Evolution Dynamics is a relatively small shop just outside of Dallas, TX specializing in the Mitsubishi Evo platform. It has anywhere from 20-30 cars at the shop and between 15-20 engines being built at any given time. Handling 15-20 engine builds can be a daunting task if you only have 1 person building the engines. Keeping the parts straight, knowing what each customer wants, and various components going to different machine shops adds to the difficulty of getting every engine exactly right. To top it off, building race engines isn't just putting parts together using manufacturer supplied specs. Race engines can exhibit undesired behavior when built to unsuitable specs. So having detailed records of each and every engine built can help a builder dial in clearances and fine tune the build process. If an engine fails, being able to quickly look back and see every detail about the engine can save countless hours and dollars by not repeating the same mistake again.
Handling the Process
When a customer drops a car off or places an order for an engine, you begin by entering the job into My Shop Assist. Evolution Dynamics has streamlined the engine building process with My Shop Assist by building out groups and setting them as default tasks as seen below.
Taking Pictures, Making Notes, and Tracking Time
To get the assembly process started, the builder lays out the parts for the build. Parts are thoroughly inspected for defects then washed in a soap bath to remove any contaminates.
The block is also hand cleaned after the machine shop has finished reworking it. Brushes are used to clean out oil passages and ensure there is no remaining metal debris inside. It is pretty well known that most early engine failures are due to oil contamination. This is almost always caused by poor or inadequate cleanliness standards during assembly. By using My Shop Assist to track the time of each individual task, they found that it takes more time to clean the engine and components than to actually assemble the engine!
With the parts inspected and cleaned, the rotating assembly is balanced.
These values are recorded as details in the task within My Shop Assist. Knowing what weights were used makes it easy to order replacement parts if any issues arise.
All details of the engine assemble process, such as main and rod bearing clearances, are also recorded into the task details. They have found that knowing every engines bearing clearance enables them to fine tune engine parameters for things such as operating oil pressure for road racing cars vs drag racing cars.
As the crank is bolted into place, torque specs are recorded and pictures are taken for the customer to view using the Customer Login option of My Shop Assist. It is very reassuring to the customer to see every little detail that is put into assembling a motor. This also helps to boost the shop’s reputation and customer service levels.
As the block is flipped back over, ring gaps are measured and filed to meet the specs refined for the use the engine is expected to see. What works best for a 900hp car may not be ideal for a daily driver at 400hp. Knowing the difference helps build an engine the customer will enjoy (and not have to constantly worry about oil levels, crank case pressure, and if they need to tear it down to "refresh" it every year).
Evolution Dynamics has noticed the biggest difference in the road racing cars. Ring gaps were made smaller and smaller to reduce crank case pressure and blow by into catch cans. Running a 40 minute session with an engine normally built for 900hp meant several quarts of oil filling into the catch can. This was unacceptable. Through several revisions, the specs were adjusted to meet the needs of sustained periods of time at full throttle.
An easy way to ensure all these specs are input immediately is to use a tablet by the work station. It provides the user with a camera for taking pictures of the work, a keyboard to make notes, and a convenient way to start or stop the timer on every task.
By tracking hours to do a complete assembly, Evolution Dynamics has adjusted their assembly pricing to reflect the care taken in the build process. My Shop Assist has increased the profit of the job by easily tracking that time. "Without knowing the total time, I was simply charging less than the other guy doing it," Kevin said. "Now that I know how long it takes me through countless revisions to my process, and knowing the specs that work the best, we are not afraid to charge more for a better product."
The final assembly picture is taken as the engine is bagged up ready for the long block assembly task. The picture is loaded to the task in My Shop Assist and the email is sent to the customer.