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What sets us apart?

What makes us the best choice when you are comparing different engine builders and pricing? Let's look at the hard facts about all aspects of your new engine should you choose to have me build your next engine.

IF you are SERIOUS about your next engine purchase make SURE you find time to read below in it's entirety, it will help you immensely in your research. Good Luck!

Machine Work:

The machine work is without doubt the absolute key to making more horsepower than the next guy. Cylinder honing, this is one of the areas where alot of engine shops miss the boat. Torque plate honing is absolutely necessary when finish honing cylinders, the torque plate simulates the cylinder heads torqued on the block and the distortion the cylinders will see when bolt onm the cylinder heads. Alot of shops don't bother using torque plates or they like to charge an extra fee to hone your block with torque plates, thats just crazy. Its always part of my machine processes. How do this effect ring seal? Well once the cylinder heads are bolted onto the engine, the head bolts distort the cylinders once they are torqued, so thats where the torque plate comes into play. The better you can replicate an assembled engine when finish honing the cylinders, the bestter the ring seal will be, thus you will realize added horsepower, dramatically reduced leakdown numbers and finally, near instant ring seating.

Now let's talk about taper in the length of the cylindbers, I shoot to keep taper between .0001-.0002 from top to bottom, this ensures the ring gap stays consistent from the top of the cylinder to the bottom of the cylinder. I have rebuilt / freshened alot of engines built at other shops and see alot of terrible machine work, now the customer can not see or detect bad machine usually with the naked eye, but once you start measuring certain aspects of the engine, you can see why the engine never made the power it was supposed to make.

Let me speak quickly about the main bore housing, again we see alot of shops that do not align hone the mains, for  whatever the reason. EVERY engine we build has the mains align honed. If its a seasoned core block, the mains are almost never correct after 100's of heat cycles and 1000's of miles. If its a new aftermarket block, the main journal housings are almost always on the tight side and not always up to my standards, whether its the size or taper in each main housing.

Deck surface and finish. We use a BHJ blok tru fixture on all blocks when surfacing the decks. Here is a brief description of what the Blok Tru is and why it's vital for the utmost performance.

BHJ's Blok-Tru engine block blueprinting fixture corrects improperly machined deck surfaces, commonly caused by factory machine tolerances and production line inaccuracies. This precision-machined fixture has a true 45-degree angle machined at each side of its own centerline

Common issues improved after using the Blok-Tru include:

  • Twisted Blocks: On a twisted block, it is necessary to choose a point on the deck surface to use as a reference point for set-up. As a result, you may be compounding the out-of-square condition.
  • Uneven Deck Clearance: Deck clearance often varies between the top and bottom edges of the piston due to the deck surface not being at 90 degrees to the bore. On race engines where deck clearances are held on the verge of piston to head contact, any discrepancy in deck angle means lost compression.
  • Bores Not At 90 Degrees: Since most production lines use the pan rails as the reference point, it is common to find the bores at angles other than the intended 45 degrees when referenced from the cam-crank centerline.
  • Cam and Ignition Timing Variations: If you have run into cam timing variations between cylinders on opposite banks, it may not be the fault of the camshaft. Again, since most blocks are machined from the pan rails, the cylinder "V" may not be at 45 degrees when referenced from each side of the cam-crank centerline.
  • Poor Intake Manifold Fit: This condition is usually blamed on the intake manifold. However, if the included angle of the deck surfaces is not 90 degrees or if the top of the block has the incorrect angle, the manifold may not be at fault.

The above points are just some of the reason, I machine the decks on all engines with the BHJ Blok Tru.

How about the surface finish? We use a CBN cutter on our Winona Van Norman surfacer, this ensures a surface finish compatible with ALL available head gaskets used today. In laymens terms, have you seen a deck with a very rough surface finish? Or have you experienced leaking head gaskets when using todays modern MLS (multi layer  steel) head gaskets? This is primarily due to the incorrect surface finish, just another reason why Fordstrokers should be at the very top of your list of engine builders.

Let me talk about some other small crucial areas you must pay attention to.

  • Oil Galley plugs begind the timing chain. We tap these for screw in plugs unlike the press in plugs commonly used, these eliminate the possibility of one or more of the plugs popping out and leaving you with no oil pressure and a ruined engine.
  • Main Studs, we ONLY use high quality ARP Main Studs, beware of main bolts or studs that dont have the ARP name on them, if the ARP name is not stamped on the head of the bolts or studs, these are cheap chinese hardware that are about as strong as swiss cheese.
  • Freeze plugs, also known as expansion plugs. We only use made in the usa freeze plugs unlike the cheap thinwall chinese plugs. They are also very deep unlike the shallow plugs that are much more prone to pop out when the block is under extreme loads.

There is alot more to talk about in regards to machine work I could write a novel and bore alot of you. Let's take a look at the hard parts, the parts I use and let me talk about some of the parts other places love to use.

Crankshafts: This is always a hot topic in alot of circles on the internet. First I will say that I believe SCAT crankshafts are the best "affordable" crankshaft on the market for the ford stroker engines. The number one reason why I use them is because they are very consistent, they are consistent in sizing, journal fit and finish. You then have Eagle second in my opinion, simply because they are not very consistent on journal sizing, I despise cutting a new crank but that has been my issues with the Eagle stuff for quite awhile, Scat's finish machine work is simply the best. Then you have the real lowgrade chinese no name cranks. Journal sizing is horrendous, the casting or forging is poor, they are bent right out of the box, BUT they are CHEAP.

They can be bought in quantity for less than 100 dollar each. So next time you are looking at an engine purchase and the builder doesn't say the brand name of the crank, alot of times is because it's a no name chinese wonder. If they say it's a SCAT you will know since SCAT has there name cast or forged in all there cranks.

Connecting Rods: This category for the stock 302 blocks guys and the stock 351 windsor block guys, depending on application, the SCAT 4340 I-Beam connecting rod is one of the best, in terms of sizing, consistency, weight, and features, these are a sure winner. SCAT also makes a great 4340 Forged Steel H-Beam as well that I use alot. No different than the cranks, if the particular vendor is not endorsing quality products by brand name, you need to wonder why. The market is FLOODED with junk connecting rods and builders love them because they are dirt cheap.

Pistons: I use 3 main manufacturers of pistons. The first being Probe, simply because there massive selection for the Ford guys, there quality and consistency is fabulous and mostly because they are a 2618 forging and they are very affordable. Then I use Mahle for various builds where I might want a metric ring pack, I want a coated skirt or since they are 4032 forging I can run them a touch tighter on piston to wall clearance, they are very light which is nice as well. They come in a bit more expensive than a Probe piston, but they have there place. Finally I use Wiseco for my custom pistons or unique shelf pistons. The Wiseco custom pistons are world class and are my choice for customs.

There are no chinese pistons out in the market YET you need to be aware of, but I would say to purchase your short block with atleast the following pistons in it,  Probe, JE-SRP,Ross, Wiseco, Mahle The last thing I would purchase is a short block with a hyper piston, Im not going to get into that firefight, but in my opinion those hyper pistons are junk.

Engine Bearings: This one is fairly cut and dry, look for a builder like myself that uses Clevite, ACL, King, SpeedPro. Watch for the companies that just list there bearings as things like "Tri-Metal Race Bearings" This is a sure sign of cheap crap and engine bearings are not the place to skimp.

I will have more to come shortly, thanks again and "Insist on QUALITY parts, don't settle!"

Jim Woods