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Building a High Performance Engine from the Ground Up  – Smeding Performance
Building a High Performance Engine from the Ground Up 

Feb 12 , 2024

LeachCo Marketing

Building a High Performance Engine from the Ground Up 

Top-end race car teams have never had a problem with building engines. As a practical matter, it is their sponsor’s money they are burning, and all the sponsor cares about is a photo op in Victory Lane. For someone not in the Daytona 500 class, building up a high performance engine has never been easier, even if they do have to spend their own money. Everything starts with an engine block.

The Evolution of Engine Blocks

While it used to be that there was no viable financial option apart from a not-too-badly-wrung-out factory block, that is no longer the case. Sure, you can still use one if you have it sitting in the shed. For those who don’t have a stockpile of reusable blocks, however, you can simply order up a new block and build it to your own specifications from there. There are even some advantages to doing it this way.

You get a block that isn’t stressed or slowly crystallizing. There are no deeply hidden microfractures in it. It is cast in modern facilities that employ more precise equipment and tighter tolerances than you can find in a mid-70s survivor block. Every manufacturer has always had their share of Monday morning blocks in the mix. Some of the survivors are just not what you want to work with if you are truly serious about the highest possible performance. New blocks offer some metallurgical advances over their grandparents as well.

The Crucial Role of the Crankshaft

The same goes for the next most important piece of a high-output project. You need a really strong crankshaft. You really need a nice forged crank if you are serious. There were never a lot of these to start with, and many of them died young or had the bearings turned down enough times to threaten their resistance to super-high impacts. Put a nice new forged steel crankshaft in your nice new block. Most likely, you will extend the life of both components.

Assembling the Remaining Components

Once you have these two critical pieces of the foundation in place, the rest of it is the same as it always has been. Pick your rods and pistons. Balance everything up nicely. Bolt up your preferred choice from among the plethora of new and retro heads that are out there. Engine Building 101 from that point forward, but start by making your foundation rock solid and then some with a new block and crank.

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