#BlogPost Briggs and Stratton push rod aluminum and steel

Briggs and Stratton engines are widely used in a variety of applications, from lawnmowers to generators to small utility vehicles. One common component of these engines is the push rod, which plays a critical role in the valve train system. Push rods are available in both aluminum and steel materials, and each type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Steel push rods are typically stronger and more durable than aluminum push rods, making them ideal for high-performance engines and applications where heavy loads and high RPMs are involved. Steel push rods are also less susceptible to wear and deformation due to heat, making them a good choice for engines that run at high temperatures.

On the other hand, aluminum push rods are lightweight and can help reduce the overall weight of an engine, which can be beneficial for certain applications where weight is a factor. Aluminum push rods can also help reduce friction and wear on the valve train, which can lead to increased engine efficiency and longevity.

When choosing between aluminum and steel push rods, it’s important to consider the specific needs of the engine and the application. For example, an engine that is used in a high-performance racing application may require the added strength and durability of steel push rods, while an engine that is used in a light-duty lawn mower may benefit from the reduced weight and friction of aluminum push rods.

Is the aluminum pushrod the intake or the exhaust?

The material of the push rod does not determine whether it is an intake or exhaust push rod. Both intake and exhaust valves use both aluminum and steel push rods in Briggs and Stratton engines. The push rod’s function is to transfer the upward motion of the camshaft to the rocker arm, which then opens and closes the valve. The material of the push rod is usually chosen based on the engine’s specific needs and the manufacturer’s guidelines.

What material is best for pushrods?

The best material for pushrods can depend on a variety of factors, such as the engine’s specific needs, the intended use of the engine, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Generally, pushrods are made of either steel or aluminum. Steel pushrods are known for their strength and durability, making them a popular choice for high-performance and heavy-duty engines. Aluminum pushrods are lighter and can help reduce the overall weight of the engine, which can be beneficial for racing or other high-performance applications. However, aluminum pushrods may not be as durable as steel pushrods and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Ultimately, the best material for pushrods depends on the specific needs of the engine and the intended use of the vehicle. It is important to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations and seek advice from professionals to ensure the proper selection of pushrod material.

What causes a bent rod?

A bent rod in an engine can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  1. Over-revving the engine: Running the engine at high speeds for extended periods of time can put excess stress on the rods, which can cause them to bend or break.
  2. Improper assembly: Incorrectly installing or torquing the connecting rod bolts can cause the rods to bend or break.
  3. Engine overheating: Overheating can cause the metal to weaken and warp, which can lead to bent or broken rods.
  4. Foreign objects in the engine: If a foreign object, such as a piece of metal or debris, enters the engine, it can cause the rods to bend or break.
  5. Lack of lubrication: Insufficient lubrication can cause the rods to rub against each other, leading to metal fatigue and eventually bending or breaking.
  6. Manufacturing defect: Occasionally, manufacturing defects can cause rods to bend or break, although this is relatively rare.

If a bent rod is detected, it is important to diagnose and address the underlying cause to prevent further damage to the engine. In most cases, a bent rod will require replacement to restore proper engine function.

Which rod is stronger?

In general, steel rods are stronger than aluminum rods. Steel has a higher tensile strength and is more resistant to fatigue and deformation under high loads and high temperatures.

However, aluminum rods can offer some advantages over steel rods in certain applications. Aluminum is lighter than steel, which can reduce rotating mass and improve engine response. Additionally, aluminum has better thermal conductivity than steel, which can help dissipate heat and reduce the risk of detonation.

The choice of rod material depends on the specific application and the trade-offs between strength, weight, and other factors. In high-performance or racing engines that operate under extreme conditions, steel rods are often preferred for their strength and durability. However, in some applications, such as high-revving or low-compression engines, aluminum rods may be preferred for their lightweight and thermal properties.

Why does rod size matter?

The size of the connecting rod in an engine is an important factor that can affect engine performance and durability. The connecting rod connects the piston to the crankshaft and helps to transfer the force generated by the combustion of fuel to the crankshaft, which ultimately powers the engine. The size and design of the connecting rod can impact the following factors:

  1. Strength: The size of the connecting rod can affect its strength and ability to withstand the force generated by combustion. A larger, stronger rod can withstand higher loads and stresses without deforming or breaking, which can improve engine durability.
  2. Weight: The weight of the connecting rod can affect engine response and performance. A heavier rod can increase rotating mass and reduce engine response, while a lighter rod can reduce rotating mass and improve engine response.
  3. Length: The length of the connecting rod can affect the geometry of the engine and the motion of the piston. A longer rod can increase the dwell time of the piston at the top of the cylinder, which can improve combustion efficiency and power output.
  4. Rod-to-stroke ratio: The ratio of the connecting rod length to the stroke length of the crankshaft can affect the motion of the piston and the balance of the engine. An optimized rod-to-stroke ratio can improve engine performance and reduce vibration.

The size and design of the connecting rod can have a significant impact on engine performance and durability, and it is important to choose the right rod size and design for the specific application.


both aluminum and steel push rods can provide reliable performance when properly designed and manufactured to meet the specific needs of the engine. It’s important to follow manufacturer guidelines and specifications when selecting and installing push rods to ensure optimal engine performance and longevity.

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