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Aluminum Rods on the Street

  
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Aluminum Rods on the Street

 
ethelkilledfred-#001 ethelkilledfred-#001
Enthusiast | Posts: 562 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 09/30/10
03:58 AM

I have used Howards, Childs and Alberts, Brooks and Venolia aluminum rods a lot on the street


Bill Miller Engineering says they will last 100,000 or more...

The Only Streetable Aluminum Rod
Urban legends abound in the gearhead community. One is: aluminum connecting rods don't work in street engines. Prior to the mid-'70s, that might have been true, however, introduction of the Bill Miller Engineering Forged Aluminum Connecting Rod in 1975 provided an exception to that myth.
The BME Rod has good durability in high-end, high-power, street/strip or hot street engines because it is die-forged, rather than cut out of a plate. Bill Miller Engineering's unique, high-strength aluminum alloy further enhances fatigue strength such that the durability of BME Rod rivals that of many forged steel rods and exceeds that of a few.
About 20 years ago, a few resourceful engine builders, led by H-O Racing's, Ken Crocie, began using BME Rods in very-high-performance street engines. Crocie, a racing and street/strip Pontiac V8 specialist, faced with a shortage of acceptable steel rods for Pontiacs, began to use BME Aluminum Rods. While a few other engine builders followed Crocie's lead, admittedly, use of the Bill MIller Engineering Rod in street engines has not been widespread, but that's only because of its higher cost and the stubborn belief that any aluminum rod is unsuitable for street use.

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"In a street application, using the aluminum rod is a no brainer," BME President, Bill Miller, recently said in an interview with an automotive magazine. "I don't know how the myth that aluminum rods can't be used on the street got started, but I'll guess that, back in the 60s and early-70s, weren't making them using the process we're using, today. With the material we've got and they way we manufacture the connecting rods, they'll live a couple hundred thousand miles on the street because a street application is, for the most part, low load. Our basic Aluminum Rod is made for 10,000 rpm and 800-hp. The design criteria for the connecting rod is way overkill for what it's going see on the street. We been running aluminum rods on the street for 20 years."
Why build a street engine with BME Rods? One reason is the "cool factor." Bill Miller Engineering Rods are unique, high-end racing parts and there always will be people who spend extra money to have the same rods in their engines as Tony Schumacher or John Force puts in theirs. More importantly, there are practical reasons for using BME Rods—the same reasons racers use them: less reciprocating and rotating mass due to their comparative lightness. That allows the engine to accelerate quicker and make more power as it does so. Lighter rods also improve throttle response and allow the engine to run reliably at a higher rpm than it could with steel rods

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You do a couple of things differently when setting-up a street engine for BME Rods. Minimum bearing clearance at room temperature should be .002-.0025-in. Wrist pin clearance should be .0006-.0008-in. Rod side clearance should be .020-in. The engine's oiling system needs to be appropriate for a racing application which typically runs larger rod bearing clearances once the oil reaches operating temperature. The oiling system must be configured to provide 10 psi, hot oil pressure for every 1000 rpm in the engine's rpm range. Under no circumstances should 5W30 engine oil be used. The minimum acceptable oil is a premium, 10W30 synthetic and Bill Miller Engineering recommends Red Line Oil. If you insist on petroleum-based oil, minimum acceptable is a 20W50. Engines with BME Aluminum Rods must not be run at high load or high rpm until oil temperature reaches at least 125 deg. F. Lastly, while Red Line oil lubricates reliably at oil temperatures up to 300 deg. F, the optimum oil temperature range for an engine using BME Rods and Red Line Oil is 200-250 deg. ***

Standard BME Forged Aluminum Connecting Rods for most production Chevrolet, Chrysler and Pontiac V8s are reliable replacements for steel rods in engines of up to 800 horsepower. Aluminum Rods for some Ford V8s of similar power output are available on special order. A Big-Block Chevrolet style, Pro Stock rod, good to 1200-hp, is, also, available. If the application is a Chrysler 426 Hemi or big-block "wedge", BME's blown-alcohol rods can be used at levels well over 2000-hp and have outstanding reliability/durability.



Wait for it....... Wait for it.......

OK let the sparks fly-  
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ethelkilledfred-#001ethelkilledfred-#001

460-BBF-Turbo-In-CC 460-BBF-Turbo-In-CC
Guru | Posts: 1163 | Joined: 10/03
Posted: 09/30/10
01:18 PM

Some how, Miller's unproven claim that they're good for 200,000 miles on the street is unavailing, considering that there are thousands of ex-cop-car taxis with as much as twice that amount on uber-cheap OEM steel rods.

Aluminum rods are ok for applications that need them (i.e. fuel motors, doorslammers with big power adders that need the cushioning effect of aluminum to save the main bearings, 10,000+ r.p.m. screamers).  But for the vast majority of street/strip builds (including turbo, supercharger and N20 engines) they're an unnecessary expense.  There's just no need to take the risk.

Personally, I'd rather have anvil-tough aftermarket steel rods (such as the near-bulletproof Manley rods that were stock in the 2003-2004 SVT Cobra engine). Then I don't have to worry about "work hardening" or any other maladies that historically have shortened the lifespan of aluminum rods.

Of course H-O Racing used aluminum rods in Pontiacs back in the '70s and '80s because the stock cast iron rods were (in my opinion) garbage and suitable forged rods for Pontiacs used to be rare and ultra-expensive.   That's not a consideration any more, given the huge flow of stroker kits and forgings available.  
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460_BBF_Turbo-in-CC (formerly Dr511scj) "This guy has no life other than posting endlessly on carcraft.com." -- Car Craft, July 2005
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October 1, 2003: " I'm thinking a couple of...turbos, blowing through an old Powerstroke intercooler...on a Super Cobra Jet-head 460 would be mad cheap and make sick power."
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"I have no problem with your...talking to several versions of yourself...or pointing out our failure to do a turbo story ...." --Douglas "CC/Rambler" Glad

ethelkilledfred-#001 ethelkilledfred-#001
Enthusiast | Posts: 562 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 10/02/10
04:35 AM

Here is what I posted on another Forum-

Click on pic to see vid-

DefaultChevelle ran five plus years and had lots of street miles with aluminum rods. Vid is from 1995, sorry for the poor quality.



I have used aluminum rods a lot. On the street and with used aluminum rods in grenade motors. BBC and SBC alike. I have run Howards, Childs and Alberts, Brooks and Venolia rods. I have bought used aluminum rods with 100-150 passes and put another 100 passes or more on them. I put over 300 passes on a set of Howards. The cars are race cars that run on the street with big nitrous units. I have hurt pistons and never hurt a bearing with aluminum rods. I have bent steel rods also.

76Be3ff2



One thing I like to add- you don't see pistons made out of steel nor titanium. You don't see pistons being changed after 100 runs or run less than 100,000 hard street miles. They are made of aluminum



I'm putting a grenade motor with used Childs and Albert aluminum rods in a street car here soon, I'll post some pics and keep everyone posted.  
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ethelkilledfred-#001ethelkilledfred-#001

460-BBF-Turbo-In-CC 460-BBF-Turbo-In-CC
Guru | Posts: 1163 | Joined: 10/03
Posted: 10/04/10
05:57 AM

I'm glad it works out for you.  Of course the violence of big nitrous kits combined with regular rebuilds is probably an ideal application for aluminum rods.

I would not be alone in this opinion: "Aluminum rods can handle plenty of horsepower. You'll want to check with the manufacturer for specifics, but it is safe to say that 2 horsepower per cubic inch is just the beginning. We'll err on the side of caution and say that aluminum rods are best suited to race-only engines where regular inspection can ward off potential trouble." Steve Magnante, "All About Connecting Rods: What's Right for You?," Hot Rod Magazine, February, 2009.

The stress on rods is more destructive than on pistons (assuming normal combustion). Hence the need for better materials for rods in most "endurance" applications.  

If you're running a pro mod on the street, then aluminum rods may be worth the expense and extra maintenance. But for street/strip-style cars that don't use huge, violent, immediate jolts of nitrous oxide or receive the attention of teardowns each season, aluminum rods are an unnecessary expense and a potential risk to longevity.  
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460_BBF_Turbo-in-CC (formerly Dr511scj) "This guy has no life other than posting endlessly on carcraft.com." -- Car Craft, July 2005
-------
October 1, 2003: " I'm thinking a couple of...turbos, blowing through an old Powerstroke intercooler...on a Super Cobra Jet-head 460 would be mad cheap and make sick power."
-------
"I have no problem with your...talking to several versions of yourself...or pointing out our failure to do a turbo story ...." --Douglas "CC/Rambler" Glad

cowboy14 cowboy14
New User | Posts: 28 | Joined: 05/11
Posted: 05/20/11
03:46 AM

Do you know about any ebooks which can help me in motor mechanics?  
Watch out for used Nissan Altima cars in your area

Budnicks Budnicks
Enthusiast | Posts: 676 | Joined: 10/10
Posted: 05/20/11
02:16 PM

In my opinion it is the stretching of the rod on deceleration that is the biggest issues with aluminum rods, not the durability I have run them many times in the past & have never had a rod failure in a street driven engine. I don't say it's for everyone but it can be done. When I would retire my aluminum rods from my race motors they would end up in my street car engine builds. I don't do it much any more there are so many steel forgings that are cheaper new than many aluminum rods are. Most people way over build most "street engines", aluminum rods will work fine as long as they are used in the proper way, with the proper, bearing, oiling & clearances, not heavy cars or tow vehicles or under heavy deceleration or manual trans cars. Just my 2 cents.   Budnicks  
"Fill Your Library Before You Fill Your Garage" Good Luck  "Budnicks"

ethelkilledfred-#001 ethelkilledfred-#001
Enthusiast | Posts: 562 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 05/21/11
06:07 PM

IMO heat is the biggest enemy to aluminum rods on the street or in racing for that matter. I have seen many boats that never run over 160 run aluminum rods for years with no problems.  
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ethelkilledfred-#001ethelkilledfred-#001

Budnicks Budnicks
Enthusiast | Posts: 676 | Joined: 10/10
Posted: 05/22/11
02:31 PM

+1 EKF  
"Fill Your Library Before You Fill Your Garage" Good Luck  "Budnicks"

tuffnuff tuffnuff
Moderator | Posts: 1376 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 05/22/11
04:52 PM

I believe aluminum rods that are deemed cycled out by the race track fraternity may yet have a long service life on the street. Aluminum absorbs or cushions impact loads better than steel. When a specimen of material is loaded in such a way that it extends, it is said to be in tension. On the other hand if the material compresses and shortens it is said to be in compression.,. such as during the 4 cycles of an engine.
On an atomic level, the molecules or atoms are forced apart when in tension whereas in compression they are forced together. Since atoms in solids always try to find an equilibrium position and distance between other atoms forces arise throughout the entire material which oppose both tension or compression.
The phenomena prevailing on an atomic level are therefore similar. On a macroscopic scale, these aspects are also reflected in the fact that the properties of most common materials in tension and compression are quite similar.
The major difference between the two types of loading is the strain which would have opposite signs for tension (positive, it gets longer) and compression (negative, it gets shorter).
Another major difference is tension tends to pull small sideways deflections back into alignment, while compression tends to amplify such deflection into buckling.
Compressive Strength by definition, the compressive strength of a material is that value of uniaxial compressive stress reached when the material fails completely. The compressive strength is usually obtained experimentally by means of a compressive test. The apparatus used for this experiment is the same as that used in a tensile test. However, rather than applying a uniaxial tensile load, a uniaxial compressive load is applied. As can be imagined, the specimen (usually cylindrical) is shortened as well as spread laterally.

Smile  
When The Flag Drops.,.

tuffnuff

The Bull ***t Stops.,.
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Ron1973 Ron1973
Enthusiast | Posts: 629 | Joined: 09/10
Posted: 05/23/11
02:00 PM

Isint heat the biggest problem in running any aluminum applications? I never back when, heard of some of the more known problems of iron verses aluminum problems like today. Seems with heads i here of so many warped because of over heating in the cars of today, something i didn't here years ago. With rods heat can be a factor but more readily to be changed after each race, as probably the heads But on a complete street driven car would be just as good? COPO or Yenko came out with a all aluminum engine i believe, ive never read how well they survived. Id think if the temperature is controlled right they should work fine, my own opinion.  
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Ron1973

ethelkilledfred-#001 ethelkilledfred-#001
Enthusiast | Posts: 562 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 05/24/11
09:37 AM

Icon QuoteRon1973:
Isint heat the biggest problem in running any aluminum applications? I never back when, heard of some of the more known problems of iron verses aluminum problems like today. Seems with heads i here of so many warped because of over heating in the cars of today, something i didn't here years ago. With rods heat can be a factor but more readily to be changed after each race, as probably the heads But on a complete street driven car would be just as good? COPO or Yenko came out with a all aluminum engine i believe, ive never read how well they survived. Id think if the temperature is controlled right they should work fine, my own opinion.

IMO- Over time aluminum loses it's heat treat when exposed to heat over time. Older aluminum heads will go soft and embedded the head gasket so every time you take the head off you have to mill the head adding to the problem. Aluminum does warp easier when over heated than iron.  
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ethelkilledfred-#001ethelkilledfred-#001

Budnicks Budnicks
Enthusiast | Posts: 676 | Joined: 10/10
Posted: 05/24/11
12:31 PM

EKF I love the old videos from LACR, too bad ! any news on a new track?   Budnicks  
"Fill Your Library Before You Fill Your Garage" Good Luck  "Budnicks"

ethelkilledfred-#001 ethelkilledfred-#001
Enthusiast | Posts: 562 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 05/28/11
07:42 PM

No news. People still working on it but it's going across deaf ears. Here is a vid from 1994 at Brotherhood.

1088003559048698538S425x425q85
1088003998048698538S425x425q85
1088004033048698538S425x425q85

Dragbike crash and aftermath
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI7MSHVx6m8&list=PLC7BF5EFDEEFC6A9D&index=8
Default
 
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ethelkilledfred-#001ethelkilledfred-#001