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Engine of the Month Spotlight

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Big Bore LS Engine

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Jeff Ginter | Jeff Ginter Racing Engines | Artesia, CA

Ten years ago, building an engine for an offshore boat was hands-down the most demanding build you’d ever come across. The boat’s combination of weight and size and the bouncing over waves causing the props to lunge in and out of the ocean or lake makes an offshore engine one tough customer.

Today, however, the toughest engine application is arguably off-road racing – particulary the flavor known as Trophy Trucks. It’s these kinds of endurance engines that Jeff Ginter, owner of Jeff Ginter Racing Engines, specializes in.

“Whether it’s us or anybody else who builds engines in this environment, if you can build an engine to live and to last, you’ve got things pretty well figured out,” Ginter says.

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These off-road vehicles are heavy and they use 800-900 horsepower engines to push 38-40-inch tires over washboard roads with ruts that are four feet deep and can last for a 30-40 mile stretch. And Ginter says that’s usually not even the worst of it.

“For that engine to be able to accelerate the weight of that vehicle and turning the diameter of those tires and the constant loading and unloading of the suspension, tire and wheel, isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure,” Ginter says. “I grew up with a little bit of drag racing and a tremendous amount of sprint car racing background, and none of it compares to off-road racing.”

Jeff Ginter has been a Southern California man most of his life, and having been raised around racing, dirt bikes, Bell Auto Parts, the Weiands, Edelbrocks and Iskenderians, and having trips to Lions Drag Strip, Pomona and Irwindale at a young age, he was destined to end up in the engine building industry.

However, after a number of years on the corporate side of the industry, Ginter only recently returned to engine building and opened his shop, Jeff Ginter Racing Engines (JGRE).

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The Artesia, CA-based shop has three full-time employees and just finished adding 1,500 sq.-ft. of space to the 6,500 sq.-ft. facility to make room for more machinery. 

The bulk of the engines that JGRE does are LS-based engines.

“That just keeps the phone going,” Ginter says. “I’d say it’s 70 percent of our business. The LS-based engines are obviously different from the engines of the past. These LS engines are all EFI, so it takes it to another level with all the computer programming and different computer software, the tuning and the wiring, etc. It becomes very specialized.”

JGRE recently developed a big bore LS engine platform that features either a Dart or RHS block to start. 

“This engine is going to be a raised cam tall deck engine,” he says. “Crankshaft-wise we run a 4.250˝ stroke crank, which will be supplied either by Sonny Bryant or Callies. The connecting rods are 6.350˝ H-beam connecting rods from Callies, Dyer or Carrillo. Our piston manufacturer of choice right now is CP. For rings, we use pretty much exclusively Total Seal rings. For cylinder heads, this engine is going to have All-Pro or Brodix. The valve springs are Pac. The camshaft is COMP Cams. We also use T&D shaft mount rockers.”

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For quite a few of the engines JGRE builds, the shop runs a gear drive that was jointly developed with RCD. The oil pan and oil pump for the big bore LS are made by Dailey Engineering. The engine bearings are either King or Clevite and the gaskets are Cometic.

With all the machine work done, these big bore LS engines generally end up in the 454–465 cubic inch range. On race gas, normally aspirated, these engines put out right around 800 horsepower and north of 600 lb.-ft. of torque. Depending on the series and where the actual engine is going, the compression ratio is anywhere from 11.5:1 – 13.5-1. 

“Since we specialize in higher horsepower, endurance-based engines, we’re always searching for horsepower, but we’re not going to sacrifice 10 or 15 horsepower if we think that it’s going to cause us some longevity or some durability issues,” Ginter says. “These things have to go for hundreds of miles in the most demanding and abusive applications that you can ever imagine.”ν

The Engine of the Month Spotlight is sponsored by Cometic Gasket and Penn Grade Motor Oil.

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