Building a 7sec 87GN Drag-n-Drive car with V6 Stage 1 heads!

Sometimes I wonder if it's better to have one major fail rather than a thousand little ones. I'm not even in the same solar system you are but feel your pain. Keep knocking them down. Want to see that 7 second time slip!
Everyone says you shouldn't show up for an event with a new build and untested car and I couldn't agree more. But what do you do at this point? We spent 20 months working on this thing almost non-stop, I paid the race registration booked the hotel rooms, its time to go!! And we are going to do our best to make the most of it.

Tech Day!
If you get a chance to attend this event this is the best day to be there as everybody is still in it lol! Just to see all the really cool cars, it not like a competitive class race where the cars are mostly the same (Fox bodies and S10s), there is a little of everything there and it is all really cool.

We got there early and had to swap over to street tires in order to tow the trailer to tech. We were in line early which we needed to be so we could be ready to roll at 2pm when TnT started and hopefully after being in Florida for a week we can get the car down the track!!

Tech went pretty smooth but man were they through! That was by far the most through NHRA tech inspection I had been through but we passed for a 7.50 cert and got into A group. The car is actually cert to 6.50 but my license is limited to 7.50 but either way being in A group as its advantages! The keypad worked through tech along with all the lights on the car and the trailer and nobody said anything about my horn/starter combo switch lol!

At this point we are as ready as we will ever be to make a pass but we still have no idea what the car is going to do going down the track. The decision was made to just do a 300' pull which is what I did and it went really well, no issues car ran well, hooked, went straight, everything worked burnout went well, Line lock, t-brake, bump air shifter, even tossed the laundry and the chute opened. All good, we cleaned a few things up on the datalog, re-packed the chute and waited for the 2nd pass.

I hung out with Zack Meyers and Snot Rocket V1 while waiting to make a pass, very nice guy and family who really dug the GN which was cool because his build was next level compared to mine. This wasn't snot rocket V2 which is Brett LaSalle who won the event. Zach's car is more street car than race car and a true 6 second ride really bad ass.

Next pass we decided to run pull run the whole track and see how the car handled. I was running on WG spring at this point and this is pretty much as slow as the car will go!. Everything went smooth and the car went 9.90@135 on 13psi. Not to shabby for WG spring and spot on for what it made on the dyno for WG spring so we feel like we have a pretty good handle on the tune up.

After reviewing the datalog we noticed a problem with oil pressure dropping off
Oil Pressure.jpg

The yellow trace is oil pressure as you can see it nose dives going into 3rd. You can see the oil temps go down as the oil accumulator is pushing oil in it as pressure drops which is pretty cool. Oil pressure never fell lower than 40psi so nothing was hurt. This also wasn't exactly a new issue either and have been dealing with oil pressure and control issues since the first pull on the dyno. Initially the issues was way to much oil pressure and we were also pushing oil past the seal in the turbo making a mess so to back it down I had been losing the bypass spring. The last pull on the dyno it everything seemed right but pressure was still a little high and I backed it out even further and my thinking was the spring was to lose and the bypass valve may be floating around.

What about cylinder #3? Plug still looks like crap, I am getting some smoke on start up but no more than the average import guy who I am racing against in the Sick Freaks class lol! Absolutely ZERO smoke or issues going down the track as soon as you bring the motor up on the brake it totally clears up. So the plan is just to keep an eye on the #3 plug and change it after every pass We were hoping to get a 3rd pass but Steve Morris blew a trans line, hit the wall and shut the track down so the day was over. I guess I'm not the only one! At least I didn't catch on fire and hit the wall!! We were standing there when it happened felt bad for him too. Oil downs and track shut downs were a serious issue for tech day and day 1. Here was my trans line failure and oil down Friday night at Cadillac Attack. I never saw it till 3/4 track just knew the car was out of shape and lifted. I was very lucky no fire or crash.
Track Oil down.jpg

The next day was RACEDAY and we are feeling pretty good at this point. To follow up on the oil pressure issue we cut the oil filter open which was spotless so we then tightened the bypass a few turns and got ready for our next TnT pass which was also going to be our first official race pass! I put 18psi of dome pressure in it which should give us somewhere around 20psi of boost. We left the 2-step at 4k which is REALLY soft for this car and it is producing easy high 1.40s which is fine for now. Everything we are doing now is also streaming live on the internet!

Easy peasy, everything going as smooth as it could on the track. 19psi 148mph not to bad, the tune up is also super conservative but then again we never planned to run the car at 19psi of boost! The oil pressure issue did improve with tightening the bypass valve. We can see the oil temp decrease with the opening of the Accumulator and pressure never drops below 40psi so we are not super concerned. I am pretty convinced it is a bypass issue at this point. Still no one likes to see oil pressure do goofy shit like that in 3rd!!

The track went hot at 9am and being in A group I was in the first run group with all fast cars and people with their shit together WAY more than ours was! There are a lot of cars at this and the first day is the day most of the ones that won't finish get weeded out. Problem is most of the weeding happens on the track and it makes for a REALLY long day.

At this point we had a big decision to make. The drive to Bradenton goes out to the Atlantic side across the middle of the state through a swamp to Bradenton. It is going to be a 5-6 hour drive so the earlier we get on the road the better and in hindsight the best decision was to turn in the 9.40 slip and get on the road.

But NOOO we are now racing AND we at least want a fighting chance at winning the class which after all is what we came to do!!! The top guys at this point are a Gen 2 Supra running 8.70s and a 70 Chevelle with a duramax running 8.90s and a Honda Civic also in the 8.90s. Mark Huber was there with his 7 sec SVO Mustang but was on the struggle bus, along with another bad ass GTR that was also a new build and was along for the struggle bus ride but making progress. All we had to do was turn in an 8 sec slip to be in the hunt so we decided to stick around and wiat for a second pass.

And wait we did, till about 4pm. Up to this point the car has been working really well and with the exception of a puff of smoke at startup it has been running really well. For this pass we put 25psi on the dome which should be close to 30psi of boost and about 1000rwhp from what we saw on the hub dyno. I also put 200 rpm on the 2-step which is probably going to still be a really soft 60 but should still put the car DEEP into the 8s.

I fired to car up and uh-oh its smoking bad, like REALLY bad. I pull into the lanes the track official looks at me and says verbatim "you better not fucking oil down the track"! We get up to the gate and are first in our lane and now having a conference with the rest of the staff who is obviously concerned. Ray and I decide to abort the pass, the car is definitely smoking WAY worse than it has since we started this adventure and 30psi of boost is not going to help whatever it is causing the issue. We pullout of the lanes as the staff applauds our decision and we head back to the pits. We go over the car again, check the plug, test a few things and try to bring it up on the 2-step and its just billowing smoke. We briefly entertained the idea of limping it to Bradenton tearing it apart there to find the problem then decided against since if we had to sit in traffic with it smoking like this we would die of asphyxiation. Plus it was late in the day with a 5-6 hour drive ahead of us in an untested car we have driven maybe 40miles. It's one thing to have a bunch of issues at the track but a whole other world of pain to have issues at midnight on the side of the road in the middle of a swamp in Florida!! WIth the smoking host of other small issues we need to address so we decided to call it. It wasn't an easy decision but it was the right one. We loaded up and started heading home and discussed it for the next 18 hours lol!

Next up post race analysis, solutions and whats next!
Hey Chris. Met you and Ray at OSW. I was across the road in the grass pits from you with my buddies in the green 4 door Nova. We ran Sick Week.

Killer build on the car!! New build blues for sure but great looking car that I’m sure will perform once the bugs are worked out.
Thanks, I remember, how did your buddy do with the Nova?
Sometimes I wonder if it's better to have one major fail rather than a thousand little ones. I'm not even in the same solar system you are but feel your pain. Keep knocking them down. Want to see that 7 second time slip!
Thanks, Believe it or not most of this is normal stuff for a build like this. Knock on wood we really have avoided having any of those major issues.
We had a long ride home to discuss our decision to stop which was hard when we know the next pass on the car it was going to rip! The bottom line was the car wasn't hurt at this point, we didn't know for sure what all was wrong with it and if we did hurt it we could be out for the rest of the race season. So we lived to race another day!

Once we got home I had the rest of the week off work to get stuff done which was nice. I pulled the motor and took it out to my machinist to start pulling it apart. The issue was immediately apparent this time.

Yes that's a giant hole on the pushrod side of #3 intake port and this hole was not there when I had the intake off before we left. That hole was likely a previous repair that was seeping oil and came apart after the 9.40 pass which explains why the oil issue got so much worse after that pass.

At least it is an easy fix. The head is already welded and I should have it back early this week and hopefully back in the car next weekend. I still have a lot of little things that need attention and a punch list to knock through but it is mid February in Ohio and I have plenty of time to work through it.

The oil pressure seems to be the bypass valve as expected.

The o-ring for the bypass valve was leaking and I need to find a lighter spring for this pump. It is a Gambler pump which they are no longer in business. The new Fluidworks pump from Motion looks like it is the same dimensions and I may use it if I can not get this one to work.

Another thing that could be causing the oil pressure issue is the oil pan capacity which in my case is kind of small at 5 qts. I added a Moroso accumulator to this car a long time ago for this reason and kept it with the update. I also added an electric valve I now control with the Holley/Smartwire that opens the valve automatically at 3500rpm and closes it at 3450 so it is always active. The accumulator is definitely opening since you can see the oil temp go down when it does. WIth the accumulator set up I have close to 8qts in the system.

I am not convinced this is the issue either. If I am sucking the pan dry I would have at least 5 qts of oil in the valve covers with a vacuum pump sucking it out the 2 -12an ports I have on each valve cover. That would completely fill the breather tank which had maybe 8 oz of oil in it from the whole weekend. Even with the hole in the intake port I still had pretty good crankcase vacuum. I also have additional drains from the back of the heads directly to the oil pan.

I am in the process of building a new pan for it with more capacity. As a matter of fact this pan was originally made by CAS and I have the engineering drawings for it. I am having them re-done in auto-cad and will increase the sump capacity. Ray is also going make several so if anyone is interested in an oil pan with a matching engine diaper we may have something this spring.

What's next? Registration for Drag Week opens on the 24th and I am going to try and get in. The race is in September which gives use all spring and summer to finish sorting this car out. We are super excited about getting back out and planning to take it to Bowling Green, mostly for testing. I may do Steet-nYeet in November and definitely plan to make another run at Sick Week 2025.
Everyone says you shouldn't show up for an event with a new build and untested car and I couldn't agree more. But what do you do at this point?
Everybody is right.
A very fast car requires testing not only to get a number but also for safeguarding your investment😉
We like shakedown passes to grab data even if we cannot get the number that day.
be safe and good luck.