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Why Fully Machine a Rod?

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The con rod is something that almost all piston engines have in common, and certainly all successful modern racing piston engines rely on these components to link the piston and crankshaft. There are some obvious visual differences between many racing con rods and their counterparts in a passenger car engine, although their roles are the same, as is the type of material used for their manufacture. As with many components in a modern road engine, economics play just as important a role as...

Fracture-splitting of joint faces

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We have looked at and discussed several ways in which split con rods are machined on their joint faces. When they are split, there is a requirement for the surfaces to be accurately machined so that the faces are perfectly parallel, and that the plane forming the split line (or lines) coincides with the big-end axis. There is a further requirement for some location features so that the two parts can be accurately positioned relative to one another with repeatability. The normal ways to...

Stud and nut, or a bolt?

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As most race engines are now of the four-stroke multi-cylinder variety, the vast majority of con rods designed and manufactured for racing are of the split type. This means having a reliable means of holding the two parts of the rod together with sufficient pre-load, and this is taken care of by threaded fasteners. There are two options here. The first and most common method is to use a bolt. The second is to install a stud, usually into the rod, and to provide the load by tightening a...

Thrust face design - part 2

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The previous article on thrust face design of con rods was published more than a year ago. In this belated follow-up, we will look at the reasons why certain features are employed. One problem with thrust bearings is the fact that, in their simplest form, they comprise a stationary disc in sliding contact with a moving disc. If the plates remain a set distance apart, they do not generate any oil film pressure and so cannot act as a bearing. It is only by the relative movement of the...

The effect of con rod length

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Con rods are part of the fundamental mechanism at the heart of almost every race engine in the world, and there is little to make me think that this is about to change. In dealing with the forces exerted on adjacent components by a con rod, we tend to split their mass into a reciprocating component, which we assume travels up and down with the piston, and a rotating component, which we assume travels around with the crankpin on which it operates. As race engine engineers, we generally take...