No doubt–it's Number One.
The Bill Miller Engineering Forged Aluminum Connecting Rod is the number one choice of professional drag racers. For 40 years, it's been the benchmark by which all aluminum rods are judged.
Since 1974, 46 NHRA and IHRA top fuel dragster and funny car Champions have used the BME Rod. Some of these Champions weren't even born yet when Bill Miller introduced the first version of his aluminum rod, but one who's used them almost from the start is 16-time NHRA Funny Car Champion John Force.
During 2013, using the BME Rod's strength and reliability, Force raced his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to four event wins, both ends of the F/C National Record and the Funny Car Championship. Force is the most successful driver in the history of drag racing and, at 64, the oldest person to win an NHRA title. He used BME Rods to win the other 15 of his F/C titles, too. Force puts BME Rods in the other race cars he fields in NHRA MellowYellow Drag Racing: Robert Hight's Southern California Automobile Club Mustang Funny Car, daughter Courtney's Traxxas Mustang Funny Car and daughter Brittany's Castrol Edge Top Fuel Dragster.
Long-time BME Rod user, Cruz Pedregon, finished fourth in 2013. In fact, he and his brother, Tony, used BME Rods to win four championships–'03 and '08 for Cruz; '92 and '07 for Tony. The '05 NHRA F/C Champion, Gary Scelzi, is one of only a handful of drivers in 24 years to beat John Force for the title and, in his long career, was the only drag racer to win championships in all four blown-fuel and blown-alcohol classes. BME Rods helped him do it.
In fact, every NHRA Funny Car Champion since 1990, has had a set of BME Rods in his engine. Clearly the BME Forged Aluminum Connecting Rod is the champion's choice in blown-fuel funny car racing.
The most recognizable Top Fuel Dragster in drag racing is the U.S. Army car. Its driver, Tony Schumacher, is a seven-time NHRA Champion and all seven of those titles were won with BME Rods. Other NHRA Top Fuel stars running BME Rods are: the aforementioned Brittany Force, Clay Millican (Parts Plus Dragster) and Bob Vandergriff Jr. (C&J Energy Services Dragster). Obviously, Bill Miller runs his own parts in the BME Dragster he fields for Troy Buff. The BME Top Fuel Team has one of the best records among NHRA T/F teams which run partial schedules.
The BME Rod owns the International Hot Rod Association's Top Fuel class, too. In four of the last seven years, IHRA T/F Champions–2010, Bobby Lagana Jr.; 2009, Del Cox; 2008, Spencer Massey, and 2006, Clay Millican–used BME Rods. In fact, Millican is a six-time (2001-06) IHRAChampion and during that reign won 68% of his drag races in part because of the reliable BME Connecting Rod. In recent years, Clay runs NHRA T/F exclusively. He finished sixth in points for 2013 and, as he's done for 21 racing seasons, continues to trust BME performance and reliability.
There's a BME presence in the NHRA A/Fuel Dragster class. A/FDs are unblown but run on nitromethane. They are allowed to run NHRA's Mello Yello series as Top Alcohol Dragsters. Five-time TAD Champion (2006-2010) and current A/FD National Record Holder, Bill Reichert, uses BME Rods.
How 'bout Pro Mod? Because of the interest and growth in Pro Mod racing and that some of the top competitors already use BME Pistons, the Bill Miller Engineering Forged Aluminum Connecting Rod is catching on with top competitors in that popular class, too.
BME Rods in a four cylinder engine? You bet! The racers at the top echelons of Sport Compact drag racing use BME Forged Aluminum Rods in their high rpm, high-boost Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi engines.
It's one thing to win some races and a season title or two, but it's a far greater accomplishment to be a consistent winner for decades in a diverse range of drag racing classes. The BME Forged Aluminum Connecting rod has been a performance and reliability standard for 40 years. Other connecting rod makers may brag about racers who run their stuff, but you look at the facts and will find little doubt that BME Forged Aluminum Connecting Rods dominate drag racing.
Until 1995, Bill Miller Engineering Forged Aluminum Connecting Rods were made of 7075 aluminum, heat-treated to the T6 specification. In the early-1990's, Alcoa developed a revolutionary new aluminum alloy for Boeing to use for wing spars and other high-strength, lightweight structures in its military and commercial aircraft.
In 1996, after a comprehensive, joint research and development program with metallurgists at Aluminum Precision Products Corporation, a specialty foundry in California, Bill Miller Engineering introduced connecting rods made of this advanced, aluminum alloy. Compared to 7075-T6, BME's new material was capable of a 15% average increase in tensile and yield strength, equal or better elongation and other mechanical qualities but, most importantly–no increase in weight. In short, rods made of the unique Bill Miller Engineering aluminum alloy offered racers higher strength and longer fatigue life from a part of the same weight.
In 2010, after experiencing significant increases in raw
materials cost during the '00's, Bill Miller Engineering began
researching materials and processes which would give racers more
value in the BME Aluminum Rod. Once again, in cooperation with
specialty foundry APP, Bill Miller Engineering introduced yet
another new alloy for aluminum connecting rod applications based
on the material they developed fourteen years before.
BME Beats the Billets
Forged for Ultimate Strength
During Alcoa's early-1990s research into the strength of connecting rod materials which resulted in BME's switch to a different type of aluminum, fatigue life studies proved failures are caused chiefly by stress resulting from severed grains and improper gain direction. With a connecting rod machined from an aluminum plate, any machining severs grain ends. If this machining is done to critical sections of the rod, such as the beam or the big end, the severed grain ends weaken the rod. If remaining uncut grains are not aligned in the proper direction, the rod's strength will be further compromised.
1) enhances grain flow and increases grain density, 2) forces the grain of the extrusion into the connecting rod shape without exposing grain ends, 3) aligns that part of the grain which makes up the rod's tapered beam with the direction of highest stress the rod will sustain, and 4) forces the grain around the rod bearing bore, creating a "hoop stress" phenomenon which provides maximum strength for the limited cross-section available at the rod’s big end.
Other brands of aluminum rods are machined from flat-stock, so their grain length is cut by tapering process and again by the rod bearing and pin bores, exposing the grain ends in all those locations. In contrast, the forging process used by Bill Miller Engineering forces the grain into the taper and around the rod bearing bore. These advantages are impossible to attain with connecting rods cut out of aluminum plates. Those advantages are, also, why a BME Forged Aluminum Connecting Rod has an exceptionally long fatigue life.
BME Rods are available in a variety of architectures: Chrysler 426 Hemi, 440 Wedge and 340 A-Block, Chevrolet Small- and Big-Block V8s, Ford V8s and traditional Pontiac V8s. Bill Miller Engineering can custom-make aluminum rods for virtually any engine. Recent custom connecting rod projects were for a late model Mercedes V8, a 1925 Mercer Raceabout six-cylinder and a single-cylinder speedway motorcycle racing engine. For more information, see our rod prices page or call BME for pricing on custom work.
"In a hot street application, using the aluminum rod is a no brainer," BME President, Bill Miller, said in an interview with an automotive magazine. "I don't know how the myth that aluminum rods can't be used on the street got started, but I'll guess that, back in the 60s and early-70s, they weren't making them using the process we're using today. With the material we've got and they way we manufacture the connecting rods, they'll live a couple hundred thousand miles on the street because a street application is, for the most part, low load. Our basic Aluminum Rod is made for an 1000-hp, 10,000 rpm race engine. The design criteria for the connecting rod is way overkill for what it's going see on the street. We been running aluminum rods on the street for more than two decades."
Why build a street engine with BME Rods? One reason is the "cool factor." Bill Miller Engineering Rods are unique, high-end racing parts and there always will be people who spend extra money to have the same rods in their engines as John Force puts in his. More importantly, there are practical reasons for using BME Rods—the same reasons racers use them: less reciprocating and rotating mass due to their comparative lightness. That allows the engine to accelerate quicker. Lighter rods also improve throttle response and allow the engine to run reliably at a higher rpm than it could with steel rods.
Both types of BME/ARP fasteners are manufactured at Automotive Racing Product's Santa Paula, California facility using SDF or CHQ grade–both higher than "aircraft grade"–materials. They are heat-treated in vertical racks which ensures complete, 360-deg. heat penetration. Like all ARP cap screws, the units in BME Rods have rolled threads and the thread rolling is done after heat-treating which provides up to 10-times more fatigue life than cap screws having threads rolled before heat-treating.
Needless to say, when you buy a BME Aluminum Rod, the last thing you need to worry about are its fasteners.
BME Rods: The finest money can buy.
The five reasons to choose BME Rods:
1) They outperform and outlast all other aluminum connecting rods.
2) BME puts overriding emphasis on quality through testing, inspection and manufacturing process controls.
3) Bill Miller has raced a Top Fuel car since the early 1980s. There is no better way to find out what it takes to make the best drag race connecting rod in the world than to regularly test it in your own Top Fueler.
4) In 40 years of manufacturing aluminum connecting rods, Bill Miller Engineering has earned for a reputation for innovative technology and continuous improvement.
5) BME Rods are MADE IN AMERICA with the finest materials and the best workmanship of any racing connecting rod available today.
Since 1975, Bill Miller Engineering has been dedicated to designing, developing, and manufacturing the finest aluminum connecting rods in the industry. Our commitment to the racer is total. We conduct continuous research and development to increase the performance and improve the reliability of our product. Rest assured, when you buy BME Forged Aluminum Connecting Rods; you get the best connecting rod modern technology can provide.
BME Rods are widely used in the Top Fuel ranks. The Todd Smith tuned engine in Brittany Force's Castrol Edge T/F Dragster has a set of them in it. Image: John Force Racing.