Salina Engine located in Salina, KS is a shop strictly focused on racing engines. Its primary market is Sprint Car engines, but it also works on Dirt Modified, Dirt Late Model, Dirt Stock Car, and NHRA Super Class engines.
Many people familiar with Salina Engine can identify the shop’s work due to its signature look –a painted gray block with black external components. The shop operates out of a 12,500 sq.-ft. facility with the capacity to do everything in-house.
Salina Engine recently finished up a build on one of its Base ASCS 360 Sprint Car engine packages for a repeat customer who races in the American Sprint Car Series. We’ll give you all the details in this episode of Engine of the Week.
The foundation of this engine package is a Dart SHP Pro block because it is lightweight, has an enlarged camshaft core and .904 lifters. It also uses splayed, steel main caps to withstand the rigors of Sprint Car racing.
The first machining operations done in-house are modifying the main housing bore for piston wrist pin oiler jets. After this modification is finished, the shop will brush the mains in its line hone to ensure no burs are present from the oiler modifications. Next, the block gets torque plate honed to a specified clearance to the piston skirts.
Following the hone, the entire rotating assembly is mocked up to check for any clearance issues, and to measure the piston deck height prior to surfacing the block. The block is then surfaced to allow for the piston to be a proper height below the bore to achieve the desired quench. All oil passages are checked for proper galley plug engagement, and several other areas are tapped for plugs, including the mechanical fuel pump boss.
For this particular build’s rotating assembly, Salina Engine used a midweight crankshaft, all-new connecting rods, and Mahle Pro Series pistons with Total Seal rings.
Following balancing procedures, the shop will check the rod and main bearing clearance. This particular combination uses 2.448˝ main journals, and 2.00˝ rod journals. The ring end gaps are file fit, and being that these combinations run on methanol, Salina tends to skew toward the lower side of the tolerance on clearance to attempt to further reduce blow by.
Once all the rotating assembly tolerances are checked, the shop will assemble the short block and degree the camshaft. Camshaft duration and timing will vary depending on the tracks the customer primarily tends to run, as well as the rest of the engine combination. However, duration figures between 255 and 265 work well for most customers.
Next, the shop turns its focus to the cylinder heads and verifies the valve guide clearance. Once all the proper geometry is set, the shop checks piston-to-dome clearance with clay. Typically, on most shelf pistons like this engine uses, some mild material removal is necessary around the spark plug area.
As far the compression is concerned, Salina runs a minimum of 14.5:1 compression to be at a power level considered acceptable. Being fueled by methanol, these engines can tolerate higher compression, but there is a point of diminishing return going too far past that mark.
The cylinder heads, which are Brodix ASCS spec’d heads, are finished with a traditional dual spring from PAC, custom Victory 1 titanium intake valves and small stem stainless steel exhaust valves, a Jesel Sportsman rocker system, Crower roller lifters, and 7/16th Trend Performance pushrods.
Most Sprint Car applications use a direct drive oil pump from the camshaft and a water pump driven directly off the crankshaft. Because of this, Salina’s front cover has provisions for mounting both pumps. For its base package, the shop uses a three-stage dry sump pump from Barnes Systems and a Dan Olson oil pan. The front of the engine also features a KSE timing cover and water pump, plumbing from Earl’s Ultra Pro Hose and Fittings, an Allstar Performance gear drive, and MSD ignition.
One of the final pieces to go on the ASCS 360 Sprint Car engine is the runner manifold. These are very intricate pieces and require a good deal of attention to detail to perform well on the racetrack. Salina uses a three-piece design with two runners, which bolt to the cylinder heads, and a valley plate which bolts between the runners. The shop also chose to use a Kinsler Fuel Injection Dragon Claw system.
All said and done, Salina Engine’s Base ASCS 360 Sprint Car engine cranks out more than 700 horsepower and almost 600 ft.-lbs. of torque – enough power to achieve 120+ mph on most tracks!
Thanks to our sponsors PennGrade, Scat Crankshafts and Elring. If you have an engine you’d like to see featured, please email editor Greg Jones at [email protected]