Performance Exposed: Engine Performance Expo, Day 2 Recap

Performance Exposed: Engine Performance Expo, Day 2 Recap

The Second day of the Engine Performance Expo came in heavy with technical discussions, interviews, personalities, and project results. The day started off with an announcement that in 2023 there will be live, hands-on honing training from Total Seal and Rottler hosted by EFI University on the west coast and Straub Engineering on the east coast. The idea being that achieving a proper performance hone is something best learned by doing — the sounds and feels just don’t convey online.

The first tech feature at 21:00 was Ben Strader and Lake Speed, Jr. diving into in-cylinder combustion pressure monitoring. A much more available technology than in years past, the monitoring alone allowed for a gain of 39 naturally aspirated horsepower on the EPE LS engine. That was followed at 34:00 with a roundtable discussion of the incredible technology and its potential applications.

Ed Kiebler gave a demonstration on how bore geometry can be affected by clamping force of the fixturing used when boring and honing a cylinder at 55:00, which was followed at the 59:00 timestamp with a live episode of Hidden Horsepower, where Greg and Aaron Stanfield discussed their racing efforts in several classes, including Pro Stock.

Lake Speed, Jr. gets really excited when you tell him that you’re going to break parts in the name of science.

At 1:22, we were treated to an awesome demonstration and explanation of fastener torque versus stretch, as well as how it relates to clamping load by AERA’s Chuck Lynch and Jasper Racing Engines’ Noah Fritchley. Using a digital strain gauge, they yielded several bolts to demonstrate failure modes when overtorqued. That was followed at 1:47, appropriately enough, by a discussion with Kevin Feeney of Point One Manufacturing talking about their line of automotive fasteners.

Then it was back to Jasper Racing Engines to discuss surface roughness versus surface waviness at 1:56.We were then treated to a whiteboard discussion with precision metrologist Dr. Mark Malburg at 2:12, where he discussed a new innovation in automotive surface finish measurement. At 2:24, Kiebler dove into modern plateau-honing technology and getting the proper modern crosshatch angle. At 2:33, a roundtable on the same subject with Dr. Malburg, Kiebler, Chuck Lynch, Billy Godbold, and Charles Navarro where they really dove deep — pun absolutely intended.

A soft launch of MAHLE’s new F-series engine bearing for the small-block Chevy, big-block Chevy, and LS engine happened at 2:55, and at 2:59 Steve Morris was the subject of another live Hidden Horsepower session. That was followed by an incredible lecture on crankshaft design for both street and racing engines from John Callies at 3:23.

Here you can see that with a skidless profilometer, not only do you get a surface roughness measurement, but also a waviness profile.

Rick Panneton from CP/Carrillo discussed piston design at 3:48, with a piece from Dr. Peter Lee from Southwest Research Institute on cylinder wear testing and measurement (with an awesome peak at what a 3D profilometer shows you) ten minutes later.  At 4:01 there was a really interesting roundtable on family in the industry, with the father-and-son duos Keith and Jeff Dorton, Steve and Kyle Morris, and Greg and Aaron Stanfield.

A 4:18 Randy Neal of CWT Industries and Dan Begle of MAHLE gave the longest presentation of the event, but one worth every minute, as the duo covered crankshaft balancing and its effects on your main bearings (make sure you carve out time for this one. We promise it’s worth it.) Then, at 5:21 Trevor Wiggins of Get’M Performance discussed big-money bracket racing and making parts for extremely consistent engines.

CWT’s Randy Neal and MAHLE’s Dan Begle dive into one of the most advanced presentations of the Expo, discussing crankshaft vibrations and harmonics and bearing wear/damage.

A 5:31 Ed Kiebler and Speed discussed plasma spray bore linings, A.K.A. Sumebore, and the special considerations needed when machining the surfaces of those cylinders. Spoiler, it’s completely different than a standard iron cylinder bore. At 5:43 Street Outlaws Reaper, James Goad, joined Chris Straub to talk about Straub’s new Mayhem 18-degree SBC cylinder head package.

Ben Strader and Speed then showed the results of oil-volume testing done on the EPE project engine at 5:55, and were joined by Navarro for a live whiteboard session at 6:04 to discuss the testing results, along with viscosity concerns. The egos were all checked at the door, as Speed highlighted a mistake made during testing in order to be able to allow others to learn from it.

At the 6:25 mark, Lake was joined by “Dyno Don” McAskill from Shaver Specialties to discuss piston coatings — specifically the Line2Line abradable skirt coating. That led into a roundtable at 6:29 with George Bryce, Chuck Lynch, Scooter Brothers, Strader, and Speed to discuss career paths for those looking to get into the industry, whether you’re just out of high school or looking for a change in careers.

Where else are you going to get a lesson on crankshaft design from John Callies himself?

At 6:48, Strader discussed changing the valvetrain on the EPE engine last year and picking up over 1,000 rpm of stability, naturally aspirated by simply switching to a stiffer, lighter rocker arm setup. Then, at 6:54, Pro Motor Engines’ Dennis Borem was the guest on another episode of Hidden Horsepower, where the dyno results of Lake Speed, Sr.’s old C3-headed Cup engine were revealed. We’re not going to spill the beans (you’ll have to go watch the video for that) but they surpassed their goal of hitting the 2 hp/ci mark.

John Callies dove deep into lifters at 7:20, discussing needle bearings vs. bushing bearings (or, in the case of his lifters, a bushing axle) as well as bushed lifters in a race application. That led into a roundtable with Mark Cronquist, Dan Begle, Strader, and Navarro on the advancement of technology relating to the internal combustion engine, where once again, the topic turned to hydrogen.

Ben Strader coaxed an incredible amount of additional power out of the Engine Performance Expo project engine from last year, and all that was changed was the rocker arms and pushrods.

To close out the show, the final Engine Performance Expo engine dyno was revealed at 8:00, which was well north of last year’s 1,047 horsepower, thanks to the addition of about 1,000 rpm and more fuel. That was followed by a final roundtable at 8:13, which discussed the attitude of knowledge sharing in the industry and the desire to help each other, even competitors, in order to better the industry as a whole.

It was a fitting end to the two-day Engine Performance Expo, as the purpose of the event is exactly that — to share knowledge and help grow the industry by making everyone who takes the time to listen, smarter at the end of the day. With that, the 2023 Engine Performance Expo is wrapped. But you can still access all of the content at your leisure on the Engine Performance Expo YouTube channel.

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About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent eighteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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