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CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

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THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
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CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #1 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:53 pm

As I was prepping a set of rods (.975 300) for an upcoming build up I wondered how many readers have had a connecting rod failure at the oil spit hole? I am contemplating doing something to mitigate that problem - IF IT EVEN EXISTS. So I would like to ask: who has had a 240 or 300 rod failure attributable to a break at the oil spit hole? I am not concerned about other rod failures (e.g., spun bearings, hydrauliced/bent, broken bolt, etc.).
If you have experienced an oil spit hole related failure will you please share the details with us. At what operating conditions did it occur? Did the fracture look like it started at the hole outlet side or the journal side? Or at the base of the forging bump that houses the hole? Was the engine "built"? How many miles were on it?
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #2 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:56 pm

FWIW, I've never seen one.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #3 by pmuller9 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:32 pm


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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #4 by arse_sidewards » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:01 am

pmuller9 wrote:Post #26
viewtopic.php?p=566197#p566197


I guess the next question is whether or not anyone has seen one break at less than 7200rpm.
Last edited by arse_sidewards on Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
1994 F150 4x4 8ft, engine is basically stock.

66" leafs, extended radius arms, lockers in both ends, nothing special.

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #5 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:10 am

From worken2much:
"My good friend had a 240 turning 7,200 when it came apart. Per the tell tale tach. He was ahead of me a half dozen or so car lengths when it happened. It had the spit hole rods. That's what broke..."

Thanks Bob. That is the kind of data I was hoping to get. (P.S., I hope the reason he was ahead of you is because you were about to lap him LOL.)

Any others?
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #6 by Max_Effort » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:22 am

I would like to see a rod failed at the oil spit hole. To examine it, perform failure analysis.
As FTF wrote, where is the crack initiation point? (And can it be stressed relieved)

The anecdotal evidence is 300 rods are fairly strong. I've read of many 300 turbo builds with stock rods. Surpisingly, I don't hear of rod failures until high torque levels approaching 700lb/ft. I hear of a lot of lifted piston ring lands tho...(Not surprising)

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #7 by pmuller9 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:43 am

The spit hole has 3 different diameters.
I suspect the largest hole is responsible for the creating the point of failure. It is right at the point where the big end flexes.
Do you think welding the hole closed would be an acceptable way to restore integrity to that side of the rod?

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #8 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:46 am

pmuller9 wrote:I suspect the largest hole is responsible for the creating the point of failure. It is right at the point where the big end flexes.
Do you think welding the hole closed would be an acceptable way to restore integrity to that side of the rod?


I'm afraid to do that. My background as a part time welding instructor says internal stresses built up by welding could be a bigger risk than the hole itself. To say nothing of the fact the big end would need reconditioning.

I asked about where the failure started because of what you point out - there are several possibilities, given the stepped hole. It will probably be hard to determine the initial point at which the crack started in view the catastrophic damage that ensues. But that is what was on my mind. Where is the weak point? And at what stress level does it become critical?
I've got a rubber band in my hand. I know I can stretch it a half inch and it will return hundreds, maybe thousands of times. Maybe infinitely. But if I try stretching it a foot - SNAP! So is the failure of the rod at 7200 more nearer the half-inch stretch or the one-foot stretch? Right now I only have that one 7200 failure point on my data line and I'd like to get more.

It would be nice if the crack started at the big end as you suggest and as I also suspect. If the bearing shell is put into crush is not the big end put into a corresponding bit of tension in that area? Further increasing the risk of a crack formation? To reduce that chance I'd radius the sharp edge of the hole and polish out the grinding marks. Then maybe fill the hole with epoxy adhesive to maybe minimize flexure.

I sure would like to get more data points of failures. Or, even better, find one rod that was just about to fail with a crack at the hole LOL.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #9 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:55 am

THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER wrote:I sure would like to get more data points of failures.


Now that I think of it I DO have another point - but not of a failure. It is on my Family Truckster drag car. We have logged well over a thousand passes on it. 1000 x 5500 RPM x 3 (once in the burn-out box, once at the 1 - 2 shift, once going through the traps) So that's in excess of 15,000 excursions to 5500 RPM without an issue. Times six rods = 90,000 test cycles for six pieces @ 15K each.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #10 by pmuller9 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:42 pm

As you suggested, radius the sharp edges around the hole and polish out machine marks.

As you already know, the big end bore elongates during stretch mainly at the TDC end of the exhaust stroke.
The parting line moves inward and the big end bends inward right at the spit hole.
A higher clamping force from better rod bolts help.
If you look at your Oliver rods you will see an extended section outward at the parting line to give the rod bolt more leverage when the big end elongates.

Would preheating the rod big end before welding work to control stress?
It could be similar to the double torch flame used to heat the small end for press fit pins.

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #11 by arse_sidewards » Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:56 pm

pmuller9 wrote:Would preheating the rod big end before welding work to control stress?
It could be similar to the double torch flame used to heat the small end for press fit pins.


It would certainly help a lot but there's always going to be some internal stress built up as the weld puddle shrinks on cooling. It can be mitigated to great extent but on some level it's just unavoidable.

Having the hole filled would help a lot. Would it help more than pre-stressing that part of the rod hurts is the million dollar question.

Also, welding it up might get you more ultimate strength (rev to 8k) at the cost of less durability (fewer 5k passes) or vise versa.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #12 by Max_Effort » Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:58 pm

I'd rather not weld it. Even if preheating and expert TIG welding, I'd think more harm than good. I suppose if welded, x-ray, re- heat treated, shot peened and resized. ..but thats a lot of work and expense.

X2 on stress relieving the hole. All the edges look sharp.

If you had an engine that broke a rod, chances are there are cracks in the other rods. Forgings don't fracture all at once.
Or if this is a common failed point, lots of rods in service will have small cracks.

In a failed rod, despite the carnage, you may still find ratchet and beach marks indicating the fracture initiation spot.

Start magging a pile of rods. Especially all the other rods in an engine that failed one.

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #13 by arse_sidewards » Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:21 pm

Max_Effort wrote:I'd rather not weld it. Even if preheating and expert TIG welding, I'd think more harm than good. I suppose if welded, x-ray, re- heat treated, shot peened and resized. ..but thats a lot of work and expense.

X2 on stress relieving the hole. All the edges look sharp.

If you had an engine that broke a rod, chances are there are cracks in the other rods. Forgings don't fracture all at once.
Or if this is a common failed point, lots of rods in service will have small cracks.

In a failed rod, despite the carnage, you may still find ratchet and beach marks indicating the fracture initiation spot.

Start magging a pile of rods. Especially all the other rods in an engine that failed one.


A lot of rods fit in a flat rate envelope. Does anyone have suitable testing equipment?

If we fluxed (or if someone has a microscope) a bunch of high mileage (or many seasons of drag racing) rods we'd at least be able to get a feel for whether this is a long term durability issue that is accelerated by very high RPM or whether this is a simple weak point.

If it's a fatigue type failure that a little weld to keep the rod from flexing as much in that spot might actually stand a chance of being beneficial.
1994 F150 4x4 8ft, engine is basically stock.

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #14 by Max_Effort » Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:47 pm

I have a hand held mag yoke. I can mag with dry powder or wet spray (spray can)

I'd think best to mag the other rods in a failure, or at least rods that have seen a lot of high RPM severe use.

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #15 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:15 pm

Thanks for all the input and opinions guys.

Re: Rod elongation. I once attended a seminar where a member of Ford of Europe's F1 team gave a talk about engine construction. He said at 14,000 RPM the big end of their rods elongated by .009". Yikes!
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #16 by Max_Effort » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:47 pm

Most rod breaking failures are in the beam. Experts tell us the failure is almost always at TDC of the exhaust stroke.

Are 300 failures always at the big end propagating from the oil hole?

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #17 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:57 pm

Max_Effort wrote:Are 300 failures always at the big end propagating from the oil hole?

I haven't seen enough to know. A Ford designer told me Ford forged rods are designed with a factor of safety of 2.6. Not knowing the design speed I can't say at what point that FoS is not enough.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #18 by CNC-Dude » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:58 pm

We had a customer break one at the spit hole in a dirt track engine. He was just hot lapping and didn't even make 2 full laps, and was just keeping the engine below about 5000 RPM. He was using them in a 351W engine and built a budget long rod combo with JE pistons that only weighed about 400g. So it wasn't overly stressed by RPM or piston weight. It had ARP rod bolts, beams were polished and shotpeened.
Why risk it, they will break! I have also seen may other rods with spit holes break at the spit holes when used even in modest performance builds. Most of those rods started out by the manufacturer with spit holes and later where omitted for a reason, such as the 240/300 Ford, 2.0L and 2.3L Pinto and others. GM did their version of a spit hole in their early modern Small Block V8, but it was actually a V notch cut into the rod at the inboard rod bolt where the cap meets it. Even though you lose some small amount of surface contact where the rod and cap are mated, I have never seen one of those rods break thru the B/E like the Ford rods with the spit holes do. Just get a set of 20/300 rods without the spit holes and have fun and piece of mind.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #19 by SIX GUN » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:37 pm

20181127_182741.jpg
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #20 by SIX GUN » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:38 pm

20181127_182647.jpg
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #21 by SIX GUN » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:46 pm

I had one break on me, 6000 in the burn-out box (300ci)..
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #22 by SIX GUN » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 pm

By the rod bolt..
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #23 by bubba22349 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:22 pm

:hmmm: What about tapping the oil spit hole and Locktite'ing a fine threaded set screw in it? :thumbup:
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #24 by Max_Effort » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:42 pm

Thanks Six Gun, That’s a good photo for me to see!

There’s a lot going on in that area. The spit hole, the spot face for the rod bolt head, the rod bolt hole, lots of stress raisers. I’d like to see a close up of both sides of the fracture.

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #25 by Max_Effort » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:19 pm

bubba22349 wrote::hmmm: What about tapping the oil spit hole and Locktite'ing a fine threaded set screw in it? :thumbup:


Something like a U-joint, you always put the grease fitting hole in compression

So a plug might help with compression of the area, but the threads will introduce yet more stress raisers.

However, If the fracture is caused primarily by extension, it wouldn’t help at all and probably make it worse.

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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #26 by sdiesel » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:26 pm

ignoramus here piping up.
is brazing the hole of any value?
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #27 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:31 pm

SIX GUN wrote:20181127_182647.jpg


Hey Scott, Very interesting. Did you happen to save that rod? It would be interesting to study the fracture point for clues as to its origin. Although from looking at the photo it seems that if the fracture was through the spit hole it must have started at the big end and propagated outward, away from the small end of the hole. From the looks of the tapered pin on the little end it must have been in a built up engine, no? Did that rod have aftermarket bolts? That raises a tangential question (I'm not sure I should be asking this here, but here goes): Have you broken a stock rod bolt?

CNC dude, Thanks for the additional insight. I'll continue to use aftermarket rods for my race engines. For a low-to-mild performance build - I'm still on the fence. If I don't have a set of non-spit holes around I'm going to use the ones I have with the hole. Still another concern I'm seeing on the stock rods (and for that matter, the main caps) is the rather uneven machined contact surfaces at the cap parting line. Mine will get several strokes across a surface plate covered with abrasive paper to knock off the high spots.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #28 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:38 pm

sdiesel wrote:ignoramus here piping up.
is brazing the hole of any value?

I'd still be leery of any localized heating of the rod and I'm not sure how the hone would deal with the brazed spot.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #29 by xctasy » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:46 pm

Vizard listed it as a stress riser on the 2000 Pinto engines; he epoxied it up, and then fine aspirate drilled it.
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #30 by THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:09 am

xctasy wrote:Vizard listed it as a stress riser on the 2000 Pinto engines; he epoxied it up, and then fine aspirate drilled it.

Thanks xctasy. If I decide to fill mine with hi-temp epoxy I do not think I will even re-drill 'em. Lots of 300s are out there without the hole. Maybe David needed the hole for piston cooling on a turbo or ???
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Re: CONNECTING ROD FAILURES AT OIL SPIT HOLE - HAD ONE???

Post #31 by xctasy » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:05 am

All my info comes from published sources from Ford and David Vizard.

It probably doesn't matter how you control it, braising has been done, but epoxy is likely to be better if it doesn't fall out at 7000 rpm!.


GM's Holden engines used to loose piston tops at high revs all the time. Racers fixed it....they TIG welded the slots and redrilled small holes to hold the cast alloy piston together. Whatever gets the job done. Then through a German supplier, the Australians got a new set of solid skirt cast alloy hi silicon pistons via Ford and BMW supplier Mahle. Since solid skirt pistons were another non standard part, lots of racers just welded up the stock ones. Saying to your mates all six pistons have been Tungstan Inert Gas Welded wasn't a common term.

I'm guessing that strength of materials is about fiding the Eutectic combination that least influences the grain structure. Conrods and pistons have all been downgraded compared to the earlier materials, and the manner in which they are conditioned due to cryogenics is a big cost saving to a mass produced engine. At the upper end of engine building, they are using better forgings, and additionally temperature treating them.


In 1978, Vizard was in the US doing development work with APT in Califonia. He wrote that the 2.0 was being turbocharged, and did some work with Jim Flyn and these turboed beasts used Ak Miller's parts from the Perena. The stock German SOHC 2000 cc parts were used, Ford's Cologne Engineering team blessed the SOHC with under piston oiling in 1969. It was deleted for US Lima SOHC's after the 2.3 Turbo Carb engines warranty problems, caused by other things, but con rod failure was not uncommon with some of the 30,000 turbo 2.3 carb engines made for the 1979 model year suffering the fate. For Ford Con rods, they are therefore machined or regigged slightly different in casting according to final application. Sometimes not enough to change the casting or forging numbers with a revision code.

Relating to changes on things like turbo engines. Her's a goodie. Like the 2003 Falcon Turbo 4.0 Barra engine, Ford didn't really call an existing 6.06" con rod "modified" when a new Turbo 4.0 engine with 350 hp got an "extra oil hole". It was technically an existing part with a revision number, but Ford didn't list it as a "new part". From what was said in a October 2002 Wheels article, Ford Australia at some time in the past had clearly deleted the under piston oiling ( from Ford Forums, this was done in late 1997 well before 1998 and three years before the turbo engine came out). It was deleted in the in the EL2, and then added again for the BA series 2003 Model Years XR6 Turbo.

As you know, sometimes other things are critical in covering off a 300 hour "Test 3" GM style durabilty cycle of cold starts and WOT tests.

Any oil hole on the 1965-1997 conrods on the 4.9 or 240 six will probably be a stress riser. By 1998, Ford USA and Australia had learned a lot more about how to make engines survive. You had a massive change in piston technolgy, and laser profilometering of the bores ment Ford was able to use very advanced low tension, lower cost ring packages and different pistons.

Adding the oliing hole in 2002 for the Turbo 4 liter six probably didn't hurt the peak strength in an engine with 350 hp; it held up only 228 or 245 hp in the naturally aspirated 4.0's between 1997 and 2002.


Its all about how its done, I guess.
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