Callies 4340 Ultra Billet Crank Spins The New Evil 8.5 Engine

When you have a Vortech supercharged 441-cubic inch monster of a small-block Ford pumping out over 1,800-horsepower, your crankshaft of choice had better be able to handle what the Dragzine Project Evil 8.5 is going to put through it.

It’s not just about the billet materials; for Callies, they lay a lot of credit to the heat-treating, balancing, and finishing processes that add to the overall strength. This crank is available in stroke lengths ranging from 2.550- to 4.600-inches.

“All of our small-block Ford Ultra Billet cranks use a Timken 4330VM alloy steel. This particular one also features an additional two center counterweights compared to the typical Ford six counterweights,” Duane Boes, Sales Manager and Tech for Callies Performance Products, explains. “We think the eight counterweight design is a big deal. This adds stability to the center of the crankshaft by countering the “rocking” effect from the opposing journals at each end.”

The team at Bennett Racing Engines assembled the engine. They provided some of the assembly specifics concerning the Callies Crankshaft.

“We use the Callies Ultra Billet for all supercharged engines rated at 1,800-horsepower and above, Jon Bennett explains. “We use the criteria of 2,000-horsepower and above for turbocharged applications.”

The distinctive forging process differentiates the strength levels between a forged steel and billet crankshaft.

A forged crankshaft uses a heated blank of steel which is pounded in a die with a press into the rough crankshaft form. This hammer-style forging pushed the metal grain to flow along the crankshaft shape. This grain structure increases strength by many factors compared to a crankshaft that is cast to shape.

Awaiting additional machining at the Callies facilities, these billet “chunks” are extensively machined to shape. This results in a large amount of extra machining compared to a raw forged crankshaft that is roughly formed to shape.

The billet crankshaft begins with a large cylindrical ingot of steel alloy. In the case of the Callies billet crankshaft, the material is a premium grade (Para-Pure) Timken alloy steel. The forging process takes place with the solid cylindrical ingot, and the metal grain flows parallel along the entire length of the solid billet cylinder.

Boes provided more info about the applicable horsepower applications for the Callies billet unit.

“A lot of stress is put on the crankshaft with all of the boosted applications today,” he says. “For a manufacturer to say that this thing will handle a peak horsepower number, it probably will. The problem comes when you factor in hard torque converter pressure and the popping and banging from rev-limiters on the starting line. When you expose a crankshaft to that, it’s trying to go in two directions at once when it comes to torsional stress.”

Stepping up the 1993 Fox body Ford Mustang from its past life as an Outlaw 8.5 competitor, the project car is currently undergoing numerous changes for future X275 class racing. The most notable difference is a KBX Performance/Bennett Racing Engines 441 cubic inch small-block Ford with a Vortech XB-112 billet supercharger.

Boes and Bennett both specified some of the advantages of the crank specs as related to the 4.125-inch stroke. The 441 small-block Ford combination utilizes a 9.50-inch deck that allows for this additional stroke length. Bennett adds, “This stroke is the maximum we can package into this deck height and still have room for a piston that has the needed strength.”

The rod journal sizes in the billet small-block Ford spec sheet can range from 1.850-, 1.888-, to 2.000-, and 2.100-inches. The crankshaft is offered by Callies through KBX Performance and uses the the largest 2.100-inch journal size for the supercharged application.

Set into the Ford block is a Callies Performance Products 4340 Ultra Billet crankshaft. This crankshaft specs out with a 4.125-inch stroke and was special ordered with crankshaft counterweights to clear the 6.150-inch length rods in use.

“One thing we’ve done in particular to the 4340 Ultra Billet crankshaft is the finish. All of the crank surfaces have a specialized surface finish on all our Callies Ultra Billet crankshafts,” Boes adds. “What we call Aero-Shed super finishing is a mirror-like polish treatment that reduces windage and eliminates any stress fractures. With no sharp edges or corners, It’s a well-done piece.”

For applications beyond the typical vibration damper, a dual keyway is machined into the front snout of the Callies crank to handle extra loads such as when driving the Vortech XB-112 billet supercharger.

We asked Bennett about any special bearing clearances with the billet crank, to which he shared, “The clearances would range from .0028- to .0035-inch in a power adder application such as this engine. We will deviate clearances on a normally-aspirated or nitrous engine in some cases due to the use of a lower weight oil used.”

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About the author

Todd Silvey

Todd has been a hardcore drag racing journalist since 1987. He is constantly on both sides of the guardwall from racing photography and editorship to drag racing cars of every shape and class.
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