Engine Power Featured Projects

Engine Power Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Summit Racing
Crankcase Evacuation Systems
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Pat)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Frankie)>> The last time we dyno'ed the compression obsession small block Chevy we had to go easy on it, but now we've got race fuel and a bigger cam.

(Pat)>> It's time to hammer down. [ Music ]

(Frankie)>> Welcome to Engine Power everyone. It's pretty clear that we have a small block Chevy here on the dyno, but it's not just any small block Chevy. This is our compression obsession 360 that has a static compression ratio of 13.15 to 1 and runs on pump gas. Now you're probably thinking, that's impossible, but if you remember it actually worked just fine, and if you don't remember here's a quick look at how we made that possible and how it performed on the dyno.

(Pat)>> When we dyno tested our modest small block Chevy it made 276 horsepower and 345-pound feet of torque. We gave it a bunch of upgrades, such as forged rods and pistons, bigger cam shaft, 195cc heads, and an e-f-i setup. That all added up to a high compression power plant, but before of our cam shaft selection, super safe tune-up, and dynamic compression ratio it made 413 horsepower and 424-pound feet of torque on pump gas. That dyno session answered a bunch of questions, but it also raised a few as well, like what would happen on the opposite end of the spectrum. What if we put real race fuel in this and got after the tune-up? How much power could we extract out of this current setup?

(Frankie)>> And if you remember we had two cam shafts. A smaller one and a larger one. We chose the smaller one but what would happen if we picked the bigger one, put it in, and advanced it so the engine still has the same dynamic compression ratio?

(Pat)>> Would it make more power; would it make less power? We don't know but we are going to find out.

(Frankie)>> We still have to get the race fuel.

(Pat)>> I've got to get some money for that.

(Frankie)>> Oh jeez, bank loan!

(Pat)>> If you think gas prices are high for your daily driver you should take a look at race fuel. This 118-octane oxygenated racing gasoline is the best we could find, and it cost roughly $20 dollars a gallon. If you zoom in on the fuel you can see the dollar bills flying into the tank right now. Get in there George Washington!

(Frankie)>> Make sure you get every last drop. [ Music ] Alright, same tune-up as before. Still 22 degrees of timing. Target air/fuel of 12.8.

(Pat)>> If you didn't change anything do you think the fuel's gonna make any difference at this cylinder pressure?

(Frankie)>> I would say no, but have I done a lot of fuel testing, no. So, either way I'll be interested and surprised, but I would say not that much of a difference, no.

(Pat)>> You're guessing correctly but I'm not gonna tell you why.

(Frankie)>> Here we go! [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> Sounds the same. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> 409 horse, 416-pound feet.

(Frankie)>> 409 horse interestingly at 5,600, a little bit higher, and 416.5 at 4,400. At least we have a baseline now for that fuel. Now we can make changes and see the changes from there.

(Pat)>> Is it a drastic difference, no. At a given cylinder pressure sometimes you run into the problem of over-octane engine. Are we in that type of situation now? Maybe because we are not pouring the coals to the tune-up.

(Frankie)>> We're going to, and that would make more of a difference, but with this tune-up would we see a drastic change, no. Does that seem right, yeah.

(Pat)>> So what's the first thing you would do with this?

(Frankie)>> I think we need to put more timing in it cause 22 degrees, that's kinda lame sauce.

(Pat)>> It is, but it's safe lame sauce.

(Frankie)>> It was safe before but now we don't have to worry about that. So, let's put some actual timing in this.

(Pat)>> How much of an increment would you jump it up?

(Frankie)>> In this situation with good fuel where we're not worried, I would say at least four to six degrees.

(Pat)>> Go do what you want and come back and tell me.

(Frankie)>> Alright, sounds good! [ engine idling ]

(Pat)>> It's idling not considerably higher but enough where I know you made a big change to it.

(Frankie)>> Well I was in there, and then I made a battlefield decision, and we went from 22 degrees to 30. I'm not worried because we have good fuel. So, I feel really confident. So, we're gonna make a big change and hopefully see a big change. [ engine revving ]

(Frankie)>> Oh boy!

(Pat)>> Woo! [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> What does 8 degrees of timing make for a difference? I don't know dad, 448 horsepower, 459-pound feet of torque.

(Frankie)>> We should probably turn it off because there's dollar bills going out the exhaust, but that is crazy! So, 459.3 at 4,300, right on, and 448 interestingly enough right at 6,000. It probably looks like it's gonna peak over right there.

(Pat)>> It will but that is literally the difference of just timing. Now timing with good fuel.

(Frankie)>> Let's overlay that. That's big right?

(Pat)>> Notice how the graph looks the same.

(Frankie)>> Just has increased everywhere.

(Pat)>> We're running something a big on the sketch side with the pump gas, but we kept it safe intentionally. Now how much more do you want to go?

(Frankie)>> At this point I think we've got that giant jump there, but I think we've got to do some timing woops and just tune it for power. Now that we don't have to worry about hurting engine. Just maybe make some quick changes and see how much we can actually get out of it.

(Pat)>> You know what that means, montage!

(Frankie)>> Over the course of several dyno runs we made a series of timing and fueling changes, landing on 36 degrees of total timing and a target air/fuel ratio of 13.2 to 1. You know you're getting to the edge when it starts to increase less for the amount of change you're doing.

(Pat)>> I think we are at the top of it here. [ engine revving ]

(Frankie)>> Big difference, yeah. [ engine revving ]

(Frankie)>> Oh my gosh!

(Pat)>> 475.9 horsepower, 469-pound feet of torque. That's all she's got captain.

(Frankie)>> That's smooth though! That's a good looking graph, and good power.

(Pat)>> As you'll notice, the more we start stepping on it the more everything starts to come together. When we run the timing that the cylinder pressure requires and has the fuel the cylinder pressure requires everything looks nicer, and that cam's leveling out at 6,000. Still doing the same thing.

(Frankie)>> Oil pressure's going up, still have vacuum in the pan. That's nice!

(Pat)>> That's not bad for 360 inches.

(Frankie)>> So let's overlay that with the one we had before. So that's what our changes are worth.

(Pat)>> That's from the good gas with no changes to all the good gas with all the other changes. Notice how the graphs pretty much look the same.

(Frankie)>> But just more everywhere.

(Pat)>> When, how can I make more power is the question, many times the answer is a bigger cam.

(Frankie)>> The next step in our quest for power is swapping the smaller cam for the bigger one. If you didn't notice this or you were wondering what's going on here, because it's a later model block this is how we're actually measuring crank case vacuum. We're just going to the top of the dip stick. So just so you know, I know it looks weird but that's how we're using it. [ Music ] Normally we would have this engine off the dyno and on an engine stand, but to speed things up we're going to do this cam swap in the dyno cell and on the dyno cart. We're also going to leave the intake manifold on. This will save us a set of gaskets and a little bit of time. The valvetrain is removed, making sure everything stays in order.

(Pat)>> We made up some J-hooks using some tig welding rod, which we will use to gently raise the lifters off of the cam lobes. It's a bit challenging to do this because you have to feed the welding rod through the push rod holes. You also have to make sure you don't raise the lifters too much or they will come out of the lifter bores. Once the lifters are out of the way we'll wrap the wires to keep them there. In order for the timing cover to come off we'll loosen the bolts on the oil pan and slide it down enough for the cover to clear. Let me go ahead and try. There you go! Oh, that's like we planned it. Then the timing set comes off, the distributor comes out, and the cam shaft is removed. It's duration at 50 thousandths lift is 230 degrees on the intake and 234 on the exhaust with a lobe separation angle of 110 degrees. It's replaced with the bigger hydraulic roller. Duration at 50 thousandths lift is 246 degrees on the intake and 254 degrees on the exhaust. Lobe separation angle is 112 degrees.

(Frankie)>> To keep the same dynamic compression ratio with a larger cam shaft we need to advance the crank shaft gear, moving from the 8 degrees retarded position to 4 degrees advanced. [ tapping metal ] [ Music ]

(Pat)>> 66!

(Frankie)>> We'll degree the cam to measure an accurate intake centerline and calculate our new dynamic compression ratio based off that.

(Pat)>> 144.

(Frankie)>> 105, I will take that because that should be very, very close. Yep, 9.15 to 1 dynamic. So, within two hundredths.

(Pat)>> We're not gonna get any closer than that.

(Frankie)>> Lock her down and leave it there.

(Pat)>> Excellent!

(Frankie)>> With the cam shaft fully installed we can undo the lifter hangers and re-install the valvetrain. [ Music ]

If you've been paying attention what you'll see a lot around here is our Matco 16-volt cordless Infinium three-eighths stubby impact wrenches, and that's because these little guns are great. They were designed to work in tight spaces. So, they're only about nine inches tall and less than five inches long, but that little size shouldn't fool you because they have a brushless motor that can deliver 300-pound feet of breakaway torque and a maximum working torque of 215 pound feet. That brushless motor also means they're gonna have great durability and a long life span. As you can see, we use ours everyday and they hold up awesome. They also have a bunch of other features including an l-e-d light in the front to light up where you're working, a really comfortable grip, and the whole gun with the battery weighs less than three pounds. So, it's easy to use all day long. We have a bunch of them because we love using them here in the shop, but if you want one of your own you could reach out to your local Matco distributor. We keep our green one here in the dyno room, and once we use it to zip down the timing cover there's only a few things left before we're ready to run again. Evac systems can help your engine's performance. We're gonna show you how they work.

[ Music ]

(Pat)>> It's almost time to fire up the small block, but we have some small details to attend to, like getting our balancer on and checking t-d-c. Since the cylinder heads are on, we'll use a piston stop that threads into the spark plug hole to verify that our timing pointer is still accurate. [ Music ] Dead on!

(Frankie)>> Nice!

(Pat)>> Right in!

(Frankie)>> Now we can drop the distributor back in and re-install the plugs and wires. Since one of the water pump holes goes into the water jacket, that bolt will receive sealant on the threads.

(Pat)>> A very important aspect of engine operation is being able to evacuate crank case pressure, and in today's tech tip we're gonna show you a few different ways on how to do that with parts we got from Summit Racing Equipment. Back in the day the way crank case pressure was dealt with was either a breather system or what was called a road tube. They both actually worked but there are some drawbacks to those systems. One, the vapor is directly vented to atmosphere, which isn't great for the environment. Two the vapor can go all over the engine making it dirty, or worse yet it would come out the road tube and go on the ground. So, what was created to deal with that was what's called a p-c-v valve. Now p-c-v stands for positive crank case ventilation. This typically goes somewhere in the crank case, namely a grommet in the valve cover, and this will actively pull vapor out via the vacuum, and the vacuum would be hooked to the intake tract. That was great for the environment because not only did it keep oil off the ground and off of your engine, but the vapor was burned, and it was good for emissions purposes. There are several different styles of p-c-v's from the o-e-m style to fancy street rod ones. Even ones that look like a regular breather themselves. They all have the same valving system in them. In racing we want to actively pull vacuum on the crank case because the pressure in the crank case can migrate vapor up on top of the rings if it has too much pressure and contaminate the air/fuel charge. So, we want to actively pull vacuum on the crank case, and that is done by a specifically designed crank case evacuation system. These have a tube in them that goes inside the collector of the header, and as exhaust gases rush past them it pulls negative pressure on the tube, thus creating vacuum in the crank case. They still have the same sort of valve, which lets pressure out but none back in, and they are hooked to the crank case by hoses. Whether it is a p-c-v system or a race style system you can find what you need for your ride by talking to the experts at Summit Racing Equipment. For our setup on the dyno we're using an evac system with a/n fittings in the valve covers. We burned through most of our fuel during the first dyno session. After cashing out his cryptocurrency Frankie was able to purchase another five gallons of 118 octane race fuel. Up next, now that we've pulled out all of the stops on our compression obsession build, we'll see what this small block can really do in the dyno cell.

(Frankie)>> This is gonna be interesting right because we've shown what happens when you take the duration of the intake valve and you move it earlier or later, but now where the intake valve closes hasn't changed, and we're simply extending it farther and it's opening sooner.

(Pat)>> So what does that mean? On this induction system, on this intake tract will that matter? The cam is significantly bigger.

(Frankie)>> If we were gonna spec this out for a real build would we put this cam in?

(Pat)>> I don't know if I'd do it with this intake.

(Frankie)>> In the nature of science.

(Pat)>> Scientifical purposes we're gonna see what it does. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> Smooth! [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> Might have been worth a little bit.

(Frankie)>> Actually a little bit more.

(Pat)>> You see it starting to trend up now.

(Frankie)>> Manifold vacuum a teeny bit higher. So actually, the intake tracting restriction is probably a huge factor in that, cause we still have a dual plane and a relatively small cylinder head.

(Pat)>> Nothing wrong with a dual plane. The fact that a dual plane is making this kind of power is outstanding. We are augmented by compression, right? So that's one of the kickers, but I don't want to wring this thing out too much more.

(Frankie)>> Maybe we'll take it to like 6,200, 6,300? See if it peaks over.

(Pat)>> See what happens there. [ engine revving ] [ Music ] [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> I don't think that made a big difference.

(Frankie)>> that's bout the same 478.6, 472.3.

(Pat)>> I'll take the 480 that was before that.

(Frankie)>> And it is tipping over. Those power numbers for a 360 cubic inch engine, nothing to shy at. I mean that wasn't really the purpose of this. We weren't trying to make gobs and gobs of power but that is interesting. You jump 16 degrees of intake duration and we gained four horsepower. Is that a function of intake tract, probably? If you stuck a big single plane on this it would extend the r-p-m range for sure and it would 100 percent make more power. It'd probably make about the same torque, but I think it would extend how the power band goes. We're crunching this thing on the cylinder pressure side with compression. So, there's VE. Say you stuck a set of 18-degree heads on this and the VE went way up, and it had that kind of compression. It would be a completely different engine. The characteristics of the engine are changed easily by changing just a few components. This particular one, it would probably benefit the best from an induction change. Because these heads are smaller, street size head, it's a street manifold. We've done engines before where we've turned them 8,500. This is a very street oriented engine. It's still making good torque at 2,500 r-p-m.

(Frankie)>> It's making above 400 at 2,800, 2,900, everywhere about there 400-pound feet.

(Pat)>> It's making 400-pound feet everywhere from 2,900 to 6,200. The FiTech on there works perfectly. It does exactly what it should. It hits all its target air/fuels. It starts, runs, stops, hot start, cold start. It doesn't care, it just works fine. The fact that we have a small cam and a big cam that come out within two hundredths of the same dynamic compression. Now the cylinder still has the same effective stroke within a very, very small increment. If this helps other people make their right selection for parts choice.

(Frankie)>> I wish I'd known this three years ago.

(Pat)>> If we let people figure out what they want to buy for parts we've done our job.

(Frankie)>> Nice! We wish we could sit around and dyno this engine all day cause that's a lot of fun, but sometimes there's actual work to be done, which means I got volunteered. So, we've got a truck to fix. Let's get to it. [ Music ] Our Ram 1,500 shop truck had a cracked radiator. So, we're going to change it out. After removing the old one we'll replace it with a new Duralast unit. The great thing about these radiators is that they are built completely brand new and are made to meet or exceed o-e specifications. That not only means they're going to work just as good or better than the original, they're also going to fit perfectly. That means after swapping out some grommets and some fittings the radiator is easy to drop into place. [ Music ] For a little extra insurance we're also going to change the radiator cap with a brand new 16-pound Duralast unit. For more information on anything you've seen today go check out Powernation TV.
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