Coretalk: R&R Engine & Machine Named 2006 'Machine Shop Of The Year'
R&R Engine & Machine, of Akron, OH, has been named the 2006 Machine Shop of the Year by Engine Builder magazine. The award was presented by Engine Builder editor Doug Kaufman to R&R's Bryan Menke during a special ceremony at the 2006 RPM Trade Show held August 30-September 1 in Indianapolis.
"The Machine Shop of the Year Award is always presented to a shop that represents this industry with integrity and professionalism," explained Kaufman. "For its innovation, its attention to customer satisfaction and nearly 40 years of businees in Akron, we're pleased to present this award to Bryan and all the employees at R&R."
This is the fourteenth year the Machine Shop of the Year has been presented by Engine Builder and AERA, the Engine Builders Association. For information on the award, visit www.engine-builder.com.
Grawmondbecks Wins E85 Power Shootout At AERA RPM Trade Show In Indy
With thousands of dollars in prize money on the line for the best performing ethanol-powered engine, it was appropriate that the winner of the inaugural E85 Power Shootout presented by AERA, the Engine Builders Association, should come from the corn crib of America, Mason City, IA.
The competition gave six engine builders the opportunity to build an engine that would provide performance and fuel-efficiency while running on E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Currently, corn is the primary source for the fuel.
"This contest was a huge success," said AERA spokesman Steve Fox. "We had hoped that the competitors would use their knowledge and expertise to come up with a combination that would work best for them. That is exactly what we got. In talking to the competitors, they said it was a challenge to make the engines run on E85 and it was not as easy as they thought it would be. All the competitors learned something along the way about E85 and how to run an engine on that fuel."
Fox says much of the credit for the program's success goes to the competitors. We had six competitors that were great to work with and everyone had a lot of fun with it. For the first competition that AERA has put on like this, I would call it a huge success."
First prize of $5,000 from Engine Builder magazine was awarded to Grawmondbecks. Second prize, $2,500 from the RPM Show, was awarded to Yankton Automotive Machine, Yankton, SD. Third prize, $1,500 from Roadway, went to Ed's Automotive Machine and Supply, Abilene, TX. Other competitors were Pan American Machine Shop, Pharr, TX; Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN; and University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, OH.
Fox said "I would like to thank Stuska Dynamometers, Soundmaster Dyno Cells, Clevite Engine Parts, Goodson Shop Supplies, Engine Builder Magazine and Roadway for all their support in making this a great success."
Skill, Service, Earn Gunter 2006 Victor Reinz 'Machinist Of Year' Award
The newest Victor Reinz Machinist of the Year says he owes his award to his father. His early beginnings as a machinist stemmed from constantly helping his father fix broken machines.
"It always came natural to me, but dad could never get it right," said Tim Gunter. "Whenever the lawnmower or mini-bike broke, he always came to me to repair it."
A machinist for more than 13 years, Gunter currently works as a machinist for TTP/ Diesel Power & Machine in Pierceton, IN, where he is a key asset to their machine shop. Gunter recalls getting his first job in the business working for a Cadillac dealer when he was only nineteen. "To get the job, I had to put together a Corvette 454 and make it run."
Along with the AERA and the ASE, Clevite Engine Parts established the Victor Reinz Machinist of the Year Award in order to recognize the valuable contributions machinists make to the automotive rebuilding industry. This year's award was presented at the RPM Trade Show in Indianapolis, IN, on August 30, 2006.
To be eligible for the award, a machinist needs to be a full-time employee of a machine shop specializing in either automotive or heavy-duty engine work. The machinist also needs to be ASE certified in any one of the three specialist classifications - Cylinder Head Specialist, Cylinder Block Specialist or Engine Assembly Specialist. The judges then take into consideration applicants' special machining and training along with their level of community involvement and their ability to represent the industry in a positive manner.
The judges stated the deciding factors for this year's winner included an outstanding work history, letters of recommendation and dedicated community involvement. Clevite said being in the business for more than 27 years and being District Commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America were key factors in making their choice. While there is no merit badge for machinery, Gunter, still shares his passion with his boys, stating, "We'll walk through the shop and I'll show them various parts and what they do."
Information on the Machinist of the Year Award can be found on the Clevite Engine Parts Web site at www.engineparts.com.
New AASA Council Sets First Marketing Executive Meeting For October 4
The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) has created the AASA Marketing Council to advance the automotive aftermarket manufacturing industry through collaborative marketing and communication solutions.
The Council is open to marketing executives of AASA member companies. The Council plans to meet four times a year to address key issues affecting the North American aftermarket manufacturer and to work together to strengthen the overall industry. The Council's first meeting date is planned for October 4.
"The AASA Board of Directors discussed a need for a council where aftermarket supplier marketing executives can collaborate to help improve the state of the North American manufacturer base and the overall industry image," said AASA Executive Director Steve Handschuh. "This Council will serve a major role in helping AASA communicate to key audiences and develop strategies and action items to advance our industry. We invite all manufacturers to participate and help AASA further itself as the voice of the aftermarket supplier."
AASA compiled an Advisory Committee to help establish the Council's mission, objectives and structure. Brian Tarnacki, Federal-Mogul Corp., was named by the Council's Advisory Committee as chairman. Brian Altenberger, Delphi Product and Service Solutions, will serve as the Council's vice chairman.
Members of the Council's advisory include: Mark Boyle, Visteon Corp.; Bill Dennie, Tenneco; Layne Gobrogge, Proliance International; Scott Howat, Affinia Group Inc.; Donald James, Continental Teves; Dil Kulathum, CARDONE Industries; Tom Tecklenburg, Bendix North America, Honeywell CPG; and Dave Touchette, Cooper Bussmann.
More information regarding participation in the Marketing Executives Council is available by contacting Theresa Spera, the group's AASA staff liaison, at 919-406-8854 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GM, Ford, Both Announce New V8 Diesel Plans for Upcoming Model Years
GM has unveiled plans to build a new V8 diesel for light-duty trucks and SUVs that will meet Tier 2 and California emissions standards. GM wouldn't disclose the displacement of the engine but said it is smaller than its 6.6L Duramax diesel used in heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
The company said the engine will be available in all 50 states as early as 2010. A GM spokesman said the new engine should boost the fuel economy gain of a vehicle by about 25 percent, which would enable a 5,000-pound SUV to achieve approximately 26-mpg highway.
The new engine is designed to fit in the space of GM's current 5.3L gasoline engine. According to tests of an early hand-built prototype of the engine mated to a Buick Rainier SUV, diesel engine noise is virtually undetectable. It ran as smoothly and quietly as a gasoline engine.
The test engine was rated at 330 hp with 620 lbs.ft. of torque. The engine has double-overhead cams and four-valves per cylinder and uses a selective catalytic reduction or urea injection system to clean the exhaust.
Ford Motor Co. has confirmed that it will drop the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel V8 from the Super Duty lineup at the end of the year. It'll be replaced early next year by an even bigger diesel, a 6.4L V8 with piezo fuel injectors and a particulate filter trap.
Mazda Plans Voluntary Recall of RX-8 EnginesDue To Oil Leaks
Mazda plans a voluntary recall of all 2004 and 2005 RX-8 sports cars along with some 2006s because of damage to the catalyst resulting from oil leaks in the RX-8's rotary engine. Mazda is preparing to replace the engines in many of its top of the line sports cars as a result of the recall. Any engine that does not pass a specific vacuum test will be replaced, according to Mazda.
Engines prone to failing the vacuum test are found mostly in hot climates and use synthetic oils, according to the automaker.
The engine recall is the latest in a series of problems for the RX-8. Mazda will also check each RX-8's battery and starter, which tend to fail in cold climates.
Mazda executives promise to give the RX-8 "white glove treatment" to finally deal with the problems associated with the sports car. The automaker has a remanufacturing plant in North Carolina that will rebuild faulty rotary engines and return them to service.
Jasper Adapts NASCAR Valve Seat Profile Process To Production Method
Jasper Engines and Transmissions has adopted a computer-controlled, single point machine generated concept in its cylinder head valve seat machining process that was first used at Jasper for generating seat profiles for the company's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race engines.
This concept utilizes a Newen CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machine that is fitted with a single point cutting tool that generates a seat based on dimensional parameters that have been established, and saved to, a computer's memory. These parameters give the tool a road map to follow when generating the seat.
"With single point tooling, the tool pressure is so greatly reduced that the seat can be near perfectly round, which in turn means a perfect combustion seal," said Chuck Lynch, JASPER Quality Control Captain. "With proper clamping, and pilot selection, a seat can be generated without concern of chatter, ovality or inconsistent seat widths. Worn valve guides, burned valves, excessive seat recession and power loss could occur if the valve and seat do not properly mate."
"The next logical target [from NASCAR] was the very close tolerance Asian engine segment, now we are picking other platforms that can be difficult to machine," said Lynch. "As we continue to increase our performance and quality, so must our pursuit of technology increase."
Clevite Adds Engine Rebuilds Option to ePartsfinder
Last year, Clevite announced the launch of ePartsfinder, a software program to assist in locating engine parts. With the addition of the software's new "Engine Rebuilds" option, users can now increase the precision of their searches when even less information is known.
Traditionally, technicians look up parts based on the year, make and model of the engine. Frequently, however, an engine rebuilder doesn't know what car the engine came from by the time they see it. By using the "Engine Rebuilds" search option, they can locate parts on ePartsfinder just by knowing the year and make of the engine.
"The less time a jobber or technician spends hunting for parts is more time they can spend working on additional engines," said Jesse Jones, director of marketing for Clevite Engine Parts. "This enhancement to ePartsfinder helps simplify their job and expedites their work process."
The ePartsfinder system condenses its entire Master Engine Parts Catalog into a computer program that allows users to save time by quickly finding part numbers for all Clevite 77 Engine Bearings, Victor Reinz Gaskets and Perfect Circle Piston Rings. This latest update also enhances the product images and specifications available on the ePartsfinder. More than 99 percent of the products now have images available to reduce ordering errors. The ePartsfinder program also provides users with the option to read additional important information on selected parts and view the actual part. Users can also download important tech bulletins directly from ePartsfinder. The program runs off a laptop or desktop computer and does not need an Internet hookup to operate (though additional updates require Internet access).
To receive Clevite's updated ePartsfinder program, visit www.engineparts.com or talk to your local Clevite Engine Parts Sales Manager.
ASA Among The Latest In The Aftermarket Industry To Communicate With Members Through Its New Blog
ASA's new blog (http://blog.asashop.org) will provide commentary and analysis about the automotive service industry and association news. The new "President's Blog," to be published bi-weekly, will be written by Ron Pyle, ASA's president and chief staff executive.
"Our new blog site provides us with an excellent opportunity to discuss some issues that are impacting the automotive service industry, and in turn, our association and members," said Pyle. "This venue allows us to expand the dialogue between industry professionals and bridge the communication gap between our members and the ASA national office."
ASA encourages members, industry professionals and consumers to visit the blog regularly and participate in the discussion.
"Blogs have been around for years, but are truly gaining popularity in today's Internet-driven world," said Colby Horton, ASA's electronic communications manager. "We recognize that it's important for ASA, as an association, to implement such technology into its communication strategy."
"Remanufacturing: The Ultimate Form Of Recycling" Now on the Internet
APRA President, Bill Gager, recently announced the availability of the book "Remanufacturing: The Ultimate Form of Recycling"- on a special website, www.reman.org.
Gager commented, "There is growing appreciation and recognition that remanufacturing has a major role to play in preserving our natural resources, protecting the environment, and creating more jobs."
"All of us within the remanufacturing industry have known for the past 75 years the important role we play. But now we see governmental officials, politicians, environmental groups and others outside our industry having a real appreciation for what we do," Gager stated.
"So, in an attempt to spread the word about the significance and remanufacturing for our environment, we have placed Rolf Steinhilper's book on remanufacturing on the Internet. We encourage you to forward the information about the book and its location at www.reman.org to interested people, politicians, and governmental officials," Gager added.
For those people who are interested in receiving the hardback version of the book, please call APRA Headquarters at 703 968-2772, ext. 105 or email MarleneK@buyreman.com. The book is available for $25, which includes postage and handling.
2006 AWDA Financial Analysis Report Released by AAIA
The 2006 AWDA Financial Analysis Report, an industry-level study of Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) firms' financial results, is now available from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). This report is part of a two-part series, sold separately, with the 2006 AWDA Store Financial Profile.
The AWDA Financial Analysis Report has two sections; the first covers warehouse operations exclusive of company-owned stores and the second covers the combined activity of the warehouse and the store. Benchmarking data covered in the report include income statement data, balance sheet ratios and selected information for inventory, payroll, warehouse and store statistics for 2005 operations.
The AWDA Store Financial Profile provides comparative financial benchmarking statistics for aftermarket warehouse distributors' store operations. It is designed to provide guidelines based on individual store operations and is limited to revenue and expenses generally controllable at the store level.
The 2006 AWDA Financial Analysis Report and the 2006 AWDA Store Financial Profile are available to AAIA members for $99 each and to non-members for $199 each. To order a copy, call 301-654-6664 or download an order form online at www.aftermarket.org.
Latest Compact-Performance Market Trends
Sport Compact enthusiasts were recently presented with an automotive triple at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Excessive heat was not a deterrent, as thousands of excited fans enjoyed the NHRA Sport Compact Nationals, a special exhibition for the D1 Grand Prix and a lifestyle event hosted by Extreme Autofest.
SEMA research staff attended the event and filed the following report. Things you need to know about the compact-performance market:
* Drifting continues to be a growing spectator event.
* Drag racing enthusiasts remain substantial and competitive.
* Domestic cars are less forbidden. They share the same stage with imports.
* Parts from other segments are being integrated into this scene.
* Multiple-attraction events can be successful if promoted correctly.
* Scions have a dominating presence.
* Rear-wheel drive cars are much more numerous than before.
To prevent scheduling conflicts, event coordinators alternated between the drifting and drag racing rounds, leaving enough time to stuff an impressive car show between the voids. Attendees often rushed back and forth from both venues in search of the best seats. Each day was organized to accommodate as much action as possible without substantial overlap. The coexistence of the three elements helped create an undeniably entertaining environment, offering something for everyone.
Youth oriented attractions seem to be more successful if there are multiple features to see. The weekend tied together drag racing, drifting, a car show, a bikini contest, live music, DJ and break dance battles, an R/C car track, giveaways, product booths and opportunities to mingle with race teams without barriers in the way.
NHRA Sport Compact Nationals
Thus far in 2006, more than eight national records have been broken, and the Las Vegas stop of the series helped increase that milestone. On "The Strip", the Speedway's drag racing facility, records were rewritten on both the track and national level.
Turnout for the event was strong, as many groups fielded long lines of competitors waiting to justify their spot in the finals. Modified, Sport FWD, and Quick 16 classes hosted 11, 20, and 35 cars, respectively. The other groups welcomed slightly fewer cars, but the rivalries remained intense throughout the contest.
The cars on hand followed notable patterns. Highly sponsored vehicles came from a variety of makes, including Toyota, Mazda, Dodge, Chevrolet, Lexus, and Pontiac.
Contrarily, teams with less financial support retained the classic Honda/Acura approach. Whether or not these enthusiasts can be considered the core of tuning, such distinctions could present implications for part manufacturers. Vehicles selected by teams expecting to run independently might be different from those with factory support. Entry-level racers continue to opt for less expensive base vehicles, usually FWD cars such as Honda Civic, Dodge Neon, etc. As they become more advanced, their vehicle preferences often change to RWD models. Some go as far as performing extensive chassis conversions.
Regardless, companies wishing to pursue business in the drag racing market need to remember that consumers demand high-quality parts.
Drifting fans were in healthy supply during the Las Vegas exhibition of the D1GP series and continue to support a phenomenon, which has altered the landscape of compact performance tuning. Teams from across the Pacific brought enough firepower to challenge the best domestic drifters in the United States vs. Japan match, eventually taking top honors over the Americans.
The Speedway created a temporary course in the pit area located behind the grandstands, constructing an extremely challenging track with elements unlike usual drifting venues. A high-speed entry corner pushed drivers to approach the initial drift between 80-100 mph. Fans were openly supportive of both the local and Japanese drivers, often rushing towards the track as drivers passed through the return lane placed directly in front of the audience.
Move Over HEMI, Ford Wants Iconic Engine Too
According a recent Ward's Auto report, Barb Samardzich, vice president-powertrain, Ford Motor Co., says the automaker is currently working on a plan to brand its engines in much the same way that Chrysler has branded its HEMI engine. Since 2003-when Chrysler re-introduced the HEMI engine as an option in several of its new vehicles - significant numbers of Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler buyers have opted for the HEMI. For example, 67% of Dodge Charger, 49% of Dodge Ram and 42% of Chrysler 300 buyers take their new vehicles with a HEMI engine, according to Chrysler.
Ford introduced its new 3.5L V6 Duratec 35 engine, which will be used by Mazda Motor Corp. in the upcoming CX-9 CUV. It will also be used in the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln Zephyr. "By not branding an engine, Ford is not 'leveraging its opportunities,'" Samardzich told Ward's. "We've taken on the whole Bold Moves campaign and we're really trying to focus in on what the Ford brand is," she says. "I think powertrain and powertrain nomenclature has to play a part of that."
Samardzich says that Ford will announce a branded engine soon, but she would not provide a timeline. An internal team is considering the resurrection of a Ford label from the past, such as Boss, Cobra Jet, Cleveland, Windsor and Powerstroke.