Team Builds 853hp Amsoil Chevy Small Block

A team of mechanics won the 2012 AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge by building a 853hp Chevy small block 402ci engine. Lubricated with AMSOIL 5w20 oil and involving a number of engine improvements the talented team of mechanics produced the incredible horsepower engine that won AMSOIL’s engine building competition. More can be read about the 2012 AMSOIL Engine Masters Challenge in the March 2013 issue of POPULAR HOT RODDING.

AMSOIL was the first major company to market synthetic engine oils, and the brand has become the world standard for many racers and hot rod builders because it provides more horsepower as well as far greater engine protection than conventional oils which are heavily comprised of rotted animal and plant remains found in natural oils.

AMSOIL is also quickly becoming popular among the Harley motorcycle set because of the added horsepower as well as engine protection. While many race cars will seek sponsorship from many brands of mainstream oils, it’s actually an open secret that many will actually use AMSOIL instead because it simply adds more horsepower than these other conventional brands.

AMSOIL’s yearly engine building competition is a good showcase for the ultrahigh horsepower engines that can be built using skilled mechanics, high quality engine parts and AMSOIL as a lubricant.

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  • I’ve heard about Amsoil for years. Is it really that good, or is it just hype?

    • When I would build a hot rod, adding AMSOIL would provide a horsepower boost of about 8-10%. Sometimes you’d have to turn down the idle a little bit because it would raise the rpms. But, in a fuel injection auto with a computer, the computer should do all the work for you in most cases. Even in a tiny engine, the results of AMSOIL are remarkable. A few years ago I bought a 49cc moped that could barely manage 32mph top speed and got 83mpg. I removed the stock oil and went with AMSOIL’s 4stroke scooter oil, and the top speed increased to 40mph and the fuel mileage increased to 94mpg. Remarkable improvements for a tiny engine. The higher top speed meant a measurable horsepower increase along with less friction to get the higher mpg rating. 0-30 off the line acceleration also was much better as well.

      At the high cost of gas these days, AMSOIL also quickly pays for itself in fuel savings, besides the potential to greatly increase engine life. Many cars can go through a head gasket at a higher mileage because some cars use bimetal engine construction where the block is cast iron and the head may be aluminum. The problem with this is the uneven cooling temperatures where the aluminum cools much faster than the cast iron, and this slowly damages the head gasket over time. AMSOIL allows the entire engine to run cooler and reduces head gasket wear from this uneven cooling effect.

      Other honorable mention synthetic oils are Mobil1, which is so good that Chevrolet makes this the standard and recommended oil for use in all Corvettes. This oil works well, although is not quite as good as AMSOIL by any means. Castro Syntec has some characteristics that I really like. It won’t hardly burn unless you really try to hit it with a torch. It resists heat really well, and helps to keep a engine running very cool. On the other side is Royal Purple, a synthetic oil that’s just plain awful. I used it in a hot rod one time and felt the horsepower drop right away. It simply doesn’t build the power like AMSOIL does. AMSOIL has the best chemists. They have a background in jet engine lubrication and carefully applied the best technology to automotive and motorcycle oils. The results are very impressive.

      I also had great results with an oil additive called Duralube. I used this to lubricate some shop equipment, and the results were remarkable where it seemed to actually fix some bad metal by slickly allowing parts to smoothly skate over some bad parts. I really thought that was an excellent feature. But, some state attorney generals sued Duralube over some of their advertising which they claimed was embelished. But, the product is still really good despite any advertising problems. It works well enough to be very satisfactory.

      The worst product on the market is Slick 50. They ran into legal problems over their advertising as they should have. It actually would reduce mileage, reduce horsepower and increase engine heat. Further it ruins an engine by putting a a teflon coating on the parts that is difficult to remove. It’s such a bad product that it should really be removed from the market. Teflon just doesn’t work in an engine, where there is a lot of heat or high rpms. In locks or other low use applications, teflon sprays, etc. work fine. But, any high rpm application only allows heat and friction to build, and the Teflon doesn’t help, but actually hurts.

      Of all the oils that I’ve used in my lifetime, AMSOIL always has impressed me by returning the best horsepower, easy starts, best mpg, longest engine life and best engine performance. Mobil1 gets second place honors. Castro Syntec comes in a distant third place. Then all the others really fall off the map as being just plain poor performers compared to AMSOIL and Mobil1.

      I mentioned above where a lot of race cars actually use AMSOIL, although they are sponsored by other oils. Regardless of what the sponsorship stickers claim, racers and engine builders use what works best. And a horsepower gain of 8% or better may be the difference between winning a race or not, and AMSOIL provides that. It works better than advertised. Federal advertising rules really limit how well some products can advertise claims of how good they work. The rules are too strict. And AMSOIL really understates just how good it is as an oil. And dyno tests and other real measures really prove that AMSOIL pours in the horsepower.

      After a guy works with better intake manifolds. Race built Holley carbs, cams, and other modifications, going with AMSOIL as the finishing touch gives the engine the best oil for power, fuel economy, added performance, and a longer service life.

      • Thanks for the info… I’ve used Slick 50 once in an old Toyota… didn’t see any good out of it and didn’t try it a second time. It didn’t seem to run any hotter, and the engine lasted about 50k more miles until I traded it in.

        Might be time to show the little guy how to do an oil change…

        • I only used Slick 50 once, and the results weren’t good. I attended welding school with a religious kid I liked a lot, and wanted to give Slick 50 a try. He sold it on the side as a dealer. It was $50 bucks years ago. The price is actually lower now, but the product has faced legal problems with state attorney generals. It didn’t work as promised or save any gas as it once claimed to.

          As far as good oils go, even Mobil1 had good results for me. If you can’t find AMSOIL, then Mobil 1 is a real suitable oil to use. Your little guy needs to learn about cars some day. It makes for a great father and son experience. The last thing I did with my dad was to assemble a moped a few years back. He held up the front end, and I attached the brake and wheel. He wasn’t doing very well at the time, and had to go back to bed. When I came home one morning a few weeks later, I wanted to register the scooter with DMV, but my dad was suffering terrible tremors and appeared to be suffering a serious stroke and his heart soon failed and he died that day. My mother died 94 days later. When I got home from my mother’s funeral on Halloween day 2007, I found that the dog died of a heart attack while I was away, and had to deal with that on top of the other sorrow of the day. That was a tough day for me.

          Love your son, and you two guys have plenty of great father and son time. Doesn’t matter what you actually do, just have good father and son time. That’s what’s really important in life. The very best to you.—Paul

  • Zounds, 2+ hp per cubic inch naturally aspirated is impressive. The NASCAR shops only wring a little more hp out of their 358 ci engines – but for around $75,000 a pop.

    • Indeed, that’s some nice engine work. And on a budget as well compared to that big budget Nascar engine work. These are some good mechanics here. They’ve got my respect.

      I need to open the hood and write more engine stories like this. Engine technology always gets my motor running. Nothing guys like better than an open hood.

      • I wouldn’t complain. Might not be ‘pop’ as pop culture, but it’d be fun.

      • Of course, the lifespan of a NASCAR engine at rpms to make max hp is measured in hours. With this type of engine it’s probably minutes, maybe even seconds. Like an NHRA Pro Stock car. It’s unbelievable how quickly the crew can tear down and rebuild an entire engine between runs at the drag strip.

        • I certainly respect mechanics that good. The best I could do at my peak was to assist my brother to making a 30 minute engine swap from a bad 289 to a healthy 302 in a 1960’s Mustang. But, that’s an era with no pollution vacuum hoses, etc. Try that on a new car now, and I’m in trouble.