VADER Aluminum Racing Rods

VADER Aluminum Racing Rods



Raising the bar once again, we give you some extremely durable, functional, and absolute sik-designed aluminum racing connecting rods for your big power engine. Not for the timid, not for the squeamish, and definitely not for those that think they can make mountains of horsepower and won't ever have to pop their hoods again. This is a REAL racer's rod.

  • FFWD BILLET ALUMINUM RACING RODS are CAD designed and CNC machined out of proprietary aluminum bar stock developed exclusively for FFWD.
  • OUR ALLOY IS 35% HIGHER IN YIELD STRENGTH over most others “high performance” alloy and is also higher in strength-to-weight performance than Grade 5 Titanium.
  • EACH ROD IS FULLY CRYO PROCESSED…a trusted and proven procedure we have done for the past 18 years to all of our turnkey race motors swinging the doors out of this shop. If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t be doing it. Period.
  • OUR RODS FEATURE AN EXOTIC OIL SHEDDING COATING that allows the part to run cooler…resulting in a longer lasting rod.

Combined, what all of this will give you is an extremely tough, durable, and refined billet aluminum racing connecting rod that can take all the beating you choose to throw at it. And why couldn't it? If you're needing rods like these, you'll definitely be beating on them. We understand this. We've got your back.





That is the very same thing we mumbled years ago when we were sampling every rod out there on the market in our builds trying to find the perfect "builder-friendly" piece but still able to withstand copious amounts of HP. While assembling motors with these rod contestants, we found a number problems...including (but not limited to):

  • The block needing some MAJOR hogging for rod "swing" clearance
  • The pin end needing fitment to the chosen pin and/or the pin end needing width "adjustment" to fit between those snazzy custom slug pin bosses
  • The rods having to be installed (ridiculously) from the bottom because their widths were larger than the bores
  • The big end was honed such on the high side that a resizing was absolutely necessary

We didn't have time for this stuff...see you at the hone machine...and in some cases, spending time at the good ol' Bridgeport to "make it work".

This is unacceptable and inherent with rod designs by individuals that don't understand what it's like to torque a bolt when installing a connecting rod. To put it more ghetto, it pissed us off so badly that the cat's ass hurt for a week.

CAD/CAM DesignedOur rods are not designed by a tie-clad, Khaki-wearing CAD geek and/or a "cycle-start-button-pushing" monkey with no idea of what a rod should be, what a rod should be designed like, or how a rod should be installed. But by folks that actually build motors AND beat the Jesus out of what they build. is impossible to cover every single scenario when it comes to clearances and rotational setups. That is why builders are called "builders". It is the builder's job to blueprint the components to assure proper clearances as well as the correct fitment/matching of those components...LOTS of work. But we strived to decrease frustrations as much as possible for your build by understanding this assembly process.

It's easy to design a buff aluminum connecting rod. Most designers just slap on the meat where stress analysis says to slap it on (if they even went that far with it) it "the strongest connecting rod out there" in their marketing campaigns...then kick back by the phones ready to take your cash. We don't subscribe to this haphazard approach. In a world where you'll be staring at the rod sitting on mom's coffee table while snapping pics to show-off in the forums like they were your first newborn, this mindset would be fine...but you are INSTALLING these suckers too. Whole different ballgame my friends. Especially with stroked configurations.

We feel that we have the best "strength per gram" ratio in the industry. Many many hours have been invested in finding the perfect balance between being "builder friendly" by strategic mass reduction while still maintaining all-out steroidal brute strength. A very delicate balance...but a balance that has been successfully achieved.


Our standard length 6 bolt “Hybrid” 4G63 Vader rod weighs in at a lean and mean 486 grams. To put this into perspective, a similarly configured Manley “Turbo Tuff” series steel rod weighs a fat Albert 697 grams.

That’s an incredible 31% reduction in reciprocating weight over the Manley rod. Looking at it a different way, and doing some simple math, using our aluminum rod will drop an incredible 844 grams (1.86 pounds) from off of your total reciprocating mass over the Manley steel rod! That’s sort of a big deal.

Let it also be known that EACH rod that comes out of our machines is within a single gram or less of each other so rest assured, nothing funky will be evident when it comes time for balancing. Yep…we put in the overtime at the gram scale. Not for distributing weed…but for you and your motor.


We didn't buy into the "serrated circle edge" concept of maintaining strict cap alignment. Dowel pins are where it's at in this club. This is a shot of the rod cap and rod. Notice the black alignment dowels in the rod end as well as the spin pin in the cap itself. This bearing aint goin' anywheres. Bearing fretting? Our rods have never heard of it. These rods maintain precision alignment within .0002" even after hundreds of passes. Some have pounded on these babies by throwing over 500 dyno pulls at them with no failures and bearings that still look brand new! That is A LOT of abuse folks


Here is a good shot of a drilled King XP bearing with the spin pin peaking out…the only sure-fire way of making sure that the bearing stays put at extreme horsepower levels (tangs only locate the bearing shells laterally within the rod’s big end). This spin pin (which is pressed into the cap) is why modified bearings are needed in order for you to use these rods. You just can’t slide “normal” rod bearings into this rod. For an additional cost, we’d be happy to provide pre-modified bearing sets for you…a hole drilled deadnuts in the center of the shell where it needs to be…so no worries. This is a VERY important procedure to bestow upon us as if that spin pin hole isn’t located accurately and/or drilled concentric, you will have a cocked bearing in the rod and possibly not even know it…until the rod goes punting out the block on its way to the red planet. You won’t be happy…so we won’t be happy. Why do we offer such a service right at the point of purchase? We don’t like time and dollar wasters…and we’re betting you don’t eit her. Follow:

  1. Ship your bearings to them for the drilling service (that you bought from XYZ Racing)
  2. Pay for the drilling
  3. Pay once again to get them returned to you

If you’d rather throw your hard-earned money away by doing the 3-step dance above, we’ll take it and put it to better use…we’ll buy beer.


We outfit these rods with ARP2000 bolts, which are MORE than adequate for aluminum rods usage. Only in a steel rod a higher grade bolt is necessary (i.e. ARP L19) when pushing those stratospheric horsepower levels and even then, a very small percentage actually needs a grade of bolt that high. Why does steel ask mama for more? Because that steel rod is not only a heavy beater stick, a steel rod is less forgiving and needs those Superman bolts when it's being slammed up and down in the bore as opposed to these feather-weight aluminum billet rods. The less reciprocating weight you have...the less dynamic force that is put on those bolts.

How did we know which grade to run with? We're not just talking out of our bum here. Using ARP's proprietary software, we were able to calculate the exact grade of bolt needed for various extreme performance scenarios. Variables such as stroke, piston weight, rod weight, max RPM and C-C rod length were used in the equation. Through a little science, calc button pushing, and some magic, BAM...instant grade of bolt needed for the job.

Any wallet grabbers that try to sell you different, kick them in the Lance Armstrong, and walk away. We provide you with exactly the bolt you NEED. Not ill-directed marketing tactics.

One other interesting side note...these bolts are not installed at "torque to yield" values...there is a 25% buffer in the amount of torque needed to match what we used when honing these babies. This helps when really pounding on these rods with the higher expansion rate of aluminum as opposed to steel. If the alloy expands too much (imagine Mach 1 speeds and very high loads), the bolts don't like it...and they will not return to their original length if they were already torqued at yield values. Not good. Junk it...

So having an extra 25% of wiggle room is a good thing. Bolts likey! Let's race.


We'll start off by saying heat transfers more rapidly when there is a large difference in temperature. This coating disperses heat by shedding oil from off of the rod quicker. By shedding the oil more rapidly, cooler oil is splashed onto the rod more frequently. If oil "sticks" to the part longer, it absorbs less heat and blocks cooler oil from contacting the hot surface. We don't want that. You have to remember...the longer hot oil sticks to a part, the more the part is going to increase in temperature. The hotter the part becomes, the more its yield strength goes down. Heat kills parts...heat likes your pocketbook. Vader will help prevent this from happening.

We don't just spray the rod, cure it, and call it done, No sir...we spray the rod, cure it, and stick it BACK into the machine for a few more necessary operations. This is why our rods look different from anyone else's in the world. It's the details my friends. This militant process is brute stuff for those that don't attend church regularly. Sure, this takes more time, but we think it's well worth doing as we not only wanted to create a kick-dick performing product, but a product that looked like it was going to crush skulls and egos...pure evil.

VADER Aluminum Racing Rods - Raw Stock

Life as a VADER rod starts right here. Raw rod stock awaiting to be cut, sliced, diced, drilled, and contoured into something wonderful. At this pre-embrionic stage, the alloy has been cryogenic processed and heat tempered…even before one metal chip is flown.

VADER Aluminum Racing Rods - Vibratory Machine

We also drop the entire piece into a vibratory machine to not only fine tune some de-burring duties, but to eliminate stress risers at the same time. Good vibrations!

VADER Aluminum Racing Rods - Sunnen Bore Gauge

As a standard practice to do at this power level, the big-end bores are precision honed (within .0002″) to precise “on split” standards and pin bores honed with the proper clearance to the pin. No tapered bores…no blown out ends.


Oh boy...the forever on-going debate and seemingly the most discussed topic in the high performance world. Shall we even go there? Sure...but we'll intro this section by saying this is OUR opinion on the subject. Aluminum rods act much like a "shock absorber" under load and will suck up the pounding the piston is transmitting to both the crank and bearing during the power cycle. Especially on the exhaust stroke when the bolts are really being put to the test as they have to hang onto that rod for dear life. Aluminum is good! It is for this very reason (along with a lighter rotational assembly) why EVERY blown car, nitro, Top Fuel, Modified or otherwise use aluminum rods...they relieve a lot of the stress the bearings see in these crazy HP steroid monsters because of the rod's shock absorbing qualities. Again, aluminum is good! But as with anything in making HP, there's always a price...the rods are changed out often. But at this extreme power level, the performance advantages gained are well worth the cost and maintenance for these guys.


Yes, these rods will stretch. Guess what? Steel rods do as well. Let’s do a little record straightening here…

 ALL connecting rods stretch when under load…albeit aluminum stretches about .010″ more than steel. But both alloys will return to their original size when the load is removed. The point they don’t return to their original size, is when the metal has been fatigued beyond its limitations. This is called deformation. Much like when a bolt has been stretched beyond its yield…the bolt will not return to its original length. Junk it…it can no longer do the job that it was designed to do.

 So backing up a bit, why does a Nitro car change its rods only after 10 passes? That’s because the rods has been stretched to the point of no return.  Major pounding…major RPMs…Mach 1 speeds. The rod has now seen its limitations to maintain its dimensions. Junk it…it can no longer do the job it was designed to do.

 This “stretch” is inherent to all extreme power makers…a known fact with builders and nothing new and/or mysterious. How to combat this? When we designed our rods, we accounted for this stretch by designing the C-to-C length .010″ under, so when assembling, their expansion actually will NOT have to be accounted for when setting your piston-to-valve clearance. Viola! One less brain wrinkle made. Aint it cool?


Somewhat of a loaded question with many answers. We’ll speak it as we see it. It really is very simple.

 The amount of life you can get from an aluminum rod is entirely up to the application you’re using it in. Folks tend to group all of these apps into one. Not a fair nor accurate thing to do. Don’t be an ignoramus.

 A blown alcohol car will possibly get around 20 passes with a set of aluminum rods. A little bracket racer car uses them the entire season…and often times, for multiple seasons. A weekend tinker toy with quick jaunts to Foodland and the GF’s past 3am for a quickie could last 20k plus miles.

 Bottom-line: It all really depends on how hard they are being pounded on. It's really all relative.

 So, you want REAL-WORLD facts? Alright. We can share a few of our customer’s past experiences while using our rods:

  • Over 200 passes for three seasons in a 7 second Outlaw car with approx 250 horse per bore
  • Over 350 highly abusive passes spinning them at over 10 grand through the traps in a consistent 7 second bracket car
  • Over 9 years of hard use in a 600 horse weekend street car

 These big little tid bits are sort of a big deal...and just a very small sampling of what our rods are being subjected to right at the track...not at the bench.

 The bottom bottom-line: With all factors being the same, be it a bracket car or a good ol’ boy farm truck, these rods are THE industry leader when it comes to longevity for their chosen application. Period.

 To recap:

  • Proprietary alloy that is 35% higher in yield strength than standard performance alloys 

  • Higher in strength-to-weight performance than Titanium

  • "Builder friendly" for the least amount of frustration for you

  • Can Provide You with Bearings Pre-Drilled for the Spin Pin

  • ARP2000 bolts

  • Vibratory tumbled to eliminate stress risers

  • Withstanding Off-the-Charts Real World Abuse for Multiple Seasons

  • Fully CRYO PROCESSED for superior grain refinement and increased strength

  • Heat tempered

  • Oil shedding "VADER" coating which promotes longevity of the part by lowering its operating temperature

  • Precision honed (within .0002") to "on-split" specifications

  • Specially Designed to Crush Skulls and Kill Egos


We're not going to BS you and say that EVERYONE needs a rod like this. We're not going to even say this is perfect for your setup no matter what your application is. One must always pick the proper rod (aluminum or steel) for their application for optimum longevity and giddy factor. But we will say, if you want to be competitive, and if you don't want to get left behind, this is what you get.

Yes, there are cheaper alternatives out there...but borrowing from that wiseman adage:

 The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.

  Lighter rotational assembly...shock absorbing qualities...a real racer's connecting rod possessing qualities not found in any other aluminum rod in the world.

We designed these aluminum rods to help you WIN...and to help you KEEP winning.

 Only the best to offer you...only the best to use...when only the best will do.

Give Us a Call!

Please call us toll free at 1.888.749.CRYO (2796) or email us to start creation on a set just for you!

All import and domestic applications (as well as custom connecting rods) are welcomed with open arms! We have no minimum order requirement.