As some of you folks know, my sole involvement in tbirds is because I have a 1995 Tbird that started out as a V6 auto I use for crapcan endurance racing (24 hours of Lemons). After blowing up my splitport V6 19 laps into my third race (first race was stock, 2nd race was with a manual trans, 3rd race was with the splitport upgrade), we entered the fourth race with a 5.0+m5r2 setup AND an entire backup engine + transmission sitting on a shopping cart base.
Here's how our latest race went:
* After rebuilding the engine, I drove the car 200mi to/from Sacramento to get my rollcage updated to 2014 Lemons rule spec. No problems.
* Blackstone oil test didn't come up with anything odd. Iron & Tin (bearing material) was a little high but they attributed that to the engine being a new rebuild.
* Scarily, we started noticing a little Rod knock before the race so we switched to 20w-50 with some lucas at the suggestion of most of the 5.0 racing lemons veterans (the ones who's 5.0s have actually lasted). They also wished us good luck.
* The car performed fantastically as we were now able to out handle, out brake, and (surprising to us) out accelerate a good deal of the field of 170 cars. The car was a dramatic improvement from the V6 days (basically when there were only a handful of cars we could pass on the track. The catch was that 18 laps in (yes, 1 less than in race 3), the engine severely overheated and then dropped in power dramatically.
* We pulled in and began swapping the engine.
* 8 hours later, we had the backup engine and transmission running and idling nicely. We are getting pretty good at this after learning all the tricks from Dan (examples: 1 - drop the diff and let it hang by the axles to give you enough room to pull the driveshaft out of the trans without dropping the gastank. 2 - Have a spare yoke stub ready to shove into the tailshaft to prevent the fluid from oozing everywhere).
* We then noticed a regular drip from the clutch slave cylinder so we then started swapping the race transmission back into the car. A little over 2 hours later, we had that in and the car ready to go for day 2.
* We had the car and race all day on Day 2 -- making up good time. I was particularly glad that my 3 other teammates could actually race this time (vs last year where we just wrenched both dates). We can literally pass over half the field now and the car is quite fun to drive whereas before our fastest lap was 160th out of 170 cars (10th worst). With the v6, the only time we could really "dominate" was when it was raining (and everyone else spun out). It doesn't seem like the V8 has upset our handling or braking at all though so I'm quite happy with that.
* The only incident I ran into came up 30 min before the checkered flag. The car died just after a sweeping hairpin turn (turn 11). It started up, I puttered around the track and then died a 1/4 track away from the pit exit and had to be pushed it. I THOUGHT I had killed engine #2 but it turns out that... I had just run out of gas.
* A quick refill later I was on the track again and took the checkered flag (no more DNFs for us).
Bottom line: My team and I are getting quite good at swapping tbird engines & transmissions (it helps to know all the little tricks and to have all the necessary tools like the transmission jack).
UPDATE 1: My teammate Brett took apart the engine this morning while I went to work.
- It looks like we spun a bearing on Rod 1.
- He says that the nuts felt like they were held on with different amounts of torque. This means that mistake was likely my fault but the consequences are the same -- I'm going to take the block in to my machinist friend.
- That doesn't explain why the engine always felt really really hard to turn though (you really couldn't do it by hand with a cheater bar) so I'm definitely planning on taking the block to my machinist friend.
- I will open up a separate post-mortem thread once I've had a chance to take apart the engine further.
QUESTIONS - ANSWERED BELOW
Q: 5.0 COOLING
- Its clear that my V6 radiator is being outmatched by the heat output of the V8 while on the track. The engine temps seem to rise to about 210-215F when you really get on it even with the elec fan wired to be on HIGH all the time.
From this thread, it sounds like Mustang radiators may be too tall and I should be looking for something that's 27.5" x 19"
While this is a bit racy for my taste (I wasn't something less noticable), what do you guys think of this option?
To make more room, I may need to install a pusher fan. With the radiator in the stock position, it takes a ton of work to get the electric fan from my V6 onto the car (you have to move it around and there's very little distance between it and the water pump.
If I have to go with a pusher e-fan, do you folks have any cheap recommendations on one? I'm totally OK with getting one at the junkyard if its a common enough part.
Q: 5.0 EXHAUST
See separate thread
Q: FUEL GAUGE
: - I replaced my fuel pump and bent the floater so that it would rise/fall as per the instruction. However, it stays on FULL for a long time and empty is just under 1/2 tank.
Q: Did I mess something up with the floater or are there any v6/v8 differences in the gas gauge on the cluster itself that my cause such an erratic reading (in truth, I don't remember anymore if the gas gauge was from a v6 or v8 car).
Thanks in advance for your suggestions. A few pics of the silly lemons car I've built.
This race's team was Bosozoku Texino -- a mashup of our previous theme (Bozo Texino) and Bosozoku/Kaido style (Japanese biker/road racers from the 80s and 90s). Despite being in CA, its still street legal (barely) but won't be in a few months...
Stuff that Really Helped Swapping an Engine+Trans quickly
* Key Tool: Makita BTW450 lithium ion cordless impact gun has as much breakaway torque as my air tool but much more convenient. ~$200
* Key Tool: HF Transmission Jack worked like a charm to support the transmission when we needed it (esp with the removal & replacement of the race transmission).
* Key Tool: load leveler for jack. This was absolutely needed to angle the transmission in.
* Key tool: acquire the stub from the front half of a driveshaft to use as a buttplug for the transmission. This will prevent a mess (or loss of expensive synchromesh fluid) if your transmission tilts backwards.
* Pre-Race Prep: I had a custom SS clutch line made approx 3' long (~1ft longer than stock) with a screw compression fitting in the middle of it. This let me disconnect the transmission without getting into the bellhousing.
* Pre-race prep: I used a tap and die set to cut new threads on ALL the exhaust related studs (on the manifolds and on the flange between the two halves of the exhaust). This made the bolts super easy to remove (you will still need a wobble joint and some extensions but there will be far less cursing).
Additional Lessons Learned
* Unless you want to cut and weld new exhaust hangers, remove the front half of your exhaust by removing the bracket from the transmission. The driveshaft will hold the transmission in place. You can then use the transmission jack to stabilize the trans while you pull out the driveshaft.
* Create room to pull back the driveshaft by removing all four bolts holding the rear diff up and let if hang from the axles. This will give you enough room to slide the driveshaft back.
* Don't forget to plug the tailshaft of the transmission before it has a chance to ooze everywhere.
* Remove the four bolts holding the shifter from the top of the transmission before trying to pull out the engine/transmission. This will give you a LOT more clearance -- esp if you are trying to rotate and pull the transmission out while still attached to the engine.
* If removing the transmission while on the engine and the car is only lifted up with jacks (not a hydraulic lift) , use the jack to lower the transmission from its mounting position, set it on the ground, and then push it forward through one of the wheel wells. You will probably need to take a wheel off but this will be easier than trying to jack the car up so high that the bellhousing can clear the bottom of the car.