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461 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
by Mark Gearhart on August 23, 2010

We are all about keeping things fresh here at powerTV, and one of those ways is by creating interesting project car builds. We are proud to announce our next project build (which is actually one of my personal cars) called “Biting the Bullitt”.
The name is two fold. It could be perceived as Biting on the original Mustang Bullitt, driven by Steve McQueen, that was actually a Highland Green 1968 Fastback – with the only resemblance to our Mustang being the faded dark green paint. The REAL premise behind the Mustang build to show the fine line that we walk between a simple build, reliability, and all-out horsepower.
It will run in the 9-second range and make 1000hp to the crank, though it will have parts that will support nearly 1500hp through a Dart block and heads, hence the reliability segment. It will feature a AED carbureted blow thru, Paxton centrifugal supercharger setup to run on pump gas and no intercooler, though it will have octane on demand via a Snow Performance Methanol Injection Kit. The most technologically advanced portion of the setup will be the MSD Digital 7+ 7531 ignition, to dial in the timing ramps for smoother power delivery through the small rear tires.​

It will be driven either with 17s and drag radials daily, or 15s and drag radials. It will be getting a pre-fabbed Chris Alston 10-point roll cage that will feature swing-out door bars to help make getting in the car easier when driving it on the street. We still plan to keep a full interior and back seat in the Mustang; after all it was the cleanest part of the car. The exterior will get a fresh coat of paint and new chrome trim for a simple yet clean appearance.
For suspension it will receive a simple mini tub to comfortably accommodate a 275 drag radial and leaf spring setup, accompanied by a Strange 9-inch rear end. The front will be converted to a Mustang II front suspension so the shock towers can be eliminated, which will allow for much easier working access to our 9.500 deck, 351-based Dart block.
So we saved the best for last, right? The engine build is nearly underway and it will feature a Dart Iron Eagle 9.500 deck 351w block with billet main caps. The heads will be Dart’s 225cc CNC-ported heads, with an Edelbrock Super Victor intake and AED blow thru carburetor controlling the air/fuel mixture. Forced induction will be provided by a Paxton Novi series supercharger to help produce the boost we need to reach our 1000hp goal, and a Snow Performance water/meth kit will give us the octane on demand we need while retaining 91 octane during cruising.

The rotating assembly will consist of Eagle’s 4340 crank and H-beam rods with their ESP finish. Pistons will be a set from Ross with a 9:1 compression ratio and Total Seal’s AP steel rings. Innovators West will keep the rotating assembly operating correctly with one of their double key blower balancers. Crower will be our source for valvetrain components with a complete hydraulic roller setup to relieve the need for lashing constantly when compared to a race-type solid roller setup, and maximizing our street driving experience.
Melling is supplying one of their race-inspired standard pressure pumps with Canton’s rear sump conversion oil pan and pickup holding the oil in place. will be supplying all our gaskets via Cometic and Fel Pro while ARP studs and bolts will bring the long block together. Creating the firepower to the long block will come from a full MSD ignition, including their HVC II coil and 7531 ignition box.
The machining, assembly and engine dyno work will be taking place at QMP Racing. QMP is a one-stop race shop that will be doing a couple trick things to our block, one of them being the addition of lifter bushings. They will then assemble the engine and strap it to their engine dyno in hopes of breaking our four digit goal.
Stay tuned in as we will be writing stories on the progress of our build throughout the entire process, including our thrash to completion once it’s time to install the engine in the car!


461 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
by Mark Gearhart on October 22, 2010

A Preview into our 1000 HP Small Block Ford Build

1000 Horsepower, 91 octane, and reliability, all words that you normally don’t hear together. Right here is the newest recruit, a blown and carbureted, 427 cubic inch small block Ford for our ’65 Mustang we call “Biting the Bullitt.” Our quest behind this project is to walk the fine line between all-out power while keeping it reliable enough to cruise on the streets. The ‘65 Mustang currently has its anemic inline six still installed in it, but that’s all gonna change.
The men behind the engine build is QMP Racing. They will be performing the machining, assembly, and dyno work. Brad Lagman is heading up the project and will be doing a few trick things to our combination, including lifter bushings and some custom oiling features. We will be filming the machining and assembly over two days and then a full day on the dyno to dial in the combination.

The heart of our build is Dart’s ultra durable Iron Eagle block. Dart offers this block. Going for maximum cubes, we selected the nine-five deck in a 4.125 bore. Dart recommends a maximum bore of 4.165, though you might not want to go that big if it is a forced induction application. Reinforced head bolt bosses are blind tapped to prevent leaks while extra thick decks prevent head gasket leaks. The block features Dart’s proven priority main oiling system that feeds the main bearings before being pumped to the cam. This system also promotes better oil pressure and does not need a high pressure pump. The bottom end comes with large journal, 351 Ceveland mains and splayed billet steel four bolt main caps. Dart also offers billet aluminum main caps as an upgrade.

The rotating assembly starts with Ross 4.125 bore, 9:1 dish pistons that are based from a single piece of 2618 billet bar stock that has been heat treated and aged to a T61 condition, just like a fine wine. They will be wrapped with a set of file-fitted Total Seal AP steel rings which are among the flattest, tightest tolerance piston rings available. The pistons and rings were hung on a set of Eagle’s 6.200 length, 4340 H-beam rods with ARP 2000 rod bolts. The rods have been surface treated with Eagle’s ESP process that is designed to help shed oil and increase horsepower. To compliment the pistons and rods, we went with a Eagle 4340 forged, internally balanced, 4-inch stroke crankshaft that also features the ESP finishing process.

A properly matched oiling system is crucial to an engine’s survival. The Melling high volume, standard pressure oil pump supplies the additional oil we need to lubricate our Paxton supercharger while retaining standard pressure due to Dart’s priority main oil feeding design. The bottom end is covered up with a Canton extra capacity, front sump oil pan that is perfect for a street/strip application and is secured with ARP fasteners.
QMP is machining a second key in our crank that was designed for our Innovators West Super Duty dampener. It is an all new design that sports an upgraded blower hub and larger 3/8-inch hub bolts. The hub is even so thick that it includes a new, thinner front main seal.

The cylinder heads are the main organs when it comes to controlling new air and fuel, as well as exhausting the spent fuel. Our cylinder head of choice are the Dart Pro 1 225cc, CNCed cylinder heads. They feature full CNCed runners that flow A LOT of air. They can move 325 CFM on the intake and 235 CFM on the exhaust at seven hundred lift. The assembled heads come fitted with high quality components, including dual valve springs and titanium retainers.

Backing the Dart heads is a set of Crower’s stainless steel shaft mount rockers. These are extreme duty rockers that feature a 1.6 ratio. The shaft mount rockers heavily resist flex under load while keeping the rotating weight low onto the valve. The needle bearing tip option further reduces resistance and valve guide wear. Since our 427 is designed to see a lot street driving, we again turned to Crower for their hydraulic roller tie bar lifters. These lifters feature a redesigned body and bearing for superb longevity. Tying the rocker to the lifter is a Crower one piece push rod. The Crower custom ground hydraulic roller camshaft features a 260/266 duration at fifty, .619 lift and a 114 degree lobe separation.

A direct line of sight and a port volume large enough to flow the air you need is critical to a boosted application. We selected Edelbrock’s Super Victor intake manifold that features everything we are looking for. To enhance the intake manifold even further, Ford Performance Solutions hand ported our Super Victor for a smoother flow over the casting and boasts an additional 45 CFM of airflow.

For our power adder we turned to Paxton and their all-new NOVI-2500. It features a redesigned compressor wheel that allows it to produce over 1300 horsepower at 30 PSI of boost. The supercharger feeds Paxton’s new Forcepower carburetor hat, which has been engineered to distribute air evenly across the top of the carburetor, that can be a problem with other carburetor bonnets on the market. Exhausting the additional off-acceleration boost pressure from the system is Vortech’s Maxflow BV57 blow off valve.
Acting as the glue to hold all our components together are a full line of ARP bolts and studs as well as Fel Pro and Cometic gaskets that were supplied by


461 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
by Mark Gearhart on December 6, 2010

Teaser Shots – Biting the Bullitt’s 1000HP SBF 427ci Build

This last Thursday and Friday Video Editor Jeff Garrison was at QMP Racing filming our 427ci small block Ford build. During the filming he took pictures on my Canon 7D as well, but like a kid in a candy store, I requested some cell phone cam shots as well during the build.
Brad Lagman and the QMP Racing team started on the machining, which took up most of the day Thursday. The Dart Iron Eagle block was loaded up and CMM’d first to map out the block. Once the CMM had finished getting the coordinates it needed, it began opening up the lifter bores to make way for the lifter bushings. From there, the block was decked and line honed. The final bore hone was done on another machine and washed afterwards.

In the mean time, the Eagle H-beam rods and Ross forged pistons were paired up. Brad set the proper gap on the Total Seal AP steel rings, loose enough to support the 13-18 psi of boost we are going to need to hit our goal. Also the Eagle 4340 forged crank was balance tested and came back perfect, not needing any mallory or further drilling. Though, a second key was added into the crank to make sure the Innovators West balancer stayed in place.
Friday started with the crank in the block along with a test rod and piston to check for proper rod and crank clearance. A light amount of grinding needed to be done on the bottom of the bores to ensure proper clearance before the block got its final bath before assembly. The block with lifter bushings, oil feed restrictors, and pipe fittings installed was ready to be assembled. The ARP main studs were snug in place along with the coated main bearings. Eagle’s crank fit right back into place and was secured with Dart’s 4-bolt, splayed, billet steel main caps. The slugs were dropped into their corresponding holes and the short block was complete.

The Melling oil pump with standard pressure and higher volume was put in place. Since we plan to gut the shock towers out of the Mustang and convert over to a Mustang II type suspension, a rear sump Canton oil pan replaced the traditional front sump setup. The Cometic head gaskets were put in place next as the Dart 225cc CNCed heads were slid down the ARP head studs. The Crower-supplied custom grind hydraulic roller camshaft made its way into the motor and the Crower shaft mount rocker stands were bolted in place, though the stainless shaft mount rockers have not been bolted down, since we needed to order push rods that were dialed into our application.

The last order of business was to mount up the Ford Performance Solution’s ported Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold and AED blow-thru carburetor. The Paxton NOVI-2500 supercharger and Renegade bracket system was mounted up to the motor for pictures sake, though it still needs to be properly clocked, along with a fabricated intake pipe that will mount up to Paxton carburetor Powerhat.
That’s concludes our teaser for now. The engine dyno testing will take place in the next couple weeks and will follow with a full tech article on the engine build and hopefully the engine will make its way into the engine bay around February!


461 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
by Mark Gearhart on January 6, 2011

Paxton’s New NOVI-2500 Supercharger and Carburetor PowerHat Review

Evolution – it’s the way of the world; constantly refining, rebuilding, and inventing. Without evolution, where would we be? I know I wouldn’t be able to type this article on my first computer, a Apple II E, and I would still have to load my single-color video games through the floppy drive. Even a company that has produced a proven product can make it better with technology, and that is exactly what Paxton did with the introduction of the new NOVI-2500 supercharger. But even to push the envelope a bit further, they have developed an all-new carburetor bonnet called the PowerHat.
Blow thru carburetors have only recently become popular within the last six to seven years. Enthusiasts were scared to try blowing boost through a carburetor due to the unexplored tuning perspective, though it didn’t take long for popular carburetor tuners to figure out how to make it work. In the end, a properly built blow thru carburetor can be damn close to its EFI companion in terms of consistency and reliability.

The Paxton NOVI-2000 and the Vortech YSI have a lot of history in high performance street cars and racing applications. The YSI is commonly referred to the “Renegade blower” as it has been the popular supercharger of choice in the NMRA EFI Renegade class. Corvette, Viper, and other high horsepower street applications use the NOVI-2000 when trying to make 1000 crank horsepower through a serpentine belt-driven blower. Also the YSI is extremely efficient, presenting a 78-percent peak efficiency in a decently sized island, while the NOVI-2000 came in at 71-percent. Where the NOVI-2000 fell short is that they are only good to about 1000 horsepower to the crank, or around 850 to the rear wheels.

The hindering portion of these superchargers isn’t the design of the compressor housing or gear case, but rather the compressor wheel design. A lot has been discovered, in terms of airflow technology, when it comes to designing a more efficient compressor wheel, and that is exactly what Paxton did to push the performance envelope and introduce the new Paxton NOVI-2500.
As we said before, the NOVI-2500 uses the same basic supercharger package, though with a redesigned and larger compressor wheel configuration. “The NOVI-2000 has been a highly successful piece over the years and we knew that by using our current suite of tool and technology, we could improve on its performance, “ said Engineering Manager Mike Reagan. “The impeller wheel and shroud contour was created using CAD and specialized compressor design software. From there we tested and tweaked the NOVI-2500. The NOVI-2000 did not originally have access to these modern compressor design and testing tools.”

Not only does the 2500 support about 300 horsepower more than the 2000, it also has a much broader compressor map. This means that not only will it be capable of running more boost (30 PSI) it will work better on a wide variety of engine applications. “We spent about six months developing the new compressor stage,” continued Reagan. “The impeller is a bit taller and the inducer is incrementally larger as well (3.534 on the NOVI-2000 and 3.75 on the 2500).” The best part about the NOVI-2500 is that if you are looking to upgrade your 2000, it is a direct upgrade without further bracket modifications.
Compressor mapping is based off a wide variety of calculations, including gas type, cylinder head efficiency, cubic inches, projected air intake temperatures, and RPM. The easier-to-figure-out calculation is the pressure ratio, which is typically the amount of boost you want to run, plus 14.7 (atmospheric) divided by 14.7 (again, atmospheric). Though it doesn’t take a mathematician to look at the graph above and see that the 2500 will support more airflow at higher boost levels, while being more efficient.
NOVI-2500 Specifications:
• Internal gear step-up ratio: 3.50:1
• Inlet hose diameter: 4.00”
• Outlet hose diameter: 3.00”
• Impeller inducer dia: 3.75”
• Efficiency peak: 76%
• Impeller speed max: 60,000 RPM
• Max. pressure: 30 PSIG
• Max. flow: 2000 CFM
• Max. horsepower: 1300

Carburetor enclosures, bonnets, and now the PowerHat
While many blow thru carburetors use very similar technology, the way to properly introduce that boost into the carburetor has been a long argued topic. Vortech originally designed (and still offers) a case that completely encloses the carburetor, pressurizing everything evenly. Some said that the design was complicated and only a simple bonnet is needed.
Depending on who you talk to, the simple bonnet design can be a less-than-desired design. Sure, it does the job on forcing the air under full boost situations through the carburetor, but is the distribution across the primaries and secondaries equal under low boost, or road driving conditions? “We have seen that moving the position of the bonnet within five degrees on any given direction can vary 15-20 horsepower and half the motor running lean with half the motor running rich,” said Bob Endress of Vortech/Paxton.

The evolution of the basic bonnet sprouted an air diverter; designed specifically to do that – feed air more evenly over the primaries and secondaries. The design flaw to the diverter bonnet is that the diverter itself is fixed inside the bonnet, and unless that diverter is aligned dead-nuts straight over the primaries and secondaries, you might as well kiss that air distribution feature goodbye.
Vortech/Paxton set out to create a new carburetor hat that would provide even pressure across the carburetor and when clocked in any direction, yield the same results. They have the expensive tools and simulators that allows them to construct a hat that will perform precisely in any application.
The Technology Behind the PowerHat
At first sight the PowerHat looks like a giant, polished air cleaner that is sealed off, minus a single three-inch inlet (though they also have dual inlets available). Flip the PowerHat on its belly and now it looks like a giant compressor housing. Remove the two pieces of cast aluminum from each other and inside is an air diverter that resembles an air filter, just without the cotton. It resembles that for good reason; because that’s basically what it is. To properly encompass the carburetor with even airflow, a bit of restriction is needed to fill the hat completely. Without that restriction, the air would rush over the carburetor at whatever direction the hat was pointing, some being sucked in and some just bouncing around aimlessly inside the hat.

But now with the air swirling around the hat like a washing machining on a spin cycle, how do you get the air flowing inward to the carburetor? That is exactly what that little fin on the back of the bonnet does. “Even playing with the distance that divider sat from the diverter played a big roll in the air distribution,” Endress explained.
Vortech/Paxton says that in addition to providing better drive-ability and more horsepower, it is done with less jetting in the carburetor. “We were up about 60 horsepower and down about 10 jet numbers when testing against a conventional 90-degree bonnet,” said Endress.

Jan Moeller of Xtreme Motorsports in Arizona has a unique first generation Ford Lightning truck. It features a 410ci Windsor with AFR 205 heads, TFS-R intake, and a FAST XFI. The best ET they had ran to date with their Lightning was a respectable 8.83 @ 135 mph. The problem they started running into on the NOVI-2000 is that it was starting to fall off on the top end while they were trying to run 22-23 psi of boost. To help combat that problem, the Xtreme Motorsports team sprayed a 100 shot of nitrous. However, they were able to get their hands on a new NOVI-2500 for an upgrade.

The power increases are stellar to say the least “We simply strapped the NOVI-2500 on in place of the 2000 with the same pulley combination, running the same race gas,” Moeller said. “We were surprised how much power it picked up and how much more stable it was at higher RPM.” You are reading the above dyno graph correctly – 106 horsepower and 43 lb/ft of torque to the rear wheels from this direct bolt-on upgrade. While the power delivery looks identical between both superchargers, it is obvious on the top end that the 2500 doesn’t taper off and holds strong.

Testing? Of Course We Are Testing!
The powerplant we are putting in our ’65 Mustang “Biting the Bullitt” will feature both the new PowerHat and NOVI-2500 supercharger. The engine is a Dart block and CNC headed 427 cubic inch small block Ford. It features Ross 9:1 forged pistons, and Eagle’s crank and rods. It will be driven on 91 octane pump gas with the additional octane being fed from a Snow Performance water/methanol kit to a AED blow through carburetor. The Crower hydraulic roller valvetrain caps off the street aspect of the motor as we won’t need to be pulling the valve covers off constantly to adjust our last.
While we won’t pushing the upper limits of the supercharger in testing, we will see how little boost we need to produce to crack our 1000 horsepower goal. Additionally, the Mustang will see a heavy amount of street driving and we will keep you up to date on how it performs on the street as well as the track. Will we pick up more power while being more stable on our air fuel ratios? Will the NOVI-2500 deliver all the power we need? Stay tuned as we get our 427ci monster on the dyno at QMP Racing coming up very soon!


461 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
by Mark Gearhart on April 7, 2011

’65 Mustang Project 427ci Makes 1030HP and 873TQ, Plus TCI Front End

The highpoint in pretty much any vehicle build is the engine. In a lot of circumstances, the rest of the car is designed around how much power the engine is going to produce. Needless to say, we were amped when we rolled into QMP Racing for the dyno session on our carbureted blow-thru 427ci small block Ford. QMP had done a great job building our Windsor and even added a few of their own touches, like a slightly reconfigured oiling system and lifter bushings. To get an overview of the engine, check out our sneak preview update and also the upcoming full tech article on this build.

The engine dyno session started by warming up the naturally aspirated engine with a few short pulls. In the end, QMP made 535HP and 446 lb/ft with a conservative air/fuel ratio on our low compression Ross pistons. From there, we put the belt back on the Paxton NOVI-2500 supercharger and the Paxton PowerHat on top of the AED blow thru carburetor. We used 110 octane race gas on the boosted runs to simulate the octane levels we would see with our Snow Performance water/meth kit, once the engine was installed in the car.

Here is a video of of the engine on the dyno.

Paxton supplied us with a host of pulley combinations and we started off with the smallest crank pulley and largest supercharger pulley we had. This netted a first run pull that produced 730hp and 639 lb/ft on a low 6 psi of boost – a remarkable increase of nearly 200HP and 200 lb/ft over naturally aspirated. This put the horsepower gains at 33 horsepower per pound of boost, which was surprisingly efficient for turning this big blower at such a low boost level.

We don’t want to give all the details away that are going into our feature article, but we did try out three other pulley combinations that finally ended at 16psi of boost. This is where the 427 rocketed to 1030HP and 873 lb/ft. This huge power was made by only spinning the motor up to 6200 RPM (and it was still making power) through the Crower hydraulic roller setup. We had nearly DOUBLED the horsepower of our small block on this moderate boost level, gaining 31 horsepower and 27 lb/ft per psi of boost. We were still surprised how efficient Paxton’s new NOVI-2500 is on both low and high boost applications.


461 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
by Mark Gearhart on April 7, 2011

TCI Engineering Mustang Custom IFS Front Suspension Conversion

Anyone that has ever tried to stuff a tall deck engine into a first generation Mustang knows it can be painful. Even trying to fit a nice set of long tube headers on a 289 or 302 can make accessing spark plugs a pain, thanks to those pesky shock towers. While a 351 Windsor motor will fit with a little massaging, changing spark plugs can turn into an all-day process. Want a Cleveland? Have fun with that.
Despite the pains of fitting anything taller than a 8.200 deck height block in a first generation Mustang, the suspension design is less than desirable. Don’t get us wrong, the Mustang has proven itself in both drag racing and road racing with the conventional suspension design, though technology advancements over the 45+ years has made that design all but obsolete. Thanks to help from Total Cost Involved Engineering, Wilwood, IDIDIT, and Grant – we are going to add some 21st century spark to our freshman class Mustang.

The TCI Engineering Mustang Custom IFS suspension system took us about two days to install and comes with all the hardware you need to install the kit. This includes reinforcement plates that box the front frame rails to make way for the new cross member. The kit also converts the Mustang into a rack and pinion setup, in which we went with the manual version for simplicity. The IDIDIT black powder coated Mustang column helps simplify the rack and pinion conversion while the Grant classic steering wheel added a nice nostalgic touch.

On the suspension side, TCI Engineering includes tubular upper and lower control arms as well as their custom drop spindles. TCI Engineering offers a myriad of options for this kit, but the only one we took advantage of was the double adjustable coilover package that will help us dial the suspension in between the street and track. We covered up the spindles with Wilwood’s 12-inch brake kit that is designed for the TCI Engineering system. They feature a four piston Dynalite caliper and matching brake pads, plus all the necessary hardware to mount the brakes. The front braking system was completed with the addition of Wilwood’s tandem manual brake master cylinder and new adjustable distribution block.

On the Near Horizon – The Rear Suspension

Our next project car update for the Mustang will be the rear suspension build, and yesterday we were greeted with the first component to that segment – the Strange Engineering 9-inch. The rear end has been shortened one inch to help support a better wheel and tire package. To aid with that fitment, we will be doing a budget mini tub install as well.

No spool here, as our 9-inch features a 35 spline Detroit Locker differential and Strange’s 35-spline S/T series axles. We selected a 3.73 rear gear ratio that will work perfectly with the TCI Auto 4L80E transmission we plan to put into it. A few upgrades include a chrome moly yoke and aluminum pinion support. Mounting on the big Ford ends will be a set of Wilwood 12-inch rotors with Dynalite four-piston calipers – similar to our front system but with an internal E-brake kit.


461 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
TCI Mustang Front Suspension Install on our 1965 Mustang Project

by Mark Gearhart on June 21, 2011

Anyone that has ever tried to stuff a tall deck engine into a first generation Mustang knows it can be painful. Even trying to fit a nice set of long tube headers on a 289 or 302 can make accessing spark plugs a pain, thanks to those pesky shock towers. While a 351 Windsor motor will fit with a little massaging, changing spark plugs can turn into an all-day process. Want a Cleveland? Have fun with that.

On top of the pains of fitting anything taller than a 8.200 deck height block in a first generation Mustang, the suspension design is less than desirable. Don’t get us wrong: the Mustang has proven itself in both drag racing and road racing with the conventional suspension design, though technology advancements over the 45+ years has made that design all but obsolete. Thanks to help from Total Cost Involved, Wilwood, ididit, and Grant – we are going to add some 21st century spark to our freshman-class Mustang.

The stock Mustang suspension system starts with the classic steering box and idler arm design. The stock steering arms are far from durable and steering box suspensions typically come with a lot of steering wheel play, which can be dangerous when driving the car over bumps. Connected to the wheels is a pair of drum brakes, though a V8 version came with front disc brakes. The shock and spring are mounted above the upper control arm and the lower control arm is stabilized by a tension rod.

Our project “Biting the Bullitt” 1965 Mustang will be receiving a 1030 HP 427 CI Windsor-based small block Ford. We wanted to switch to a modern suspension design for a safety and handling perspective while freeing up the engine bay so it would be much easier to service the tall deck, small block Ford. “One nice feature about our kit is that the engine mounts are already placed, which allows the engine to bolt directly in place with the included engine mounts,” said TCI’s sales Manager Evan Dalley.

• Urethane bushed tubular A-arms
• Manual or power rack and pinion
• Custom 2-inch drop spindles
• 1-inch performance anti-roll bar
• Inner fender panels
• Single adjustable coil-over shocks (double adjustable by option)
• 11-inch drilled and slotted rotors with big bore GM calipers standard – other options available
• 1-1/8-inch lower and 1-inch upper control arms
• Comes standard with small block mounts with big block and Modular available
• Chrome/polished show option available

• Black Electro Coat drilled, slotted, and vented 12.19-inch Rotors
• Forged billet 4-piston calipers
• High performance Wilwood brake pads
• Lug studs, hub assembly, and rotor adapter
• New bearings, seals, bolts, and bearing lube included

On top of our Wilwood brake kit, we will be installing a 7/8ths Wilwood master cylinder and combination proportioning valve, but we will get into that later in the installation

Our Wilwood front brake kit comes with four piston calipers and 12-inch vented rotors. All hardware for installation is included with the kit, though TCI will assemble the brakes onto the spindles prior to shipping a customer's kit. This is a big help from an installation perspective.

One of the extra steps that TCI Engineering takes to make their customer’s lives easier is by installing the brake kit onto the spindles before they ship. TCI offers a basic GM-based brake kit and they stock many popular Wilwood brake sizes. For us, we went with Wilwood’s black Electro Coat 12-inch cross drilled/slotted rotors. The Electro Coat helps the rotors fight corrosion while staying cleaner longer. The calipers are Wilwood’s Dynalite four piston stoppers that are designed to clear our 15-inch skinnies and provide a stealthy look. The Dynalite calipers are made from forged billet aluminum and support a 3.96-inch width pad. Additionally, the kit comes complete with the mounting hub, lug studs, brake pads and assembly bolts. When you order a set of Wilwood’s with TCI Engineering ‘s kit, they also include a super thick polished backing plate that adds yet another nice touch

TCI manufactures all the compoents for their Custom IFS kits in their So Cal facility. They even build their own coilovers that come available in single or double adjustable configuration. Additionally, TCI offers spring rates from 160 to 500 pounds, depending on your application. We selected 375 pounds for our application.

Based in Ontario, California, TCI Engineering manufactures a wide range of suspension components for classic muscle cars. All their parts, even the metal they use, are built in their southern California facility.

We took a trip up to TCI Engineering to watch our Mustang Custom IFS suspension kit get built. All of TCI Engineering’s parts are built a large quantities at one time. They have jigs built for all their suspension parts and a team of TIG welders spend their day assembling everything from control arms, shocks, subframes, to hot rod car frames. “We build a tubular 1 -1/8th diameter DOM seamless tubing lower control arm that eliminates the stock strut rod,” said Dalley. “The kit is specifically designed for a coilover and not a separate spring and shock combination like a conventional Mustang II suspension has. This keeps you from having to cut a section out of the rail to clear the coil spring.”

Installation First Starts at Removal

With our kit done and back in our shop, it was now my turn to get the Mustang from the storage yard a few blocks over. This poor inline six knew it was going to get killed and struggled with me the whole way over to the shop. It had developed a massive water leak around two of the freeze plugs under the exhaust manifold, and the engine had virtually no water in it, but then the Mustang also wouldn’t want to run unless it was up to operating temperature. By the time I had made the two block trek over to the shop, the engine temperature gauge was nearly pegged at 240 degrees – thank god it made it.

There isn’t a whole lot going on in the engine bay of a 1965 Mustang and Sean made quick work of getting the engine out in a hurry... that is after it cooled off over night.

The next task was to get the stock suspension out of the car. TCI Engineering recommends cutting the springs (that is if you don’t plan to sell them) to quicken up the disassembly process. Steering and all, the whole suspension plopped out the bottom of the car and the steering box/shaft was removed.

It was time to cut out the problem child of the engine bay - the shock towers. It was like a hot knife through butter, thanks to our Cornwell plasma cutter.

The most time consuming part of the install is all the cutting and grinding. The tension rod brackets must be hacked off along with the engine mount brackets, then those spot welds need to be drilled out to get the excess metal off the frame, as the frame rails need be be completely clean of brackets.

Additionally there is a stepped ledge from the frame rail to where the shock tower was located that must be smoothed out for the reinforcement plates. It took us the better part of the day to get to this point. And yes we had to throw some weight in the front of the car and strap it to the lift to keep it from falling off the back of it

Installing the TCI Engineering Mustang Custom IFS Front Suspension Kit

The reinforcement plates come in three pieces per side to strengthen the new subframe that will be supporting the suspension as well as the engine. The L-shaped plate fits from the inner frame rail to the top side, the other flat plate on the outside of the frame rail and the curved piece fits on the bottom.

To make installation easier, TCI Engineering uses a one of the old idler bolt holes to locate the L-bracket to the outside bracket. The bottom plate uses a threaded bolt hole to locate itself. The brackets are lined up, clamped in place and spot welded. We double checked the brackets once more and then finish-welded them.

With both sides of the frame rail reinforced, it was time to get the subframe in place. TCI Engineering does note that the subrame should fit snug in place, though if you need to trim it to fit your frame rails, to make sure you remove material from both sides of the subframe evenly so it mounts in the center. "The cross member is tucked up higher than a Mustang II front cross member, which gives better ground clearance" explained Dalley.

Included locator tabs bolt to the frame rail on the front side, though you still need to check to make sure that the subframe is mounted at a 90 degree angle to the frame rails. From there, Sean tack welded the subframe in place. This is where we called it a night.

Day two started with a little welding clean up and straight into the upper control arm mounting plates. Again, TCI Engineering utilizes a temporary locating bolt to place the control arm in the correct location and a backing plate that sits flat to the frame, which we checked with a level before finishing up the welding.

With the spot welding done, the locating bolt can be cut off and the inner mounting point completely welded. We are getting close to being done with the welding portion of the install.

461 Posts
Discussion Starter #8

The last bit of welding was the sway bar mounting brackets. Locate the center between the two lower mounting holes and then measure 12-inches from the front of the subframe for its final resting spot.

A few quick coats of semi gloss black paint on the control arms (TCI Engineering offers a black powder coat or show polish finish) and freshly welded pieces and we started assembling the suspension. First was the lower control arms and then we moved to the double adjustable coilovers. The double adjustable shock is an option from TCI Engineering (and the only option we took) as this will help us dial the suspension in between street and track driving. "The upper control arm are 1-inch in diameter and both arms use a massive Chrysler screw-in ball joint that is very heavy duty and are easy to replace," said Dalley.

With the lower shock mount placed into the lower control arm and the upper shock mount installed into the fixed mount, it was time to install our Wilwood brake and spindle assembly. From this picture you can see exactly how thick that backing plate really is.

The manual rack bolted right into place with two bolts and secured to the spindle with castle nuts. The sway bar is mounted with the included bushings and brackets and secured on the end with adjustable endlinks.

The completed Wilwood brakes look great on the TCI Custom IFS suspension. At this point we are done with the TCI portion and now we will move to the column and final braking components.

Final Braking and Components

Our Mustang came from the factory with four wheel drum brakes. With our Wilwood front kit, and a nearly identical kit for the rear to be installed on our Strange Engineering 9-inch later, we knew the stock master cylinder wasn’t going to be able to supply the additional fluid we would need. For our application we went with Wilwood’s black E-Coat 7/8-inch tandem master cylinder. “There is actual math to figuring out the sizing of a brake master cylinder, though a lot of the choice comes from R&D and testing,” said Wilwood’s Michael Hamrick. “This comes down to pedal feel, volume, and pressure needed for that application.”

Hamrick continued, “Even if you are a stronger guy, we will go a little larger. For smaller people that want a little easier pedal, we will go a little smaller. Still it’s the tires that stop the car, not the brakes – an all season tire isn’t going to stop the same as a hardcore racing tire with the same Wilwood brake package.”

Wilwood’s tandem chamber master cylinders are fully machined from a high-pressure die casting of a premium alloy. The master cylinder has full separation between the front and rear chambers.

Bench bleeding your master cylinder before hand will drastically reduce brake problems. "When you mount a pedal to a vehicle, you start creating limiting factors, like how far a pedal will stroke the master cylinder before it bottoms out on the floor board," explained Hamrick. "It is important to bench bleed the FULL stroke of the master cylinder to alleviate all the air inside it."

The Wilwood brake master will bolt directly up to the Mustang's firewall and we used the stock push rod and fabricated an adjustable sleeve.

But we didn’t want to use a pile of rusted, old brake lines and decided to run all fresh lines on the front of the car. To aid with the proper distribution, we opted for Wilwood’s combination proportioning valve. The valve substantially simplifies mounting, plumbing, wiring and brake proportioning adjustments. “You want to put the proportioning valve on the set of wheels that are going to lock up under hard braking,” explained Hamrick. “In a drag racing application, you have plenty of tire out back and not enough on the front, which will lead you to wanting more rear brake bias.”​

The combination block maintains full isolation between front and rear fluid circuits and can be used in conjunction with any tandem outlet or dual mount master cylinder assemblies. The rear circuit has a single inlet and single outlet with the adjustable proportioning valve. The front circuit has a single inlet with two outlets. It can be run as a single outlet with one outlet plugged, or used to split the plumbing on its way to the front calipers.​

ididit Column and Grant Steering Wheel

Part of the rack and pinion is that you are eliminating the factory steering linkage system. The steering linkage adapts onto the steering column differently. Companies do make adapters to convert to the rack and pinion steering, but we wanted a fresh column to go with our newly-installed front suspension. We turned to ididit and their black powder coated tilt column that is made specifically for first generation floor shift Mustangs. The column is a direct fit unit that utilizes a new lower collar that mounts through the factory firewall and accepts a conventional U-joint. The center mount is retained from the factory C-clip and secures under the dash with the pre-existing bolts. The steering wheel hub fits the stock Ford pattern and you can reuse the stock Mustang wheel on it.​

Also for a fresh look steering wheel, we went with Grant’s stainless steel three spoke Classic Nostalgia Wheel. This 15-inch diameter wheel features a black foam cushion grip and a Ford-licensed Mustang horn cap. Grant includes a wide variety of adapters that will makes bolting on this wheel a breeze. They also include column caps for a seamless install and no wheel-to-column gap.​

ididit 65-66 Column PN# 1120642051
• Tilt column that is a direct bolt in
• Pre-wired with factory colors
• Four-way flashers
• Factory Ford top spline bolt pattern
• Offered in paintable steel, chrome plated steel, and black powder coat
Grant Classic Nostalgia Wheel PN #968
• 15-inch Diameter, three spoke design
• Black foam cushion grip, brushed stainless steel spokes
• Ford Mustang horn cap​

The wiring on the ididit column is identical to the stock wiring. We even swapped over our stock wiring plug for a true OEM fitment.

The column includes a new mount for the firewall but retains the stock C-clip for under the dash. Everything bolts up into the stock location, including the harness.

The Grant steering wheel was a super easy install that includes all the hardware needed to get this wheel to fit properly. Plus it looks great in our '65 Mustang's interior!

Better Handling and Braking with More Engine Bay Space on our Not-so-Modern Mustang

While the Mustang’s stock suspension has proven itself in competition, it is still an obsolete design. Utilizing a conventional upper and lower control arm combination, stability and expandability can be optimized, plus eliminating the stock-style steering box reduces slop and increases responsiveness through the steering wheel. Outside of the suspension enhancements, removing the stock shock towers from the Mustang allows you to install virtually any engine your heart desires, with the ability to easily work on it as well. But you cannot forget the safety of a quality braking system that’s supplied by Wilwood. TCI noted a 50+ foot stopping decrease from 60 MPH when compared to the stock drums. That comparison is with their standard 11" rotors and GM calipers too so the Wilwood upgrade should bring us down from triple digits even better. When trapping over 140 MPH in quarter mile, being able to stop before the end of the track is a necessity!

461 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)

Upgrading the Rear Suspension of our 1965 Mustang to Handle 1000 HP

by Mark Gearhart on October 21, 2011

When making a lot of power, the rear suspension of a vehicle shouldn’t be a place to cheap out. Not only do you need a suspension that is designed to plant (and not blow up) the engine’s power to the tires, you also need a tire with a wide enough foot print to transmit that power to the pavement.
Our 1965 Mustang project “Biting the Bullitt” recently had a complete TCI Engineering Custom IFS front suspension installed to make way for our Dart 427ci behemoth that pumps out over 1000 hp and 875 lb/ft of neck-snapping torque. But not to worry, we have no intention on trying to put that much power through the stock 7.5-inch rear end!

Much like the front suspension, the rear was going to need a complete overhaul if we wanted to make the Mustang hook. Enlisting the help from Strange, Calvert, Wilwood, Autoworks, Mickey Thompson and Weld, we built a simple yet effective rear suspension that will handle all the power we can throw at it.
As any first generation Mustang owner knows, it’s damn near impossible to put a large enough tire in the stock wheel houses without diverting away from the stock leaf spring geometry, or doing some outter fender work. Trying to keep this project as simple as possible, going to a link-type rear suspension was going to be out of the question.

But the suspension was only going to be half the battle in this war for traction. The stock wheel houses in the Mustang are not very wide and have a very sharp bend, inhibiting a tall tire from fitting without the stance of a 1960s Gasser. We wanted to fit up to a 28×10.5-inch tire on the Mustang so mini tubs were a requirement for this project.
Autoworks Mini Tubs

The Autoworks tubs allow for better tire clearance and are built at the proper width.

Just getting the stock suspension out was a chore. The bolt and sleeve on the front mounts were ceased up so bad that we actually had to cut the old leaf springs, and then dissect the mount like a science project to get everything free. After we drilled out the spot welds that hold the trunk hinges onto the stock inner wheel houses, we busted out our Cornwell plasma cutter and sliced through the sheet metal like butter...and with minimal fires.

After a few trial fitments and some clean up, the Autoworks tubs fit snug as a bug. The inner sheet metal lines up with the factory stop, though we cut it out for more clearance. Having this flat sheet of metal on the frame rail really allows us to properly weld the tubs to the old outer houses. Installation isn't overly complex, it's really about slowly cutting back the inner houses to get to a point in which everything lines up perfectly. The trunk hinges will need to be cut down slightly due to the taller wheel houses and some sealer is a good idea to keep the trunk area dry.

Wanting to have a completely straight leaf spring, we opted for a new pair of forward weldable mounts that were moved in one inch from stock. This movement not only allowed us to safely clear a 275/60/15 or 28×10.5 tire, it also eliminated the two piece spot welded mount and replaced it with a thicker, single piece formed mount from AFCO.

Strange Custom 9-inch Rear End
With our rear spring debacle squared away, we moved onto building our Strange Engineering 9-inch rear end. We opted to shorten the rear end with by one inch, which is the most we could remove to properly fit our Wilwood rear brake kit.
The rear end starts as their H1115 9-inch housing that is slotted for full tube engagement and has reinforced face plate for superb housing rigidity. The nodular iron case boasts chromemoly bearing caps retain by socket head cap screws that exceed aircraft grade 8 specifications as well as steel adjuster nuts. “The aluminum case is 20 pounds lighter, though we typically don’t recommend them on cars over 2600 pounds,” said J.C. Cascio of Strange. “The reason is that with a heavier car, the case is more prone to deflect, and with that deflection the gear pattern shifts; that can lead to premature gear wear and failure.” In case you didn’t know, Strange machined all of the SVO 9-inch cases for Ford during their production run.

The Strange rear end is all about strength and it will be the least of our worries when it comes to parts breakage on a high horsepower application like ours.

Filling the case is none other than a 35 spline Detroit Locker differential. While most people would go with a spool when making this much horsepower, we stuck with the “Bitting the Bullitt” mantra and went with a differential for better street driveability. The Eaton Detroit Locker is designed to deliver 100% of the torque to both drive wheels while still allowing wheel speed differentiation to maximize traction between the wheels and around the corners.
Mated to the Detroit Locker is a Motive Gear 3.70:1 ring and pinion set. The front of the case is sealed off with a Daytona style taper bearing support that features a larger than stock rear pinion bearing. Due to the oil porting this support provides the best solution for street/strip users who are seeking an increase in strength over stock pinion supports. “It has the same oiling capacity as the cast iron pieces we sell, but the forged aluminum body is more rigid, and will give you less deflection at the pinion bearing,” said Cascio.

Strange's S Series axles are designed for a street car because they have the ability to flex, unlike their Pro Series axles that are completely hardened.

A pair of Strange S Series CNC machined 35 spline axles make the connection from the differential to the wheels. With years of testing experience behind them, Strange has engineered a modified version of 1550 steel that is then induction hardened. The process of induction hardening is where the axle is pulled through an electrical coil where it is heated and quenched. This type of heat treatment is ideal for hardening the case of the shaft while the the core remains soft to allow for a bit of bending during street use without snapping, and since we are going to be driving this car on the street a lot, the S Series axles were the perfect choice. “On the 35 spline S Series axle we recommend up to about 1000 HP before one might want to consider going to a race series axle,” recommends Cascio.​
Strange Engineering Custom 9-inch Street/Strip Rear End
• H1115 9-inch housing with tubes and big Ford housing ends
• 35 Spline Detroit Locker differential
• 3.70:1 gear ratio
• S Series 35 spline axles
• Nodular iron case
• Upgraded Daytona style billet pinion support

Calvert Suspension Components
If you are a leaf spring drag racer and you have never heard of Calvert Racing, then you have been living a sheltered life. They are renowned for building everything from traction bars to leaf springs and we had to get, well…all of it. Virtually everything Calvert makes, we have equipped on the rear end of our ’65 Mustang project.
It starts with Calvert’s HD spring perches that we purposely left off during the rear end manufacturing process so we could properly locate them on our adjusted spring location. While a spring perch doesn’t seem to be a complex piece, it does come tabbed for optimal welding penetration, gusseted for added strength, and extends to the center of the axle tube for added contact surface.

The spring perches were purposely left off during the rear end manufacturing process so we could properly locate them to our adjusted spring location. The Calvert HD mounts cover 50% of the axle tubes for the highest strength possible.

Multi-leafs are designed to give progressive dampening when driving and while this is fine and dandy for a daily driver or road course racer, going to a single rate split mono leaf was going to be much more desirable from a weight savings perspective. Also with a split mono leaf one can expect more repeatable launches pass after pass. Calvert offers these springs in 220-225 pounds and a variety of heights.
Calvert’s most well-known product by far are their CalTracs traction bars. Think about the dynamics of a leaf spring; as the tires try to grab for traction, the leaf springs begin to curl upwards in an S-shape, lifting the axle off the ground and instantly causing traction problems. The tire turns into a basketball and that dreaded feel of wheel hop leaves the rear suspension and driveshaft begging for mercy.

Calvert's CalTrac bars keep the leaf springs from coiling during launch, which can lead to a dramatic traction loss. The split mono leaf shocks weigh nearly half that of a traditional multi-leaf.

The CalTracs are simple in design but work to keep the spring from wrapping under hard acceleration. It replaces the lower shock mount, connecting with a threaded piece of tubing that finally mounts to the lower leaf spring mounts. Not only does this triangulate the leaf spring to reduce wrap, but as the leaf spring begins to move upward, the forward mounting brackets also limit the leaf spring upward movement. Adjusting the threaded pipe effects the pre-load of the spring. John Calvert of Calvert Racing recommends, “What we first recommend is putting the forward heim joint in the hole that puts the bar most level at ride height. Next, put a quarter turn of pre-load (extending the bar length) on both sides. You should run it that way for the first couple track sessions. After the first session though, we would verify that pre-load was still set properly after initial break in.”
Calvert continued, “The real goal is develop a baseline for tire pressure, starting line RPM, and shock settings that the car is most comfortable with before adjusting the CalTracs any further. For radial cars, even an eighth to quarter inch of air gap can be ideal because it allows the rear end to rotate slightly before engaging the CalTracs. We like to recommend even a few back-to-back passes experimenting with air gap versus pre-load to see what the car likes the best. What you want to do is hit the tires as hard as you can without spinning and sometimes adjusting from pre-load to an air gap setup will help slow that cycle on bad tracks.”

Calvert's adjustable shocks are offered in a wide range of bolt on applications and feature an eight way adjustment dial that effects the shock's rebound.

Rounding out the suspension is Calvert’s CR Series nine-way adjustable shocks. The adjustment for these shocks are primarily designed to control rebound after launch to control rear body separation. Calvert continued his setup techniques by explaining, “Shock adjustment mainly depends on if it’s a foot-brake car or a trans-brake car. On a trans-brake car we recommend to run the shocks very loose while a foot-brake car should be ran tight. If separation between the tire and the fender happen at a really fast rate, there can be instances where all four tires will come off the ground; this is an instance where you want to slow the separation by tightening up the shocks.”

Calvert CalTracs PN# 6400
• Complete bolt-on – no cutting, welding needed
• Keeps axle from rotating, helping maintain pinion angle
• Eliminates spring wrap-up
• Full pre-load adjustability
Calvert CR Series 9 Way Adjustable Rear Shocks PN# CR44116
• 9 way externally adjustable knob
• Dial primarily adjusts rebound, enabling driver to control excessive body separation
• Heavy duty industrial steel bodied design
Calvert Split Mono Leaf PN# 2000
• Complete with aluminum bushings in front eyes and urethane bushings in rear eyes
• Split mono leafs made to work in conjunction with CalTracs
• 200 – 225 pound spring rates available
• Substantially lighter than multi leaf springs for unsprung weight savings

Wilwood’s Four Piston 12-Inch Rear Brake Kit
When going 140+ mph down the quarter mile, you really need a set of brakes that will stop you before the run off ends. Nothing gets the pucker factor fired up faster than running out of brakes before a safe turn off. While many hardcore race cars go with a lightweight plate-style rotor to reduce rotating weight, we went with a traditional Wilwood vented rotor that has been cross drilled and slotted.
In addition to the aesthetic appeal, the venting and cleaning action of the hole and slot pattern helps to reduce pad glaze and minimize irregular pad build-up on the rotor faces. The results are a smoother engagement feel at the pedal and consistent response from the pads.Again, we want to enjoy driving the Mustang around the street and we are willing to Bite the Bullitt by carrying the additional weight.
Bolting to the 12 inch rotors (the biggest Wilwood rotor we can fit behind our Weld wheels) is a Dynalite four piston caliper. These calipers are super light; only weighing 2.8 pounds each and are stress-flow forged. The process of stress-flow forging re-aligns the metal’s grain structure within the contour of the caliper body. This process eliminates the breaks and interruptions to the internal grain structure that occur when machining a straight block billet.
This rear kit actually carries the exact same specifications as our front brake kit. When it comes to proportioning the kit, Wilwood’s Michael Hamrick suggests, “You want to put the proportioning valve on the set of wheels that are going to lock up under hard braking. In a drag racing application, you have plenty of tire out back and not enough on the front, which will lead you to wanting more rear brake bias.”
Included in the kit is Wilwood’s parking brake assembly with integrated billet caliper mounts.
Wilwood Dynalite Rear Parking Brake Kit PN# 140-7140-D
• Black Electro Coat drilled, slotted, and vented 12.19-inch Rotors
• Forged billet 4-piston calipers
• High performance Wilwood brake pads
• Parking brake assembly with integrated billet caliper brakes

The axle must be removed so that the parking brake assembly can be installed. After that, the axle is slid in place, the bearing retaining plate then slides in place and is secured with the included bolts through the axle's access hole.

The calipers slide in place and are retained by two bolts. The pads slide in place and are secured by an easy to remove cotter pin.

Capped off with Weld Wheels and Mickey Thompson Tires
Capping everything off is a set of Weld Classic RT wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber. Weld’s RT wheels are a multi-piece design for the maximum strength with the lightest weight possible. Also the wheels easily clear our 12-inch Wilwood rotors, though Weld also touts these wheels for F-Body, S197 Mustang GT, & other late model performance applications for their brake clearance capabilities. Weld’s RT wheels surpass all applicable race wheel & SAE street wheel standards and carry a maximum load rating for street applications is 1200 pounds per wheel with a 28-inch tire.

While the $199 paint job is toast on our Mustang now, she will be getting a full make over after we get a few passes on it so she can look as good as the wheels.

The wheels are available with a black anodized or polished center and are designed for use with a 5/8-inch drive stud or short shank mag style lug. In the rear we went with a 15×9 width and a 5.5 backspace that is accompanied by a half inch spacer to give proper clearance to the leaf spring. Mickey Thompson supplied a set of their proven 275/60/15 street radials plus a pair of 26×4.5×15 front runners. Both tires are radials and do not require tubes.
Our Project “Biting the Bullitt” ’65 Mustang has come a long way in recent months with the completion of the TCI front suspension and most recently the rear. Combining the simple yet sturdy design of the Mustang’s leaf spring rear suspension with modern technology will help us be as consistent as possible off the line. For Strange’s 9-inch and Wilwood’s brakes, having a bullet proof means to transmit and also slow down all the power we will be making is insurance we can look forward to on and off the strip!


461 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)

by Mark Gearhart on January 4, 2012

Our ’65 Mustang Project: “Biting the Bullitt” has been under the knife in the powerTV shop for the last few months getting a brand new suspension along with fitting the engine and transmission, as we get closer to firing it up for the first time.
In our previous installation articles we installed a TCI Custom IFS front suspension, along with a complete rear suspension from Strange and Calvert, plus capped off with a set of Wilwood brakes, Weld RT wheels, and Mickey Thompson tires.
We started with the TCI Custom IFS because we simply did not want to deal with working on a supercharged Windsor in a first gen Mustang’s overly tight engine bay. Also, it updates the front suspension to a more conventional upper/lower control arm combination.
For the rear suspension, we knew the stock 7.5-inch rear end and according suspension pieces weren’t going to keep up with the 1000hp+ we were going to be throwing down. A Strange 9-inch fit nicely in place, harnessing all the power we can throw at it. Keeping the power transmitted properly to the pavement, we turned to Calvert Racing and their complete line of rear suspension pieces. Lastly, wanting to fit a 15×9 and 275/60 drag radial comfortably in the wheel wells, we mini tubbed the Mustang with Autoworks’ Mustang-specific mini tub kit.
Overdrive and Durability In One with TCI’s 4L80E
With the suspension completed we moved to test fitting the engine and transmission. For the transmission, we wanted something that would be easy to drive on the freeway and be able to handle the power. Unfortunately, a C4 is hard to build properly and we needed more gears than a Poweglide can offer. We decided to go with TCI’s Super Streetfighter 4L80E 4-speed transmission. Yes we know, it’s a GM transmission in a Ford, but this transmission setup is really sweet.

TCI makes a modular 4L80E transmission that fits a wide range of applications, with the SFI approved bell housing on ours designed for a Ford engine. The EZ-TCU allows us to program shift points for full automatic shifting, or a manual mode can be triggered and the two buttons on the Outlaw shifter act as up and downshifts.

It all starts with TCI’s modular case that allows a Ford SFI approved bell housing to be adapted straight to it. That means no screwing around with spacer plates, everything bolts on and goes.
It is backed by a EZ-TCU and Outlaw shifter, which makes shifting a breeze because we simply don’t have to do anything! The EZ-TCU gives the Outlaw shifter the ability to be used in manual or automatic mode via the ratcheting shifter or the two push buttons on the shifter for up or down shifting. While in drive mode, the EZ-TCU can be programmed to shift at any RPM you want, increasing consistency and keeping us in the power band between shifts. There is even a switch that can be installed to regulate between soft (street) and firm (race) line pressures.
The 4L80E does depend on throttle position to work properly, so we opted for a TCI TPS sensor that drives straight from the carburetor’s throttle linkage and plugs directly into the EZ-TCU’s harness.

We knew it wasn’t going to be a direct fit for this much larger transmission, and rather then screw around with patch panels, we scalped the Mustang’s tunnel and installed a fresh sheet metal version that we formed in house that allows for complete functionality of the transmission linkage and cooler lines.
Since the TCI cross member already comes with engine mounts, there was no guesswork involved to get the small block in the car. For the transmission mount, we turned to Chris Alston Chassisworks’ universal transmission mount kit. While they do offer the kit in different radiused bends, we opted for the straight tube and bent our own. The kit also includes two clevis ends with tabs and a transmission mount bracket. It was really easy to install, especially since we had our Chris Alston subframe brace in place to mount the tabs to.

The 4L80E is a big boy. We didn't mess around with hammering the tunnel to try to make it work, rather we scalped the tunnel and installed a fresh sheet metal piece that even offers a little wiggle room. Chris Alston's universal transmission mount worked perfectly and we secured it to their subframe brace. With the tunnel finished, we cleaned the entire bottom of the Mustang and undercoated it with canned 3M undercoating spray. This really helps the appearance and also reduces further rusting.

Cooling and Fueling with Snow Performance, Aeroquip, Fuelab, Derale and AFCO
With the motor in place we moved to plumbing the fuel system with help from our friends from Fuelab and Aeroquip. Instead of going with a fuel cell, we were lucky enough to buy Tim Grillot’s sumped stock tank he had built for his fastback. Fuelab then supplied us with their 1800 hp capable variable speed EFI fuel pump, 1:1 regulator, pre and post filters.
It is important to run a EFI fuel pump on blow-through carbureted applications, since we will see nearly 25 PSI of fuel pressure under full boost. The other great benefit of Fuelab’s fuel pump technology is that it can be run in low speed for street duty and switch to high speed when you need it. The pump can be wired for either a trigger or ground switch to activate. We will wire the pump to activate on the pump switch from the Snow Performance water/meth kit mounted in the trunk, so when the Snow pump activates around 4 psi of boost, the Fuelab pump will run in high speed instantly.

We needed to fit the largest possible radiator we could in our '65, so we turned to AFCO to build us a custom piece. The radiator secures into the frame rails at the bottom with dowels and threaded bungs on the front side that attach to the core support. The factory core support recess was cut out to gain much-needed clearance.

To feed the pump and motor we went with Aeroquip’s Starlite hoses and fittings. The Starlite racing hose is Aeroquip’s light weight racing hose, up to 45% lighter than steel braided. But don’t think this hose isn’t strong; it is covered with flame resistant Nomex and ultra durable Kevlar. For line sizes, we went with -12 AN from the pump to the pre-filter with a -10 AN outlet and return line. We also used the Starlite hoses and fittings to connect our custom Canton oil separator to the valve cover’s welded bungs.
Since we knew we wanted to drive the Mustang around town without running into overheating issues, we turned to AFCO to build us a custom radiator to fill every bit of available space we had in the front of the Mustang. Fitting from frame rail to frame rail, this all-aluminum cross flow radiator locates into the frame rail with dowels and features threaded bungs on the front of the radiator so we can attach it directly to the core support. Before we could do that, we had to cut out the factory radiator’s mounting point and recess, gaining much-needed clearance to the motor.

A sumped stock tank was a simple solution for our fuel system. Since the fuel pump is mounted above the sump, Fuelab recommends adding a check valve right after the pump's outlet. The post fuel filter is mounted about two feet forward of the outlet onto the Chassisworks' subframe connectors. The rest of our fuel system consists of a Snow Performance Stage 3 water/meth injection kit, which we mounted the 2.5 gallon tank and pump opposite of our battery box.

With the supercharger and radiator in place, it is a tight fit, with as little as 2-1/4 inches of clearance in some spots. We turned to Derale to build us a custom shroud that would place dual fans offset from each other in spots that would clear the supercharger drive system. To aid with the building, we made a template of our front drive, complete with spacing to all the bolts and belts.
The Odds and Ends
With the fueling wrapped up and the cooling system nearly complete, we moved onto buttoning up other projects and prepping for wiring.
We made an electronics panel that mounts in place of the factory heater blower, allowing us to easily service any of the engine’s electronics. Everything will be controlled by Racepak’s new SmartWire that is a fully programmable, automated relay board that contains no fuses.

The Racepak UDX display fit perfectly into the blank Mustang dash insert we purchased. The UDX will display all our critical sensor inputs as well as displaying our basic car functions like turn signals and lights.

Speaking of Racepak, we also went with their UDX series gauge cluster. Outside of displaying all of our critical sensor outputs, it also serves duty like a traditional cluster with turn signal, fuel level, and high beam switch notification. We mounted the UDX into an ABS plastic panel that fits directly into our factory gauge cluster location.
Canton supplied us with this trick baffled oil catch can that vents to both valve covers. Canton has the ability to build custom catch tanks with any options you desire.
The trunk was a suitable place to mount our Snow Performance 2.5 gallon reservoir, along with a simple bracket to hold the pump in place. Opposite the tank is a Taylor battery box with an
Optima Red Top Battery and emergency shut off switch mounted to the box.

We really didn’t want to install a cowl hood on the Mustang and opted for a classic teardrop hood from Maier Racing. We did run into an issue with clearance to the intake pipe and opted to leave the pipe exposed from the outside…after a weekend polishing project, that is.
Biting the Bullitt is getting really close to running with a week’s worth of random tasks and a few days of wiring left before it is ready to run. With a mere 300 hours into the project we are getting excited about making that first trip to the track for some solid nine-second passes. Stay tuned to future updates and tech articles on our ’65 ‘Stang!

1,676 Posts
Mark a huge Thank You for the beautifully detailed posting. Thi will be my evening reading all weekend. What's the broadcast dates on this?
You and TCI are the best.

461 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Biting the Bullitt: Fueling and Cooling our 1000hp 1965 Mustang

by Jason Reiss on December 21, 2012

We’re getting close to the end of the build on our 1,000-horsepower, 1965 Mustang project car, dubbed Biting The Bullitt. In past articles we’ve done installations on an extensive parts list, one that is necessary to withstand the power this machine will be putting to the ground. We built a killer 427 cubic-inch Paxton-supercharged engine with the help of QMP Racing and Dart Heads, who supplied the foundation for our build with their Iron Eagle block and Pro 1 225cc CNC cylinder heads. We’ve also beefed up the suspension with the help of Strange Engineering and Calvert Racing Suspensions and put in a complete TCI front clip.
In the latest update on our project, we’re getting to the final stages of construction and in this article, we’ll be installing a complete fuel system with pumps and filters from FUELAB and lines and fittings from Aeroquip. We’ll also install an awesome aluminum radiator from the cooling experts at AFCO Racing and a fan package from the team at Derale Performance. We’ll cover the tech behind the products along with a number of installation notes, and we hope you’ll follow along with us as we get BTB ready for its debut soon.

As you can see we don't have a ton of room to work with here. We had to stuff a radiator and fan into the space between the crank pulley and the body.

Cooling Off
Engines generate heat as a byproduct of their operation – this is a known fact. How to get rid of that heat effectively has been the challenge of hot rodders for years, as they have added horsepower, and as a byproduct, heat, to their machines. They’ve built air-dams, custom fan shrouds, cut extra holes in the nose of the car to aid airflow, and tried just about everything they can in the name of cooling efficiency.
We decided to get serious about cooling the car off and investigated the option of a custom radiator. Although there are often width and height limitations, those can be overcome by properly sizing the tanks, core sizes and quantities, according to AFCO Racing’s Eric Saffell. When it was time to tackle this part of the project, his knowledge and expertise were invaluable as he walked us through the process of ordering one of AFCO’s custom aluminum radiators.

Saffell explained, “It would be nice for me to be able to give a formula that says if you have X amount of horsepower then you need Y square inches of radiator. The issue with that is that there are so many different engines on the market and they all have different cooling requirements – a Ford engine in this project car may need more cooling than a similar engine combination in a different body style, or an LS engine – those are different in terms of cooling requirements also – then you throw in a power-adder and it becomes more complex. I’d love to be able to make it simple, but it would do everyone a disservice to suggest that.” Bigger isn’t always better, but in this case, cooling a 1000-horsepower engine in the older Mustang, we went with the largest radiator we could physically fit into the car.

Prior to ordering our radiator, we needed to determine exactly how much real estate we had to work with. After going through their custom-build process, AFCO Racing sent us this beautiful radiator to solve our concerns. Like a glove, the radiator sits perfectly on top of our framerails. We had AFCO install dowels on each side in which we ran into the frame with a rubber grommet. Welded bungs on the front side of the end tanks secure to the core support.

Once we had the dimensions we were working with, we calculated what kind of core we’d need – how many fins per inch we needed to achieve for what we believed the airflow would be over the radiator’s surface. “More fins are not necessarily better, either – if there are too many it can slow down the airflow to where the radiator is not effective as a cooling mechanism,” Saffell explained. We filled out the build sheet, talked more with Saffell about our goals, and a short time later the box arrived with a beautiful radiator inside.

“Since the plan for this car is to be used in a street/strip application, we have to use a core configuration with a fin design that gives you a pretty wide array of cooling across all of the potential operating conditions. Although we do have many different direct-fit musclecar radiators to fit a wide range of vehicles already on the shelf, when we talk with someone with a specific need, we’ve got a build sheet that we use to come up with the right radiator for their project.
“We take the time, work with the customer, and nail down all of the critical data on the car – horsepower level, intended use, does the radiator need extra bungs welded in, how it needs to be mounted in the car, and then develop the radiator that will bolt in in the way the customer expects it to, and perform in the way that the customer expects it to,” said Saffell.

Picking our Derale Fans
With the heat transfer portion of the project down, we needed to ensure there was enough airflow through the radiator to maximize efficiency. When it came time to select the rest of the cooling system pieces, we went to the fan experts at Derale Performance, where Troy Wood was happy to help us select the proper cooling system enhancements to make our time on the street and at the track a worry-free experience.

Much like the folks at AFCO, the team from Derale Performance tries to take a whole-car approach to cooling. Wood explained, “On an existing build, we ask the customer about their environment. Where do they live geographically, and what conditions are they seeing? How hot does the vehicle get under worse-case scenarios? What are their current cooling system components? This gives us an indication of the nature and severity of the issue. A Small-block Chevy 383 stroker motor in a Chevelle will run much hotter in a ’32 Ford as evacuating ambient heat is much more difficult.”

A tougher issue is the enthusiast who’s building a car that has yet to be fired up. But going through the question process is much the same and we do have a pretty good idea based on past history what will likely make the most sense.
We are trying to keep a lot of horses cool and since that requires lots of air movement, Wood felt it was a good idea to run both a pusher fan on the front of the radiator, along with a puller fan on the back side to maximize heat transfer through the aluminum radiator core. Derale shipped out a 16-inch version of their reversible Tornado Series Fan [PN 16516] for us to use as a “pusher” in front of the radiator along with a 12-inch Tornado Series [PN 16012] fan to use as a ‘puller’ on the engine side, and one of their dual-fan thermostatic controllers [PN 16789].
On the front side of the radiator, we had a decent amount of room, but there’s also plenty of real estate taken up by our massive TCI transmission cooler. The 16-inch Tornado fan handled the job with just enough room to spare. It features a 225-watt, high-torque sealed motor and draws only 18.4 amps for operation. More importantly, it will push 2,175 cfm of air to help with cooling the radiator.

Derale offers a number of different fan options to fit nearly any application. We're going to have over 3,000 cfm of air movement with the two fans we selected. The Dual Fan controller has numerous features, including an adjustable thermostat that staggers the two fans at separate temperatures. Center: We used a thread-in fitting to measure temperature at the radiator tank. Right: You can see how limited our real estate is in the nose of the Bullitt.

With the tight confines of our engine bay, we were very limited as to what we could do on the engine side of the radiator. Initially we tried one of Derale’s 14-inch Tornado pullers for some extra reserve, but it was just too close to the crankshaft pulley assembly for our liking, so we installed the 12-inch version.
This fan can be reversed and used in a push or pull application and comes with a 180-degree ‘on’/165-degree ‘off’ thermostat kit. The thermostat kit has both a thread-in water jacket probe and a push-in radiator probe, wiring harness and all mounting hardware, although we did not use these items due to our installation of Derale’s fan controller. The Tornado electric fan in this configuration will flow 880 cfm, giving us nearly 3,000 cfm of airflow over our radiator’s cooling fins. Bring it on, SoCal heat!

We’ve also installed Derale’s High Amperage Adjustable Dual Fan Controller, which gives us great control over the pair of cooling fans. It has an adjustable turn-on temperature from 150 to 240 degrees and has a number of neat features. For instance, it will activate the first fan at the pre-set temperature, then turns on the second fan when the temperature rises ten degrees over the pre-set point for the first fan’s activation.
The turn-off temperatures are pre-set at 10 degrees below the turn-on temperatures for each fan, making operation effortless for the driver. There’s even an AC override circuit, and the controller will handle 35 amps per fan – plenty of juice for what we need.
At the end of our conversation, Wood wanted to add the following notes, “A large engine stuffed into a small engine bay is a recipe for excessive heat buildup. Add exhaust headers and the traditional array of performance products to the mix and you can quickly overwhelm any cooling system regardless of price – cooling claims by manufacturers notwithstanding. Under these circumstances, it’s better to focus on the entire drivetrain and systematically reduce heat when and wherever possible.”

Wood went on to explain, “An engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, fuel cooler and transmission cooler all work together to reduce ambient heat, and reduce the load on the cooling system. The best part is they are very inexpensive and the most cost effective insurance policy available.”

The last item in our cooling system install is a simple one – Royal Purple’s Purple Ice Radiator Coolant Additive. Purple Ice works by reducing the surface tension of the coolant, allowing more heat to transfer through the radiator. It also helps prevent overheating and corrosion, and has the added benefit of helping to reduce hot spots that can occur in the engine. Purple Ice can be used with both 50/50 and straight water applications.

Heating Up
The reason engines generate the heat that needs to be cooled off, as we discussed in the previous few paragraphs, is that they are basically keeping eight tiny explosions in check – throwing fuel on the fire, lighting it, putting it out, and doing it all over again – thousands of times per minute, all in an effort to spin the engine harder and make more power. And without a high-quality pump to provide said fuel, there would be no fire, no heat, and thus, no power harnessed.
So when it came time for us to select fuel delivery components, we went straight to the team at FUELAB for one of their digital Prodigy fuel pumps [PN 41402] that features a brushless drive mechanism that provides a durable and efficient package that’s reasonably-sized.
We spoke with FUELAB’s Brian Paitz, who explained the hidden technology behind the Prodigy pump, “There are two distinctly different microprocessors in the electronics package of the Prodigy pump. One of them is designed to simply apply power to the motor so that it spins. The other processor is used only for pump speed control – which is a very unique feature our pumps have over other designs.”

FUELAB's Prodigy High Efficiency Fuel Pump flows 140 gph at 45 psi. It will be perfect in our blow-through application. FUELAB also sent us a pair of filters, a 100-micron unit for pre-pump use and a 10-micron unit post-pump.

“You also have the possibility of multiple points of fuel flow thanks to that second microprocessor,” he explained. The pump speed controller is wired via the use of an input signal – if the speed input measures less than two volts of juice, the pump operates in reduced-speed mode. Give it three to 18 volts, and it operates in full-speed mode. The pump can also read a pulsed signal from some aftermarket engine management systems to operate variably. We are running the speed control option through our Racepak SmartWire to trigger once we get into boost.

The pump’s internals feature a high-efficiency, sling-vane, positive-displacement pump that relies on a carbon, low-mass, pressure-balanced rotor to supply enough fuel for our street-driven 1,000-horsepower machine. The housing has an internal shape that’s optimized to keep the pressure steady and in addition, helps to keep the pump’s operating noise to a minimum.

As we mentioned, the motor is a brushless design that won’t wear out, nor will it corrode, and the “wet” design of the pump keeps leaks away – there are no shaft seals to wear out and present you with problems down the road. The design of the pump lends itself to a small size – it’s less than three pounds, 6.9 inches long with a slim 2.63-inch diameter – you can fit one just about anywhere, and with its 140 gph rating at 45 psi, it will support up to 1,300 horsepower in the right application. The -12AN inlet and -10AN outlet on the pump means plenty of fuel volume can pass through these walls on the way to becoming fumes.
A blow-through application like ours makes fuel pump selection critical. In order to make sure there is adequate fuel delivery, there has to be an extra pound of fuel pressure for every pound of boost in order to get the fuel to flow past the needle and seat in the carburetor. That means that the fuel pump has to be able to provide higher pressure than a typical carbureted application.
In other words, a typical carbureted street car might see pressures in the 6-8 psi range, but our blow-through supercharged car will need fuel pressure to be somewhere in the 25 PSI range at full boost – thus our use of an EFI-style pump. It ensures that we’ll have the fuel we need at the pressure required in order to provide acceptable fuel flow and volume to make the supercharger sing.

Assisting us with the task of controlling fuel delivery is one of FUELAB’s return-style High Flow Fuel Pressure Regulators [PN 56502], which ensures that we won’t have any fuel-overheating issues by running the excess fuel back to the tank. The regulator features two -10AN inlet ports and one -10AN return port, maximizing fuel-processing capabilities, and it is set up to raise pressure at a 1:1 correlation with boost, ensuring that the flow will be there when necessary. This heavy-duty regulator has a fine-pitch adjusting screw to help get your fuel pressure exactly where you want it, along with a 1/8-inch gauge port and 1/8-inch pressure reference port to monitor boost and help the regulator raise pressure accordingly.

FUELAB's High Flow Fuel Pressure Regulator is set up with a 1:1 rate of rise for boost and has -10AN inlets and a -10AN return. The 10-micron post-filter was installed on this nifty bracket on the frame. We installed the pre-filter directly onto the pump assembly with a union fitting.

But you can’t have a fuel pump without having some way to filter the fuel, and with that in mind, Paitz recommended one of their Inline Filters [PN 82824] for us to install prior to the fuel pump. The 82824 supports 200 gph, has a 75-micron pre-filter, a -12AN port on each end and a stainless-steel, 5-inch filtration element that has an extremely low pressure drop. The housing is internally radiused to smooth out the flow and minimize the pressure drop as fuel flows from one end to the other. The stainless element is cleanable or replaceable, and it’s even compatible with all fuels including diesel and methanol.
On the aft side of the pump, we’ll be using another one of FUELAB’s Inline Filters, [PN 81803]. This -10AN in/-10AN out filter will support up to 200 gph, is also compatible with all fuels, and uses a cellulose 10-micron element. The element is commonly used and disposable, yet keeps the smallest, potentially harmful particles out of your engine. Both filters include low profile saddle-clamp brackets and are backed by FUELAB’s two-year warranty.

Transferring Liquid
The last segment in our update on Biting The Bullitt covers sizing the fuel system’s plumbing components properly for our blow-through carburetor application.
We’re using hose and fittings from Aeroquip Performance Products. Their StartLite Racing Hose has a flame-resistant Nomex/Kevlar weave cover and can handle liquid transfer for fluids ranging from -45 degrees to over 300 degrees, making it perfect for most applications. It has a smooth-bore inner tube and is up to 45% lighter than a typical steel braided hose, helping us to save somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen pounds over the entire length of the car when compared to stainless-braid. In addition, it will handle all fuels and is very flexible to aid in tight installations.
StartLite is also available in AN sizes from -4 to -20 to cover just about any fluid plumbing task you might have, not just fuel. According to Aeroquip Performance Products’ Mike Rasnick, “StartLite will handle all fuels – gasoline, methanol, E85, and even nitromethane. It will also handle lubrication, coolant, and air, basically any plumbing need. These are designed for weight savings; you’re going to start your project out light and this is the hose to do it with.”

On the connection side of things, we’re working with Aeroquip’s one-piece, reusable aluminum fittings in black finish, which when combined with the black woven StartLite hose, complements the look under the hood. The one-piece design allows for superior flow and eliminates two of the potential leak points that can occur on other styles of fittings.
They come in both a swivel and non-swivel design and are a compression-style fitting that is great for use in performance applications. There is a pilot nipple on the fitting that aids in installation and prevents damage to the inner tube as the fitting is put together. The nipple also helps to promote seal integrity between the fitting and the hose.
Aeroquip Performance Products is part of global automotive conglomerate Eaton Corporation, and is quite proud of the fact that they are the only fitting manufacturer that also produces their own hose products, which allows them to engineer every one of their fittings to fit their hose properly. Each style of racing hose they offer is tested for strength and durability befitting that of an OEM-level manufacturer.

Aeroquip's one-piece reusable aluminum fittings come in a variety of finishes and dimensions. StartLite Racing Hose is manufactured with a Nomex/Kevlar woven cover that is flame-retardant and provides much better abrasion protection. We found the hose and fitting assemblies easy to put together - say no to chewed-up fingertips! The pilot nipple on the end of the fitting prevents damage to the end of the hose during construction.

Rasnick explained, “We are able to leverage all of the product knowledge throughout Eaton Corporation. We’ve got industrial division and an aerospace division that use hydraulic hose for everything in addition to our automotive customers – there is a large pool of knowledge within our companies. 100 percent of our product has been engineered, tested, and qualified. Since all of this hose and these fittings are connected to so much money, we need the enthusiast, our customers, to feel confident that our products will perform as required.” Since we’re looking for trouble-free when it comes time to drive BTB, we’re down with that.
In conclusion, we’ve learned that designing fluid transfer and cooling systems isn’t as easy as as just picking parts out of a catalog, at least not when you’re trying to make the kind of power we’re trying to make with our Bullitt project. The tech help from each manufacturer has been invaluable to ensuring this project works as advertised. At this point, the car is actually running, although the supercharger is not installed yet. We’ll have another update soon!

461 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Project Biting The Bullitt Makes Successful Debut In Bakersfield
by Andrew Wolf on November 15, 2013

As we briefly alluded to in a news report last week, our Project Biting the Bullitt 1965 Ford Mustang, which has been under construction for more than two years, made it’s long-awaited debut at the NMCA WEST’s World Street Finals event at the historic Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California, and by all of our initial measures, the maiden voyage was a certain success.

On our first full track pass, after a 330-foot and eighth-mile hit, we clicked off a 9.99 second time.

It was more than two years ago when Biting The Bullitt first rolled into the Power Automedia garage and became the newest addition to the project car lineup. The classic Mustang was in running condition with a less-than-intimidating 170 cubic inch inline-six under the hood, and while it was perhaps in need of a little TLC, for it’s age, it was the perfect canvas to begin our build.
In short order, in went the 427 cubic inch small-block Ford power plant, packing Eagle H-beam rods, Ross forged pistons, an Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold, and an CSU blow-through carburetor.

We used VP Racing Fuels’ special C16 blend of leaded racing fuel for our on-track debut. This fuel is intended specifically for forced induction and nitrous applications like this one.

We logged 30-40 road miles on the car recently to check everything out, and performed some final dyno tuning before our debut based on our first driving impressions. We filled the motor with Joe Gibbs Driven HR3 synthetic 15W-40 motor oil and filled the tank with VP Racing Fuels’ C16, which is designed just for forced induction and nitrous engines.
From there, it was off to the races.

For our first outing, we entered Biting The Bullitt in the NMCA’s Mustang Madness category in Bakersfield in order to gain the maximum number of runs, including time trials, three rounds of qualifying, and eliminations. Eventually we’ll put the old girl into True Street, but on this particular weekend, it was all about making laps, getting a feel for driving and tuning the car, and of course, ensuring that every nut and bolt was tight and our entire combination was in running order.

To accomplish this, we began the weekend with a short 330-foot checkout pass, and followed it up with an 1/8-mile hit. With the car performing well and running straight as an arrow, we made a full-pull to the 1/4-mile and tripped the clocks in under 10 seconds, even with a de-tuned combination of only 27 degrees of timing and 10.5:1 air/fuel ratios. In each successive run, the car consistently ran in the 9.80’s and 9.90’s, recording a best pass of 9.83 at 135 mph. As a final summation, the car ran straight, launched straight and left fairly flat rather than lifting the wheels, and truth be told, was even quieter than expected with it’s full Flowmaster exhaust.

Driven’s HR3 synthetic 15W-30 motor oil kept our 1,000 horsepower, supercharged 427 running strong all weekend long.

As a true footbrake car (no whiz-bang gadgets on this street car), we stalled the motor to about 2,500 rpm in the beams while on the brakes, and consistently sixty-footed in the 1.40 range every pass. Needless to say, our Calvert, Chassisworks, and TCI Engineering suspension did its job.
We utilized our Snow Performance water/methanol injection system on the car, and in doing so, we saw impressive air intake temperatures as low as 125-130 degrees at the finish line. This was measured in the carburetor bonnet, which is before the air/fuel mixture further drops the air temperature.

All told, we accomplished exactly what we wanted to on the weekend by making clean, solid runs to establish as a base for the future – a future that includes an increase in boost in our mission to run in the high eight-second range (which we believe will require around 900 horsepower to the tires) and a fresh new coat of paint. We’re also going to be working with the team at JBA Performance Exhaust in the off season, using Biting the Bullitt as a test bed to develop the first set of of large tube headers on the market made specifically for the first-generation Mustang. Given our current 1-5/8-inch setup, we’re hoping to gain 40-60 horsepower at the tires in the headers alone.
A busy winter lies ahead for Biting the Bullitt, but we’ll be ready to tackle True Street (and perhaps a few poor souls at a southern California stop light) head-on next year when all is said and done.

461 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
How Headers Are Designed And Built By Pertronix Performance Products

by Jason Reiss on March 17, 2014

An engine is, at its core, nothing more than an air pump. In order for that pump to operate efficiently, it needs to be able to suck in and blow out the most amount of air, efficiently, that the pump can consume. That’s why exhaust headers have been one of the most-used performance products on the market for years. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss how the team at Pertronix Performance Parts brings a particular header design to market. Pertronix is the parent company of both Doug’s Headers and JBA Performance Exhaust, each of whom specializes in a different segment of the performance marketplace. Doug’s makes its bones satisfying the musclecar crowd, while JBA serves the Mustang market – both of which are tackled by Project Biting the Bullitt.

Biting The Bullitt puts down over 700 horsepower to the wheels through our new 1 3/4-to-1 7/8-inch stepped headers.

BTB is a our 1965 Mustang project car, and is outfitted with a host of go-fast parts including a Paxton NOVI 2500-supercharged 427 cubic-inch engine constructed by the team at QMP Racing. The engine relies on a set of Dart Pro 1 225cc CNC-machined cylinder heads and all of the supporting gear needed to achieve big horsepower. An air pump pushing out 1,000 horsepower is no slouch, and to that end it was necessary for us to find a set of headers to work in the confines of the ’65 Mustang’s engine bay

The car was previously outfitted with a replacement Mustang II-style front clip and suspension from Total Cost Involved that cleared up some space in the engine bay. There are a number of reasons for doing this, from simplifying the spark plug-changing process to gaining the use of current suspension technology and parts.
But we ran into one problem in the process – nobody made a set of off-the-shelf big-tube headers for the 9.5-deck engine platform using the TCI tubular front suspension components – and that’s where the Pertronix gang came into the equation.

Our TCI front suspension opened up a ton of room, but we couldn’t find headers to take advantage of it – until now.

Our supercharged engine needs to move a lot of air and the old bolt-on headers we had weren’t getting the job done, so Pertronix suggested we bring the car to their California facility for a new set of one-off stepped pipes and also develop a set of production 1 3/4-inch primary headers. We were able to snap some photos of the process and learn how a set of headers goes from design to completion and production – as they were planning to use our basic design to create an off-the-shelf header for this application.
Previously our Mustang had a set of 1 3/4-inch primary to 2 3/4-inch collector headers. By providing an increase in 1/8-inch via the stepped primaries and 1/2-inch in the collector, we were able to pick up almost 20 rwhp and 17 lb/ft of torque. Though, this was a one-off set specifically for our Mustang, the 1 3/4-inch primary version of these headers are nearly identical in construction with a smoother runner path that should yield similar results.
With well over 40 years in the aftermarket header construction business, the team at Pertronix, led by Exhaust R&D Manager Don Lindfors, took on our project and generated two new part numbers in the process.

Our stepped headers, all finished and prior to installation. These have been covered with a thermal barrier coating to reduce underhood engine heat.

Mockup On The Bullitt
Creating a set of quality long-tube headers from scratch is not as simple as bending some tubes up and welding them all together – they need to fit within the confines of the engine bay and be designed for optimal performance while remaining easy to construct, and perhaps most importantly for the off-the-shelf crowd, easy to install.

In a supercharged application like ours, maximizing tube diameter for efficiency is also a must, as the more air we can get out of the engine, the more performance we can get out of the engine. Of course, all of these things need to happen while staying within the package – that is, the engine bay and attendant suspension components. For a daily-driven, lower-horsepower machine, smaller primary tube and collector diameters will provide the best low-end performance, but our 1,000-horse centrifugal-supercharged application requires better top-end breathing, and thus larger primary tube and collector dimensions for maximized performance.

During the mockup and construction process, Lindfors used anywhere between eight to ten inches of 1 3/4-inch tubing from the cylinder head before transitioning into the 1 7/8-inch tubing.

In order to create the initial set of headers that would be subsequently used for the jigging process, they needed to be built by hand on the car by a skilled craftsman. So we dropped the car off at their facility, where Lindfors removed the old headers in preparation for the build.

Once there was a clean slate to work from on our Pro 1 cylinder heads, a new flange was bolted to each cylinder head to give a starting point for Lindfors to piece together our new headers. This subsequently created the jig for Pertronix to begin offering an item to fit this engine/chassis combination for the Doug’s and JBA catalogs. That’s right, not only did he take on the task of building us a set of custom headers, he also built a completely different set of mockup headers and a jig at the same time, using BTB’s early Mustang/TCI cradle as a template

"Part of the research and development process is to build the fixture at the same time as the master header." – Don Lindfors

Tube by tube, section by section, he completed our new 1 3/4-inch to 1 7/8-inch stepped pipes by developing a profile that fit into the engine bay, yet stepped up to the larger-diameter tubing approximately eight inches from the exhaust flange.
Due to the stepped design, our tubes were not created from one single mandrel-bent tube for each port as a typical off-the-shelf Doug’s or JBA header system would be – instead, Lindfors cut and welded shorter pieces of pipe together to end up with the longer tube. While this way of creating the header is much more time-consuming, it gives us the performance improvement that’s necessary for our machine.

Production Pieces
At the same time, the new designs to be offered in the Doug’s catalog [PN D623] and JBA Headers catalog [PN 6612S] were created. Both the Doug’s part number and JBA part number will use the same header profile, but there are two very distinct differences between the product.

Left - In the production process, it all begins as straight tubing. Left Middle - The CNC bender makes quick work of the process, after the initial design is built by hand. Right Middle - The fixture is clamped down, and each tube is fit into the jig prior to welding. Right - The collector end of the header - as you can see, the jig doesn't look like much, but it's designed to hold each tube precisely in place to ensure a nice fit when the headers are completed.

The Doug’s Headers line is crafted from mild steel and each tube is polished prior to a thermal-barrier coating application that is designed to lower underhood temperatures and protect the steel underneath from thermal fatigue. After coating, the header is polished again to a high-luster aluminum-like appearance using a vibratory finisher, giving the header a final surface finish that’s 60% more corrosion resistant than an unpolished surface. On the flip side of the equation, the JBA part number is built from 409 stainless steel. The JBA tubes are also polished prior to welding to remove any marks made by the bending equipment.

Left - Each collector is formed in-house. Left Middle - Pertronix uses a bead-sealing design on all of their headers - each exhaust tube protrudes through the flange and is completely welded up before surfacing on a mill. They say this results in the best possible exhaust sealing against the cylinder head flange. Right Middle - Each header gets the Firecone installed onto the end of the primary tubes. It's a spike that helps to smooth out the exhaust flow from each tube as it enters the collector. Right - Primary tubes get welded on each side of the flange using cyclical welding techniques to ensure no warpage during the welding process.

“Part of the research and development process is to build the fixture at the same time as the master header. All of that then goes to manufacturing for them to duplicate it. They’ll manually measure each tube to determine its dimensions. From there, they’ll put the coordinates into the machine and bend a tube to put in the fixture. If it fits, they move on to the next one; if not, they’ll make adjustments to the measurements and try again,” says Lindfors.
We were curious as to whether the team used any type of computerized measurement system, and Lindfors says that although they do have a CMM (coordinate measuring machine), it’s proven faster to do it by hand in many cases.

Low-end performance is maximized through the use of smaller tube diameters as they help to provide faster air velocity, but you reach a point where the header can cause restriction and increase heat in both the engine and exhaust system. Conversely, too large of a header can reduce the engine’s torque output. Torque relates to air velocity as horsepower relates to volume of airflow – and there needs to be a fine balance of the two in order to get maximum performance from the engine.By starting at the cylinder head with a smaller-diameter tube (1 3/4-inch) we are able to ensure that the exhaust velocity exiting the cylinder head stays high. Just a few inches out of the cylinder head, we add the step to a 1 7/8-inch primary diameter, which allows for control of the spent gases while maintaining efficient exhaust velocity. The gradual increase in tubing size gives us that nice balance between exhaust velocity and volume – and gave us a nice increase of 19.9 horsepower/16.9 pound-feet of torque. Click the dyno sheet up top to enlarge it!

On The Jig
Once our mockup headers were complete, it was time to build the jig for the production headers – this portion of the process needs to take several things into account. First and foremost, the jig needs to be repeatable so that many sets of headers can be built using it as a guide. It’s constructed from a variety of different materials, from square tubing, angle tubing, round tubing, and flat stock to give the builder a solid base from which to start construction of the header.
Explains Lindfors, “When you’re building headers, if a tube is three or four degrees out, in some places it doesn’t make any difference, while in others its very critical because of clearances inside the car. We’ll always put extra hold-down points or clamps in the fixture in those places to ensure that fitment is correct.”
Another interesting tidbit he shared with us is that since steel tubing always has a “spring-back” after it’s bent (which is never the same from run to run of material from the mill), the tolerances always need to be checked and potentially adjusted prior to a run of pipes.
“Let’s say you want to make a 90-degree bend – you tell the machine to do that, but when you pull the tube out it’ll be 84 or 86 degrees – and it’s never the same. When we go to make a run of a particular set of headers, manufacturing will bend one set of tubes, check them in the fixture and with the CMM to determine how the tube is bent, then compensate if it’s off and try again until it’s right. Each mill run of steel will hold the tolerance to within a tenth of a percent, but the next time they go to build the same part with a new mill run of material, it’s going to be different and they’ll have to compensate again,” Lindfors explains. Heady stuff – and why we leave header building to the pros.

Beginning To End
Each header begins with a flange and slowly turns into the final header design that’s ready to be bolted to your car.
The process is controlled by both human and machine – the human does the welding, but a machine does the tube bending for repeatability and consistency. Pertronix uses CNC machinery to bend each header tube precisely as the original mockup header requires. The CNC bend process removes the human element, reducing material waste substantially and allowing much larger runs of material in one shot.

Left - Headers are sandblasted and baked to remove oils prior to coating. Note that these are not Ford headers but a representation of this step in the process. Right - Each header is sprayed by hand to ensure a thorough coating of all surfaces.

Prior to ever welding up a single header tube, each individual primary is polished to ensure that the final finish will look good and last for a long time. The process provides a tube that is free of defects – which is necessary to ensure clean adherence of the thermal coating.
Once the tubes are cleaned up, it’s time for the welder to take over the process. Each header that Pertronix produces requires different manufacturing steps. For example, one design may require that tube one of the driver’s side header may be welded into place first, while for another part number tube three may be the first position required to set in initially.

A Chevy header in the vibratory polisher after the coating has been applied. See the photo at the top of our headers for an indication of the final results after this step!

Typically, Lindfors says, the tube that ends up closest to the block is the one that needs to be fit in first, but sometimes two tubes need to be snaked in together – it all depends on the application. We’ve got a complete rundown of the process, so follow along with our photos and captions to learn more!

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Discussion Starter #16
Motive Pro Gears and Spool Install For Biting The Bullitt

by Jason Reiss on April 22, 2014

Our Project Biting the Bullitt 1965 Mustang is one of the more ambitious projects we’ve undertaken here at StangTV. It uses a serious combination in an attempt to push the bounds of streetability in a package that can be taken to the race track at any time.

At this point we’ve taken what was once a basket case of a car and turned into a legit 9-second warrior on low boost. But those upgrades have found us in search of even better elapsed times, and as we’ve recently added five more pounds of boost resulting in over 100 additional rear-wheel horsepower. The decision was made to upgrade the existing Strange Engineering nine-inch rearend in search of bulletproof consistency and reliability. We also need to optimize the gear ratio for the additional horsepower. To do so, we turned to the team at Motive Gear to assist us in achieving our goals.

Left - Motive's 3.50 9-inch Pro gears will give us extra durability along with the correct gear ratio to get through the traps. Right - We also chose a spool for this application as it is much less susceptible to breakage in high-horsepower situations.

The car relies on a Dart Iron Eagle-based 427 cubic-inch engine that uses Dart Pro 1 cylinder heads and is boosted by a Paxton NOVI-2500 supercharger that’s now making 16 pounds of boost. We’ve got a TCI Super Streetfighter 4L80E transmission on board feeding the power back to the Strange rearend. The suspension has been optimized for drag racing through the use of one of Total Cost Involved‘s custom independent front suspension systems and Calvert Racing‘s leaf springs and rear suspension. Wilwood brakes are at all four corners.

There is one simple difference between a street gear and a Pro Gear set. Motive’s Street gears are machined from heat-treated 8620 steel, which is designed to hold up to the rigors of street use and is a very hard material that will stand up to the heat produced by a typical street car driving lots of miles. A Pro Gear set, on the other hand, is machined from 9310 steel.
“There are no set horsepower or torque ratings on a Pro versus a Street gear, although some people will say 1000 hp, or an eight or nine second quarter mile. A good rule of thumb would be if the vehicle is street legal and street driven, more than to and from the track, use an 8620 gear,” says Linville.

More Power = Less Gear?
Adding the additional power to the car wasn’t a problem, as the NOVI-2500-boosted powerplant has been rock-solid during our time together. One thing we’ve learned from our track outings, however, is that we’re past the point of no return with our current 3.70:1 gearset – we’re just running out of gear at the end of the track.

The fix for that is simple – a set of brand-spankin’ new gears from Motive Gear for our nine-inch housing.

The new gear ratio will allow us to bring the RPM level down just a bit at the end of the track. This will maximize our use of the engine’s powerband, allowing us to make use of all of the power our supercharged 427 makes.

Motive Gear Part Number F990350SP uses a 3.50 ratio and is one of Motive’s Pro Gear sets. What’s a Pro Gear, you ask? Check out the sidebar to the right to find out the differences between the two.

“Pro Gears, or 9310 gears, are designed for high horsepower, high impact drag racing applications. 9310 Pro gears are manufactured using different materials that the standard 8620 street gear, including nickel, and these gears are not designed to be driven daily on the street,” explains Motive Gear’s Bob Linville.

Left - On the right is the Detroit Locker we've removed from BTB, on the left is the new spool and gear assembly. The Locker worked perfectly at 720 rwhp and we had no issues with it. You can see the difference in mass - we're pulling out quite a bit of rotating weight in this upgrade. Middle - A press is used in the disassembly and reassembly process. Right - We needed to disassemble the old pinion gear assembly to measure the shims to get a baseline for setting up the new package.

Differential Versus Spool
Up until now, the car has had a Detroit Locker differential on board, which has been rock-solid, but we’re approaching the range where its durability might be called into question due to our escalating power levels and heavy weight. In our 3,200-plus pound car, getting all of the power and torque to the ground without breaking things can be considered a feat in itself.
There are two different designs that can be used to transmit torque from the driveshaft to the rear wheels – a differential, and a spool.

Left - Once the old shims are removed from the pinion gear, they are measured and set onto a piece of paper to keep track of each one. Right - Shims are stacked together at a total of .052-inch to achieve the correct backlash of .015-inch.

A differential is designed to have three jobs. The first job is to take the engine power and transmit it to the drive wheels. The second job is to act as the last gear reduction in the vehicle, slowing the rotational speed of the driveshaft one last time before it gets to the wheels, and the third job is to transmit that power while allowing the wheels to rotate at different speeds – and it’s this third job that’s given the differential its name. Why do the wheels need to rotate at different speeds? In a true street-driven car, they need to do so in order to safely navigate a turn.

As a car goes around a corner, each wheel travels a different distance; the outer wheel has more rotations while the inner wheel travels a shorter distance. As a result of this speed differential, the inner wheel also travels at a slower speed.

"A good rule of thumb would be if the vehicle is street legal and street driven, more than to and from the track, use an 8620 gear". – Bob Linville, Motive Gear

Non-drive wheels (in our case the front) are not linked together, so for those wheels this difference in speeds is not an issue. But the drive wheels are linked together, and in order to do that, there are gears within the differential housing that permit the components to operate properly. The differential splits the engine torque in two ways, which allows each output to spin at a different speed.

The upside to this is that a differential equipped car doesn’t skip and chatter around a corner, but the downside is that these components can only be built so strong before failure becomes a concern, especially in regards to straight-line performance.

That’s where the spool comes in. The spool does one job, and one job only – takes the engine’s power and transmits it to the drive wheels, in sync, and at one speed. It performs the job of locking the axles together to maximize power transmission, and in our case as we’re approaching the eight-second range, will give us the on-track durability we’re after.

We’ve been using Joe Gibbs Driven oils with all of our projects lately, and Biting The Bullitt’s rearend assembly is no different. We used 3.5 quarts of their Racing Gear Oil 75W-110 synthetic fluid after the center section was bolted back in place and the driveshaft was snugged up.

The fluid is capable of reducing operating temperatures by up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit and has proven durability. It provides excellent shear stability and maintains its viscosity even after hours of running all-out, which is a trait we hope to never have to take advantage of, but it’s there if we need it. The fluid is engineered to provide excellent stability and reduce friction.

The full spool does not have any of the internal reduction gears that are present in a differential. In very simple terms it’s basically a piece of machined steel that has a mounting face for the ring gear and internal splines to drive the axles.

With these concepts in mind, we’ve picked out one of Motive’s full spools to install in the rearend. Part Number FS9-35LW is a 35-spline full spool that’s designed for our nine-inch Strange rearend housing, with one added attraction – it’s one of Motive’s Lightweight pieces that’s had some of the extra non-essential rotating weight machined out of the spool.

“In steel spools, there are quite a few different weight options available, and many different names for these,” says Linville. “A stock full steel spool will generally weigh between nine and nine-and-a-half pounds, while a lightweight steel spool will weigh approximately eight pounds. There are also Mega or Ultra lightweight steel spools that can weigh as little as six or seven pounds. Aluminum spools weighing as little as four-and-a-half to five pounds are also available, but are not recommended for certain racing applications. Spools are available up to 40 spline, to allow the use of larger, heavy duty axle shafts.”

The more rotating weight you have to turn in an effort to get down the track, the more performance will be hindered. Any place you can remove that weight without hurting durability will allow the part in question to accelerate more quickly, helping performance on the track.

Left - Prior to assembly of the pinion bearing stack, oil is applied to the bearings that ride inside the pinion support. Left Middle - The pinion and pinion support in the process of assembly. Right Middle - Installing the carrier bearings onto the new spool. Note that the ring gear has already been installed. Right - Once the whole package is together, backlash is checked using this dial indicator to achieve the previously established .015-inch. dimension. This prevents noise and will assure long life from our new gearset.

Since our last track visit, we’ve upgraded Biting The Bullitt with more power, more boost, new headers, and now a new gearset and spool that will help us to handle the additional power without fear of failure, or going through the traps at an RPM level that’s too high. Racing season is getting started soon, and we’ll have some fresh results for you just as soon as we can get to the track.

One final check of the torque on all of the retaining bolts, and our spool-equipped center section is ready to be placed back into the Strange Engineering nine-inch housing.

Our completed assembly ready to be bolted into our Strange 9-inch housing.
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