PRI 2017: Mahle Motorsports BBF Piston Is Better Through Geometry

Mahle Motorsports has leveraged their advanced design and manufacturing capabilities to create a single piston part number to cover three of the most popular big-block Ford cylinder head applications on the market – the Kaase P-51, Ford Super Cobra Jet, and AFR’s 14-degree heads, with a 38cc dish. “Most big-block Ford applications run dished pistons, since they have such small chamber volume. We were able to fit them all in the one dish part number,” says Trey McFarland.

“It’s a commonized pocket design, so that it will work with any of those three cylinder heads.” says. McFarland. “This is a good, strong piston for the big-block Ford guys and these really popular heads. Often guys will try different cylinder heads, and for the shortblock builder, this one piston works across the board.”

This particular piston has a 1.5mm/1.5mm/3.0mm ring pack, along with all of the other features you’ve come to expect from a PowerPak piston. “It’s a lightweight design with deep pockets to lighten it up. It has big pin bosses, and short skirts with an aggressive profile,” McFarland says. “Long skirts were an old-school way of building some stability into the piston. That was because they couldn’t put the profiles and the ovality into them, that we can now.”

Part of the reason that Mahle Motorsports can run create such short and aggressive skirt designs, is because they don’t just machine all their own pistons, they actually make their own machines. “All of the finish operations – ring grooves, pin bores, ovality, and profile operations – are all done in house. We couldn’t buy a machine that would do what we wanted, so Mahle-manufactured our own equipment,” McFarland says.

“We are able to control all those factors so much better, and do things that other companies can’t. Where other companies can create a single-cam ovality, we can do dual, and even triple-cam designs, and that allows us to better control the movement and the growth of the piston in the bore, which eliminates the need for large skirts.”

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About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent fifteen years and counting in automotive publishing, with most of his work having a very technical focus. Always interested in how things work, he enjoys sharing his passion for automotive technology with the reader.
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