What is it that makes a car enthusiast? For many, it could have been seeing that one exotic car, that rally car, or that race car coming down the road or at an event. But for many, it could have been that one exhilarating ride from a friend who owns a fast car. This is where passion or addition begins. For fellow enthusiasts, we all began with a platform. It could have Read More
What is it that makes a car enthusiast? For many, it could have been seeing that one exotic car, that rally car, or that race car coming down the road or at an event. But for many, it could have been that one exhilarating ride from a friend who owns a fast car. This is where passion or addition begins. For fellow enthusiasts, we all began with a platform. It could have been an early DSM model like the closely extinct first-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse GST or GSX models, the Eagle Talons, or the Plymouth Lasers. And there were those who were fortunate enough to get the rally-inspired Subaru WRX and the king at the time, the Subaru STI. The thrust of the turbocharger while leaving the red light always brought smiles and drove many of us to work harder and if there was a will to go faster, we found a way.
As the saying goes, sometimes all good things must come to an end. By that, this means components in or around your engine will let go as these are wear and tear items. For veteran enthusiasts, we know our limits. We know that we don't stay in boost if our AIR FUEL GAUGE / WIDEBAND is reading outside the safe strike zone. Now listen here for those of you new enthusiasts with modern platforms such as the Ford Focus ST, RS, Fiesta ST, Hyundai Veloster, Honda Civic Type R, Mitsubishi Evolution, and newer Subaru WRX or STI models. Anything fast with a turbo or that can benefit from a tune. If you perform any modifications to your engine that increase boost and horsepower, you will need a proper tune to compensate for safe timing levels, safe boost levels, and the appropriate fuel tables for pump gas or ethanol, all while tuning around your elevation levels. If you start modifying your engine and your desire to go faster is larger than the fear of blowing your engine, then you're in the right spot and your engine isn't happy. Consider it a right of passage, we've all been there, sometimes more than we'd like to be. Welcome to the motor builds section.
Either your motor is injured, or you want to build it with the right forged parts to sustain larger amounts of boost or power. RallySpolrt Direct has all of the main ingredients to add more strength to your build so your engine can survive being a race car, a rally car, or fighting traffic on the way to work.
HI, I'M NEW HERE, WHERE DO I BEGIN? WHAT DO I GET? MY TOW TRUCK DRIVER IS ON SPEED DIAL
For those of you who have been here before, you know what it takes. Essentially forge all the things. However, if you're new here, let's break down and list some of the main ingredients that will get you back on the road. Note that there are many levels of engine builds that are available to suit your budget in terms of if you want forged pistons, or if you want forged rods. Do you need to replace your valves? Several variables are in consideration here, but either way, it's a small fortune and an investment. You don't want to keep making bad decisions over again as they can be expensive.
PISTONS: These are going to be the main organs inside your engine. A bad tune, detonation, and a lean condition are what typically melts a piston. Especially your factory-cast pistons. Detonation almost shares the same force as a hammer beating on the top of your piston at any stroke position depending on how bad the pre-ignition is. The same force can also lead to bent rods. What is a good solution? Forged. Forged pistons are stronger, and can sustain higher levels of boost or endurance for those weekend track days. We carry pistons from the most well-known brands in the industry that include but are not limited to the likes of Wiseco, CP, and Manley. Depending on how much machining your engine needs, we carry a great selection of pistons in larger bore sizes. And speaking of the cylinder bore, we also carry Darton sleeves. These sleeves will reinforce the cylinder walls to reduce the chances of cracking due to heat or high levels of boost. Sleeves are ideal for those of you who are building a motor for drag racing where you are running the largest amount of boost for the shortest period of time. Sleeves are also ideal for those of you with a rally car or a time-attack build where your RPM levels will spend the majority of the time in the upper RPM range.
CONNECTING RODS: Also, hold as much responsibility as the pistons do. After all, they're attached to the piston and are the link between the piston and the crankshaft. Connecting rods pull and push the piston up and down in the cylinder while getting pulled and pushed by the crankshaft. If you've heard the term, "windowed the block", this means you've ran enough boost to send a connecting rod literally out of your short block. How does this happen? Either too much boost that stretches a connecting rod, or driving while having rod knock which is a prevalent issue in improperly maintained Subarus unfortunately. Both scenarios are relative because this happens when enough clearance between the connecting rod and the crankshaft journal becomes wide enough that you will hear an audible knock. You will immediately lose oil pressure, and all of the metallic debris from the connecting rod bearing will get wedged between the connecting rod and the crankshaft journal. Friction and heat increase due to the lack of oil pressure, and eventually, the connecting rod could try to weld itself onto the crankshaft journal and the rod has no choice but to bend, break, and cause the most catastrophic engine failure. If you hear an audible engine knock coming from the bottom of your engine, please do not continue to rev the engine as you would only be increasing the damage. And if you're past this point, might as well upgrade. Like the pistons we carry, we have forged connecting rods. The stronger the connecting rod, the fewer chances of the rod stretching which will create an imbalance. Manley, Tomei, Brian Crower, and Wiseco - are some of the major brands we carry. We also carry options in different profiles that offer stronger thicknesses required to handle more power. If you are this deep into your build, invest in a quality connecting rod to further secure the strength of your engine.
HEADS: For those of you who aren't 100% gear headed, you might have heard of the terms long block and short block. What is this? Think of your engine as a square block of metal. Now divide it by two. The bottom half will be the short block that encases the crankshaft, pistons, and rods. The main organs of the engine. The upper half consists of the heads. The heads are in charge of the breathing and exhaling of the engine. They breathe in the air aka intake, and they exhale the gases, aka exhaust. You have the intake valves that bring in the air from the intake, and you have the exhaust valves that exhale exhaust gases from the turbocharger or from the exhaust side of the head in naturally-aspirated applications. Inside the "ports," you can see the stems of the valves inside the mechanical abyss, and these will move up and down during combustion. The intake valves open as they breathe, and the exhaust valves open when there is combustion inside the cylinder. Now typically, when you have blown a head gasket, again, unfortunately, a prevalent Subaru issue hence why we carry so many heads and head components, you would take your heads to a machine shop where they will thoroughly inspect the heads for any cracks and warping due to heat. The heads will typically be resurfaced so that the mating areas between the heads and short block will be flat to provide an appropriate seal. If a timing belt snaps on a non-interference engine, then the piston makes contact with the valves because they are now out of timing range, and severe head damage will occur. If your head is cracked, then get new heads. If your heads are so warped due to heat, then they will almost be "bowed" enough to where you cannot achieve a proper flat mating surface.
THE PERFORMANCE BEHIND HEADS: If you plan on making higher boost levels, at a minimum, you will have to upgrade your VALVE SPRINGS. Upgrading your valve springs is typical with all higher-powered engine builds. As your factory valves cannot keep up with the tolerances of high-lift camshafts, and with factory valve springs, you would otherwise experience leaking valves, floating valves, or broken valves. Upgraded valve springs are much stiffer, and will increase the reacting pressure, and sealing of your valves. Stronger VALVES are a good idea as well. If you are rebuilding an engine and you still have your 100k mile valvetrain and just want to have your machine shop cut costs, it will cost you more later on. You could have detonation damage, or you could have chips on the edges of your valves that could cause leaks, and you could also have stress cracks within your valve heads that can't be seen. The valves we carry are the result of careful and highly expensive manufacturing methods, all of which are designed to withstand the perils of higher boost and higher power. If you are having your heads re-machined and are upgrading your turbo and fuel to make more boost, consider a fresh set of valves brought to you by brands such as GSC, Manley, and Brian Crower which are utilized by worldwide race programs. And for those of you who just don't have the time to wait, and want the best in the business, you can get yourself a set of built and staged HEADS that are pre-assembled with the best valvetrain available. You get upgraded valves, and valve springs with the port work is already completed. This is for the serious enthusiast who demands the absolute best for their engine and is fortunate enough to make it happen. Heads whether you start with a freshly built set or are having your machine shop resurface and refurbish them, play a vital role in the overall welfare of your engine, and its performance.
CAMSHAFTS: From GSC, Kelford, Tomei, and Brian Crower, of course, we have cams. Camshafts are available in a variety of different durations. Meaning, the cam lobes can be slightly, or fairly longer to offer more top-end power and can work with your stock valvetrain, or, we have aggressive degrees of duration for those of you building engines that make 1000 horsepower or more, through a monster-sized turbocharger. For the most part, you must have upgraded valve springs at the least to handle the increased duration of the camshafts. A smaller duration such as a 256-degree camshaft, for example, is a great choice for those of you with a slightly larger turbo upgrade, and who want a stronger pull throughout the entire RPM range. And if you have a built valvetrain with ported heads. A 272-degree camshaft and above will produce that aggressive "chop" at idle, and these will typically need a professional tune to run as smoothly as sustainably possible. For example, a higher duration camshaft will produce higher trap speeds at a drag strip, and will also produce more MPH on a road course straightaway. Camshafts really maximize the flow efficiency out of your turbocharger and will lift the power ceiling that you would otherwise be limited to with factory camshafts.
CRANKSHAFTS: The crankshaft is responsible for doing all of the heavy lifting internally. Your connecting rods are attached to the crankshaft, and the crankshaft is torqued down into the bottom of the short block on the main journals. The problem is, if you spin a bearing or break a rod, those fine metallic bearing materials will make their way into all of the bearing journals, and through the oil pump, and will scratch the crankshaft journals to the point where you will lose oil pressure, and your engine will have a painful death. The only time you should ever replace a crankshaft is if your machine shop decides that the damage on the journals is too much to weld material on, sand it down, and polish it out again while being re-sized with a new bearing. Yes, it is a machining process, and there have been risks where repaired crank journal areas will separate from the crank and wipe out the motor again. There is that risk. Because of these reasons, we have crankshafts that are available separately. We have OEM Subaru crankshafts to get you back on the road, and we also carry forged stroker crankshafts for those of you who are boosting to the moon. Depending on how damaged the journals are on your existing crankshaft, getting a brand new unit is the more reliable way to go if your current crankshaft needs material welded back on the journals to make a repair.
THIS IS WAY TOO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT. WHAT IF I JUST WANT A MECHANIC TO GET ME BACK ON THE ROAD?
Not a problem. In fact, there are many enthusiasts who either aren't as extreme as a world-class race team and don't need to make all of the power. And there are many of us who just want to refresh our motors due to age or mileage. Keep it simple and reasonable. Although still expensive, we carry options that are factory to get you back on the road with factory power specs. And yes we do carry staged options that are ready to either drop in your vehicle or assemble without the downtime it takes with any machine shop.
SHORT BLOCKS: When it comes to having your mechanic, your friend, or a local shop that has good reviews, assembling a high-performance motor can be unnerving especially in the wrong hands. You have your bearing clearances that need to be within spec with no room for mistakes as your engine works harder when the turbo spools, or when you're at a high-performance driving event. Most importantly, you have a piston ring gap. The more horsepower you try to make, the wider, looser, or more specific your piston ring gap needs to be. The difference between an experienced engine builder that pushes out daily drivers is different from an experienced engine builder who knows how to prepare a short block for abusive driving. Because of these reasons, we have staged short blocks. These are mainly for the Subaru platform, but we have staged short blocks built by IAG Performance which are hands down, some of the best in the Subaru industry. All of their engines are assembled in clean environments free of any harmful airborne debris. All clearances were checked with bore gauges and dial indicators and rechecked with proper torque specs. It is a matter of installing all of the required gaskets and seals, heads, and all required accessories to be ready for the initial fire-up. Again many staged power options are available. Closed deck options are available, as well as hybrid short blocks are available to suit your power goals, your driving style, or your will to win at the next track event.
LONG BLOCKS: Like the short block option, we have pre-assembled long blocks. Again mentioned several thousand words earlier, short blocks are the bottom half of your engine. An engine assembled with heads is essentially a completely assembled engine minus the turbo, intake manifold, alternator, and other accessories. This will be the long block. In all honesty, if you've got the means to get an entire long block, not only are you lucky, but you are saving yourself time and guesswork. Like our short blocks, we carry long blocks assembled by IAG Performance. And again like the short blocks, the long blocks are professionally assembled in clean dust-free environments with all correct clearances and torque specs. For your convenience, our long block selections are also available in different staged power options. This means you can get a long block with cams already clearanced and installed. Secured with ARP hardware and forged internals. All you would have to do is connect your turbo, intake manifold, alternator, all pumps, all solenoids, and wiring and it is ready to drop in. But all of this professional work and components do come at a price. Although expensive, it is a wise investment in terms of having an assembled product from some of the most experienced hands in the industry. Other than having the motor installed, you would be responsible for a proper tune, and a proper break-in period. Afterward, your new engine will be ready and versatile enough to make your daily drive to work very enjoyable, while giving you peace of mind at the next weekend track event.
SHEESH. THAT DOES SOUND NICE. BUT IF I CAN USE WHAT I'VE GOT, WHAT ELSE SHOULD I CONSIDER?
If you didn't send a rod to the moon and if you don't have extra holes in your engine where they shouldn't be, then by all means use what you have. You will have to take your shock block to your machine shop so they can do a thorough cleaning and check the specs on your cylinder bores to determine if you can still use a stock piston size, and if not they will bore accordingly and tell you exactly what spec of piston to get. When you get your heads back from resurfacing and reassembly, it's time to put that motor back together.
THESE ARE ALSO IMPORTANT WHEN PUTTING YOUR MOTOR BACK TOGETHER
SEALS: Some of the most important seals in your engine are the front main, as well as the rear main seal. These will seal the front and rear sections of your crankshaft and when they leak, it can be pretty bad. Your engine can produce 100+ psi of oil pressure and if you are leaking from either seal, you risk losing your motor quickly from oil starvation. Make sure you use new and reputable quality seals to prevent your new engine from bleeding out the oil.
HEAD GASKETS: If the machine shop bores out your cylinders, make sure you get the correct head gasket that matches your newly machined bores. Otherwise, you will have a whole heap of labor, curse words, and thrown tools right after startup. All of the head gaskets we carry are quality multi-layered steel versions that provide a seal that meets or exceeds OEM quality. And we also carry OEM head gaskets if everything is within factory specs, or if you haven't gone crazy with modifications, and you want a factory-proven part for the next years of driving. Because Subaru's are known for having head gasket issues, make sure you always pay attention to your temperature gauge and never ever drive on an overheated motor. This will make both of your heads warp. Also, check your oil levels regularly for any type of discoloration. If the oil on the dipstick is milky, stop driving immediately to prevent further engine damage. Milky oil is an indication that coolant has mixed with your oil and so your oil will be diluted and will lose all lubricating properties.
GASKETS: If you are making a repair or a rebuild, you must use new gaskets to ensure a proper seal. Re-using old gaskets outside of maybe an exhaust gasket is a terrible idea. We carry OEM gasket kits that include all of the main gaskets needed to suit a rebuild. And we also carry complete gasket kits from companies well-known in the industry that include but are not limited to Cometic, GrimmSoeed, Mahle, or Tomei. All of these gaskets have been manufactured to meet or exceed OEM quality to provide you with a quality seal. These are items you should invest wisely in, and not go for another alternative simply because it's cheaper. Seal your motor properly, and enjoy many great miles and adventures with your newly rebuilt engine.
ROD BEARINGS: One of the most important components in your engine along with main journal bearings. Rod bearings and main bearings work alike and are installed on the crankshaft on the main journals, as well as on the rod journals making a connection to the rods. There is a very fine film of oil that sits between the rod bearing and the rod journal on the crank. This thin film of oil also separates the rod from the journal of the crank and is responsible outside of the oil pump for maintaining oil pressure. If you've heard of the term, "spun a bearing", this happens because of improper bearing clearances, and this damage would occur right off the bat, or you have leaned your motor out with too much boost and a bad tune and you stretched a rod to generate excessive clearance, and both halves of the rod bearing on the crank journal will spin instead of staying in place. A sudden loss in oil pressure is one indicator, followed by an audible knock. And if you really want to confirm, remove your oil pan for any visible metallic glitter on the bottom of the oil pan. The only way to remedy the issue is with a rebuild or a refresh. Notice how seriously we take this issue with the choices brought to you by King, ACL, or Clevite. Available in the right sizes to work with your new, or resurfaced crank journals.
MAIN BEARINGS: Just like rod bearings, the main bearings serve the same purpose, and that is to allow a fine layer of oil to sit between the crankshaft main journals while it sits in the block supported by the main caps. Anytime you rebuild your engine, you should replace your bearings. The only exception is that if you inspect your engine and there is absolutely zero damage on the journals and absolutely no excessive movement then you might be fine. But this is always a no occasion, just use new bearings. Make sure you have the right size, and sure if your machine shop performs a line-hone, you always know exactly what main journal sizes you will need.
THRUST BEARINGS: Thrust bearings and/or thrust washers will install at specific points on your block. These will prevent any excessive forward or backward movement of your crankshaft and will keep it in place. These are typically in one size, and one fitment only and are specific to your application. Make sure you have fresh units installed during your rebuild. The best companies such as King, and ACL have an option that will suit your build.
TIMING BELTS AND ACCESSORY BELTS: Anyone who tries to reuse an old timing belt should be given a jail sentence. The only exception is if you have just installed it, and have to do some sort of repair that requires the removal of a fresh and hardly used belt. Your engine is an interference engine. Remember what interference means? This means that if your timing belt snaps, your valves get in a fight with your pistons. The engine has to come back out, heads need to be removed. Back to the machine shop with new valves. 6 weeks go by before real progress gets made. Get new belts, please. The timing belt kits will come with the water pump and all of the respective components such as the idler pullies. When you change your timing belt you must change your pullies, tensioners, and anything else associated. If your tensioner pully seizes then your belt burns up. More importantly, make sure you check with our owner's manual, and check to see when the appropriate timing belt services are, and never second guess if your belts have been done. If you are performing an engine rebuild, the belts are very simple to do when the engine is out. After the timing belts have been changed, replace your accessory belts with new units as they need to come off during an existing timing belt job, or after you have assembled your engine.
PERFORMANCE HARDWARE: This is crucial when rebuilding your engine. Especially if you are making more power. Like everything else when making power, you have to make everything stronger. This includes some of the main hardware throughout the engine. Now, as you see, we only carry the best brought to you by ARP. ARP is the best in the business, and they are utilized worldwide on just about every record-setting genre of any race car or truck, or motorcycle in any genre of racing. If you have heard of the term, "lifting the heads". This happens because you are running more boost or spraying your engine, or even the combination of the two, and the pressure is so great that the threads on your factory head studs will strip, thus causing your heads to lift. ARP hardware is made using high-tensile alloy materials designed to handle up to 280,000 psi. ARP hardware is typically used to reinforce your heads, your rod caps, as well as your main caps. If you are building something to make 500+ HP, do yourself a favor and invest in the proper hardware to secure your engine.
WHAT IF I WANT TO GO MORE ON THE EXTREME SIDE?
Before you send your engine off to the machine shop, you have to decide what your goals are. At one point, STROKER KITS were the biggest and the baddest if you're not a billionaire and have a billet block. With stroker kits, designs very. But the purpose is the increase in the bore and in the stroke of the engine. By increasing the bore and the stroke of the engine, you get a quicker response in boost by 3-400 RPM in some cases. The same goes for naturally aspirated applications. The give and take is that yes, you get a faster response in the lower to mid-range power band, but you lose top-end RPM. This could be a limiting factor for those of you with monster turbochargers that don't hit peak boost until after 5K RPM. Stroker kits are a great option for those of you in the 450-1000 HP range. When combined with a modern turbocharger with all of the latest technology, you would have quite the street weapon. From a machining standpoint, it is highly involved. You have to bore out the cylinders to the spec of your pistons, then your short block will have to be machined and line-honed for proper clearances to accommodate the longer crank journals. Stroker kits will include a brand-new crankshaft with longer rotating journals with a shorter rod, or you will have a shorter-length crank journal with a longer rod. Highly involved and very expensive when compared to typically upgrading your rods and pistons. However, your engine will operate at another level.
So this was a short crash course on what is involved when rebuilding your engine. Hopefully, it gives you insight into what your machine shop and your mechanic will endure throughout the process. For those who perform their own rebuilds, you know exactly where to go here, and what to get. For those of you new here, the important lesson is to never cut corners. If you have a preferred mechanic, consult with them, as well as your tuner. Think about the power levels you want to make, and think about what you want to use your car for. If you have a dedicated race car, then forge everything. If you have a daily driver and want to make your engine stronger, get some reliable forged pistons and rods. More importantly, make sure you have all of the right components to do your rebuild right the first time to avoid mistakes after your initial startup. And please, do a proper break-in period. Opinions will always vary but take it easy, and out of boost for the first 500 miles.