Despite all the comments that my 3.8L would eat its head gaskets and the torque converter.
Things that helped
- I had the car running well as a car before entering the race. It takes forever (30min) to load up 171ish cars into a grid to start and several died and had to be pulled out of the grid because they were left idling for so long. I think it was a survival test
- my homemade monitor system/mister systems made sure that our ATF temp never went beyond 180F and the Coolant beyond 235F (mostly at 210F).
- we made sure all drivers left OD-off and tried to get the car into 3rd as often as possible (the lubricated gear as opposed to 1st and 2nd). This prevented any 3-4 shifts @ WOT which are deemed bad b/c of how the transmission engages 4th.
- the JMODed our 4r70w and added a new solenoid and pressure regulator valve as per the suggestions. The transmission was harsh but driveable and launched immediately vs. hesitating (which was what happened when I first got the car).
Problem/Observation I could use some insight on...
Under load, the engine had a hard time revving beyond 4K and the transmission didn't want to upshift. It's like the hamsters smoked too much and ran out of energy. For reference, with our 3" smaller diameter tires and 3.73 rear gears, our effective final drive ratio was 4.20:1. I suspect the shift points are in the 4K-5K range for WOT and our powerband stops at 4K -- thereby creating this situation. In order to get into 3rd, we learned to back off the gas pedal, allow the shifting to occur, and then push it down again. This sometimes occured at the most inopportune time (i.e.: right as we were overtaking someone on the turn b/c we have a nice neutral handling and they were hopped up jalopies).
Q: Is there something we can do to rectify this situation for the next race?
- We cannot go back to 3.27 gears (we used the pinion gear as a sledge so it's well and truly biffed). I "didn't fear the gear" and did notice that with just the smaller tires and stock diff (3.68:1 effective ratio), our 1/4 mi time dropped from 17.95sec to 17.05 sec.
- Hotter cam? What other issues will I run into?
- If we do go with a 4.2L V6, can we just use the F150 ECU, will it run with my stock ECU, or will I need to burn a custom ECU? The reason I ask is because ECU tunes are often expensive (not really -- but out of Lemons budgets).
- ECU tune just to lower shift points?
I'm already planning on putting the car on even more of a diet. We had it down to 3500 w/ full fluids, driver, and trunklid but its quite clear that we need to drop more.
The other thought is to not abandon this platform altogether (we've got too much into it) but to skip the arms race on the GO part and aim for the "show" -- i.e.: add more sheetmetal/bondo and whatnot to deploy a really sweet theme for our next entry. If we do this, we would stand a better chance of getting the Index of Effluency Prize.
If you guys have any suggestions on a sweet theme, please PM me. It appears that our target audience, the judges, are guys in their 40s-50s to the thundercats was a bit young for them.