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posted by hubie on Saturday November 18 2023, @11:15PM   Printer-friendly
from the fast-good-NOT_cheap dept.

You may think you have fast fingers from typing or texting, but how fast can you assemble a V-8 NASCAR engine? Jayski (NASCAR news site) reports on the annual Hendrick Motorsports engine building contest,

The team of Danny Emerick and Bill Sullivan edged out the team of Scott Vester and Phil Seaton by 0.91 [seconds] to win the 2023 Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. With the victory, Emerick joins Vester as a six-time winner of the annual competition.
The two teams were neck and neck coming to the finish with the Emerick-led team overcoming an early miscue to take the title. The Emerick-Sullivan team posted a time of 22:56.46, while the Vester-Seaton squad posted a time of 22:57.37.

[...] The Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown sees 12 Hendrick Certified Master Technicians from all across the country at Hendrick Automotive Group, paired with 12 Hendrick Motorsports engine department team members. Each two-person team is matched up against another duo looking to post the fastest qualifying time. The two teams assemble 358-cubic-inch Chevrolet engines with 243 parts[1], similar to the fuel-injected engines that run in the NASCAR Cup Series. The builders assemble their engines on their own stage platform as they race against the clock to post the fastest time. Winners are determined by the quickest time with the fewest number of errors. The top two teams with the fastest times face off in the championship round. To date, the quickest time recorded in this competition was 21 minutes and 40 seconds in 2014.

243 parts in 22 minutes means over 10 parts per minute, or an average of 5 or 6 seconds, per part added to the engine. Each part put in the correct place and in some cases tightened up & torqued (with a power wrench or screwdriver).

[1] your AC contributor believes that some of the "243 parts" may in fact be assemblies that come to the engine builders pre-assembled and tested (thus a _fully_ disassembled engine might have more parts), but that is just a guess.

A quick google suggests that these engines use timing belts instead of chains--in the past the high parts-count of IC engines could be due to counting the individual links and rollers in the timing chain.

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @12:52AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @12:52AM (#1333473)

    OT, except also motor racing.

    Anyone else staying up late to watch the Formula 1 race in Las Vegas? No idea if the race will be good, but the surrounding hoopla is unmatched--reportedly the organizers spent half a billion USD to create this event. If Sainz/Ferrari makes it through the first lap(s) without getting crashed, then he should be coming through the field pretty quickly, that could be fun to watch.

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday November 19 2023, @01:29AM

      by RS3 (6367) on Sunday November 19 2023, @01:29AM (#1333474)

      I don't have cable TV. Some F1 races are on broadcast, but a quick look at TV listings, it's not on in my area. I have some friends who are addicted to F1. There are much worse things to be addicted to. I'm sure they'll watch. I'm betting someone will find a still-loose manhole cover that got missed by the oh-so-skilled road workers. I hope not though.

  • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday November 19 2023, @01:42AM (2 children)

    by RS3 (6367) on Sunday November 19 2023, @01:42AM (#1333475)

    I don't work in racing, so I'm not trying to be definitive. A quick web search shows timing chains, belts, and direct gear drives. There are also cam drives that used 4 gears- one on the crankshaft, one on camshaft, and 2 smaller idler intermediate gears. It might be that any of the above are being used currently. My hunch, again, not an ME nor definitive, but my hunch is the rubber belt is a bit more frictional than roller chains are, but the difference might be negligible (even though racing usually cares about every hp (watt) loss).

    The chains are normally fully assembled at full final length. I've never heard of someone building a chain from parts.

    Here's an example of the gear drive with the 2 intermediary gears (I'm not endorsing autozone- it just came up quickly in a search): []

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @06:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @06:18AM (#1333484)

      I've never heard of someone building a chain from parts

      As somebody who used to dive under the hood, the idea of a chain being anything other than pre-assembled for your particular engine is absolutely ridiculous. Worst case there's one link you have to connect, but IIRC you put the chain over the gears and then installed them--the trickiest part being to make sure the gears were in the proper position first, otherwise a great way to junk your motor by say, having a valve hit the top of a cylinder. It seems like you'd figure out pretty quickly that you messed up badly. Seems like there were very clear instructions about that, and marks on the gears and chains but there are plenty of idiots out there who manage to get in to things like that.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by UncleBen on Sunday November 19 2023, @11:13PM

      by UncleBen (8563) on Sunday November 19 2023, @11:13PM (#1333555)

      You can see the belt drive’s pulley in one of the videos. Still pushrod and heads are preassembled as is intake with throttle body injection.

      It’s pretty cool to watch the highlights. I’m sure we could field a Soylent team that might do well to the Benny Hill music. What these guys are great at are the skills that have nothing to do with the “engine building” and are all about cooperative and coordinated working together without significant signaling. No one’s ever saying “hand me the doohickey” and everyone’s completing their task in parallel.

      It’s a thing of beauty.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Sunday November 19 2023, @04:53AM (2 children)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 19 2023, @04:53AM (#1333482) Journal

    It's a v-8 so you've got 8x(Piston, con rod, con rod cap, 2x con rod bearings, 2xcon rod bolts , a wrist pin, 2xWrist pin retainer, 3x Piston rings,2x( valves,2xretainers,valve springs, valve seals, rockers, pushrods, lifters)) That adds up to over 200 parts alone, so I'm guessing at least part of the heads are preassembled.

    There are two heads, and on the new motors use 6 bolts per cylinder so 6+(5*3) head bolts per side for a total of 42 head bolts. Theres only one crankshaft and camshaft, a set of drive gears for those plus a belt or chain and a tensioner plus a cover for that. The oil pump is gear driven and the pickup might be another discrete part. The old engines had a cam-driven fuel pump but I hope that's not a thing anymore. The distributor has probably been eliminated, but it'll still need an inductive pickup to drive the ignition. There's' 4 sets of crank bearings, caps, and I'm guessing this kit uses 4 bolt mains. Front and rear seals, woodruff keys on the crank, an oil pan and oil pan gasket, and probably 14 bolts to hold it on. The flywheel is probably dowel pinned on, so 4-6 dowel pins, and a pilot bearing for the transmission shaft in the end of the crank. The block has some freeze plugs, an oil pressure sensor, a coolant temp sensor, thermostat, water pump, intake manifold, and the carb. I'd be shocked if they didn't have a windage tray, and that means oil sprayers for the cylinders too. What did I forget... cam bearings, 8xspark plugs, 2x exhaust manifolds, ...

    Assembling a 4 cylinder civic takes me all day, but a bunch of that time is "I don't trust my machinist or parts suppliers" time where I'm checking bore sizes, clearances, bearing fits, ring gaps, etc. Also 50 trips back to the book to check and recheck torque specs, and at least an hour trying to find the torque angle gauge that I swear I just had in my hand 2.5 seconds ago.

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Monday November 20 2023, @03:18AM (1 child)

      by RS3 (6367) on Monday November 20 2023, @03:18AM (#1333571)

      I'm super-impressed. I didn't know you did so much car / engine work. That's a very complete and detailed list. I've done a few engines, and experience tells me to check, double-check, and re-check things, which would obviously not win me a fast-building award. That said, I'm guessing the contest involves pre-assembled "blueprinted" sub-assemblies. Maybe not. It would be fun to try in such a contest.

      One of many tricks I learned somewhere, that you probably know, is to buy oversize rings and set the gaps yourself.

      Long story somewhat shortened: a few months ago I bought an '06 Volvo with T5 engine. Got it very cheap, knowing it had many problems, but was able to drive it home. Soon after on a test drive suddenly a rod bearing started knocking. Nursed it home, dropped the pan, found #5 rod and crank journal were a good bit darker than the others. I got very lucky: the bearing shell had galled onto the crank. It literally took me 3+ hours of filing and sanding to get the metal off and restore the crankpin to stock spec. That crank must be made of diamond or something. I worked up to 2,000 grit wet sandpaper, put in a new shell, super cleaned out the oil pan, have changed the filter 3 times, but now have ~2,000 miles on it and it seems to be doing well. Quite fun car to drive too.

      I wish I knew the history of the thing. There's no way that much damage happened during my test drive. The other rod bearing shells looked new, so I'm wondering if someone replaced them, and why.

      Stupidly the car did not have an oil pressure gauge. It does now, aft of filter.

      • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Monday November 20 2023, @10:39PM

        by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 20 2023, @10:39PM (#1333662) Journal

        I have my Brother-in-law to thank for this. We used to fix cars and lawnmowers on Saturday afternoons. I miss that. Pre-IT, I also worked as a heavy truck mechanic and welder. :)

        I have a robust post-apocalyptic skill set. :)

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Isia on Sunday November 19 2023, @11:20AM (6 children)

    by Isia (25931) on Sunday November 19 2023, @11:20AM (#1333489) Journal

    ICE motorsports?
    The world is facing a climate catastrophe, but people can't stop polluting.

    What is wrong with you?

    Belief in a higher being is for the stupid, the weak and the cowardly.
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by DadaDoofy on Sunday November 19 2023, @02:13PM

      by DadaDoofy (23827) on Sunday November 19 2023, @02:13PM (#1333493)

      No, religious belief in a globalist driven scam to bankrupt western nations is for the stupid, the weak, and the cowardly.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @02:47PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @02:47PM (#1333498)

      > ICE motorsports

      While I realize your post may have been a joke...

      The F1 cars have been hybrids for a number of years -- combination of battery electric, electric-turbo-compounding as well as the ICE engine. Thermal efficiency of over 50% is the norm with the current power units and more is in store. Special lightweight battery packs have been developed that are capable of very fast charge/discharge cycles. Tech developed here may well drive higher efficiency in road car engines in the future...where not every application can be met by BEV. Or as one tag line from long ago went, "Racing improves the breed."

      Another aspect--for any large event (sporting, etc), the spectators driving to the event use an enormous amount of fuel. In the case of motor racing the spectators cause nearly all the pollution & CO2, the race cars are a tiny fraction of the total. And for F1 with a global TV/internet audience, the fans that drive to the event are a tiny fraction of everyone that enjoys watching the race. []

      • (Score: 2) by SDRefugee on Sunday November 19 2023, @11:04PM (2 children)

        by SDRefugee (4477) on Sunday November 19 2023, @11:04PM (#1333554)

        In the case of the F1 race here in Las Vegas, an endless flow of multimillion dollar bizjets. Even the Las Vegas Department of Airports got in on the greed, they mandated a $3,000 landing fee at any of the 3 local airports. I have zero interest in this rich-guy "sport" so I merely report what I hear, being one of the locals who
        hate the traffic jams for the last month or so, while setting up this fiasco..

        America should be proud of Edward Snowden, the hero, whether they know it or not..
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20 2023, @12:11AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20 2023, @12:11AM (#1333561)

          You put "sport" in scare quotes, sorry for the inconvenience. My friends in Toronto feel the same way about the Indy car race that goes through the city every summer.

          I think it's great. Didn't get to Vegas this time, but I was there in the early 1980s when F1 was in the Caesar's Palace back parking lot for a couple of years. Also in Detroit for the original city street F1 circuit.

          From an earlier era when motor racing was much more dangerous than now, “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games,” Ernest Hemingway.

        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Monday November 20 2023, @03:30AM

          by RS3 (6367) on Monday November 20 2023, @03:30AM (#1333573)

          I saw some video (iirc on reddit) from some kind of pedestrian bridge / overpass. The F1 race was happening on the road below, and they had most of the sides blocked so you couldn't see out. There were a few openings, and a dozen or so rent-a-cops accosting anyone who paused to look out at the race.

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Monday November 20 2023, @03:25AM

      by RS3 (6367) on Monday November 20 2023, @03:25AM (#1333572)

      I doubt motorsports add a significant amount of CO2 and other pollutants to the atmosphere compared to the rest of the world's big polluters. But maybe, I don't know the numbers. I breathe air so I tend to prefer cleaner air. I used to really hate diesels but they're way cleaner now.

      How would you feel about hydrogen fuel for ICE racing?