Choosing The Best Head Studs

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performance engines are producing more power in each cylinder than ever. It is common for these engines to be modified to provide four to six times the horsepower. When power levels are multiplied it becomes obvious which engine design flaws. Usually, the weakest links are the factory connecting rods/pistons. Most tuners upgrade these components when they build an engine. The engine’s head studs may be neglected and can lead to a compromised seal of the head gasket.


You have to wonder if an engine that produces more power than it consumes also puts stress on its head studs at a similar level. A variety of quality aftermarket barra head studs can be used to seal any application. This article will be discussing cylinder-head sealing and the science behind head studs to help you select the best head fastener.


Head Gasket Sealing


The top half of your engine is held together by the head gasket or head studs. Certain engines have a better ability to maintain a good head gasket seal than others. In determining the amount of power an engine can produce before the head lifts off the engine and the gasket seal becomes compromised, many factors play a part. Engines with five studs around a cylinder are less likely to fail than engines that have four. You need to improve the seal on your head gasket if your goal is to increase your engine’s torque output.


Better, Bigger, Or Both?


The off-the-shelf alloy head bolts/head studs should be sufficient to provide the required torque for high-performance builds. If your goal is to increase limit torque output, you may need to consider either increasing the size or upgrading the material.


Real-Life Considerations


If your engine block isn’t going to the machine shop, it may not make sense to upgrade to larger head bolts. You need to consider your budget when selecting high-performance studs. You should always supply the same head specs, head gasket, and torque specs as will be used for assembly.


Studs Versus Bolts


Head bolts or head nuts? This question was answered in the past with the following: “Use head studs wherever possible and bolts when necessary.” If a stud cannot be removed from the cylinder block, the head of the vehicle must be lifted straight up along the length of the thread before it can be removed.


However, it’s not the problem anymore the studs can simply be removed like bolts. Because they deliver more consistent and accurate torque loading, studs offer performance advantages over bolts. A bolt can be “twisted” to increase torque but a stud only has to be stretched along its vertical axis. The studs should not be tightened into the block if they are properly installed. This “relaxed mode” ensures that the studs are only stretched to the block and not twisted to adjust torque settings.


Read More About Science


Apart from the material and size of studs, manufacturing processes also play a significant role in the performance of bolts or studs. To ensure that heat penetrates the alloy, each stud must be placed vertically in racks. To ensure that each stud remains straight after heat treatment, it is ground centerless. The threads are then attached to the stud after the grinding process is completed.


The Bottom Line


The head studs need to exert more clamping force if the pressure in the cylinder is higher. For the proper retention of the combustion seal, the clamp load can be increased by using larger or more powerful alloy studs.


The engine’s peak torque output is directly linked to the engine pressure. This will indicate the need for better head studs. Thanks to superior manufacturing processes and continuous advances in material science fastener technology will never be the weakest link in the performance chain.

 

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