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My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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Old 01-08-2017, 08:30 AM   #1
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My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Hot Rod Magazine's (HRM) Drag Week (DW) is in it's 13th season this year, and I've had my eyes set on it for the last 8. The number 1 motivating factor for putting a t56 in my car was because I wanted to eventually run this event. This thread will serve as a place for me to chronicle the build, preparation, and eventual participation/experience of the event.

So what is Drag Week? In a nut shell, the event takes place over 1 week, Monday through Friday. There are 4 tracks (starting and ending track are the same) and you must drive the vehicle you are using for competition between all tracks. You can trailer the vehicle to the start point, but you cannot tow between tracks. The trucks/trailers will be locked into an area you do not have access to during the event at the starting/finishing track. You cannot follow the car with a "support vehicle", and they have even got rules in place stating that you cannot enter 2 vehicles with the intention of one vehicle being there to aid in the other's success of the week. There are several classes from Daily Driver to the Unlimited class where you see 5 second promods being driven from track to track. You may bring a trailer with no larger hauling volume than 142 cubic feet. Most guys have a trailer. I will too. To see more details about what the event is and what sort of rules they have, check out this link:

http://st.hotrod.com/uploads/sites/2...ules-final.pdf

Last year, the stream covering the drag racing portion on HRM's YouTube channel was brought to you by my parents' company J-Angel Productions, the parent company over MotorManiaTV (MMTV) and DragStory. We have the honor of providing that stream again. Because this event take so many resources, MMTV will not be streaming any other event during the week (no man-power to do so), but that leaves MMTV Channel 1 open for something else. We decided we will put a camera in my car and stream the entire traveling, pit, and racing experience right to that channel. The link for that is:

http://motormaniatv.com/mmtv1/

This year's event is going to be held in the Midwest. Dates are September 10-15, and the tracks are as follows:

September 10 Cordova International Raceway, Registration & Test-n-Tune
19425 IL-84
Cordova, IL 61242

September 11 Cordova International Raceway, Racing Day 1
19425 IL-84
Cordova, IL 61242

September 12 Gateway Motorsports Park, Racing Day 2
700 Raceway Blvd
Madison, IL 62060

September 13 Byron Dragway, Racing Day 3
7287 N River Rd
Byron, IL 61010

September 14 Great Lakes Dragaway, Racing Day 4
18411 1st St
Union Grove, WI 53182

September 15 Cordova International Raceway, Final Day of Racing
19425 IL-84
Cordova, IL 61242

The route is predetermined by the HRM staff and is typically all back roads with very little interstate driving. We will be given a route and landmarks to take pictures of the cars in front of to offer some accountability.

As you can imagine this is not a cheap event. I'm planning my entire year around this one event, and any races before the event will be in preparation for the event. Any races after will be a bonus, but we do intend to race through late October again this year as we have every year. I have had an amazing group of companies step up in the way of product support and I can't go without listing them.

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I will go into more detail on the preparation of the car, what's changing, why we decided to do what we did, in posts to come. I have to go paint baby number 2's room, who will be here in 5 weeks or less
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Good luck. Wish I could race the event somehow.
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:57 PM   #3
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Thanks for the sticky Stephen! I'll keep you guys updated. I'd love to see other TGO members log their builds and experience here too!

For those following my other thread, you saw the t56 broke in October and also saw that the replacement is a GF5R. This is a 5 speed drag racing transmission where 5th is the 1:1 drive gear. As you can imagine, this will significantly impact the drivability of the car, but after spending money on 2 expensive t56's, I had to come up with something different. A 4 speed was an option, but the 5 speed wasn't much more in the grand scheme of things and it just make a ton more sense. This, coupled with my 4.71 gears, of course, will prove to be slow going since RPM will be so high. I have a few ideas on solutions, but I'll wait to share them for now till I get some things more set in stone.

The engine is going to get some attention too. My cylinder heads are a set of prc stage 2.5 ls6's. They flow in the 318cfm range. They could use a fresh valve job at minimum, and will need some machine work for rockers to work. Venom Racing Engines out of IL will be handling all of this. While they have the heads they are going to see what sort of improvements can be made as well. I'm going to send the intake as well and they will port that to match. During the refresh, a low lash solid roller cam will be going back in as well. I'm not saying we're going to blow records out of the water, but if we're going to go, we're going to come out swinging.

I need to come up with a trailer solution for towing behind the car as well, so I'll share that part of the build here too
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:17 PM   #4
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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This is a 5 speed drag racing transmission where 5th is the 1:1 drive gear. As you can imagine, this will significantly impact the drivability of the car
Unless you want to swap the diff center section twice a day, the most common solution is a Gear Vendor OD unit.
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:18 PM   #5
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

well, $2900 for a gear vendors isn't in the budget, so you can imagine what i'm contemplating right now.
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Old 01-08-2017, 03:43 PM   #6
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

I picked up the Feb 2017 copy of Hot Rod magazine and I hate buying magazines. It shows the top 50 fastest cars for drag week 2016. It also highlights the Aussie built twin turbo 540 BBC Chevelle that was racing as well. They were able to make 8 second timeslips.
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:07 PM   #7
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Most all of the vehicles that are competitive run into the eights. Downloaded the previous lists timeslips and it was impressive what they're averages were.

What class are you planning to run? Or were you planning on doing the brackets?


I did see the small block n/a class posted bottom nines though so I guess not all eights.

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Old 01-08-2017, 07:49 PM   #8
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

right now, the record in SSSBNA is a 9.69 @ 138. my car with the t56 went 9.97 @ 135 in 2015. all my data from 2016 indicated a .2 drop and 2 mph gain in like air conditions from 2015, but never got to see that realized in sea level conditions. several very knowledgeable people of the new transmission and clutch combo have indicated the car will pick up .2 or better from the better gearing splits. i realize i'm about to reveal some r!cer math here, but that's a 9.57 if got all of those gains, lol. i'm hoping it goes .40's in sea level conditions with all the engine upgrades coupled with the new transmission once we get it ironed out. we won't see sea level conditions on this trip. if it goes .60's i'll be pretty happy, but of course we want more
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:28 AM   #9
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Looking at all the stuff it would seem that having a good team assembled would be key. Hope you have a good co-pilot with some skills also since it seems like that would wear on a guy for a week straight! If nothing else they will help yell at the car on the roadside lol j/k
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:30 AM   #10
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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right now, the record in SSSBNA is a 9.69 @ 138. my car with the t56 went 9.97 @ 135 in 2015. all my data from 2016 indicated a .2 drop and 2 mph gain in like air conditions from 2015, but never got to see that realized in sea level conditions. several very knowledgeable people of the new transmission and clutch combo have indicated the car will pick up .2 or better from the better gearing splits. i realize i'm about to reveal some r!cer math here, but that's a 9.57 if got all of those gains, lol. i'm hoping it goes .40's in sea level conditions with all the engine upgrades coupled with the new transmission once we get it ironed out. we won't see sea level conditions on this trip. if it goes .60's i'll be pretty happy, but of course we want more
With a little more hp and keeping it in the band better I'm sure your right!
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Old 01-10-2017, 05:02 PM   #11
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Subscribed.
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Old 01-10-2017, 06:46 PM   #12
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Co-pilot would be good. They could drive down the highway to the next race track while you get some sleep.

I have no idea what it would cost but I would estimate that you should budget a minimum of $3000-$4000 for the entire week and that's providing you don't need anything major repaired. I'm sure a bunch of the racers in 2016 spent well over $10,000 during the week just to say they completed the event.
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Old 01-10-2017, 07:06 PM   #13
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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Looking at all the stuff it would seem that having a good team assembled would be key. Hope you have a good co-pilot with some skills also since it seems like that would wear on a guy for a week straight! If nothing else they will help yell at the car on the roadside lol j/k
i agree. it's going to be a ton of work, lol. i'm planning everything out so we can streamline every process. we will also do dry runs, and i'm going to plan to do a couple events where we drive the car, race it, drive it home.

craigslist score $200 later and we have a trailer for drag week

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Old 01-11-2017, 10:52 AM   #14
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Looking forward to following the thread Matt. Gateway is an hour from the house.
It would be cool to come out and watch, or help if the need arises.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:28 AM   #15
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Drag week is closer to me than ever since I live a half hour from Byron and about 40 minutes from Cordova so I should be there spectating 2 or 3 of those days.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:33 AM   #16
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

This is awesome. Thanks for posting all of this. Im excited about following this thread.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:58 AM   #17
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

i would LOVE to meet you guys!
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:46 PM   #18
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Once I get what days I will be taking off work and where I'll be going figured out. I will get that posted on here. I may cruise the IROC out depending on who goes with me.
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:06 PM   #19
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Good Luck, Matt!!

Hopefully, I'll be right there with ya
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:54 PM   #20
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

i hope we put together a big thirdgen caravan
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Old 01-17-2017, 09:04 AM   #21
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

engine is out. will pull the camshaft (it's for sale if anyone is looking) and get this thing palletized and headed to Venom Racing Engines.

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Old 01-18-2017, 10:43 AM   #22
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Matt, are you running pump gas right now?

Looking at everything it looks like they have e-85 throughout the whole routem,, maybe more compression and cam to go with head work and swap to e-85 would net big gains? Not sure if you were already on E or not.
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Old 01-18-2017, 07:49 PM   #23
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yes, i'm on 93 now. e85 is plentiful in the area we will be in for drag week. it is NOT where i live though that's something we keep throwing around though and we are pretty well convinced we can squeeze more compression out of it with more overlap on the cam
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:49 PM   #24
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

We buy drums of e-98 and blend it down for e-85 for our 67 camaro we run with a 555 and a big fogger. It comes out to like just over 3.0 a gallon. Cheap!

I could see not wanting to though if you don't have access to it. I don't in my area either hence purchasing the barrel.

What was the comp at now?
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:58 AM   #25
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

static compression is 11.2:1 at the moment. thinking about trying to squeeze it up to 12:1. will have to do more math.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:11 AM   #26
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I think your onto something there. I'm sure that would be doable with the proper cam and the right timing ramp for street cruising.
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Old 01-19-2017, 12:22 PM   #27
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yes, and the other thing is making sure it doesn't get lugged at low rpm. i'm going to gear it for the street to run about 2500 rpm at 65 mph. looks to be about a 3.23 gear for street driving. swapping centers is going to be time consuming, but not impossible. i will trim the fat on that process and make sure it's as streamlined as possible.
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:09 AM   #28
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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yes, and the other thing is making sure it doesn't get lugged at low rpm. i'm going to gear it for the street to run about 2500 rpm at 65 mph. looks to be about a 3.23 gear for street driving. swapping centers is going to be time consuming, but not impossible. i will trim the fat on that process and make sure it's as streamlined as possible.
What if you run a 26" tire on the track, and a 29" or something on the street?
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Old 01-20-2017, 09:51 AM   #29
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i'd rather not have the challenges of making a 26" tire work on the track. i'm pretty well set on this idea, even though most are trying to discourage it(and for sound reasons, lol!). we will do a dry run to a track about 40 miles from my house in june, including the gear change. i will make sure i document how successful or sucky it is, lol.

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Old 01-20-2017, 02:03 PM   #30
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Jack up and put car on stands.
Assuming you've installed a drain plug on the bottom of the diff, have a small drain container that holds at least 3 liters/quarts of oil under the diff and drain the diff.
Remove both rear tires
Remove both calipers and rotors. Flex hoses on the calipers is a must.
Unbolt axles from mounting flange and pull them out about a foot. Hopefully you don't need to use a slide hammer to pop the bearing out out of the axle tube.
Unbolt rear u-joint and move driveshaft out of the way. Completely remove driveshaft if necessary for clearance.
Unbolt center section and remove.

Reverse process to install.

I'm glad I don't have to do this but I have made gear swaps between race weekends. The Moser aluminum center section and aluminum spool means I can lift the center section in with one hand.

Best guess from when you start jacking up the car to when it's back on the ground would be around 60 minutes. Air tools would help but much of it still needs to be done with hand tools.

Make sure you have some silicone to reseal the center section every time.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:55 AM   #31
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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Jack up and put car on stands.
Assuming you've installed a drain plug on the bottom of the diff, have a small drain container that holds at least 3 liters/quarts of oil under the diff and drain the diff.
Remove both rear tires
Remove both calipers and rotors. Flex hoses on the calipers is a must.
Unbolt axles from mounting flange and pull them out about a foot. Hopefully you don't need to use a slide hammer to pop the bearing out out of the axle tube.
Unbolt rear u-joint and move driveshaft out of the way. Completely remove driveshaft if necessary for clearance.
Unbolt center section and remove.

Reverse process to install.

I'm glad I don't have to do this but I have made gear swaps between race weekends. The Moser aluminum center section and aluminum spool means I can lift the center section in with one hand.

Best guess from when you start jacking up the car to when it's back on the ground would be around 60 minutes. Air tools would help but much of it still needs to be done with hand tools.

Make sure you have some silicone to reseal the center section every time.
You forgot the taking the torque arm out part to get to the pig. That's the part I hate the most!
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:25 AM   #32
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

i realize it's not ideal, but if i leave the highway gears in it, making it work on track will be a nightmare and i guarantee it will be at the back of the pack. if i leave the race gears in it, i doubt it'll make it to the next track. so, this is how we're going to do it. parts are already on their way for this, lol. i don't believe in doing anything part way, you don't get extraordinary results with ordinary efforts
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:46 AM   #33
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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i realize it's not ideal, but if i leave the highway gears in it, making it work on track will be a nightmare and i guarantee it will be at the back of the pack. if i leave the race gears in it, i doubt it'll make it to the next track. so, this is how we're going to do it. parts are already on their way for this, lol. i don't believe in doing anything part way, you don't get extraordinary results with ordinary efforts
No doubt. I don't think you're the first to do this, but fawk, it's a lot of work.
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:06 AM   #34
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agreed. I hope Chucky realizes what he's getting himself into being my co-pilot, lol!
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:51 AM   #35
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

What would be your engine RPM at 50 MPH?
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:53 AM   #36
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

2826. and i'd rather drive a little faster than that if possible. i'd like to have a cruising speed of about 65.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:00 AM   #37
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

I see you're going ahead with the gear swap anyway but 2800 isn't bad really.
I'm guessing 65 MPH would put you over 3600 RPM. Still, back in the day (before overdrive and Gear Vendors) that's what we did. You could spot the quick cars on the way to the local drag strip as they were always in the right lane on the highway driving considerably slower than the rest of us.
Now, having mentioned Gear Vendors....I don't recall anyone here at Third Gen that's installed one with a torque arm suspension. You could be a pioneer....
Just thinking of poor Chucky at this point.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:13 AM   #38
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

gear vendors is huge money, lol. i'm willing to put in the work, even if i go on my own.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:19 AM   #39
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

We'll all be watching...Helping too I'm sure for those that will be in the area.
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:14 PM   #40
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Aluminum housing and lightweight spool and gears and it will not be to bad of an affair. Close attention to the weight and it could be fairly light and not to bad to lift.
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:44 PM   #41
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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Originally Posted by mw66nova View Post
gear vendors is huge money, lol. i'm willing to put in the work, even if i go on my own.
Forgot about the torque arm since I have a 4-link.

Gears vendors is huge money but after swapping the center section twice a day for 5 days, it might look like a good deal.

Considering what the Promod cars do to get down the highway, a center section swap is nothing.
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Old 01-23-2017, 04:24 PM   #42
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

that's my thoughts exactly.

the race gears are in an iron case. stick shift cars tend to eat gears in an aluminum case. i found a cheap aluminum case i'm going to run the street gears in though, which should help. we'll get it. i'm not going to get caught up on details right now since thing will probably change 1000 times before the event, but just know every task will be streamlined as much as possible. and yup, you'll all get to watch every move on MMTV
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:38 PM   #43
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

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2826. and i'd rather drive a little faster than that if possible. i'd like to have a cruising speed of about 65.
I would figure out how long the gear swapping will take you, and then see how much time you are really gonna save vs driving slower. Unless you are saving considerable time the effort really won't be worth it IMO
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:20 PM   #44
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

4.71 gears are a little deep for the highway. My old 454SS pickup truck that I had came with 4.10 gears but also had 28" tall tires and the 4L80E transmission. Highway driving wasn't that bad but 3.73 gears would have been much nicer.

How tall are the slicks that you are using? From what I read above, they're not 26" so I'm assuming 28". Is there room to stuff a taller street tire under the fenders? 255/75R15, 265/75R15 and 295/65R15 are roughly 30" tall. You don't need a wide tire, just tall.

That will tame down the gear ratio although your speedo will be off. You can always use a GPS speedo app if you have to.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:45 AM   #45
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

We are about 2 weeks away from baby number 2's due date, so progress is really slowing at the moment on the car and I may be about to a point where i have to stop for a little while, but I'm still pushing forward where I can. This weekend I managed to get the trans crossmember built.

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To help reduce costs, yet decrease some of the valvetrain weight, the guys over at Venom Racing Engines suggested we use some LS3 valves, turned down to the size we are going for. I got a message last night (yes, on a Sunday, these guys are awesome!) with this picture of an intake valve chucked up in the CNC lathe. Yeah, I'm getting pretty amped up about the changes.

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That's it for the moment. I'm hoping to get some sheet metal work done maybe starting today.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:03 PM   #46
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Well, well, well, what do we have here. I guess I need to get onto TGO more often. I'm in for the updates and will be cheering you on from the sidelines, watching the stream as you go.
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:43 AM   #47
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Monday I was home all day with my daughter as her day car provider was out of town this past weekend. I was able to communicate very easily with Venom Racing Engines throughout the day and we hammered out a plan of attack. They found the shortblock was much more wore out than I was hoping for (but knew with the amount of time on the build it could very well be pretty worn). After a morning long brainstorm session via Facebook messenger, emails, and phone calls, the existing cylinder heads and intake were sold and the pistons/rods/crank will be replaced with a stock stroke Molnar Technologies crank and 6.125" rods, and Wiseco came on board to help us get a new set of 13:1 slugs. Thanks again to Steven at Cam Motion, the cylinder heads will be a set of worked over Dart Pro1 ls3's. Those cylinder heads flow 370 cfm out of the box. The cam and intake are secret squirrel stuff so I can't share that just yet, but it will be a low lash solid roller and T&D Shaft rockers will handle the valve action. We will also be making the move to E85. I realize that introduces it's own challenges, but we will improvise, adapt, and overcome.

My head is still spinning a little as I grasp what just happened, lol! Of course this needed to be communicated with C&S Specialties and Black Magic Clutches as both the carb and clutch builds are combo specific. Both of those companies gave a smile and a nod and will be making strides to get those components together as soon as the combo is 100% finalized.

In other news, my PST aluminum driveshaft should be here Thursday, and I'm hoping my new strange axles and spool will be here today.

My wife is now 37.5 weeks pregnant and is obviously miserable, but has been a real trooper. This pregnancy has been more challenging than the last. Everyone is healthy, but I can tell she's not having a good time overall. Progress on the car will likely slow as we transition from having 1 kid to 2 kids in the half. Additionally, I have some side work lined up that needs to be taken care of, as well as my honey-do list that seems to be getting longer rapidly.
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:53 AM   #48
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

I think the move to e-85 will simplify the fuel problems that drag week can cause. Just a bit of a learning curve on the tune but you have plenty of time to get that sorted out.

We run e-85 with nitrous on one car and C12 on nitrous on another and they both can be worlds different tuning.

The molner stuff has good reviews over on the bullet.

Sounds like this motor will be a fairly large step up from what you had.
The T&D stuff is nice stuff!
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Old 02-01-2017, 10:54 AM   #49
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

I was there this past year when we welcomed out second child and the work on the car becomes hard for quite a while! There is always something to do not to mention I felt guilty leaving her to go work on it. It smooth's out though!
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:15 AM   #50
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Re: My Dragweek 2017 Chronicles

Those darts are some bad ***, underrated heads. We've been running E85 for years, so if you need any info, let me know. C&S will make you a nice carb. Don't over think E85... It's not black magic.
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