In EngineLabs’ newest semi-regular feature, Ask The Experts, we’re leveraging our relationships with the performance industry’s movers and shakers to give you, dear reader, a chance to get up-close-and-personal and ask questions you want them to answer–right here, in a public forum. This time around, we’ve got David Fussner, Research and Development Manager at JE Pistons, who has graciously offered to donate his time to EngineLabs and provide responses to your tech-related piston questions. The email address to contact us is at the end of this article.
I’ve worked with Dave in the past on several articles and can vouch for his knowledge regarding the design and manufacture of automotive and powersports pistons; his answers to my questions are always well-thought-out, direct, and provide the level of expertise expected of someone in his position. Simply put, he’s an encyclopedia of knowledge.
Dave’s resume with JE Pistons is extensive.
“I have always been in Research & Development. I was hired by Tom Kipp, Sr. to do the engine development, tuning and maintenance of the 5-valve Yamaha racing engines that powered our bikes,” he says.
“In the hands of rider Tom Kipp, Jr. these were among the fastest and most reliable privateer engines, and successfully competed with the best factory-supported bikes. In the fall of 1991, Tom Jr. won round 1 of the prestigious World Superbike race at Mosport Park, Canada. I was promoted to R&D manager that same year and I have held that position since.
I led the development of the first variable shape and ovality profiles for forged 2 stroke and four stroke pistons, and authored a piston profile and ovality development manual shortly thereafter.”
Today, he oversees R&D efforts to develop new products and improve existing ones. Notable products he’s developed include:
The first modern slipper skirt pistons for Harley-Davidsons, which were used successfully in winning 11 AMA Grand National Championships.
A patented method of fitting pistons that allows forged pistons to be installed at the same or less clearance that a cast piston, stabilizing piston secondary motion and improving ring seal.
A patented surface engineering technology that allowed the first successful use of zero silicon forging alloy in a 2 stroke race piston application. Used by factory AMA motocross team in Championship winning season.
Dave has been selected as speaker to present “Race Winning Piston Technology” at the 2017 Advanced Engineering Technology Conference in Indianapolis. He’s also a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and a Charter Life Member of the American Motorcyclists Association.
As we did with the Ask The Experts segment with Isky Cams (answers coming soon!), send along your piston-related design and manufacturing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will close on October 18, 2017; at that time we’ll pick out a bunch of the questions, pass them along to Dave, and eagerly await his answers!