(Because the main page was getting WAY too long!)
*** Update 6/15/04:
Superstang Lives Again!
So much has happened since my last update I am afraid everyone will skip this update as it will be very long. I am going to break the updates into sections so you can come back later when you have more time to finish.
Engine removed – Problems found! Everything stopped when I blew the head gasket again at the Hot Rod Magazine Pump-Gas Drags. I wanted to pull the engine to find out why the gasket kept blowing and kept going in the same cylinder. Well, what I found surprised even me.
My last engine was built by a major player in ford performance who builds many Pro 5.0 motors. I guarantee you know who they are. I do not want to blast them as everyone makes mistakes and I have been happy with their other products. All I can say is when you read the information below it will convince you to use a quality machine shop where you can personally verify dimensions and see the work that is done. IThe time required to fix my block and the attention to detail from D&G Motors was amazing and I want to personally thank them and I recommend their work to everyone. To give you an idea of how strongly I feel about their quality of work two of my friends in Seattle are having motors built by D&G Motors which I will end up hauling back in my truck. I wouldn't do this if I didn't trust their work.
Upon tearing down the block the first think we found was one of the pistons had a big “bump” in the top of it. Further inspection showed that the ring had been gapped too tight (probably 15 thousandths) and the ends butted together and bulged the top of the piston. I was just lucky it didn't blow the top of the piston and destroy the whole engine.
The next problem found has surprised everyone. The cam bearings showed excessive wear and my spring pressure is not that high. Upon further inspection it was found that the cam bearings did not get progressively smaller towards the rear of the cam. On small block fords each cam bearing gets smaller towards the back of the block. On the R302 block the machine shop must finish the cam bores themselves (the block is shipped raw) and typically they are all finished at the same size Outside Diameter (OD). To make the Inside Diameter (ID) match the cam the cam, the bearings get progressively thicker to produce the same size drop. Well my block had all the same size bearing installed which resulted in my rear cam bearing having 60 thousandths clearance. With the cam bearings out of the engine you could slip a screwdriver between the cam bearing and the cams rear journal. Each journal got progressively tighter until the front bearing which was the proper size. This would kill oil pressure at the cam and allowed the cam to “walk” back and forth in the block. It also would give inaccurate cam timing and unpredictable lift/duration.
So, how can it get any worse? Well when we got ready to deck the block D&G Motors did what is supposed to be done and squared the block on the crankshaft centerline and measured the deck. Well, my block was 12 thousandths higher in the back of the block than the front! This would cause a significant compression difference from the front cylinders to the rear cylinders, the back of the engine was at 8.9:1 and the front at 9.2:1. Imagine what that did to cylinder pressure and detonation! To verify this was as bad as it looked D&G Motors mock assembled the block (without touching the deck) and measured cylinder deck height which verified that the deck was not straight. After decking the block straight my pistons are now 9 thousandths above the deck at TDC. This is not significant but it needs to be considered when calculating compression ratios!
Engine Assembled – all the trick parts! So, now on to good news. The block had to be bored so I ordered new Probe 40 over pistons. I re-used my rods and crankshaft (forged crank, probe rods) but did recondition the rods (one had to be resized). The pistons had the valve relief’s de-stressed and the heads had any sharp edges de-stressed.
I sent my pistons, heads, valves, and bearings to Calico Coatings to be coated. The pistons had the tops done with a heat shield designed to keep the heat in the combustion chamber and out of the piston. The piston sides were coated with a dry-lube designed to reduce skirt friction. The heads had the combustion chambers and exhaust ports coated to keep the heat in the combustion chambers and then moved out the exhaust without transferring into the head. The valves had the same coating applied. The bearings were coated with the dry-lube to help protect against oil starvation damage. I have heard of engines with coated bearings that have lost an oil pump at the track and were still in perfect shape after the run due to coated bearings, just another margin of safety for the “what if” scenario.
For Rings I went with Total Seal gapless top rings with a new coating that is not molly or chrome. The problem with molly coating is it burns off under detonation or severe cylinder pressure/heat and the problem with chrome rings are they are sometimes hard to seat. The new compound is only recently available from total seal and is supposed to have the strength of chrome with the seating quality of molly. The gapless top ring design is to help keep cylinder pressure in the combustion chamber and, as a nice side benefit, increases manifold vacuum.
For the head gasket I went with the new (to Ford small block) Cometic MLS (Multiple Layer Steel) gasket from Bennett Racing. The import guys have been using these for a long time now and have run crazy boost without any problems. They are supposed to seal like a copper gasket without the typical water seepage problems of copper. The other nice part is you can get them in varying thicknesses which helped when I found my pistons were 9 thousandths above deck. I ended up using a 65 thousandths thick gasket which puts my compression at 8.5:1.
Short from PGD Found? If you have been following this page you know about my unexpected problems in Memphis at the Hot Rod Magazine Pump-Gas Drags. At the drags my car suddenly started running very rich and timing would not adjust. I initially thought it was entering limp mode but now I am not sure. The tough part to diagnose is the problem is intermittent. While the engine was out I went through the entire wiring harness to check for any possible problems. I re-routed a few wires and protected some in other areas but really found no problems. After getting the car running again the problem came back! I think I have it narrowed down to a bad EEC-IV processor. I have swapped the processor for another one and so far (knock on wood) everything is running fine. Since it was intermittent I don’t want to claim success yet – that will be for another update.
Started the new engine – idle quality and drivability are amazing! One of the things I kept wondering was how much of an improvement would I notice from the block being assembled properly this time. I have only 75 miles on the car since the rebuild but the difference is staggering. The car idles better, the engine is quieter, it does not surge – EVER, and it just plain drives better! I have not gone to the dyno yet (next week) but will post my results after I do. My hope is to break 800 RWHP.
Fuel System Update – BUY THE RIGHT PARTS FIRST NEXT TIME! I will have a full update on this very soon but lets just say you get what you pay for. I have had endless fuel heat problems with my Aeromotive fuel pump and regulator and noticed while at the Pump-Gas Drags that of the 5 cars that had fuel heat problems all had the same pump I was running (the Eliminator pump). I also noticed that nobody with the Weldon 2025 pump (a bigger pump) had the problem. I have already made longer trips in worse conditions with the new pump installed and my fuel heat has been significantly lower than with the other pump. I am planning a full “story” on the pump as it has been the most significant change (more than the engine) and is something everyone should consider if you are building a high horsepower car. Do not skimp on the fuel pump – just buy the Weldon pump and do it right the first time!
throwing problem – Dual idler system designed!
I love my
Vortech YSi-trim supercharger and it makes some serious power. One
problem I have had has been throwing the supercharger belt. Almost all of
the problem was solved by installing an
bracket system but I still had the occasional problem. One of the
things Ian recommended was adding a second idler on the bottom run of the
belt. The problem is with a cog setup it is not extra wrap you want
reduced belt harmonics and belt stability. I ended up modifying the
bracket to put the lower idler on the cog-side of the belt. So far the
results have been promising but I have not been to the track yet to verify
if it actually helps – more for a future update.
*** Update 5/18/04: Well, a lot of changes are coming. I am going to make a bold prediction:
So, what is changing?
The engine is out and getting "freshened up". One thing we found is when a head gasket blows it always goes out on the exhaust side (outside edge) of cylinder number 2 first, then number 3. We have not decked the block yet but I expect we will find the block has settled and is slightly warped (low in the middle). Decking the block should solve that problem. If the deck does not show signs of warping I will have to look into other reasons why it is always those two cylinders that blow.
I am having Calico Coatings coat the new Probe custom pistons (tops and sides) and having my head combustion chambers, valves, and exhaust runners coated. The purpose of the coating is to keep the heat from combustion in the combustion chamber and moved through the exhaust without transfer into the head. Ideally this will help with detonation, allow me to run less timing to achieve MBT (Maximum Brake Torque), and increase the overall combustion efficiency.
I am also going to run a custom set of Total Seal gapless top ring piston rings. The idea behind the gapless ring design is to virtually eliminate any compression leak-down and improve manifold vacuum.
The last change will be to run a new set of Cometic MLS head gaskets to improve the head gasket seal and also to reduce static compression. The head gaskets (available at Bennett Racing) are available in many thicknesses. By running the .054 gasket my final compression should be 8.7:1.
So, by only improving the efficiency of the engine (better ring seal and better combustion heat retention) I hope to be able to increase horsepower by 75 RWHP to break the 800 mark. I will let everyone know if I make it or not...
BTW - I am also working on some fuel system improvements. I don't want to "spill the beans" yet but I will post an update with extensive information when I am done.
Here is what the head gasket looked like after the
Hot Rod Magazine Pump Gas Drags
*** Update 5/1/04: Well, the Hot-Rod Pump Gas Drags is over and I had some problems. The weather for Saturday was forecast to be thunder storms so Hot Rod rushed everything and we went through tech and ran the race on Friday night rather than Saturday. This was fine other than the road drive ended up being on Friday night in Memphis traffic. I swear the average speed on the drive was 10mph and we got stuck in traffic lights for up to 5 stages of the light before would get through – just to wait at the next light. Even with the driving conditions overheating was not my problem.
Somehow on Friday (and this has never happened before) my car would suddenly think it was in limp mode and set timing to a static 10 degrees and run very rich. All I know is I started the car while waiting for tech and it ran terrible. I got the timing light out, found the timing wasn’t moving, and tried to figure out what was wrong. Then, it started running fine again. I must have a short somewhere that is throwing my car into limp mode. During the cruise it did that around 4 times, the last time the follow car said they couldn't wait for me to re-start it again. I still made it to the track and they did let me race but I was not qualified to win anything.
I staged for my first run and the car launched well but about the 60 foot mark it fell on its face again (died) and then decided it would kick back in again. It pulled very hard when it came back in but I almost immediately heard the head gasket leaking. I kept into it anyway - figured I may as well pull to the end. By the end of the track it was leaking pretty bad. I still ran an 11.1 at 128 mph - not bad for not running on all cylinders and a giant bog in the middle of the run.
In the end a lot of other people did worse than I did (this is from memory, some info may not be 100% accurate).
I still had a lot of
fun and I will figure out the electrical problem. My goal now is to
finish my license runs and get my NHRA competition license. After
that I may not keep going to the track – although I enjoy it I built my car
for the street.
*** Update 4/12/04: Well I finished my roll cage and it turned out great. Make sure to take a look at the page to see how it looks. I also have the car running again and can't wait to get to the track and see how it hooks up. Everything is coming along very nicely. I also took a few new pictures of my car and they turned out pretty good - considering the lighting. Here are a few good shots.... (click on a picture to enlarge)
I also have a new shot of the trunk with my
Fuel Computer (regulates pump
voltage dependent upon boost) that I designed. I think it looks cool.
*** Update 03/16/04: I found my first dyno sheet! I was going through some old folders and I finally found it! It amazes me that I have gone from 348 RWHP to 723.1 RWHP with a hopeful 800+ RWHP this year with the same engine! The dyno pull made back in 01 was with the 347 stroker motor (different block, long story), same heads, same headers, same lower intake manifold, but with a Powerdyne supercharger running 7lb's of boost. Very cool! The second set of numbers where with the blower belt removed.
I have also been busy getting my roll cage finished. I had an NHRA chassis inspector come out and look at my plans for the cage. Because of my design which allows access to the rear seat he has to get approval from a senior NHRA official for the design. I have a LOT of work ahead of me to finish the cage, and it needs to be ready before the Pump-Gas Drags. I have to say the inspector was very professional and helpful. He had an ultrasonic tester that measured the thickness of every tube I have welded in, it was fun to watch. I am hopeful my design will be approved as it actually incorporates extra supports not normally required. Whenever you deviate from standard you have extra steps you need to go through to finish the project - everything on my car is that way - LOL!
*** Update 2/20/04: I have some exciting updates with a few new pages dedicated to the modifications I have made. I am busy getting ready for the Hot Rod Magazine Pump-Gas Drags and have built a couple new cool parts.
One thing that is strange for me is how little I am doing to actually modify the car this year. I am running almost all the same parts with the exception of the updated YSi-Trim supercharger. I am not even running an electric water pump due to space constraints with my new cog-pulley setup. I think the small refinements will make a huge change in performance and reliability - which is funny. Who thought small changes could make such a difference. I guess we won't know for sure until all the damned snow is gone!
The first newly fabricated part was an idler/tensioner system to accommodate my new cog-pulley setup.
The second newly fabricated part is a new intercooler lid with big-mouth opening and insulation.
*** Update 1/29/04:
WAHOO! Only 50 cars from all of North America were selected! Remember, this event is not a Ford only event - even Imports were invited! Here is a short portion of the email I received.
"we chose the quickest cars that were, in our opinion, legit street cars"
Now that I am fully motivated you should see more regular updates on the progress of Superstang! I will be very busy! I have posted the email that was sent and the list of 50 invitees if you are interested. Just so you know, here is a breakdown of what type of cars were invited:
*** Update 1/13/04: I am happy to announce that I am now a Diablo Sport Chipmaster Revolution tuner! Through a partnership with APS Autoworks I am able to make custom chips for most any Ford EEC powered car or truck! What does this mean and what about the TwEECer?
In my opinion the best product available for the do-it-yourself tuner is the TwEECer. Having said that it does have some limitations (processor support for example) and is beyond the capabilities of many home tuners (it is not easy to learn). Previously the only options available to people who go beyond typical modifications was to have a custom chip made. The problem was the cost of a custom chip and many times you would find your processor was still not supported.
Recently Autologic has partnered with Diablo Sport to make the Chipmaster Revolution product. It allows a custom tuner to have access to all the available parameters inside the EEC. With this control you can dramatically increase power and drivability. Used in combination with a wide band oxygen sensor and a dyno you can build the ultimate tune previously not available through any system on such a wide spread basis (number of supported processors). Recently I built a chip for my 98 Navigator with a Lightning Supercharger - a system that no previous custom chip software supported!
Mustang news: My supercharger is for sale on eBay currently, I am moving to a bigger unit (I won't post what supercharger until my eBay auction has closed). The new supercharger will be combined with a Meziere electric water pump but I will not be tearing down the engine to coat the pistons and heads (spent too much $$$ this year) but wish I could!
I am currently converting my roll bar to a roll cage so I will be legal this year into the 9's. I hope to have the cage done by the end of this month. In fact I hope to have everything ready to run and start dyno tuning before the end of February. I have submitted my entry for the Hot Rod Magazine Pump Gas Drags and hope to be invited (only 50 people invited). I hope to know if I will be invited by the end of this month. If not I still plan on attending this years Power Tour!
*** Update 12/22/03: I finished the install of the Lighting supercharger in my Navigator! The power is amazing, as soon as I get a chip built for it I will post the dyno results. My hope is for 400 rwhp and 450 rwtq. I promise not to say anymore about the Navigator other than posting the dyno results (after all this is the page for Superstang).
Here is a photo book of the Navigator rebuild.
I also updated my page on drive train horsepower loss.
Back to business on the Mustang now. Next up is turning the roll bar into a roll cage (otherwise I can't race at the track). I wish I didn't have to have a full cage but for what I want to do being legal is important. I DO NOT race on the street (other than stoplight to stoplight) so being legal is the only way to go unless you want to get sent home after your first pass.
I still need to determine if I am going to pull the engine to freshen it up. I spent a lot of money on the Navigator (woops, I mentioned it again) and I don't want to start something I can't finish. The primary reason for rebuilding the engine would be to coat the pistons/heads with the ceramic coating and to install the second keyway in the crank so I don't rip the harmonic balancer apart again.
I should know in January what work will be done. I promise to post more then. Until then Happy Holidays to everyone!
*** Update 11/19/03: Superstang on Garage Logic??? That's what I understand, unfortunately I don't have a radio in the office so I wasn't able to listen (great show by the way) but I had a few calls from people letting me know! How cool is that??? For those that wonder my Cylinder Index is 59! It consists of:
8 - Mustang
You are a proud, loyal, true and patriotic resident of Garage Logic who is held in the highest esteem.
So, what else is happening? Superstang is on delay due to the engine failing in my 98 Navigator. It has a lot of miles on it and I had a Vortech supercharger on it before. I am having an all-forged 5.4l engine built for it at DG Motors (best custom engine builders around) and will be installing a Lightning supercharger this time (better low end boost and torque). After it is done I will have to have it dyno tuned at John Haley Motorsports (I will post the results when it is done). While it is apart I am having heated seats installed at Precision Upholstery. I am also having APS Autoworks fix a few paint problems.
Superstang is still scheduled to be torn down and rebuilt this winter (in the quest for more HP). Nothing to more to update for now.
*** Update 10/21/03: I got my AOD back from Lentech and am really looking forward to driving the car a few more times before the snow hits. I am a little bummed out by the amount of work it is taking to get the AOD installed with the new SFI bellhousing. The problem is the SFI Bellhousing does not have provisions for the TV cable. It also uses different length bolts to attach to the back of the engine, needs spacers for the torque converter, and does not have provisions for a lower inspection cover. I am having to build all of these parts myself to complete the install. the transmission is set back about 1/2" further than before and I am a little worried about driveshaft length.
I think I will be very happy with it when I am done with the install but I was not prepared for the amount of work required. I guess that is to be expected when you are as far from stock as I am now. I am uploading a lot of pictures and will update again when the install is done. I am looking forward to no more concerns of blowing out overdrive with the new Stage 2 input shaft and the confidence of having the SFI bellhousing will be nice the next time I am on the dyno. It does make me nervous to be putting 900+ lb/ft of torque through the converter with no shield to stop it if everything decided to go thermonuclear!
*** Update 9/29/03: I have been very slow with the updates lately (sorry about that). A lot has happened, mostly all bad! Not really bad but not really good either. I missed the Car Craft Road Trip. Last minute schedule changes along with the realization of what the trip was going to cost required that I cancel. That means that Superstang is still in Minnesota and will remain here this winter. I do have some upgrades planned for the winter. I have had coverage in two new magazines (I will update the page soon). I had a bit of coverage in the October 2003 5.0 Mustang and Super Ford Magazine and in the November 2003 Car Craft. The Car Craft article was in regards to the Summer Nationals where I made 668 rwhp and made the most HP of any small block. I was actually down in power do to a timing error caused by a damaged harmonic balancer. The balancer keyway had become damaged and moved which had timing retared by around 5 degrees. I have been working on the Fuel Heat problems and have removed the line that runs through the water tank. I found that after extended drives the water would get hot and when you added new fuel it would heat the fuel. I now have an air/liquid Setrab cooler mounted and it does work better than the water tank did. Also the water for the intercooler stays cooler now. I have also designed my own version of a Fuel Controller (pics soon) that has a digital display and allows you to dial the amount of power supplied to the pump. The only time I was having problems was on very hot days during very long drives and I am confident that my new fuel computer will resolve the last remaining problems. Just this last week I lost overdrive in my AOD. I am sending the transmission to Lentech to have it rebuilt and have the Stage 2 input shaft and SFI Bellhousing installed. The Stage 2 input shaft allows over 600lb/ft of torque to be used in overdrive which. Normally the input shaft can only handle 400 lb/ft of torque.
The November issue of Car Craft had a really cool article (The Brutal Truth by Jeff Smith) that tested a Comet with a 351W (357 cubic inch) engine, 9" rearend, and AOD on an engine dyno and chassis dyno. The net result was the engine made 371hp on the engine dyno and 283 on the chassis dyno (at the same RPM). This was through the same exhaust system and with as many other items as equal as possible. This equates to a 23.5% loss in HP through the drivetrain (88 hp). It backs up my proof of Horsepower loss through drive train and even more backs up my flywheel horsepower claims. The AOD tested in the magazine still had lockup feature in drive so it should have been even more efficient than my AOD. Assuming my system is equal to the one tested (even though my percentage is likely higher) my flywheel horsepower (based on 723.1 RWHP) would be 945 FLYWHEEL HORSEPOWER.
Over the winter I hope to do a "freshening" of the bottom end and possibly go with a .090 or .100 overbore. This would result in 357 (.090) or 359 (.100) cubic inches (an increase of up to 12) and, using the current 2.6 hp/cubic inch, increase power to around 748 (rear wheel). My R302 block can go up to .125 overbore which would result in up to 364 cubic inches with my 3.4" stroke so going with a .100 overbore still gives room for future rebuilds if required. I may also use ceramic coating on the pistons, valves, and combustion chambers, use total seal rings (gapless), install an electric water pump, and install an electric crankcase vacuum pump. These are all minor improvements but the result could be enough to push me to the 775-800 rwhp. Using 20% for horsepower loss (a very conservative estimate) 800 RWHP would be 1,000 flywheel. All this in a car that gets 18mpg, pulls a trailer, and is driven on thousand mile road trips. Cool!
| *** Update
8/8/2003: I just finished building a
pull behind Superstang. That's right - TO PULL BEHIND SUPERSTANG. This
may sound strange but my goal for this/next year is to be able to DRIVE
to the closest track (Brainerd or Rock Falls) pulling a trailer that has
my tools/slicks/gas and run in the 9's. That way I can DRIVE back home
(pulling the trailer) with a 9.x dial in written on the windshield. How
many cars have you seen that can drive 100 miles to the track - pulling a
trailer - and run in the 9's?
To help reach the 9's I have made a few changes. I have swapped my 3.7 gears for 3.5 gears (I was hitting 135 way before the end of the track). My new top speed should be 142. I have also installed a line lock/roll control so I can do a proper burnout. The trigger button for the roll control also sets a different rev limiter (I will start with 4,500 RPM) to help control the engine during the burnout. I plan on installing another line lock/roll control on the rear wheels and use a different RPM module so when I stage I can lock all for tires and set the launch RPM at around 2,500 RPM (my best launches so far). With the automatic I need to lock all 4 tires or I will spin the rear! I don't know when I will get around to installing the second line lock.
I have also built a page that describes an intercooler and fuel temperature gauge I made using an Autometer transmission temperature gauge. I wasn't going to make it public since many people said the gauge could/should be sold but I just don't have the time to try and mass market/build them. If any of you use my design and make millions of dollars don't forget where you found it!
*** Update 7/25/03: It has been a while since my last update and a lot has happened. I will keep the update as short as possible.
Track: I did make it to the track but ran into a bit of trouble. All things considered it wasn’t that bad. This was the cars first time at the track since it ran a best of 14.99 and I have never raced a car with this much power before. I am confident the car can run low 10's if I can get everything worked out. Anyway – here is the synopsis.
Trailered the car home and tore it apart (this is one week before the Car Craft Summer Nationals). Turns out the head gaskets I was running were not right for my application. The fire ring in the head gasket was exactly the same size (outer dimension) as the o-ring in my engine block. This caused it to intersect in places and not in others. All the places where the head gasket were blowing out were where a ring was not touching the fire ring. Found the Ford Motorsport Head gasket M6051-B51 has a wide fire ring and the fire rings are connected. This is the head gasket I am now running.
Car Show: Got everything put back together on Friday night (first day of the Car Craft show). Got to John Haley Motorsports to dyno and found that power was down by around 50 hp (only making 670 rwhp). Also kept throwing supercharger belts. Visual inspection showed that the lower supercharger pulley was wobbling a little. No chance to check anything so I bolted it back together and went to the Car Craft Summer Nationals.
Made it to the car show and had a great time! Car made 667.8 rwhp (same as at John Haley) and was them most horsepower of any small block. There were two nitrous powered 600+ cubic inch big blocks that made more power (one was 904, the other 890) but I was number 3 including the big blocks. Also won the 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords Magazine Editors Choice award. Thank you Car Craft for a wonderful show!
More Carnage: Got home from the show and removed the lower pulley and chucked it up on a metal lathe. Did a runout test and found it was not bent. Used a dial indicator on the harmonic balancer and found it was not straight! Removed the harmonic balancer and found that the keyway had pushed down in the front and had chewed a bunch of the keyway slot from the balancer. This would allow it to move the timing mark (along with not doing its job of balancing the motor). Luckily it did not damage the crankshaft. I have a new dual keyway balancer on the way (from Probe) that I will run for now with one keyway. This winter I plan to tear everything down and I will have a second keyway cut in the crankshaft. I am also going to shim the keyway to make sure it fully engages in the slot on the timing gear and the balancer. I expect the reason I was down 40-50 hp was that when I set initial timing it was retarded further than I thought. I will find out when I install the new balancer as I have not moved the distributor. It will be interesting to see.
Hot Rod Magazine: If you get to the newsstand check out the Hot Rod Magazine summer special Engines magazine. Near the back of the magazine is a re-print of the original Car Craft article. Superstang has now been in Hot Rod!
I will update the dyno page and the magazine pages with the pictures when I get a chance. I will also take pictures of the damaged balancer – scary stuff! Just glad I caught it, it would have been easy to miss and could have caused serious damage had it gotten any worse.
Car Craft Road Trip: I am now working on putting everything back together to get ready for the Car Craft Road Trip. I am having new gears installed in the rearend (going from 3.7:1 to 3.5:1) to pick up the MPH in the quarter mile. I am also having a trailer built (already have a trailer hitch on Superstang) so I can drive to Los Angeles for the Car Craft Road Trip and bring my slicks for the track. I will also be able to carry some tools which will make me feel a lot better about the long trip.
*** Update 6/20/03: Fuel
Problems SOLVED! It was a long journey solving the problem
but I learned a lot and feel very confident that my fuel system is more
than capable of doing anything that I want. The rundown of what
happened is as follows.
Originally I expected the problem was fuel heat (common with big pumps). As fuel cycles through the engine (in the fuel rails) it gets heated, the more fuel you pump the more often the fuel passes through the fuel rails. Also, the pumping process generates heat as does the fuel flowing through the regulator. The other reason I expected it was heat was adding ice to my water tank always solved the problem. So the first step to try and fix the problem was to re-route fuel lines and water lines (for the water tank) away from exhaust/heads and wrap the lines in thermo-tec heat wrap. I also purchased a non-contact infrared thermometer (to be able to take temperature readings if the problem happened again) and installed a temperature sensor at the head end of the fuel pump (connected it to a toggle switch then to my transmission temperature gauge). Well, after all of this the vapor lock problem happened EXACTLY as before. All my temperature readings showed fuel was not hot (never over 105 degrees after 120 miles).
While on the test drive (after doing the insulation) I noticed that fuel pressure would drop from 38lbs to 30lbs over the period of time before the fuel vapor lock problem occurred. I also noticed that as it was dropping if you accelerated (and dropped manifold vacuum) the pressure would increase. Further testing showed the pump was flowing the normal amount of fuel (at least cold fuel) and it was not noisy. This led me to believe that the problem was in the pressure regulator. I made a call to Aeromotive to see what they thought. Brett (from Aeromotive) asked if I could send the pump and regulator to him to be inspected. I did and what we found surprised both of us. One of the magnets in the pump had come lose. Normally when this happens the pump will produce much less volume, make more noise, and pop fuses but my pump was still chugging away. What was most likely happening was the pump was heating up inside (caused by the magnet) and boiling the fuel inside the pump.
rebuilt the pump using their new motor design (more aggressive and a
different retainer on the magnets) and sent it back. I drove the car
120 miles non-stop without a single problem! WAHOO. The best
part is every single component of my fuel system has been completely
tested. I know for sure I will not suffer from heat problems, I can
monitor fuel heat on my transmission temperature gauge, my fuel lines are
well wrapped and protected, and my fuel safe fuel cell does not produce
tank vacuum from the pumping process (even at high volume). How many
people can say they have tested their fuel system that thoroughly?
What made the whole process bearable was the AWESOME support I got from
Aeromotive. Brett was
great and took the time to go through each step of the troubleshooting
process with me. I have always been happy with my
Aeromotive products (fuel
controller, fuel rails, pump, filters, regulator, fittings) but knowing
they will work that hard to solve a problem puts them on the top of my
'recommend' list. I have learned that all products can/do have
problems. What makes me keep buying a product is quality and support.
You cant have just one!
*** Update 6/9/03:
Several things to update on - not all good but all worth an update!
Supercharger Carnage: Well, I damaged my own supercharger. I didn't tighten the snout bolt on the supercharger pulley and it backed off and was able to vibrate on the shaft. Vortech was great about fixing it and overnighted it back to me so I could make the Hot Rod Power Tour. Expensive lesson to learn but at least I can attest to how helpful Vortech can be!
Hot Rod Power Tour: It was fun although not what I expected. I didn't expect 2,000 cars to show up. I also expected the "tour" portion would be more of a parade from one town to another. Thinking about it now how could you parade 2,000 cars without shutting down the entire road system? The way it worked was a lot of fun - find a group and leave whenever you want. Your only task it to make it to the next stop sometime that day so you can make the car show and nightly awards banquet. I towed my car from Minneapolis to Nashville then my wife drove the Mustang from Nashville to Memphis. We were going to go all the way to New Orleans but ran into vapor lock problems along the way. I don't feel terrible as I stopped to help 10 cars on the way that had miscellaneous problems as well.
Fuel Vapor Lock problem: Still working through this problem. On the Hot Rod Power Tour the car fuel system would overheat after around 50 miles of 75mph driving. Since I run the fuel through the water tank in the trunk I was able to solve the problem by just pumping out some water and adding some ice. Not what I want but better than being stuck waiting for the fuel to cool. I have already gone to extremes to keep the fuel cool. I run the water tank, an Aeromotive Fuel controller, have wrapped the fuel lines in heat wrap, run a custom Fuel Safe fuel cell, but still had vapor lock. I am working with Brett at Aeromotive to solve the problem. This weekend I wrapped even more of the fuel lines in heat wrap and re-routed the lines even further away from exhaust, heads, and the supercharger. I also installed a -12 AN "T" at the head end of my fuel pump and installed a transmission temperature sensor so I can read my fuel temperature on my transmission temperature gauge. This was around 20 hours of work alone. When I was done I think I actually found the problem. The pump feed wire that runs from my Fuel Controller had severe heat damage so I replaced it. I think the damage was caused by something metal rolling around in my trunk and piercing the wire causing it to ground out. The damage was isolated to this small section of the wire but the damage was severe. The pump already sounds better with this wire replaced.
Transmission Temperature Problem: After around 150 miles of
driving @ 75mph my Lentech AOD
would reach 230 degrees (top of the safe zone). The fix for this
sounded simple but took much more work than expected. I run a giant
Setrab Dual Pass transmission cooler but airflow is not optimum where I
have it mounted. I installed a nice 6" high flow fan and built a
custom shroud to solve the problem (I am pretty sure this will fix it).
I also installed a low temperature fan switch (on at 165, off at 140) to
automatically turn on the fan. I will have to make a really long
drive to make sure this fixed the problem.
*** Update 5/15/03: Well, I did it. I was very nervous about my first dyno pull this year but WOW, did everything work or what?
We made around 10 pulls and messed with the tune a little. Unfortunately my datalogging wasn't working so I wasn't able to completely perfect the tune. I bet there is still a little missing horsepower to be found in the tune!
But how do you complain with consistent 720 RWHP & 720 RWTQ. The best pull resulted in 723.1 RWHP and 719.6 RWTQ. To convert that to Flywheel Horsepower (how new cars are rated) that is 904 HP & 900 lb/ft of Torque!
- Some interesting stats about 904HP -
*** Update 5/8/03: I LOVE MY CAR! Let me explain - after some valve
adjustments and a few other minor changes I have the most fun to drive
Mustang on the planet. Yesterday was sunny and warm - around 80
degrees. I purposely drove in slow traffic on hot blacktop to try
and get my fuel system to
vapor lock. During this time I had the top down and my
seat cooling vents on -
it was a dream! Hot stop & go traffic with cooled seats. The
car idled perfect, throttle response was awesome, no surging, no bucking,
just smooth running.|
Later that night it was cool out so I turned on the seat heaters and WOW - talk about a vacation for the back! When it got dark I turned the headlights on and the dash had this awesome blue reverse indiglo look that was spectacular. I had my favorite CD (MP3) in playing through my 6 Infinity Kappa speaker stereo system with powered Infinity Kappa sub woofer (3 amps in total). No charging problems - even with 2 electric fans on the radiator, and electric fan on the intercooler heat exchanger, electric water pump for the intercooler, and the headlights & fog lights on.
This morning I drove to the gym early with the seat heaters on - arrived relaxed and ready to lift. When I was done I put the top up so my hair wouldn't blow around (it was still wet) but now it was hot out. I turned the air conditioning on and by the time I arrived at work I was cooled down to the point where I almost needed a jacket!
This may all sound silly to some - but this is why I built the car. If you read way back in my notes you will see that I was told time and time again that you couldn't build a car that made 600+ RWHP and drive it daily. You couldn't use a fuel pump large enough without overheating. You couldn't run the EEC and Mass Air with that much horsepower (and still have drivability). You couldn't run a 90mm throttle body without surging problems. You can't (it goes on and on). It has taken thousands of hours of my personal time but I have done it. I have hopes of making 700+ RWHP. I have already made 640 RWPH which is equal to 800 Flywheel horsepower. Finally the culmination of all my efforts - you can't imagine how I feel.
*** Update 4/18/03: After months of waiting the 5.0 Mustang & Super Ford Magazine finally came out and - I WON! I was named King of the Street! If you didn't get a chance to pick up a copy of the magazine I have added a new section with all the magazines Superstang has been in and the relevant text from the article.
I do have Superstang running again this year and she runs great! I was very happy when I bumped the key and it fired right up. This is after a new cam, lifters, heads (ported, new valves), exhaust, intake manifold, and more. Typically I have a week or two of troubleshooting but not this time!
I don't have any new dyno runs yet but am still working toward 700 rwhp. I did put up a new page that has a selection of my previous dyno runs.
I have the new interior in with the seat coolers and I love the new system. I have posted a new page with information on the new interior.
I have also posted an update to my article on horsepower loss through drivetrain.
And - on a final note: For those that don't know I have a pug. I also own a motorcycle and wanted to be able to bring my dog with me when I went on motorcycle rides. So I designed and built a complete carrier that bolts to the back of my bike and lets me take my dog with me. Take a look at the pictures.
*** Update 2/14/03: Ok, so I had the wrong year on my updates!
It is fixed now and don't worry, I am not a year behind.... (thanks
Todd). You have to see my new Manifold from
Reichard Racing! The
manifold stared as a
Flow R lower and Jim from Reichard Racing cuts open the passages
between the runners to allow for better cooling. It looks like a mini
tunnel-ram! Very cool....|
This weekend I will be installing the manifold, new front seats, and a the speedometer assembly that now has a reverse indiglo white-face gauge set. I promise new pictures!
Well, I had feedback from people saying they didn't like the way my new dash looked with the lights off. So, I took my dash apart and cut up the old white face cover. This is how it looks now with the lights off. I couldn't do the side gauges as they have text in the black area. I actually like the way it looks with the white bars on the side. Plus, I bet I am the only one with a dash like this!
I did it! I got the seats installed this weekend. Sorry about so many pictures on the start page. You will notice that when I move the updates to the bottom I remove the images but put links in the text. I am trying to keep the size of the page manageable. The new seats are very comfortable and have built in heaters and coolers. I love these seats! The original covers came from Katzkin but I had terrible luck with them. I had to spend $500 re-working the seats due to crooked stitching (pic1 pic2). They promised they would "take care of it" when the work was done and now they won't even call me back. You will notice I don't say bad things often - do not buy Katzkin products.
*** Update 1/31/03: I had to post this picture of my new rear seat
installed. The shop that is installing the Katzkin seat covers is
doing a wonderful job. The Katzkin seat covers had crooked stitching
in the blue insert area of the front seats. They had to completely
cut apart front covers and re-sew everything back together. I saw the
finished product today - it was perfect! The picture is in my garage
while it was dark and the true color did not come through in the
If I get a chance I will open the garage door and try to get a good picture
over the weekend.
I also plan on installing the other head/stud girdle this weekend along with the new tail lights (more pictures to follow)
*** Update 1/23/03: I have been very busy on the
Interior of my car.
The Katzkin seat covers had some problems when they showed up and the
interior shop is fixing them for me. The
seat heater/coolers are being
installed and I think the end product will be wonderful! I also hope
to have my intake manifold ready to be installed in a
My heads are back from John Haley Motorsports. They were great! We did a 5 angle valve job, flowed the heads, and ran through countless spring combinations to get to where I wanted. What really impressed me was the flow difference between a stock Edelbrock Victor Jr. head and the small amount of cleanup work we did. Shows what someone knowledgeable with port work can do.
*** Update 12/10/03: I have my final list of modification planned for
the winter ready and already have everything disassembled. A few
things have changed since my original plans but I think the overall
combination will make quite a difference in next years performance and
enjoyment. Here is the list of what is being changed.|
There will be more small things but these are the major changes planned for this winter. My goal is to make 700 RWHP (which is 875 flywheel) but keep all drivability. I hope to enter a few Fun Ford Weekend True Street races and enter a few car shows. I will try and take pictures of the work done and get those pictures posted on the site.
** Update 10/15/02: The King of the Street contest has come and
gone and I did very well. I made 615 rwhp and 640lb/ft of Torque on
the Holley owned Dynojet! Not quite as good as my top pull of 636
rwhp but still really good! I was the
second car to dyno. They had the camera
rolling on my car after they strapped me down. When I hit the hammer I lit
up the tires on the dyno wheel so bad I filled
the dyno cell with smoke! Turns out they
weren’t expecting the amount of power I was making. We added a few cross
straps and really cinched stuff down before we made the next pull where I
made 615 rwhp and 640 lb/ft of torque! I made
a second pull that matched the numbers within a few decimal places (can’t
beat consistency like that).
The results of the contest are due in the May 2003 issue of 5.0 Mustang & Super Ford magazine.
I hope to get a lot done over the winter with the car. It will be soon up on blocks and the transformation will begin. The plan for the winter is a new exhaust system made with 1 7/8" long tube headers and a 3 or 3 1/2" primary system. I will keep using my same exhaust bypass valves but everything else will be new (if you want a good deal on a really cool 2 1/2" system let me know). I will also be porting the heads a little and converting to a Reichard Racing Air-Gap lower manifold. I will be adding a HKS GT II wastegate on my supercharger discharge pipe and run an even more aggressive pulley on the supercharger. The wastegate will be used to bleed off excess (over 22lb) of boost. My goal is between 650-700 rwhp by next year and to get my torque back up to 700 (where it was with the serpentine pulley setup).
Also expect some cosmetic upgrades. For now I am saving some $$$ as I spent way too much on the car this year. My changes over the winter will be a little less hard on the wallet! A sign from a local speed shop reads: "Speed costs, how fast do you want to spend?"
*** Update 8/18/02: Well, lots has changed. In August I
received a letter from Steve Turner the editor of
5.0 Mustang and Super Ford
magazine. The letter was an invitation to the King of the Street
contest which is going to be held in Bowling Green Kentucky at the
Holley headquarters on Thursday the
26th of September. The contest started as an editorial in the March
'02 magazine and of all the people who could have been invited I was one of the 12!
Anyway - nobody wants to go and doesn't want to win so I have been very
busy. To give you an idea - Paul Svinicki of Paul's High Performance is one of the competitors.
Here is a list of what has changed in the last month:
I have a dyno session scheduled for tomorrow morning and will post and update then
*** Update 7/31/02: Well my quest to find the missing horsies is
continuing. What I have found is that with my 8" drive pulley and 3"
supercharger pulley I would generate around 18lb of boost. When I
dropped to a 2.75" supercharger pulley I actually lost boost. It
makes sense that the 3" pulley would "grip" better as it has more surface
area. I guess getting 18lb of boost out of a serpentine belt system
is pretty good but I wand more. I have installed a cog drive pulley system to eliminate
belt slip from the equation. My first trip to the dyno resulted in
less than spectacular results as I would go very lean at 4,000 RPM.
After analyzing the logs I found that my battery voltage was very low (11.2
volts) and that my alternator had died. I have a new alternator on
the way and still hope to get another dyno pull in this week!
I have an update on the Car Craft photo's that were taken at the show - Marko Radielovic has called a few times and asked questions about the car and is doing a whole section on the Dyno Challenge from the Car Craft Summer Nationals. I guess my car will be included in the story and it should be in the November issue of Car Craft. For those that don't know me Car Craft is absolutely one of my favorite magazines and to get my car published in that magazine will have to be one of the highlights of my life! I don't know who is more excited though, myself or my son! He is 13 now and can't wait to bring the magazine to school to brag to all of his friends!
*** Update 7/21/02: Just got back from the Car Craft Summer Nationals and have lots of info to report. First, I did have the highest power for the small block class (more later) but unfortunately the only class that won anything was the natural aspirated class. It is cool though that of all the small block engines that were dyno'd that had nitrous, turbos, or superchargers, that mine was the highest! The people at Car Craft know how to put on a good show and the quality of the cars at the show was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the show. The most fun you can have with your close on! In honor of it being the Car Craft show I thought I would do the "in's and out's" from the show.
So, what is the story with the dyno results? Well, the day before the show I dyno'd the car at John Haley Motorsports where it produced 553.3 HP and 649.6 lb/ft of Torque. Not willing to leave well enough alone I installed a 2.85" pulley in place of the 3.0" pulley and expected a couple extra HP. Well, at the show my best pull was 513.3 HP and 632.7 lb/ft of Torque. It is tough to complain about numbers like this but I fully expected to be in the 600hp range! Please understand that at the show and at John Haley motorsports the temperature was near 100 degrees and the humidity was at 85+%. It is tough to cram hot/wet air into your car even with lots of boost. Having said that, I am committed to finding out where my missing horsepower has gone.... I have a few theories but for now that is all they are. You will all notice now that I am listing horsepower readings in Rear Wheel Horse Power (RWHP). I was doing the conversion (Divide the number by .8 for an Automatic) but this just caused too much confusion at the show. From now on I plan on listing all HP readings in RWHP.
Also cool at the show is that Henry De Los Santos actually shot a few pictures of the car and will hopefully include them and a bit of info on my car in an upcoming issue of Car Craft Magazine. If you follow Car Craft Henry owns a Mustang that is pretty trick and that Car Craft uses in the magazine often. I also had a freelance journalist from Muscle Mustang shoot a series of shots and is doing a story on the car so you may see it in MM&FF sometime in the future. In all I had more fun and met some of the greatest people alive all in one weekend. We are living in a heyday of performance that hasn't been seen since the 60's. I for one am happy to be a "car guy" now more than ever!
*** Update 7/19/02: First day of the Car Craft Summer Nationals and it was great. I can't wait until tomorrow. I had my car dyno'd at John Haley Motorsports last night and this morning and wasn't overly happy with the results. The humidity was terrible and the temperature high and the car only pulled 560 RWHP. I was hoping for 650. Tonight I swapped the supercharger pulley to gain a few more pounds of boost and tomorrow I hope to make my run at the car show. More updates to come....
*** Update 6/26/02: I know - months with no updates the two in two days! Anyway - while at the Back to the 50's car show in St. Paul last weekend I ran into what is probably the coolest product I have seen in a long time. Rather than go into detail here take a look at the page I have setup for it.
*** Update 6/25/02: Lots has happened since my last update. I ran into more injector problems but got all of those worked out. The car runs incredible. The power difference between my last dyno run and now is amazing. I have not had it dyno'd again but will soon. My goal now is to get it ready for the Car Craft Summer Nationals on July 19th - 21st. My goal is to enter the Dyno Challenge at the show and pull between 700-750 RWHP. If you do the math that is around 900 hp at the engine! I will know before the show as I am going to get it dyno'd. My problem now is the fuel system generating heat because of the large amount of fuel the pump pushes. I have designed and built a complete fuel cooler to try and solve the problem. I am also installing an Aeromotive billet fuel controller and a custom Fuel Safe fuel cell but those may not be here by the car show. Make sure to take a look at the pictures of the fuel cooler!
*** Update 5/14/02: I found the problem with the misfire. When I changed the plugs cylinder #7's plug was fouled terribly. I did a compression test and all the cylinders were at 150psi (+/- 2lbs) which is very good. I changed the plugs and installed a new cap/rotor/and plug wire to #7. Within 30 miles it was fouled again. I replaced my injector driver and the plug again but within 30 miles it was fouled again. I took the injectors out and had them flow tested - sure enough the injector for #7 was bad and leaked fuel terribly. Alan Kennedy (the guy who I purchased the injectors from) is sending me a replacement injector. Unfortunately I won't be able to get the car dyno'd again until I get back from Seattle next week. The good news is I found the problem and the horsepower gain with all good injectors should be incredible. Not only was I missing part of the compression stroke for #7 but the load and misfire caused me to lose serious boost. I can't wait to see what I pull next week!
*** Update 5/10/02: I had my car dyno'd on Friday. Understand this was more of a tuning run than a max horsepower run. I had pump gas and no ice in the intercooler water reserve. Still, I pulled 700hp and 890 lb/ft of Torque! What really surprised me was the torque readings. I was experiencing a misfire at higher RPM's and each misfire would cause me to lose a little boost. My guess as to the cause of the misfire is the spark plugs I am running. I made the mistake of buying Platinum plugs since "if they cost more they must be better" and found later that they don't fire well in high compression or high boost applications. I also gapped the plugs larger than before (.045 -vs .040). This weekend I am replacing the plugs/cap/rotor and will make another run on the Dyno on Tuesday or Wednesday if all goes well. I expect to see 800-900 hp with ice, 100 octane fuel, and no misfire. What if I could break 1,000? Doubtful but wow would that be cool!
*** Update 4/25/02 - I am going to put up some "sneak peak" pictures of my car as it is now. Since the last photo's the manifold has been totally rebuilt and all the plumbing changed, the Cervini Stalker front bumper has been installed, new Mickey Thompson ET Streets installed, and it is running good! (notice I didn't say it was running great). I still have tuning to do and some misc. stuff to take care of. I plan on building a new site soon with links to all the vendors that have helped me (and that I highly recommend). My final goal is to get it to the track and a car show or two and try to find a magazine that is willing to do a feature story on my Mustang! This has been a long time hope of mine (to have a car I built published in a national magazine).
*** Update 4/11/02 - Well, I have tons more to share on the saga of the intercooler. The first time I started the car with the manifold on I was very happy. The throttle response was awesome and everything responded way better than I expected. What I didn't realize was the vacuum caused by the engine had sucked the top of the manifold in towards the core! I had to cut off the top and weld on a 3/16" aluminum top. Even with that top I saw some deflection so I welded on some ribs to the top of the manifold. I also found the cooling core for the grill (a Setrab oil cooler) and got it installed. I am only days away from being on the street again. Lots has changes since I last posted photos. I will post new pics soon. If you want more info please email me at email@example.com.
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