Archive for August, 2009

It hasn’t taken long for Vaughn Gittin Jr. to get used to his new 2010 Mustang drift car. After a slow start, Gittin has steadily been climbing the ranks of the Formula Drift championship. He now stands in third place overall after a seventh place win at Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway.

All Ford Mustangs reported that Vaughn Gittin Jr. is now in the running for second place overall, with first place still a far off goal.

Vaughn Gittin Jr. at Barrett-Jackson Auction earlier this year

Gittin performed exceptionally at Sonoma on August 22nd, beating out Falken teammate Ross Petty. Petty spun trying to catch Gittin. Gittin then faced off against Justin Pawlak, driving a 2009 Mazda RX-8. Pawlak, who ranks 10th overall, also fell to Gittin’s sharp angles and massive smokeshow. But Stephen Verdier and his 2006 WRX (which is 5 position and 35 points shy of Gittin) got the best of the Mustang master, forcing him into early retirement. Verdier went on to win the race.

But it was enough of a win to advance Gittin two spots, from 5th to 3rd place overall, edging out Sam Hubinette and his Charger SRT8 by just over two points. That puts Gittin within striking distance of Ryan Tuerek and his Pontiac Solstice, who has 414 points. But it would take a miracle to steal a win from Chris Forsberg and his 2006 350z, who has a commanding lead of 56 points over Tuerek. But no matter how Gittin finishes at the final event in October at the Irwindale Toyota Speedway, he put on a good show for Mustang and drifting fans everywhere.

De Tomaso is often ranked among the “invisible” automakers because it rarely produced anything of substance in quantities enough to be remembered. That isn’t to say the cars themselves weren’t highly visible. The Mangusta remains one of the sharpest cars, but only about 400 were ever made during its five years of production from 1967-71. But they were powered by some of the most popular Ford engines ever produced, namely the 289 and 302.

A Mangusta recently appeared on eBay, and is powered by an even-rarer Gurney Eagle racing engine.

Pictures: PI Motorsports

These cars rarely change hands, and this one even features a rebuilt high-performance 302 engine. The Mangusta name is Italian for “Mongoose”, supposedly in response to Ford’s decision to supply Shelby with high power engines rather than De Tomaso. This engine was fully rebuilt using new parts, including a pair of rare Gurney-Eagle racing heads. The engine isn’t yet installed, but will be as part of the auction.

For awhile the Mangusta put De Tomaso on the map, if only briefly. It paved the way for the ’71 Pantera, also featuring Ford engines and sold at Ford-Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. Over 6,000 Panteras were sold but De Tomaso never saw that kind of success again. The Mangusta remains an affordable classic, even if its 32/68 weight balance and horrific handling hindered any chance of racing prowess. With six days left on this auction, it is a rare chance to capture a rare car.

Dan Millen Interview

Monday, August 31st, 2009
Heads Up racing, by its nature, is a sport that thrives on innovation and progression. It requires time, effort, and dedication, as well as money and sacrifice, to be competitive. This competitive nature drives the car owners and drivers who run in the sport to push the level of their equipment, and more often than not their upgraded components, to achieve a higher level of performance.

This formula, and inherent “name of the game” as it were, is very familiar to NMRA Pro Outlaw 10.5 racer Dan Millen. However, as privy as he may be to these conditions, he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to them, at least not 100%. Recently, we at PowerTV were given the opportunity to talk with Dan regarding his racing past, the evolution of the sport, and other hot topics.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dan Millen, he is a longtime competitor in the Ford racing scene and the 2001 NMRA Super Street Outlaw Champion, with his championship coming from behind the wheel of his famous single-turbocharged 1991 Mustang coupe. He is also one of the driving forces behind Livernois Motorsports, the Livonia, MI based high performance powerhouse that deals with Ford, GM, and Mopar Performance. Today, Millen is regarded as one of the heavy hitters in the world of Outlaw 10.5 racing, as well as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking racers around. His performance on the track, along with the success of Livernois Motorsports, speaks volumes about his dedication to the hobby and sport that he loves. However, Millen is not one to rest and bask in his accomplishments. He is always pushing the boundaries of his combination and continuing to improve his performance on the track.

PowerTV: How and why did you get started in racing?

Dan Millen: I started racing go karts before I could drive, but it really started when I got my first car, which was a 1985 Mustang. Starting with small bolt-ons, I eventually worked my way up to the engine and started racing at the local dragstrips (Detroit Dragway and Milan). After reading about the FFW series and the Spring Break Shootout in 1996, a buddy and I decided we could give it a shot and take the car to the first race of the year and see what happened. I ran a 302 N/A with a 5-speed and got my butt kicked. Later, we put some nitrous on it and became somewhat competitive and won some races. It was from this point that I became hooked and decided I wanted to race more often.

PowerTV: You are a big part of Livernois Motorsports. What are your day-to-day duties there?

Dan Millen: My day-to-day duties include a variety of different roles. I can go from sales one day to chassis and engine dyno tuning the next day. The company wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for my brother Tom. He has really made a big difference here in the organization, staying on top of things and getting organized.

PowerTV: What, if any, are the compromises that you have to make as a businessman and competitive Heads Up racer?

Dan Millen: Well, it’s a Catch-22 if you want to race and be successful. You have to test a lot and spend time on your business. Several compromises have been made in my racing program over the years. We used to do a lot of the ‘race car stuff’ during the business day, but the last couple of years, with the economy, it’s strictly an after hours job and strictly out of pocket. Again, without my brother Tom and the dedication from the leaders at our shop, this would not be possible. Wireless internet has saved me several times. Tuning cars at our shop while at the racetrack has enabled me to do both.

PowerTV: You and your racing program are noted for several things, but one of those things in particular is your engine combination. Why have you stuck with an SBF/Single Turbo combo?

Dan Millen: There are a few reasons for sticking with this combination. First, we’ve been working with this combo for several years now and we are really starting to understand it. I feel that my combo still has more to be gained, and constantly switching combos doesn’t allow for that. I see several racers switch combos because someone else went fast, instead of working on what they have. Also, to switch combinations would take a good amount of money – new blocks, heads, cranks, headers and so on. It’s something we just can’t do right now.

PowerTV: The SBF/Single Turbo combo is viewed as a sort of David in a class full of Goliaths. What do you think the potential of your combo is when compared to some of the more radical combos?

Dan Millen: I do feel that the SBF/Single Turbo combo is considerably at a disadvantage, especially when you look at people with cars in our class that have significantly more power than we do. I just do the best I can with the parts I have.

PowerTV: Another unique aspect of your program is the use of a Liberty 5-speed transmission. This seems to be a hit-or-miss setup in the world of Outlaw 10.5. How have you made this setup work for you?

Dan Millen: Testing mostly. Craig at Liberty Gears has been very helpful with gear changes and turnaround time when we need something changed. It also doesn’t hurt that their shop is ten minutes away. I have been running the Liberty for several years, and I can say that every time we go out, we learn something. A clutch car is no easy task. I have great respect for it and anyone else that can make it work.

PowerTV: The dragstrip at Milan, MI is basically your home track and is noted as being a great facility. Do you feel that you have an advantage having such a great surface available to test on, or do you think those that test on more marginal surfaces have an advantage, specifically in regards to chassis setup?

Dan Millen: Milan Dragway is one of my favorite tracks. It’s close and it’s a great track. Over the years they keep improving track conditions and the way they run it. I don’t know if it’s an advantage, but it’s definitely a luxury to have a great track so close for testing! If a racer was by a poor track and raced at an event with bad conditions, then yeah, I think having a bad track near you that you are familiar with would give you a good handle on a poor track, but it also works on the flip side. You just have to race the track that you’re at.

PowerTV: On the subject of tracks, you just came off of a stellar performance at both the Joliet race and the Zmax race, two completely different track conditions, having laid down a best of 6.67@215 mph. First, congratulations. Second, what do you feel has allowed you to run times such as these?

Dan Millen: Basically it’s just been a lot of testing. We’ve gotten a lot more familiar with the clutch setup and being able to make the clutch adjustments. It’s basically just experience at this point.

PowerTV: On the subject of your car and its performance, I have to ask the hot topic question at the moment. There’s a certain amount of controversy regarding your car and its bodywork. Can you elaborate on that some?

Dan Millen: When the car came out, I felt that Skinny Kid had built what was arguably the best Outlaw 10.5 car he had ever produced. The bodywork is basically the same as the others in the class. However, Skinny Kid had done some innovative molding and fitting, etc.. When the car came out and it was new, people had all these crazy ideas about the car, like it was shortened, sectioned, lengthened, etc., basically just because of what some people said on the internet. The roof itself is an exact molding off of a factory roof. The sail panels from a stock roof will bolt right up to that exact location. We brought the car out, Tom looked at it, and told me what I needed to do to comply. I never tried to pull one over on the NMRA or cheat in any way. That was never the intention. I complied with everything the NMRA said and cooperated fully. The NMRA measured every aspect of the roof and body and verified that it was in line with stock dimensions and allowed me to run the car.

PowerTV: You’re currently in a win streak of sorts, with two back-to-back NMRA wins and a couple of wins in Milan’s Heads Up series. Do you feel that you finally have a good handle on your combo?

Dan Millen: I’ve never felt more in control of the car and its combo. The only hurdle now is parts breakage. We are having to deal with old parts and breakage more than we have before, so it makes it bittersweet. The car is set up great, but the parts are the limiting factor.

PowerTV: Is the goal for this season a championship?

Dan Millen: Yes, absolutely. My goal in any series is always a championship.

PowerTV: Columbus ’08 was your last NMRA victory until Joliet of this year. How did it feel to get back in the Winner’s Circle at Joliet and then to follow up with a win at the Zmax race?

Dan Millen: It was very satisfying, to say the least. That was probably my most satisfying win besides the WFC win. Because of the controversy surrounding the car and what people were saying about me and our operation, it was very rewarding. The Zmax victory really helps to carry the momentum into the next event in Columbus.

PowerTV: It seems that as of late a lot of the momentum has been shifted to the ADRL’s Xtreme 10.5 class. In your opinion, is traditional Outlaw 10.5 racing dead or on the way out?

Dan Millen: At first, when the ADRL came out with their class, I was unsure how it would go. Obviously, the business model and the way they treat their racers is working, so I give them props. When I built my car I took into consideration that I would like to run some ADRL races. Is traditional Outlaw dead? No, I don’t think so, but some of the organizations are going to have to make compromises to ensure a somewhat modified ADRL car can run at their event.

PowerTV: Before you entered the foray of Outlaw 10.5, you were a part of the fabled ‘four horsemen’ of SSO in the NMRA, (yourself, John Urist, Mike Murillo, Chris Derrick). It was also during this time that you won your first NMRA championship. Would you ever want to see a “reuniting” of the ‘four horsemen,’ so to speak, perhaps all of you being in Outlaw 10.5?

Dan Millen: It was different back then though. We all had similar combinations, so I don’t think we would be considered in that category if it were to happen today. There are so many combos today and the Outlaw field is so huge, that it just wouldn’t apply today. Back then, we were really the only four guys who went fast with a turbo. You could label us the ‘four horsemen’ again because that’s what we were back then, but I don’t think it would really have the same meaning.

PowerTV: Speaking of days gone by, do you have a favorite racing memory, or one trip/race in particular that stands out to you?

Dan Millen: My favorite memory or highlight was racing Bob Glidden at the World Ford Challenge in 2002. I’ve always liked Bob Glidden. I’ve looked up to him. He’s a legendary Ford racer, and to get to race him was a thrill for me.

PowerTV: If you could accomplish one thing before you hang up your racing shoes, what would that be?

Dan Millen: If the opportunity arose, I would like to move up to a higher level of racing; possibly drive for someone else in NHRA style of Drag Racing. Pro Stock racing would be a great challenge I think.

PowerTV: Where do you plan on going from here? Would you like to continue in Outlaw-style racing or do you plan on stepping up to another class or style of racing?

Dan Millen: I would like to continue the racing I am doing today, but I don’t know if I will do both the NMRA/NMCA or ADRL racing. I definitely want to go to a couple of the ADRL races in the upcoming future.

Dan plans to attend the remainder of the NMRA events this season in hopes of winning his second NMRA championship, as well as local events to keep him on his game. No matter what, one thing remains certain about Dan Millen and the Livernois Motorsports crew: if they’re in the other lane – you better be ready.

Way back in 1996, Ford introduced their all new “Modular” engine in the Mustang GT and Cobra. All around the country, die-hard five liter fans hung their heads and sighed. You could take everything you knew about how to make your 5.0 Mustang faster and just throw it out the window. It was very different. It had two or four cams instead of one and no pushrods. The teeny, tiny 3.552” bore was wimpy compared to the large 4.000” bore of Windsors, 289’s, and 302’s. It had powdered metal rods, a long stroke of 3.543”, and lots of chains and tensioners under the massive timing cover. Plus, it was a measly 281 cubic inches.

It was only a matter of time before power hungry Modular owners demanded the tried and true bolt-on power adders. The power adder companies responded quickly with supercharger, turbocharger and nitrous kits. Today there are literally hundreds of different ways to boost more air through the small 4.6 displacement and get really big torque and horsepower numbers.

Tim Matherly from MV Performance decided to build a supercharged Modular engine for NMRA Real Street competition because “that’s what all my customers have – blown Modular engines.” He knows that for his 4.6 Ford to last round after round, he has to have a good bottom end.

It turns out that not only do Modular engines work basically the same way as their pushrod counterparts, but they respond very well to any type of forced induction. The only issue they seem to have (with the exception of the factory supercharged engines), is that they simply are not built to handle the large amounts of power that everyone is easily squeezing out of them! Which leads us to the topic of this article: How to get a stronger bottom end Modular engine.

It is not uncommon now to look under the hood of any Modular powered Mustang and see a big bad blower bolted to the top of the engine. The Modular short blocks in these cars must be boost friendly.

Piston Problems

The Ford Modular engines were and are designed for efficiency and reliability – naturally aspirated. That means that most of them have coated hypereutectic pistons for their low expansion, tight piston to wall clearance, and reduced weight. This is great if you are leaving it stock, but awful if you add too much boost. That’s because the aluminum alloy used contains a lot of silicon for lubrication, but the silicon creates weak spots throughout the piston, especially under detonation. These hypereutectic pistons tend to shatter like glass when subjected to too much heat or cylinder pressure.

The fix is a nice set of forged aluminum pistons, preferably 2618 alloy. This low silicon aluminum is much stronger and will hold up to much more heat and detonation without failure. Under extreme conditions the forged slugs can still fail, but they tend to do minimal damage by simply starting to melt instead of exploding.

Manley offers several sets of extremely strong forged pistons specifically for higher horsepower 4.6 Fords. Their pistons come standard with tool steel pins, offset wrist pin bores, and coated skirts to reduce wear as well as aid in ring seal.

Today there are several manufacturers who offer quality pistons, each with their own benefits. Manley Performance has their Platinum Pistons in a variety of dish volumes, from flat-top to 23cc, which include coated skirts and offset wrist pins to reduce noise. Ross and JE Pistons each offer 2618 aluminum pistons that feature CNC machining in several different configurations as well. But, if you are looking at making big boost, the top of the line is the ModMax/CP forged pistons. These are beefed up in the dish and pin boss areas specifically for power adders and have super flat ring grooves for the best ring seal. They are also offered in standard, .020”, or .030” over sizes. Keith Black has now come out with a quality affordable forged 2618 piston for Modulars as well, that are a great choice at a lower price.

It is now time to take a look at the compression ratio. Big boost engines like lower compression than the higher ratio factory pistons yield. A good choice is between 9 to 9.5:1 with up to 12psi of boost, and 8.2 to 9:1 with over twelve pounds. As boost increases, the effective compression ratio also increases, so lowering the ratio allows more boost and more timing, which makes the engine easier to tune and typically makes power with less chance of detonation. Depending on which cylinder head is used, the dish volume will vary as each head has different combustion chamber volumes as well as the newer 3V heads, usually requiring a piston with a valve relief. The bottom line is to get a piston matched for the power level and use of the engine.

Three-valve 4.6 Modulars require slightly different pistons than the two or four-valve engines. These CP/ModMax shelf pistons are built for boosted late model three-valve engines with the addition of a special valve notch.

Plasma moly rings are typically available from each of the piston manufacturers and are necessary to hold up under higher cylinder pressures. The material holds tension better and the moly face coating is plasma welded to the ring to endure higher temperatures. Although durable, the moly is only good up to a certain power level. Moly tends to chip off the edge of the ring under very extreme temperatures and detonation. For engines that may run higher boost or on the edge of detonation, a steel top ring is preferred. The steel rings are machined, not cast like plasma moly, and hold tight tension after many heat cycles. These are typically about double the price of moly rings, but are the most durable and are necessary with Modulars over around 15psi of boost.

A Strong Connection

Unless you have an ’03-’04 Cobra engine, the factory supplied connecting rods just simply aren’t designed to hold up to any big power. The factory two-valve engines had cracked cap powdered metal rods that are typically not even resizable, with naturally aspirated Cobra engines utilizing a forging. Many of these are also only set up for pressed pins. Fortunately, there are many choices on the market now to upgrade the weak arms for strength.

The factory 4.6 base engines have powdered metal, cracked cap rods. The minimum upgrade would be strong set of forged 5140 steel I-Beam rods like these pictured from ModMax. They are fully machined, have bronze bushings for full floating pins, and are held together with ARP 8740 cap screws.

If you aren’t looking to make over 550 flywheel horsepower, the ModMax 5140 forged I-beam rods are a great upgrade. They are fully machined, with bronze bushings for floating pins, and ARP fasteners. For more serious applications, there are a variety of forged 4340 material H-beam rods on the market from ModMax, Manley, SCAT and others. However, they are not all the same, so pay attention to the details regarding the bolts. They can be supplied with ARP 8740 or ARP 2000 material cap screws, with a strength advantage going to the ARP 2000 bolts. The H-beam rods will usually support up to around 750 flywheel horsepower with the 8740 bolts, and over 1000 horsepower with the better ARP 2000 bolts. All the H-beam rods are quite strong, with bronze bushings, and are very reasonably priced.

Seriously boosted Modulars need serious rods. Billet steel 4340 CNC machined rods are designed to hold up to 1500 plus horsepower without failure.

For all out competition use with huge amounts of boosted air, the Modular engines should be utilizing some type of billet connecting rod. Manley, ModMax, and Oliver all have excellent top shelf choices for 4.6 engines with ARP 2000 cap screws or equivalent holding them together. The 4340 material on billet rods are fully CNC machined from a block of steel to exacting tolerances. These are all made with the I-beam design for light weight and will withstand 1500 plus flywheel horsepower and over 9000 RPM. Although these rods cost quite a bit more than H-beam rods, the price is well worth it for no failures on maxed out Modular short blocks.

Choosing rods for a good 4.6 bottom end means looking closely at the bolts the rods are using. 3/8″ diameter 8740 material bolts are good up to around 700 horsepower or so, but for more power and RPM, most rod manufacturers offer an ARP2000 material bolt upgrade.

Forging Ahead with the Crank

Having the correct crankshaft for power adders is an important part of having a strong bottom end. Most Modular single overhead cam engines came with a cast crankshaft with either a 6-bolt or 8-bolt flywheel flange. Cobra engines were equipped from Ford with a stronger forged micro steel crankshaft with only the 8-bolt flywheel pattern. The cast pieces are fine for naturally aspirated and boosted applications up to around 500 flywheel horsepower, but when building the short block for strength, it is obvious that the forged steel crank is preferred.

A forged crankshaft for 4.6 Modulars is just what the doctor ordered if big power plans are in the future. Note: the forged pieces do not have any seams or parting lines. Plus the radiused journals offer greater strength in the throws of the crank. If using a factory 4.6 GT block, clearancing will be necessary to make room for the center counterweights found on forged Modular crankshafts.

With the majority of the engines out there containing the cast part, seeking out a forged crank is relatively easy. Ford Racing and ModMax both have brand new stock stroke forged cranks right on the shelf for immediate purchase. The forged cranks are not only forged from higher strength steel, they also feature undercut radii on the rod journals for superior strength. Usually these cranks can support over 1000 horsepower without failure. Just keep in mind that when upgrading from a 6-bolt cast crank, it is mandatory to also purchase an 8-bolt flexplate or flywheel to work with the new forged crankshaft.

If a crank is on the list of upgrades, this may be a good time to look at increasing the stroke. The stock stroke is 3.543” yielding 281ci with a standard bore, but ModMax offers a 3.750” crank that increases displacement to 302ci with a .020” overbore. Since the cost of the crank is only slightly more, and ordinarily the other components like pistons, rods, rings, and bearings are about the same, it can be a wise investment to increase the cubic inches. With either stock or stroker forged cranks, it is also important to check the clearance for the center counterweights. Aluminum 4.6 blocks already clear the extra center counterweights on the forged cranks, however stock cast iron blocks will need to be machined for fitment as the cast units do not have the center counterweights.

It may not cost much more when already purchasing pistons, rods, rings, bearings, and/or a crankshaft to go ahead and increase the stroke on a 4.6 short block. A stroker kit makes matching up parts easier, as special pistons and rods must go along with the 3.750″ stroke crankshafts.

Building Blocks

A good strong bottom end can be based on a number of OEM or aftermarket Modular blocks. All dual overhead cam 4.6 engines came with an aluminum block from Ford, with the exception of the ’03 to ’04 Cobra engines, because Ford engineers believed the cast iron Romeo block to be a stronger choice for the supercharged Mustang. Most two-valve Modulars were built with either a Windsor or Romeo cast iron block, with slight differences between the two blocks. Windsor engines were supplied in most trucks, with the ’99-’00 Mustang GT also utilizing that version of the cast block. Romeo cast iron blocks were predominantly used in passenger cars from ’96-’98, as well as ’01 and up, including the ’03 to ’04 Cobra.

Ford Racing now offers both aluminum and steel “BIG BORE” blocks for 4.6 rebuilds. The aluminum version (part number M-6010-T50 pictured above) is the same one used in the Ford 5.0L Cammer engines. A cast iron version is available as part number M-6010-BOSS50.

There has been some controversy over whether the Ford aluminum block is strong enough for big horsepower, although it seems as though any of the factory blocks are plenty strong enough for high performance applications. The important thing to remember when building for power are that the bores must be straight and true, which typically means overboring .020” to .030” (the maximum recommendation on factory blocks) and buying the appropriate pistons to match.

For larger gains in cubic inches (in addition to the stroker cranks mentioned above), there are a few options to run larger bore sized blocks for the 4.6 Modulars. There are a few aftermarket companies that offer big-bore sleeve kits for aluminum factory blocks to increase the bore up to 94mm (3.700”). These kits can be installed into an existing aluminum block by a quality machinist or can be purchased already done in block form. In addition, Ford Racing now offers both cast iron and aluminum blocks with the larger 94mm bores that are brand new and designed for performance. Although pricey, this big bore does help unshroud the valves for more airflow, especially on single overhead cam cylinder heads. The bigger bore, combined with a stock stroke, increases the 4.6 liter to 305 cubic inches and 323 cubes when combined with a 3.750” stroker crank. Note that when switching to the much larger 94mm bore size, it is also necessary to use larger bore head gaskets that are available from Ford Racing and Cometic.

Combining a big bore of 3.700″ with a 3.750″ stroker crankshaft can make one mean and nasty 4.6 based engine. From the outside, it looks like a standard Modular 4.6, but inside it displaces 323 cubic inches!

It is important to note that most of the blocks offered can use all the available 2V, 3V, or 4V cylinder heads when combined with the proper timing components, tensioners, and timing covers. However, when choosing bearings for the block, the proper application must be used on the main bearings. There are at least three different sets of bearings for aluminum, Romeo, or Windsor blocks that have different tang locations and thrust bearings. So, when choosing the block for performance, it is mandatory to assemble the accurate parts to go with the specific components used.

Bearings for 4.6 short blocks are specific to the block being used on the mains. Windsor, Romeo, and aluminum blocks all take different main bearing sets, with different thrust washers, flanged bearings, and tang locations. The King bearings shown here are offered in a high performance version for all three variations.

Completing the Bottom End

In addition to the blocks, cranks, rods, and such, there are a few small items that can finish off a great Modular short block. All of the factory main bolts are designed to be torqued only once, so a set of ARP main studs are a wise investment. They are not only reusable, but also distribute the clamping force on the main caps as well as reduce cap distortion.

Why spend all the money on a built 4.6 bottom end and use factory bolts? ARP main studs are available for all blocks, with or without windage tray mounts. The studs are a wise option for maintaining good, even torque.

Another wise choice is an improved oiling system using an aftermarket high pressure and/or high volume performance oil pump. Melling manufactures pumps that are available with billet steel gears that hold up under all conditions without breaking. Both Melling and Ford Racing also offer pumps that increase volume and pressure for the additional RPM and bearing stress that performance engines endure. When the oiling volume is increased, it is also a good choice to add an aftermarket oil pan with additional capacity so the pan is never dry. Plus, the aftermarket pans also control sloshing and windage, keeping the oil in the pickup area under acceleration.

Melling offers both 2V and 4V specific performance pumps with chrome moly billet steel gears. The 2V version pictured on the right is standard volume and uses the stock 13/16″ diameter pickup tube on SOHC engines. The 4V pump on the left is standard volume for DOHC engines using a 15/16″ diameter pickup tube but can also be used on 2V Modulars to increase volume.

It’s a Mod Mod World

Luckily, the Modular engine was not snubbed by the aftermarket world, and performance seeking enthusiasts now have many choices when it comes to improving 4.6 engine power. With so many options regarding blocks, pistons, and rods, anyone looking to make their overhead cam Ford hold up with turbos and blowers can easily just surf the web and get everything from individual parts to a fully built short block. Of course, as racers have been embracing the Modular engines, even more parts can be custom made. Billet crankshafts of any stroke, custom low drag pistons, and even aluminum rods can be purchased now to hold up to 1800 plus horsepower. So, choose your weapon of choice: big bad blower, twin turbos, or huge nitrous, and sleep easily knowing that a bullet proof short block is only a click away!


Phone: 800.826.3045

Ford Racing Performance Parts
Phone: 800-FORD788

King Bearings
Phone: 973.857.0705

Manley Performance
Phone: 732.905.3366

Melling Select Performance
Phone: 517.787.8172 xt. 125

ModMax Racing / Pro Power Performance Parts
Phone: 954.491.6988

MV Performance
Phone: 770.725.7862

Race Series Carburetors from Proform

Saturday, August 29th, 2009
Proform has a new line of Race Series carburetors that range in size from 650-to-1050 CFM ratings. The carbs are hand assembled in the USA and feature adjustable air bleeds and many other race carburetor features.

Official Release:

Join The Winners, Run A Proform Race Series Carburetor

Proform’s RACE SERIES carburetors are the lightweight, affordable high-performance racing alternative! Hand assembled in the USA, these 650-to-1050 CFM carbs feature a high-flow aluminum main body, adjustable screw-in air bleeds, high-rate air-flow section design, solid billet construction, Teflon coated throttle shafts, sight glass windows and a billet throttle base plate.

These Proform RACE SERIES carbs provide dyno-proven horsepower and use standard service and tuning components. High performance down-leg boosters (except 650), timed and full vacuum tubes for accessories and tuning, power valve blowout protection and slip-link mechanical secondary linkage are a few more outstanding features. They are available with mechanical or vacuum secondaries (650/750 CFM), and a new RACE SERIES Circle Track 750-CFM carb has just been added to the lineup. These RACE SERIES carburetors will put you in the winner’s circle at a fraction of the price of the competition. Be a winner, run a Proform carburetor.

  • Available with mechanical or vacuum secondaries.
  • High-flow aluminum main body with adjustable screw-in air bleeds.
  • Use standard service and tuning components.

Contact Information:


Most of us have undertaken an ambitious project or two (or ten). Part of what makes the automotive hobby so great is doing something different. Something fun. Something that makes people scratch their heads and ask why. David Smith of Indiana undertook one such project when he upgraded his already modified 1994 Cobra and tossed in the powertrain from a 2004 Cobra a.k.a. “The ExTerminator”.

David cataloged the entire build, which began early last year, on a thread over at

Pictures: David Smith

The ’94 Mustang was the first new ‘Stang in 15 years since the Fox-body had debuted. In a bit of an ironic twist, the 2004 happened to be the last year of this body style, lending itself to (at the time) the most powerful production Mustang built. Whereas the ’94 Cobra had a 5.0 mill (with David adding many mods himself), the Cobra had a supercharged 4-valve 4.6 liter modular motor. He got half of what he needed to the swap from a wrecked Cobra, and the rest he bought piecemeal.

The conversion has been completed for a while now, and on the outside it still looks like just another ’94 Cobra. But popping the hood reveals a cramped engine bay stuffed with the Terminator motor. To complete this swap, David had to completely replace the engine and body wiring harnesses, as well as install a T-56 six-speed transmission to back the 4.6 liter motor.

He replaced the standard Eaton supercharger with a Whipple from Ford Racing. For exhaust, he went with a MAC cat-back system, Accufab ported plenum, SPEC Stage 3 clutch, long tube headers, a 4lb pulleys.

The independent rear suspension from the Cobra was ditched and David instead stuck with the solid rear, installing 3.55 gears to keep the beast tame on the roads. Before adding the Whipple supercharger, the ExTerminator made a best dyno run of 555 ft-lbs of torque and 493 horsepower. Quite the unique car and accomplishment, one of a kind for sure.

Brady McNew’s Orange Krush is Alive

Friday, August 28th, 2009
Some drag racing fans may remember the name Brady McNew and some may not. For those of you who don’t, it’s about time we get you acquainted with the times. McNew has been around the scene for some time and prior to his new car, he campaigned a late model F-body Trans-Am. Its Procharged big block combination netted them a best time of 7.43@188mph before the car was sold to move onto new ventures.

For more details on the setup visit YellowBullet

Photos courtesy of Brady McNew

Well flash ahead nearly a year and their latest creation is alive and running. McNew acquired a fox-body Mustang and it has been treated to all the right suspension and chassis parts to run into the six second zone. The project has been coined “Orange Krush” for its vibrant paint code that graces the body lines of the Mustang. It was not a surprise to hear that Brady was going with Procharger power since it is something that they know so well. While the 632” Big Chief headed engine is not out of the ordinary, the way they are configuring the boost is.

From the Supercharger Store came a gear drive setup that was made to mate a pair of F1 Procharger superchargers. This is not a first as we have seen the likes of David Reese attempt a setup similar to this but with no real success. Well McNew and his crew seem to be a little ahead of the game with their smaller superchargers because the combination has been fired and is nearing its track debut. The whistle is almost addicting to listen to and I can not wait to see this monster in action.

Butrim and Evans win MIR Real Street

Friday, August 28th, 2009
Chris Evans and Matt Butrim teamed up in the off season to build one of the wildest drag radial cars we have seen in some time. Well while its not a new car, it is unique. Evans’ Mustang has been around for years, competing in a variety of classes. Finally the new engine combination found its way into the engine bay has put it in another league. Butrim came up with the big block Chevrolet power that is fed by a huge Procharger, and it was all mated into Evans’ car. The end result has already led to some real serious numbers as well as showing plenty of promise for the big races that are to come yet this season.

For more details on the Real Street program visit MIR’s website.

Photos courtesy of Tim Lewis

Last night at Maryland International Raceways “War on Wheels” race, Butrim found himself behind the wheel of the green hatchback and it turned out to be a career night. In the first qualifier Butrim went right to the front of the pack with a 4.87, which was followed by Richie Stine in #2.

Qualifying didn’t change after the second session which opened up in to the first round of eliminations. Matt Butrim came out with a improved 4.79 to take down Steve Haun and then onto take out Scott Bitzer in round two.

The finals were set and it would be Butrim versus Stine. Stine has been the man to beat in Real Street at MIR for the past few seasons. With the stage set Butrim and Stine rolled to the lights and it was Stine out in front early but the big horsepower of the Procharged combination was coming hard. It was Matt Butrim getting to the stripe first with a 4.71@152mph which is a new eighth mile record for Real Street @ MIR.

I had the opportunity to speak with Chris Evans a few weeks ago and he said that they were very anxious to get after the tune on the car. They also wanted to be able to beat Richie Stine in his house and that dream has come true. A big congratulations to Chris and Matt on a job well done. I myself can not wait to see what they come up with once they get the back half of the track figured out.

True Street competitor Blair Brannock has been working on this project for a little over a year. Originally conceived as a Drag Radial car and then “toned down a bit” for True Street racing. The E-Bay buy came with a good clean body and engine that was set up to run on nitrous. All the rest (seats, rear end, transmission, etc) was sold or traded off to fund the transformation.

The Fox body coupe is stripped down and ready for the trip. This hood was purchased at the Z Max race in North Carolina when we were up there with “Little Blue“. Blair was able to run an 8.79 @ 178 on a soft tune before low oil pressure ended his weekend. Initial tear down suggests water condensation from inside the intercooler was going through the intake tract. This wound up hurting a bearing, making a mess of the crank and one rod. That cooler, and the one in this car now have drains mounted.

The Engine was taken to Action Machine in New Port Richey, Florida to get the once over and other essentials required for the 30+ pounds of boost coming from the twin 88mm Precsion turbos out front. The 440 inch mill features a Dart block and ported Edelbrock Victor heads.

The roll cage is a 25-5 kit from Wolfe Racecraft assembled/welded in house at Rock Star Performance. Troy Fedora is the fabricator.

The intercooler piping runs through the car along the transmission tunnel to the trunk.

No luggage here, intercooler, ice tank, water pump and battery. When they coined the term “business coupe” somehow I don’t think was what they had in mind.

The car was dropped at Car Classics. Shop owner Mark Belfuss, shown here with Blair, has been in the business over 20 years. He expects the car to be finished in 2-3 weeks.

Don is allready at work smoothing things out before it hits the booth. I will be keeping tabs on the progress so be sure to check back to see what’s going on.

With Bart Tobener’s endorsement and Goodyear’s recent drag radial announcement, Heads Up racers are talking tires and thats good for any series.

Goodyear’s first drag radial tire, a 275/60-R15, will be available by the end of August. The new tire, the D4305, can be currently ordered through Goodyear Racing distributors across the country. For more information on Goodyear’s DOT Drag Radial visit their website.

Georgia-based Bart Tobener, who races in the NMRA’s Renegade class, tested the D4305 earlier this summer at South Georgia Motorsports Park. Tobener’s 1993 Ford Mustang runs the quarter mile in the 8.50-second zone and typically qualifies in the top half of the field. Tobener’s car weighs about 3,100 pounds and produces around 1,000 horsepower from its Vortech supercharged modular engine. He also races in the Xtreme Street class of the National Muscle Car Association and in the Outlaw Radial Tire Championship.

Tobener was fastest in qualifying at the recent NMRA event at zMAX Raceway in Charlotte, N.C. Track temperature were nearly 140 degrees when he made his first qualifying run with an ambient temperature of 96 degrees. “That’s about as hot and greasy as we can get,” Tobener said. “This tire Goodyear has works very well. They got it right. After the second round of qualifying, I was two-tenths of a second quicker than the next guy.”

At the Zmax event, Tobener advanced to the semi-final round of eliminations before mechanical issues slowed the car. “I got a lot of attention at the first race with those tires,” Tobener said. “Two people wanted to go pick up a set right away. A lot of people looked.”

According to Goodyear and the racers that have tested them, the D4305 performs well on hot, slick drag strips. The tire has a completely new construction and includes technology recently developed by Goodyear.

Company officials expect a 315/60-R15 DOT drag radial to be the next new offering available. The tire maker expects to have seven more sizes available this fall in 15- and 16- and 17-inch bead diameters.


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