This Is a Test

Apr 8, 2011

Adding a dynamometer to your shop is a serious decision that shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. Dynos require an investment in money and education. In turn, they can serve as a powerful tool.

When shop owners begin investigating dyno ownership, they find there are plenty of questions to be asked. From price to facility requirements to operating expenses, there’s a lot to learn.

For our annual look at the state of the dyno market, we posed a few questions of our own to manufacturers in regards to new product development, industry trends and why speed shops may want to consider adding dyno test results to their list of services.

Here’s the view of the dyno market from some of the industry’s top suppliers.

Land & Sea Inc.
Concord, N.H.
Bob Bergeron
President

Our hottest new dyno product is…

…our DYNOmite Axle-Hub Dynamometer.

Its best features include…

…Active-Synch (axle-synchronization and motoring). Active-Synch features micro-second response AC controllers for precision-matching of front-to-rear AWD axles (on traction-controlled ABS-equipped vehicles) and downhill (motoring) simulations during eddy-current axle-hub dynamometer testing.

Also, lower-inertia eddy-current absorbers. Low inertia allows using a second pair of our (Active-Synch-equipped) axle-hub units on two-wheel drive vehicles to motor-up the unpowered wheels, avoiding traction-control activation.

The main factors currently driving the dyno market are…

…shops are moving away from the nonsense (inflated) power readings and traction issues of early inertia-only and small-roll dynamometers (respectively). They now realize what the top-tier professionals did years ago:

You cannot make educated comparisons between tests when “secret” (happy customer) boosting of your honest power is going on within the dyno’s software.

It’s impossible to do serious work while fighting slippage and tire-deformation losses due to hobby-class roll radiuses.

The number one reason to consider adding a dyno to your shop services is…

…credibility. How many smart buyers will buy “horsepower” from a shop that cannot even measure it? Would you buy meat from a butcher without a scale? Would you trust an engine rebuilder that did not own a micrometer?

The biggest misconception about dynos is…

…that all dynamometers read (materially) differently. This is like saying all scales measure 10 pounds differently or that all micrometers measure 1 inch differently. Just as you expect all (honest) shops’ scales and micrometers to read the same as any others (within their respective tolerances), so must any real dynamometer.

This is not to say a roller chassis dynamometer should read the same power as an engine dynamometer coupled to the same vehicle’s crankshaft-that variation is obviously expected since some power is lost to the driveline and tires.

We are talking about the “media acceptance” of (significant) variations in readings, for identical power plants, tested on different “calibrated” dynamometers of the same type. These are not the slight variations that are due to the legitimate limits of atmospheric correction factors or the engine’s repeatability-it is the gross variation caused by deliberate miscalculation or operator ignorance that allows this misconception to endure.

It is time for the media and customers to hold shops and manufacturers to a higher standard. OEMs and professional test centers demand and get accurate, repeatable results from one test facility to another. The hot rod industry needs to get itself to the same place.

Mustang Dynamometer
Twinsburg, Ohio
Steve Engelman
Director of marketing

Our hottest new dyno product is…

…Mustang’s latest product for the racing industry, our MD-AWD-1750 eddy current chassis dynamometer.

Its best features include…

…this dynamometer offers the racing industry the best of both worlds. Test the fastest 2WD dragster with a pair of 50-inch rollers that can be decoupled to test at speeds of up to 250 mph. Also test AWD vehicles with mechanically linked front and rear roller systems that ensure you cannot damage your customers’ expensive vehicles.

With the AWD-1750, you sacrifice nothing and have a dyno that can handle literally any and every vehicle that could potentially drive up to your shop. The MD-AWD-1750-DE incorporates two powerful eddy-current PAUs that give you loading potential to 1,200 hp for steady-state EFI tuning and controlled acceleration rate testing.

The main factors currently driving the dyno market are…

…we find that many customers focus too much on price and fail to consider other important considerations when buying a chassis dyno. With the economy we all are facing today, many businesses are looking to cut costs, which is natural. But buying a dyno based on price alone is a mistake.

We also find that people overlook the importance of accurate road load simulation capabilities for EFI tuning. Close enough is not good enough. A system must have a closed-loop controller that responds fast enough to react to the vehicle’s ever-changing acceleration in order to simulate an accurate road load.

Shops with a dyno can immediately begin making more money by…

…being sure to supply and charge for a trained and qualified dyno operator to go with the dyno rental. Most companies are willing to pay the extra cost to have a qualified dyno operator on hand-especially an operator that is familiar with that particular dyno.

Fact is, every dynamometer is slightly different, even if it is made by the same manufacturer. Having the guy who runs the dyno on a day-to-day basis on-hand is very important to get the most out of the dyno time.

SuperFlow Dynamometers
Des Moines, Iowa
Mike Giles
Marketing manager

Our hottest new dyno product is…

…we have a couple. First, we purchased DTS Dynamometer at the beginning of March and are now selling the DTS Powermark complete with SuperFlow’s WinDyn Data Acquisition System in addition to all SuperFlow dynamometers. In the short time since the acquisition we’ve sold several new systems that were never available to the market before. Now we can offer people the best parts of both brands.

Second, we’ve also been selling data acquisition upgrades for SuperFlow 901s and early 902s, DTS Dynamometers as well as several other manufacturers’ dynos. Typically, the mechanical components last much longer than the electronic systems, so we have worked very hard to develop plug-and-play systems for nearly all makes of dynamometers. The end result is a dyno with more data channels, faster sampling rates and more testing capabilities for a fraction of the cost of a new dyno.

Their best features include…

…the best feature of the DTS acquisition is being able to offer two popular engine dynamometers so customers can choose the features that best fit their needs.

The best feature of the data acquisition upgrade is the increased capabilities for an incredible value.

The main factors currently driving the dyno market are…

…in order to meet the advanced testing requirements resulting from more stringent emissions regulations, we’ve developed several AC chassis and engine dynamometers.

We now offer a CycleDyn AC Motorcycle Chassis Dyno with several motor sizes available that has been very popular worldwide, along with several models of AC Automotive Chassis Dynos and customer AC Engine Dynos.

The number one reason to consider adding a dyno to your shop services is…

…it’s a great way to expand your shop capabilities and it is an instant revenue source, not only from selling dyno time, but also from selling bolt-on power adders that you can then prove in your own shop.

The biggest misconception about dynos is…

…that one dyno “makes” more power than others. No dyno makes any power. Dynos measure torque and calculate power. The mark of a great dyno is accurate and repeatable testing, not chest-thumping horsepower numbers.

Shops with a dyno can immediately begin making more money by…

…educating themselves on how to perform accurate and repeatable testing so customers can be confident that the power they see on the dyno graphs are going to be there when they hit the track.

Just like any other product you sell, advertising and promoting the dyno with open houses, dyno days, horsepower shootouts, etc., are great ways to increase awareness and also capitalize on parts sales.

Dynocom Industries 
Fort Worth, Texas
Allison Blackstein
Director sales & marketing

Our hottest new dyno product is…

…the all-new 7500 Series dynamometer, an extremely affordable 24-inch chassis dynamometer.

The 24-inch roller is an industry standard diameter for the utmost in repeatability. The 7500 series is capable of supporting speeds up to 200-plus mph and 7,500 foot-pounds of torque. The maximum axle weight is 6,500 pounds and the track width range is 0-86 inches.

This year is all about torque and the shift is away from horsepower. Therefore, all of our models have been redesigned and named for their “torque” ratings.

Its best features include…

…integrated cooling fans that push over 1,100 cfm over the eddy brake, stainless steel finishing and integrated LED lighting that helps the dyno operator operate more efficiently.

The main factors currently driving the dyno market are…

…ROI (return on investment). Take a few minutes to search eBay to see what price used dynamometers are selling for. There are dynos on eBay that are less than two years old selling for a third of what they did new.

ROI is the name of the game for 2011. You need to be profitable and make money with your dyno. If your dyno payment is upwards of $1,500 a month, it will be nearly impossible to be successful.

The number one reason to consider adding a dyno to your shop services is…

…to add an additional revenue stream to your business. In a down economy, adding a dynamometer is another avenue to bring in new customers and keep your current clientele coming back.

The biggest misconception about dynos is…

…”you get what you pay for.” That might have been true 20 years ago, but now in this day and age and in this current economic climate, this adage is no longer true.  Dynocom dynamometers are produced with the latest CNC technology, eliminating the need for costly manual operators.

Shops with a dyno can immediately begin making more money by…

…offering a baseline run for customers who haven’t been dyno-tested. Many customers don’t know their actual horsepower numbers, and by offering a baseline run they will be eager to spend money at your shop to increase their performance.

Stuska Dynamometers
Sussex, Wis.
Steve Huelsbeck
Product manager

Our hottest new dyno product is…

…we are refining a few things with new sensor designs in the pursuit of increasing resolution and detail of the measurements. In addition, our latest software continues to improve in the areas of displaying and organizing recorded data.

Its best features include…

…a display with dual assignable Y-axis graphs that feature a live curser that can compare multiple sweeps both numerically and visually. Also post-test editing of sweep names to include detail of test variables such at timing adjustments.

The main factors currently driving the dyno market are…

…competition. This is racing!

The number one reason to consider adding a dyno to your shop services is…

…I always love that question. Quality control, gaining knowledge and marketing-all three are so important, I just can’t choose.

The best answer may be from the previous question-this is racing!

The biggest misconception about dynos is…

…the dyno in the next town makes more power. Dynos don’t make anything; they take measurements.

Shops with a dyno can immediately begin making more money by…

…selling time. However, I like to remind people of the longer-term profits (and profit protection) as you gain mind share in your marketplace with the reliable performance of your engines.