in the "kart" business. The GP-built karts were officially named "Go Karts" and were offered for sale via mail order for the modest sum of $129.00 Business was brisk

Marketed as a purchase that would be fun for the whole family, a typical kart would run about $130 in the 1960s, and provide some engine enthusiasts the opportunity to try and gain more power from an engine.

so the three partners formed a loose partnership and continued to work out of the GP muffler shop for the next two years. The Go Kart Company used a renovated bus to haul its race team around parts of California during the “kart craze� days.

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Mail Order Rides Soon, an average of 30 orders a day began arriving in the mailbox. It was time to get serious. The partners formed an official corporation and rented a five-acre facility in Azusa, CA from the Aero Jet General Corporation. A test track was built

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Memory Lane at the new facility and the company formed a factory race team to promote its product. The "Go Kart" Company began flying its six driver, four mechanic race team, and seven or eight karts and spare parts to places like Mansfield, OH, Rockford, IL, and the Bahamas for newly established karting events. The company also had a converted bus that hauled the team to regional events throughout California. Its closest competitor, the new upstart Bug Engineering

and soon attracted the attention of an unlikely buyer…Art Linkletter Enterprises (ALE). Art offered to buy the Go Kart company in 1962 for the respectable sum of $750,000 dollars with the terms being $250,000 up front and the balance to be paid at the end of one year.

No Go The Go Kart Company partners declined the offer in part because the proposal gave immediate control, including the day-to-day management of the company to Art

Linkletter Enterprises. The Go Kart company was convinced that ALE did not have the ability to properly manage the company. Ironically, the Go Kart Manufacturing Co. would find itself in bankruptcy less than a year later, due in part to the recession and declining sales of the karts. The karting craze was ending as fast as it began. Meanwhile, the Go Kart company continued to spend money even though sales were steadily falling…which forced the

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Company, was located literally down the street from the Go Kart company. Competition was intense between the two companies – both off and on the track. The teams would often race their transport buses between events. According to one report, Bug Engineering was producing as many as 320 complete vehicles a day. By 1962, (the peak of the karting craze), there were more than 30 manufacturers building karts. The Go Kart was the original

company into bankruptcy. They would not be alone; many like companies would go down the same path. One bit of irony concerning the Go Kart Manufacturing Company is that for a couple of years prior to its bankruptcy, the company was involved in a legal battle over the “Go By the early 1960s, there Kart” name. were nearly 30 The Fox Body manufacturers Company of building the Janesville, WI, called popular, yet their Kart the "Go Boy simple, kart Kart," which the Go racers. Kart Company said 17

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The "Go Kart" Company began flying its six driver, four mechanic race team, and seven or eight karts and spare parts to places like Mansfield, OH, Rockford, IL, and the Bahamas for newly established karting events.

was an infringement on its trademark name, so it took the Fox Body Company to court for trademark infringement. Fox in turn filed a motion in court to have the Go Kart trademark name dissolved, claiming the name was generic. The court battle continued, and remained undecided. When the Go Kart Manufacturing Company ended up in bankruptcy, the Fox Company bought the Go Kart name from the bankrupt estate for just a few hundred dollars. A few years ago I was lucky enough to track down an owner of one of those early racing karts. It was well hidden in the rafters of his garage where it had been for close to 40 years. I asked to buy it, but it was not for sale. Lots of fond memories he says. “We took the stock motor milled down the head, stroked the crank and a few other things that everybody else had figured out and we were getting 8 to 10 horsepower from a once stock 5 horsepower engine…That was not good enough, so we decided Circle 18 for more information

to add a second engine on the other side. During a test lap on a side street early on a Sunday morning, the local policeman clocked me at 77 miles an hour. He was impressed at first, then we had a little talk. “My buddies and I had a flash of guilt and common sense when we stopped to realize how fast that was when you are literally riding four inches off the ground,” the classic kart owner explained. “All it would have taken was one pothole or a small rock to wipe me out for good, not to mention a car pulling out from a side street. I have kept the kart all of these years as a reminder of the fun we had, but also as a reminder of how lucky I was, and how things could have ended up a lot different...” I still want one of those karts, even now that I am old enough to know better. I grew up riding dirt bike motorcycles instead. Oddly enough, in my neighborhood, the parents considered dirt bikes to be safer than Go Karts because they did not go as fast. Little did they know! ■

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Market Profile

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hen it launched in 1964, the magazine you’re reading now – then called Automotive Rebuilder – expressed excitement that we would be filling a deep void in this industry. We were proud to devote ourselves “exclusively and 100 percent to your problems, potential and opportunities.” It’s nice to know that some things haven’t changed. In the same inaugural Editor’s Notebook report, we accepted “the challenge of being the independent monthly voice in the booming automotive rebuilding industry.” Booming? Well… Thirty years ago, we began surveying the jobber machine shop audience to determine the size, scope and health of the engine rebuilding industry. Since that time, a lot of things have changed at this magazine and in this industry. What hasn’t changed is the commitment to the rebuilder. We have consistently surveyed the same machine shop/custom engine rebuilder (CER) population to get a snapshot of this industry from the experts – you, the engine rebuilder. Numbers obviously 20 June 2014 | EngineBuilder


“GRANTED, IF THERE IS ONE THING TYPICAL OF EVERY ENGINE BUILDER, IT’S THAT THERE IS NO TYPICAL ENGINE BUILDER...DIVERSITY IS A BLESSING AND WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO USE THESE AVERAGES TO SEE HOW YOUR BUSINESS COMPARES.” don’t tell the whole story, but we believe the information in this study is still the most reliable data available for tracking trends in the production of engines, cylinder heads and crankshafts, as well as specific business data. Other national reports back up our basic analysis and we thank every one of our survey respondents for taking the time to contribute to this report. The data generated for this year’s Machine Shop Market Profile was collected through survey questionnaires sent to a random sample of Engine Builder

subscribers, as well as the machine shop/custom engine rebuilding membership of the Engine Builders Association (AERA). Four different questionnaires, consisting of four pages each, were developed to obtain the information contained in this profile. In all, we heard from more than 180 locations that are performing machine work and building engines in the U.S. Analysis of the data was completed by Babcox Market Research. The survey information reflects data for production year 2013. We asked multiple questions about

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Engine Production Data

Market Profile

AVERAGE NUMBER OF GAS/DIESEL ENGINES readers’ monthly production of engine blocks and cylinder heads, REBUILT PER MONTH IN 2012 broken out by engine size as well 2013 2012 2011 2010 as by gas and diesel configurations, GAS ENGINES crankshafts, core sourcing, shop 4 CYLINDER 6.3 4.0 3.7 4.0 equipment ownership and 6 CYLINDER 3.8 4.2 4.4 3.3 purchasing, and total production 8 CYLINDER 8.5 9.4 5.6 10.1 time spent in specific engine building areas. OTHER .46 0.15 1.4 0.52 In addition, this year’s report TOTAL 19.1 17.8 15.1 17.9 includes information on the typical DIESEL ENGINES shop’s financial data, size of shop, 4 CYLINDER .81 0.80 0.57 1.8 years in business, equipment and 6 CYLINDER 1.91 1.76 0.86 1.4 employee information and 8 CYLINDER .46 0.44 0.65 0.46 customer-base analysis of the OTHER .10 0.14 0.040 0.5 typical CER. TOTAL 3.3 3.1 2.5 4.1 Granted, if there is one thing TOTAL NUMBER OF ENGINES typical of every engine builder, it’s 4 CYLINDER 7.1 4.8 4.3 5.8 that there is no typical engine 6 CYLINDER 5.7 5.3 4.7 4.3 builder. While we recognize that each company is unique and 8 CYLINDER 9.0 9.8 6.3 10.6 diversity is a blessing, we OTHER .56 0.3 1.8 0.19 encourage you to use these TOTAL 22.4 20.8 17.7 22.1 averages to see how your business compares. Nationally, the numbers look like this: the average machine shop ENGINE PRODUCTION INCREASES/DECREASES produced nearly 22.4 gas and diesel engines monthly last year, up from RESPONSE 2013 2012 2011 2010 just under 21 in 2012. It’s actually INCREASED 55.6% 40.6% 26.5% 29.3% the highest number we’ve seen in REMAINED THE SAME 28.9% 35.9% 70.6% 40.4% at least six years – and the credit DECREASED 15.6% 23.4% 2.9% 30.3% goes to the smallest member of the family for carrying the weight. TOTAL 100% 100% 100% 100% While declines were seen in sixAVERAGE INCREASE 11.3% 14.4% 13.0% 4.5% cylinder gasoline engines (down almost half an engine per month in AVERAGE DECREASE 14.0% 8.8% 20.0% 14.0% 2013) and eight-cylinder gas engines (down almost a full engine per month), four-cylinder gas REBUILT ENGINE SALES – DOMESTIC AND IMPORT engine production increased 2.3 engines per month (up to 6.3 per GAS 2013 2012 2011 2010 month from 4 per month in last DOMESTIC 74.5% 71.5% 68.6% 69.6% year’s report). And despite declines in six- and eight-cylinder engines, IMPORT 24.5% 28.5% 31.4% 30.4% gas engine production is higher TOTAL 100% 100% 100% 100% than at any time since at least 2008. DIESEL 2013 2012 2011 2010 On the diesel side, slight DOMESTIC 82.0% 84.1% 86.2% 80.3% increases were seen across the IMPORT 18.0% 15.9% 13.8% 19.7% board and the diesel engine TOTAL 100% 100% 100% 100% segment experienced another great year last year. Continued growth of

2009 2.9 3.1 6.1 0.13 12.2 0.68 1.2 0.6 0.06 2.5 3.6 3.7 6.7 0.12 14.8

2009 15.8% 47.4% 36.8% 100% 29.7% 20.8%

2009 71.8% 28.2% 100% 2009 88.8% 11.2% 100% 21

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Engine Production Data

Market Profile


“OF THE 3,000 - 5,000
























































2013 96.2%

2012 92.3%

2011 93.1%

2010 90.0%




























































72.9% -15.4%

86.2% 7.9%

79.9% 26.8%

63.0% -10.5%

22 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

Machine Shop Market Profile

FULL-SERVICE MACHINE SHOPS, IT’S ESTIMATED THAT BETWEEN 807,000 TO 1.35 MILLION GAS AND DIESEL ENGINES WERE BUILT DURING 2013.” 4-, 6- and 8- cylinder engines indicates that industrial, commercial and agricultural opportunities remain. Overall, the number of diesel engines climbed to 3.3 engines per month, a nice 6 percent increase from last year, which was up 24 percent from 2011. The average national monthly gas and diesel engine production of 22.4 units translates to 269 engines produced annually. This is up from the 252 reported last year and exceeds the high-water mark of 264 reported in 2010. Projected onto a universe of 3,000 to 5,000 full-service machine shops, it’s estimated that CERs accounted for between 807,000 to 1.35 million gas and diesel engines built during production year 2013. Last year the market range for the same size universe was 648,000 to 1.26 million units. If you add in an estimated 450,000 engines remanufactured annually by approximately 30 North American production engine remanufacturers (PERs), the combined total number of engines rebuilt in 2013 by CERs and PERs would be about 1.26 million to

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Circle 23 on Reader Service Card for more information

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Engine Production Data

Market Profile
















































*Not used on long blocks or complete engines

*Not used on long blocks or complete engines

PERCENTAGE OF ENGINE PRODUCTION (TOTAL) THAT IS PERFORMANCE-RELATED PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS 2013 2012 28.0% 31.4% 15.1% 20.9% 14.0% 11.6% 5.4% 2.3% 8.6% 7.0% 4.3% 3.5% 14.0% 17.4% 10.8% 5.8%

One to 10% 11% to 20% 21% to 30% 31% to 40% 41% to 50% 51% to 70% More than 70% None/no answer


40% 30%


20% 13% 10%

10% 0%

8% 0%

0% Chevy GM 350 (Others)

Ford (Any)

HD/ Comm

24 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

Import (Any)

Chrysler (Any)


Machine Shop Market Profile

1.80 million units. This compares to an upper range of approximately 1.71 million engines produced by PERs and CERs during production year 2012. At an average retail cost of approximately $2,600 per engine, we calculate that the total rebuilt/remanufactured engine market generated between $3.276 billion and $4.68 billion in rebuilt engine sales in 2013. Many rebuilders said they saw a production increase in 2013 – and happily, fewer saw their production numbers decline. More than half of our respondents (55.6 percent) said production numbers increased. Of those who did report an increase, it was, on average, about 11.3 percent. While only 16 percent said production decreased, for those who did, the average decline was 14 percent. Sales of rebuilt engines in 2013 trended in different ways. Import gas engines continued to fall relative to the previous year (down 2 percent from 2012) while domestic gas engines rose, albeit by a slightly higher margin; the diesel market again saw import engines hand the domestics a 2.1 percent decline – the same as in 2012. We’ve discussed diversity for a long time, and in our survey it continues to be seen. Our 2013 numbers show that – as probably expected – the bulk of our readers (96.2 percent of shops) build automotive gasoline engines. The remaining categories from there are: performance gas – 88.5 percent; automotive diesel – 61.5 percent; marine engines – 61.5 percent; industrial engines – 50 percent; medium-duty diesel – 46.2 The small block Chevy 350 continues to be the most common engine rebuilt and despite its continuing decline and an increase in competition for the top spot, the numbers for 2013 show it continues to be popular. This year, the small-block Chevy was noted as the #1 engine rebuilt by 44 percent of the shops – last year that figure was 50 percent. And proving that GM has staying power, “any other GM engine” accounts for another 26% of shops, so about 70 percent of shops say a GM engine of some kind is their number one product. It’s likely the LS platform makes up the bulk of this work.

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Crankshaft Production Data

Market Profile

into five specific machining processes – production of short blocks, long blocks, complete engines, cylinder heads (not used on long blocks or complete engines) and crankshafts (also not used in long blocks or complete engines). Gas cylinder heads – which had been an increasingly bright spot

“CYLINDER HEAD WORK REMAINS THE SINGLE BIGGEST PART BUT COMPLETE ENGINES AND HEADS TOGETHER ACCOUNT FOR 64 PERCENT OF THE TYPICAL REBUILDING BUSINESS.” percent; heavy-duty diesel – 38.5 percent; performance diesel – 23.1 percent; and “other types” – 7.7 percent. According to our survey respondents, the percentage of engine rebuilding falling into various categories in the typical shop breaks down like this: automotive gas – 36.3 percent; performance – 27.4 percent; industrial – 8.4 percent; mediumduty diesel – 3.4 percent; automotive diesel – 8.3 percent; performance diesel – 2 percent; marine engines – 5 percent; heavy-duty diesel – 6.2 percent; motorcycle/mower/other small – 2.5 percent; and other types – 0.5 percent. The small block Chevy 350 continues to be the strongest engine out there – though other engines in the GM family (without question the LS platform) are gaining traction. The 350 is ranked as the number one engine built by 44 percent of our respondents, down from an even half last year. However, a GM engine of some kind is listed number one by 70 percent of our respondents. Fords account for 10 percent; heavy-duty and commercial engines account for 13 percent (a hefty increase from last year) and “other engines” garnered 8 percent. Imports and Chryslers both fell off the radar this year – no one ranked either as their number one engine. Each year we ask survey respondents to tell us about their engine building business by breaking down their operation 26 June 2014 | EngineBuilder







5.0 3.6 8.5 .44 17.5

6.8 4.6 13.0 0.5 24.9

6.0 4.7 9.0 .036 20.1

6.5 5.6 8.7 0.25 21.05

5.6 4.0 6.7 0.26 16.6

1.1 1.6 .31 .31 3.3

0.96 6.6 0.4 0.22 3.6

1.3 1.7 1.4 0.4 4.8

2.7 2.9 0.4 0.4 6.4

1.0 1.2 0.7 .17 3.1







6.1 5.2 8.8 .75 20.9

7.8 6.6 13.4 0.7 28.5

7.3 6.4 10.4 0.76 24.9

9.2 8.5 9.1 0.65 27.5

6.6 5.2 7.4 0.43 19.6


2013 25.0% 60.0% 15.0%

2012 16.4% 65.6% 18.0%

2011 16.1% 74.2% 9.7%

2010 14.8% 55.6% 29.6%

2009 9.1% 69.7% 21.2%







Machine Shop Market Profile

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Cylinder Head Production Data

Market Profile





14.8 10.0 19.6 0.8 45.2

17.1 11.5 12.7 2.6 43.9

16.7 8.6 14.9 0.78 41.3

2.0 3.3 1.2 0.3 6.8

2.1 2.9 2.5 0.6 8.1

3.9 5.8 2.5 0.6 12.8

16.8 13.3 20.8 1.1 52.0

19.2 14.4 15.2 3.2 52.0

20.6 14.4 18.4 1.4 54.8





17% 10% 13% 10% 9%



3% 6% 3% Any GM

Any Import

Any Chrysler

Any Ford

HD/ Commercial


PERCENT OF CYLINDER HEAD REBUILDING THAT IS ALUMINUM Average 2013 49% 28 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

Average 2012 51% Machine Shop Market Profile

Average 2011 42%

for the typical shop’s production, fell this year from an average of 45 heads produced each month in 2012 to 36.9 heads per month in 2013. In gas, this accounted for about 48.9 percent of the typical shop’s production, down from 49.3 percent. Cylinder head work remains the single biggest part, but complete engines and heads together account for 64 percent of the typical rebuilding business. This is down significantly from 78 percent calculated in 2012. For diesel engine builders, declines are seen in short blocks, long blocks and complete engine production numbers. Diesel heads and cranks saw sizeable production increases. Diesel cylinder heads account for 78.4 percent of diesel engine rebuilding production numbers. In fact, diesel cylinder head increases were seen across the board, but couldn’t overcome the gas declines. In 2012, shops produced an average total of 52 gas and diesel heads per month, but in 2013 that number was 46.5 heads produced monthly. The national average number of gas and diesel crankshafts reground monthly by the typical CER fell in 2013, from 28.5 units in 2012, to 20.9 units in 2013. Diesel crank production decreased in 2013 relative to 2012, falling from 3.6 to 3.3 total units per month. Gasoline crankshaft regrinding also declined, from nearly 25 total units produced monthly during 2012 to less than 18 total units

PERCENT OF CYLINDER HEAD REBUILDING THAT IS DIESEL Average 2011 16% Average 2012 20% Average 2013 36%

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Shop Management Data produced in 2013. Diesel heads rebuilt monthly continued last year’s fall. Total diesel cylinder head production fell from 8.1 units rebuilt monthly in 2011 to 6.8 units in 2012, an overall 16 percent decrease. Sixcylinder diesel head production actually increased slightly, but all other categories fell. The percentage of cylinder head rebuilding that is aluminum fell slightly in 2013, to less than half, giving back some of the gains aluminum made in 2012. The percentage of cylinder head rebuilding that is diesel climbed dramatically, up 16 percent over 2012. As with complete engines, GM continues to dominate in the cylinder head rebuilding market, but some softening of The General’s power may be seen, according to our survey respondents. When asked what the number one cylinder head rebuilt in their shop was, 50 percent named a GM product, down from 59 percent in 2012. And to paraphrase the old saw “What’s true for GM is true for the industry,” other brands are feeling the pinch. Import and Ford heads are claimed as top product by 10

Market Profile

2013 GROSS PROFIT MARGIN ON MACHINE SHOP PARTS AND LABOR 51% or More: 10.9% 41-50% : 10.9%

Up to 10%: 9.9% 11-20% : 15.8%

31-40% : 19.8%

21-30% : 32.7%

percent of shops each; Chrysler dropped back to being named number one by just 3 percent of respondents. However, heavy duty/commercial heads saw a huge jump in 2013, as did the “other” category. Again, diversity reigns in today’s shop environment and that means shops continue to do an increasing amount of various types of engine builds and engine machine work in a variety of engine markets. CERs today are more and more capable of doing everything from a single cylinder

gas or diesel slugger to a 16cylinder marine, industrial or off-road engine to a high performance street rod or racing engine. Diversity means a shop that’s made investments in equipment capabilities to do its engine machine work or engine builds faster, cheaper and at consistency. Shops say that 62.5 percent of the equipment they purchased in 2013 was new, while 37.5 percent was used. This is a significant reversal from the 58 percent used/42 percent new split seen in 2012. From CNC software AVERAGE YEARS SHOP HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS designed exclusively for the engine building industry to shop tooling 5 Years or Less: 8.8% 51 or more: 12.8% and equipment built to 6-10: 5.4% make your job easier and 46-50: 7.4% more profitable, it means 11-15: 8.8% shops that have invested 41-45: 6.1% in training, technical resources and have 16-20: 8.8% developed relationships with suppliers make them the known experts 36-40: 7.4% in their fields. Their customers seek them out for all of these reasons. 21-25: 12.8% 31-35: 12.2% Average total gross sales volume (attributed 26-30: 9.5% to parts and labor) in 2013 was $523,300 in 2013, up from $475,000 in Average Years in Business: 30.2 Years A

Avera 29

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Shop Management Data

Market Profile

2009. Thirty-seven percent of respondents say this figure is up (by an average of 14.5 percent); 45 percent say sales volume was flat year-over-year; and 18 percent saw a decline (again, by an average of 14 percent). According to respondents, in 2013 machine shop parts and labor work accounted for an average of 74.6 percent of shops’ gross sales volume. During the same period, 26 percent of respondents said their average gross profit margin on machine shop parts and labor increased, on average, 8.4 percent over 2012. Thirteen percent said their profit margin fell, by an average of 12 percent. The national average for the number of years a shop has been in business is 30.2 years – an aging trend we’ve watched for the past few years. Many of our respondents say they’ve been reading – and retaining – this magazine since almost its birth. We thank them for their loyalty. But a bright spot too, is the number of new or young shops responding to our survey. More than 14 percent of shop owners indicate they have been in business 10 years or less. At the other end of the spectrum, nearly half of shops (47 percent) have been in operation for more than 30 years, an amazing 27 percent have been building and rebuilding engines since at least the early ’70s, and 13 percent are older than we are! Obviously, many business practices have changed since those veterans first hung out their shingle, and one that we’ve been watching over the past few years has been the number of employees. The average number of total company employees is 4.5 and 30 June 2014 | EngineBuilder


2013 15.1% 8.3% 14.6% 15.3% 14.8% 3.0% 6.3% 7.5% 3.9% 0.4% 4.5% 0.5% 5.8%

2012 17.3% 6.0% 12.4% 15.4% 15.5% 2.5% 5.7% 9.9% 2.6% 0.0% 4.4% 0.4% 17.6%

2011 14.9% 5.4% 12.2% 13.5% 13.4% 0.9% 5.8% 8.7% 4.0% 0.6% 8.5% 0.7% 11.3%

2010 16.7% 5.5% 12.4% 15.6% 14.0% 2.0% 4.7% 10.6% 4.2% 0.3% 4.8% 0.7% 8.5%

2009 17.1% 6.9% 11.0% 15.4% 12.6% 2.6% 5.8% 10.8% 3.9% 0.3% 5.1% 1.2% 7.3%

















*From previous year

Machine Shop Market Profile


NEW 62.5% USED 37.5%

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Shop Management Data the average number of machine shop employees is 3.0 per shop. This number has actually remained fairly consistent for the past several years. The average tenure of employees is 16.4 years. Other facts from our survey: • 45 percent of shops say they have a dedicated shop foreman; 87 percent of these foremen are also working machinists. • 77 percent of shops work regularly with an accountant; 23 percent say they don’t. • Average hourly labor rate (nationally) is $72.50. The average markup on hourly shop labor (that is, the markup from hourly shop labor rate paid to employees compared to the hourly rate charged to customers) is 108 percent. And for every dollar in shop labor billed in 2013, $6.30 in shop labor was generated. Whether they do it because they want to share the wealth or because the diverse range of products they build requires it, survey respondents overwhelmingly choose to buy their parts from multiple suppliers. Seventy-six percent say they shop around; 24 percent are loyal to a single supplier. Computers – love ‘em or hate ‘em – are a necessary part of business today, and even this industry is finally recognizing that fact. Half of respondents say they use a computer to manage their shop; 7 percent say they’re in the process of computerizing (a process that likely has been going on for at least 30 years); yet a substantial 43 percent of shops insist on doing business the “old fashioned” way. Shop operations can be managed without a computer, but certain functions can’t. Shop websites – determined “essential” shop tools by many respondents – are found at just 47 percent of shop respondents. Of those, 24 percent sell directly via their website or other online method – of these forward-thinking shops, 13 percent of their total sales come from the

Internet. When we asked shops to rank their biggest competitors, here’s how they responded: 32 percent – used engines being installed; 32 percent – the economy (in many cases this manifests itself more in the performance business); 19 percent – better quality OE engines; 12 percent – customers purchasing engines from retail outlets, whether PER engines or other suppliers; 3 percent – low finance rates on used cars. No one saw a problem with low financing rates on new cars or with higher gas prices, both of which were major concerns in years past. Shops say they will continue to do what it takes to be strong and successful in this business, but that doesn’t just mean surviving. More than 36 percent of respondents say

Market Profile

they plan to expand their engine rebuilding operation in the next two years. This will be accomplished in the following ways, they tell us: • 58 percent plan to add rebuilding equipment; • 50 percent will add employees; • 42 percent will add services; • 25 percent will expand their production area. Whatever their methods, Engine Builder will continue to support their efforts. ■ Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you. Contact Editor Ed Sunkin at or Publisher Doug Kaufman at For information on Babcox Media’s market research capabilities, please contact Bob Roberts at

Circle 31 for more information 31

Rotating Assemblies

32-40 Cranks 6/5/14 11:39 AM Page 32

Making the Right Connection Replacing crankshafts, connecting rods and bearings BY LARRY CARLEY, TECHNICAL EDITOR


he crankshaft, connecting rods and bearings are extremely important in every engine build, whether mild or wild, because they convert the reciprocating motion of the pistons into rotational torque. The longer the stroke, the greater the leverage effect and the greater the torque output of the engine. There are three things that need to be considered when replacing a crank, rods and bearings: 1. Strength -- Are the parts going to be strong enough for their intended use? A circle track car, drag car or marine application will put far more strain on the crank and rods than a stock or street performance daily driver. 2. Bearing clearances -- Are you going to build it loose or tight? Will the oil viscosity and pressure match the bearing clearances? 3. Balance -- Absolutely critical for engine longevity regardless of the application or RPM potential of the engine. Even a small imbalance at low RPM over a long period of time can fatigue metal.

Durability Stock engines and street performance engines are expected to last a long time: tens of thousands of miles if not a 100,000 miles or more. Combustion temperatures and pressures are lower in a stock engine than a performance engine, and RPM is usually limited to about 6,500 RPM or less. Consequently, 32 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

a cast iron crankshaft, original equipment powder metal rods and standard bearings are usually adequate for their intended use. Original equipment cast iron cranks are usually made of 1053 high-carbon alloy steel. This material has a tensile strength of around 100,000 to 110,000 psi, which can usually handle as much as 400 to 450 horsepower (depending on the engine and size of the journals). Forged cranks, by comparison, may be made from 5140, 4130, 4340 or other high grade alloy steels with tensile strength ratings from 115,000 psi up to 165,000 psi or higher (depending on the alloy and heat treatment). Essentially, you get what you pay for when you buy a high performance crank made of a high quality alloy. Most of the forgings that are used in aftermarket performance cranks today come from China. The quality of the metal depends on the supplier and how the crank is heat treated. Some U.S. crank suppliers do their own finishing work and heat treatment on the Chinese-forgings they buy while others go with prefinished cranks. What's really important here is not the source of the crank or the brand on the box but the quality that has gone into manufacturing and finishing the product. The journals on a high performance crank should be perfectly round and polished to specifications, and level side to side with no taper or convex or concave curvature. The location of the journals must also be

accurately indexed for proper valve timing and ignition. The counterweights must also be in the right locations and have the proper mass to offset the reciprocating mass of the pistons and rods. As long as a crank meets all of these criteria, it should be a good, dependable crank. Crankshafts can fail if they are subjected to more power than they can handle, and from metal fatigue. Asking a stock cast iron crank to handle more than 400 to 450 horsepower in a small block V8, or over 550 horsepower in many big blocks is asking for trouble. If the engine will be equipped with some type of power added (nitrous oxide, a turbocharger or supercharger), the demands on the crank will go up even more and likely require an upgrade to a forged or billet steel performance crank. Do you want a light crank or a heavy crank? It depends on the application for which you are building the engine. Circle track cars are probably the most demanding on both the crank and rods because the engine is constantly on and off the throttle. If the rules allow it, a lightweight crank will provide better throttle response and allow the engine to rev and decel more quickly than a stock weight crank. On the other hand, if you are building an engine for a drag car, weight doesn't matter because the engine will be running at full throttle for a quarter of a mile. The extra rotating weight will also add

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Rotating Assemblies momentum that can help a car launch off the line without bogging. Another point to keep in mind if you are building a blown engine is the extra stress the blower drive puts on the end of the crank. The added stress and flexing over time can lead to fatigue cracks and crank breakage, so look for a crank that is available with a larger diameter nose.

Upgrading Rods Many late model engines are factory equipped with powder metal rods. The vehicle manufacturers like powder metal rods because they are much less expensive to manufacture. The rods can be cast to very close final tolerances and require less machining than a cast iron or forged steel connecting rod. There is no grain structure in a powder metal rod so the rods can be cracked to separate the cap from the rod. This is faster, easier and some say better than cutting and machining rod caps

The correct length is vital when selecting connecting rods. Rod ratio is the length of a connecting rod (center to center) divided by the stroke of the crankshaft.

because cracking leaves a slightly jagged surface on the cap and rod which will only mate together one way. The advantage is that it provides perfect alignment between the cap and rod but the trade-off is that the cap and rod cannot be machined to correct for any bore distortion or wear that has occurred over time. Because of this, powder metal rods are essentially throwaways if the big end is worn or the cap has loosened up over time (which they do). If you're doing a performance build, therefore, one of the first parts that will have to be upgraded is the rods. Replace the original equipment powder metal rods with some type of aftermarket performance rod (I-beam or H-beam). There are a lot of choices when it

Circle 34 for more information 34 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

comes to aftermarket rods. Choosing a rod depends again on the application. You want a rod that's strong enough to handle the power and RPMs the

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Rotating Assemblies

Choosing a rod depends on the application – you want a rod that's strong enough to handle the power and RPMs the engine is capable of producing.

engine is capable of producing. You also have to match the rod length with the stroke of the crank, the pistons and pin location, and the engine's deck height. Strength is critical in a connecting rod. The forces that stretch and compress the rods exert tremendous stress on the beam section of the rod. If a rod is going to fail, it will most often pull apart on a piston upstroke rather than bend during a piston downstroke. A rod can also fail if the bearing starves for oil, seizes and rips the rod apart. The stock rods in most V8s are stout enough to handle upwards of 400 to 450 horsepower, and 5,500 to 6,500 RPM. Exceed these limits and you'll need stronger rods for reliability. One aftermarket rod supplier we interviewed for this article said his entry level rods can handle 800 to 990 horsepower, and his top end rods are running in engines producing upwards of 2000 horsepower. H-beam rods made of 4340 or 300M steel are commonly used in many circle track

Circle 36 for more information 36 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

engines, while I-beam rods are popular with drag racers and marine engine builders. The debate of I-Beam versus H-Beam often boils down to a matter of personal preference. Most Top Fuel dragsters and funny cars use aluminum rods in their motors. So do many ProStock racers. Aluminum rods have a limited service life because they can stretch and fatigue in high stress engines like these. Even so, they work well enough because the typical Top Fuel racer replaces the rods after 8 to 10 runs. ProStock racers may replace the rods after 20 or 30 runs. In the lower drag racing classes, a set of aluminum rods may last 100 to 200 runs or longer. Aluminum rods can work on the street, but it requires a high quality alloy. For this reason, many engine builders prefer to stick with steel rods for their proven longevity. Titanium rods are another option for those with deep pockets. Titanium is light weight (about 24% lighter than a comparable steel rod) and has about

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Rotating Assemblies the same durability as a steel rod, but titanium is expensive and tricky to manufacture. If you can afford them, great! Otherwise, they are probably too expensive for the average street performance customer or weekend racer. Rod length is another choice you will have to make when selecting a set of rods. Rod ratio is the length of a connecting rod (center to center) divided by the stroke of the crankshaft. Many performance engine builders say a rod ratio of 1.57 to 1.67 works best. A longer rod ratio can make an engine's torque output peak more sharply. Lower rod ratios work well with lower RPM stroker motors while higher rod ratios are better suited for high revving engines. Another option is to use rods that do not have wrist pin bushings. This leaves more metal around the wrist pin for added strength at high RPM. But it requires a highly polished pin hole and a low friction coating on the wrist pin to prevent the pin from galling. The type of bolts used to attach the

rod cap to the rod is also important. The stronger the bolts, the better. Poor quality bolts can stretch and allow the cap to wander, leading to rod and bearing failure.

Bearings The bearings support the crank and bear the forces that are exerted by the rods as they reciprocate up and down. A thin film of oil is all that

Circle 38 for more information 38 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

Reducing the oil clearance between the rod and main bearings and the crankshaft has a number of advantages. A smaller gap spreads the load over a wider area of the bearing surface and distributes pressure more uniformly across the bearing.

separates the bearing from the crank journals, so bearing clearances as well as oil viscosity and oil pressure must all be considered when building an engine for a particular application.

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Rotating Assemblies Traditionally, most performance engine builders have gone with "looser" bearing clearances (.0025 to .003 inches) for the rod and main bearings because it works well with 15W-40 racing oil and high pressure oil pumps. One crankshaft manufacturer said the larger the journals on the crank, the more bearing clearance you should allow so the oil can get all the way around the bearing. If you set the bearings too close, you run the risk of spinning a bearing. On some applications, tight clearances work provided the right combination of shaft diameter, bearing clearance, oil viscosity and oil pressure is used. A tighter bearing clearance spreads the load over a slightly broader arc on the bearing whereas a larger bearing clearance will concentrate the load on a narrower strip of the bearing surface. Spreading the load across a larger area of the bearing is good in an endurance engine and street engine because it reduces metal fatigue and extends the life of the bearing. Indy cars and NASCAR can get away with tight bearing clearances (.0015 or less) because many of these engines have smaller diameter cranks and they are using low viscosity 0W-40 or 5W-20 synthetic racing oils. The crank journals also have excellent geometry and are finished to precise tolerances (which may not always be the case with a budget motor or a reground crank). The tighter clearances and thinner oil means less oil pressure is needed to keep the bearings lubed, so oil pressure can be reduced to cut the amount of power needed to drive a wet dump oil pump. Thinner oils also reduce friction which saves horsepower. The disadvantage of thinner viscosity oils is that the oil can drain off the bearings more quickly. When a race car sits all week without running, the bearings may be dry when the engine is fired up. A heavier oil will cling to the bearings better, but will require more bearing clearance so it will flow around the bearings more easily. It goes without saying that journal diameters and well as bearing fit should always be measured when assembling an engine. Never assume everything has been manufactured to specifications or has been boxed accurately. Mistakes happen!

Balance Considerations Whether an engine is internally balanced (usually preferred) or externally balanced, a good balance is essential for crank and bearing longevity. Imbalance in the rotating assembly creates shaking forces that can fatigue metal over time. The closer the balance, the better -- even in engines that seldom if ever see the high side of 5500 RPM. Imbalance grows exponentially with engine

speed, so the higher the engine revs the greater the force generated by even a small imbalance. When choosing a replacement crank, you want to match the weight of the rods, wrist pins, pistons and rings to the counterweights on the crank. All crankshafts have a target bobweight (plus or minus 2 percent typically) that approximates the weights of the pistons and rods that you plan to use. The closer the target

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Rotating Assemblies bobweight of the crank is to the actual balance the crank. parts, the less time and drilling it will Most production V8 crankshafts take to balance the crank. have six counterweights to reduce Determining the bobweight requires weight and cost. This works well weighing all of the parts. Rod weights enough for most applications, tend to vary more than piston weights including racing. But for high revving due to heavier mass. endurance engines and longer stroke With lightweight cranks or those engines, adding two additional where the outside diameter of the counterweights for the center pistons counterweights have been turned down to reduce weight, there may not be enough metal in the counterweights to completely offset the pistons and rods. This will require heavy metal tungsten (Mallory) plugs in the counterweights to balance the crank The journals on a high performance crank should be perfectly round and polished to specifications. and possibly Photo courtesy of Scat Enterprises Inc. externally balance the engine with additional weight on the flywheel and allows better balance and reduces harmonic balancer. Heavy metal adds crank flexing that can lead to fatigue cost as well as extra time and labor to and crank failure.

Circle 40 for more information 40 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

Some cranks have holes drilled lengthwise through the main journals. This has no effect on balance and only reduces the overall weight of the crank maybe 2 or 3 lbs. The main purpose of these holes is to allow air to move back and forth in the crankcase as the pistons move up and down. On Chevy LS engines, this type of breathing is essential because the crankcase is very tight and restricts airflow between cylinders. If you are installing a windage tray on a Chevy LS, the tray needs to be positioned far enough away from the crank so that it doesn't inhibit this back and forth airflow within the crankcase. The tray needs to be above the oil level in the pan so oil is whipped up by the spinning crank, but at least an inch or more away from the crank to allow good airflow. A dry sump oil system that has enough suction to pull vacuum in the crankcase will solve such breathing problems by pulling out most of the air along with the oil. â– 

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Performance Heads

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Head Examinations

The Latest Improvements on Performance Cylinder Heads BY JOHN CAROLLO, CONTRIBUTING WRITER


eads are a product line that warrant almost constant research. Both the OEMs and aftermarket are creating new applications that solve problems, save time or money and just generally make life easier for engine builders. But, these improvements are only beneficial if those builders know what is out there waiting to help them. So, we asked a number of cylinder head manufacturers about selection, technology, and even if the OEMs are doing it right. Some of their answers may amaze you, but they definitely will educate you on today’s heads. We started with the ‘chicken or the egg’ of head questions – what are the best criteria for selecting a set of heads in a performance build. The basics are always best for this question, but, like knowing what is on the market, it’s always good to see what’s new. One Ohio-based manufacturer told us how he does it, “I have to know everything about the build and what it’s to be used for. Even about the driver and track size that it will be primarily used for and what the customer expects. And last but not least, how much money the customer has to spend. We find that a lot of potential customers can’t afford to do it the proper way. We ask that they do a little at a time so they aren’t spending their money twice or three times and getting discouraged and go and do some other form of entertainment.” A California-located designer and manufacturer of cylinder heads provided his punch list, saying, “I 42 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

would say the most import parameters to keep an eye on would be engine displacement, compression ratio, camshaft style, (and aggressiveness) RPM range, and application (street, drag, road race, marine, etc.) when selecting the ideal head for your project. Everything I just listed plays a large role in head selection with ‘compression ratio’ possibly playing the least importance, although an engine with high compression should automatically boost all the other parameters (more RPM, larger cam, etc.) helping by default to guide you into a larger, higher flowing head that

For some high-end performance heads, a raw casting is CNC machined to specific dimensions for that application to deliver peak performance.

would better fit that more aggressive application. The key is really looking at the intended application and building a motor purpose built to best optimize and compliment the type of power curve and engine manners that application dictates is best. A street car will always have compromises made in an effort to keep it friendly on the street so a smaller head than what you might consider in the same vehicle that only sees the strip is likely going to bring better overall results with the cam and other components also matched/selected to give it a more dual purpose personality. A high

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Performance Heads Head Games: Small block Chevy cylinder heads are installed during a COMP Cams compression drag Engine Builder Duel, as teams race race engine is just the against a clock in a performance engine opposite. It lives from building competition. Similar competi5000 – 8000 RPM, tions are held at performance trade hypothetically, and shows by seasoned engine builders, as performance below well as youth, in competitions such as 5K isn’t a the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow. consideration with larger, more aggressive cams, larger heads and manifold all make sense. “The right combination of parts is paramount in extracting the most the heads have to offer in the particular environment you will be utilizing them – not only is selecting the right heads important, but the rest of the supporting bits and pieces as well,” he continued. “The hardest running engines are usually the most sorted out and perfectly a SBC 355. This is a deal where bigger is not better in most optimized with all the components complimenting one applications, which leads me to factor number two. another.” Application; cruiser, street/strip or all-out race. This is a big An Alabama-based head manufacturer listed his top factor because it determines the RPM range in which you factors, “When a person is looking at a set of performance want your engine to run its best. Another factor is the heads, there are several factors that figure into the equation. camshaft. This is what usually determines the spring First off, is the size of the engine. I have customers all of the package for each head. These are just a few of the factors we time that call and want to put a 225 runner cylinder head on consider before we suggest a cylinder head for a customer. It’s been our experience to supply the proper size runner, combustion chamber, valve and springs for a total package that meets customer’s needs.”

“This is truly the golden age of hot rodding with the largest difference being you can make big power now thanks to modern technology without paying the penalty of poor driving manners and poor fuel economy.”

Circle 44 for more information 44 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

The Tennessee racing head manufacturer agreed. “The basic criteria to begin with are the size of the engine, compression ratio, fuel type and application. Then, the engine builder needs to define their intended horsepower, torque and RPM band. This information will be used to identify the runner volume and combustion chamber size. The most common mistake we see is when individuals choose a larger runner volume head with impressive highlift flow numbers. Unfortunately, these ‘big’ numbers do not necessarily translate into ‘big’ power for their application. Though the big flow numbers are impressive, they are not indicative of the performance of the engine. Quality of the

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Performance Heads According to one cylinder head maker, the demand for larger, higher-flowing heads is just is one of the options engine builders are looking for when building today’s performance engines.

airflow and the overall curve are much more important in achieving the desired outcome and making power and torque when and where needed.” Another Ohio-based manufacturer added one more factor. “We feel the best criteria for selecting a set of cylinder heads is to know the cubic inches of the engine, the RPM you

want to turn, the application and the weight of the car. From there, you can select the correct runner size and the amount of air flow required to support the engine.” As head builders, our sources are even more tuned into the market than most folks. So we asked them

for some of their intel on any new OEM technology on heads that may be a factor for engine builders now or in the future. The California manufacturer said, “Right now, the newest technology is DI (Direct Injection) where the fuel is sprayed under very high pressure directly into the combustion chamber instead of the manifold or intake port of the head. It’s much more precise and offers the end user more torque, more fuel economy, and more power. And my guess is most of the OEMs will be implementing this technology into their entire line up of cars in the next few years. Even the more sedate basic transportation models; in an effort to better meet the tightening CAFE standards without imparting power output in a

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Performance Heads negative fashion.” While another head manufacturer echoed that with a simple, “direct injection issues” response, one of the spokespersons we interviewed sees a different issue. “The major thing that we see, which is not really new, is the overhead cam. It seems most engines on the OEM side are using this technology. I often wonder does this just complicate something that did not need complicating. We see cam journals damaged everyday on these heads. I can only speak of my personal experience, but I have had multiple Chevy trucks with 200,000 to 350,000 miles that I never had a moment’s trouble

off-the-shelf parts that do not require a lot of modifications to achieve their performance goals. At the same time, it has educated the aftermarket and provided those folks with the ability to push the envelope a little further. In addition to improvements in the cylinder heads, the OEs have improved some of the valve train components that, with some inexpensive upgrades, can be used in performance applications.” An Ohio manufacturer also addressed OEM technology. “As far as new technology from the OEMs, they are making progress, but you just can’t get the same performance from them that you can get from the aftermarket.”

“In the past, most engine builders liked to put their finishing touches on the cylinder heads themselves, but with the variety of heads and options available today, and the quality components in our assembled heads, there is no need to invest additional labor hours.” out of with the old push rod technology.” Another aftermarket manufacturer addressed a different issue. “Today’s OEM heads are a big factor in the aftermarket. Gone are the days of ‘smog’ heads that choked down horsepower and limited the engine builder. Since the introduction of fuel injection and advancements in design software and computer aided modeling, the OEMs have had the ability to design fuel efficient, emissionfriendly engines that still have the ability to make good horsepower. “This has opened up the option for engine builders to use

With the proliferation of heads flying out of casting shops these days, we wondered what our sources have seen as far as any new technology in any OEM or aftermarket heads. The Alabama supplier said he’s seen improvements, too. “It seems to me that both the OEM and aftermarket head manufacturers are constantly raising the bar in performance. While this newest technology is usually expensive, it is amazing what is being done but right now. If I were putting together a performance application, give me an old school big block.” The Tennessee supplier returned to the DI issue. “Direct 47

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Performance Heads injection is the latest technology that is being introduced at the OEM level. The placement of the injector into the combustion chamber allows the computer management system the ability to adjust the amount of fuel needed for the given condition, and lets it determine at what point of time during the combustion cycle fuel is needed. “The result is more efficient combustion, which also results in more power with less waste. This is a big plus when the emissions in an OE application need to be limited. This technology is migrating into the aftermarket where we can utilize the OE architecture and adapt that technology to all-out performance applications without the limitations of fuel economy, emissions and manufacturing cost,” he said.” The second Ohio manufacturer spoke on both the tech and production, “As far as new technology going into cylinder heads, we use a lot of wet flow development coupled with a CFD program when developing a new port or chamber design. Then, of course, we

back that up with testing on the flow bench, dyno and race track. “From a casting side, we are always looking into different alloys and processes that are being used in the

Circle 48 for more information 48 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

Aerospace industry to see how they could benefit us in the aftermarket automotive performance business. And we are seeing some things there that look very promising,” he said.

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Performance Heads The California supplier chimed in as well. “Variable valve timing comes to mind here as well. Some systems are more elaborate than others, but all of them are allowing the valve events to optimize the RPM range and load the driver commands with his right foot,” he said, adding, ”This allows an engine to act like it has a very small cam, down low, boosting MPG, low speed torque, and part throttle response. At the same time it’s able to hang on upstairs making big power at high RPM and not rolling over quickly past peak power (the camshaft events now optimized for that part of the RPM band).” One of the Ohio head manufacturers said he hasn’t seen much in the way of new improved OE technology, yet opened up an area for a new product. “There’s nothing that I am impressed with. The new Vette LT motor is nice, but there is lots of improvements that could be made to the head layout.” Lastly, we asked our sources what engine builders are asking for in new heads? The West Coast manufacturer said they want products that they can build better with. “Lighter components are popular and also the demand for larger, higherflowing heads as the ability to build larger motors becomes more affordable (which then places a higher demand on the cylinder head to properly feed the larger “air pump” beneath them). This is truly the golden age of hot rodding with the largest difference being you can make big power now thanks to modern technology without paying the penalty of poor driving manners and poor fuel economy.” Another supplier said the answer to what builders want is simple, “Engine builders want quality. And, they want to put their name on quality. We are constantly improving our products to offer the maximum quality and performance at a minimum price.” One manufacturer responded that he sees more growth in engine sizes and performance. “What we have been seeing engine builders ask for are cylinder heads to feed more cubic inches and turn more RPM. They want this and want to keep it user-friendly. This is what spurred the development of our new Sniper XL

cylinder head. This is a 24 degree conventional BBC head that flows over 500 cfm. This cylinder head has been designed with all of the latest technology while working very closely with engine builders and other manufactures that will supply different parts for the head.” Another manufacturer believes the LS market is really picking up steam. “We can offer builders the latest and greatest for all forms of racing. We also make heads that will stand 3500 HP of abuse. The Midwest manufacturer also addressed tomorrow’s LS applications. “The cylinder head aftermarket is growing at a rapid rate. Larger cubic engines continue to push the airflow requirements from the cylinder heads. In addition, the trend towards late model engines continues to grow. “We, too, place a lot of emphasis on our LS cylinder head line, where we offer a variety of runner, valve size and combustion chamber configurations to fit anything from a 3.900" bore OE block all the way to heads to

accommodate 500 CID with our LS block. “The large cubic inch engines are not just limited to the race track, however, as they are becoming commonplace in the street market, too. Big cubic inch, high-horsepower pump gas engines are becoming the norm. We have also experienced a trend that our engine builders are looking to purchase heads that are ready to install right out of the box, from CNC-ported to fully assembled heads. “In the past, most engine builders liked to put their finishing touches on the cylinder heads themselves, but with the variety of heads and options available today, and the quality components in our assembled heads, there is no need to invest additional labor hours.” Heads have always been a quick fix for adding and even controlling how an engine runs. With today’s increasing selection of products and application, that quick fix can even receive a tune up. ■

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Oil Pumps

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n late model engines such as speeding start up lubrication. A lower Chevy LS, Ford modular V8s viscosity motor oil also helps to reduce and Chrysler 5.7/6.1/6.4L internal friction for a slight gain in fuel Hemis, engineers have moved the oil economy. With overhead cam engines, pump from its cozy location inside the its especially important to get the oil oil pan to the front of the engine under flowing quickly to the overhead cams the timing cover. Traditionally, most following a cold start. wet sump oil pumps have been On the other hand, thin oils also mounted under the engine inside the drain out of the bearings and a front oil pan because it's an ideal location for mounted oil pump more quickly when the pump. With the pump partially or the engine is shut off (thicker oils tend completely submerged in oil, priming to cling longer). So the oil pump has to is no problem. The pump can start generate pressure quickly to get the oil delivering oil flow as soon flowing once the as the engine is cranked Front mounted oil pumps on and starts. high mileage engines are often With front-mounted worn and should be replaced. pumps, it's a long ways Don't take a chance on a worn from the pickup tube in the pump that might not deliver oil pan to the pump on the adequate oil pressure. front of the engine. The high mounting of the pump also means oil can drain back down the tube from the pump when the engine is shut off. Depending on how long the engine sits between runs or the next time the vehicle is driven, it may take a few seconds for the pump to reprime itself and start delivering oil to the engine when the engine is restarted. Most late model engines use thinner viscosity 5W-20, 5W-30 or even 0W-40 motor oils. Thinner oils flow more easily following a cold start, especially during cold weather. That's good for 50 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

engine starts. Thinner oils also require closer bearing clearances to maintain normal oil pressure (see the related article in this issue on cranks, rods & bearings). Another difference with front cover mounted oil pumps is that they rotate at 2X the speed of a distributor-driven pan mounted pump. A front oil pump is mounted around the end of the crankshaft with the inner pump gear being driven directly by the crank itself, so the pump turns at the same speed as the crank instead of half

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Oil Pumps

speed as is the case with cam/distributor driven pumps. The faster rotational speed provided by the direct drive setup is good for oil flow because the faster the pump rotates, the more quickly it builds pressure and the more oil it flows -- up to a point. But like pan-mounted pumps, cavitation will eventually limit how much oil the pump can flow at higher engine speeds. Many oil pumps start to cavitate around 5,000 to 6,000 engine RPM. Cavitation occurs when the pump gears are This pile of debris is what was spinning faster than the found inside a brand new set of EDM lifters that were never disoil can be pulled into the assembled or cleaned after the pump. The gears are oil holes were burned in the spinning like crazy, but bottoms of the lifters. the oil just can't keep up. Tiny air bubbles form along the trailing edges of the gears and aerate the oil, causing the pump's output to flatten or drop. An erratic oil pressure gauge reading at high RPM is a sure sign the oil pump is cavitating. Cavitation can be minimized in a number of ways: by enlarging the oil pump inlet so it will flow more oil, by using

a larger oil pickup tube to maximize oil flow to the pump, by using a low restriction open mesh style inlet screen on the end of the oil pickup tube in the oil pan, by contouring and shaping the pump inlet port in such a way that more oil can flow more easily into the pump gears (no sharp corners or bends), by adding a second inlet port to some pumps to increase oil flow into the pump, by maintaining close tolerances inside the pump to reduce internal pumping losses, and by using a lower viscosity motor oil (which flows faster than a thicker viscosity oil). One aftermarket pump supplier has developed an innovative "energy-recovery" design for some of its Chevy LS oil pumps that reroutes a small amount of the pump's output back to the inlet tube. Injecting oil back into the inlet tube creates a siphoning effect that helps prime the pump, improves oil flow into the pump, reduces cavitation and allows the pump to maintain a consistent output at higher engine speeds.

Chevy LS Oil Pump Issues

Circle 52 for more information 52 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

Of the current generation of engines that use front cover mounted oil pumps, the Chevy LS has received the most attention because of various lubrication problems that have been reported. On Chevy LS2 and LS3 Corvette applications, the stock wet sump oil system runs the risk of sucking itself dry when cornering forces exceed 1.3 G's for more than a few seconds. For street driving, these kind of forces are seldom encountered so it's not an issue, but on a road race circuit with R-compound sticky tires, it can be a problem. One fix is to replace the stock oil pan with an aftermarket pan that has baffles and trap doors which prevent the oil from sloshing away from the oil pickup. Another fix is to replace the stock wet sump oil system with a dry sump system. The Chevy LS7 engine in the Corvette comes factory equipped with a dry sump system of sorts. It uses a scavenge pump to pull oil out of the pan like any other dry sump oiling system, and it routes the oil into an external reservoir. But it then sends the oil back to a sump in the oil pan so the front mounted oil pump can suck it up like a conventional wet sump oiling system. This "hybrid"

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Oil Pumps

approach is less expensive than a full that do). On the other hand, if you're dry sump oiling system with an opening up the bearing clearances and external oil pressure pump, yet it still going with a more traditional 15W-40 suffers from the shortcomings of a wet or heavier racing oil, then a higher flow sump system in that oil starvation can pump would probably be a must to still occur under extreme cornering maintain good oil flow and pressure. forces. The problem with the LS7 oil Another issue with the Chevy LS system is that oil can climb up the front mounted pumps (as well as those inside of the reservoir tank, cutting the in Ford and Chrysler engines) is that flow of oil back to the sump. The fix the pump cover is stamped steel and here is to replace the stock oil reservoir tends to leak oil at higher engine with an aftermarket speeds. The cover on this oil pump is reservoir that has better made of cast iron rather than baffling inside, or to stamped steel to better resist switch to a full dry sump wear. oiling system. GM uses a number of different pumps on its LS engines. There's the "standard" pump that’s used on a wide variety of LS engine applications, a high flow pump for engines with cylinder deactivation and/or Variable Valve Timing (VVT), a high flow pump for certain truck applications, and a special race only pump. A Gen III front mounted standard pump flows 4.1 gallons per minute (gpm) at 1,000 RPM, while a higher output Gen IV front mounted pump flows 5.5 gpm at 1,000 RPM. By comparison, a typical small block Chevy cam/distributor driven standard oil pump flows about 3.1 gpm at 1,000 RPM. Increased oil flow is usually The cover has no gasket and lacks required for engines with VVT, piston sufficient rigidity to maintain a tight oil cooler jets or cylinder deactivation seal against the pump housing. As systems, regardless of make or model. pressure builds, the cover bows out Ford and Chrysler both use high and allows oil to blow out around the volume oil pumps on their VVT edges. "Some of these pumps look like applications that flow up to 33 percent a fire hose at 6,000 RPM," said one more oil than their standard pumps. pump manufacturer. Installing a high volume oil pump may To address this issue, some seem like a good idea to assure good aftermarket pump manufacturers have oil pressure, but too much oil volume gone to more rigid cast iron pump may generate excessive oil pressure if covers. Not only does the heavier iron the engine doesn't need it. Looser cover resist distorting under pressure, bearing clearances can benefit from it also provides a better wear surface increased oil flow, but tighter bearing than plain steel. Galling can occur clearances don't really need it. between the gear seat and cover in the On stock and performance stock Chevy LS pumps, leading to applications where you are using pump failure. tighter bearing clearances and a light Oil Pump Installation Issues viscosity oil (5W-20), it's best to follow Because a front-mounted oil pump the OEM lead and use a replacement centers on the crankshaft, the pump pump with an output comparable to gears have to be centered in the the original equipment pump (a housing before the housing bolts are standard volume pump for engines tightened. Misalignment inside the without cylinder deactivation or VVT pump may cause the pump to bind and a high volume pump on engines 54 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

when the engine is cranked over if the gears are not centered accurately. On the Chevy LS pumps, there is a thin centering ring that protrudes slightly from the center bore to help align the gears and crank. On Ford and Chrysler, there are three or four raised nodes to center the pump. These are sacrificial elements that will wear down, so if you're rebuilding a high mileage engine with a front mounted oil pump, chances are these centering

aids will no longer be there to realign the pump if it is reused. That's one reason why high mileage front mounted oil pumps should not be reused. One technique for centering a front mounted pump is to turn the block up on end so the crankshaft is vertical. This way, the crank will be more centered in the main bearings rather than resting on the lower main bearing caps. The pump can then be mounted and centered around the crank using three equally spaced shims between the crank and inner gear, and three equally spaced shims between the outer gear and pump housing. The thickness of the shims will depend on the tolerances of the pump, but should generally be .002 to .003 inches on a Chevy LS pump. More than .004 inches of clearance is too much for a Chevy LS pump. Another suggestion is to loosely mount the pump on the front of the block with the bolts barely finger tight,

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Oil Pumps

Shims .002 to .003 inches in thickness can be inserted between the inner gear and crank, and the outer gear and housing to center a Chevy LS oil pump.

then rotate the crankshaft several turns so the pump can center itself around the crank. Once this has been done, you can tighten the pump mounting bolts to specs to lock down its location. One pump manufacturer says its

front mounted Chevy LS pumps should NOT be disassembled or shimmed when they are installed. Just bolt the pump on. Disassembling the pump will void the pump warranty! On Ford 4.6L modular V8 engines, oil pump failures can occur when a supercharger is installed on the engine. The blower drive puts more strain on the hose of the crank, which may cause the nose of the crank to deflect under load and bind the oil pump. To date, this problem has not been seen on Chevy LS engines equipped with a supercharger. One thing all pump manufacturers agree on is the importance of prefilling the pump with oil and pressure priming the oil system before cranking

and starting the engine. Good oil filtration is also critical. The pump runs on unfiltered oil but the rest of the engine receives clean out that has passed through a full-flow oil filter. Traditional pleated paper cellulose filters do an adequate job trapping larger particles (larger than 30 microns) but are not very good at trapping smaller particles. Synthetic media filters do a better job with smaller particles. One aftermarket supplier has developed a reusable oil filter that used a stainless steel mesh filter element. The mesh element was originally developed for food and drug processing, but also works well with motor oil and traps particles as small as 5 microns. Because the filter element is removable for cleaning, it also allows you to identify debris that may have found its way into the filter so you can eliminate the source whatever it might be (poor air filtration, metal particles from bearing wear, etc.). â– 

Circle 55 for more information 55

Track Talk

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Mile Markers Race Enthusiasts Set Sights on Wilmington Mile Records



n the December issue of Engine Builder, our cover feature examined the unique one-of-one engine build-ups to maximize performance in all-out speed runs. The article also noted the presence of a new land-speed location at the former DHL facility at the Wilmington, Ohio airport. The super-smooth 9,000-foot runway is perfect for this highspeed activity and has garnered interest from all over the country. Since the first article just barely touched the innovation of these engine builders, it was decided to take another look at some more of these unique powerplants.

It’s easy to visualize the belly tank configuration of this Lakester land speed machine. It’s actually a reproduction of a P-38 drop tank.

LS-1 Powered Lakester Belly Tank Racer Owned by Don Gilmore of Pittsburg, PA, this machine was in the 158/BFL Class. The 5.3L engine is mounted in a 2900# 2002 Chevy Avalanche pickup. The engine is hyped up with a turbocharger from a Cummins Diesel pick-up which provides about 30 pounds of boost. The engine carries stainless steel valves but a stock crank and produces about 750 on the dyno and 1,000 at the crank, and burns an E85 methanol blend. Gilmore explained that the E-85 works well with the turbo. To date, its best run through the traps at Wilmington has been a 159.9 mph dash with a best run at Bonneville of 167.7 mph. The engine has a compression ratio of 8.5 and perks at 6500-7000 RPM through the speed traps. 56 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

The belly tank lakester at speed on the Wilmington, Ohio track.

The engine for the Lakester machine is an LS-1 modified to make a thousand horsepower at the crank.

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Big Block Chevy Powered Firebird Racer This AA/Blown Fuel ‘82 Firebird is owned by Grand Rapids, MI native John Planger, and its Bowtie 8-1 powerplant has been bored and stroked out to 550 cubic inches. It’s based on a Dart aluminum block, a Callies Crank, Oliver Rods, Weind Intake, Diamond Pistons, and Brodex Heads. But the real power booster comes from the Bowers 8.71 blower 30% overdriven. Although it’s putting out a big-time 1,050 horses, Planger indicates he could use more. ”I like the E-85 fuel we use as it acts like an intercooler with the supercharger,” Planger explained. Weighing in at a hefty 3,600 pounds, the swift Firebird’s best run came at Wilmington with a 218.47 mph jaunt. No improvements are planned for the powerplant in the near future.,

This 1982 Firebird retains its stock looks with the exception of that monster engine sticking out where the hood used to be.

This blown 550 Big Block Chevy, with its 8-71 blower, is capable of 1,100 HP.

This 3,600-pound Pontiac at speed at Wilmington where it has a best speed of 218+ miles per hour.

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Track Talk

Corvair-Based Land Speed Racer New Yorker Jim Dunn has one interesting speed run machine with his Corvair, but under the skin it’s certainly not what it appears. It’s actually a mid-engine machine with the engine mounted about 36 inches in front of the rear axle. The original Corvair design had its powerplant aft of the rear axle. But, we are not talking Corvair power here, rather a 2002 injected LS-1 350cid/350 horse engine, and the engine is kicked up with a 76mm turbo that provides 10-14 pounds of boost. The engine is hooked to a stock 4L60 automatic transmission with a 2.73 posi rear end which has provided a best run of

This ‘66 land speed Corvair looks stock from the outside, but that sure isn’t the case under the body.

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To keep the front end down at speed, this sizable front spoiler provides considerable downforce.

This photo shows the mid-engine installation of an LS-1 engine in front of the rear axle.

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Track Talk 172 mph at Wilmington. It has yet to run on the sand, which should probably provide a significant increase in speed. The aspect of the spiffy machine that catches your eye is the significant front spoiler which provides needed downforce, as only 42% of the weight is on the front wheels. By the way, the unique Corvair machine has also drag raced with a best of 126 mph/11.40 second run.

Mopar 4449 Jesel If you think this stock car has a NASCAR look about it, you would be completely correct. This is a former 2003 Busch Grand National car that was owned then by the same owner (Wayne Jessel), who is now running it in land speed racing. During its NASCAR days, it was driven by Casey Mears and Hank Parker Jr. Jessel explained he started land speed racing in 2005. “It still carries the Busch Engine installation details of this former Busch Grand National vehicle. engine, (Dodge R5 P7 engine), but it has been bored out to 380 cubic inches (from 358) and the compression ratio was raised from 12-1 to 15-1. It also carries a second Holley which help push the HP to about 900 and 550 pounds Dominator carb, a Bryant Crank and Tri-Y Headers of torque. It’s a rocket through the traps with a best

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This engine is a modified NASCAR 358 engine that has been modified to produce about 900 horsepower.

With the exception of the hood scoop, this Dodge has the look of a NASCAR racer, which is exactly what it was back in the early 2000s.

time of 229 miles per hour,” Jessel said. Needless to say, the aerodynamics of the machine which were done in wind tunnels during NASCAR days certainly pay big dividends during this later land speed application.

Big Block Chevy Powered ‘54 Vette racer Another big block Chevy gets the job done with this A/GMS Class ‘54 Vette bodied machine. Circle 60 for more information 60 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

The engine displaces 499 cubic inches, explained owner Dan Tackett from Mississippi, who is a retired state trooper. The engine makes 1,000 horsepower on gas. The engine innards include aluminum K-1 rods, a Profile aluminum intake, and a 1250 Dominator carburetor. Tackett said future plans call for a pair of 1050 Dominators. The tranny is a vintage Chevy Powerglide, and includes a Gear Bender Overdrive which can be

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Track Talk This beautiful land speed machine uses a modified ‘54 Corvette body.

engaged over 3000 RPM. He’s run the car at Bonneville with a top speed of 170, but that was when there was a fuel problem so he’s hoping for better in the future.

27T Ford Model B Roadster This vintage Ford roadster really gets bigtime attention when it hits the track. Owner Steve Sturim of Grand Rapids, MI, explained that this unique machine carries its vintage look to the engine compartment where there is a tiny Ford Model B powerplant. Originally producing about 50 horsepower, it has been upgraded to about 125 HP. At speed, this machine really hugs the track.

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Track Talk

The Vette Racer is powered by a 499 cu. in. Chevy engine that pounds down close to 1,100 HP on gas.

Additions include a Wico Magneto, a Brierley Cam, and an aluminum flywheel. The engine has also had a .125 inch overbore. But probably most important, it’s been fitted with a Simmons performance

cylinder head. Certainly an attention-getting feature is the pair of Weber side draft carbs which are mounted externally, which provide for better air intake. It is fueled by high-test pump gas. The engine is

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Track Talk The Model B’s best run was a 113-mile per hour run through the traps.

Check out those externallymounted side-draft carburetors.

The tiny Model B Ford engine is visible from this view.

attached to a five-speed Chevy S-10 transmission. The vintage hauler made 113 mph through the lights with the engine turning at about 6,000 RPM. ■

Note: There are two more weekends of racing at the Wilmington Mile – - July 12-13 and - Sept 27-28 For more information, visit:

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Profitable Performance

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The 6.4L Magnum Comes to Life


recently had my forth call from a shop with interest in our 392 ci Chrysler build as a project they are hoping to tackle. The budget and power needs for his project were not to the scope of our project and he was discussing a less expensive cast steel crankshaft and the factory connecting rods. This would not be a bad combination at all. For a street motor that might only make one horsepower per cubic inch, these components will be more than durable enough. The heavier stock connecting rod, mixed with the same forged dished head piston, will yield a bobweight that will make the crankshaft balance much easier. Stacey Redmond and Joe Degraw, owners of Grawmondbecks Competition Engines, have been extremely helpful with our 392 ci, 6.4L Magnum charity engine build. In our previous article, we highlighted the teardown, cleanup and inspection of the Steve Tosel supplied core 1977 318 engine. We detailed the main cap repair, the align-bore, cylinder bore and hone, clearancing, decking and the rest of the machine work required to blueprint our cylinder block. In this article we'll concern ourselves with our high performance rotating assembly, our plans for cylinder heads and touch upon several of the other parts that have been so generously donated to our cause. Our rotating assembly consists of a gorgeous set of ICON forged pistons. These should yield an approximate 9.5:1 compression ratio with our zero deck height, Fel-Pro

64 June 2014 | EngineBuilder

head gaskets and Engine Quest Magnum cylinder heads. Our pistons all weighed in at a paltry 597 grams, with pins. This is 142 grams less than the factory parts they replaced. Our Engine Pro performance nodular iron plasma moly ring set will add a little to that weight loss program with their 1/16� thick first and second rings. The Scat Enterprises 4340 I-beam connecting rods added significantly to our diet plan, while adding strength and durability. Our new rods came in at a flyweight of 574 grams. A full 179 grams lighter than the factory rods, plus their cap screw design has helped to keep the clearancing to a minimum. Both rod and piston sets were within a gram of each other within the set and with a quick matching of the lightest rod to the heaviest piston, our parts required no additional balance work to give us our 1731 gram bobweight. The Scat 4340 crankshaft was inspected and all journals measured. It mic'd out perfect, mid spec. But, the new bobweight was significantly under the factory projection. Instead of making Swiss cheese Parts are starting to stack up. ICON pistons, Engine Pro rings, Mahle bearings, Scat crank and connecting rods and an Engine Pro harmonic balancer make up the rotating assembly. A DuraBond cam bearing set and finish kit along with the Melling plug kit, oil pump, screen and drive will all come into play once assembly begins.

of the counterweights, Joe set the crank up in their crank grinder and, after adjusting for the stroke, ground a significant amount off the counterweights. This time, when brought up to speed in the CWT balancer, the crank did not want to launch itself out in some resemblance of a NASA moon shot. To round out our rotating assembly, we have an Engine Pro performance harmonic balancer. This one is neutral balanced for the 318 or 340, not the external balanced version for a 360. It also has etched timing marks which will be useful when it comes to start up and tune. A Mahle Aftermarket H-series rod bearing was used to get our final bobweight figure. They also supplied the H-

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Profitable Performance Our ICON pistons all weighed in at a paltry 597 grams, with pins. This is 142 grams less than the factory counter parts.


this is a quote based on what we know now, and there will most likely be some additions as you get under way. Remember, these are not your typical bread-and-butter builds. For those who “dare-to-bedifferent,� problems will surely arise. Hopefully we can address some of those problems here and ahead of time for you. Still, be prepared to cover it.

Like I stated in the previous article, we have the place and the people to get the work done and we also have parts continually arriving. We discussed the donation of the core motor and our rotating assembly. We also need to thank DuraBond for the cam bearings and finish kit we'll be using at assembly. Melling will see to our oil pump and drive needs, as well as the brass freeze plug kit. Engine Pro sent

Both rod and piston sets were within a gram of each other within the set and with a quick matching of the lightest rod to the heaviest piston, our parts required no additional balance work to give us our 1731 gram bobweight

series main bearing set the whole assembly will turn on. My goal was to emulate a factory style performance engine. To me this meant a forged steel crank and a good set of I-beam connecting rods. If the factory rods or a set of H-beam rods had been used, the work required to balance the crank would have been less. There is a lesson here, when mixing and matching various components off the shelf. We knew what we wanted, and accepted the fact that these parts do not just fall into place. The block required a small amount of clearancing and the balance required some work. In this case we did not have to add expensive heavy metal, but we had a whole new machining operation that may not have been planned for. Don't get yourself boxed in on a performance build over a cheap price. Make sure to leave yourself some wiggle room, a buffer to cover any unexpected parts or labor expense. You have two choices, either pad your estimate, and when your final cost comes in less then what you have quoted you will have a very happy customer, or set it up from the start that Circle 65 for more information 65

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Profitable Performance

The Scat Industries I-beam connecting rods added significantly to our diet plan, while adding strength and durability. Our new rods came in at a flyweight 574 grams. A full 179 grams lighter than the factory rods.

us a billet timing set and the tensioner we're excited to share with you come assembly time. Engine Quest has supplied a new timing cover to enclose them with. And Federal Mogul donated our engine kit gasket set to seal the whole thing up. Beyond the short block, we just took arrival of a pair of Engine Quest power improving Magnum cylinder heads.

Our bobweight was significantly lower than the Scat target weight. After we almost launched our crank out of the CWT balancer, a portion of the crank counterweights were removed on the crank grinder.

This set is drilled for the early LA-style intake manifold. These heads have studs, not shafts and use a 1.6 ratio rocker arm, not the 1.5 ratio of the early engines. We’re currently exploring what intake valve we’ll open up the seats for to go with their 1.625” head factory exhaust valve. These heads flow substantially better than the early LA style head that was on our truck

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The CH318B head from Engine Quest is a power improved version of the late model Magnum, but with an LAstyle intake pattern. It uses a late valve cover and stud mounted rockers.

motor and are an improvement over the factory Magnum head. Edelbrock has stepped up to cover many of our needs including that LAstyle dual plane manifold, an 850 CFM carb, Magnum style valve covers and matching air cleaner and breather. On the front of the motor we'll sport a new Edelbrock water pump. Holley has offered to supply the balance of the fuel system in the form of high pressure mechanical fuel pump, filter and fittings. Thanks go to Fel-Pro who sent us the intake, header and Magnum style valve cover gaskets. Design Engineering Inc. donated a set of plug boot protectors, and wire protectors to help us get a start on our ignition system. When the time comes to fire it up, Driven Racing Oils supplied the 10w-30 break-in oil. Talk about your Christmas coming early!! Calls from manufacturers who want to be involved with not only our build, but want to help with our goal to make a sizeable donation to the Independence Fund continue to come in. We're still working out the camshaft and valve train. And like I just said, we've just begun to address the ignition system. So stay tuned. There is plenty more to come as we take a tired old and often ignored small block and put it on steroids. By adding 74 cubes, modern cylinder heads and an array of off the shelf performance parts we'll take a “dare-to-be-different” approach and show you why it pays to ”love the one you're with.” ■ For a list of all suppliers who have donated parts for our Magnum Charity Build, visit

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Orbit performance oil pumps are designed with high output and volume capabilities required for high RPM engines. The gerotors are precision machined from steelcopper alloy (FCO205), an exceptionally durable metal that assures dependability and durability. Tight housing and gerotor tolerances provide optimum pressure and flow requirements. Housings are die cast DC-12 aluminum and are anodized to prevent corrosion. All pumps are individually inspected and tested. Passenger car pumps are equivalent to OEM design, engineering and metallurgy to meet or exceed original equipment specifications. Present applications include nine applications (three performance and six passenger car); new applications will be added.

Valve Spring Tester Performance Trends has released a major High Force upgrade to is automatic spring tester, letting you test to 2500 lbs or more. Drag racers like Johnny Gray and Shane Gray of Gray Motorsports say “we saw an improved consistency in our engine performance and greater reliability of our valve springs. We even had a situation when we caught a valve spring that would have failed before it got put into service. This tool has proven to Gray Motorsports it is the best way for us to test valve springs for our race teams."

ACL Distribution

Performance Trends

Phone: 800-847-5521


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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, heavy-duty 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.

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S.B. International Phone:1-800-THE-SEAT Circle 114

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Product Spotlights

High Volume Oil Pumps

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 Phone: 800-ENGINE-1 Circle 116

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Have You Been To The redesigned 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.

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Product Spotlights

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Circle 124 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 126 Circle 127 69


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Need Reprints? Call Tina Purnell at 330-670-1234, ext. 243 Publisher Doug Kaufman, ext. 262

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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

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Track Talk Military Tributes, Pit Road Accolades Significant for Hendrick Motorsport’s Slingerland For Joe Slingerland, rear tire changer on the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team, the first quarter of the 2014 race season is bookended with special moments. “It’s hard to put into words,” claimed Slingerland about the season-opening Daytona 500 win. “It was my first Daytona 500 win and to get it with an Earnhardt made it extra special. It was an awesome night.” Equally as important for

“My dad was in the military,” he said. “My older brother (Jeff) was in the service and my younger brother (Jason) is still in the military.” He did three tours in Afghanistan as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.” Slingerland and his younger brother enjoy exchanging tales about their trades. “It’s pretty cool. I talk about my brother all the time being the Black Hawk pilot. And, he talks about me with all his mil-

The No. 88 Team captured the first quarter Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award due in no small measure to proper training, technique and uniform selection.

Slingerland occurred Memorial Day weekend when NASCAR kicked off its annual NASCAR: An American Salute program to honor active and retired service members and military families through July 4th. The military tributes, for Slingerland, are cherished because of his family.

itary buddies.” And while there is a significant difference between active military duty and the role of a NASCAR rear tire changer, there are some parallels in the jobs. “There is a lot of teamwork for both,” said Slingerland. “My brother used to be the crew chief on the Black Hawk before

he became a pilot. He worked with the pilot who had to entrust that he was fixing the helicopter right before each mission.” “So, there are a lot of things we do on the racecar that correlate to what he does from the teamwork perspective.” With competition in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing so tight, the battle on pit road is critical to racing up front and win- Joe Slingerland. Rear Tire Changer and proud brother. ning races. Teamwork is essential, and Slingerland Valuable Pit Crew Award combelieves the key to the 88 pit petition. crew’s success is years in the “It’s an honor to be voted on making. by all your peers as the best pit “This is my thirteenth sea- crew on pit road,” said son,” said the 35-year-old Slingerland. “The gloves we use native of Inverness, FL. “And for have come a long way to give us most of our guys, it’s their more protection from the heat fourth or fifth season.” of the tires during a race.” Today’s pit stops are so fast In celebration of NASCAR: that pit crews have to jell pretty An American Salute, glove quickly. provider Mechanix Wear has “To have the 88 team outfitted the 88 crew and other together for these years and not teams with a brand new camhave many changes is really ouflage-pattern glove line important. We all know what called MultiCam®, which each other’s next move is going maintains the dexterity and to be, so it’s seamless on the pit ultimate hand protection stops.” today’s pit crews have become Slingerland and the No. 88 accustomed to. over-the-wall crew’s performFittingly for Slingerland, he ance so far this season is not now has a new pair of militarygoing unrecognized. The team inspired gloves to tell his brothwas recently voted among crew er about. chiefs as the first quarter winBy Steve Post ners of the Mechanix WearMost

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Engine Builder, June 2014