matching parts and a logical plan

matching parts and a logical plan

Postby grumpyvette » September 21st, 2012, 7:32 pm

I just had a rather long and detailed discussion with a guy who it was all too obvious ,was basically trying to get me to give him a detailed list of engine components to build his engine.
now thats hardly rare, and Ive had similar discussions a hundred times, Ive build a whole lot of engines and seen a whole lot more than those built and raced, and 95% of the time the guys building or racing those cars have made mistakes that were eventually corrected.
many guys either insist on using components they own currently or think they can buy far less expensively that the components, I know from experience will actually work.
but the thing that made me crazy during this discussion, was that Id ask specific questions, as to his goals, his budget, his skills and what he wanted to accomplish, and then suggest parts,, not necessarily a brand or a specific part number most of the time, but Id suggest something like find a deal on some cylinder heads that have about a 210cc port, 2.02 intake valves and flow in the 270-280cfm range at .600 lift and list detailed reasons why I thought those parts were a good match to reach his listed goal, and it was all too obvious that his real goal was to get me to suggest he use, or approve of or some how validate a huge list of totally miss matched, and mostly stock components, components that I strongly suspect he all ready owns, that were never going to allow him too reach his stated goals as to power and rpm range etc.. anyone can slap together parts and a few get lucky and find a combo that runs fairly well, but the chances wildly favor those guys that take the time to follow well known previously successful engine combos or at lease very similar builds
look, I,m probably never going to see this guy, Ill never make a single dime on his build and theres no possible reason Id want him to do anything but succeed with his build and be happy with the result, I don,t get anything, no financial kick backs or commissions, But I would like to see him reach his goals and not waste a ton of money and time building something thats doomed from the start to be restricting his potential power levels to far below his stated goals.
I started and maintain this web site mostly on my own dime with some very appreciated assistance occasionally, but its whole purpose is to help prevent the members from going thru the decades of frustration, wasted cash, mistakes and wasted effort I went thru and many (most) of my friends went thru before we learned some basic facts about what WILL and what WON,T generally work well when building a car, an engine or a garage and related subjects.
keep in mind your very unlikely to find a problem thats unique , or build something that someone else has not already built or at least built something very similar, so do some research, and follow previous successful car builds, look over those similar builds and be aware that knowing how the previous guys solved similar problems, can save you a great deal of time and effort, and if you want an engine that makes lets say 600 hp the best route is to duplicate a previous successful build that reached or exceeded that goal, not throwing together random components and hoping your combo will work.
heres some basics that won,t change theres a couple thousand related threads here to help you.
you need a decent , dry, level place to work, and at least some decent tools, you don,t need a huge garage, a 10' x10' shed or a single car garage, with a level concrete floor might do, but you do need a safe place to lock up and store tools and parts
a few hour or days of research can save you weeks of wasted effort, and having skilled friends helps so make as many contacts as you can in the hobby.
it helps to have friends that are willing to help.
find a decent quality machine shop you can trust.
parts and machine work always cost more than you think they will.
you need a plan with a well researched and detailed parts list.
youll need a decent engine stand and an engine crane if you do many engine builds.
lighter weight cars tend to be faster and easier to stop, and break fewer parts.
even a great engine matched to the wrong drive train or gear ratios will be well down on performance.
access too an air compressor , a drill press and a decent welder and a few accessories helps a great deal.
you NEED decent dependable transportation, and thats NOT going to be your performance car project.
any money you spend on parts that don,t match your well researched list , no matter what kind of a "DEAL" you get is likely to be wasted cash.
you will NEVER have the best or fastest car, unless bill gates is paying your bills,
but that certainly will not prevent you from having a really nice car., persistence and a well though thru plan are the key.
don,t get frustrated,everything you do is likely to take 2-5 times longer that you expect and cost more money, its part of the hobby, take the time to improve your skills, acquire parts and tools and make contacts in the hobby.










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Re: matching parts and a logical plan

Postby busterrm » October 21st, 2012, 11:50 pm

I love it, my best friend is one that just throws together mismatched parts and expects the moon. I have made that mistake with one engine in the last 4-5 yrs and won't do it again. I am planning a build right now and have a list but it seems to change daily. hahahahahaha!!! Thanks Grumpy, very good post friend!
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Re: matching parts and a logical plan

Postby grumpyvette » April 16th, 2015, 3:07 pm

By David Reher, Reher-Morrison Racing Engines

“Here’s a Reher analogy you’ve never read before: A racing engine is like a bowl of Jello.”

My daily fitness regimen is a brisk morning walk at Texas Raceway near my home in Kennedale, Texas. It’s just me, my dog, and a drag strip.

It’s quiet there on a weekday morning, and a man can think. Among things I’ve been thinking about recently are the common mistakes that racers make. One of the biggest errors is collecting parts for an engine that will be built “someday.”

Some racers build engines on the installment plan by stockpiling parts over a period of time. I know that a limited racing budget often dictates when parts can be purchased. However, the problem with this plan is that better parts are constantly being developed. Many components that were state-of-the-art a few years ago are now far behind the development curve. I think it’s a better strategy to collect the money to build an engine with current technology than to collect obsolete parts.

The pace of change in engine technology is accelerating. I see the evidence whenever I walk through our shop. Piston rings for sportsman engines rival the rings used in Pro Stock just a few years, at a fraction of the cost. Precision-machined dry-sump oil pumps that were once reserved for high-end engines can now be bought for a third of the price. Some sportsman cylinder heads can now outperform the extensively welded and modified castings that the pros used just a few years ago. And when I look at the valves and springs available now, I am amazed by the progress that’s been made in metallurgy.

It doesn’t take long for components to become obsolete. If you’d asked me two years ago about cylinder heads, rocker arms, and cam profiles, my recommendations today would almost certainly be different. My advice back then wasn’t wrong – it was simply based on what was available at the time. If you intend to race in the fast eliminators that have become popular with sportsman racers, then you can’t expect to be competitive with “antique” parts, even if they are only a few years old.

Another potential pitfall of buying parts piecemeal is ending up with an unworkable combination. Consider the staggering variety of big-block Chevrolet cylinder heads on the market – conventional ports, raised ports, spread ports, symmetrical ports, 18-degree heads, 14-degree heads, and many other variations. Each distinctive design requires specific complementary components, from intake manifolds and pistons to rocker arms, gaskets, and valve covers. Consequently that trick manifold introduced in 2010 may not work with the cylinder heads you buy next month.

It’s painful when a customer brings a pile of mismatched parts into our shop and asks me to build an engine out of them. I hate to turn business away, but I have a responsibility to be honest when someone shows up with a collection of incompatible parts. When a customer asks me to put a set of CNC-machined large-port cylinder heads on a marine engine that’s going to cruise at 3500 rpm, I really have to point out that he’d be much happier with smaller ports.

Here’s a Reher analogy you’ve never read before: A racing engine is like a bowl of Jello. Why? Because you can’t wiggle a bowl of Jello in just one place. Touch one part and the whole thing moves. To continue the metaphor, you can’t change just one part of a racing engine without affecting the entire combination. Change the intake manifold, and you may need to change the cam, the carburetor, and perhaps even the rearend gear ratio to get maximum performance with a new setup.

It’s easier than ever to purchase parts through online auction sites, virtual speed shops, and manufacturer websites. But are those parts in your shopping cart really the best for your application? Are they compatible? Are they high-quality components or cheap knock-offs? Before you hit the “Buy” button, it’s worthwhile talking with people who have real-world experience with building, testing, developing, and maintaining race engines.

Let’s say you buy pistons that are advertised as having a 14:1 compression ratio. And when you assemble the engine, you discover the actual ratio is 11:1 because the valve pockets and domes are designed to clear any conceivable cam/valve/cylinder head combination. A universal piston isn’t going to be effective and efficient in a serious racing engine. You don’t need or want .300-inch piston-to-valve clearance, but that may be what you get unless you talk with an expert.

There is no shortage of Internet experts who claim to have all the answers on engine building. Unfortunately, some keyboard gurus have little practical experience. I see endless discussions about rod length-to-stroke ratios on forums and bulletin boards, yet on the list of important factors in engine performance, rod ratio ranks about fiftieth. And please don’t get me started on cylinder head flow numbers. CFM is one of the least important characteristics of a competition cylinder head. Two head designs can have identical flow numbers, yet one will rev up and run on a racing engine, while the other is as flat as West Texas. In level of importance, the average air speed, port shape, and the efficiency characteristics of the port rank much higher than simple CFM numbers. Yet these vital characteristics are often overlooked, and most cylinder heads are sold on the basis of CFM figures.

Drag racing is a technology-driven sport that is continuously evolving. The winners constantly look for the next step forward, not yesterday’s hot setup.
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