Richard Holdener
June 1, 2007
There's no better way to determine the power output offered by performance components than testing on the DynoJet.

It's true what they say about your first time in that you never forget it. For me, the magical moment took place in the wee hours of the night in the last driveway of a deserted industrial park. All the shops and office buildings had long since closed, the hunter's moon and chill of the night air signaled the approach of the bewitching hour. A silence gripped the darkness, but as luck would have it, not my midnight mistress. The night air was summoned to life, first with a deep growl, then with the long, pronounced wail of some unseen mechanical banshee. There was something seriously wrong with making this kind of racket after midnight (on a school night, no less), but the huge grins hid any trace of guilt.

The motor on the supercharged SHO Taurus wailed again. At the time, we weren't sure if the noise was in protest or celebration, but that supercharged 3.0L V-6 continued on its way, forcing the tach needle ever closer to the magic 10,000-rpm mark. Recognizing that hefty and potentially devastating chunks of aluminum and steel were currently orbiting at the near-escape velocity of 166 times per second, we gave the mayhem the requisite O.S.H.A.-mandated safety distance.

The DynoJet 248 is the chassis dyno that started the revolution. DynoJet now offers an upgraded version of the original 248 (called the 248X) as well as a heavy-duty version (the 248HW) designed for testing turbo-diesel truck applications equipped with dual rear wheels.

The small crowd outside Kenne Bell's Southern California facility stared in disbelief at the chaotic commotion no more than a foot away. What made all this midnight fun possible, not to mention memorable? A DynoJet chassis dyno, and a portable one at that. Trying to fight back my ever-widening grin, I remember thinking, this impressive device is going to change the automotive industry.

Having started in the industry long before the proliferation of chassis dyno testing or (more importantly) tuning, the DynoJet has been all but a godsend for me. I can remember when I started at McMullen Publishing (now Primedia), I was anxious to get into some serious automotive testing. Back then, almost no one had a dyno, and those who did, had engine dynos. While engine dyno testing is important (not to mention loads of fun), much of our testing involved actual vehicles. I fought tooth and nail just to get the publishing company to purchase a Vericom acceleration computer. I wasn't about to just print the power numbers and attending acceleration improvements offered by the various manufacturers.

Left: Due to its affordable price, power-measurement capacity, and small size, the new 224X has become DynoJet's best-selling automotive chassis dyno (shown with optional four-post lift).

If the gains were there, I wanted to test them. Needless to say, I was viewed with some disdain. You have no idea how many times I heard statements like, "Come on, Holdener, it takes too much time and energy to take vehicles to the dyno or even the track for testing." Some were satisfied with the results of their butt-o-meter (it feels faster-so therefore it must be faster). The accuracy and calibration of their derriere notwith-standing, I knew I couldn't tell the difference between a 10hp gain and a 15hp gain, especially on a motor that already produced 400 hp. Besides, even if I guessed correctly that the product in question was worth an extra 10 hp, where in the power curve was it better? Was it 10 hp better everywhere, or did it sacrifice power at the bottom to make a few extra at the top? My questions were many, and unfortunately, the verified answers were few.

Needless to say, I was somewhat less than thrilled about the prospect of chassis dyno testing, that is until witnessing that supercharged SHO Taurus rip the rollers that fateful night. Even before the run was over, I was hooked. I didn't want to test only magazine cars, I wanted to test everything. Just ask guys like Steve Ridout at Powertrain Dynamics, Jim Bell at Kenne Bell, or any of the other DynoJet facilities that I managed to weasel my way into, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning.

These days, DynoJet has sort of become the standard of the automotive industry. By providing access to not only large national corporations, but also to smaller (regional) tuners and performance shop owners, DynoJet revolutionized the performance industry.