Tuned In

102: Are Factory Over-Engineered Motors a Thing of the Past?

October 20, 2023 High Performance Academy
Tuned In
102: Are Factory Over-Engineered Motors a Thing of the Past?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

If you have any interest in engines, there’s a good chance you’ve already come across this week’s guest — Driving 4 Answers of YouTube fame. With nearly a million subscribers, Driving 4 Answers is one of the biggest technically-focused automotive channels on YouTube. Today we sit down with the one-man-band creator, researcher, host, and editor to talk about his love for engines, how he breaks down complex engineering topics and makes them easy to understand, and, of course, we’ve got to jump into a huge stack of nerdy engine topics.

Use “DRIVING100” to get $100 OFF our HPA Engine Building Starter Package course: https://hpcdmy.co/enginepackageb

Driving 4 Answers has a fascinating story to tell, and his passion for all things combustion engineering is very obvious. Despite his extremely in-depth knowledge and understanding, Driving 4 Answers has zero education in the subject and actually ditched a high-pressure career in the upper echelons of European politics to do what he loves — learning, talking, and educating people about automotive engineering, especially when it comes to motors.

On the technical side, we delve right into the weeds in this episode, discussing the complexities of horsepower and torque, the importance of engine balance and rod/stroke ratio, bike carbs, the joys of modern standalone ECUs, over-engineered old Toyotas, and everything in between.

In this conversation, we also explore Driving 4 Answers’ transformation from regular Bosnian car enthusiast to YouTube personality. If you’re interested in producing your own online videos, this conversation also covers Driving 4 Answers’ experience with content creation, the lessons he’s learnt, and how he deals with the inevitable trolls that surface once you start to gain traction.

Follow Driving 4 Answers here:
IG: @driving4answers
YT: Driving 4 Answers

Don’t forget, you can use “DRIVING100” to get $100 OFF our HPA Engine Building Starter Package course: https://hpcdmy.co/enginepackageb

TIME STAMPS:
3:10 - How did you get into cars?
7:30 - Do you have a formal education?
9:50 - Learning without an engineering degree
16:00 - How did Driving 4 Answers start?
17:35 - Loving old Toyotas 
25:50 - Becoming a full-time YouTuber
35:05 - Dealing with trolls
39:30 - Misinformation in the performance auto industry
49:20 - Why Toyota's 4AFE?
1:00:35 - Aftermarket ECU discussion
1:14:00 - AW11 MR2 power figures
1:23:10 - Rod-to-stroke ratios
1:32:00 - Engine balance

Speaker 1:

Back when I was up this absolutely tiny channel it was 16,000 subscribers and I sent a bunch of emails out to try and save some money and AEM was the only company that responded and I was totally amazed by response and I had a wide band gauge. They shipped it. It was there across the damn Atlantic Ocean, like 48 hours in Bosnia. I was looking at it and that's a moment that I will never forget. They said oh, we like your videos and honestly, they were not that good.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the HPA TuneIn podcast. I'm Andrey, your host, and in this episode we're joined by the host of the Driving for Answers YouTube channel. If you haven't stumbled upon this channel before, then this is actually one of my favourites. I'll admit I don't watch a lot of YouTube channels, but this one has absolutely fascinated me because it manages to break down really complex automotive concepts and explain them in really simple terms. If you're wondering at this stage why I haven't actually used the host's name, it's because he wants to remain somewhat anonymous and, despite his almost 1 million strong subscriber base on YouTube, we are respecting that request. We jump into his backstory and find out whereabouts in the world he's come from, and find out how he's got a very non-traditional tertiary education, certainly nothing related to physics or mechanical engineering, which is what I think anyone who's seen this channel before would expect. We'll also find how he used his automotive passion to essentially rescue him from his previous career path, one that he was not finding fulfilling. You find out how he turned this into a full time gig and what he sees for the future Before we jump into our interview.

Speaker 2:

For those who are new to the HPA Tune In podcast, high Performance Academy is an online training school. We specialise in teaching people how to tune EFI, how to build wiring harnesses, how to build race engines. We also cover race car setup, race driver education and a number of other topics. You can find all of our courses at hpaacademycom forward slash courses. They're all delivered via high definition video modules that you can watch from anywhere in the world, provided you've got an internet connection. This gives you the benefit of being able to learn from the comfort of your own place, and you can learn at your own pace. All of our courses have a 60 day no questions asked money back guarantee, so there's zero risk giving one of our courses a test drive. And, as a podcast listener, you can use the coupon code podcast75. That will get you $75 off the purchase of your very first course. You'll find all of that information in the show notes.

Speaker 2:

Alright, let's get into our interview now. Welcome to the podcast. This is one that I really have been looking forward to. Love all of your videos and I'm really interested to find out how you got to that point. So let's start at the beginning. And how did you actually build up an interest in cars in the first place?

Speaker 1:

Well, when it comes to cars, well, first of all, thanks for having me. It's a massive honour, I want to say. I watched so many of your videos absolutely awesome stuff. I strive to have one day that kind of quality. So I'm very happy to be here and very happy that you guys invited me.

Speaker 1:

When it comes to cars I mean cars and, let's say, machines and everything that moves and that can move and has an engine has been a passion really for as long as I can remember, starting with little hot wheels and micro machines to as I grew up, it sort of expanded. One day, when I was already, I think, 26, 25, when I was able to actually purchase something, I decided that I could finally do what I wanted to do as a kid and that's basically own one of my hero cars from when I was young. And that list of hero cars is very extensive. But the one common denominator of the list is that it's pretty much Japanese cars from the 80s and 90s with pop-up headlights.

Speaker 1:

I know it sounds childish, but there's an emotional connection when I was a kid when I would see one of those cars for me that was the 80s had this aura of the future is going to be awesome. Everybody had money to spend. It was an incredible time and these cars sort of reflected this time of. These are the cars we have now, but in 20 years they're going to be flying. But the engineers couldn't wait and the designers couldn't wait, so they tried to make them look like they're already in the future, and then you have this. It was an instant moment of falling in love as a kid, and then I decided I'm going to buy something.

Speaker 2:

So this is your AW11 Toyota MR2 that we're talking about here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah it is. I mean, when I said I'm going to buy an old Japanese car from when I was a kid, I'm going to buy one, there was no list. We had the 200SX, the S13, we had the first generation of the Mazda, we had the AW11, I had also the older Supras that had pop-up headlights. Basically, I was looking for whatever I could find that was within my budget, which at that time was pretty modest but good enough to buy something in a questionable condition. But being living where I live, I do live in the Balkans, in Bosnia, and the selection of these cars in Europe is absolutely pathetic. I mean you guys over there in Australia, new Zealand, and I mean in many other parts of the world, you have no idea how lucky you are.

Speaker 2:

We're very spoiled for choice, that's for sure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I mean it's changing. Now it's becoming everything is becoming more and more expensive and harder to get and it's all becoming rarity, car show stuff.

Speaker 2:

I'm interested actually with your access to so many European cars and obviously I'm assuming much, much easier to get hold of. What was the passion for the Japanese cars over European?

Speaker 1:

There's a couple of reasons probably. I'm a contrarian by nature. Everybody was like Volkswagen, diesel, whatever, and sort of. I always hated that. I mean, I don't hate anything, honestly. I respect all cars and all mechanics and it's all absolutely beautiful and it's the diversity that I like. But everybody was doing that and I kind of like I want to be a bit different.

Speaker 1:

But there's also this Japanese connection which I watched as a kid and still do when I can, when I have time a lot of anime and these, you know, like 80s anime. They have these cars, they feature in there and it's this, you know, dream of. One day I'm going to be grown up and cool and have a red leather jacket and drive this car through a neon city. You know, somehow there's something about that when, as a kid, when you see it, it sort of etches into somewhere into your mind and you like can't get rid of it and I'm probably going to be like I'm old. That's still to me going to be this vision of coolness, of enjoyment of I have no idea, or whatever.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, alright, we're going to dive into that AW11, because that is a car that's near and dead in my heart. We're going to do that in a little bit more detail in a moment, but before we do that, let's sort of just come back one step, because I've watched your videos and anyone who's listening, who's watched them it's very, very clear that you've got a high level of technical knowledge and physics and engineering, and my assumption on this basis is that you've probably got formal qualifications in that area. Am I right or am I completely off the mark?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, many people assume the same thing and many people think and refer to me, even in the comments, as an engineer. Might be a surprise or maybe even a hard pill to swallow for some people, but I have zero formal engineering background, nothing. I never studied engineering of any kind. My actual background is political science, a bachelor's in international relations, and I have a master's in democracy and human rights. I worked for the government, I worked for the European Union, for some international organizations, including UN and CDC, and a bunch of others. That's been five and a half years of my career before I went full time into YouTube about five years ago.

Speaker 1:

I honestly I had what you could call a successful career, but I absolutely hated most of that. No offense to anyone or anything. There's many people in that field who are trying to do good things, but there's also far more people who are trying to, especially in the governmental and even the non-governmental sector, who are simply there's this world of arbitrary rules, a lot of political influence, and I often spend months trying to get something off the ground, trying to genuinely help my country. A lot of people from my university and from my degree part. Too many times we have been buried and we have failed due to some absolute, nonsensical political reasons, and one of the reasons why I got the car and started the whole thing was as a sort of vent for myself to have something that will make me happy to escape this world, which was really really, really hard on me, and I think it cost me a couple of years of my life and health, and it's a very long story and, unfortunately, a somewhat painful one, so we're not going to waste time on that.

Speaker 2:

Fair to say that your background and your qualifications, there would say, are about as far removed from the automotive industry as you could get. We won't dive into the politics, but it does sound like it could be a very frustrating career path. But let's get into the more interesting stuff, which is your current career. Okay, so we've kind of established here you've got no formal qualifications in engineering, but your knowledge is clearly deep on these topics. So how did you build that knowledge? I mean, this is probably interesting because a lot of people making these assumptions, like I have, would sort of think well, my time's passed, I haven't gone to university and done a mechanical engineering degree, so I'm not going to learn these topics. Clearly you could. How'd you go about it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean it's very possible that if I had an actual engineering education, if I studied engineering, it's maybe even possible that I got a job in engineering that I wouldn't like it as much as I actually do now, because when something is your career, sometimes it just turns into what you're using, what you're doing to make money and pay the bills and sometimes this can kill the passion. And for me, I think that if you want to know about something, if you want to be good about something and this is going to sound corny and like something you've heard a million times, but it really is if you have passion and genuine interest in this, there's honestly nothing that can stop you from acquiring knowledge and skills in that area. I may not have formal education and I do have all respect for formal education, but I have devoured. Once I got, once I bought the car and then dove into it, started diving into it. The more I, the deeper I went, the more I wanted to know, and this was just more and more and I started at some point.

Speaker 1:

The internet wasn't enough, so I started buying actual books from that are taught at college and university, started reading that. I think that I read them faster and with more interest than if somebody had actually told me to read them, because it was just me in this world and it was such a contradiction to my work and my career where there really is there is no proper relationship between income and outcome with a machine. There is this beautiful, reliable world of if the input is proper, if the input is correct, then the output will be correct, and that's really beautiful. If you build an engine properly, it's gonna run proper, it's gonna make power, it's gonna work, and this, for me, was so liberating that it's really hard to explain, coming from a world where you do a tons of input and the output is nothing, and then you do it again and it happens again. And then you know, when I got a piston in my hand, started putting it together, hey look, this works, it's the same as in the book, and for me this was absolute joy.

Speaker 1:

And then I wanted more and more and more and it just kept snowballing, snowball. What is this? What does this do? What does this do? As you learn, then, I think what helped the videos be useful is that many of these things I had to explain to myself, and I explained it to myself as someone without a formal background. I had to explain them in a way that makes sense for me and I did learn the calculations as much as I could, the formulas, all of that. I understood it after you know struggling with it, but the basic stuff it has to be intuitive and this, I think, works with the videos. When you explain something, I, when I explain something to people, I put myself in the shoes of the other person and I was also that other person.

Speaker 2:

I think it's difficult for a lot of people who, who are that deep in the industry, know this stuff inside and out, to be able to approach a topic they know so thoroughly with that beginner mindset, and that's where the disconnect comes. I mean, I know as well because I went through university and I did a few engineering papers, and some of those textbooks are pretty dry and if you don't have a lecturer to actually break down these concepts, sometimes they're difficult. We do, however, live in a time where there's never been more information freely available. There's a couple of elements I just wanted to add in here, as I was sort of listening to you tell that story and to sort of turn this around and bring it back to me. This is something I have mentioned a couple of times on the podcast, so regular listeners will have already heard this, but I went through university and I started doing an information systems engineering paper which involved programming, and at the time I was like this is literally a foreign language. I do not understand this. My brain absolutely doesn't work in this way. I actually changed majors and moved away from programming, and that's a topic for another day. But later in life I started working on the MoTeC M1 platform and they were kind enough to give me a development license which gave me access to build, where you can basically write your own firmware, and I was like, alright, this again.

Speaker 2:

But at this point I had a need that I wanted to fulfil, which was I wanted to write a flex fuel software package, which didn't exist at the time. And it's amazing, when you actually have a reason to learn something all of a sudden, I actually managed to figure it out. I mean, hey, anyone who is actually a programmer would look at my code and go what is this guy up to? It was messy, but it got the job done. But when you've actually got a reason to learn something, everything all of a sudden becomes. I was real passionate about it. There was weeks where I was like working until 11 o'clock midnight, playing with code, simulating it, seeing how it worked oh, that didn't work, it's crashed or whatever. It wouldn't compile and I actually really enjoyed it.

Speaker 2:

The other element I wanted to mention there, which you were just sort of referring to obviously we do similar things with our videos on technical topics, and there's been a lot of times where there'll be something I know and I take for granted, be that engine building or tuning or wiring, and you don't really think too much about it. The second you actually have to record a video on it and explain it thoroughly to someone. It starts you second guessing what you think you know, and then you actually have to go and research and make sure. Hey, was this assumption I've made actually accurate or long? Okay, this is how it works.

Speaker 2:

All of a sudden, I know that topic better than I did before, because if I don't know it that deeply, I'm not going to be able to teach it. So just a couple of things I wanted to add in there, and I mean, obviously you've sort of you've come at it from a very similar perspective. Key takeaway there, though, I think, is for those who want to learn engineering, as you've mentioned, clearly there are options that are viable outside of tertiary education. Alright, let's sort of come back to the formation founding of Driving for Answers. This sort of sounds like it kind of happened in conjunction with this AW11 project, but I mean again, given your career in politics, this is a big step out of your probably your day to day. So what made you decide to become a YouTube sensation?

Speaker 1:

Well, I mean honestly, the plan was like never to become. I never thought about this turning into my full-time career or becoming a YouTube sensation. My first video that I published on YouTube and I never deleted it I never deleted any of my old videos the first video I published was basically a recording of how my AW11 doesn't idle properly and it shuts off after idling and getting warm and that's because the idle air control valve on the throttle body it has on the 4G, it has the stupid wax, the wax pellet.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that crap. Anyway, I didn't know it back at the time so I made this recording just so I could show the guys on the forum how it doesn't work right and so maybe they can help me diagnose the issue. That was the first video and I did start. Some people might remember this from the very early days and I still get sometimes people in the comments who say I remember this channel from when it was a blog and when I see that that's like I don't know, I want to take the guy out to a beer or coffee or something, buy him. I mean people have no idea how encouraging that is. When somebody tells me that basically they've been watching for like what I don't know, nine, eight years, they've been around, they've seen, that's like I don't know. It feels like a friend in there because the more the channel grows, the more there is the disconnect from the community and these people who are there, who are actually. They are the gems when you get. I have familiar faces in the comments and I remember them and they are what keeps me from not banning commenting under my videos, because sometimes YouTube it's unreal.

Speaker 1:

So, basically, the car I picked up, the car I bought it. This was an absolute insanity, impulse by probably the craziest thing I have ever done. The car was like 300 kilometers away from my. I said I was going to buy a car. The car is going to save me, I'm going to work on the car and that's how I'm going to survive my nine to five job. That was the plan. The car was supposed to save me.

Speaker 1:

I found that there were two AW11s in my country, one I didn't like, the one I bought I thought it was good. I mean I had not seen it properly. But then I found a random person in the ads to drive me to the city, which was like 300 kilometers away. I went there and I said, okay, I'm buying it. I opened up, like the oil cap to see if there's like mayonnaise on it, like let's hope it's not a bad head gasket. I went, I looked underneath it. It wasn't rusty and that's it. And the car wasn't started for like three years.

Speaker 1:

And I drove it back and it drove horribly. The gears couldn't shift right but I drove. I was incredibly tired and the car belongs to like a beekeeper and there were like traces of like parts of you know the honeycombs and everything everywhere around the car it was. It was crazy as I sat into a car that was not functional. We just put a new battery in it. The oil was like I think five or six years in it and they couldn't open the local mechanic couldn't open the sump bolt, you know, to drain it, so we just kept it in there. I drove back and I, when I came home, I just like fell asleep, like instantly. I saw the pillow and I just fell asleep.

Speaker 2:

It was craziness, but so honestly, the most, the most incredible part of that story is you said that the car didn't have any rust, because early 80s, 90s Toyota's one thing they did incredibly well, at least in our country, was rust, and I had an AW11 and it fell, apart from rust around the engine, unfortunately, yeah yeah, I mean sounds familiar, honestly, most of the cars.

Speaker 1:

That's exactly the reason why they died. This thing was this beekeeper guy. He bought the car. He had like a shed which was very dry, very nice, and he just put it in like it's not a proper shed, but it's covered, it's closed, it's an enclosure. He just put it in there and he like didn't start it for a couple of years he would drive it. He didn't want to pay the registration for the car, so he would just drive it like like a few days, you know, every year, and I think that's what saved the car. That's why it has, you know, minimal rust here and there, like all of these cars, but it wasn't terminal. I've seen before that a few cars, a few old Nissan's and stuff. I mean they were all and the. But the sellers are amazing. This whole community is incredible. It'll buff out. It's it'll buff out is real.

Speaker 2:

And when I was there I mean yeah yeah, anyways, nothing wrong with a little bit of optimism, yeah. So again, we'll dive into this car build in a bit more detail. I'm still interested, sort of at what point did you go from posting a video on YouTube to try and help explain on the forum why your car won't idle to sort of thinking how you know there might be something here and there's a problem that I want to solve?

Speaker 1:

so basically the initial the channel is the channel transformed at one point. Initially I started with like a blog where I wanted to document my journey with this car. It was. I really don't have any friends or you know, acquaintances or even family who's into cars to the extent that I am. You have the odd person that, like knows you know how many horsepower particular car has and what is fast and what is not, but that's it. That's where it ends. They don't know, they don't go, you know, into the crazy realm. So anyways, and this, I made a blog so I could share basically this little journey, and then I started documenting it with videos and I it's somehow quickly I moved away from the blog.

Speaker 1:

I kept writing from time to time, but somehow the videos were to me, for some reason, I really don't know, but a more, a more usable format, and it conveys more. It conveys sound, it conveys, you know, image, it conveys what's happening. You can tell a story, you can. So in the beginning I was just documenting, like I was restoring a few parts. You can still find these absolutely ridiculous ancient videos shot with like a ridiculous camera. It's like me in front of a wire brush for like two minutes it's. It's unwatchable, but I thought, you know, this is, this is fun. You know I can record this. Look, I made this part look so much nicer. So and then I realized, you know, okay, this looks horrendous, maybe I should talk in these videos and like give some sort of background, like explain what's actually happening, instead of just shooting, like you know, pictures with a bit of text you know underneath.

Speaker 1:

So then I did that and then sort of the community started, you know, appearing random people would write something hey, I have the same car. And I was like when I saw the first comment, I was like, oh my god, somebody's actually watching this. And I mean, and that was, there was a moment when I saw the first comment and remember a guy from the US and he was one of the first people who subscribed and commented and the moment I saw the comment I was like I'm gonna do eat all of this because I really thought nobody's watching the crap. I would so like 10 views on a video and I'm thinking, you know, okay, 10, whatever, you know, it's like bots or something. I just didn't care.

Speaker 1:

But when you see the comments and then it becomes real, and then I said you know, okay, I'm gonna keep doing it. And then slowly you start noticing what's wrong about the videos. You know, and they didn't try to fix this and that, and the more feedback it's. It's a vicious circle, but not a vicious circle in a positive way. A vicious circle it's like the more feedback you get, the more you want to provide, the more you want to sort of give back, and then you get more feedback on that, and then you want to give even better content, and it just keeps rolling.

Speaker 2:

I think I'll just interrupt you there for a second, and I know exactly what you're saying. I mean, first of all, everyone has to start from somewhere. Anyone on YouTube doesn't sort of instantly jump into YouTube and have a perfectly polished presentation and everything's just perfect. That's ridiculous. But one of the very first course that HPA recorded and still, I'd say, probably our most popular is our AFI Tuning Fundamentals course. And back when Ben and I had founded High Performance Academy, it was kind of a test the waters and see if there was a demand for what we were producing. So at the time I was still running my tuning business as well. So this was very much just sort of on the side, and a lot of people probably haven't heard this story. But at the time Ben was actually living up in Auckland, which is I don't know about 800km from where I was, and I'd fly up or head fly down.

Speaker 2:

So the very first course was recorded in the living room of his flat. We had to stop while his neighbour was mowing the lawns and literally we were shooting with some crappy camera through a ladder. And the reason we were shooting through a ladder is so that we could race tape an iPad to one of the rungs of the ladder and that was our teleprompter, oh my god. And the lighting kept changing because we didn't have a blacked out room. We've got the curtains are drawn, so as the light changes, the lighting and the room changes. It was a hot mess, it was a train wreck, but what it did was it showed that we've got proof of concept. This thing works.

Speaker 2:

So then, when we decided to go full time, we re-recorded the entire course, because now we actually had something of a studio. It was very rudimentary but it was better, and that brought our level of quality up again, both audio and the video. And then we grew, the team got bigger, we had dedicated animation graphics specialist on team. We've got a crew of video editors and then we recorded it. So I think we're on either our third or our fourth iteration of that course now, each time just polishing the edges and making it just that much nicer.

Speaker 2:

And it's got nice, engaging B-roll and animations of the topics here. But we couldn't have done that at the start. So you have to start somewhere, and I think one of the things that holds a lot of people back and this isn't just on YouTube is striving for perfection as opposed to settling for good enough, get something out there as a proof of concept, and then you can polish it later. Anyway, sorry I digress, let's get back to your story. At what point did you start sort of seeing that, hey, there might actually be a career path here on YouTube to sort of make a full-time career in?

Speaker 1:

The breaking point was when I was sort of finished with the build and I sort of ran out of things that I taught were good ideas to shoot about the AW11. So basically up to that point the channel was just me and AW11 and my build. At that point it was the bike carb conversion.

Speaker 2:

What sort of subscriber numbers did we have at that point? Just to get an idea.

Speaker 1:

That was around 50,000 subscribers, okay. So that's sort of where, and I realized that I could keep shooting videos. But I really never wanted to go into this sphere of, let's say, vlogging content. Or now I'm going here and I'm doing this. Now I'm at this car show. Believe it or not, in my entire life I've been at one car show.

Speaker 1:

So I mean, all of it was I didn't want to go into there, into shooting this personal content, because I never taught the channel was about me or about what I do or how I do it. That's just my personal opinion. I really don't enjoy that particular content that much because if I want to see what somebody is doing, I try to meet in person, have a chat, let's do something together, let's experience it. So I didn't want to shoot that and I probably not really good at shooting that content either because I sort of don't feel it has any value. Maybe, I don't know, this is a lot of personal, subjective opinion. But there was this key point where I said maybe I don't have to talk just about the AW11 and what I do in the garage. Maybe I can talk about other engines. It sounds like very blazy and something that I should have realized ages ago. But for me this was like, hey, I have the right to talk about whatever I want to talk about. And that moment when that clicked in my head, I realized that there's a million of these topics that I read about and that I explored and that I enjoyed reading about in the evening or at other points. Sometimes I even wrote like tiny. For some of my videos I had pretty much ready made scripts, because sometimes when I would read about something and try to understand it and research it online and read about it in a book, then I would write like little notes, like basically in Word on my PC. I would write you know, this is how it works, because sometimes I have to write it down and explanation with my own words so that I don't forget what it is. You know how it works because I have to have this, something that makes sense to me and most of these stuff I use in the videos because these are really. I always try to have an intuitive explanation and I try to imagine like I'm explaining to a person that knows zero about engines. They just want to understand this and they came from you know wherever, and let's assume they have zero background and I'm going to try and explain this to these people because this is what I was at some point not too long ago, maybe just a few years ago and then I started the iconic engine series.

Speaker 1:

My first video that was not about the MR2 was me like I think it was on a couch or in my kitchen or somewhere. Audio video was still, you know, two out of 10, but I shot a video. The first iconic engines video was about the 4AGE engine. I had to spend zero time researching because far too much time on that engine and I was really surprised by okay, it took me one day to shoot this video and hook it's. You know it's nice content. I may be some. This is useful to somebody.

Speaker 1:

My goal was to create a video because I remember when I was researching the 4AGE, when I first got the car, I spent months, you know, typing this what is this? And I decided you know what I'm going to make a video. When somebody who's going to start researching this engine, he buys the engine, let's let them watch this one video of what? 24 minutes and let them have like 80 or 90% or as much as humanly possible in one video. That was the goal and I made a video.

Speaker 1:

I had no idea what was going to happen. I uploaded it and there was this like swarm of comments and people are this is so useful, this is. I was like I can't believe this is useful. And you know, people are saying this is maybe you should do other engines, you know. And then I started doing other engines and then from the engines I realized, okay, I don't have to talk just about engines, maybe I can talk about general mechanical concepts, because that's really fun. And then, basically, I just sort of needed to give myself permission to talk about stuff that I really like and enjoy.

Speaker 2:

So it's getting that confidence to break out of what you were Sort of knowing for the time and what you are confident in, and starting to have that confidence to move into these other topics.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean you could say it's confidence, but I really it wasn't. It's not just confidence. I thought that I don't have the right to talk about these topics, mostly because I thought that you know what? I'm? Not some sort of professor, you know, I'm just a random guy. I can't talk about this stuff. I don't have because I was really very traditional up to that point in my brain and I didn't watch a lot of YouTube. I didn't really didn't understand how let's quote unquote, say, this new world works. And then I realized, hey, basically everybody in YouTube is just some random guy, I mean, who cares? I don't have to have any sort of certificate to talk about this stuff and I really like this stuff.

Speaker 2:

Unfortunately, I find that that is both a blessing and a curse, because, yes, you're absolutely right and you're doing it with technically correct information. That is actually teaching people how things work. Unfortunately, I think with YouTube now anyone with an iPhone and you know sort of the time to edit a video is able to put content out, and that unfortunately gives us a lot of questionable content where technically they are incorrect but people will believe it as gospel because it's on YouTube. So that is a problem.

Speaker 1:

Definitely, definitely. And when I was back on the forums and I remember there was a guy who was on the AWM forums and I started doing videos a bit and I remember he told me and this was like a really tough thing for me to swallow, but I said you know, I had to digest his thing that he told me at the forums but I was like you know, screw you, you're not going to stop me, because who are you? Because I remember he told me what you're doing on YouTube. He told me he says this is what I think is the pinnacle of human stupidity and what will really help you Read the human race to ruin. And then he referenced the movie Idiocracy. And then he told me, he told me you know what. Who gives like how can you talk about something that you don't know? But I said you know what, I did it, I experimented with it, I broke a few of these parts, you know, and then I did it right and then I made a video and it's useful. And when I make something wrong and I did, I did have some mistakes in the old videos I would delete a video and publish it again. You know correctly. But you know he could never. He could never. He was totally against YouTube and social media concept and everything.

Speaker 1:

But you're definitely right, there is a lot of, but that's unavoidable, even if you look at books. I mean, if you look at books, I have bought engineering quote, unquote engineering books and I'm not an engineer, but I'm confident some of these books are junk. I mean they're horrible. I mean the way they explain things. It's absolutely horrible. Some of them are published like 2015, 2014, and they are using antiquated concepts. You know, technology that's been abandoned for like 10 years and they are. You know, this is how it works. Oh, no, it's not. But of course, social media, you have this massive flood of information. But I think Ultimately it is fair, because the junk doesn't last, it can't, sometimes just it's there, it can create a sensation, it can create a little firecracker, a little boom, but eventually you know enough people tell you people don't listen to this guy, he's insane, whatever. And it's just sort of starts sinking and it gets forgotten and dies 100% agree.

Speaker 2:

Sort of through almost crowdsourcing, you're starting to see those who are producing good content rise to the top and, as you say, the risk get pushed down. A couple of elements there. First of all, I think your point about I can't teach this stuff because I'm not a professor or I don't have a piece of paper that says I'm an expert in this field. I mean, the reality I find here is and this is what separates those who do what you do and, to a point, what we do is there's a lot of people out there who are what I'd say experts in a given field and they probably run rings around me in engine building or whatever but whether they can actually break down some of these concepts and explain them in a simple to understand way to others, often that's the bit and I find that's the skill set that's very, very important for what we're doing, you and I is being able to break down these concepts, even if technically maybe you're not the expert at the pinnacle of that field.

Speaker 2:

The other element which you kind of alluded to there and I'm just interested because obviously we have exactly the same, I'm interested how you deal with this is the trolls, those who are quite happy to jump into the comments section. I've been doing this now for probably 12 plus 15 years. Maybe I don't even longer than that, because we had trolls with my old business as well and anytime you're kind of breaking a world record or putting yourself out there with this information, there's those who are pretty quick to try and sort of bring you back to earth. I had to grow a pretty thick skin fairly early on, but yeah, how do you deal with that?

Speaker 1:

It's a tough question, it's a tough topic. I had this phase where it was really hard and really painful. And because I really make the videos, I make them as honestly and as genuinely and as possible and I don't want to put out something that I don't think is good, even if it's something that you know. Oh, this might work, it might get views, but if I think it's useless and it doesn't have any value, I don't want to publish it. And for me, still, something that takes up space on a server somewhere, I think it has to have some value. It is consuming some sort of resource at the end of the day, so it has to have value. And when you try and I really try hard and I do everything myself the whole channel is a one man show the recording, the scripting, the researching, the editing, the little graphical animations, everything. None of it is really professional, but I do everything myself for the sake of quality control and basically that's what I think, why I do it. But maybe I don't, who knows but that's what I try.

Speaker 1:

And then somebody comes there and tells you you know like and sometimes these people are really creative with the insults and you know there was a phase. I had a phase where I responded to all of them and I try to like hurt them back like the meanest things I could come up with I would do. There was like for a few weeks I remember that I think, let's say, three, four years ago I think and there was three weeks when I said you know what, and now I'm going to lash out at you because you keep hurting me. I'm going to hurt you now and sometimes, and then after that I started banning people who are like really hateful and really nasty, which is banned from ever commenting. I honestly think there is.

Speaker 1:

This might sound weird, but there is place for censorship on social media and on any media where somebody really oversteps the line and it's not just curse words, it's where something is like genuine hateful and you see it, somebody's oh great. I mean he's trying to either hurt the creator or somebody else. You can see responses to comments or people. I mean this is something for me like a massive phenomenon. I can't figure it out because I'm also interested in another version of me. I'm really interested in psychology and philosophy. I really care about these things and human emotion and all that. It's an interesting topic and I'm trying to understand these people and trying to understand the motivation behind this. For example, let's say, I find a video on YouTube and I open it and I don't like it. Honestly, I'm not pretending to be a saint here, but I'm just going to click away 100%.

Speaker 2:

That's what I've never understood is someone who will watch a 15 minute video to comment about how much they hate it and it's like, well, if you don't like it, there's no one actually with a gun to your head forcing you to watch these videos. I think the other thing is the internet and social media in general is, given this level of you can be anonymous and it's really easy to hide behind a laptop keyboard and say things that you would absolutely never consider saying to someone's face. It is a challenge. I mean I love a good internet battle from time to time. I mean I also have to look at the practicality of the time I'm going to waste battling with someone in the comments section. And the old story you know battling with someone on the internet, you're fighting with an idiot who's going to bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience, and that, unfortunately, is often the reality of the situation.

Speaker 1:

You summed it up really well, because that's how I overcame it. At some point I realized, you know, and the number of comments keeps increasing and you just can't keep up, and I found solace in the fact that, okay, some people come here to lash out to maybe they've had a bad day and maybe this is how what makes them feel better, you know, and there's no, it's not necessary for me to respond, I don't have to respond and I just, you know, it's okay, I stopped, and I now I have, after like years, I have the ability to like, just crawl past, okay, next. Okay, he didn't like it, maybe I should fix it, you know, and he became like a normal thing, but it took, it took time and it took effort.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean I think also there are some constructive feedback, comments that maybe aren't worded the best and can look insulting Sometimes. You know it's definitely you want to take some constructive feedback on board and see how you can apply that and making your new videos better. I guess one of the questions that it seems like you're trying to answer with driving for answers is this level of misinformation, misunderstanding that's rife in the performance automotive industry. I'm interested why do you think that is the situation we face in this industry? I don't know if it's as bad in other industries.

Speaker 1:

I think a part of it I mean just an opinion, but I think a part of it is the complexity of the industry itself and there's a massive discrepancy because between what people want to achieve with, let's say, a build and what they need to actually achieve it, it's massive. You have to have a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, a lot of things to have to actually create something that is good and desirable and that matches whatever your dreams are. Because when you think about it, a car and an engine are incredibly complex. I mean any sort of machine. It doesn't have to be a car, just take an electric scooter. Even that requires a lot of complexity.

Speaker 1:

And then people enter this world where they want this to achieve this. You know they have this thing, they're imagining a particular build, a particular car with a particular power output, performance, whatever. And they start running into these obstacles after obstacles after obstacles. You know this, you need this, this costs that much, this works like this. Oh, that's not a good idea. Oh, you need air to air. No, you need water to air, you need this, you need that.

Speaker 1:

And people start this is human nature, I think to try to find an easy way out, you know. And then this is where these easy explanations come. You know, these fix it all. You know. Oh, you can just put a bigger turbo on it, you know, or whatever you know. And these things are easy to remember. It's like the thing with horsepower and torque. And this is done, this singular sentence. I think it's done more damage than any other ever. I think it was Jeremy Clarkson. I love Jeremy Clarkson, but that sentence horsepower is how fast you hit the wall and torque is how far you go with you. I swear to God, if I had a dollar for every one of these comments, I think I would have a few thousand bucks.

Speaker 1:

And people just come to the video. And I think they just come, they open, they say video horsepower versus torque. They just comment that that same thing. And they go and they leave the video because this is easy to memorize, it's fun and it saves you the trouble of having to think and understand. And you know, oh, it's this easy, little, tiny little religion.

Speaker 1:

You know that you can just outsource your brain to that sentence, you don't have to think about it anymore. It fixes it. This is what you can remember. It's the wall, it has to do with the wall and that's it. I think stuff like this. Unfortunately it's like bacteria. It grows very quickly, it reproduces incredibly quickly because most people I think in human nature, people hate thinking. I mean some people like thinking, but many people hate thinking because it's painful, having to, you know, think and decide and process this in your mind, so it's easier to just remember this quick thing. You know and there's a million sentences like this you know, hit the wall, push the thing, and I think they just spread their virus and Absolutely agree.

Speaker 2:

A little bit out of order here I was going to jump into just talking about some of the topics that you've covered in some of your more popular videos that are sort of up around that 5 million view mark and horsepower versus torque, seeing as you've mentioned that that's one of them. Don't worry, we're coming back to the OW11. I haven't forgotten about it, but this is something that I think is such a misunderstood topic. Maybe Jeremy Clarkson does have something to answer for here.

Speaker 2:

But I think back to my days running a tuning workshop, and quite often, once a month or more, you'd have a customer come in and they'd say either one or two things Either I don't really care about the horsepower number, I just want you to tune it for torque, or obviously the polar opposite. You know, I want horsepower and not torque, and you're sort of like well, you can't have one without the other. These are not mutually exclusive elements. They are inextricably joined with a very, very simple formula, which is, if we're looking at imperial units and you look at a dyno graph, the torque and the horsepower graphs will cross at 5252 RPM, and that's not by accident. Let's jump into this. So can you give us a simple explanation of the torque and horsepower relationship.

Speaker 1:

I did that in a recent video. So I'm trying to beat fire with fire and I tried to find a sentence that can hopefully do some damage to the wall thing. And I said that torque is the force behind a single punch, RPM is the number of punches you can deliver in a minute, Horsepower is the resulting damage and I'm trying to hear make it impossible to disconnect. This is obviously not necessarily scientifically correct it's definitely not but I'm trying to make it unseparable because without the force of a single punch you can't do any damage. And I'm trying to make this intuitive. We all have intuition related to punches. It's easy to remember and this is what I tried to put in the video. So people stopped separating the two, but still on that video I got like a million comments again, People saying horse powers how fast you hit the wall and torque, and this is like if it wasn't tragic, it would be.

Speaker 2:

Fighting a losing battle here.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean it's, that thing is incredible. I mean I can do like a search through the comments and it's like you could scroll for like literally days the same comment, like million. Sometimes I think it's, you know, like bots and army of bots that is created to just repeat that comment. But it's not. It's, unfortunately, it's actual people. So that's what I tried to do to just make it horse powers, a calculation, and I think that what you mentioned, that is so true, so relatable, and you meet these people and we will probably keep meeting them forever.

Speaker 1:

I want this, I don't want that, because they have this subjective relationship. They sat in a car, maybe a friend's car. They were like what's the matter with you? I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I want this, I don't want that, because they have this subjective relationship. They sat in a car, maybe a friend's car. They had this amazing, you know, acceleration, somebody floored it and he said, wow, I want a car like this. And then they friend, then their friend said man, it's a torque. And then he came to your shop, I want to talk.

Speaker 1:

And this is the same bacteria. You know that is. It's easy to remember this, it's easy to make an emotional connection and it replicates itself and it spreads. And some people who want to employ critical thinking and be objective, they will easily overcome this. They will ask more questions, they will say you know what? This doesn't make sense, I'm going to research it more, and then they will quickly just get over it and have the actual insight into what is horsepower and torque. But you have to have this willingness to have actual knowledge and have objectivity, otherwise you're going to fall into the traps, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'll expand on that a little bit. So the equation kind of alluded to there, which is very, very simple, in talking in imperial terms, horsepower is equal to the torque multiplied by the RPM at which that torque is being produced and then divided by a constant, which is that 5,252. Which is why when we're at 5,252 RPM, you've got the RPM on the top line, you've got the constant of 5,252 on the bottom line. They cancel out. So that's why horsepower equals torque at that RPM. But the element of that equation that's important to take away is that RPM becomes a really important multiplier for our torque, which is why you see racing engines and let's go straight to the top of the pinnacle, which is Formula One, these engines back in the naturally aspirated days, because I like those better. So the V8, the V10, the V12, I mean, depending on the area you're talking, because the RPM limits changed but 18, 20,000, 22,000 RPM, that is a massive multiplier to that torque number and that is why they're actually not making very much torque. It's a relatively modest amount of torque but they've got such a high RPM where they're making that torque and that's why these naturally aspirated 2.4 litre engines are making 800 horsepower. Whatever it may have been.

Speaker 2:

The element that's important to understand, I think, when we're thinking about this is we can't just sit behind the laptop keyboard and say, alright, well, my stock 4AGE. Oh, actually, what I want to do is make 800 horsepower from that. So we're just going to rev it to 20,000 RPM. So that doesn't work. Every element of the engine is then optimised for high volumetric efficiency in that RPM range, which really is air flow. The more air flow we can make, the more torque we can make, which is why, if you look at a volumetric efficiency table, the shape of that actually looks very much like the torque curve on a dyno. So simple terms. I say torque essentially is air flow. So if we want to move the torque curve up towards the top end of the RPM range, that's not a tuning element. If we've optimised everything, it is what it is. It's a mechanical design element. As a tuner, our job is just to give the engine what it wants. So in order to move that torque curve dramatically, we actually have to make mechanical changes to the engine. Maybe that's just advancing or retargeting the cams. That will help. That will move the torque curve, but at the top end you're sort of going to need a completely different cam profile, probably modifications to the head porting and everything else.

Speaker 2:

But I digress a little bit there. That is probably one of the most misunderstood topics that I see in the world of engine tuning and realistically it is, when you get down to nitty gritty, quite a simple concept. Now we're ducking and diving around a little bit, but I do want to come back to this AW11 build. We've talked about it briefly, but I want to get a bit deeper into this Now. I've watched a bit of this and I kind of know a little bit about what's gone on. One of the interesting elements that I wanted to ask you about is your engine choice, which is a little, as I would say, unconventional with a 4E FTE sorry, not T. You have turbocharged it. We'll call it a TE now, but it sounds like when you purchased that AW11 it had the factory fitted 4AGE, which is a very well known performance engine. So there's a variety of combinations 7AGEs, 20 valve, head swaps, all of the other options. Why the 4E FTE?

Speaker 1:

Okay. So there's a couple of reasons. First of all, we have to put it into context and the context is that the 20 valve stuff you guys have for me, I first have to get it into the country, and to get it into the country I have to pay my customs and shipping and everything. And then when it comes in, then at the customs they say, oh, what do you need this? And I say, oh, it's for an engine. I mean, europe is becoming even though Boston is not the EU, europe is becoming ever more prohibitive to this sort of getting in engine parts. When you get in a head, sometimes if you're unlucky, they're going to ask you, oh, what are you going to do with this head? And you say I want to replace it. And then they ask you for confirmation that you have the actual engine that the head comes from. You have to demonstrate somehow that you have that same engine. I mean you can get around it. So basically it was cost, it was difficulty of getting this, and then I bought a 4E FTE just to use the block. Okay, so that was the initial thing and I would say you know, I'm going to build a 4E GE, I'm just going to turbo charge it. I know this engine pretty much inside out so I'm going to stick with this. But then when I bought the 4E FTE and this is a second generation 4E FTE, it's not the very first generation one, it has a different, like all silver valve cover. The first generation it's like in terms of performance it's completely useless. I mean I think no matter how much money you pour into it, it's not going to do anything.

Speaker 1:

I saw the second generation. I looked at the ports. I made out of VIA about this, explaining sort of my reasoning and context. One is cost and availability. 4e GE's are now incredibly rare, really hard to find, and I had one. The bike carb was clean. I didn't want to touch it. I said you know, I'm just going to take it out as is, together with the transmission. And I looked at the 4E FTE.

Speaker 1:

The second generation came from the UK that I got from a junkyard. Somebody bought basically a whole car, took it apart. I just bought the engine. And I looked at the intake ports and I really liked them. And I liked them Because for me it's very obvious that they are more modern than the stuff on the 4AG, especially the early generations. I'm excluding here the 20 valves, but the early generations 16 valves, the red tops, the big ports.

Speaker 1:

You can see, this is sort of the engine performance thinking from the 80s. You have gigantic ports which have like massive potential amount of air flow. This is what you just talked about. You have massive potential amount of air flow which is achieved at what? 6.5, 6.8 thousand rpm. But below, when you don't have this at all rpm, you do not have the potential for this. And you have obviously pathetic torque. And these engines, 4ag, really suck in terms of torque below 4.5. And this is why you have the T-Vis system installed, which is sort of like this little bandaid that causes off half the port. So it tries to achieve some sort of air velocity because you really don't have air velocity, because your port is this big, it's like giant. And then I looked at the 4AFE and you see this much more modern thinking where you have a smaller port.

Speaker 1:

This engine is not designed to rev crazy high, but I can fix that. I can change the bottom end, I can put in different rods, I can put a 4AGE crank, but I have this very nice little intake port which is treatable. I'm going to port and polish it like absolutely minimally, just remove the casting flash and you have this. And this thing is going to help with responsiveness. It's going to build torque early on. I'm building the car for the street, for something that is, I'm not going to race anywhere with it, it's for me to have fun with on a good road.

Speaker 1:

And I said you know what this makes sense the cams. What's not really good with the cams, of course, is that the cams are geared together so you don't have the sort of adjustment options in terms of cam timing. It's the same thing. I think on the UZFE, I think it has the same thing. Exactly it's the same thing. So, but I said you know what, for turbocharging, I disagree with this, but to an extent, for turbocharging engine, you know, this sort of cam timing stuff is not so important and I'm going to use the turbo to sort of get around that a bit. So I said, okay, I'm going to live with this. I can't adjust the cams.

Speaker 1:

What I did get what's really nice with the engine is that the intake and exhaust cams they have like more lift than the stuff that came in Europe, because UK didn't have some sort of restrictions at that time, and the exhaust manifold is completely different. The exhaust manifold in European 4-AFE engines is like this cast ugly giant thing. Mandrel bent steel is what I got on the UK engine and I have 8.5 millimeters of lift on the intake, 8 millimeters of lift on the exhaust, and I was you know what. This is totally fine. We measured duration, I forgot, but it was decent-ish. I was fascinated by the lift numbers and I said you know what? This can be built into something that has performance.

Speaker 1:

And then I realized that if I built this engine and if I demonstrate that it has some sort of potential for performance, then I'm bringing value again, because these engines are really plentiful, they're readily available, they're cheap and people can buy them instead of spending savings entire savings on a 4-AGE which again needs to be rebuilt. And some of these 4-AFE's are actually in good conditions. You have them in Toyota Carinas in Europe and everywhere else. And I thought people that want something maybe Japanese, and these engines fit in a bunch of Toyota's maybe they can find solace in this engine. And I did hear people starting to build, a few persons basically saying that oh, this is not bad, I have a 4-AFE in the back of my garage. I thought it was useful.

Speaker 2:

So you think maybe this is the Toyota version of the 5.3 sort of LS cast iron block truck engine that everyone's buying for 400 bucks from a wrecking yard, bolting on some eBay turbos and making a thousand at the wheels.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, definitely. I mean I don't think it has that sort of potential and I think in race trim I don't think it can touch the 4-AGE because we did have to do some trickery, for example the valve springs, the engine. The 4-AFE revs in stock form to, I think, 6.3, 6.2. So very, very low red line day. We designed it for economy. There is no dramatic upper RPM like in the 4-AGE. You don't have the sporty nature and that's why the valve springs are. If you take them out from the engine it takes very little effort to squeeze them with your finger. They're ridiculous. But we did find the replacement. We took dimensions, the exact dimensions, and we went to a machine shop that fortunately had like a giant, like a storage house of valve springs with numbers on it and we like compared one by one until we found the same one and it was an Opel Insignia 8 model, 2 liter diesel, something that has the exact dimensions but a lot of different springs.

Speaker 2:

So we went with those. On that note, do you sort of think you're making your life more difficult dealing with an engine that doesn't have the level of aftermarket support you know? Obviously 4-AGE, you can buy off the shelf valve spring kits off the shelf bigger valves. There's a variety of cam profiles, et cetera 100%.

Speaker 1:

This is definitely. I mean I spent some, but mostly it was time, it wasn't money. It was usually required time and creativity to fix these issues, because definitely it does require. It is a bit of a pain, but the bottom end you can rely on 4-AGE aftermarket. Actually, my whole bottom end is a 4-AGE. I mean I went with forged aftermarket inexpensive rods and a 4-AGE brand new crankshaft from Toyota which you can still buy, which is really acceptable, like, I think, $700 for a brand new crank and these cranks are good. I got ARP everything and it gives you a pretty solid bottom end. I went with the low compression 4-AGE pistons. I don't think those are available anymore. Again, original from Toyota. They're like semi-forged.

Speaker 2:

They're a really, really cost effective and strong option as well. I think a lot of people jumped to an aftermarket forging which I didn't realise they'd been discontinued, but aftermarket forged pistons probably around double the price and we were talking before we started recording this. I had a 4-AGE ZD bottom end in my KE70 drag car and that was all stock Toyota components internally crankshaft, con rods and the supercharged low compression pistons and we were making 500 wheel horsepower at the time. That was the last time I dinoed that car and we actually never had a failure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it goes to show you just how good I mean. You can see it honestly on these 80s and 90s Toyota's parts, brand new when you get them, what's still available from the dealerships you can honestly see the quality in these parts. It's even somebody who isn't educated or has zero experience in it you can see the quality. Sometimes you buy aftermarket forged pistons and I guaranteed it from some places they're going to be worse than the OEM stuff. Because back at the time, back in these decades, toyota had this mission and it was this obsession of building quality, of over-engineering, leaving this giant thick margin for error. And this is why the 2JZ and all of these engines are what they are, because they left these giant margins for error. I feel like the engineers sat in there and said you know, maybe somebody's going to run this engine with not enough oil. We should make it survive that. I mean. Nobody does that anymore, not even Toyota.

Speaker 2:

No, the safety factor in parts design is. I feel like a lot of engine manufacturers are running a very, very thin line with those margins. Whereas what was an AW11 supercharged engine rated at maybe 160, maybe 180 horsepower, I can't even remember. So for me to be able to take that to 500 at the wheels on stock engine components, you know there's numerous people took the older 2JZ up to 1000 wheel horsepower with all stock internals as well. I mean I couldn't necessarily recommend it but yeah, the fact you could do that. There's not a lot of engines these days you'll get that level of factory power multiplication without externally venting the block.

Speaker 1:

Now there's a lot of people who also don't understand. I get it off in comments, people saying, oh, you see the new Yaris GR, oh, they're pushing 400. Or this engine new, this engine from BMW, they're pushing this much, that much. But people don't understand how the difference in tuning that we have today and they also don't understand the very last margin of how far these engines are now pushed. They are basically like an athlete on steroids. You know whose veins are like popping on the neck. They're ready to explode at any moment. They're waiting for.

Speaker 1:

You know, and you had 10 years ago, 15, 20 years ago you did not have the kind of knock mongering or the ECUs and people were pushing this stuff. I mean it's a stupid reference, but you know, fast and furious, the Supras from that time. They looked like that and people were pushing that kind of horsepower on. You know the ECUs that don't compare in any way to what we have today and these engines ran and I mean they made power and they. So it just goes to show you how much the hardware is responsible for that.

Speaker 2:

Definitely talking about the ECU side of things. It looks like from Emory you went with the AEM Infinity on the MR2 build. What was the reason for going down that route?

Speaker 1:

Honestly, mostly due to my loyalty let's say, I'll be very open about this to AEM. Back when I was at this absolutely tiny channel I think, not think I know it was 16,000 subscribers I randomly tried sending emails and I sent an email to AEM and I said can you send me one of your wide bands and sensors, you know, and the gauge, and I'll make a video about it? I honestly didn't think anybody would respond and I sent a bunch of emails out to try and save some money, because when you start building a car, especially in my part of the world, you quickly run out of money because everything, everything. Imagine you have to imagine this that everything you buy, there is no store we go into that has everything. Okay, we order everything from abroad, everything goes through customs and everything that you see the price you see online. Always imagine a double, because I pay shipping and I pay customs and it's always double the price and you go in with your money and this is an expensive hobby, let's be honest and very quickly you just run out of money. And then I started sending these emails out to try and save, you know, some money and AEM was the only company that responded and I was totally amazed by response and I had a wide band gauge. They shipped it via DHL. They paid like for the most quickest, expensive shipping you can imagine. It was there across the damn Atlantic Ocean like 48 hours, you know, in Bosnia.

Speaker 1:

I was looking at it and that's a moment that I will I will never forget and in the future, you know. They said, oh, we like your videos and honestly, they were not that good. And they said we like your videos, it's nice content, this is usable. We can send this, you know, to people who want to see how to install the product. So if you want something in the future, we can. We will try, you know, to meet you make your demands and honestly, and when the products arrived, I saw, you know, it was a good product and I was like, okay, I can install this in the video. I'm proud to install this because it's actually good and I personally believe that this works and it's good. So I was happy there and in the future, whatever they sent, everything was good and I think, honestly, these reputable brands nowadays, you know AEM, haltech, motex, whoever you want, you know this is all of this is good stuff and people this is my personal opinion. People compare this versus that. All of this nowadays is honestly so good that whatever you buy, you're not gonna go wrong.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I'm using the AM ECU, the Infinity One, and this is you could say it's an old product, that's six, I think five or six years old, and I'm not using half the features. I mean that thing has, like I don't know, boost by gear can control wheel speed track. You can even do traction control with it if you're creative. You know so many features and all of these ECUs. When you put them side by side they all have it so and I realize that at the end of the day they all work on the same principle. And I said you know what? I'm gonna use AEM stuff because I can use it to demonstrate how it works. It's user friendly, it's easy to install, it's something that the average car guy can use and even if they get something different, it's still gonna be relatable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think you did right there on the fact that we're actually spoiled for choice now with the selection of modern ECUs, and I really I don't think, with probably a couple of exceptions is there's not very many bad options, particularly the mainstream, popular ones, like you mentioned. I'll chuck in there probably Cyvex, maybe Link, I'm undoubtedly forgetting a few M-tron would be another one. I mean, they all are going to run your engine and do an exceptionally good job of running the engine. It's only when, I think, you start getting involved in sort of higher levels of motorsport where you start wanting some of the more intricate functionality, such as, maybe, paddle shift or gear shift control, traction control, launch control.

Speaker 2:

All of these ECUs that we just listed probably have those features, but I've said this before and I'll say it again there's traction control and then there's traction control. They're not all created equal. One will stop the wheels from spinning, but you're gonna be slow. Another one will limit your wheel spin and control it, and you're actually gonna be faster around a racetrack, but that doesn't actually matter for everyone. In terms of learning how to actually use the AM Infinity and tune your MR2, how did you build up that skill set? Because, again, this is where we came from and sort of started. There was precious little information out there about tuning before we started making our courses and I know that when I started my career 20 plus years ago that was a challenge. I was forced to learn by trial and error.

Speaker 1:

When it comes to tuning. I mean, the beauty of ECUs and software is that ultimately they reflect reality of how an engine works. Especially now, with V tuning, what we have it's not pulse width anymore. We have Again the luxury that didn't exist what 10 years ago? 15, I don't know how much but once you understand the fundamentals of the engine, you understand the fundamentals of how the tuning software works. When it comes to actually learning the ins and outs most of this stuff, there's like massive online resources. I mean even the instruction manual that comes with the ECU, with the AM. If you actually read it, it's really useful.

Speaker 2:

Hard to believe, right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Just read the manual.

Speaker 1:

No, it sounds silly but when you read it, okay, most of that stuff, okay, this is that it. To be honest, once I plugged everything in, the wiring is the big part of it to do it, and for me that was the first full wiring job that I tackled from scratch by myself. I was involved in a few other projects, but usually my part was a small little part of the project. A task, maybe, do this, do that together. We made some decisions, but this was something that I did completely by myself in terms of wiring from start to finish, and I decided that that has to be done in an organized manner as well as I could, and I was amazed by how unorganized it came out at the end, despite my willingness and this really amazed me as a skill how much experience you need there and how much it needs to be approached. I was certain I was doing it right and it works everything works but it didn't turn out as pretty as I hoped and as tidy as I hoped and as serviceable as I hoped.

Speaker 2:

What I've seen is that the two areas that really capable enthusiasts to shy away from doing on their own projects one is the engine building and the other is the wiring. Now I kind of get the engine building side of things because on face value it's a bit that goes into it and obviously there's some machining work that's required. The wiring, I think, is one of those things where it's actually I want to say it's easier than most people think. But I think the part that puts people off is when you're dealing with electricity. You can't see the voltage, you can't see the current, you can't see the resistance. These are terms that are a little bit obscure and it's difficult for people to wrap their head around. But once you actually understand that, it is actually relatively basic. The two things I think are most important in any area. That people would go wrong is an eagerness to just jump in and start making the wiring harness. Let's get some wrongs of wire, have some side cutters and crack on it.

Speaker 2:

In our wiring courses we're very procedural in this and that first step is so important planning and then documentation and I'll often spend longer on that element, particularly for a motorsport concentrically twisted harness, because there's a lot of planning that goes into the layering, but I'll spend longer on that than actually constructing the harness. But the payoff is that you've got this document to work from. The rest of the process becomes seamless. If you've done your planning properly, you're almost guaranteed that the end result's going to work exactly as you expect. And, just as importantly, you've then got this roadmap of documentation that in six or 12 months time you come back. You want to change something, make a modification, maybe there's a problem that you need to diagnose. You've got this to look at and you know where every single pinout goes, and that's really frustrating if you just sort of jump in there and wire it up and we'll worry about the rest down the track.

Speaker 1:

That is suicide. I did make like a really, really nice diagram. I diagrammed everything so I can take it apart, put it back together, but somehow, in terms of what really disappointed me is the aesthetics, it just didn't end up looking nice. Again, that was a problem because the wiring available here locally is thick and weird and it's different than the gauges they specify in the US. So that was one of the issues that sort of pushed me back. But again, I think it could have been aesthetically much better.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I think you've got to also just like YouTube, you have to start somewhere. Your first wiring job I definitely I know mine was not something that I would have probably been particularly happy to put out as an HPA course. But again, I've been doing this now for 20 odd years and you sort of learn some tips and tricks. I mean, I always come away from a wiring job going it's good, I'm happy with it, I'm proud of it, but God, I wish I'd just changed this, this or this. It just could have been a little bit nicer. But I guess that's the difference between my level and those absolute pro operators Like Joel at Racebeck is just one example of those. Really they're doing it all day, every day. I just wanted to take a moment out of our interview here to talk about a course package that I think you'd really enjoy, if you've enjoyed our chat so far, and that is our engine building starter package. This course or package, of course, is normally retails for $299 USD, but I've got a special deal for you. Before I go into that, I'll just explain what's included and we start with our engine building fundamentals course, which, as its name implies, covers the fundamentals of engine building. You'll learn how the four stroke internal combustion engine works. You'll learn all of the parts involved. You'll also learn about the machining operations that are generally required when we're building a performance engine. You'll learn about clearances and tolerances.

Speaker 2:

Next up, we're also including our practical engine building course. That builds on the knowledge taught in the fundamentals course, but this time goes deep into the practical skills you'll require for actually building your own engine. This is a generic course, so it's not based on any particular engine. Doesn't matter if you're building an LS3 with a supercharger, a naturally aspirated 4AGE, a 2JZ or anything in between. This course is perfect for you. We know that when you get all of your parts back from the machine shop, it can be a little bit daunting knowing what to do first and what order to progress in.

Speaker 2:

And what we've done is broken down the entire engine building process into the HPA 10 step process. By doing this, each of those individual steps is relatively quick and easy to complete and by the time you get to the end, you're going to have the confidence that all of the parts you've selected are perfect for your application, as are the clearances and tolerances inside the engine, meaning that when it comes to start the engine for the first time, it's going to deliver great power, great torque and, most importantly, great reliability. This particular course is broken down into two parts, though. We've got the practical skills that you're going to need to learn. We've got the 10 step process, and then we've got a library of worked examples, which is where you can watch that 10 step process being applied in real time on a real engine building job, and here we vary the type of engine that we're building in order to give you experience on a broad range of different platforms.

Speaker 2:

The next course that we're including in this package is our how to degree a cam course. This is probably one of the more common upgrades people make when building a performance engine. This can be a great way of extracting more power and torque from your engine, but getting the best results out of an aftermarket cam does require the cam to be installed and degreed correctly, and this course will teach you how to do exactly that. Again, we've included a simple six step process that you can apply, irrespective whether you're building a push rod V8 or a quad cam V12 and, as usual, a library of worked examples so you can see exactly how that's applied. This package also includes two full years of gold membership that will give you access to our private members only online forum, which is the best place to get trustworthy answers to your specific questions. You'll also get access to our weekly live webinars, where we choose a particular topic on engine building, tuning or wiring, just to name a few and dive in deep for around about an hour. If you can watch live, you can ask questions and get answers in real time. If not, though, you can review our webinars in our archive, where we've got over 300 hours of existing content. This is one of the fastest ways to expand your knowledge on a wide range of automotive performance topics.

Speaker 2:

As I mentioned, this package deal is usually $299 USD. You can use the coupon code Driving100 and that will get you $100 off, bringing this package down to just $199 USD. This is amazing value for money, but there is still absolutely no risk with trying it out, because if you purchase and, for any reason at all, decide it's not quite what you expected, let us know and you'll get a full refund of the purchase price. We'll put a link to that course package, as well as that coupon code, in the show notes. For now, let's get back into our interview, alright. Well, let's get to the results of this MR2. Do you actually get an opportunity to tune it on a dyno, or is this sort of street tuning? Do you have numbers? How did it all go?

Speaker 1:

Okay. So the problem is I had to move. I'm now in a different country currently, but I will be back with the MR2. I didn't get to put it in a dyno. I wanted to put it in a dyno, but again, you're going to see context. Now In my city, which is the capital of my country, there is one dyno and that dyno what I wanted to do it. It was sold and the guy sold it as a used dyno to like a totally different city and he's now waiting for the new dyno. I'm hearing he's still waiting for a new dyno from, I think, germany. It's been three months now. So I didn't get to go in a dyno.

Speaker 1:

So what I did is I mean, this is pathetic, it has zero value, but it's something I did like a street dyno session with one of those cell phone dynos that uses the accelerometers, the G sensors in the cell phone to measure. It worked, the same one that I used before. I think it's called Perf expert or something. Sounds kind of weird, but I used it before. It was pretty consistent. It was like 10 horsepower, always 10 horsepower less than I got on an actual dyno with my bike car built.

Speaker 1:

So this time I got around 237 horsepower. It was sort of five horsepower up and down. I did about five runs, so I'm at around 200 something horsepower with 14, I think 14.5, 14.4 PSI of boost, which is basically just what's on the stock wastegate spring of the max speeding rods. My little budget turbo, which I like the budget turbos because they're very budget friendly and you get to put a turbo on the engine and see what it actually feels and performs like, and it gives you this opportunity to test without spending a lot of money. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who cashed out massive amounts for a GTX, for a Borg Warner EFR, the best kind of stuff. They put it on the car and they hated it.

Speaker 2:

It's an expensive mistake to find you've got the wrong size turbo.

Speaker 1:

But many people build for the street. They build for the street, but they get inspired by motorsport YouTubers or I don't know something, and somebody convinces them this is what you need. This is going to get you the power this is going to get, and it gives them this peaky car that, like, explodes at 6,000 RPM.

Speaker 2:

Is a dog everywhere else.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's fast in a straight line, but driving it through corners and these people want to drive through corners. We have some amazing roads if you want to drive through corners and there's zero traffic on them like 99% of the time, and these cars they end up sucking on this. So these people take these turbos and then try to sell them, and it's really hard to sell them because nobody wants to buy something so expensive that's used. So that's why I went with the budget thing and I put it on, because I think that the GT 28 is basically a clone of, you know, an old school Garrett GT 28.

Speaker 1:

I thought it would be big for a 1.6 and it is as sort of what I expected. It starts pulling up at around 3.94, which is kind of8, but it is good enough. I'm revving to 7,000 and when you're actually in the corners it is very satisfying. You can keep it at boost 80% of the time. So I'm pretty happy and, I have to say, pretty impressed with a turbo that basically costs $200, $300, which is, I mean, to me is mind boggling.

Speaker 2:

Wow, that's a lot of turbo for the money.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, it's incredible.

Speaker 2:

So a couple of points I'll just add into this. I think you know again I've discussed this time and time again, but it is so important to focus on I think these days there's a real disconnect between people building cars and their actual experience driving the type of car that they're trying to build. And it's very easy to watch YouTube channels with cars making 1,800 horsepower. You know, you read blogs, you read magazines back in the day and all of these cars to be feature worthy have probably got massive power output. That the reality is. That's fine for a certain application, but for a street car the power is much less important than a white power band and getting something that sort of peaky and doesn't start really producing usable boost until after 6000 RPM it's fun for a little squirt, but particularly through any windy corners where you need a wider power band, that the car will be an absolute slug. So I think that's important to sort of mention there the turbo sizing as well.

Speaker 2:

I think this is an area where there's absolutely a science behind it. You know, borgworn's matchbot is a great way of kind of not guessing about the turbo sizing and having an understanding of how the turbo will perform on a given car, but there is still a level of testing that's required, particularly if you're competing in motorsport and you need a certain combination. You might not get that right on the very first try. Maybe it's as simple as changing an exhaust housing AR but maybe you might go through a couple of turbos and, like you said, that's an expensive exercise. What I'd say, though 237 horsepower, I think, was what you mentioned there. I mean, this is a light car, the AW11, so I can imagine that would be an absolute ball to drive, good fun.

Speaker 1:

No, definitely. I mean I was mesmerised with it. With the bike carbs there was this you know, screamer, typical, naturally aspirated 4AGE. You know you have to push it all the time, you have to sit on the throttle, like that's fun in its own way, like NA is fun because it forces you to be like real aggressive all the time. But I had poor throttle modulation due to the nature of the bike carbs because, let's face it, they are designed to be operated by hand and not by a foot. So it was kind of hard and I have proper throttle modulation now, that sort of power.

Speaker 1:

My original aim was a 300 horsepower. Honestly, I'm sort of starting to shy away from that because I think it's going to ruin what it is now. And now the car is really confident, inspiring. You can really push it hard. It's not too much but it is. There is a big punch when you need it.

Speaker 1:

And I think one of the things that was a massive revolution for me was that I installed a Quafe ATB, a limited slip differential. Some people say it's not a limited slip differential, it's a automatic torque biasing differential. But whatever you get, I mean it's a torsion and I installed it and I thought that, due to the nature of the mid-engined anatomy of the car, the engine is in the back, so when you're powering through a corner, the weight transfers to the back. There should never be so much need for a limited slip differential. Well, there is, and it really really makes a massive difference. And now you can do something that I could never do before and that is by adding throttle through the corner, you're actually helping the car steer.

Speaker 1:

You enter this and it's progressive and I really haven't driven it. I did about 400 kilometers. I made out of video, I updated about 270 kilometers. I did about 400 kilometers and I really wish I could have done more and I can't wait to get back and be reunited with the car. But through the corners you can do this, what you can't do before, and it really eliminated this tendency of the AW11 chassis to feel sort of snappy and twitchy when you're near the limit. Somehow I'm not 100% sure because I'm not yet totally invested in this suspension. Everything is still this enthusiast level, street testing and then fixing that. But I keep it at that level because I don't have a choice and also because I think it helps also make that part of my content realistic and relatable and it's amazing to see motorsport level stuff and be inspired and strive towards that. But when you're on an enthusiast level, you are constrained by these things budget and stuff.

Speaker 2:

And I mean, I think that is, as you say, relatable though, because 99% of people out there don't have an unlimited budget to throw at their build. So it's all about what you can do with your resources to get the best possible result. So hence, as you say, the cheap entry level turbo, but it might not be a Borg Warner or a Garrett, but it's still getting a pretty stand up result. Let's move on.

Speaker 2:

I had a list of your more popular videos that, as I mentioned earlier, sort of getting up around that sort of 5 million plus views that I kind of wanted to dive into. We've sort of already briefly gone over the horsepower and torque. There are a couple of others that I'll see if we've sort of got time to go through One of them. Obviously you've got a lot of deep interest in engines, engine development, engine performance, and one of the videos that I found quite interesting on your channel was one about rod to stroke ratio, and I think this is another one of those relatively obscure sort of terms that people don't understand or don't even really understand exists. Can you talk us through it? What's important about the rod to stroke ratio? And I guess, start with what is it?

Speaker 1:

Sure, I mean. What I just want to add is that in general, a lot of my videos one of the popular ones sort of feed on my obsession with it's not just about building engines but for me it's engine anatomy and engine geometry and these things. Like at some point I really got deep into it and like engine balance. Many of these stuff for an enthusiast really don't matter. I mean, you're never going to modify your rod to stroke ratio as an enthusiast. I think 90% of the people won't touch it. They won't move the pin in the piston, they won't get a stroke or kit. Many of them just won't do any of that. But it's still really nice to be able to wrap your head around it. Because once you wrap your head around it really helps you understand even better how an engine works. And then you research your own engine's rod to stroke ratio and it tells you something about your engine.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'll just interrupt there. I'd say that, indirectly, I reckon a fair few enthusiasts are modifying their rod to stroke ratio, and they're doing it by necessity and they're making it worse. And what I'm talking about here is stroker kits, because typically, with very few exceptions, stroker kits are a popular option for a number of engines and ultimately, because of the increase in stroke and the fixed geometry of the deck height of the block, you are inevitably going to end up with a worse rod to stroke ratio than you did with the stock crankshaft. So I digress. Let's get back to what you were saying, though.

Speaker 1:

Sure, I mean basically the whole deal with the rod stroke ratio. I mean, as the name says, it's the ratio of the length of your rod to the length of your engine stroke. And I mean the key thing that I always when it comes to this that helped me understand it and how I try to explain it is you're modifying how much your rod angles or how much it steps out from its path of travel. I mean, the piston goes up and down, the crankshaft rotates, but the rod has this complicated path and the more you make it step out, the faster it's going to pull the piston down. And if you look at an engine with a relatively high rod stroke ratio, for example the 4AGE, which is like one point I forgot, but that's an engine where you have where the rod angles a lot and it pulls the piston down pretty fast and you have other engines where, basically, you have a rod stroke ratio where you don't have this and you have then even better cylinder filling and a bunch of other stuff.

Speaker 2:

And these are difficult concepts to explain without the benefit of graphics, which obviously doesn't lend itself well to podcasting.

Speaker 2:

But we'll try and put some images or, maybe actually just easiest, a link to your video about it, because we can't explain it any better than what you've done. So people who want to find out a little bit more about it can. And I mean basically, if you look at what we're talking about there and consider an engine with a conventional length conrod and then look at what that would look like in terms of the angulation of the rod to the piston if we had a conrod of infinite length obviously clearly impossible, but that really highlights those differences. The subtle element is, while most people understand that in a full rotation of the crankshaft the piston obviously starts at the top of the stroke, moves to the bottom and moves to the top, and that's fixed when that's just the engine rotation. But what's actually happening to the piston velocity between top dead center and bottom dead center? Easy to assume that that's fixed, but it isn't, is it? This is something that the rod to stroke ratio changing that can affect the way the piston actually accelerates away from top dead center.

Speaker 1:

Yes, basically, yeah, obviously. I mean again, this brings us back to the rod stepping out. I mean, yeah, when you angle it, it obviously it's relative length in relation to the piston and the crankshaft changes, so the rod sort of pulls the piston down. So if the rod, if you modify your rod to stroke ratio in a way that the rod angles more, you're going to have less dwell time of the piston at the update center. You're going to increase how fast the piston basically escapes from the area of top dead center because your rod steps out more, it angles more and the more it angles, the shorter quote unquote shorter it becomes in relation to the, to the straight line between the piston and the crankshaft. So the more you angle, the faster you're going to pull the piston down and then the less time your piston is going to spend at top dead center.

Speaker 2:

Now that can actually prove beneficial in aiding cylinder fill at a certain RPM range because that faster acceleration away from top dead center. Basically what that's creating is it's increasing the volume inside the combustion chamber, inside the cylinder quicker relative to a longer rod stroke ratio, so that can create a higher differential pressure between the intake manifold and the cylinder in that instant, helping to aid cylinder fill. But there's no free lunch here. What works at low RPM can be detrimental at high RPM, correct?

Speaker 1:

When you get to high RPM, you will of course want more piston dwell time at high RPM because you want to give the engine a bit more time, if possible, to breathe, basically. And the faster the piston goes down, this starts then going, basically not doing your favor anymore, because now the piston is going down too fast and you don't have enough time to fill the cylinder.

Speaker 2:

So really reading between the lines here, what we've got is a rod to stroke ratio. There's no magic number. It's dependent on the design of the engine and if we've got something that's low revving, probably we're going to find that that will have a lower rod stroke ratio. But if we're looking at maybe a sport bike or maybe again coming back to our F1 example earlier much longer rod to stroke ratio optimised for that high RPM performance. One thing I will point out as well is that it's difficult to alter the rod to stroke ratio on a factory engine because, like I said, we're kind of fixed with the deck height of the block kind of defines. Really we've got to fit the ring pack onto the piston and that in turn defines how high in the piston the wrist pin can fit, which is the compression height, so that then between the deck height of the block, compression height of the piston and the crankshaft therefore defines the length of the connecting rod. So within reason we're relatively limited with what we can do. But there are exceptions to this and I mean one of the classics would be the 4G63, 4g64, where the 64 is a 2.4 litre engine. It achieves this with a 100 mil stroke versus 88 mm. It's got a 6 mm taller deck on the block and it's a larger bore diameter. So that's how we get to 2.4 litres.

Speaker 2:

But people in the Mitsubishi world will mix and match components. So a classic is to use the 88 mm 2 litre crankshaft in the 64 block and then obviously with the stock 156 mm rod. The piston's not going to come up to be flush with the deck of the block. That therefore allows a longer connecting rod to be fitted to get the piston where it needs to be at TDC. Now we've actually got an improved rod stroke ratio. You wanna go one step further? You can use a stroker style piston where the wrist pin has also been moved up in the block. This is how people fit the 100 mm crankshaft into the shorter deck 4G63 block and make it all work, so that wrist pin then intersects the oil control ring, which is fine. We just use a rail to support that. We've got the rod moved up in the piston. That allows again a longer rod, again improving our rod stroke ratio. So it is possible. Not all engines have that level of flexibility, but the 63, 64 is one that just springs to mind.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you basically have a factory available stroke kit, whereas other engines you have to get one in the aftermarket.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, correct, correct. While we're on sort of engine topics as well, another one that I see a huge amount of confusion in is engine balance. You've got a few videos that cover this. So, again, huge amount of misinformation around this. I mean, a lot of people sort of understand that balancing our engine components in terms of making, say, all of the pistons weigh the same, within maybe half a gram or a gram that's probably a good idea. Things get a little bit trickier when we're talking about balancing the connecting rods, because the connecting rod is not just a simple case of making sure that the overall weight of the rod is the same. We actually separate out the small end and the big end. Anyway, let's start by talking about the terms primary and secondary balance. Can you explain those?

Speaker 1:

Primary balance. This is basic. Both primary and secondary balance is something inherently built into the engine. For example, the balance you mentioned which is we would call this what? The static balance of the components. You could even call it dynamic balance if you take into account from a different perspective. But basically this is something you can modify by changing the weight of the components you can shave off a little bits. But the primary and secondary balance is something that is inherently built into the engine and it's primary influenced by the number of the pistons and actually number of the cylinders. So primary balance this is, if you want to call it the most simple from a physics perspective.

Speaker 1:

You can feel and see primary balance by moving your hand up and down, and this is the inertia related to an object. So the piston goes up and down and when it changes direction, obviously it's going to exert an inertial force in the direction in which it was traveling before it changed direction. So I don't know. You can simulate this to yourself and I like to make it illustrative grab something you know with your hand, take it in your hand and try to quickly move it up and down and you will see that the object, again due to inertia, wants to travel in the direction in which it was traveling. The piston does that, of course, in a much greater, at a much greater level, because we have much higher velocities than you were ever able to achieve with your hand. Of course, when the piston changes direction, it exerts a force onto the engine and this is why, for example, single cylinder engines have a horrible primary balance. If you do not balance it out, there is just one piston and there is no other piston to balance that piston out. So when one piston is atop that center, you know it's exerting its force upward, because it's going up and then changes direction, going down, it exerts the force upward. And this is why, in a single cylinder, if you take a motorcycle engine apart, you're going to find some sort of either counterweight or another form of balancing that counteracts that force and keeps the engine balance.

Speaker 1:

In some cases this creates a rocking moment, because you have these two forces which are pointing. They are canceling each other out, but they do have a distance between them, basically a horizontal or you could say I mean horizontal displacement between these two forces, and this then tries to sort of, you know, twist the engine around. So you get two cylinders, one goes up, the other goes down, you can achieve sort of a perfect primary balance. Again, quote unquote perfect, primary, perfect balance. Because it's not going to be perfect. The only way the smallest number of cylinders that you're going to need with a conventional engine to have perfect primary balance is going to be four, because you have two going up, two going down and there's no rocking moment because the two inner ones and the two outer ones they will cancel each other in a way that they try to twist the engine, but they're sort of trying to and this is going to sound stupid but they're trying to break the engine, you know, in half, but you don't have that. It's not a rocking moment. You can't break the engine in half. There's no imbalance of that kind.

Speaker 1:

Now secondary balance again brings us back to our rod stepping out. So as the rod angles, as the piston goes from top that center to 90 degrees of engine rotation, the rod gets ever more angled. It steps out from its you know, from its perfectly vertical position. As it does this, it pulls the piston down. Now, to understand secondary balance, we have to think about it and observe it separately from primary balance. You have to forget about what the piston is doing. We're just focusing on what the rod is doing to the piston. And as the rod angles, as it steps out, it's pulling the piston down, which means that the rod itself is creating this angling of the rod is creating a little force. Now secondary forces are much smaller than primary forces, but they still exist. They're about one quarter usually this is not very, you know exact, but usually about one quarter of primary forces and these secondary forces, again they do create vibrations and again you have to cancel them out.

Speaker 1:

Now to deal with primary and secondary forces. So primary forces of a piston when the piston is atop that center, the force obviously points out because the points upward, because the piston is changing direction. When it's at bottom that center, the force points downward because it's changing direction from going down to going up. But secondary forces are different. When the piston is atop that center, the force points up. But the force also points up when the piston is at bottom that center, because we are just observing the rod and the rod is perfectly vertical. I mean it's not perfectly vertical in reality, but it's very close to perfectly vertical at top that center and bottom that center and it's fully angled at 90 and 270 degrees, which is why the secondary forces point down.

Speaker 1:

So a inline force cylinder, for example, it's going to have horrible secondary balance but really good primary balance. However, the deal is that when I say horrible secondary balance, many people perceive this as something oh, the engine is going to vibrate, it's going to fall apart. It's not. You have again other factors which then tie into this and, for example, again a rod to stroke ratio, the size of the engine, the size of the pistons. All of this is going to dictate the mass of the pistons, how much secondary imbalance you're going to have.

Speaker 1:

So you have engines which are inline force cylinder engines which have no balancing shafts, four secondary balance, so it's just left there, and these are vibrations which are small and which you can get rid of with engine mounts or other clever little engineering tricks and you won't really feel the secondary balance. It won't be that bad. It's there, but it's not something horrible, whereas primary balance is much more noticeable, and something that's also really noticeable is a gap in your firing interval. Many people perceive this as we have to perceive it because due to human senses, as vibrations. So a big gap in firing interval, which you can see, for example, in a V-twin or in a single cylinder of that it usually feels a lot worse and a lot more vibey and less smooth than, for example, a poor secondary balance.

Speaker 2:

Yep, okay, I think you've done probably as good a job of explaining that as we could possibly hope for.

Speaker 2:

A really good example of getting this dead wrong is back in my old workshop days I had a customer with a Skyline had a built RB30 turbo engine in it I think I probably told the story again, but doesn't hurt to share it again and the whole time from when he came to me it had a horrible vibration and it was really noticeable in and around idle. Just transitioning off idle didn't actually notice it so much when you're up higher in the rev range. And we chased this problem for a couple of years. We thought it was a clutch issue, a flywheel. We went through the whole thing and in the end I think it ended up having a head gasket fail or something like that. So we pulled the engine down and the reason for that was that whoever had built the engine previously had five matched connecting rods and one completely different rod, which was probably 100 grams difference in weight. And the fact that the engine even ran as reliable as it did is amazing, but I mean classic example there of the imbalance in how you feel that.

Speaker 1:

That's the only way to ruin an NON6, because they are inherently quote unquote perfectly balanced. So you really have to mess it up for it to feel 100 grams a lot. I mean, at what 5000 rpm 100 grams is half a ton? I mean it's not, but yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean I'm pulling numbers out of the sky here. Maybe it wasn't quite 100 grams, but it was absolutely noticeable. The other element with this is how the engines are balanced, depending on the configuration of the engine. So in the inline four cylinder, for example, there we can balance the crankshaft independent of the connecting rods and the pistons. Basically, we balance the connecting rods and pistons together, make sure that they're all balanced and then the crankshaft can be balanced. We leave that to an engine machinist because it requires some special equipment.

Speaker 2:

When you're starting to look at maybe a V8, for example, I think it's a little bit more complex there and the mass of the piston and rod actually has to be taken into account with a bob weight calculation which is then attached to the crankshaft during the balancing process. Now another area that sort of I think there's a crossover and again some confusion here is the purpose of a harmonic dampener and we see these on the snow to the crankshaft I mean just about any production engine's going to have one and the aftermarket. We have aftermarket options from the likes of ATI and Fluid Damper. What do these do for our engine balance? Like? I think people think these are here as a band aid for not balancing the engine properly, but it's a little bit different, correct.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, for example, in an inline four, you really are never going to need the crankshaft pulley to do anything in terms of balancing the engine, because it cannot do anything in terms of balancing the engine. If you were to put some sort of, let's say, an offset weight on the crankshaft pulley of an inline four, the only thing you can do is create an imbalance. The only scenario where the crankshaft pulley can actually do something in terms of engine balance is on engines which have an inherent anatomical imbalance in them. For example, take a v6 engine. You have two inline threes and inline three has a primary imbalance and these imbalances translate into the v6 engine and you have some v6 engines, for example, top of my head, the alfarmail busso v6 engine. It has an offset weight crankshaft pulley and an offset offset weight flywheel, and these do, in fact, they are doing something in terms of engine balance and if you were to remove these and install some sort of solid aluminum pulley, you will do something bad for the engine, definitely, but in an inline four, the crankshaft pulley does not play this role.

Speaker 1:

It does not do this and it's simply a harmonic dampener and fewer to take, not the, just a basic is just a dampener. If you were to take a crankshaft pulley of most inline fours and you take it apart and inside you will see there's a little rubber, basically a rubber ring, a rubber layer, and there's these two things which are one of the parts is encased in the rubber layer. So these two parts can sort of move very little, you know, independently and this simply dampens out the harmonics created by the engines. The engine at certain rpm, you know which occurs. So if you take this and remove it from the engine and put a different pulley, you are not going to automatically offset something, some sort of balance on the engine and create damage or whatever. But this is again it's very important to know what kind of engine configuration we're talking about.

Speaker 2:

Sure, so there's a couple of things you mentioned there the v6 with the external balance, essentially on the crank pulley as well as the flow. So we refer to these as an externally balanced engine. So very different. There I think the general misconception is we've got a, let's say, the inline six which has the perfect primary and well, can have perfect primary and secondary balance. So you know, people think, well, it's balanced, therefore there's nothing more to consider. But the reality is that's static when we've actually got the engine operating and we've got these combustion events happening and basically they're putting tiny sort of little torsional vibrations into the crank pins and that is what our harmonic damper is there to actually dampen out, correct? Yes, exactly. So this is independent of engine balance. They have two completely separate entities.

Speaker 1:

I think this comes, this thing, that it has something to do with balance. I think it comes, I'm pretty sure, from V8s, traditionally American V8s, like the Chevy Small Block and other engines where, as you said, it's external balance, where the crankshaft pulley actually plays a part in the balance of the engine. I think this somehow spread into all other engines where in fact it does not. But again, what you mentioned with Ford Amper and ATI, and the other one is Superdampers, is that like a model name of ATI or is it a separate brand?

Speaker 2:

I think that is. Yeah, I think that's the ATI product actually. I think it's the ATI Superdampers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it's like white and it has Superdampers written on it. And you will see this on all high powered builds because, as you explained, you are trying these. The more power you're making, the more you're pushing the engines, the greater the role these little you know harmonics that you're trying to get out of the engine, the more it will be important to have one of these on your engine, because the more power there is, the more torsional vibration there is, the more stress there is on the components and you really do want to dampen these in the case of a serious build.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, okay, Alright, we could go on for another couple of hours, I'm quite sure, but I am aware of how long we've gone so far and we want to respect your time. So I think we're going to move towards wrapping this up, and we have the same three questions. The first of these questions is what's next in the future for you, and I mean specifically here driving for answers. You know you've seen a huge level of success. I think you're getting pretty close to a million subscribers, which is a huge achievement for any YouTube channel. What's the, what's the sort of five year plan for driving for answers? Where do you see yourself First?

Speaker 1:

of all. Yeah, thank you. I mean that's a tough one From one perspective. I want to keep everything as is and just just keep improving the content and not really fundamentally change anything, because I just want to keep exploring interesting topics within the realm of engineering, mechanical engineering, car and bike enthusiasm and stuff like that I would like to introduce. I'm now starting, I want to explore, I want to start a little series where I explore different kinds of engines.

Speaker 1:

I recently made a video about sterling engines. I want to even go back to, you know, steam engines do a little. I want to do introduce a bit more tangible content to the channel in terms of these, because I talked a lot about these mechanical concepts that I did a lot of you know, diagrams and drawings and I want to see sort of that. Try and make it a bit into practice. I did this to an extent with my four stroke versus two stroke video. I cut basically a four stroke and a two stroke engine and a half one cylinders and I like that.

Speaker 1:

I have to like the video myself in order before we get successful, because I really like all the videos that do did get a lot of views. I didn't publish them until I liked them myself. So in the next five years I don't think there's going to be fundamental changes. I'm going to try to make basically to improve the quality as much as possible and to try to explore these little you know side areas where I want to introduce slightly variation, slightly different, you know types of content with a bit more, let's say, tangible stuff and it's more relatable and not just green, screen and graphs and stuff like that. But there's going to be more screen, screen and graphs as well.

Speaker 2:

Sounds good. More to look forward to. Next question Is there any advice you'd give to a younger version of yourself to help reach where you are today in your career faster? And I'm guessing here maybe five years of political work might not have maybe helped you towards your goal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I like to think that everything you know, even things that are that you could see as a losses and failures, I think they are lessons in some respect. And all of this time, maybe I wouldn't be passionate about you know engineering and engines and cars as much if I hadn't suffered and you know, in that sense it was an escape, it was a revelation. So maybe that's why I enjoy it still, you know, and keep enjoying it maybe. But a piece of advice is, I don't know, question yourself less or maybe question yourself more. I'm not sure.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes it's very conflicting.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm not sure. I mean some things should be questioned, but some others I shouldn't be overthinking. So it's completely useless advice and probably the most useless you know version of me from the future. If I were to meet myself, I don't think I could help myself. So nothing good here.

Speaker 2:

I'll tell you what I mean, because we talked about this earlier and I think we've both experienced this, so I'll just mention here which I already said. But I think the actual saying is don't let perfection become the enemy of good enough. It's so easy to fall into that trap of iterative improvements and, you know, never releasing a video because you can make it better. And I mean, let's be honest, you're always going to be able to make it better. But is it good enough? Is it high quality? Does it get the topic out there? Let's put it out there and then let's learn from that and see the feedback.

Speaker 2:

The other element there is I think that people that are looking at a YouTube, building a YouTube channel, will also use that as an excuse to overcome their fear of putting it out and seeing how the public respond. But at some point you know, if you want to be successful, you have to actually press send and actually see what happens. Next question and our last question for today if people want to follow you and see what you're up to, how they're best to do so. So what's your YouTube channel, your Instagram, etc.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, everything is driving for answers. It's I think it's separate everywhere driving number four answers, and it should come up. It's a weird name. Nothing else is called driving for answers, so there shouldn't be much trouble finding it. I am on Instagram, but don't bother, it's just recycled YouTube content that I put out there. And I'm also on TikTok, but that's recycled Instagram content. So basically, youtube is where you want to go. I first published there. Everything is there. I do some posts from time to time. I'm also considered doing a podcast, but since it's a one man show, I'm having difficulties finding time to do anything other than the main videos itself. So I have a Patreon. I have a Patreon. I have a Patreon. I sometimes publish behind the scenes stuff, so that's also just called driving for answers. You can find me there. You can join for $1.

Speaker 2:

Right, well, as usual, put those links in the show notes to make it super easy for people to find. And, honestly, I would urge anyone who's got to the end of this go and watch some of the driving for answers videos. I haven't seen better explanations of complex topics, which is, of course, why we're here talking today. Really appreciate your time. This one has gone long, but it's been great to actually get a chance to chat in person. So really appreciate it and we look forward to seeing all of the great content you're bound to produce in the future.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much, man. Thank you so much. Coming from you, I mean, that means a lot. Thank you so much, man.

Speaker 2:

Thank you If you enjoyed this episode, if you've tuned in with driving for answers. We'd love it if you could drop a review on your chosen podcasting platform. These reviews really help us to grow our audience and that, in turn, helps us to continue to get more high quality guests To say thanks. Each week, we'll be picking a random reviewer and sending them out an HPA t-shirt free of charge, anywhere in the world. This is also a great place to ask any questions you might have too, and I'll do my best to answer them if your review gets picked. So this week, a big shout out to JC Goodchap from Australia, who has said engine building and tuning 101. Go to Building my turbo Honda CRX sleeper. This podcast has been invaluable. Plenty of relatable, easy to follow information both here and on their online training platform. For budget garage races like myself, whether you're chasing a 1000 plus horsepower from your RB or Barra or just budget boosting your daily, there is something for everyone in these entertaining podcasts. Well, great to hear that you're getting so much value out of the podcast, and if you get in touch with your t-shirt size and shipping details, we'll get a fresh tee shipped straight out to you.

Speaker 2:

Alright, that concludes our interview and before we sign off, I just wanted to mention for anyone who's been perhaps hiding under a rock and hasn't heard of High Performance Academy before. We are an online training school and we specialise in teaching a range of performance automotive topics Everything from engine tuning and engine building through to wiring, car suspension and wheel alignment, data analysis and race driver education. Now remember, you've got that coupon code. You can use podcast75 at the checkout to get $75 off the purchase of your first course. You'll find our full course list at hpacademycom. Forward slash courses. Important to mention that when you purchase a course from us, that course is yours for life as well. It never expires. You can rewatch the course as many times as you like, whenever you like.

Speaker 2:

The purchase of a course will also give you three months of access to our Gold membership. That gives you access to our private members only forum, which is the perfect place to get answers to your specific questions. You'll also get access to our regular weekly members webinars, which is where we touch on a particular topic in the performance automotive realm. We dive into that topic for about an hour. If you can watch live, you can ask questions and get answers in real time. If the time zones don't work for you, that's fine too. You're going to get access as a Gold member to our previous webinar archive. We've got close to 300 hours of existing content in that archive. It is an absolute gold mine. So remember that coupon code, podcast75,. Check out our course list at hpacademycom. Forward slash courses.

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