BoostLine is growing fast and we're excited to share some of our newest product launches, why we build rods the way we do, and what racers can expect in the near future.Do the top priorities for your build include extreme horsepower and long-term reliability? BoostLine has made it their mission to create a connecting rod that’s purpose-built for the task. “These were developed to be the last steel rod you’d need to buy for your forced induction or nitrous-fed engine,” says Nickolaus DiBlasi, director of product management for JE Pistons. “They’re built to handle the craziest power you can throw at them.”
Touting the strength to take the all abuse racers can throw at a part is a common refrain in the world of race-spec components, but DiBlasi’s assertion isn’t just lip service.
“We want to cater to those big horsepower guys who want a more reliable program. Engines are making so much power these days – ring technology and tuning is better than it’s ever been, and components are living, so we wanted to make a connecting rod that would complement where we’re at now. That’s why we took a clean slate approach to our design. If you’re going to come out with a product in this space, you just can’t be an ‘also ran’ type of offering. For the guy with a big-block Chevy making three thousand horsepower, there’s some peace of mind to the fact that it will live with these connecting rods. You can’t do that with just any part.”
Strength Under Pressure
The distinctive engineering of BoostLine rods is obvious even at a glance. “The three-pocket design is one of the general guidelines that we follow,” DiBlasi notes. “On the beam of the rod there’s a large milled-out section, and near the outsides toward the big end there’s two milled pockets as well. Those pockets allow us to remove weight from the rod while keeping the part extremely strong – it creates something like a truss in a bridge, which won’t allow it to twist. If it were all solid on one plane, it would actually be more susceptible to twisting than it is with the milling features.”
The design is a result of sophisticated development processes that goes far beyond the typical R&D efforts in this realm. “If you’re developing a product for what we’d consider a ‘medium power’ build, you don’t really need to worry about every aspect of the design – it’s probably overbuilt for the application anyway,” says DiBlasi. “But when you design something and say, ‘this is going to hold 2000 horsepower,’ you need to be damn-sure that you design it to handle that and more, because people are going to throw that much at it. For every application we support, we have an employee who is the expert with that engine, whether that’s a big-block Chevy, a Modular Ford, or a Subaru. And if we don’t have someone in-house, we find a development partner who’s willing to go crazy.”
BoostLine engineers use finite element analysis to determine the most effective balance between strength and weight. “What it enables you to do is apply specific harmonics, loads and frequencies to specific points on a part you’ve designed,” he explains. “In our modeling we can call out materials like the 4340 steel we use with all BoostLine products – materials with characteristics like elasticity and tensile strength that are already well known. From there we can say the big end of this part pivots on a stroke that is, for instance, four and a half inches, it rotates in this direction, we have a piston on the other end, and we apply pressure downward. It means we can basically model a rotating engine and determine how much pressure an engine will apply to a part in a given state, and you’ll see different loads on the rod at different points in its rotation.”
And the end result is a connecting rod that’s vastly stronger than the competition, DiBlasi says. “Just because a brand is recognizable doesn’t mean they’re heavily into engineering. When we first started this development, we bought a bunch of competitors’ rods and put them through this same process to benchmark them, and what we saw were things like ‘high end’ rods that bend 60% more than Boost-lines we developed for the same applications.”
Since BoostLine’s initial launch, the usual suspects like GM’s LS family of small-block V8s, Toyota 2JZ, big-block Chevy, and Subaru EJ20/EJ25 engines have proven to the be the front runners in terms of popularity, along with Ford’s Modular V8s.
“For our introduction of this product line, we wanted to hit the most popular applications and spread out from there,” says DiBlasi. So for big-block Chevy we had one length, for Hondas we had two lengths, for Subaru we had one length, and we really only focused on those. The plan was always to expand beyond that, but because we have a limited amount of time and engineering resources, we went with the heavy hitters first.”
Now BoostLine is ready for Phase Two. “We started considering all the other applications we wanted to do – stuff we couldn’t do the first time around,” he says. “So for instance, we added the next two most popular sizes for big-block Chevy, and for Ford we added four sizes altogether. Our manufacturing processes are really up to speed now, so we can be quicker with development and production this time around. With each iteration, the process gets more efficient.”
The result is an application list that’s nearly double what was initially offered. These new offerings will first start shipping in February, with some of the later additions coming in a few months down the road. By the second quarter of next year, BoostLine will have more than doubled their product lineup.