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Engine Build PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter   
Sunday, 03 February 2008
350 Hp, 7200RPM, and tons of fun at the track!

A chain is only as good as it's weakest link, right? WELL, I had the block out anyhow, so I took it to a local machine/race shop called Dale Engineering. I am lucky enough to live 6 miles from it. They happen to know lots about the 2.3 from a lot of local interest in circle track. They had me spec out the parts since they haven't done quite as much turbo work, and then they gave the block the TLC it needed. To start, magniflux and be happy that it passed! Next, stud up the block with ARP main and head studs. Then, bore .030 over and hone, all with torque plates in place. Check wall thickness afterwards and all is good, so on to align boring the mains.Once this is done, they hottanked it and make it absolutely look amazing. Then, straighten, knife, and balance the crank and put it all together!

Mark, the machinest called and said he was ready for the paint (Blue, like the new GT(40)!), so I took a trip out. It was in a back room, the "engine building room," free of dust and debris, all wrapped in industrial strength cling wrap. He unwrapped it and my jaw simply dropped. I had no idea the engine would look THAT good. I can't wait to feel this thing run. When I get a head he is going to put it all together and degree the cam as I watch, so I can learn AND know that it was done right. He is also decking the manifold and mating it to the block, as well as mating the manifold to teh turbo. Their rates are amazingly competitive, and so I am getting the engine "main" part of the engine built for what a NOVA shop would charge me for boring and honing, so I couldn't turn it down.

As the block gets together I will post pictures and thoughts. I hope you get a kick out of this project!


Esslinger Head:

This piece seems to be the dream of most 2.3L engine builders. It is technically superior to nearly any head available. Only one is more radical, the ARCA head, also by Esslinger, but it requires modifications to the intake and exhaust components, and it costs more.

Anyhow, about the cylinder head! Esslinger can give you all the specs - click here to go to their page on this component.

Basically, this head is a direct bolt-on for the 2.3L. It is Aluminum, weighing in at 40 pounds (nearly half the weight of the OE iron head. Being Aluminum, it is easier to fix if it cracks. But that's not really the "cool" part of this part. The attraction to this piece is how much better it flows then the stock iron head - According to Esslinger, the intake ports flowed 18 cfm higher, and the exhaust ports flowed 17 cfm above Esslinger’s best, fully ported iron head.

I decided to get the full setup, complete with big valves, dual valve springs, ported/polished head, and a roller cam setup. I had my choice of 4 cams developed by esslinger:

Part #
Int/Exh Lift
Adv. Dur.
Ctr. Line
Top End
Drag Race Only

Per the recommendation of Esslinger for my use as a track/autoX car, I chose the E2277 Street/Strip cam. I'm not building this car for HP, I'm building it for long term performance, so I think I will be happy with this choice.








Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 February 2008 )
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