Engine Tech: How To Build Horsepower with a STOCK ENGINE

How To Build Horsepower with a STOCK ENGINE


Before we even get to this project, let me stress the point that in order for us to be successful, our project engine should be in excellent or good running condition. Like the old saying; “You Cannot Teach A tired Old Dog New Tricks”.

1. Install An “ALTERNATOR CUT OFF” switch in your engine that cuts the field circuit when your at “Full Throttle” only! This is good for you Road Racers or Drift Cars. This will free up Horsepower to the engine as the load of an alternator varies from 6-12 hp or more to turn it. When your off the gas it kicks in the Alternator and charges again.

More after the jump…

2. Underdrive your Crank Pulleys, Water Pump, and Alternator.
-The water pump was designed to keep the engine cool when idling in traffic or in “Cruise Mode”. At High RPMs the water pump is cavitating and acts like a little “Water Brake Dyno” consuming untold amounts of Horsepower. Slow it down with a pulley(crank) size smaller by about 25% and see if it stays cool at high RPMs. Drop another 10% and retest. Your Idling Temperature might get elevated, as long as it stays below “Hot” your good to go. Your not racing at idling speed so you have to compromise here….You get nothing for free, you got to pay for it somewhere.

3. DECEPTION! My old friend and I ran a “Stock Engine” in competition. Our engine sported a water pump with most of the “impeller gone”. We ran warm at the pits but at racing speed we where “Cool”. We ran the stock pulleys and stock looking water pump. Everyone was wondering why we just had that much more pull at the top=end! LOL

4. Increase your Alternator pulley diameter and retest making sure it is on the minimum charging rate at idle speed. The Bigger diameter will slow it down a lot at high RPMs and save HP’s. This is advisable when you don’t want to cut-off the alternator at full throttle! Hard chargers like ‘me’ will combine this both for maximum effect. How bad do you want to win???

5. Use a 180 degree thermostat. A 160 is too cold. 6If the engine is controlled with a Computer and F.I. it will stay at OPEN LOOP! Also at this temperature the oil is heavier and taking up HPs and it will not lubricate properly the bearings and lead to premature bearing wear. The bore will also show premature wear! The stock 200+ thermostat has no business in a racing environment.

6. Block or remove the EGR port going into the manifold. This unnecessarily “Heats” the manifold and the incoming air/mixture into the engine. We gain 1 to 2 tenths in the quarter mile.
Another tip is to “ICE” the intake at the pits while cooling down. This is also very important on turbo or supercharge engines.

7. Carburetors: Build a “Cool Can” to chill your fuel before it enters the carburetor. This helps the engine make more power from a denser cooler fuel mist. It also reduces the chances of detonation from heated air/fuel going inside the manifold.

8. When your cylinders are off and your budget does not allow you any kind of porting or polishing. Do a basic 3 angle valve job and “back cut” your valves, this will improve your off the seat head flow numbers. Also use a thinner head gasket as this is more effective than milling the heads. Use everything in our capability to make sure your pistons are “Zero on the Deck”. When this is achieved find the thinner head gasket that’s available. In no way would you consider putting a piston that sits below deck height! Pay attention to this as i have seen many good engines go to waste when this is not addressed.

9. Certain engines have “reversible pistons” that has an arrow pointing to the front of the engine. When this is the case, reverse this installation and you will gain a little bit of power without affecting reliability. The piston pin offset is desirable when installed this way and has a tendency of dwelling longer at TDC (Top Dead Center). Free HP!

10. Use a low tension ring oil ring set. This is free HP and has less rotational drag on the cylinders. When this is not available, your competent engine builder can modify the ring set that’s available to decrease rotational drag from the rings…

11. Since most “Stock” cranks are plentiful and affordable, turn the old crankshaft the maximum allowable oversize bearing you can buy. .040 is usually the maximum bearing available. This reduces the diameter of the crank bearing and decreases surface and rotational drag freeing horsepower. Some of our pure all out racing V-8s run 4 cylinder journal diameters to free up drag and horsepower.

12. Do not use a high volume oil pump. Make sure your clearances are good and in spec. Try just running Synthetic oil instead and offers more protection. The added power to turn the high volume oil pump is wasting horsepower.

13. Use headers even in your stock engine. Steer clear of the big-pipe headers as this might be great for a racing engine and it probably is overkill and a mismatch to your combination.

I will take a break for now…. where are the Wowowee girls???

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5 Responses to Engine Tech: How To Build Horsepower with a STOCK ENGINE

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