The Road to Speed Week 2014 Part 2: The Progress Continues
Here we are just over a month away from Speed Week 2014. Project 240SX LSR has been under intensive surgery at both Specialty Cars Fabrication and 5523 Motorsports for several months. Asides from the suspension, the entire car has been disassembled including the drivetrain and electrical system leaving us only a few weeks to put humpty dumpty back together again. This time though, more powerful and faster than ever.
When last we left off, 5523 Motorsports was in the midst of revamping the entire electrical system with a custom wiring harness while incorporating an AEM Infinity 8 EMS and AQ-1 data logger. If you remember back to the start of Project 240SX LSR, we literally had finished the previous wiring harness on the salt hours before our first run at Speed Week… and it showed.
Each time we went to pull the center console or gauge cluster, things quickly spiraled into a nightmare filled with stray wires and failing butt connectors. The cluster f*ck residing under the gauge cluster was an appropriate place to start. What used to be made up of over 30 crimped butt connectors, the gauge cluster sub harness has now been consolidated by 5523 Motorsports into one termination with a MIL Spec circular connector.
John Kuchta repeated his magic by making a new center console so that 5523 Motorsports could reconfigure it too with new aircraft style switches. An Innovate Motorsports MTX-D EGT gauge and Wilwood brake knob have also been added.
5523 Motorsports used “spot ties” to harness all of the small wires running off the back of the various switches and gauges. Spot ties are nylon woven, waxed flat braids which are used to bundle wires. Spot ties are very strong, yet has a small footprint and their wax allows knots to be tied very easily. The center console harness was again terminated into a quick disconnect, circular connector.
To transition the engine compartment harness into the interior of Project 240SX LSR, a series of quick disconnect, mil spec circular connectors were attached to a 1/8” thick plate of aluminum. In addition, two Earl’s Performance Products aluminum bulkhead fittings were mounted to the plate as the supply and return for the air to liquid intercooler.
Ease of service was one of the motivations behind the use of both the circular connectors and the Earl’s Performance Products bulk head fittings. Within a couple of minutes we can have the entire engine harness and intercooler lines disconnected whenever we have to remove the engine. The other motivation was to ensure a completely sealed firewall. In land speed racing, they say it’s not a matter of “if” you’ll catch on fire but “when.” When that time comes, we want to make sure our firewall is 100% sealed to help prevent the fire from extending into the driver’s compartment.
Next, we called our friend Brian Hasty at Fastbrakes to get us a Wilwood swing type brake and clutch pedal kit along with the needed master cylinders and brake bias knob. Fastbrakes specializes in big brake kits using Wilwood, Alcon and AP Racing calipers. If you recall, Fastbrakes also supplied us with the slotted rotors, hawk pads, and steel braided lines for Project 240SX LSR early on in the build.
We again turned to John Kuctha of Specialty Cars Farbication, to handle the fabrication needed to mount the new new Wilwood pedal box. Earl’s performance Products, stainless tubing and black Ano-Tuff fittings were used to run new brake tubing off the master cylinders.
Earl’s Performance Products Ano-Tuff fittings are Mil Spec type III anodized for wear and corrosion resistance. With all of the salt induced corrosion we’ve been battling lately, this is exactly what we need.
Originally I thought we’d just merge this tubing back into the factory tubing but Nick Hunter of 5523 Motorsports had a different idea. We went back and forth in some heated debates, but eventually Nick won out… His skull and shrunken head tattoos can be awfully intimidating at times.
To clean up the engine bay and free up valuable real estate on the fire wall, all of the OEM brake and clutch lines were removed. The brake system was entirely recreated and routed through the interior using Earl’s Performance Products stainless tubing and black ano tuff fittings. At the same time, 5523 Motorsports couldn’t resist redoing the plumbing for our fire systems.
5523 Motorsports made all new brake lines using Earl’s Performance Products -3 stainless steel Speed Flex line complete with a PTFE liner. Again, with corrosion being a concern, stainless steel Speed Seal banjo fittings and hose ends were also used.
A quick disconnect dry brake was installed in-line with the clutch line to allow for easy removal of the transmission without having to unbolt or bleed the slave cylinder. Typically a Stubuli branded version of these can cost a pretty penny; however, Smiley Racing Products makes this version that is more affordable.
So, why’d we go through all the trouble of installing a pedal box and redoing all of the brake and clutch lines? You’re looking at it. We needed to move our Turbosmart waste gates out from under the manifold and turbine housing to a cooler, more serviceable position… and serviceability makes Zombie Vampire happy.
At the same time as John Kuchta of Specialty Cars Fabrication extended the waste gate tubes, he also welded an 1/8 NPT bung to each runner. These four ports, along with an additional fitting on the down pipe, will house a total of five AEM K Type thermal couples. During runs, the four exhaust manifold runner ports will be plugged, and only the post turbine housing temps will be collected through our AEM Infinity EMS.
K type thermal couples are extremely accurate, better than 1% at full scale according to AEM. However, since they put out an extremely low voltage (we’re talking milli-volts), they need to be used in conjunction with an AEM thermal couple amplifier. The AEM thermal couple amplifier essentially takes the low voltage signal received from the K Type thermal couples, does a bunch of sophisticated mathy type stuff, and converts it to a 0-5 V analog output which is easily comprehended by an AQ-1, Infinity EMS, or other data collecting devices.
In addition to exhaust gas temperatures sensors, an AEM back pressure sensor kit was also installed by 5523 Motorsports. This is the hard line coming off of the down pipe and wrapping across the front of the head. The hard line eventually transitions into a flexible line which terminates at the back pressure sensor. The back pressure sensor itself is mounted to the firewall. The idea behind all of this is to dissipate heat and preserve sensor life.
Aside from being just another data point to collect, back pressure figures can be utilized by the AEM Infinity 8 as a part of a boost control strategy. For example, when a set back pressure limit is exceeded, the AEM Infinity 8 EMS can use its boost control function to begin dialing back the boost pressures.
5523 Motorsports is in the process of installing a slew of AEM pressure transducers along with air and liquid temperature sensors throughout the powertrain. For example, pressure sensors will be installed on the crankcase as well as within the cooling system. In addition, AEM temperature sensors will be mounted in the oil pan and the cooling system.
On the intake manifold, an AEM intake temperature sensor and MAP sensor were also installed. The AEM MAP sensor will be our primary tuning tool and replaces the MAF sensor which Project 240SX LSR previously utilized.
To log fuel pressure, an AEM pressure transducer was installed into the gauge port of our Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator. Note the black Earl’s Performance Products Ano-Tuff AN fittings that have been installed in both the fuel and vacuum ports of our Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator.
Off the vacuum port’s Ano Tuff fitting, we’ll be using Earl’s Performance Products Speed-Flex steel braided lines to ensure reliability. In fact, the same rubber-less approach will be used for all of the vacuum lines throughout the engine including the lines for the Turbosmart Hypergates and Kompact BOV.
Since both our Turbosmart fuel pressure regulator and Earl’s fuel filter were relocated to a new area in the engine compartment, 5523 Motorsports constructed new fuel lines again using an Earl’s Performance Products -6 Pro-Lite hose and Swivel Seal hose ends.
Flame Guard fire sleeve is made up of a braided glass inner sleeve which is bonded to an outer silicone rubber skin. This results in a self-extinguishing fire sleeve which can withstand continuous temperatures of up to 600 degrees F.
One of the key reasons behind using these fancy AN fittings is to eliminate any bends in the hose routing. In this case, a 90 -6 tube fitting did the trick between our fuel rail and the hard line running from the fuel tank.
With just about a month to go before Speed Week, we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us. Once 5523 Motorsports is done with the wiring, Project 240SX LSR still has to pay another quick visit to Specialty Cars Fabrication so that John Kuctha can finish up the waste gate tubes and side exit exhaust. Once that’s done, we’ll focus on tuning. It’s crunch time, keep your fingers crossed for us!