HorsePower Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Automotive Specialists Racing Engines
New Chevy sealed engine approved for Pro All Star Series (PASS)
Loctite
Hydraulic/pneumatic fast curing thread sealant

Episode Transcript

(ANNOUNCER)>> TODAY ON HORSEPOWER A TRUE MASTER OF POWER SHARES SECRETS TO BUILDING CHAMPIONSHIP RACE ENGINES. KEITH DORTON REVEALS THE STORY BEHIND HIS LATEST CREATION, FROM MACHINING TO ASSEMBLY, AND FINALLY THE HORSEPOWER SHOP'S DYNO CELL.

(JOE)>> THIS TIME HORSEPOWER STARTS HERE AT AUTOMOTIVE SPECIALISTS IN NORTH CAROLINA. IT'S THE HOME BASE OF ONE OF THE MASTERS OF POWER WHO'S BEEN FOLLOWING HIS PASSION SINCE 1965. BUILDING ENGINES FOR EVERYTHING FROM THE SALT FLATS TO CIRCLE TRACKS, FROM DRAG STRIPS TO DIRT TRACKS, ENGINES BUILT WITH ONE PURPOSE IN MIND THOUGH, WINNING RACES. KEITH DORTON'S ENGINES HAVE BEEN WINNING RACES FOR MORE THAN FOUR DECADES. IN THE 1960'S HIS CYLINDER HEAD MAKING MAGIC PROVIDED THE WINNING EDGE FOR LEGENDS LIKE JUNIOR JOHNSON, BOBBY ALLISON, AND CALE YARBOROUGH.

(KEITH)>> THERE'S PROBABLY VERY FEW INSTANCES ANYWHERE THAT YOU CAN GO FROM HERO TO ZERO IN THE MATTER OF A SPLIT SECOND.

(JOE)>> KEITH GREW UP IN THE HEART OF NASCAR COUNTRY WITH AN EARLY PASSION FOR PERFORMANCE. WHILE HE LOVED THE THRILL OF DRIVING RACE CARS, IT WAS THE CHALLENGE OF MAKING POWER FOR THEM THAT CONSUMED HIS IMAGINATION AND HANDS ON MIND SET.

(KEITH)>> I'VE NEVER BEEN ONE TO WORK OFF OF THEORY AS MUCH AS HANDS ON. OF COURSE YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE THEORY, BUT YOU KNOW, WE JUDGE OUR SUCCESS BY ELAPSED TIME.

(JOE)>> HE MAY BE THE ONLY ENGINE BUILDER TO HAVE WORKED FOR THREE FAMOUS RACERS.

(KEITH)>> I'M VERY PROUD TO SAY THAT WE AS A COMPANY, AND MYSELF AS AN INDIVIDUAL, HAVE DONE ENGINE WORK FOR ALL GENERATIONS OF THE EARNHARDTS.

(JOE)>> KEITH'S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS MAKE FOR A LENGTHY LIST, BUT ONE OF THE GREATEST WAS BUILDING THE RESTRICTOR PLATE MOTOR THAT POWERED UNDERDOG DERRICK COPE TO A DAYTONA 500 VICTORY.

(KEITH)>> JUST THOROUGHLY ENJOYED WORKING WITH PEOPLE OF THAT CALIBER, AND THEN SEEING THEM BECOME VERY SUCCESSFUL.

(JOE)>> IN RECENT YEARS, KEITH'S EVEN BUILT ENGINES FOR RECORD BREAKING CARS AT THE BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS.

(KEITH)>> JUST LOVE THAT TYPE OF RACING. THERE'S NO RULES, AND YOU KNOW, WE CAN DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO TO THE ENGINES. YOU HAVE YOUR DIFFERENT CLASSES WITH NATURAL ASPIRATED OR BLOWN, AND GAS OR FUEL. IT'S JUST A DREAM FOR ME.

(JOE)>> HIS NEWEST DREAM COME TRUE THOUGH IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SEALED ENGINE SPECIALLY BUILT FOR A PRO TOURING SERIES CALLED PASS. SOME OF THESE DRIVERS ARE UP AND COMING FUTURE NASCAR COMPETITORS.

(KEITH)>> A LOT OF RACE CARS ARE SITTING IN SHOPS COLLECTING DUST BECAUSE THEY JUST CAN'T AFFORD TO OPERATE. WE WANT AN ENGINE THAT WOULD PRODUCE HORSEPOWER LEVELS EQUIVALENT TO WHAT WAS ALREADY THERE, BUT DOING SO AT A MUCH LOWER COST. AND ALSO JUST AS IMPORTANT WAS EXTENDING THE LIFE OF THE ENGINE BETWEEN MAINTENANCE.

(JOE)>> KEITH'S EXHAUSTIVE R&D LED TO A HAND PICKED PARTS PACKAGE MOSTLY READY TO BOLT ON.

(KEITH)>> WE DID A LOT OF RESEARCH, WE DID A LOT OF TESTING, WE USED UP A LOT OF PARTS, TIME, BUT WE DEVELOPED THIS ENGINE THAT CAN MAKE VARYING LEVELS OF HORSEPOWER DEPENDING ON JUST A CARBURETOR CHANGE.

(JOE)>> BEFORE NEW SEALED MOTORS ARE ASSEMBLED, THERE ARE SOME CRITICAL TWEAKING STEPS NECESSARY AT KEITH'S SHOP. FOR EXAMPLE, EACH DART BLOCK GETS A LITTLE TIME ON THE METAL AXE. IT'S BASICALLY A MOTOR MOUNTED TO A METAL PLATE THAT CREATES VIBRATIONS AT VARIOUS FREQUENCIES.

(KEITH)>> WE FIND THE NATURAL FREQUENCY OF THE MATERIAL, AND THEN WE VIBRATE IT NEARLY AT THAT NATURAL FREQUENCY AND RELEASE SOME OF THE STRESS.

(JOE)>> THEN AFTER A BIT OF FINAL BORE HONING, THE BLOCKS ARE GOOD TO GO. THE "A" UP OUR HEADS ARE TREATED TO A CNC COMPETITION VALVE JOB BEFORE GETTING MILLED TO ENSURE A PERFECTLY FLAT SURFACE, AND EVEN DEBURRING AROUND THE EDGES TO MAKE THEM EASIER TO HANDLE. FINISHED, ONE GOES INTO THE FLOW BENCH ROOM. HERE THE IDEA'S TO VERIFY FLOW RATES AT VARIOUS LIFT VALUES. AFTER THAT IT'S TIME FOR KEITH DORTON'S TIME TESTED ASSEMBLY TRICKS, MANY OF WHICH APPLY TO ANY ENGINE BUILD, EVEN YOURS.

(ANNOUNCER)>> NEXT, KEITH TEAMS UP WITH THE HORSEPOWER GUYS TO BUILD ONE OF HIS NEW SPEC RACE ENGINES, SHARING FOUR DECADES OF HIGH PERFORMANCE KNOW HOW ALONG THE WAY!

(JOE)>> WE'RE BACK WITH ALL THE PARTS NEEDED FOR OUR KEITH DORTON RACE ENGINE BUILD. IT'S AN ENGINE HE DESIGNED FOR PRO TOURING STOCK CAR RACERS WHO NEED COMPETITIVE POWER IN AN ENGINE THAT'S ALSO DESIGNED FOR LONGEVITY AND LOW MAINTENANCE.

(KEITH)>> ALL THE PRODUCTS THAT WE'VE USED IN THIS AND OTHER PROJECTS, WE TRY TO KEEP THE COST DOWN BUT WE ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT WE CAN'T GAMBLE ON THE QUALITY OF SOMETHING.

(JOE)>> FOR US, WORKING SIDE BY SIDE WITH THIS MASTER OF POWER IS A TREAT BEYOND BELIEF. ALL THE BEARINGS ARE SPECED BY KEITH. THE MAINS ARE PRECHAMFERED FOR THIS SPECIAL APPLICATION.

(KEITH)>> KELLY'S MAKES THE CRANK SHAFT FOR US. THEY FIX US A CRANK THAT IS VERY COST EFFECTIVE AND VERY DURABLE.

(JOE)>> KEITH ALWAYS CHECKS TO INSURE CLEARANCE BETWEEN THE BEARING AND THE CRANK RADIUS.

(KEITH)>> AN EASY WAY TO DO THAT IS AFTER YOU HAVE YOUR ASSEMBLY LUBE ON, IS SLIGHTLY ROTATE THE CRANK SHAFT. AND AS YOU CAN SEE, WE HAVE PLENTY OF CLEARANCE BETWEEN. HERE'S THE INSIDE EDGE OF THE RADIUS, AND HERE'S WHERE THE BEARING IS.

(JOE)>> THE MAIN CAPS FOR BOTTOM END ARE ALSO CHAMFERED. NOW IN CASE YOU'RE MISSING THE SOUND OF CLICKS, IT'S BECAUSE KEITH PREFERS A SILENT DIAL TYPE TORQUE WRENCH.

(KEITH)>> WE GAP THE TOP RING ON THIS TYPE OF ENGINE AT 20 TO 22, AND THE SECOND RING USUALLY 16. A LOT OF THAT, THE RING GAP IS CONTINGENT ON THE ASSEMBLER, BUT THIS IS WHAT'S WORKED FOR US IN THIS CASE.

(JOE)>> THIS CRANE HYDRAULIC ROLLER GROUND TO KEITH'S SPECS WAS CHOSEN FOR LONGEVITY AND LOW MAINTENANCE, WELL JUST LIKE THE CLOYES TIMING CHAIN.

(KEITH)>> IT USES THE CENTRIC BUSHING SO YOU CAN DIAL THE CAM SHAFT IN WITHOUT OFF SET KEYS OR REMOVING AND REPLACING THE BOTTOM GEAR AND SO FORTH.

(JOE)>> WELL TELL ME ABOUT THIS DRY SUMP PAN OF YOURS.

(KEITH)>> IT'S A PRETTY SIMPLE PAN AS WE'RE ONLY USING A THREE STAGE PUMP, WE NEED TWO PICK UPS IN THE PAN. WE SEPARATED THEM WITH A DIVIDER IN THE MIDDLE TO FAIRLY ISOLATE THE TWO. THIS IS A FILTER THAT'S BUILT ON TO THE HOSE THAT BROWN AND MILLER DOES FOR US. THE FILTER IS USED TO PROTECT THE OIL PUMP IN CASE OF ANY CONTAMINATION THAT COULD POSSIBLY GET IN THE SYSTEM FOR WHATEVER REASON.

(JOE)>> KEITH HAS A COOL TIP FOR ENSURING OIL PAN SEALING.

(KEITH)>> WHAT WE WANT TO LOOK FOR. WE HAVE A MUCH WIDER GAP ON THIS SIDE THAN WE DO HERE. IT SEEMS TO BE PRETTY UNIFORM FROM ABOUT THIS AREA OVER. WE'RE GONNA TAKE THE SEAL TO THE BELT SANDER. SAND A LITTLE BIT OFF OF THIS SIDE CAUSE WHAT WE WANT IS A UNIFORM FIT, THE ENTIRE CIRCUMFERENCE OF THE OIL PAN.

(JOE)>> BIG DIFFERENCE!

(KEITH)>> YES, YEAH, NOW WE HAVE AN EVEN FIT ALL THE WAY AROUND. THIS ATI DAMPENER HAS BEEN ONE OF THE INDUSTRY STANDARDS FOR THE UPPER LEVELS OF RACING FOR QUITE A WHILE. AND IT'S REBUILDABLE, IT HAS RUBBER ORINGS TO DO THE DAMPENING, WHICH MAKES IT TUNABLE FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF ENGINES ALSO. THIS IS THE FIVE RIB PULLEY FOR THE WATER PUMP. THIS IS ROUND TOOTH HTD FOR THE OIL PUMP.

(JOE)>> HIS RACE ENGINE COMBINATION CALLS FOR AN EASILY REBUILDABLE EDELBROCK WATER PUMP. AFTER THAT AN ALTERNATOR PULLEY, THEN THE POWER STEERING PULLEY IN FRONT OF IT. EVEN AFTER DECADES OF ENGINE BUILDING, KEITH DORTON'S A STICKLER FOR DETAILS AND HE OFFERS THIS ADVICE FOR ANY TYPE OF BUILD.

(KEITH)>> ONCE THE PAN GOES ON AND THE HEAD GOES ON, YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING HAS TO BE PRECISE. SO CLEANLINESS, PRELUBRICATION, MATCHING OF PARTS. I THINK YOU SHOULD SPEND THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME BUILDING A HIGH PERFORMANCE STREET TYPE ENGINE AS YOU DO SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO DAYTONA.

(JOE)>> WITH A FAMOUS ENGINE BUILDER IN CHARGE, WE JUST FINISHED THE BOTTOM END OF A NEW CIRCLE TRACK ENGINE. NOW WE'LL DISCOVER KEITH DORTON'S SECRETS TO BUILDING THE TOP END. FIRST FOR THE TOP, SOME WELL LUBED LIFTERS. KEITH APPLIES SILICONE TO EACH END OF THE DECK BEFORE LAYING DOWN THE MLS GASKETS. BECAUSE OF TITANIUM'S RELATIVE SOFTNESS, YOU NEED TO USE LASH CAPS ON THE ENDS OF THE VALVE. KEITH LAYS DOWN SOME SHIMS BEFORE BOLTING DOWN THE ROCKER BAR. AND WITH A SHAFT IN PLACE, HE MAKES A QUICK CHECK FOR PROPER ANGLE. BEFORE INSTALLING THE ROCKERS THOUGH, HE MARKS A COUPLE OF THE LASH CAPS, BOLTS DOWN A PAIR OF ROCKERS, TURNS THE ENGINE OVER A TIME OR TWO, THEN REMOVES THE ROCKERS TO REVEAL.

(KEITH)>> WE HAVE A NICE, NARROW PATTERN PRETTY MUCH IN THE CENTER OF THE VALVE.

(JOE)>> FOR THE INTAKE MANIFOLD, KEITH FIRST LIKES TO TAPE THE GASKETS IN PLACE ON EACH SIDE AND DROP THE MANIFOLD ON DRY.

(KEITH)>> WE WANT THE ROOF OF THE RUNNER TO HAVE MORE OF A MATCH TO THE RUNNER IN THE CYLINDER HEAD MORE SO THAN THE BOTTOM.

(JOE)>> THIS DRY RUN ALSO TELLS YOU HOW MUCH SILICONE WILL BE NEEDED BETWEEN THE MANIFOLD AND THE END OF THE BLOCK. NOW SOME LOCTITE SEALANT AROUND THE GASKET OPENINGS, AND THE GASKET'S GOOD TO GO ON. OH HERE'S AN EXTRA MEASURE KEITH TAKES THAT'S SIMPLE INSURANCE.

(KEITH)>> IT JUST KINDA PUSHES THE AIR OUT. INSURES GOOD CONTACT. IT'S KINDA LIKE A WELDING BEAD CAUSE WE WANT SOME OF IT TO SQUEEZE OUT.

(JOE)>> OKAY, SO MUCH FOR REHEARSING AND PREPPING. TIME TO INSTALL THIS HOLLEY SINGLE PLANE INTAKE MANIFOLD FOR REAL.

(KEITH)>> A BOX END OF SOME KIND. JUST ENOUGH SQUEEZED OUT TO KNOW THAT WE HAVE GOOD CONTACT.

(JOE)>> KEITH USES A CRANE OPTICAL PICK UP DISTRIBUTOR FOR A GOOD REASON RELATED TO RACING.

(KEITH)>> IT'LL OPERATE ON MUCH LOWER VOLTAGE. SO IN CASES WHERE WE LOST AN ALTERNATOR, BATTERY, WHATEVER, WE FOUND IT WOULD OPERATE AS LOW AS EIGHT OR NINE VOLTS.

(JOE)>> HE USES THIS SPECIAL VALVE COVER BREATHER WITH A RELIEF VALVE INSIDE TO RELEASE PRESSURE.

AND NEXT COMES INSTALLATION OF THE THREE STAGE DRY SUMP OIL PUMP.

(KEITH)>> THIS IS UNIQUE TO US. IT SERVES MULTIPLE PURPOSES, POWER STEERING PUMP MOUNT AND AN OIL RESERVOIR TO ROUTE THE OIL TO VARIOUS PARTS OF THE ENGINE.

(JOE)>> THEN A BOSCH 140 AMP ALTERNATOR. AND FINALLY THE PULLEYS TO BUTTON UP THE FRONT OF THE ENGINE. WELL THE HOOK'S ON THE ENGINE, THE STAND'S GONE, AND AFTER A FEW GALLONS OF RACE FUEL WE'LL SEE HOW THIS CIRCLE TRACK MOTOR BEHAVES IN THE DYNO CELL.

(MIKE)>> IT'S TRULY AMAZING HOW MUCH INFO, WISDOM, AND EXPERIENCE KEITH WAS WILLING TO PASS ON TODAY, BUT HERE COMES MY FAVORITE LINE.

(KEITH)>> ALRIGHT, WELL LETS LIGHT HER OFF.

(MIKE)>> ALRIGHT, THAT'S THE ONE. YOU WANT TO RUN THROTTLE OR DO YOU WANT ME TO?

(KEITH)>> YOU CAN.

(MIKE)>> DURING THE INSTALL KEITH SET THE ROTOR AT THE NUMBER ONE CYLINDER AND BACKED IT OFF A LITTLE. THIS MEANS A QUICK AND EASY FLAME FREE FIRE UP. ( engine starting )

(MIKE)>> SEE WHAT I MEAN? ALL WE NEED NOW IS SOME HEAT, A QUICK CHECK AT THE DYNO, AND IT'S TIME TO BREAK IT IN.

(KEITH)>> YOU MIND IF I RUN IT IN A LITTLE BIT MANUALLY?

(MIKE)>> ABSOLUTELY, GO AHEAD. LIKE I WOULD SAY NO. THIS IS A LOT LIKE NEIL YOUNG ASKING TO BORROW YOUR GUITAR. THIS IS COOL! ( engine revving )

(MIKE)>> AND AFTER A FEW ALMOST BRUTAL MINUTES IT'S TIME.

(KEITH)>> WHAT I'M GONNA DO IS JUST RUN TO 7,000 THE FIRST TIME.

(MIKE)>> HOW'S THAT FOR CONFIDENCE. REMEMBER THE TARGET IS 600 OR A LITTLE ABOVE, BUT CERTAINLY NONE LESS. AND AFTER TWO RUNS, THE NUMBERS I PULLED UP ARE A LITTLE LESS THAN THE GOAL. ALMOST BACK TO BACK.

(KEITH)>> YEAH, OKAY, ALRIGHT, WELL LETS GO AHEAD AND PUT THE TIMING IN IT. IT'S LOW ON TIMING. THEN WE'LL LET YOU DRIVE.

(MIKE)>> ALRIGHT!

(KEITH)>> OKAY MIKE, READY? ( engine fires and revs)

(MIKE)>> WE TOOK THE TIMING UP TO 35 DEGREES FOR THE FOLLOWING PULLS.

(KEITH)>> GO AHEAD AND 4,500 TO 7,500.

(MIKE)>> WHAT DO YOU SEE ON YOUR DYNO?

(KEITH)>> 604, 605. ( engine revving )

(MIKE)>> 596, 495, IT PEAKS AT 7,000.

(KEITH)>> YEAH, THAT'S ABOUT WHAT WE SEE. GO AHEAD AND BACK IT UP ONE TIME. ( engine revving )

(MIKE)>> AND THAT'S ALL IT WAS, A BACK UP. WORTH DOING A JET CHANGE OR ANYTHING?

(KEITH)>> YEAH, IT WOULDN'T HURT.

(MIKE)>> YOU WANT AN INCREASE ON ALL FOUR OR JUST PRIMARY?

(KEITH)>> YEAH, ALL FOUR, JUST GO TWO SIZES AT 79, TWO 79'S.

(MIKE)>> SAME RPM, EVERYTHING?

(KEITH)>> THERE YOU GO. ( engine revving )

(MIKE)>> LET'S SEE IF THAT JET CHANGE HELPED. 594, 492.

(KEITH)>> YEAH, WE WERE AT 96 OR 97 A WHILE AGO. WE'VE GOT A TEMPERATURE GUN DON'T WE?

(MIKE)>> YEP!

(KEITH)>> POINT IT AT THAT OIL TANK AND LETS SEE WHAT WE'VE GOT.

(MIKE)>> ALRIGHT, WE MAY HAVE JUMPED THE GUN ON THE LAST RUN, 107! AND WE DID, COOL OIL IS THICK OIL, AND IT WILL CREATE A DRAG. SO HERE WE GO, AN INCREASE IN TIMING, INCREASE IN JET SIZE, AND THE RIGHT OIL TEMP, 156.

(KEITH)>> GO FOR IT.

(MIKE)>> NOTHING LEFT TO DO BUT TRY ONE MORE PULL. ( engine revving )

(MIKE)>> 602, 501!

(KEITH)>> THAT'S WHAT WE WANT.

(MIKE)>> I LIKE THAT, VERY NICE! UNLESS IT HAPPENS TWICE, IT DOESN'T COUNT. AND IT DID, 603, 504!

(KEITH)>> OKAY, I'M HAPPY IF Y'ALL ARE.

(MIKE)>> SO AT THIS POINT IT'D BE READY TO COME OFF THE DYNO AND BE A SPARE MOTOR IN A RACE TRAILER OR GO STRAIGHT INTO A CAR?

(KEITH)>> AND STRAIGHT IN THE CAR. IT'S HARD TO MAKE GOOD DRIVABLE POWER DOWN AT 4,000, 4,500 RPM'S AND THEN PULL ALL THE WAY THROUGH. SO THAT'S WHAT WE LOOK FOR, NOT SO MUCH PEAK NUMBERS AS SOMETHING THAT DRIVES GOOD, SOMETHING THAT'S GONNA HAVE A REAL GOOD SMOOTH TORQUE CURVE TO IT AND A POWER CURVE.

(MIKE)>> CARRY IT ALL THE WAY DOWN THE STRAIGHT AWAY AND INTO THE CORNER.

(KEITH)>> YES.

(JOE)>> IF YOU DIDN'T LEARN SOMETHING TODAY, YOU WEREN'T PAYING ATTENTION.

(KEITH)>> IT'S BEEN FUN WORKING WITH YOU GUYS, AND I HOPE YOU DID LEARN JUST A LITTLE BIT OFF OF WHAT WE DID HERE IN A FEW DAYS.

(JOE)>> WELL I TELL YOU WHAT, YOU'VE GOT A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND I THINK WE GOT A LITTLE BIT OF IT OURSELVES NOW. I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, YOU CAN COME BACK ANY TIME.

(KEITH)>> I'D LOOK FORWARD TO IT.

(JOE)>> ALRIGHT, THAT'S A DEAL. YEAH RIGHT, HE WON'T BE BACK. HE'S A WANTED MAN. TOO MANY RACERS NEED TOO MANY ENGINES.
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