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Thread: When is a Coy Miller Race Engine not actually a Race Engine?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    When is a Coy Miller Race Engine not actually a Race Engine?

    What defines a Race Engine? - My Coy Miller Stage 2R Engine Story

    In all of my wildest dreams, I would have never guessed that having a race engine built would become one of the most on-going, time intensive, and fruitless projects that I have ever embarked upon in my entire life. But after almost 2.5 years, I can honestly ask the question – “What makes a race engine, a race engine?”. To answer that question, I have to analyze the facts, and look at my current situation to determine that my race engine is NOT a race engine. Why, because it can’t be raced. In fact, 2.5 years in, it currently doesn’t even run, much less power the car at a speed most normal racers would consider a race pace. I also have to ask myself how I allowed myself to be sucked into a guy’s shop, and become his R&D department, AT MY OWN EXPENSE…

    So read my story below. Many of you will look at my profile and say well, this is his one and only post, therefore he must be a troll on this message board. This is America and you have the right to believe and say that. But it still doesn’t remove the fact that my so called race engine, built by a shop that advertises their engine packages as “Race Engines” doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked, and to be honest I have no clue when it will work, or when I’ll be able to drive my car again.

    In August of 2003, I spun a bearing in my original 3.8L engine in my Super Coupe. This happened at Charlotte Motor Speedway while attending a NASA event. I had wanted to upgrade the engine for more power, and figured now was the time to address that and pursue my power gains.

    So, I contacted Coy Miller. A well respected member of this board, and someone who is considered to be an expert with the 3.8s. Coy and I talked on the phone and I explained to him that I was Road Racing the car, and not drag racing the car, and Coy did not see that as an issue and felt that his Stage 2R race engine would match my power goals. So, we decided to proceed.

    For a little preliminary history, at the time I took my engine to Coy, my car had a full roll cage, former Winston Cup t-bird front end, large Griffin Radiator, larger fuel pump, Brembo 4 piston calipers, etc. And I had been running the car on the track for almost 2 years.

    So I took the engine to Coy in September ’03. Once again, when I dropped the engine off, Coy and I had a discussion about how I use my car on the track, and that it was a Road Racing application, and not a drag racing application. In January of ’04 I received the engine back, and had it re-installed in the car. We plugged Coy’s PCM program into my PCM, put it on the dyno, and within a short period of time blew the head gaskets.

    So, the heads went back to Coy, and he returned them in May ‘04 rebuilt – no charge. Head Gaskets blew again. So this time the whole car goes to Coy’s shop. This gives Coy a good opportunity to look at the whole setup - the fuel pump, radiators, intercoolers, etc. While Coy has the car, the Magnum Powers supercharger dies. So we have to contact Charles at Magnum Powers to get the supercharger rebuilt. Keep in mind here that the supercharger barely has any time on it, other than dyno time, and probably less than 10 laps on the track. It was determined that my PCM was bad, and Coy recommended going to the Electromotive TEC3 for engine management. OK, no problem. My friend had it on his Porsche 911 turbo and had good success with it, so we went forward this plan.

    So in August ’04 Coy takes the car to HP Werks in Colonial Beach Va for tuning (excellent shop by the way, and Larry is VERY helpful). Larry notices car isn’t getting enough fuel, and that we need bigger injectors, and a larger fuel pump. Now, Coy selected the injectors, and when he had the car, evidently never took the time to look at the fuel pump to see if it could deliver enough fuel. In the process of diagnosing fuel delivery on the dyno, the head gaskets blew AGAIN. So we get a bigger fuel pump/injectors, and Larry makes a recommendation that I need to increase the size of the fuel return line back to the tank. So the car goes back to Coy’s…. Again….

    Oct ’04, Coy takes car back to HP Werks Dyno, belts keep snapping. At this point I’ve spent about $300 on belts. Coy’s response to this – “Belts are a normal maintenance item that you’re gonna have to keep an eye on.”. Man, I’ve barely driven the car, and I’m replacing belts already… Hmmm…

    November ’04 – back to the dyno with the bigger fuel pump, bigger injectors, etc. We’re still having belt issues, and then, the glorious Magnum Powers supercharger dies again…. 2nd one, and the car has barely any time on it.

    Feb’05 I received the rebuilt supercharger from Charles at Magnum Powers, took it to the track. I can’t remember how many belts we put on the thing, so I’m gonna say 6 conservatively. The car never saw full boost, and I never got a complete 20 minute session in on the track because I’d make 2-3 laps, and the belts would break. These were Goodyear Racing belts by the way, not some cheap NAPA belts.

    June ’05 – went back to the track to try again. Still breaking belts, and after 3 attempts on the track, I cracked a head. To be fair, my temps were a tick high. Car goes back to Coy. And Coy has the car for 16 weeks. Coy gets the car ready for another dyno session, completely tore down the engine and built it back up. I paid him in full as soon as the work was finished, and he took it back to the dyno in Sept ’05. At this point my frustration level hits an all time high when my Magnum Powers supercharger, built by Charles at Magnum Powers, locks up AGAIN. The 3rd one! And the car has seen very little more than dyno time. Coy’s response to the issue with the supercharger is as follows and is an exact quote :

    “You can polish a turd, but it is still a turd.”

    That is how he describes the supercharger that HE has selected for his Stage 2 engine. Coy followed that by saying that this “has been a learning experience for him” – yeah AT MY EXPENSE. To add more fire to my frustration, Charles at Magnum refuses to warranty the part, or refund my money, and yet he admits – and I quote - “I guess that supercharger isn’t going to work for your type of application.” So here I am with a busted up supercharger, that I can’t get any money for, and can’t return, but yet I am left holding the bill for a part that won’t work. Once again, I guess Charles’ R&D budget came out of my wallet.

    Sure Coy helped me out a lot early on by rebuilding the blown heads, etc, but this package has costs me so much in fuel costs, towing up and down the road to/from Harrisonburg, Va, additional components, additional labor with Coy, etc, it is completely ridiculous.

    So at this point (Sept ’05) I don’t know what to do, its been 2 years, and I still don’t have a running engine, but I’ve got a ton of money stashed in this engine that doesn’t run. So I ask Coy to help me get this thing resolved, and to make his Stage 2 package work as advertised (meaning last more than a few dyno runs). Coy says he can’t help me out, and doesn’t see any reason why he should be obligated to, and that I should go to a Pro-Charger or a Vortech. Coy says that the problems aren’t related to the engine, but rather to the piece of junk superchargers built by Magnum Powers.

    This is where Coy and I disagree. In my view the Stage 2 engine is a package. Because a VW Jetta probably puts out more power than this engine does without the blower. The engine is useless without the blower. So these are not 2 mutually exclusive parts. The engine has to be combined with the blower to make the power.

    Forward to December ’05. I sit here looking at my car, and think of all the money that I spent with both Coy and Charles, and considering what I’ve gotten for my money, I’d say I haven’t gotten much, and as of yet, can’t identify why I as a customer am at fault for this situation. I’ve paid Coy up front many times for the work, or paid him virtually immediately after being notified that work is finished. There’s no way Coy can say that I’m the source of the problem here because I’m just the customer. I brought my car to a professional that was regarded as an expert with my engine. Well, I’m an expert/professional carpenter by trade, and if I treated my customers like this, I would not be in business for long.

    So this leads us back to the question – “When is a race engine actually a race engine”. Coy advertises his shop as “Coy Miller Race Engines”. I’ve got a so-called Coy Miller race engine. But will it ever race? Can it race? How can an engine builder take my money, look at the situation I have described above, and continue to claim no responsibility, and continue to advertise that his engines are race engines? Anyone?

    For you guys out there. Store this story away and reflect on it when it comes time to spend your money. Spend it wisely, and consider your vendor, and whether or not he’ll stand behind his parts, his package, his work, and whether or not he has the support of his vendors. On his site he advertises that these engines are built the “CMRE Way”… I guess my expectations of “his way” were too high…

    I’ve got some pics I’ll post later. I’m not an internet guru or anything, so I’m not sure when that will happen.
    If you have any questions though, please feel free to call me.

    Ralph Sparveri

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    damn!! I never heard of any problems with magnum powers superchargers locking up. I know he has a warranty on his parts.....I believe is a year.

    I know a couple of guys who are using coy miller motors without any problems...not the 2r version though.

    I hope you get things worked out.

    Also didn't you post something about this a year or two ago.

    1992 Thunderbird SC
    13.322 @ 102.81
    1993 Thunderbird SC 5spd..white
    2002 F350 SD Diesel (SC tow vehicle)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Medina, OH (outside Cleveland)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I can honestly say that's the first specific types of problems i've really heard of with these cars. If the heads and the block were decked properly with use of ARP studs then the headgaskets wouldn't blow because of preperations. HG's will blow because of detonation so you had a far off tune more than likely. You very well should've joined this club quite some time ago and we could have helped you with it. I'm running a ported 94/95 blower with MP inlet that has about 100K miles on it and I haven't had a problem in the least with it (It's close to MPII performance). I have a cheap carquest belt that was on my car since i've had it and the belt hasn't had any type of damage all while running 17psi.

    You really need a proper tune in the aspect of having all the information in terms of performace available to determine what is really going on. Reading A/F, inlet temperatures, timing, etc... will help you determine what you need or why you are having problems and a right chip will get you where you need to be.

    Why they call them race engines is because of the high quality/dollar parts that each motor is equipped with. They'll come with forged rods and forged aluminum pistons, it can have low tension piston rings that need to be replaced every 40 passes down the drag strip for max performance, different clearances to allow life with very thin oil along with a low amount, or an excessive amount of block filler that would make motors overheat if street driven. Very heavy duty springs that beat the seats, wipe valve guides out, hard on pushrods and have aggressive cams with outrageous ramp speeds and so on.

    However, I don't think that what is available for the SC "race engine" wise is as far as what I have mentioned. I'm sure that what is available as Coy's engines is forged rods and pistons, overbore, good rings, and all the necessary machine work, along with ported/welded heads with oversized valves and a cam. MPII blower will work for a road racing application with no problem and I haven't heard of the problem you are frequently having with the blower before.

    What headgaskets were you using?

  5. #5
    I was the one that originally posted Ralph's problems about 18-20 months ago, or whenever it was.

    You really need a proper tune in the aspect of having all the information in terms of performace available to determine what is really going on. Reading A/F, inlet temperatures, timing, etc... will help you determine what you need or why you are having problems and a right chip will get you where you need to be.
    Coy set up the program/fuel maps/ignition maps/etc. And the TEC3 (which I have) is far better than some off the shelf chip. The problems initially were due in part because Coy had selected injectors that wouldn't deliver enough fuel for the engine. How do I know, because I remember sitting in the car with the laptop, watching the diagnostic data on the laptop, and seeing 90% duty cycles on the engine, and the engine still not getting enough fuel. I told Ralph at that point that it needed more injector because the duty cycle was way too high.

    MPII blower will work for a road racing application with no problem and I haven't heard of the problem you are frequently having with the blower before.
    I'd like to personally meet/talk to anyone who's ran a MPII blower on a Road Course. According to Charles' comments to Ralph, he (Ralph) was he only one attempting turn these things at full boost for 30 minutes on end. I guess I should clarify, that's the way I understood it at least.

    I have no stake in this personally, other than I'd like to run with Ralph at the track again, which it doesn't look like will ever happen at this point... He's been raped if you asked me. I started building my own engines after watching this fiasco. I'm an amateur but my engine this year alone has 33 hours on the track with 431RWHP.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Lakeville, MN
    I'm simply shocked that such a problem exists and it can't be resolved. Certainly there is much more to the story since it spans so many months/years. And getting Coy and Charles to shut down on you had to come from somewhere.

    These blowers outlast some of the most abusive drivers that exist on the roadways, so i can't see how it doesn't fit for the application.

    The motors also outlast some of the most abusive drivers with marginal factory programming.

    It would be very interesting to get a 3rd uninvolved party in to look at the motor and just work the problem and get it running. The folks currently involved just have too much invested to look at the problem without some major coloring of their view.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Maybe Dave Dalke's Auto-Rotor kit would fix your problem.I know that he does not advertise them for sale but maybe that blower would be the fit for your problem.If i were you i would contact him about it.
    I am not saying that he has the answer but i do not believe that he had this blower avaliable when you first had this problem.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    St. Charles, MO

    What rpms did the engine make peak torque and at what rpms did it make peak HP while on Coy's engine dyno.

    How much are you overdriving the supercharger and how much boost is it making at wide open throttle ?

    What size injectors did you start with and what size do you have now ?

    1991 SC AOD 4.2..2.3 Whipple..........10.92 @ 126.70
    2016 SRT Challenger Hellcat...............707HP/650TQ

    My Garage

  9. #9
    What rpms did the engine make peak torque and at what rpms did it make peak HP while on Coy's engine dyno.

    How much are you overdriving the supercharger and how much boost is it making at wide open throttle ?

    What size injectors did you start with and what size do you have now ?
    David :

    Ralph's not a computer guy, rarely gets on the web, so I'll answer what I can.
    1. Pulley ratio - I have no clue
    2. I think 16-17psi - I'm pretty sure 17.
    3. I think it started with either 50's or 57's (installed by Coy) and now has either 72s or 75s, one or the other, can't remember. Mine has 72s, but Ralph's is either 72s or 75s.

    If you've got more questions for Ralph, or think you can help him out, give him a call at the number he posted. He's not gonna respond off the web because there's no telling when he'll be on the web again to check the progress of this thread.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Was the engine fully blue printed to insure a proper deck height? I'm sure it was as I know Coy does good work, but I can't believe the engine has had this many problems. I've heard he has blown more than a few sets of customers head gaskets dyno testing maybe due to not having a good baseline tune. But he builds some bad ~~~ motors when they run. So now I see that the car isn't running, why, because it needs a supercharger? How is that coy's fault?

    Your post should be directed towards Charles for not warrantying the blower. You won't know if the engine has any problems until you can log some time on it with a blower that won't seize up. And why would it be going through belts, is it slipping them on the supercharger? Or did you remove the a/c and have an idler made that is spaced to far keeping too much tension on the serp belt?

    I hope you get it resolved and soon. I'd hate to see you give up on a car that has a ton of potential as of now.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    75lb injectors on a 6 cylinder motor should support 600whp, I don't think that motor is putting out that kind of power and I honestly don't think the motor needs more injector.

    You need to get and scan in the dyno sheets, even anything up to where something broke. Posting that data logs would really help.

    Was a wideband even used? I would think on a motor like this you should be tuning for 11.5 AFR from full boost to redline, maybe even a little more conservative considering how hot these motors get.

    The fuel injectors and pump were swapped out, but what about the fuel rails and fuel pressure regulator? Things like that can make a big difference in fuel delivery, if infact the car is running out of fuel.

    Does the SC have a knock sensor? I would love to see logs of the knock sensor on these runs.

    I really don't know enough about supercharged cars to comment what might be making the belts break, but I can see that it's definitely a problem.

    I know I'm not an SC guy, but with the data that I'm asking for I might be able to help, I do tune my own car.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    That's way more injector than you necessarily need. I would think that 50's and maybe 60's would be more than enough for MPII.

    There's more than likely something wrong with the tune.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Outside KC MO
    I think changing out the blower would get the thing running. For only 4xx hp, the 70+ may be okay if its running wfo for several laps with a wide cam.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Madison, Ohio
    The problems listed in the original post are not surprising to me. I think that the problem is easily solved but some people will have to put their pride aside and get to the heart of the issues (there are several) and no single person is at fault.

    I also responded to the original posts about the issue with the CMSII-R over a year ago and assumed that there had been resolution because no follow-up had been provided.
    Quote Originally Posted by Miller View Post
    Ya thats why i tape mine down. People think its bc i dont have a moonroof seal (which is true) but its really to keep my roof from ripping off .
    Email me here.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Toronto, ON

    Red face

    How come Charles doesn't say anything regarding the blower he makes???
    Last time I checked the website, Charles claimed that he garantees his blowers for 2 years.
    "Magnum Powers provides Eaton Supercharger Rebuild and Porting Services for M45, M65, M90 or M112. Our rebuilds use the highest quality parts and come with a Two Year Warranty at no extra charge. Turn around time is one week in our shop plus shipping time".

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