K1 - Blog

  1. Meet Dan Parker, America's Fastest Blind Racer

    Meet Dan Parker, America's Fastest Blind Racer

    Dan Parker is living proof you can't keep a good man down. After loosing his sight in a racing accident, dan got back on the horse–Corvette in this instance– and achieved the impossible, becoming the fastest blind man in America.

    “A dream changed my life forever,” Dan Parker recalls. “I went to bed thinking about my late brother – he had told me about a group of guys from France who had flown to the United States with a disassembled 50cc motorcycle in their luggage. They rented a car and drove to Bonneville, put the bike together, and each one set a different record with it. And when I fell asleep, I dreamt that I could race again – that I could become the first blind man to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats.”

    Dan’s record-setting steed is this 2008 Corvette. With a custom GPS guidance system, a 427-cube LS3 with Wiseco and K1 Technologies hardware under the hood, and no shortage of aero and suspension tweaks, it’s a machine that’s purpose-built to ensure that Dan can safely embark on these high-speed blasts.

    While testing out a new engine combination in March of 2012, Parker was involved in a horrific crash that would completely

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  2. How to Install Connecting Rod Fasteners the Right Way!

    How to Install Connecting Rod Fasteners the Right Way!

    Properly installing connecting rods is key to long engine life. Here, we take a look at the different ways to accomplish this task and which works best. 

    There is perhaps no more important component contained in the internal combustion engine than the connecting rod fastener. Regardless of whether a particular connecting rod uses a bolt/nut arrangement, or a capscrew configuration, the connecting rod fastener's performance is critical. Understanding the details for proper installation is important for veteran engine builders and first-timers alike.

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  3. Bearing Clearance and Oil Viscosity Explained

    Bearing Clearance and Oil Viscosity Explained
    The relationship between bearing clearance and oil viscosity is a delicate balance. Read on for more information on how to get it right!There are some fairly famous duos in the entertainment industry – Abbott and Costello, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Batman and Robin among the more illustrious. So it may not be much of a stretch of the imagination for an engine guy to include the pairing of bearing clearances with oil viscosity as a duo you should become acquainted.

    The typical rule that most engine builders follow is that bearing clearance establishes the viscosity of the oil to use within a given oil temperature range. Generally, the tighter the bearing clearance, the lower the viscosity the engine can use while wider clearances require thicker oil. But there are plenty of variables that come into play that are worth investigating.

    Viscosity is a rating system for oil that rates the oil’s thickness at a given temperature. Production engines are increasingly moving to thinner, less viscous oil in search of improve fuel economy but there are performance advantages to thinner oil if the bearing clearances are somewhat tighter.

    The traditional bearing clearance standard for street and most performance applications has been 0.001-inch of clearance for every one inch of crank journal diameter. So a typical small-block Chevy 2.200-inch rod journal would call for a bearing clearance of 0.0022-inch. Some add another 0.0005-inch to be safe – making that 0.0027-inch.This standard works very well especially for engines using production tolerance parts where there could be minor issues with out-of-round or tapered journals or even minor errors in measurement.

    This approach isn’t quite as colloquial as it may seem. There are several contributing factors that directly affect a given bearing clearance. The top three variables are load carrying capacity, the amount of oil flow allowed by the clearance, and localized oil temperature. These three are best considered together as opposed to individually since each affects the others in important ways.

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  4. What is Straight-Shot Oiling

    What is Straight-Shot Oiling

    Lubrication is the lifeblood of any high-performance engine. That’s particularly true for the rotating assembly that absorbs the many thousands of pounds of combustion pressure and converts it from reciprocating motion to rotary motion to drive the vehicle. Straight shot oiling plays a major role in that brutal environment. Here’s why.

    Main bearings and connecting rod bearings must have a constant supply of fresh clean engine oil to do their job correctly. Anything less means instant catastrophic engine failure. Engine builders devote considerable effort to ensuring a steady supply of cool unaerated engine oil to the rods and mains in high-performance or racing engines. 

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  5. How to Clearance Your Block for a Stroker Crankshaft

    How to Clearance Your Block for a Stroker Crankshaft

    Is a stroker crank part of your next build? That factory block may need some massaging to make it fit. Here's how to make more real estate in your crankcase. 

    Stoker engine have been popular for many years, but there are some pitfalls that can bite you if you are attempting to stroke a stock-block engine. The longer throws on a stroker crank naturally swing the big end of the rod out farther toward the pan rails on any block. This can be problematic on stock factory blocks because they often do not have enough room to accommodate the extra stroke length without interference at the pan rail or other areas in the lower block or crankcase assembly such as the bottom of a cylinder. The most common area of interference is between the rod bolt nut or cap screw and the lower portion of the cylinder adjacent to the oil pan rail or the pan rail itself. To check this,

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  6. What Does a Harmonic Balancer do?

    What Does a Harmonic Balancer do?

    Harmonic balancers are a staple ingredient of any engine build, but what do they really do? Do you have to have one? Is bigger really better? We clear the air about the right balancer to hang on your crankshaft. 

    Harmonic balancers are misnamed. They do not balance an engine, rather they absorb and remove unwanted vibration due to torsional twisting of the crankshaft. They are in effect vibration dampeners and are frequently called dampeners. Dampeners are like torsional shock absorbers used to dampen torsional twist and vibration in an engine. Torsional vibration is a twisting vibration caused by the firing pulses of each combustion event. The force of the combustion process causes the crank to deflect ever so slightly in the direction of the force, and when that force goes away the crank ever-so-slightly springs back. At certain frequencies the crank can

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  7. What is Sleeve Length and How It Can Make or Break Your Stroker Engine

    What is Sleeve Length and How It Can Make or Break Your Stroker Engine

     Sleeve length is often overlooked in favor of maximum cubic inches, but in order to build a long-lasting, high-powered engine it is a major consideration. We explore sleeve length, stroke, and selecting rotating assembly components that work in harmony. 

    An engine is an ecosystem of moving, complimentary parts. Changing just one of those parts affects the entire system as a whole. Stroker crankshafts, while the premier way to add power, torque, and displacement, can dramatically change the operating condition of the piston. Without careful attention to detail and proper planning, sometimes for the worse. In this segment, we show you how to ensure your stroker crank works well with the piston and rod combination at hand. 

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  8. How to Check Crankshaft End Play

    How to Check Crankshaft End Play

    Checking and setting proper crankshaft end play is a vital engine-building step. We show you how to do the job in this tech segment. 

    Engine building isn’t difficult – as long as everything goes according to plan. The challenge for the engine builder is to anticipate problems before they occur. Much of the process of becoming a successful engine builder is checking all the clearances and custom setting them when they are out of tolerance.

    With the crank in place, set the main caps and lightly tighten to main cap bolts to around 10 to 20 ft-lbs of torque. Then tap the rear of the crankshaft forward with a soft mallet to align the paired thrust surfaces. Now the thrust main cap can be tightened to its torque spec. Do this in at least two steps to gradually load the cap.

    Crankshafts are generally among the most abused components in an engine. One way to minimize this abuse and maximize the crankshaft’s opportunity to deliver a long service life is to make sure all the clearances are correct. For this story, we’ll be looking at thrust clearance or what is often called end play. This is the amount of clearance between the crankshaft’s thrust plate and the vertical surface of the main thrust bearing.

    Mount a magnetic base to the engine and set the dial indicator to read off the crank snout. Gently pry the crank all the way forward and zero the gauge. The crank should move with very little effort and the dial indicator will read the clearance. In this case, we only have 0.002-inch so the thrust will need massaging.

    It’s worthwhile to discuss first why it’s important to have a thrust bearing. There are transmission loads that tend to force the crankshaft forward. With automatic transmissions, this can originate from the torque converter. This should never exceed a light forward pressure, but this load does exist and must be accommodated.

    Engine

    Crankshaft End Play

    Clearance (inches)

    Small-block Chevy

    0.003 -  0.011

    Big-Block Chevy

    0.006 -  0.010

    GM LS Gen III / IV

    0.0015- 0.0078

    302-351W Ford

    0.004 -  0.008

    429 – 460 Ford

    0.004 -  0.008

    Ford Modular 5.0L

    0.004 -  0.008

    340 – 360 Mopar

    0.002 -  0.007

    440 Mopar

    0.003 -  0.007

    Mopar Gen III hemi

    0.002 -  0.011

    Ideal clearance would be mid-point between these minimum and maximum clearances.

    Manual transmission thrust can be excessive with pressure plates that generate high static loads. The most abusive of these are the three-finger style pressure plates that use internal coil springs. With the clutch pedal on the floor, a major portion of the load released by the clutch pedal is directed forward into the crankshaft. These pressure plates are most often used in race engines, explaining why it’s always best to start an engine with the transmission in neutral so that the crank spins with no forward load. Starting a cold engine (when most of the oil has drained from this area) with the clutch pedal on the floor places tremendous load on the thrust bearing. It’s best to avoid this by starting the engine with the transmission in neutral.

    Clamp the bearings together with a hose clamp so both can be adjusted simultaneously. We measure the thickness of the clamped thrust bearings with a dial caliper across several places on the thrust and record the highest spot. Using fine grit sandpaper and a piece of class, gently sand the bearings until the measurements indicate a proper clearance.

    For this checking example, we will be using a K1 steel crankshaft in a Dart Little M cast iron small-block Chevy. It’s always best to test fit all clearances for a new engine before final installation in case modifications are necessary. For this application, we pre-assembled the rear main thrust along with the Number One main bearing, dropped in the crankshaft, and installed the main caps with the studs lightly tightened.

    Before fully torquing the main studs, it’s necessary to align the two pieces of the thrust bearing. To do this lightly hit on the rear of the crank with a rubber or plastic mallet. This will ensure the thrust surfaces are even from the rear which is where all the force will originate. This ensures the paired bearings are parallel. With this accomplished, the main caps can be torqued to the proper spec.

    We like to use a full sheet of 400 to 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper with a few drops of light machine oil like Marvel Mystery Oil to lubricate the process.

    Next, you will need a magnetic base and dial indicator. Align the dial indicator plunger parallel to the crank snout and lightly force the crank backward and zero the dial indicator. Now lightly force the crank forward and read the amount of movement on the dial indicator. Different engines demand varying specs. Generally speaking, keeping the thrust clearance at 0.004 to 0.005-inch is appropriate but it is best to check the recommended clearance. For example, late model engines prefer a slightly tighter clearance to minimize travel of the crank sensor reluctor wheel. We’ve included a chart listing factory endplay dimensions for some of the more popular performance engines.

    Always clean the bearing thoroughly with hot soapy water to make sure all the sanding grit is removed. We follow this by cleaning a second time with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol to make sure the bearing is clean.

    If when assembling an engine you discover the clearance to be very tight, there is a simple way to increase the clearance. The generally accepted procedure is to clamp the two thrust bearings together with a hose clamp, making sure the thrust surfaces are aligned and flat. Also make sure the two halves are clamped as they sit in the engine – it’s possible to orient them incorrectly which will not produce the results you desire. Always position the two halves with the locating notches facing each other. Then place a full size sheet of 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper on a large plate of either plate glass or flat metal plate. Add a few drops of machine oil like Marvel Mystery oil to the sandpaper.

    All Ford engines and the new generation LS small-block place the thrust bearing in the center main cap, which may be an advantage under high load conditions to stabilize the crankshaft.

    It’s best to sand only the leading edge side of the thrust bearing when increasing clearance. This way, the thickest portion will be the trailing side which is where any wear will occur. Measure the combined width of the thrust bearing across both wear surfaces with either a quality dial caliper or a micrometer. We generally see a slight difference in thickness of perhaps 0.001-inch across the thrust bearing face.

    Record this dimension and then keep sanding until you gain the necessary clearance. Generally you may need to only increase the clearance by 0.002- or 0.003-inch, but you will be surprised at how much sanding this will require. Some engine builders will lightly dress the sanded face with 1000 grit paper to polish the surface once the proper clearance is achieved. Of course, a thorough cleaning with hot soapy water and a sponge followed by a wipe-down with rubbing alcohol and a white paper towel is necessary to ensure that all of the sanding grit is removed before the bearing is re-inserted into the engine to recheck the clearance.

    Installing the balancer properly also falls under the area of taking care of the thrust bearing. Use the proper tool like this one to press the balancer in place. Using a hammer to bear the balancer over the crank snout should be considered thrust bearing abuse.

    Crankshafts that are discovered suffering from excessive thrust clearance are rare, assuming no damage has occurred to the crankshaft. Alternatives may be to try a different bearing manufacturer to see if the clearance will improve although this is unlikely. The only other solution is to have the crankshaft repaired to put the thrust thickness back to its stock thickness. This may cost nearly as much as the price of a new crankshaft.

    Checking and setting clearances is all about stacking the longevity odds in your favor. The payoff is when that engine starts and runs properly and delivers a long, productive, and powerful life.

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  9. How to Check Bearing Clearances

    How to Check Bearing Clearances

    Verifying and adjusting bearing clearance is one of the most critical aspects of building an engine. In this segment, we dive into the mechanics of how to measure your crank, connecting rods, and bearings. 

    The simple fact is that setting bearing clearance for a performance engine is something that cannot be short cut. There are no quick and easy ways to establish this critical clearance regardless whether the engine is a bone-stock cruiser or a road course animal that will endure hundreds of miles of abuse.

    We will run through the basics on how to measure bearing clearance and illustrate how to avoid mistakes. This will also require some critical measuring tools. Let’s just put this right out front – measuring bearing clearance for a performance engine cannot be accomplished with Plastigage. Those little pieces of wax thread are not precision measurement dev

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  10. K1 Rotating Assemblies Make Engine Building Easy

    K1 Rotating Assemblies Make Engine Building Easy

    A successful engine build begins with the right components. K1 Technology’s rotating assemblies give you a head start with high-quality internals that are perfectly matched, with no guesswork.

    There are guys out there who know it all by heart. Roll a freshly-machined block into their garage and they’ll order up the right engine internals with part numbers taken straight from memory. Want to bump the compression ratio? They know the correct combination of rods, pistons, and crankshaft to make it happen off the top of their heads. Are you looking to throw a little more displacement at the build? They’ll pull the appropriate part numbers for the slugs to match your overbore and a stroker crank out of thin air.

    The rest of us? Not so much.

    We’ll spend hours on the computer trying to figure out what mix of different parts will accomplish what we’re trying to do, and then second-guess that decision until it all comes together and (hopefully) works right. Your buddy says “use this piston,” the magazine article you read, tore out to save, then promptly lost in the stack of notes on your workbench recommended another brand’s rod, and all the bathrobe-clad keyboard wizards on your favorite car forum can’t agree on which crankshaft you should use.

    In addition to the pre-configured LS engine kits, K1 can put together a matched rotating assembly for just about any popular engine. Shown is a K1 Technologies Subaru crankshaft, pistons, and connecting rods. 

    It’s nerve-wracking, and another bead of sweat forms on your brow with each credit card digit you enter while you punch in the order for your mixed bag of parts. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s an alternative that removes all the st

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