Connecting rods represent the vital link between the piston and crank, subjected to extreme compressive and tensile stress, especially in a performance/competition engine that is exposed to high engine speed and abrupt engine loads. A variety of factors contribute to these stresses, including compression ratio, ignition timing, engine speed, horsepower and torque output and camshaft overlap to name but a few. In this article we'll discuss rod designs and materials, including tips relating to rod installation.
TYPES OF RODS
Connecting rods are available in a range of materials and design approaches. "Older" production rods for passenger car engine applications were typically made of cast iron. High performance production (in select engines) rods were commonly made of forged steel. In today's market, the majority of OE production rods are made of powdered metal (often referred to a PM rods), with select applications featuring forged steel rods.