Home » Features » Formula TKM Column » TKM Insight
TKM Insight

TKM Insight

Should I buy a proven second hand old engine or a new one? Grahame Bu?erworth helps with the decision…

Ask around the paddock if you are looking at joining the class and you’ll get conflicting views on the way to go with an engine. Some will say old is best. Others new. Big help, eh?!

At first sight the TKM BT82 engine in use today is the same engine that was used when the class was first created many years ago. In fine detail however the engine has matured quite a lot, not to create extra performance but to help it withstand the incredibly hard life it has to endure within racing, increase life, and make every engine as microscopically close as possible.

Such continuous improvement of quality and production is what every manufacturer should look for in any product and that is what has happened on the TKM BT82 as each and every item is reviewed over the years.

So the cylinder liner ports in the barrels have for many years now been computer machined rather than cast, the small ends have been improved in specification, and a host of other minor but significant points all improved and aimed at making it stronger. Note  virtually all of those improved parts can be routinely upgraded on an older engine but you are not to know what an old unit has.

More recently the crank main bearings and oil seals have been increased in size to cope with the extra strain of a clutch, starter gear etc on the TAG engine – all of it running right across all the engine specs whether for direct drive or clutch or TAG.

None of this has actually increased performance as shown on a dyno graph but has helped keep down costs to you drivers by keeping expensive possible blow ups to a real minimum and extending rebuild times.

However somewhat illogically there are a number of engine builders out there who for their own reasons choose to claim that the latest engines are not as fast as older ones. They will tell you all sorts of reasons why – without any concrete facts to back that up.

Now I can guarantee you that Tal-Ko’s dyno does not lie and if you do the tests then old or new come up the same. This is also confirmed by track testing.

So while an old engine could be good, bear in mind you don’t know its history or the quality of rebuilding. On the other hand a new engine will be the strongest BT82 ever and comes with the knowledge that it is manufacturer guaranteed to be spot on. It will be stronger for longer.