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Editor & Publisher, CEO Jeff Burk
Managing Editor, COO Kay Burk
Editor at Large, Bret Kepner
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Bracket Racing Editor, Jok Nicholson
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Editor & Publisher
CEO Jeff Burk
COO Kay Burk
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Director: Casey Araiza
Director: Dave Ferrato
Contact: Casey Araiza
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ET DRAG RACING
NEWS & ANALYSIS
When we started the “Resurrecting RED” story, with our 15-year-old four-link mono-shock dragster, I had a vision it would be done in about two months. WRONG! Took about seven months to get it all finished but the wait seems worth the time, effort and money. We have about 85 runs on it and “all is good”.
We have been completely satisfied with the chassis of this dragster since we brought it out of Jim Pulliam’s shop in March of 2001. [Look in the DRO Archives section for “Project 4-Link” if you want to track the history of the most written about project car ever.] Andy, my son and driver, rewired it a couple years ago and that has basically been about it. The normal cracked motor plate after seven years, a rear engine tab cracked and was fixed with a gusseted mount by John Freeborn. Same rear spool and axles, same driveshaft and U-joints, same body panels and a few new Dzus brackets, same radiator, fan and cooling lines that run to the front mounted Davis radiator. We have had two other dragsters in our trailers since we built this one and neither came close the easy service and durability of RED.
Now, let’s continue the teach on the new engine we built to replace the 632 that completely ate itself up when either a connecting rod broke, a pin broke or the camshaft broke into three pieces. We are guessing what happened but I can tell you this: we saved the intake, belt drive (less the belt), valve covers and the Curtis-built rockers came out unmarked. The heads are being fixed at Roeder Performance but will go on a spare engine (someday). Nothing else was even salvageable. Block, crank, pistons, bushed roller lifters (six made it, the other 12 got in the way of the broken three-piece camshaft.
It was basically a “start-over” plan. Here is how we broke down the parts selection process.
You have to look hard to stay away from the “trick of the week” parts and engine combinations. It seems like there are 650+ cubic inch engines getting all the news, pro-chargers, superchargers, nitrous kits, electronic fuel injection and of course turbochargers. You need to clear your mind, set a budget and talk to the technical departments of the components you are considering. Have your answers ready: what horsepower goals do you have, is longevity more important than peak horsepower, maintenance required to keep engine in top shape -- the more you ask the better off you will be.
The new Merlin III iron block getting the final touches. Comp Cams belt-drive and Moroso billet oil pump visible.
Block: We decided on the PBM Performance Products- World Products Merlin III low-deck (9.800) iron block with steel billet caps, 4.595” bore, .904 lifter bores and the 55mm cam bore so we can run a the larger and more durable roller lifters and the larger diameter camshaft. The World block was selected for a couple reasons; the primary reason was we could get the 55mm cam bore, .904” lifter bores and steel caps for less money than the competitors’.
In my opinion you can spend a lot more for a crankshaft but I don't think you can get them much more durable. There is always a "price point" on parts, for me at least. When I can get this quality for under $1,000 that is my choice. We do not need a billet crank for a 4.25" stroke Big Block Chevy on race gas. The ProMax cranks are a great piece to use in your race engine. Material 4340/EN24 heat treated and nitride; Mains gun drilled; Stress relieved and shot peened; Counterweights profiled; Micro polished.
Rotating assembly; crankshaft, rods and pistons: Stan and Scott Ray at Ohio Crankshaft have built three engines for us and I trusted their recommendations when it came to the rotating assembly. The crankshaft is an Ohio Crank Pro-Max 4.25” stroke crank made from 4340/EN24 heat treated and nitride steel. The rods are Oliver steel billet 6.535” with Oliver’s own rod bolts. The pistons are JE Pistons with 1/16-1/16-3mm ring package and tool steel pins.
The decision to go with the 375cc Intake ports on the Sniper X heads was made after talking with Mike at Pro-Filer. With our cubic inch and camshaft he did not see a reason to go with anything other than a conventional 24-degree head. He said it would do all we needed and from the way the 565" is running, I agree 100%.
The Sniper Jr. was selected as we will eventually run a throttle stop and Pro-Filer likes this intake better when the engine is "on the stop" and "coming off the stop". Port-matched to the heads at Pro-Filer and ready to go, out of the box You don’t need a spacer under the carb as they have designed this intake with one built in.
Cylinder Heads / Intake manifold: There are literally dozens of great cylinder head manufacturers and we went with a company a racing buddy recommended, Pro-Filer Performance. After several conversations with the company owner about what we were looking for as far as power, ease of getting spare parts, etc., we decided on a set of Pro-Filer Sniper-X 375s (#174) and a Sniper Jr. intake manifold for the 9.800” deck. We ordered them fully assembled and ready to bolt on. The engine shop said all they had to do was blow off the dust from the packaging and bolt them on.
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 3 - March 2017
These are the flow numbers for the Pro-Filer heads we have. They are a great match for our cam and cubic inch. Pro-Filer talked me out of getting a higher flowing head because of our 565 cubic inches, HP goals and throttle stop plans.
Rocker Arms: One tip for you that are still in the engine planning stages. When it comes to rocker arms I don’t think you can go wrong by getting the best rocker arm assemblies available. We did just that by calling T&D Machine and getting a set of rockers that are built specifically for the Sniper X cylinder head. We went with their shaft-mount aluminum rockers and 1.7 ratios. The hardware and quality was just as we expected, excellent.
Want to see a professional looking and performing shop? This is an overhead view of the T&D machine shop as they build rocker arms for drag cars, NASCAR series, road race cars, etc. Phil walked me through the steps on what rocker arms would be best, spare parts kit and what on-engine valve spring removal tool we should get if we decided to get one. Absolute bolt-on parts that are designed to give you years of trouble-free service.
Close-up of the T&D Rockers on the Pro-Filer heads. No problem with valve spring retainer clearance, direct bolt-on and we couldn’t be happier with our choice, if you are thinking about getting rid of the individual stud-mounted roller rocker arms.
Camshaft: I probably made so many calls the Tech Lines for four or five camshaft companies were ready to hang up on me. I wanted a camshaft that made power from 4000 rpm through 7500 rpm, was easy on rocker arms and springs and we could run an entire weekend without pulling the valve-covers to look things over. In the end we chose the Erson Cams billet roller cam with .808” lift with 1.7 rockers, 112-degree lobe separation 312/286 at .050”. Ohio Crank’s engine builder installed it at 112 C/L. Later in the story I will show you the final dyno numbers.
Lifters and valve springs: If you hang around the track much you hear a lot of talk about roller lifters. Some of that talk is about “when” they should come out for rebuild and the other talk is probably about the “roller lifters with bushings” and how long they have lasted. We had over 700 runs on our last set before we sent the 632 to “engine heaven”. Long story short, we ordered a set of Comp Cams Sportsman Elite “bushed roller lifters”, .300” long, .904” diameter, standard offset. For valve springs we chose a set of Manley Nex-Tek springs with 350 seat pressure and about 850 open. I have used Comp Cams springs in my last four engines but Pro-Filer seems to lean towards Manley and they were in charge of the cylinder heads.
This is the Ohio Crankshaft 565 getting its full pull on their dyno. Smooth as silk and 928 HP/761 TQ. It was still making more power when the dyno hit my requested 6800 RPM limit.
Dyno Results: Ohio Crankshaft assembled and dynode the 565” engine for us. Stan and Scott Ray were a valuable resource in getting the “right parts” that would work together. They also put the 565” on their dyno to see the results of our components and his work. We agreed to break the engine in with Schaeffer’s Break-in Oil and run it for about 10 minutes then check valve lash and make “full pull”. First pull with the 565” was so good, 928 HP at 6800 (RPM, the point I told to limit it to) and 760 ft/lbs of torque at 5500 RPM. I told him to let the engine cool off and “SHIP IT”!! Thanks to Ohio Crankshaft, we appreciate your honesty and quality work.
Our choice was straight forward and based on our previous experiences. We ran a couple of the "box-style" pans that are supposedly for dragsters (my guess it for dragsters with limited ground clearance) but we always had issues with the oil pressure dropping to zero at the end of the shutdown area. I never had that issue with my "door-car style deep sump pans. Easy choice, we had the room for an 8-inch deep pan and we chose Moroso's steel pan.
This pump is Moroso's answer to breaking the cast iron OEM-style pumps off where they bolt on. No doubt this is more common on dragsters due to the "rattling of the tires" at the end of the burnout. This billet aluminum pump has gerotor gears and reliably provides a high volume of Schaeffer’s Race Oil to our engine. It is made for the 21048 8" deep pan.
Oiling system: If you have looked around there are probably 40 ways to go when this choice rolls around. Our choice was pretty much determined by these factors: reputation for reliability, matching the pump flow to what the engine builder wanted, had to fit in out chassis and of course, final costs. We decided to go with the Moroso oil pan, #21048 and high-volume billet oil pump #22163. Moroso products have been on all of our drag cars and I trust them 100%. If you look up the part number you will see we chose the steel pan and not the higher cost aluminum pan. The reason is pretty basic, the steel one works just as well, might keep a little more heat in the oil (especially with the DRE Diaper) and costs less. Would a $4,000 dry sump pan, pump and lines work better? I will never know that answer. In our application of bracket racing and some S/Comp racing it is not a necessary expense.
This is the three-quart Accusump tank we chose. They also make them in smaller sizes for street cars, turbo charger pre-oilers. I wanted to have oil pressure BEFORE I started the engine and Accusump provides that. If you contaminate the oil the Accusump is easy to disassemble and clean out.
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