Posted Mar 26th 2012 6:00PM
As Editors we certainly have a lot to say about all kinds of subjects. Some readers may agree with us and some well, might send us hate mail. However, when Editors are asked to actually perform some sort of task rather than just run their mouth about topics, the chatter stops and there is no keyboard to hide behind. The boys at Quaker State put together an interesting event pitting editor against editor in an area not every wordsmith is familiar with, building an engine.
And not just any engine but a GM Racing 358 cubic inch (5.9 L) R07 motor used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. On the plus side, this was fairly simple motor but on the more complex side, the event was timed in front of a crowd. After the dust settled, the motors would have to be fired up and run flawlessly for a period of one minute. Oh and no power tools either, just plenty of wrenching madness to piece the motors back together.
Find out how the challenge unfolded and who won bragging rights after the jump.
Related GalleryQuaker State Engine Build-Off
The event kicked off in one of the most unlikely places to build a motor, a ballroom at the luxurious Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. The Quaker State crew had rolled in a pair of motors and all of the tools required to put them back together laid out for ease of assembly. Jeff Andrews, Director of Engine Operations for Hendrick Motorsports opened up the ceremonies by laying out some of the ground rules and informing us of the most important aspect, that Hendrick Motorsport builders would be on hand to assist when things got rough. Phew, that put us at ease.
Then Quaker State Technology Specialist, Jeff Hsu took the floor to inform us of what lubricant we would be using for the build. The new Quaker State Defy was selected because it's proprietary ZDDP zinc booster could run a full manufacturer recommended drain interval during a break-in unlike many competitors. Hsu also noted that zinc had actually been declining amongst competitors despite the benefits of reduced friction and up to 98 per cent less wear as in the case of Defy. Hsu said "This reduction of zinc is fine for drivers of newer vehicles, but is leaving classic car owners and enthusiasts and those with flat-tappet cams with fewer and fewer options in the motor oil category."
The group was divided into two teams of editors along with one Quaker State rep. Luckily our team, Phosphorous was able to grab Mark Ferner who has a lengthy title: Group Manager, Westhollow Technology Center but more importantly he is a huge car guy with a crazy drag Vette that he built himself. Also on our team were a couple choice Editors, one from GM Performance and one from Super Chevy - no sweat, right?
The whistle blew and it was on. The first stage was to install the rotating assembly into the block in what was easily the hardest task of the build. The team battled hard and it was looking close for a while but we quickly fell behind when some pistons weren't sleeving in as smooth as expected. But in stage two the team quickly caught up and took the lead from Team Zinc who were not to be outdone. Then the cam and heads were slapped on in timely fashion but Team Zinc pulled back ahead during the heated competition.
At this point, it was close and really anyone's trophy. The final stage was the one Autoblog Canada was tasked with completing and very critical to the competition. Although the final leg would be straightforward work, it had to be lightning fast as the anchor position would have to make up any lost time. We chewed through installing the headers, then the valve covers, the valley, the distributor and then finally the manifold and carburetor assembly. The Hendrick guys hovered over our every move and didn't have much to add other than encouragement and motivation like they would at any race event to fire up their team.
But it was not to be. Team Zinc dropped the tools and stopped the clock at 33:08 while our team wound up finishing at 35:09 total. The only chance we had of winning the competition now was if the opposing team's mill didn't spark up or failed within 60-seconds... a very likely possibility with all these rookies on hand!
Finally, it was time for the tense moment. Both crankcases were filled with Quaker State Defy motor oil and rolled out onto the elaborate outdoor patio of the Wynn. The serene gardens surrounded by hotel rooms and amenities were about to get rocked by a pair of open header NASCAR V8s! The teams assembled, fingers-crossed and both engines were fired up. Oh my word, the noise was so intense it rattled everything around us and the techs even started blipping the throttle to really irk the elite hotel guests.
In the end, both motors ran perfect but Team Zinc got it sealed up first. Hey, we still assembled a NASCAR Sprint Cup motor in 35 minutes and we joked that the same project takes us six months in our garage. Perhaps, the next challenge should be for Quaker State to bring the Hendrick Motorsports team to our garage for the Editor's Motor Build Challenge?!
Image Credit: Copyright 2012 Dave Pankew / AOL