Cylinder Head Port Design - CHP How It Works

Part 2 Of Our Cylinder Head Roundtable. Our All-Star Cast Of Experts Chime In On The Most Intriguing Aspects Of Cylinder Head Port Design.

Stephen Kim May 4, 2010 0 Comment(s)
View Full Gallery

Bryce Mulvey: "A CNC machine only cuts the ports. It takes someone that knows what they're doing to create that port in the first place. Just because a head is CNC machined doesn't mean it performs as well as any other CNC head. It takes us three to four months just to design a port, and we might ruin five to six heads in the process. We then digitize the ports, cut the heads, and figure out which parts of the head are off the mark and correct the program accordingly. The tooling used to cut the head also impacts consistency. It takes a tremendous effort, but once the process is complete, you can replicate the port you spent hundreds of hours creating very precisely. Our goal is to get our CNC heads flowing within five cfm of our prototype ports, which is very hard to do. No one's going to be able to pay $6,000 for a set of heads, and the CNC machine allows you to pack $6,000 worth of performance for a fraction of the cost."

Airflow Needs
Darin Morgan: "To properly select the correct heads for any given application, you need to determine your engine's intended use (drag, endurance, etc), volumetric efficiency, rpm range needed for your target hp, valve area needed to achieve sufficient airflow for your target hp, piston and cylinder head peak cfm demands, target air speeds throughout the induction system, volume of the overall induction system, resonant tuning characteristics, and carburetor airflow requirements. Once you answer all these questions, then you can pick out the perfect cylinder head and induction system. It's complex and no simple three or four variable equation is going to give you a sufficient answer. It takes experience and a lot of mathematical evaluation of the entire system to come up with the answer. Port design is not as simple as most people would like to think. This is why you see that most of the top port designers have 25-plus years of experience under their belts. So how is a new up-and-coming engine builder or hot rod enthusiast supposed to make a well-informed decision? With education, a person can now learn the underlying variables and characteristics that govern the induction system. With today's porting schools and long-term tech schools, a novice can learn to design basic ports in one tenth the time it took my generation. One short-term crash course is my two-day Advanced Induction System Design School. The school consists of a decade of information crammed into 20 hours. Anyone who has been through it can tell you that it will leave your head spinning with enough information to keep you thinking for the next year. There are also software programs such as Engine Analyzer Pro and PipeMax that can show people their engine's all-important airflow demand versus their cylinder heads' expected airflow. With Engine Analyzer and PipeMax, I can run calculations to properly size certain areas in the port in as little as 30 minutes. Before this type of software came out, it would have taken a day to do all the calculations."


Air Flow Research
Valencia, CA 91355
Trick Flow Specialties
Tallmadge, OH 44278
Mena, AR 71953
Pro-Filer Performance Products
New Carlisle, OH 45344
Dart Machinery
Troy, MI 48084
Racing Head Service
Memphis, TN 38118
Darin Morgan Cylinder Heads
Dayton, OH
Doctor J's Performance
Anaheim, CA 92802


Connect With Us

Get Latest News and Articles. Newsletter Sign Up

subscribe to the magazine

get digital get print