2024 EMPI Engine Battle - Engine Tear Down (2024)

◄ Main Blog Page

Sam disassembles the engine he built for the 2024 EMPI Engine Battle to assess the damage and salvage what can be reused.

by JBugsJuly 09, 2024

JBugs Video Blog,VW Tech Tips

Watch as Sam pulls apart the engine he built for the 2024 EMPI Engine Battle to assess the damage.

Sam disassembles the 2234cc engine that he built for the EMPI Engine Battle. Short of a spark plug that was broken when the fan exploded on the dyno, there are no real surprises and that broken plug explained why the engine was down on power on the next dyno run. All that is behind us know, so now we can pull the engine apart completely, inspect the parts, see what can be re-used, see what needs to be replaced and discuss rebuilding the engine. Enjoy the tear down and see what things we find on an engine that has very little run time. Honestly, with just a little bit of work to remove and replace the destroyed fan shroud, all the fan blades, and a spark plug, this engine could have been stuck been in car, albeit it would be down on a few cooling fins!

Video Transcript

Everything's coming apart, everything.

All right, we're back. I've been back since the EMPI engine battle. Thank you again to everybody involved with that. That was such an awesome experience despite the damage.

But now that we're here, we need to tear this thing apart and see what all is bad, what all we're going to replace, and build this thing back to what it should be. Although I'm going to change a couple things. I think I mentioned in the last video that I'm going to go with a 94 mm piston and cylinder, just to get a better fit hopefully at the head and at the case. I didn't like the way this thick wall 92 set fit, and I think that's why that cylinder, the actual cylinder itself, got damaged. It had that little bit of play in the head, so I think that's why this cracked. So I'm going to get it on the stand, tear this thing apart, and go from there.

Sorry for the lack of videos. Obviously, I was on vacation. I do have a lot of stuff in the can still left over from Nathan's Baja Bug. We kind of jumped the gun on that series, so to speak, whereas I released the video at the show because I thought that was the more prominent video as opposed to all the work up to that point. I think I finished by mounting on the 3X3 trailing arms, but obviously we still have setting up the torsion bars, assembling all the CVs and axles, shortening the shift rod, and mounting up that rear Baja bumper. I have a lot of that stuff in the can. Let me know in the comments below if you guys want to see that. There's a lot of good information for people out there who don't necessarily know how some of that Baja Bug stuff is actually done. Let me know, and I'll be happy to put together some of those videos with some of the key points. If nothing else, it's just good old father and son entertainment. Although I think I burnt my son out a lot during that series with that hard push. He's not used to that grind like I am. He's still stoked and he keeps on bugging me about working on the car. At this point, we'll get to it. Of course, it is 100 degrees outside currently, which means my garage at home with no air conditioning is about 100 plus degrees. Not the best work environment. I don't mind it so much as long as I've got a fan, but the cameras, they don't like the heat. So we'll see what we can do. I'm doing some work on that through the summer. I've got to pull the body off, replace the floor pans, build some rear shock towers, and kind of a rear subframe for those. But that's beside the point. We're here for an engine. Let's get to this engine.

Alright, moment of truth. How much damage do we have?

A little bit, just a wee bit of damage. Yeah, that should really be attached to that with a whole bunch of blades that are no longer attached. We do offer balance and welded fans. I just didn't have any in stock when I built this engine. Next time.

That's what's left. See what happens inside a fan shroud when a fan explodes. Nothing good. We've got a torn hole on the side there, all sorts of dents and carnage. Virtually all the deflection tin on the inside is no longer where it should be. That's what happens. So we've got more fins.

I really like these, I just wish the nuts would stay on better. Pull this guy off again and we are going to locktite the living heck out of that guy, and this guy next time is going to get coated and locktite. I guess we can turn this engine over to number one and pull out the distributor, although it doesn't really matter. It's just good practice, and I guess I've got gloves, so I'll use them.

Huh, I guess I know why I was down on power after the fan exploded. I didn't catch this till just now. When the fan exploded, it also took out a spark plug, so I was only running on three cylinders for the subsequent engine runs. Had I caught this, I probably could have run the engine a little bit more, not to really any sort of performance because this head was stacked full of fins. It would have overheated real quick and caused more damage. But there we go. Now I know why it just sounded really, really bad after this had popped.

Cylinder shrouds no worse for the wear, so that's good.

I need to drain the oil on this thing. Definitely used oil, but no surprises and just the smallest amount of debris on the plug, the magnetic drain plug. Nothing large, just what you expect to see from wearing in rings and everything else. Pull off this exhaust.

Alright, just about down to the long block. See if we can pull off his crank pulley.

With that, here we are down to a long block again. Let's see what we got.

Got a hold of it again, huh? Yep, just the one drawback to these valve covers is that they seem to sit too high because of where these shafts are in relationship to the head. The other side's actually not bad, but this side you can see that I actually had to bend these studs to move it down because if they were in the straight up and down position, see how high up on that head they sit. Way off this side and a big lip on that side, so that might be something to keep an eye out for on your engine build.

That rod actually might still be good. I don't see any wear on that. That wrist pin still slides through just fine. I bet you that connecting rod is actually good to go. This thing wasn't run long and it still spun up to 7800 RPM, so I bet you that thing is ready to rock the way it is. I'm still going to pull this engine all the way down and all the way apart, inspect everything, clean everything, and then we will rebuild it again. But now my other concern, or my other question, is whether or not 94 cylinders will fit this case. This shim is cut for 94s. I'll be right back. I think I have a spare 94 cylinder.

This is a 94 or a 93.93 forged. However, these came back because they got a little shipping damage. I want to check for this one of the three cylinders wasn't damaged. These are cool because they have the hypereutectic coating on them and they are forged Mahle pistons.

Yep, snug as a bug in a rug. That's our new cylinder. Well, this is our new size. More importantly, at the cylinder head, which has more debris, it's about the same fit. These have a little bit looser cut, very similar to what we already had. In here, this was after Anthony had gone through and polished out, you can see that surface should be smooth. He actually cut these things down as much as he could to eliminate some of the damage that this cylinder took. And that indicates that plug was running a little bit lean, which was to be expected. We didn't actually have time to jet this thing, but that's all the damage that took. Unfortunately, with one, two, three missing fins, this isn't really the best head in the world anymore. I don't know, we'll see what we're going to do with them.

Honestly, now that being the case, I might revisit that. That's still a good fit there. It fits the same with the head. Again, street car, maybe we'll just go with the thicker walls. I don't know, I'm going to leave this one up to the boss. We'll let him make the decision.

Again, running a little bit lean on that last run. It was running hot, it wanted more fuel. What else can I say?

That wrist pin still moves real nice. That's what I like.

I'm going to bet that these connecting rods, as stout as they are, are 100% okay but time will tell. Hey, it's Buck O’9. I was born in ‘77, so Buck O’9's right up my era of adolescence.

This is another spot where I'm going to make a change. EMPI has been back ordered forever on the JC power flow oil pump systems, and one of my good friends just absolutely loves them. I've never used one. I want to give it a try, see how they work. It's supposedly one of those things that doesn't make horsepower, but it frees up horsepower. So essentially what they do is the power flow oil system has a check valve and a return line back to a universal case oil filler. Once that check valve sees 120 PSI, it opens up and lets anything else run back here so that the oil pump isn't pushing all that pressure against the stock pressure relief valve. Again, freeing up that horsepower that would be back low on the oil pump there. So again, it doesn't give horsepower, but it allows horsepower. Here we go.

Oh man, we're out of oil.

Hang tight. I'll be back in a moment. I want to get some clips and a mat to place all the pieces and parts and everything else on. Not necessarily concerned about the engine case halves, but I want to make certain that all of my bearings that come out, especially the main bearings, because that's a $200 set of main bearings, provided they're still in good shape. This engine doesn't even have two hours of runtime on it, so if those bearings are in good shape, at least the main bearings, because they are for the flanged crank, we're going to reuse those. I'll definitely replace the cam bearings. I'm going to talk to some friends on these connecting rods. Probably going to need a new set of rod bearings at least down here, because I want to pull apart everything and clean them off, but these rods should be in good shape. These are very stout rods. That piston is not very stout. I have a feeling that these rods are 100% good to go. It's not my money, it's not my engine, but just the same, a $400 plus set of rods. $400 is $400, even if it's not mine. If we can reuse them, we'll reuse them. Like I said, same thing on the main bearings. $200 for a set of main bearings that have no time on them. If they're in good shape, I'm going to reuse them. Would I recommend that normally for an engine that's had a year's worth of abuse or otherwise? Absolutely not. Drag racing cases? Absolutely not. But this engine has no runtime and hardly any time under a load. Under a load, it's been all total on the dyno, maybe five minutes under a load on these bearings. So we'll reuse them, and there's that distributor drive gear rearing its ugly, stupidness. There we go.

Yeah, those rods are good to go. Those bearings are good to go, but I'm going to go get some lifter clips. Be back in a flash.

Alright, I've got some lifter clips. These just install inside the lifter bores and hold them in place when I pull apart the case. Got to pull apart the sump. I wish these were really copper. They might actually seal better. I guess the manufacturers are like, well, maybe if we make them copper color, that'll work better. They'll work just fine as long as they're the right color. Marker and write that down. This will be number one, number two intake, intake exhaust, exhaust. Alright, memory serves, this case has that little pry spot right there, although I probably want to bust these engine bolts loose first. Let's do that real quick.

Alright, now let's pull this case half apart. Note, this case does have a spot there and right here as a pry point. Otherwise, you would never ever pry right there. Need another screwdriver. That's one lifter, that's number one exhaust. Apparently, I didn't get that one in place. Pop the bearing out, let's put it back there. There actually a lot of assembly lube still in there. Yeah, all of our lube still look good. Everything there looks good. Angle FK8, that'll be good to go for the next build.

That spinning around our distributor drive gear didn't do it any favors. Rear main seal, we got some chunks out of our distributor drive gear. This is what happens when you spin your engine when your distributor drive gear is not all the way seated. So we'll have to pop that off and replace it. Not a big deal. Let's get our lifters out. Number three exhaust, three intake, four intake, four exhaust. Okay, let's get our flywheel over here, set our crank on in.

And I wasn't lying about doing four distributor drive gear shims. Drive gear actually looks to be in really good shape. Obviously, we knocked off some pieces of brass. Go in and take a look. Look at our bearings here.

Let's go in for a closer look and feel on these bearings and show you what I'm seeing, and we'll take it from there.

So here's what we've got. Rear main got just the slightest edge of silver across there, and we're not down to any copper by any means, so just that little shiny edge worries me a little bit. I just, I don't know anything about pulling apart an engine this fresh. Same thing, we've got a little silver through there, the slightest hint of silver in the middle of that. Hardly any wear through here, and all total this, I mean there's just no rough spots. I can't feel anything. My finger doesn't catch on anything. Everything looks good. Over here, this is my main concern, all the extra silvering on the edge, on the center, and on the edge on this. I don't know if that's normal or not. Little bit on that inside edge, silver there and then same thing there. But again, there are no, I can't catch anything on my fingernail. My fingernail actually leaves a mark.

On the crank, spin this thing on the stand a little bit. We've chunked up our distributor drive here, so we're definitely going to replace that. All those look fine, line and see where this is polished off and kissed off balanced by DPR. Everything here looks great. This was number one. Again, I doubt this rod was damage from that little bit of run, but I'm going to talk to a buddy of mine and see what he says about it. If he says I should replace it, I'll replace it. Same thing on these bearings. I'm going to send him the pictures of the bearings and see what he says and go from there.

If you are going to be reusing your bearings, make sure they go into the same spot they came out of. The easiest way to do that is just to keep them organized. We've got number one, number two, number three, number four, exhaust, intake, intake, exhaust. Same thing over here so we know all of our lifters are going to go back in the same spot in the case that they came out of when that time comes. And then obviously, same thing on our bearings. If my buddy tells me that they are good to go, we'll reuse them. Like I said, the wrist pins and all these bushings look beautiful. No deformation, all the wrist pins slide smoothly in those. Those should be good. Pull everything apart further, do a deep clean on the engine case halves, pull out the little pistons. Don't know if I can get those out, but I'm going to try.

Yeah, my special piston oil pump piston tool is at home, but if I'm lucky, I'm lucky. And that one might not go. Aha, got it. Bye, and let's see what happens if we drop it. Will they decide to fall? Not yet, no, still no. Well, that's going to hang out there for a while. Pretty much all but done with the teardown on the engine.

On that note, I'm Sam with jbugs.com. Thanks for watching, and remember, life's full of good people. If you can't find one, be one.

overall rating:

my rating:log in to rate

2024 EMPI Engine Battle - Engine Tear Down (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Delena Feil

Last Updated:

Views: 5269

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Delena Feil

Birthday: 1998-08-29

Address: 747 Lubowitz Run, Sidmouth, HI 90646-5543

Phone: +99513241752844

Job: Design Supervisor

Hobby: Digital arts, Lacemaking, Air sports, Running, Scouting, Shooting, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Delena Feil, I am a clean, splendid, calm, fancy, jolly, bright, faithful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.