Tech Overload Continued: Day 2 Recap Of The Engine Performance Expo

As if taking in all the knowledge from yesterday’s Engine Performance Expo wasn’t enough like drinking from a fire hose, today’s flow of information was equally as daunting, with presentations of a variety of tech topics. The day started with Rottler‘s Ed Kiebler expanding on yesterday’s block machining topic, switching from surface finish to bore geometry.  The amount of information shared in this presentation really got the wheels spinning, as simply measuring your bore with a dial bore gauge, even in two directions, just isn’t good enough.

From there, Randy Neal of CWT Industries brought the knowledge bombs in relation to crankshaft and rotating assembly balancing. From explaining the finer concerns of harmonics of an out-of-balance crankshaft, to actually showing the real numbers and how badly the unbalanced crankshaft from the Engine Performance Expo project engine would hypothetically hammer the bearings, if it were left unbalanced.

After that, we were treated to an awesome palette cleanser in the form of an interview with the legendary SEMA Hall of Famer Scooter Brothers. He walked us through how he got his start and what it took to grow the Comp Performance Group into the powerhouse it is today. Listening to Brothers speak is without a doubt worth the investment of time.

From there, Charles Navarro of LN Engineering dove into how 3D printing and additive manufacturing is more than just a novelty, and how it has helped him grow his company, and how it can help others. From there, The Engine Performance Expo’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to “The Camfather” Ed Iskenderian. We were also treated to a clip of his speech given at his 100th birthday party, earlier this year.

 

Chris Straub of Straub Technologies then followed up on his presentation yesterday, with one today on how automation inside the shop can increase both productivity and profits. One aspect of the presentation that bears pointing out, is that the automation he describes doesn’t replace talented people in the shop, but rather allows them not only to be more productive, but also gives them a level of creative freedom and the ability to test new ideas without a huge investment in time or capital.

We were then treated to an interview with NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle legend George Bryce of Star Racing. Bryce shared some stories from the early days, including when a piston company approached him with a fancy new piston material called “California Alloy” – which would later be revealed as 2618 aluminum. He also talked about some of the successes and challenges of developing a winning V-Twin racing program, including something reminiscent of a Breaking Bad scene, in the quest for a better fuel.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how Nitro Funny Car engine blocks were repaired, the segment from Tim Wilkerson‘s race shop is not to be missed, as a full education was provided on how the blocks are repaired after rapid kinetic disassembly occurs. The process is so much more than just how to weld aluminum, including the fact that certain areas of the block are designed to let the rods out in case of an explosion, because they do less damage outside of the block than inside.

Dan Begle from Mahle provided his usual tech wizardry, while explaining the finer points of performance bearing design, sizing, construction, and material options, breaking out one of our personal-favorite analogies involving spray-painted Jell-O. We also got a live Q&A session with Begle where he dove into some important oil volume vs. oil pressure considerations.  From there, Cass Choate from Choate Engineering Performance really dove deep into the Ford Powerstroke diesel engine history and design. He also gave Don McAskill a run for his money for “most entertaining presenter to appear opposite Lake Speed”.

 

The roundtable discussion with Chris Straub, Dan Begle, Charles Navarro, and Dave Monyhan from Goodson discussion the current state of the supply chain was incredibly enlightening. More than just a “this is why we’re backlogged” discussion, there was a lot of good information shared. If you are a customer waiting on parts, you really need to watch this to get a better understanding of what’s happening. If you are a retailer affected by the shortages, you’d probably benefit from listening as well, as some of the things discussed might help.

The following presentation by AERA‘s Chuck Lynch and Steve Fox highlights the resources available to those in the industry and those who want to be in the industry through AERA’s vast network of offerings, from simple help with obscure engine rebuild specifications, to educational programs leading to certification as a cylinder head specialists and an automotive machinist.  That was followed by a live episode of Total Seal‘s Hidden Horsepower with NHRA Nitro Funny Car driver and team-owner Tim Wilkerson, who showed up straight from the Thunder Valley Nationals to talk to Lake Speed, Jr.

The final segment of the week was a roundtable consisting of George Bryce, Charles Navarro, Randy Neal, and Tim Wilkerson talking about racing and rivalries, along with the personality and mindset it takes to be successful in this industry, along with the opportunities the industry provides. The final segment is one that everyone should watch, regardless of what part of the industry interests you, because it has some valuable insight on how we can keep our passion alive.

With that, the first half of the second Engine Performance Expo concluded. The second half of the event will take place January 13-14 at Straub’s North Carolina facility, and in addition to being available in the now-familiar online format, the next installment will allow up to 200 people to attend in person. Make sure to check out the Engine Performance Expo website for all those details, as well as the recordings of the past two days worth of presentations and seminars.

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About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent seventeen 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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