Why Certain Parts of a High-Performance Engine Are More Critical Than Others
If you are a dyed-in-the-wool automotive enthusiast, then you may love every moment that you spend behind the wheel. However, while you might already have a car with some sporting pedigree, you may still be on the lookout for some additional excitement and may now be thinking about fitting a high-performance engine. As you may know, this will need to be built by experts to ensure that it is up to the task, but you will also need to choose parts that are very strong and reliable in order to deal with the stress. What is one of the most vulnerable areas of the engine, and why should you pay additional attention here?
There are many dozens of individual parts within a high-performance engine but the bolts that connect the cylinder head to the engine block are some of the most critical. These are designed to help ensure that the engine stays together when under maximum load and when tremendous forces could otherwise cause havoc. After all, an enormous amount of pressure is generated as those pistons race up and down, and the head bolts have to maintain their integrity in order to keep the cylinder head in place.
Therefore, much will depend on the way that each of those bolts is designed and made. They must be able to stay in place once they have been properly adjusted, but they must also exhibit a certain amount of "stretch" in certain conditions.
Some people think that a bolt is designed to be torqued down to a certain specification and to stay rigidly in place, but this is not entirely the case. After all, a high-performance gasket is meant to sit in between the cylinder head and the engine block, and this is designed to flex to a certain amount as the engine continues to operate. This movement may be minuscule and difficult to perceive with the human eye, but it is important for the head bolts to be able to flex as well, to account for this action.
Dealing with Expansion
Don't forget that the engine will heat up considerably when it is under stress, and this could cause a certain amount of expansion within the metal framework. These bolts have to be designed to take this into account as well, and will be tested under high duress to ensure that they perform correctly.
Talk with your engine manufacturer and builder to see what type of head bolt they intend to use on your new motor build -- ARP head bolts are a good choice for many engines. When you specify your needs, you will get an engine that meets expectations and lasts as long as possible.