Brodix Cylinder Heads, Engine Block & Intake Manifold Insight - CHP Insider

Jeff Brotherton of Brodix Schools Us in the Art of Cylinder Head, Block, and Intake Manifold Design & Manufacturing

Stephen Kim Feb 1, 2009 0 Comment(s)
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Port Shape
The constant struggle to achieve the ideal balance between airflow and cross-sectional area is influenced heavily by port shape, and Brodix opts for oval ports whenever possible. "Almost every head we build is an oval-port design, as there are really no performance benefits of a rectangle port," says Brotherton. "An oval port maintains a uniform shape throughout the head from the port entrance all the way to the bowl. This keeps airflow constant, which improves velocity. Plus, unlike a rectangle port, oval ports have no corners for fuel to get stuck in."

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"The goal at Brodix has never been to offer the cheapest products on the market, and our R&D efforts clearly illustrate why this is the case. Our niche is manufacturing the highest-quality castings around, a process that is all done in-house. Every new part starts as an idea, and then we must determine what price range and market we want to enter. Sometimes we can modify an existing cylinder head to meet our goals, but we often have to start from the ground up. A good 70 percent of our R&D work is done the 'ol old-fashioned way. You can do all the computer designing you want, but until you test a set of heads on the flow bench, on the dyno, at the track, and on the street, you have no idea how it will affect the acceleration and throttle-response of a motor. Once the tooling and CNC programs are finalized, we can move into manufacturing mode. Designing a new head from the ground up takes close to a year from start to finish."

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Repair Facility
Brodix has what is arguably the best cylinder head repair service in the industry. Regardless of the type of cylinder heads that are in need of repair, Brodix offers the service to everybody. According to Brotherton, there's really no such thing as a head that can't be fixed. "Nine times out of 10, whether you've hit water while porting a casting too thin or blown a chunk of metal out of the combustion chamber, we can fix whatever you send us, but the question is whether or not it's cost-effective," he explains. "All you have to do is send us your heads and include a note in the box of what you'd like done to them. We'll then survey the damage and give you a price quote on what it will take to repair them. How good they turn out has a lot to do with the quality of the castings. Good castings can be heat-treated back to like-new condition, but factory heads have a tendency to get soft. Also keep in mind that all epoxy will be lost during the welding and heat treating."

Racing Exploits
It's been said that racing improves the breed, and Brodix has been involved in on-track competition from day one. In addition to the high-profile action in NHRA Pro Stock and World of Outlaws sprint cars, the company is deeply involved in grassroots competition such as circle track, late-model dirt car, Outlaw 10.5, power boat, and tractor-pull racing. That translates into a seamless transition of racing technology into Brodix's consumer product line. "The world is just now starting to hear about wet flow technology in cylinder heads, but we've been using it in our R&D efforts since 1986," Brotherton says. "We just kept it under wraps for a couple decades because of the advantage it gave us. The current direction of our company is to continue involvement in all forms of racing while developing more products for the street and show-car markets."

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Easy 18-Degree Conversion
Everyone knows that 18-degree small-block Chevy heads are an all-around superior design to a conventional 23-degree head, but most shy away from them due to the costly valvetrain components they require. Brodix feels your pain and has solved the problem with its -18X castings, which are compatible with 23-degree valvetrain hardware. "These heads still require an 18-degree-specific intake manifold and pistons, but they take advantage of the improved architecture without the need for offset lifters or pushrods," explains Brotherton. "It's a bit of a Catch-22, since we don't have as much flexibility with the intake port, but we were still able to improve upon the three most important aspects of port design, which are the valve job, short turn radius, and port entrance. The 18-degree design not only affords a flatter angle but enables using larger valves as well. As cast, these heads flow over 320 cfm out of the box and are good for at least 50 hp over a 23-degree casting."


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