When the conversation gets to crate engines on dirt tracks, eye’s glaze over. Antiquated camshafts with flat tappet ramps, cast components with little to get excited about. Quicksilver Products has taken a different approach to filling the dirt track niche with their crate engines. it’s not just another cast iron crate engine. What it is instead, is a cast iron engine with an eye on making the sport better with modern products was their approach.
Take for example the camshafts included in Quicksilver’s circle track engines. For decades the flat tappet mechanical camshaft has been the standard in many classes. This lead to the perception that mechanical flat tappet cams were used in crate engines to keep the cost down. Off-the-shelf pricing may support that claim. However, the crew at Quicksilver points out that roller camshafts have a lifespan that is far greater than flat tappet camshafts. The break-in procedures are much easier and failure rates are lower.
Quicksilver engineers point out that flat tappet camshafts used in crate engines are designed right on the edge of material property and manufacturing capability limits. While the flat tappet cams may be less expensive off the shelf, their inherent shorter lifespan and complex break-in procedures actually cost more money over the racing lifespan of a crate engine.
Quicksilver Products are also quick to point out that their robust marine parts have enhanced durability and lower expected cost over the course of many races. Some sanctioning rules specifically ban the use of marine parts in competition. Using stainless steel valves, hardened valve seats, head gaskets with stainless steel rings, brass core plugs, and marine valve springs make it easier for the race team to focus on winning races and not repairing a broken engine.
The team at Quicksilver said, “Think about it. These are boat engines. How many times have you seen anyone pampering a boat motor? Guys slam these to full throttle and drive them all day long.” The more we thought about that, the more we realized that there was a lot of truth in that statement.
Exactly what is a circle track engine in Quicksilver terms? Most Circle Track engines are based on cast iron V-8 pushrod engines that haven’t been common in passenger cars since the 1970’s, and were last seen in trucks in the 1990’s. However, Quicksilver Mercury Marine continues to offer modern cast iron V-8’s as an active part of their MerCruiser marine propulsion systems.
This is because iron engines continue to be the cost effective, perform well, produce high torque, and are a durable solution for demanding applications such as inboard marine and racing engines. A Quicksilver Circle Track Engine is “essentially a marine engine dressed a little differently” says Mike Horak- Quicksilver’s Powertrain Category Director. “The Quicksilver CT Engines affordably offer extreme durability and higher torque compared to what otherwise has been available to the market.” Quicksilver offers two types of engines for Circle Track racing: 357-CT and 383-CT. “And these engines, let me tell you, provide way more torque than 602 and 604 engines,” claims Horak.
Maybe we need to lobby track promoters and racetracks to allow marine engines with roller cams?