Gibbs engines in the desert

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Slippery P

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Engines are a pain in the ass!

The engine builder has to deal with possibly the most complex set of moving parts on the race car. Which have to endure abuse not only from the driver, but also take the shock loading into the back of the crankshaft from a 6500lb vehicle at max RPM. The environment, ingesting dirt, max temperature, etc. Catastrophic failure can be induced by many outside sources out of their control. They can do everything right and still have an engine failure. They are rarely thanked on the podium, yet everyone knows and talks about them when parts are hanging out of the engine.

The Gibbs engine is a beautiful piece, purpose built badass engine. Sometimes parts just let go, oil lines collapse etc. they will get it figured out.
 

jon coleman

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Engines are a pain in the ass!

The engine builder has to deal with possibly the most complex set of moving parts on the race car. Which have to endure abuse not only from the driver, but also take the shock loading into the back of the crankshaft from a 6500lb vehicle at max RPM. The environment, ingesting dirt, max temperature, etc. Catastrophic failure can be induced by many outside sources out of their control. They can do everything right and still have an engine failure. They are rarely thanked on the podium, yet everyone knows and talks about them when parts are hanging out of the engine.

The Gibbs engine is a beautiful piece, purpose built badass engine. Sometimes parts just let go, oil lines collapse etc. they will get it figured out.
so basically, its like, the feeling an engine builder gets is,heck, just drop the engine off after you have dyno run it , at the local zoo, your basically helpless with all the elements& wild life that get their paws on it😵🐒( to a degee, what i mean is the engine builder is giving up the controll of the eng. to another entitie, im not saying the race teams that get them are ...monkeys ,please dont misconstrue😬
 
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Argentino

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Here is my comment that I wrote this morning, when this post came up. Sometimes I like to linger back and see what people have to say but here we can see a consensus. Everything has to do with mitigating the harmonics that are unique to the desert.


Here's my unwarranted opinion...


I've had a Joe Gibbs built Terminator with twin turbskis. Pulled that engine apart and it was finely massaged like I had never seen before. Taught me a lot about fluid dynamics and air flow even after having worked on the flow bench for a few years. I'm still using those tricks today. Definitely not beating up on JGR.

High RPM is dangerous in the desert. It's wearing the parts at a significantly higher rate, and the engine isn't performing in the torque range. It has to come DOWN to it. So every time the wheels leave the ground, they come back to touch and the engine has to lower it's RPM to get in the torque band. This equates to a hammer effect back to the crankshaft. Not in any way similar to the shock load to the engine if it was down in the torque range. So there is a point at which the engine loses it's oiling protection as it finds the power to resist the tires when they are hitting. Happening so fast it can't be observed in the oil pressure but can be observed on the journals. Sometimes the engine will throw a rod through the block. It might not always be the oil dropping out as it is the torsional harmonics finding a place to send that inertia.

A great example of this would be the time I towed my car hauler with my 2.0 turbo Hyundai. It popped the motor with the quickness. That engine couldn't resist the torsional load coming back through. It would be at higher rpm than where the torque band is. Every time the trailer would jar, it went directly through the drivetrain and overpowered the torque capability of the engine. POP!


Can't always beat the desert.
 

Baja4Autism

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The motor was essentially a clean-sheet design based on desert racing parameters and problems (to solve). E.G., bearing sizes, bore spacing, sensor placement, etc which all are limited in available Ford/Chevy platforms. The constant loading and unloading of 1100hp+ as these trucks constantly find and lose traction every half second, transferring crazy loads on these bearings and pins is insane.. As mentioned, it is a desert racing motor built by a (MASSIVE) NASCAR engine builder. They know what they are doing. There have been teething problems, and supplier problems. They have preventatively replaced parts and serviced our motor for free that could have been problematic. Fortunately for us, we haven't had any failures in the 2040 miles we have logged (now out for full rebuild)

We lost 3rd gear one race and ran it on the chip banging off 8400 red line across the lake bed and on for another 350 miles without issue. Cool as a cucumber. Not to say Mark wasn't nervous as hell when we did that.. Another Herbst/Gibbs package had cooling issues, didn't have the same cooling package we did. Same exact truck, one minor yet significant difference. Others from a random sensor failure. Lots of factors.. Especially adding the AWD + Mid engine variables. Hopefully Andy will chime in when appropriate. He has been pretty transparent.

These machines are all very complex, beyond the motors that power them. Many factors involved. I am of course curious to know what caused the failure as well. At the end of the day after everything is done perfectly, its still a roll of the dice. What cannot be disputed is the amount of service, knowledge, dedication and R&D/Tech that Mark and the Gibbs team dump into this program that cannot be touched. They aren't cheap, but in actuality its not far off from any other builder when you consider it comes essentially as a near turn-key system. In my personal opinion, I think what you get is a bargain when you look at the whole picture. Maybe I wouldn't say that if our motor blew up :p.
Are these engine packages available for outright purchase or are they only offered as a lease option? Have heard rumors that it is the latter only.
 

jon coleman

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lots of proprietary parts& in house tricks in those engines, you get to enjoy it, then send it back for rebuild at high time& pay them again
 

Rcamp99

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Multiple Gibbs have failed in the last few races.

Arcerio blew one up at the Mint

Householder blew one up at San Felipe

Andy blew one up at the 500
I’ve towed a few blown up Gibbs in also….
8-E80-F57-C-42-C5-41-DF-AC30-F32-D57-CFF42-A.jpg
 
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JWK Motorsports

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i know of several Pfaff engine currently in use in off road race vehicles and can report very good results with them,.
Good to hear! What classes? I remember reading on here about issues, I guess it must’ve been with the Pistola. Can’t quite remember but I know Paul was active on the site
 
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