BluePrint Engines Explains Crate Packages - How it Works

Building durable, high-output street engines isn't easy and BluePrint Engines explains how it's done

Stephen Kim Mar 19, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Selecting hardware

To suit the diverse needs of a broad cross-section of hot rodders, BluePrint builds engines with both cast and forged rotating assemblies as well as engines with both flat-tappet and roller camshafts. Engines can also be configured with either iron or aluminum cylinder heads. Based on decades of experience building and developing engine packages, BluePrint has a firm grasp on when fancier parts are appropriate, and when they're overkill. "For a street small-block, cast cranks work fine up to 450 hp. On the other hand, if you're building a circle track engine at the same power level that spends much more of its time near peak power, I would start thinking about a forged crank," Chris Larson explains. "As far as cylinder heads are concerned, on lower horsepower engines up to 400 hp, an iron small-block Chevy Vortec head works very well. Once horsepower goals exceed the 450- to 500-horsepower range in small-blocks, aluminum heads really help. In regards to roller cams, they are all-around superior performers when it comes to durability. Since they can handle steeper cam lobes than flat-tappet lifters, they yield more area under the curve for a given duration, which increases power output while maintaining drivability."

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Product development

Taking a product from concept to production is a tedious process that requires a tremendous amount of resources and time. According to BluePrint, everything it builds and manufactures is based on customer demand. In addition to listening to customer feedback, the company works very hard with its distributors to find out exactly what type of product customers would like to have in their vehicle. For example, BluePrint decided to get into block manufacturing because of the simple fact that it had a hard time finding suppliers with the parts that it needed in stock. "We attend multiple trade shows each year where we meet with thousands of hot rodders to find out more about what the market wants. From there, our marketing and engineering teams work together to develop those products with specific price points and power requirements in mind," says Dru Freese. "Next, we go to our design team and challenge them design an engine that meets our requirements and we also identify the components that will be needed. From there, we head out to our suppliers and work with them to develop a list of the exact parts needed to reach our target objectives. Designing a new product is not quick, but we always strive to end up with a solid design that can meet customers' needs at an affordable price."

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When designing a new aftermarket block castings for big-block Chevys, BluePrint's goal was designing a product that met the needs of both its customers and engineers. Ultimately, BluePrint whipped up an all-new casting available in both standard 9.800- and tall 10.200-inch deck heights with extra thick cylinder walls that can accommodate a maximum bore of 4.600 inches. Depending on the bore diameter desired, these castings are available in siamesed-bore or full water jacket configurations. Other features include priority main oiling, four-bolt ductile-iron main caps, mechanical fuel pump provisions, an extra head bolt hole per cylinder, and compatibility with standard and tall-body lifters. "Our standard deck block is has enough clearance to accommodate a 4.375-inch stroke, and our tall-deck block can handle a 4.750-inch stroke for a total displacement potential of 632 cubic inches. BluePrint's blocks are available as standalone part numbers as well as in our crate engine packages," Dru clarifies.

Cylinder heads

The need to build crate engines that achieved very specific performance objectives prompted BluePrint to design its own line of cylinder heads for both small-blocks and big-blocks. The company's original cylinder head lineup included two as-cast heads for small-block Chevys and another two sets of as-cast heads for big-block Chevys. Since then, it has expanded to include CNC-ported variants as well as an all-new line of LS3 cylinder heads. More specifically, BluePrint offers 195- and 220cc as-cast heads for small-block Chevys, as well as large 210- and 235cc variants that are CNC ported. Big-block Chevy options include an as-cast 316cc head, in addition to 358cc castings available in as-cast and CNC ported configurations. Perhaps the company's most exciting new product is its all-new LS3 castings. Available in as-cast 259cc and CNC-ported 270cc models, these heads feature a revised valve angle that has been flattened from 15- to 11 degrees. "Although we rolled the valve angle, we retained the smaller LS3 valve diameter of 2.160 inches to maintain compatibility with smaller 4.000 inch bores. Other highlights include a thicker 0.750-inch deck, taller valve cover rails for additional valvetrain clearance, and compatibility with stock valvetrain hardware with exception of the valves and pushrods," Chris explains.

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As with BluePrint's blocks, its cylinder head castings are available separately or as part of BluePrint's crate engines. Regardless of how they are ordered, quality control is always a top priority. "Our as-cast performance heads don't stray far from what's been the norm in the market place for years. We are constantly adding features that our customers ask for, and the quality that people have come to know us for. Likewise, for our CNC heads we work hand in hand with some of the best port designers in the country to optimize airflow. All of our CNC designs get validated on the engine dyno to prove that with the right combination if parts, they will produce significant power increases over our raw castings. Moreover, we perform a standard 20-point inspection on every cylinder head that goes out the door. We check the valveguides, seats, combustion chamber volume, valvespring pressure, and valve runout on every single casting we make."


Blueprint Engines
Kearney, NE


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