Race Engine Development


Here are some pics of a very small fraction of the type of engine development work we do here in conjunction with all the engine related products we innovate, design, and manufacture.  These pics are mainly from the motorcycle race engine department side. We have been careful not to reveal any of our many secrets learned over the last 28 years of doing this form of work.  Instead we are showing just typical, first class work. This is just plain old 'grass roots' work, that is just standard for true professional engine builders and factory race team engine designers. Unfortunately most shops that do engine work, don't even truly understand many of the below aspects of engine building.  We have seen so many engines come to us over the years, that had been built by well know name engine builders, that are actually very unfortunate samples of their customers being taken to the cleaners.  Not so much by price, but rather what they got, (or thought they got) for whatever price they did pay.  Sometime we may put up a section of pics of "disaster waiting to happen" poorly machined, (or not machined at all) components in engines or some that were disasters.  Since we have done engine annalists for other companies/racers for many years, we have a lot of very interesting data, and some very very humorous (except for the engine owner of course.)

 Remember, if you don't have a properly build strong bottom half of the engine, eventually it doesn't matter how strong the engine runs, as it won't run too long, if its truly making real HP!! It's the "unglamorous" parts, that the true racer/team owner should be concerned about first!!  You'll never win if you don't finish first!!

These casting lines are the type of thing we are after as they cause a weak spot This is the last stage before shot-peening, which the results can be seen in the next pics.
This shows the untouched big ends and a the completely finished big ends, side by side. Another view of the big ends before & finished.jpg (26162 bytes)
A super accrurate dial bore-guage that reads in tenths is a must. Br clearances are checked all across the width at several diff. angles. The only way to correctly check bearing clearences is with a good dial-bore-gauge Fitting wrist pins to new pistons with our Sunnen Rod Hone
 Connecting rod balancing. An extencively reworked rod having it`s small end weighed for balancing. Balancing race rods. Balancing an OEM connecting rod.
high quality precision scales are a must. A stock rod after resizing & setting the side clearance. A performance connecting rod after side clearancing & sizing for br clearance A set of new race rods ready for side clearancing, sizing, pin fitting, & balancing.
An OEM rod after magnafluxing, resizing, fitting the wrist pins, contouring, lightening, & shot-peening. There are several little tricks to The only way to properly check side clearance in a race eng. is with a dial indicator. If you can`t easily rotate the crank like this after the cases are tq`d, the clearances are not correct.
u  One of our thermal barrier coatings.jpg (35265 bytes) If your engine builder uses much more sealer than this between cases & etc, you need a new one! Some more transmission parts prepped & coated ready to go do battle. t coating on top done but not buffed yet.JPG (26692 bytes)

  It's common knowledge among "TRUE" racing professionals that even for a motorcycle engine, 20, $30,000 or even twice that for certain factory level plus, engines is not too much to pay. If you're getting what you wanted. We've just seen too many people pay way too much for engines not really worth half what they paid for them. As we get time, we'll add more, just for food for thought. We aren't in the business nor would we publicly name any of these 'engine builders' as we try to be a whole lot more professional than that. We'll some time be posting engine components that show how you don't want your engine builder to build your engine as well. 

 **A very important note here**; The finish appearance in the of a chamber or port, as shown below means absolutely  nothing when it comes to performance. You can look at  work that looks beautiful but performs worse than stock. You see pics regularly in magazines of "beautiful work" that really isn't worth the hassle of removing the parts & sending them to get done. Although top level work can look great, its the shaping, contouring, matching machine work, matching of all related parts, etc etc, that really matters. Sometimes an area in the head benefits from being as smooth as glass, sometimes we actually cut grooves in an area, or don't touch it at all. Sometimes we even weld in an area and rework it.  

 The following pics show just a fraction of what our capabilities are, but at least  will help familiarize some people on some things they maybe have wondered about for a long time.

a  We use several types of seat cutters in our Kwikway, whichever is best for the particular seat & guide combo..jpg (48796 bytes) b  Typical flow bench development wk.jpg (66847 bytes) c  Initial milling of a head to precisely square things up. .jpg (40554 bytes) d  A critical spec is the valve shim depth in the retainer, when building radical engines..jpg (33862 bytes)
e  A true race seat in not 3 or 5 angles, but has infinite angles when at least 3 to 5  are all blended together..JPG (39600 bytes) f  After doing the aluminum appearing ceramic coating on the valve faces & chambers but no buff yet..jpg (38026 bytes) g  Cam towers after precision prep. .jpg (25190 bytes) h  After cam journal bore prep, we specialy coat the critical surfaces.jpg (41664 bytes)
i  cc`ing a motorcycle hd.jpg (51309 bytes) j  If the exact valve spring shims are not available, we manuf. precise SS ones.jpg (45576 bytes) k  Seemingly insignificant things such as a chamfering a hole are actually very important.jpg (25194 bytes) l  Spot facing & chamfering head bolt holes on a radicaly built hd is a must..JPG (38321 bytes)
m  We always use a metric indicator when degreeing becuase one revolution is only .039 rather than .100.jpg (14208 bytes) n  Getting an exact TDC location is essential.jpg (44363 bytes) o  Making sure the cam sprocket bolts are properly tightened after degreeing.jpg (36382 bytes) 8  ready for initial seat machining, cc`ing & several other proceedures..JPG (49426 bytes)
You can`t use to big of a degree wheel.JPG (64324 bytes) Especially when running extreemly close valve to valve clearences, close doesn`t cut it, precise numbers are a must..JPG (51547 bytes)

1 The  port & chamber design we want to use is decided on..JPG (41022 bytes) 2 ex port rough-in well under way & starting intake.jpg (58327 bytes) 3 chamber roughed in ready for seat wk, cc`ing, milling  final shaping and thermo barrier application.JPG (35044 bytes) 7 no machine wk or final flow work done yet.JPG (63364 bytes)
4 stock intake ports.jpg (43119 bytes) 5 very carefully shaped nearing completion.JPG (28700 bytes) 6  intake runners about 75% done.JPG (29875 bytes)

1x  another OEM chamber.JPG (52659 bytes) 2x  Ready for final seat machining, & the very important multi angle blending, cc`ing, & final milling..JPG (41690 bytes) 3x ampo guides aready installed,  and the first stages of chamber shaping & cc`ing, seat wk & mill wk .jpg (30273 bytes) 4x ampo guides aready installed,  and the first stages of chamber shaping & cc`ing, seat wk & mill wk lg.JPG (57199 bytes)
5x an ezhaust port on its way to completion..jpg (34460 bytes) 6x intake  port basic shaping done, ready for the tedious wk. .JPG (33180 bytes) 7x Ready for final mill, cc ck, water-port chamfer, thermal barrier coating & assembly.JPG (40102 bytes) 8x ready for coating.JPG (35165 bytes)
We've been asked so many times over the years questions about valves & valve specs,  what means what, & what determines what. Although we could write a good many pages on the subject, here is just a typical scenario that will answer a few questions. We'll start with a "Valve Blank", & cover just a few of the basic but all encompassing  issues of making it into a finished product ready to use. We didn't run the coolant so you could see the valve better.


v1.JPG (55592 bytes) v2.JPG (36425 bytes) v5.JPG (20478 bytes) v6.JPG (18871 bytes)
Here is a Valve blank. The only things finished are the valve stem dia, & the valve head back side angle, or tulip profile, sometimes this isn't finished when acquired. You can see it has a very thick margin at the moment. Here you can clearly see the OD of the valve head being precisely  Once the OD is is machined to its exact size, the basic seat angle is machined, in this case, very close to 45 degrees.
v4.JPG (26031 bytes) v7.JPG (17019 bytes) v8.JPG (18335 bytes) v9.JPG (28820 bytes)
Before the seat angle & after. You can see we cut them to a very fine finish, as you can see the shine & reflection on those surfaces.

Now we cut the entire face in till the margin the exact dimension it has to be. This measurement & the small chamfer on the outer dia of the valve face are super critical when running close valve to valve clearances 

Now with the margin correct we lighten the valve face, thus the overall weight of the valve. Its a balance between compression & valve weight that determines this operation. Here you can see we have cut the back angle which will later be  properly shaped for maximum flow, in accordance to the port throat design.
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Once all of the specs at the head end are all exactly correct for the way we've designed the geometry we go to the other end.  You can see we haven't  grooved the top stem yet. This groove is one of the extremely critical parts of the valve. This groove is not just a groove. There is actually two separate radiuses along with a straight section as well. This is to ensure the keepers can lock properly. There are many factors determining ea. aspect of the groove dimensions. The distance from the top of the groove to the end of the valve is very critical. It can't be too much or the adjusting shim could come out of the retainer at the hint of valve float if over- revved. If the least bit too short, several other problems will occur.
v15.JPG (14726 bytes) v10.JPG (45805 bytes)
We precision grind the tips to the exact spec needed, then put a critical small precise 45 deg. chamfer around the edge of the tip, it serves several purposes. A finished valve with our Pro-Gold heat barrier applied.
A general note before reading the valve spec scenario below;

Granted if some "engine builder" is putting together a typical "race engine", by their definition, many of the below points don't matter & unfortunately for his customer, many times don't even mean anything to the "engine builder".  Many "engine builders" rely on the parts to "just work" rather than completely understanding & checking ea. aspect of the components design & how they interact with ea. other. Many don't even check things like valve to valve clearance. This means one of several things; they are either unaware of how important that is, they don't care, they don't know how to ck it, or, they aren't really building a true upper level race engine. If they were, they would be utilizing all the "available room possible" to make stout reliable hp & tq. You almost always wind up running the intake valve and the exhaust valve very close to one another (as they pass ea. other) while one is closing & the other is opening. Using up all the opportunity there is, is one reason for having cams special ground to our own specs, to maximize inlet & exhaust flow characteristics.  

Some of the factors that determine all the valve specs are; RPM you want or need to run, the backside or tulip profile according to if it's an intake or exhaust, & what is the bowl or throat area design. The depth you want the valve into the chamber/head, (many times that is determined by how thick the top of the pistons you are using are, which then determines how deep you can fly-cut them). Then the material you are using for the valves, & if titanium we use completely different material for the valve seats for several reasons. Also cam base circle, & definitely cam profile, what springs you need to run, which is determined by the RPM you need or want to run, the cam profile, & definitely if its a symmetrical or non-symmetrical grind which is part of the cam profile, and then the weight of the valve. The retainer style & dimension also goes hand in hand with valve design. Also, do you want or need to run a undercut valve stem, for flow or weight, or heat issues. Are you coating the valve or not. The type of guide material you are using for the valve guides is also very critical in determining the valve specs & visa versa as well. The diameter of the valve head. That's a humorous subject in itself. Many people think that an oversize valve, in and of itself, allows for more flow, DEFINITELY NOT SO!! Unless the proper throat work is done, and  in most cases the reshaping of the critical areas in the combustion chamber are are not properly modified, they can flow LESS AIR!! and many times cause added unwanted turbulence, & other problems. But, when many people hear the word oversize valves, they mistakenly think that that atomically means more power. We see a lot of heads done by well known & "reputable" facilities, that quite frankly they should be embarrassed to let out of their building. But since we are definitely not here to knock anyone in particulars work, we'll leave it at that!! The location & angle you want the valve to be in the head, also determines its makeup.  You can change the angle of the valves, even if its an overhead cam engine, but that for only the very top dollar Factory plus, level engines generally. It generally entails oversize buckets, & installing over-size OD valve guides, so everything can be re-machined so the new angles will mate to the cam properly, along with many more other critical mods.

The above was definitely far from all the facts concerning engine valves & their configuration, but it gives the otherwise un knowing person a little idea of just what goes into a properly built  Race Engine. The real critical fact or point here? We only discussed one out of a large, vast array of critical engine components in a Race Engine. Now ponder what kind of time, knowledge, effort & expense goes into the complete Engine when finished,!! if its a True Race Engine!!!!!!

Performance Design
136 Airport Road
Headland, Al. 36345
Performance Design specializes in Suspension & Engine High Performance Parts and Tools. We offer state-of-the-art high speed hand tools the Turbo-T & the Pro-Torque for all of your Automotive & Motorcycle Needs. Contact Performance Design for your High Performance Parts needs, for Automotive Race Engine & Motorcycle Race Engine Technology.  KLR   Lowering links  , KLR  650 Lowering Links , XR 600 Lowering Links , XRL 650 Lowering Links , XR 400 Lowering Links  , XR 250 Lowering Links ,  have been a specialty of ours   for years. We specialize in High Tech Engine Coatings  for Motorcycle Racing & Automotive Racing . Engine Design Engine Technology , Motorcycle Carburation , Carburation   Technology , Motorcycle Cylinder Head  ,  Motorcycle Race Head & Automotive Race Head technology. Engine Design , Engine Development , Race engine Design & Race Engine   Development are what we are about. We can supply Motorcycle Engine Builders & Motorcycle Race Engine Builders along with Automotive Engine  & Automotive Race Engine   Builders with developed one-off components, or develop components for race engines and or all types of engines, to be manufactured, and can assist in the manufacturing itself     as well.  Steve Kesselring, owner of Performance Design....... Steve Kesselring Turbo-T    Pro-Torque from Performance Design LL Top quality tools, The best quality tools, is what our tool division is all about!  KTM RacingKTM performance , KTM HP ,  Horsepower for your Improve FCR Carb YZF 426 , XR600, XR650L, XR 650R, DRZ 400, KLX 250, TRX 400, LTZ 400, KFX 400, Arctic Cat 400 Quad, Lower Your XR650R, XR650R MotardFactory Level Race Engines, Factory Level Race Engine Development, Intake Development, Carb Development. We manufacture Race Engine productsManufacture Race Engine Components