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The Future of Engine Rebuilding

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Changing topics from obsolete engines and parts to how these companies see the future of the industry, the conversation surrounded technology, sustainability, the environment and specialization.

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“Sustainability is the critical driver behind current trends in the passenger car industry,” Newman says. “Environmental concerns are thus the primary impetus behind the study of sustainable development and science.

“The current aim of new technologies is to enable better performance with better fuel economy and reduced emissions. As engine designs change, lubricants must be developed that are up to the task. Engine designs and lubrication technologies must work together. Change will continue because of these forces pushing us toward a sustainable future. How engines produce power will continue to evolve. This means motor oils will also continue to change as well.

“The materials engines are made of will also continue to change as designers strive to incorporate low-friction components, advanced coatings and lighter weight materials. And in the realm of motor oil, the future will become ever thinner.”

Dusty Dodge of EPWI agrees that environmental issues and sustainability will be growing concerns, but says he sees continued opportunities in the industry as well.

“There will be continued opportunities created by new engine designs – the LS series, Ford modular and Coyote designs are examples,” he says. “There will also be continued challenges due to changing vehicle and engine technologies – hybrid and electric vehicles are examples.”

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Bob Davis of Sunnen agrees that more changes will come with the increase in hybrid and electric vehicles, but he also sees future use of more exotic materials such as compacted graphite, nikasil and spray coatings, which are all more difficult to machine, so tooling and abrasive technology must keep up.

RMC also expressed that it sees different ways parts might be manufactured moving forward.

“I would imagine with the advancements in 3D printing we are going to see some crazy changes in manufacturing parts,” Meyer says. “I also believe we will see much more being done to reduce energy consumption with alternative fuels in heavy-duty and performance markets.”

Caitlin Green of Pro-Filer says she sees future changes in drag racing having an impact on the industry.

“I anticipate the power adder classes continuing to grow on the drag racing side,” she says. “We are adding new cylinder heads for this market to take advantage of the power adders, instead of the market trying to force the power into antiquated parts.”

Paula Flowers of Engine Parts Warehouse also sees growth potential on the performance side of the industry.

“Engine builders’ knowledge and expertise in machining and building race engines is a necessity in this industry,” she says. “Performance engine builders are the backbone of the racing arena and will continue to prosper.”

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Some companies however, believe the original replacement engine parts market will shrink.

“There will always be the purists who insist on restoring vehicles to period correct condition,” Silver says. “They seem to be a growing minority. The financial barrier is also a challenge for younger hobbyists considering an older vehicle. We see younger hobbyists preferring older import vehicles for their restoration projects. If the trend continues we will see a larger demand for replacement parts to fit imported production vehicles.”

Others see a rise in demand for rebuilt engines as vehicles continue to become more expensive and other vehicle systems last longer.

“This will make repowering an increasingly viable and appealing option for many consumers,” Simko says. “The key is to keep the industry strong by investing in products and programs that support the business needs of engine rebuilders, and making the industry more attractive to younger professionals.”

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