Last month we looked at how crankshafts are manufactured, what options are available and what these options mean in plain English. This month we will dig a bit deeper and look at the starting point of any performance engine: the cylinder block.
There are lots of options available to consider and a confusing array of technical jargon that comes along for the ride. We will cut through the jargon and find out what really matters when it comes to choosing a suitable engine block for your next build.
Iron versus Alloy
For many years the world of production V8 engines has been dominated by the good old cast iron block. For better or worse this was all that was available, and cast iron is still the material associated with most of the traditional performance-oriented V8 engines that are popular for modification.
Cast iron isn’t a bad material for an engine block, and while the resulting engine is inevitably pretty heavy, it is also quite strong and rigid — and both are important traits when trying to produce a lot of power.
Aluminium engine blocks have become more common in production cars over the last couple of decades as manufacturers looked for improvements in engine efficiency. The aluminium block offers significant weight savings over cast iron, thus its use lowers the overall weight of the car and so improves fuel economy and performance. (more…)