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Thread: Clone Quality

  1. #1
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    Clone Quality

    I'm curious as to the actual quality of the clone in general. I'm only referring to the motors imported for racing like Dyno, Box Stock, etc.
    This question is directed towards those who tinker with, or build clones.
    How are the tolerances, and how are they holding up, in general?

    I've got a few reasons for asking.
    TIA

  2. #2
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    I have to say they are better,than Briggs. They are very reasonably priced, they run well and they are very plentiful. I build a lot of Briggs also and they are very pricey and don't run as well. I hate to say it but they are the better engine at the time being.

  3. #3
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    We've been out of the Clone scene engine building for a few years now so I'm not sure where the Clone is today. I do remember for the first few years they were all over the map with performance, quality and continuous rule changes. That made us a little sour on the whole thing and we focused on other motorsport programs. I would be interested in knowing today how the engine to engine performance compares? If we build 10 engines with the same specs and parts how much HP variation would I see? If i do understand this program from what i have heard lately all the parts are special made per the US importers specs to be used for kart racing ( not the typical harbor freight engine ) and are manufactured from single source suppliers with good quality and consistency.

    I really don't know............?

    Steve

  4. #4
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    The few Dyno imports and the Tillotson imports that I've worked on are much improved over earlier versions (ie HF.)
    I feel they are being imported with the intention to be "built" by an engine builder (ie machinework and blueprinting done here in the US by us good ol' boys.)
    I don't think many folks are running either of these engines right out of the box, so performance is based more on the work done to them after they arrive in an engine builders' hands than before. There's always going to be some variance in cast parts. Some heads and carbs simply flow better than others. Some blocks are more porous than others, etc, so small variances will still exist.
    In Steve's post, he asks about the differences "after" you've built 10 of them. I feel there is still a considerable difference between 1 & 10. The middle 8 might all be pretty tightly knit grouping, but there's always one that stands out (call it a national level engine, signature series, or whatever) and one dog that no matter what you do with it won't run with the pack. I think you also need to consider how many heads you are sorting through (and other parts) as well. Are you sorting through light weight valve train parts? Piston dishes & weight, rod lengths, crank strokes, etc...or are you simply building the engine with the parts that it was originally assembled with. I believe that's what marks consistency from the oem. If you're hand sorting through parts, then there's a reason for it. That reason is called "inconsistency."

    Now, for the current HF (Predator or what have you), the quality is still as poor as back in the early days of the 196.
    Then again, not many people are running those right out of the box either. Even in the classes with a claim or governor still installed, guys are having these engines tweaked on by builders.

    zastro, I have no idea what Briggs engines you are having trouble with. I have been very pleased with the quality and consistency of their 206 engines in particular. The animal and flathead stuff still require considerable time spent to make them into race engines. For new animal blueprints, I use the 206 to start with and just change the coil. Flatheads are still plentiful (used), but if you've been around a while, you know that casting consistency is all over the place on them as well. They really just started getting good (R4) when they were discontinued. To say that the clone quality is better than Briggs?... That's a stretch unless you are comparing to the older flathead stuff.


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  5. #5
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    I think the quality of the clone is impressive for it's price point.
    When I first started to build (2013ish), cam timing would vary from one engine to the next could be anywhere from 110 to 115.
    Piston to cylinder clearance could be anywhere from .0025" to .004". Valve train geometry varied quite a bit resulting in different lifts at the valves in different engines all while using the same cam and swapping it back and forth.

    Fast forward to now, and all these variables have stabilized. Consistency from one engine to the next is vastly improved (from the same supplier and same vintage).

    My plate engines dont turn to 7k rpm like some of the unrestricted adults. That said, I am not seeing any failures in the field. IMO aside from springs, valve to valve seat seems to wear the quickest, and I have seen some mushroomed valve stems where you basically destroy the valve guide getting the valve out. However these are engines that have been run an entire season.

    That's my $.02
    Chris Radvanyi
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  6. #6
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    I would like to see a ignition rev limiter added to the Clone program. Shouldn't be a big deal Dyno Cams already has a business relationship with PVL in Germany. This type of electronic rev limiter is getting common in the commercial engine business.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve baker View Post
    I would like to see a ignition rev limiter added to the Clone program. Shouldn't be a big deal Dyno Cams already has a business relationship with PVL in Germany. This type of electronic rev limiter is getting common in the commercial engine business.

    Steve
    That would more than likely make the clone viable for sprint racing, wouldn't it?

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    Bob the clones is viable for sprint now, if built correctly and people didn't go for stupid RPM. They can be built with good low end torque and nice flat curves easily up to 6500 RPM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Evans View Post
    That would more than likely make the clone viable for sprint racing, wouldn't it?
    As Kart43 says it could be used now without rev limiter. The rpm levels today in the Clone are the result of the engine rules that allow certain valve train components and the ingenuity of the clever engine builders, not the end user. I'm sure the engine builders are telling them to turn them up there! A rev limiter would just tie there hands a little bit on the top end and level the playing field. Of course it would also help with engine longevity depending on rev limiter rpm choice.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kart43 View Post
    Bob the clones is viable for sprint now, if built correctly and people didn't go for stupid RPM. They can be built with good low end torque and nice flat curves easily up to 6500 RPM.
    What about gearing for the fastest lap on a course with slow tight corners? With a clone you'll be floating the valves on long straights.
    I've kinda always thought that was the clones problem with sprint racing in the beginning, when folks gear for the fastest laps and float the valves halfway or two thirds down the straight.

  11. #11
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    The clone is a copy of the GX Honda line we raced Honda engines for 15 years in sprint racing engine management is paramount. Being able to gear properly is part of the game, you balance, gear for the corners lose on the straights, gear for the straights lose in the corners. It becomes a lot more driver based you have to master the track.

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    The springs pretty much were the rev limiter on clones - that and the cast connecting rod.
    Now that better springs are being used (7200 is no problem,) I suspect the stock rod will be the determining factor. Allow a billet rod and the engine would be much better suited for sprint courses than it was a few years ago. Putting a rev limiter (PVL other) on a BP'd clone would make it very similar to the 206 from Briggs, but with a higher price-point. If the Chinese, or importers, wanted to start with a clean slate, potentially they could come up with a clone of the 206 (or say the current 212 Pred.) with tighter controlled specs that could be teched. But would that be as profitable as the current clone platform? I think not.

    Kart43, share with us what the cost of Hondas were. It's my belief that's what ultimately killed Honda in sprint racing (moreso in Canada.)

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    We are probably one of the few clubs that still race the clone and LO206 together. We are a street racing series, so the track is different every single race. On tracks with a tight corner and then a long straightaway, I know the clone guys will walk away from the 206. I assume (I don't run one) the same thing you are saying, Bob. They are stacking the gear on to get out of the hole and then using the extra RPMs on the top end. I also assume that is why I see valve covers off between races on those engines and not on the 206s...

    Still makes for very fun racing with a lot of karts on the track.

    www.sirakarting.org

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    Sounds like it has all the ingredients. Good quality, part to part consistency, solid design parameters ( bore & stroke / rod length ratio ) ( World Class Honda - cloned ),single source cylinder head supplier, healthy supply chain,and not EPA regulated. All it would need now is for one of the importers to package it and a smart organization to develop a good rules package without all the wiggle room and gray areas.
    Competition is always a good thing in the business world!

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatboy1dh View Post
    We are probably one of the few clubs that still race the clone and LO206 together. We are a street racing series, so the track is different every single race. On tracks with a tight corner and then a long straightaway, I know the clone guys will walk away from the 206. I assume (I don't run one) the same thing you are saying, Bob. They are stacking the gear on to get out of the hole and then using the extra RPMs on the top end. I also assume that is why I see valve covers off between races on those engines and not on the 206s...

    Still makes for very fun racing with a lot of karts on the track.

    www.sirakarting.org
    If you are seeing valve covers off between races, you may want to start painting cover bolts. Valve springs are the most detrimental part in my opinion of keeping that engine the Clone up on its RPMs where recommended. if you're seeing valve covers off between races somebody could be playing games they shouldn't be playing with a stronger set of Springs to qualify.
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    I can't give too many details yet but we (Tillotson) will have a package like everyone is talking about and hope to have samples by the end of the year. If any of you come to the Southeast expo next year we will hope to have it on display with its full specs

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    Mr Carlson you are correct cost is what killed the Honda. Mostly from the fact that racers will pay what ever it takes to have what they perceive to be the best. As you know there are several generations of the Honda engines, we were only allowed to use stock OEM parts (Honda) this opened up parts picking from 20 years of production. To race a GX200, you wanted a GX160 flywheel 25* compared to 20*, a seasoned block, (bored,aligned), #1 head milled to minimum chamber size, Thin ringed piston, 1st OS file fit top ring, valve timing optimized. You needed a bucket full of rocker arms to get the required combination for maximum lift within rules. The carb was a nightmare, the right combination made one engine shine over the others, mandatory E Tube from a GX160, valvesprings G200 flathead 18lbs. Then the Thailand engines came along and they required less parts picking, then EPA standards made a whole new beast. The base engine new had a $500 Can. price, a good engine easily fetched 12-1300 dollars. The engines competing at the National level were selling $2500. We shifted to LO206 I resisted because I could show them Web Sites as you know, that provided Stealth block decking for the BS, and that was 6 seasons ago.

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    I still have engines, parts and bucket loads of bits all OEM Honda a super deal for someone that wants to look and take it all.

  19. #19
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    Kart43- Are you saying that Ca. Honda's were running 18 lb valve springs? With the clones running 10.8 lb springs, that explains a lot to me.
    Interesting that the Thailand motors seemed to stabilize things a bit, and even more interesting that the prices went up with the stabilization. Seems counterintuitive.



    This part here is just me wondering out loud and not directed at anyone, To what point should the manufacturers or organizations guard against folks doing stupid things with or to their motors (as long as safety is not a factor)? Protecting us from ourselves, so to speak, like nannies or something.

    Remember that I'm getting old, making me an old-school dinosaur.
    I had an engine builder tell me recently that the manufacturers should just get them the motors, they knew what to do to them.

  20. #20
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    I've been using the same blocks, carbs, heads and internals with the clones for the past couple years with zero problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark @ EC View Post
    I can't give too many details yet but we (Tillotson) will have a package like everyone is talking about and hope to have samples by the end of the year. If any of you come to the Southeast expo next year we will hope to have it on display with its full specs
    There have been manufacturers trying to push race ready engines in the past and there biggest customers didn't support them and sales went down. If something is good for just one manufacturer and not all it never seems to work. Just my opinion, hope it works well for ya.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racingcarb.com View Post
    There have been manufacturers trying to push race ready engines in the past and there biggest customers didn't support them and sales went down. If something is good for just one manufacturer and not all it never seems to work. Just my opinion, hope it works well for ya.
    You mean like the Briggs LO206? Time will tell but the LO206 program is doing pretty darn good in the Sprint racing programs. I do agree with you however that you have to have engine packages that support the racing industry. This includes the component manufactures, speed shops,part suppliers, engine builders........etc. I'm sure you remember back years ago when karting was in its peak with the old flat head. You could race this engine anywhere in the US with same rule package.

    With regards to Tillotson, I'm not sure they are trying to cut out the industry........we will see what progresses. One thing for sure is Tillotson has perfected carburetors and fuel systems dating back to 1914 in Toledo Ohio.

    Steve

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    I would like to see some design changes to the piston. As for rules, I would like to see undercutting the valves allowed and smooth in the cast lines on the rod allowed. All in all the reliability of the clone has drastically improved over the years. I remember blowing clones back when the RPMs were in the 5000ís.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve baker View Post
    You mean like the Briggs LO206? Time will tell but the LO206 program is doing pretty darn good in the Sprint racing programs. I do agree with you however that you have to have engine packages that support the racing industry. This includes the component manufactures, speed shops,part suppliers, engine builders........etc. I'm sure you remember back years ago when karting was in its peak with the old flat head. You could race this engine anywhere in the US with same rule package.

    With regards to Tillotson, I'm not sure they are trying to cut out the industry........we will see what progresses. One thing for sure is Tillotson has perfected carburetors and fuel systems dating back to 1914 in Toledo Ohio.

    Steve
    Not talking bout the 206.. this is the clone forum😊. You may have missed my point a touch. But I agree 100% on the 206 sprint doing very well and getting better.
    We've been using the same carb on the Clone manufactured for generators, pumps and so on that has come from the same manufacturer since we've started running these clones. If I had access to an outside manufacturer like this and the sanctioning bodies agreed to let builders use them it wouldn't take long to make every current legal carb obsolete very quickly.
    These carbs currently used (ruiXing) has been the most consistent carb we've ever had in racing that I've ever tested.

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    I agree if the engine doesn't support the sport i.e. organizations, tracks, promoters, Engine builders, retailer and especially racers then whats the point? And thats the main idea with this engine. We already have Ireland switching over from Honda. So they were in the market for a clone and we're designing an engine for their needs. Word on the street other organizations are switching from Honda internationally because of pollution regulations have cause changes in the engine's design.

    So the topic was quality and goes without mentioning consistency. The clones we have today are the best they've ever been but there are things we have been asked ever since we started selling the Tillotson 196 engine and thats mention of seals and or rev limited coils, better blocks, etc. Often to provide a controlled class for entry racers. Tillotson has a 196, two 212 and our new engine. This diversity gives us plenty of parts and combinations for an organization to choose the engine they want or need. Karting is very diverse and when we mention clones don't assume its only dirt racing, small engines are used on kart whether ovals, road courses, dirt, asphalt as well as mini bikes, race mowers, jr drag, recreational vehicles such as golf carts and mud boats. Its more than a class or forcing racers to race the way we tell them to, we're building is a platform to kill as many birds with as few of stones as possible. The LO206 was mentioned as a case for spec engine racing and for an argument single manufacturer has had the most success in 4 cycle racing, the briggs flathead which built most of the karting shops we have today. So there are many good things that can be said in that strategy. All while there were Honda and Tecumseh engines.The problem comes when that manufacturer wants to control the organizations and alienate those who support karting. That is not our goal. The goal is simply create an opportunity with a stable reliable platform. We are giving the freedom to choose and we will continue to build engines for that market, whatever it may be.

    Its taken the clone years to become stable because of importers finding better products and rules changing to address unfair advantages or at minimum clarify rules so that others can take advantage of the rules. Cams are allowing engines to turn over 7000 rpm and we're pretty much at the limit of innovation design and if not then the clone class is not as stable as it would seem. I believe this is why rev limiters are always mentioned. This could allow creativity and innovation with a simpler rule package while making the engines more reliable by not pushing them past a limit they will fail. I believe this could lead to engines getting through tech much quicker and will quickly stabilize rules to the joy of the organizations.

    All this said could this not work? Sure, but you'll never know unless you try.

  26. #26
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    Mark, is your engine a 196 or a 212? And if it's a 212, how will that affect all the current 196's that are currently in use?

    And thanks for your in depth comment.

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    Are you having success building these engines and turning them over 7000 rpms?

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    Bob,
    To answer your original question that started this thread. The latest clone blocks I've tested have been within .0002-.0003 of 90 to the crankshaft from top of bore to bottom. Compared to a genuine honda which is .0005-.0006 out. I'm using same JT heads manufactured a couple years back. Have one engine that won over $20,000 at STD bore before going to +.0025 and winning another $20,000 plus on it with a camshaft that'll pass WKA, NKA and AKRA.

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    Eric,

    Not doubting your stated squareness numbers, just curious, what is your gaging method for those extremely accurate numbers. Also did you ever measure the perpendicularity of the crankshaft journal to cylinder bore center line while crankshaft was positioned in block?

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    Steve,
    I use a dummy crankshaft I machined, same one used to support block for boring if needed. I also have a jig set up to check top land on piston when attached to rod and crankshaft assy. I have not checked them with the original crankshaft used in the engine.

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