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Drag Week 2012 - Project GIRTST 71 Mustang (get it right the second time)

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  • Drag Week 2012 - Project GIRTST 71 Mustang (get it right the second time)

    As some here will know, I've particpated in four of the Hot Rod Magazine Drag Week events going back to the inaugural contest in 2005. Those same folks will know that the results have been all over the map to say least. I arrived at KCIR in Kansas City in '05 with a brand new engine combination which ran poorly with a best of an [email protected] and fragged a roller lifter killing the engine about 30 miles outside of KC after the first day of competition. We loaded up the car on a another competitor's truck and trailer and drove directly to each of the subsequent tracks and had blast doing that.

    We came back in '06 with a rebuilt 820 HP engine from Dougan's Racing and a Lentech AOD that replaced the T56 I had in it in '05. With the engine dyno tested and tuned a bit our fortunes turned around and we were lucky enough to win one of the coveted jackets in BB/NA averaging 10.80's and 125 MPH. My good buddy Brain Rock also won SB/NA that year so the trip out from Cali to Eastern Iowa was more than worth the time and expense.

    In 07' I'd made the switch to EFI and we'd hoped to make big progress, but a new too tight converter slowed the 60 ft. times. Despite that, ET's and an MPH improved to 10.50"s and low 130's. We finished a distant second to Steve Hoch's beautiful Corvette.

    Time and money kept us away from DW for the next three years, but over that time a focus on the chassis tuning and modest updates to the car had dropped ET's down to the 10.0x's at 135 or so MPH. The plan was to go to DW 11 with a well sorted car and have fun knowing that last years' BB/NA winner was running 9.50's.

    Less than three months before we were to drive out to Topeka for DW 11 another roller lifter started to die and that began a huge thrash as what seemed like a simple hone and fluff became an almost completly new engine with far bigger aspirations. Last second preparations and some big mistakes on my part (vitually no sleep for three days before leaving) had us arriving in Kansas with maybe 500 ft. of drving on the car, no track tuning at all and some cooling, electircal and mechanical issues all of which compelled me to pull the plug cloase to midnight after the first day of competiton in Topeka.

    We'd run 9.70's at over 140 at Sunday's TnT on the full street trim, but by the next day our attempt to run at race weight with the small gas tank, open headers and just a driver's seat coupled with some 'tuning' slowed us to 10.20 @ 134. We experienced electircal issues, alternator and battery failure and finally over-heating before we hung it up.

    So now,over the next 9 months this project series will document all the things that need to fixed, improved, tuned, corrected and tested so we can Get it Right the Second Time. It will be warts and all, mistakes and screw-ups, wins and losses, carnage and craftsmanship, with what we hope is an opportunity to learn from the collective wisdom here on Bang Shift as well as leverage the expertise and cutting edge technology of the extended community of sponsors, partners and contributors to Bang Shift. We'll include bad phtography, laughable video and my usual bad wrting and miserbale spelling.

    The goal is weekly updates and as much back and forth as people want and I can have time for in between.

    Wish us luck! We'll need it.
    Drag Week 2006 & 2012 - Winner Street Race Big Block Naturally Aspirated - R/U 2007 Broke DW '05 and Drag Weekend '15 Coincidence?

  • #2
    I'm hoping to go this year. On the spur of the moment, I'll be tossing a pair of turbo's on my car's old, tuckered out 383 and hope it lives.
    BS'er formally known as Rebeldryver

    Resident Instigator



    • #3
      i want to go eather int he merc and it's mostly stock 4.6L or my supercharged 97 Grand Prix GT

      the GP would be faster
      Originally posted by Remy-Z;n1167534
      Congratulations, man. You've just inherited the "Patron Saint of Automotive Lost Causes" from me. No question.

      75Grand AM 455:Pissed off GrandMA, 68 Volkswagen Type1 "beetle":it will run some year


      • #4
        Sounds good Bill! The big thing is to get the car on the road to some local strips, well ahead of time....which you probably realize...but it doesn't hurt to point out the obvious some times
        My fabulous web page

        "If it don't go, chrome it!" --Stroker McGurk


        • #5
          Go Bill Go!
          Escaped on a technicality.


          • #6
            Project 1 will be addressing the cooling issues we had at DW 11. I'll be installing a new dual-pass Afco Racing radiator with a high flow Mezeire radiator mount water pump and associated plumbing. I'll also be fixing some mistakes made in the run up to DW 11, and preparing for some future posibilities including making space for an air-to-air intercooler and a Pro-Charger. "If it don't go, blow it", or something like that.

            Cooling hadn't been an issue previously, but in defiance of the old rule "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" I decided that the over 12 year old Howe radiator needed to be updated and the location of the trans cooler and oil cooler could be improved. Saving money is usually a good idea but sometimes it can me into trouble. This is a perfect example. Another good buddy, Nick the guy who did all the Tig welding on my cage back in '05 had a lightly used C&R dual pass NASCAR radiator from an old project which he gave to me to try out.

            I thought it would be a cool upgrade with a few minor changes to the new-to-me radiator and some minor surgury to the already modified radiator cradle. As with everything like this, there was more to it than met the eye. The C&R unit was four inches thick even though it had two 1" cores and that required cutting up a perfectly good, used Linclon Mark VIII fan in order to have enough apsce between the fan and the CSI water pump.

            I also had to make an aluminum plate as a mount for the fan and to insure that all the air was pulled through the core.

            Finally, the lower outlet of the C&R had to be changed to a 90* in order to clear the frame member that sits right behind it in the chassis. I thought it would be a sweep, not a hard 90. This may have compromised flow out of the radiator. See before below, after above.

            I also added a thermostat housing and a drain plug bung and petcock. Since all this was last minute rush rush and almost no one wanted to weld on a used radiator it cost $180.

            I then compounded the problem by placing the oil cooler and the trans cooler right in front of the radiator side by side. They had been stacked before giving the clean air a much beter shot at the old Howe's core. I did it because I was trying to make space for a future intercooler for the future maybe Pro-Charger. I like to try and plan in advance for future changes an I thought the bigger "better" radiator would make up for any loss in air flow. Wrong!

            So the net of all this was poorer cooling. We had a preview of this when I took the car to the chassis dyno at Westech and it would begin to get hot really quick during the stepped RPM tuning. They had to rig up super high power fan pointed right at the coolers and ardiator to keep the temps reasonable, 200-220*. The old set-up hadn't needed the extra fan when we'd done some tuning back in '07 and we saw 180* to 200* max.

            I told myself that was the difference between the 800+ HP the old single four barrel motor made and the 1006 HP the new dual four barrel version made at the Virbancic Bros. engine dyno a few days earlier (see link to BS vid).


            It's easy to talk yourself into bad ideas when your're tired and out of time.

            Next we'll look at the things I need to fix and update and the install of the new Afco radiator.
            Drag Week 2006 & 2012 - Winner Street Race Big Block Naturally Aspirated - R/U 2007 Broke DW '05 and Drag Weekend '15 Coincidence?


            • #7
              I like that plan!
              Drag Week 2006 & 2012 - Winner Street Race Big Block Naturally Aspirated - R/U 2007 Broke DW '05 and Drag Weekend '15 Coincidence?


              • #8
                Originally posted by squirrel View Post
                Sounds good Bill! The big thing is to get the car on the road to some local strips, well ahead of time....which you probably realize...but it doesn't hurt to point out the obvious some times
                Every year that is the intent, and almost every year the car is going together while its going on the trailer. In 2011 we still had to finish the the little trailer too! At Topeka, Floyd wasn't thrilled and neither was Walt Reynolds who helped us get the brake and turn signal lights working at 10 PM Monday night. That's why our first check point was in the dark.

                That's why I'm getting things going now. I'm hoping doing this project series will help e focus and think things through with all the BS experts.

                Drag Week 2006 & 2012 - Winner Street Race Big Block Naturally Aspirated - R/U 2007 Broke DW '05 and Drag Weekend '15 Coincidence?


                • #9
                  I hope to get it right the second time too!!!!
                  Life is short. Be a do'er and not a shoulda done'er.
                  1998 Mustang GT
                  1983 Mustang GT 545/552/302/Turbo302
                  1973 F-250 BBF Turbo Truck
                  1986 Ford Ranger EFI 545/C6


                  • #10
                    Good luck Bill, if you havent taken a Checkpoint pic in total darkness you havent tried....

                    Drag Week 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


                    • #11
                      So, step one in fixing the cooling issues from DW 2011 is to get the oil cooler and trans cooler as far out and away form the direct airflow path to the new radiator as possible. At the same time I'm trying to create space for and air-to-air intercooler for a possible upgrade in the future so getting the two auxillary coolers as far in front of the radiator as practical will help reduce additional fabrication later.

                      Even in a fairly long nose car like the 71 Mustang, space between the radiator core support and the factory grill is limited. The '71 Mach 1 style grill has bulit in running light/turn signals and since I'm trying to keep the exterior as stock appearing as possible they need to be retained. The bulb holder sticks out in to the space needed for the two coolers so by modifying the the rfalector part of the lights I can save that space. See the before picture below.

                      The light housing looks like this:

                      And, sits here in the plastic grill.

                      The plan is to section the plastic reflector part of the housing in the back and gain the full inch of space.

                      I still need to figure out what material and glue to use to remake the now shorter running light housing?

                      Once that is done I can make a new bracket to hold the oil cooler (shown from the top here) up, out and over to tfar edge of the grill opening.

                      While I gather ideas on how to rebuild the running light housing I'll fab up the new bracket and move onto the hood release bracket in Part 3. I know all this stuff looks mundane, but if it all works together, fits well, is easily servicable and keeps the oil, water and trans fluid at the right temps under all conditions the project will be a success.

                      Drag Week 2006 & 2012 - Winner Street Race Big Block Naturally Aspirated - R/U 2007 Broke DW '05 and Drag Weekend '15 Coincidence?


                      • #12
                        At the first Drag Week none of us knew what to expect. there had been a bit of trash talk on the Hot Rod message board. Bang Shift didn't exist yet, nor did Car Junkie TV, or Freiburger's Junkyard for that matter. So it was with great anticipation that about 45 teams and their cars arrived at KCIR in September of '05.

                        I came away with some cool pictures including these from our old pal the other Grumpy with the turbo Neon. Not Phil Cooper the former 457 Brodix or new Grumpy.

                        As noted above our trip ended 30 miles outside K.C. with a crazy expensive tow to East Saint Louis where we hoped to put humpty back together again. It wasn't to be and Keith kindly informed us that a new rule had been made in our honor. You can't get towed after a break down to the next race venue, you have to get safely off the road and fix it more or less where you are.

                        This is how it looked when we had to get a flat bed for the car with the capacity to also tow the U-Hual we'd rented in KC. In retro spect it have been cheaper to be towed back to KC but we wouldn't have caught up with the gang and had the opportunity to put the car on the truck and trailer that were going to pick up the Montana guys at the end of the trip. Drag week wasn't a circle in the first year and it made sense to some folks to get their transport rig from the start in KC to final track at Milan. MI. The next year was the start of the circle trip and the ban on transport vehicles/trailers following the Drag Week caravan however loosely. So we inadvertantly helped crete a new DW plan and another new rule. Your're welcome.

                        At least we had fun along the way.

                        The failed engine engine at DW '05 ws doubly painful as I had been lucky enough to be voted into the 2005 Car Craft Real Street Eliminator for that year which was to be a week and half later a few hundred miles from the end of DW '05. The DNF at Drag Week meant a no show for Car Craft RSE too. But, it gets better.

                        A few weeks before we left for DW '05 I f got a call form Car Craft to shot some photos of the car in case there was a rain out or some other problem and I met Terry McGean and Wes Allison at the Irwindale Speedway parking lot. Wes shot some photos that of course were never used, but he was kind enough to send them to me a few years later. Cool guy. Pictures from the RSE I never made it to.

                        Now you know why it's so important to try and get your junk well sorted and reliable before these events. You never know when a magazine photographer might just make your whole year.
                        Drag Week 2006 & 2012 - Winner Street Race Big Block Naturally Aspirated - R/U 2007 Broke DW '05 and Drag Weekend '15 Coincidence?


                        • #13
                          Thanks Bill, for the back ground of your Mustang. As an owner of a silver '71 429scj drop top(my first car.still have it. 34yrs!) myself I have followed your car since first seeing it in Car Craft some years ago. As I'm on plan "b" for this years DW already,perhaps my '71 might be plan "c".



                          • #14
                            I'd think that an epoxy would work well for your signal light needs. I've repaired many a cracked airbox with it, and the repair is stronger than the material around it.


                            • #15
                              Wow, very cool car. One of the cars that really caught my eye when I started going to the dragstrip as a teenager was a '71 Mustang Mach 1, it was yellow and black, and set up for Stock Eliminator. I love the lines on that car. That engine of yours is a beast - 1000 hp!!! I'll definitely be following this thread, and I wish you luck in this year's Drag Week.

                              With your turn signal issue, I was wondering if you'd considered some kind of LED board setup in the housing. That might let you eliminate that socket for the bulb and save a little more space.