This morning, we were tagged in a post with a complaint about our shipping cost on the Wildcat 223, which claimed it was $79(we've never seen that before, so we were unaware of what issues they were having)and that Red Beard should have included the shipping costs into the Tillotson 212E vs Wildcat 223 Video. Many people have asked for the same information, so we decided to find out. 

About the Tillotson 212E vs Wildcat 223 Video

1. The video was made for the sake of transparency. Nobody has ever made a video showing how each engine performed on the same dyno. We wanted to create a more empirical database to compare performance and mitigate expectations when upgrading an engine. We have also felt performance numbers have been inflated to justify significantly higher prices. At 9-10 horsepower, the Tillotson 212E seemed like a great deal. However, on Red Beard's dyno, it's 7hp and only a .25hp more than a Predator 212 Hemi. 

2. The video compares the product's value in two ways: price per power/torque and the features of each engine. Price is what you pay, but value is what you get. The simplest way to communicate value is power per dollar. However, the features of each engine add a less visible or overlooked benefit. More robust blocks and better engine specs will improve the value and performance of the engine with future modifications. Not only is it hard to put a price on all of those features, but each person's goals are different. In terms of strength and durability, any engine should be able to handle the stage kits we've used on the Wildcat series so far. The larger 223/224 engines will make more power than the 212, and in our other blogs, we compare the Wildcat to the built Predator 212, where the Wildcat outperforms with similar modifications. However, the difference in the 223/224 is more subtle, from the difference in heads to the strength of the block to part fitment and availability. 

Shipping is not included in the video.

Since shipping and taxes will vary per location, they were not included in the video. However, we spent the morning checking the prices on our website and with the companies that sell these products and a dealer that sells our engine. We took screenshots of each website(including some shipped engine orders) and made a chart showing the total prices with the dyno results from Red Beards Garage and the updated price per horsepower/torque.

Engine Cost + Shipping + Taxes / Horsepower & Torque


Ghost 212 From Harbor Freight


212E from GPS

Predator 224 From Harbor Freight

Wildcat 223 from EC


223 from OMB




$179.99 or $149.99 on sale





0 if out of state

$17.54 or 15.30 on sale

0 if out of state

0 if out of state





$36.75- Low

$53.14 - Normal

$79 - High





$204.52 or 172.28 on sale













$33.9(if shipping was free)

$27.52 or $23.18 on sale












26.12(if shipping was free)

$20.22 or $17.04 on sale





Tillotson 212E vs. Wildcat 223

The Tillotson 212E has been the go-to alternative to the Harbor Freight engines. While it did show more power than the Predator 212, it didn't show the 9-10hp it claimed to make. This would have been fine, as dynos are calibrated differently. However, it's only acceptable with additional context and data from other engines. That is why we wanted complete transparency in our testing. The Predator 224 is underrated at 6.6hp but made 7.43hp on his dyno. All the numbers except for the Tillotson 212E or the Ghost 212(which doesn't advertise HP numbers) read higher than advertised. That's why data has to be collected using the same dyno. 

The Tillotson 212E with shipping costs $270; even with the claim of $79 shipping, the Wildcat is still less expensive, has more power, and has better features. Interestingly, if the Tillotson 212E were to be shipped for free and the Wildcat shipped for $79, the Wildcat would still cost fewer dollars per horsepower and torque. Going back to show the shipping prices only makes a better case for the Wildcat 223 having a tremendous advantage over the Tillotson 212E. 

Predator 224 vs Wildcat 223

This is a more apples comparison since the engines have the same displacement and cost the same, so shipping and taxes play a more significant role in the initial value of these engines. Harbor Freight, being a multi-billion dollar company, is always going to have the best prices, which challenges the value of any engine. For example, this morning, the Predator 224 was on sale for 149.99, so we included the sales and regular prices in our chart. In both cases, the Predator costs less dollars per horsepower/torque. 

However, the Wildcat 223 has better features and is easier to modify. If you put a billet rod in the Predator 224, you will be required to clear the block to make it fit, whereas the Wildcat fits without modifications. The Predator 224 has a dish piston; for those that want to use a flat top to gain compression, you have the choice of a +.020 clone rod that will put the piston .020-.025 in the bore, negating any gains or .005-.010 out, of the bore with our +.050 rod. The Wildcat has a flat top from the factory, and our +.050 rod is explicitly designed to give you zero deck and more compression. The cost difference in labor to clear the engine would make the Predator 224 more expensive to build. 

The Wildcat is a hemi with 27/25mm valves, 5mm retainers, and automotive split locks. The Wildcat has reinforcements on the top and bottom of the jug and a 7-bolt side cover. 

We've covered most of this information in our blog about the Tillotson 212E vs. Wildcat 223 video and all the videos afterward as the Wildcat progresses.

The small difference in shipping price doesn’t change the value of the Wildcat 223 engine and without a doubt the best alternative to a Harbor Freight engine. 

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