Project DLM's new powerplant...
Project DLM's new powerplant on the dyno for this first time. It's doesn't get much better then glowing red headers. Kevin Thorne
It started innocently enough just a simple conversation with my old buddy Nick Ramey last September at the ARCA race at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Nick, who runs the ARCA engine program for Roush Yates Engines, told me that the company was planning some big things for 2009 and that I should keep an eye on them. Fast forward to PRI 2008, while walking the trade show floor, I heard my name called out. I turned around to see a guy in a Roush Yates shirt. "I'm Jeremy Anderson, Nick told me to find you," he said.
We sat down in the Roush Yates booth and Jeremy clued me in on those plans that Nick talked about back in Jersey. Roush Yates Engines was going short-track racing. My initial reaction was probably the same one you're having right now . . . a NASCAR engine builder going short-track racing?
Our old motor dyno'd out at...
Our old motor dyno'd out at 550 horsepower and just over 400 lb-ft of torque, the new Roush Yates engine would be a significant step up. Rob Fisher
Truth be known that's Doug Yates' biggest problem. "Everybody sees us as a NASCAR builder, but in reality we're an engine builder. We've built Sprint Car motors, Late Model Motors. We're the builder of record for the Ford Focus Midget engines. We're even building a marine engine for an offshore powerboat," says Yates.
So Roush Yates is making a legit push into short-track racing. I wondered, not so quietly, in what arena of the short-track world, besides the Focus, Yates' engine building prowess would wind up. Anderson told me there were two areas that had their attention, 360 Sprint motors and Late Models, that would be Dirt Late Models. "We've already got one team out of Jacksonville who is going to be running our engine this season," said Anderson.
To understand the motivation behind Yates' push into the world of short-track racing you have to know that Ford's newly introduced NASCAR motor has left Doug with a problem. "Within the next several years we're going to have about 300 D3 headed engines become obsolete in NASCAR," explains Yates. The D3 head was the standard bearer for NASCAR motors wearing the blue oval, but the new design meant those heads would no longer be used in NASCAR competition.
This Roush Yates engine minus...
This Roush Yates engine minus the bellhousing and starter, which you can see at the back, will run you $25,000. Kevin
"We had to find a home for these engines and the related parts," says Yates. But rather than just dump them on the open market, Yates decided to find a way to expand his business. "We really sat back and looked at this inventory and said we could use this product as a platform to grow our company." But it doesn't stop there. Yates says that his short-track vision includes supplying parts to the independent engine builder as well.
Needless to say, a Roush Yates late-model engine peaked our interest. We knew that Roush Yates built some wickedly potent powerplants. But could they be an effective short-track engine? We aimed to find out. Our original plan was to take one of these fire-breathing monsters and slide it into the new chassis for Project DLM, but parts availability issues related to that chassis threw a monkey wrench into that idea. So when Jeremy called up and told us that our Roush Yates DLM motor was ready, we made the decision to give our 2002 Rayburn a heart transplant.
Out with the Old
The Roush Yates engine features...
The Roush Yates engine features Ford Racing's D3 heads with Xceldyne valves, a set of Roush Yates steel rocker arms, and 905 dogbone lifters from Jesel. The yellow cap on the bottom righthand side of the head covers part of the oiling system that sprays oil on the springs, rockers, and so on for maximum lubrication. Rob Fisher
The motor that was in Project DLM was a 362ci Chevy. It had older style, but effective Brodix heads with domed pistons and a Holley 4150 sitting atop an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake. It made 550 on the dyno-a bit less than expected when we originally dyno'd it, but serviceable for many of the shorter tracks that we would run. Future plans for this engine are still in the talking stages, but a limited motor or a spec head National Late Model Series legal motor are possibilities.re.
We hope Cousin Carl doesn't...
We hope Cousin Carl doesn't miss his carburetor. Rob Fisher
Like most real heart transplants, our Chevy-to-Yates engine swap was a major undertaking. The old engine was a wet motor, while the new Roush Yates power plant ran a dry sump system. For starters we needed a new mid-plate from Rayburn that, when it arrived in bubble wrap, was beautifully machined. Installed into the chassis it actually looked kind of funny, that shiny aluminum plate bolted to well worn mounts painted in red, but it would work, and at this stage that's what we cared about.
James Dudley (left) and Jeremy...
James Dudley (left) and Jeremy Anderson (right) prepare the engine for its maiden dyno run. Kevin Thorne
In addition to the mid-plate courtesy of Rayburn, we also had to get a new bellhousing, a lot of hose, and plenty of oil. Like many car builders, C.J. Rayburn manufactures his chassis with oil tank mounts in place. Roush Yates provided us with the tank, which basically meant that all we had to do was drop the motor in, plumb it, wire it, and fire it. Heck, we didn't even have to move the radiator, although we would end up having to cut the shroud a bit.
In With the New
822 peak hp is awesome but...
822 peak hp is awesome but take a look at the torque curve. It stays steady, consistent, and relatively flat over a very wide rpm range, peaking at 546 lb-ft. This is important because we'll always have ample torque throughout the powerband, translating into more power on restarts as well as coming off the corner. Yes the horsepower is huge but the flatness of the torque curve means this motor will be very racey on a wide variety of tracks. Rob Fisher
Our new Roush Yates Dirt Late Model motor starts with the Ford Racing R452 block and comes in at 358 cubic inches. Some in the DLM world will balk at a steel block engine because of its added weight, but the rules in our series and at the local tracks we run state steel blocks only, so we're good to go. The block is topped off with Ford Racing D3 heads that sport Xceldyne valves, PSI springs, and a set of Roush Yates steel rocker arms. Deep inside we've got a Bryant crank, Pankl rods, and Mahle pistons with Cleavite bearings and Total Seal rings. The motor sports a Comp Cams roller cam with 905 dogbone lifters from Jesel, an Autoverdi oil pump, Roush Yates cam belt drive, and Jones Racing Products pulleys. Topping it all off is a Holley 4150 830cfm carb "borrowed" from some guy who drives car No. 99.
The Roush Yates engine slid...
The Roush Yates engine slid into place like it belonged there all along. Turns out it did, but that's a whole other story. Rob Fisher
Schoenfeld Headers hooked us up with an absolutely gorgeous pair of Tri-Y headers for this motor. These headers' round port (PN 642VYRP) match perfectly with the D3 heads, and the Tri-Y design would maximize the horsepower output of the engine. (Check out "The Header Test" in the June '08 issue of Circle Track for more on choosing headers for your motor).
To mate up our newly rebuilt Bert (see "Rebuild Your Bert" in this issue, page 44), QuarterMaster sent us its latest Clutchless Bellhousing Kit. The kit is literally everything you need and then some. It includes the bellhousing itself, starter adapter plate, an oil pump, a 91-tooth ring gear, drive hub, a true reverse rotation starter, an oil pump belt, and complete instructions. The Quartermaster bellhousing is one of the lightest and stiffest on the market today. Its design has eliminated the cracking around the starter pocket, a common problem on bellhousings. Check out the March '09 issue of Circle Track for a detailed install of this bellhousing kit.
Roush Yates dynos every one of its engines before it ships them, so you can imagine how eager we were to see the results. For this dyno run timing was set at 29 degrees and Anderson topped the motor with a 2-inch open spacer. The results? How does 822 hp and 491 lb-ft of torque at 8,800 rpm sound? Our jaws hit the floor when we heard the numbers. We had known for some time that our 362 Chevy was down on horsepower compared to some of the other competitors in our series. After hearing those numbers we were pretty sure we would be at or above many of those same guys. Heck, 822 is World of Outlaws power levels.
The motor gets bolted into...
The motor gets bolted into place. The location of this mount which you can see here required relocating the dry sump pump to the top of the bellhousing. Rob Fisher
Before tightening down all...
Before tightening down all of the bolts we test-fit everything, including our brand-new Tri-Y headers from Schoenfeld. Rob Fisher
Going from a wet motor to...
Going from a wet motor to a dry sump system required a lot of hoses and a lot of fittings. We settled on full flow fittings and Pro Classic Hose from Russell Performance. Rob Fisher
Now, before we got any delusions that we could go out and spank the socks off of Richards, Francis, Lanigan, and the rest of that crowd, it was time to buckle down and get the motor into the car. Step one was to test-fit everything, motor, bellhousing, headers, and so on. We checked for clearances all around the engine and, other than the occasional wiggle here and there to get it in place, the only real issue was the gas pedal. That turned out to be Step 2. The bottom of the throttle linkage hit the top of the dry sump pump. We were able to raise the throttle mount up about 3/4-inch to give plenty of clearance and the problem was solved.
Jeremy Anderson made the trip from Mooresville, NC, down to Tampa to help swap in our new powerplant. He spent two days in our shop, really showing Roush Yates' dedication to our market. We had the engine and bellhousing installed in the car before Jeremy arrived, so it became a matter of dealing with the plumbing and wiring of the car, then we'd be ready to go.
We had to do a little work...
We had to do a little work on the oil tank from Roush Yates, namely weld in a pair of breathers. Normally, you could buy a tank with the breathers already installed but we were in a time crunch and couldn't wait for a new one to ship. Rob Fisher
"Twenty feet of -16 AN hose? What are you plumbing, the space shuttle?" joked Edelbrock's Jason Snider when I discussed the project with him. We would need that size hose to run between dry sump pump and oil tank. Joking aside, we settled on Russell's Pro Classic Hose for most of the plumbing. Pro Classic is a reasonably priced performance hose that features a super lightweight nylon braid that can handle almost every plumbing situation. Note we said almost. It's critical when plumbing a dry sump system that you use steel-braided hose between pump and tank, especially on the suction or feed side. This is the line that sucks the oil from the tank into the pump. You should never, ever use a nylon-braided hose in this situation for two potentially dangerous reasons.
"When the oil is hot, the hose will be softer thanks to that heat," explains Anderson. "Although it takes less suction to get the hot oil from tank to pump, the softer hose is more susceptible to collapsing. On the flip side, if the oil is cool it is also thicker and the hose is at its most rigid state, all of which means it takes more suction to get the oil from the tank to the pump. The added suction can cause the hose to collapse."
In either situation if the nylon hose collapses, oil pressure stops and the motor is starved of lubrication. Think of it like drinking a really thick milkshake through a thin straw.
"The real bad news is it's darn near instantaneous," says Anderson. "If that happens on the track you're done."
Since none of us wanted to have to be the one to call Doug Yates and tell him that a bunch of hack magazine guys just sent a rod through the oil pan in one of his motors, we opted for Russell's ProRace hose which features a specially formulated CPE synthetic inner liner that is embedded with a partial-coverage stainless steel inner braid, then bonded together by a full-coverage stainless outer braid.
The finished oil tank holds...
The finished oil tank holds 25 quarts of oil. Granted that's a lot of lube and our motor would be fine with a 16-quart tank, which we may switch to later on to save some money on oil changes. As you might guess, this motor doesn't use Auto Zone 10W-30, Roush Yates has its own racing oil that's available directly from Roush Yates Performance Parts. Rob Fisher
While building the hoses for this motor, we learned that you can use a reciprocating saw to cut hose if your bench cutter breaks. It's not the best (or safest) option but it will definitely give your buddies helping you a good laugh.
Late-night antics with power tools aside, it's important to thoroughly clean each and every hose when plumbing an engine. Jeremy gave the insides of each hose a good dous-ing with brake cleaner and then blew them out with the air compressor. Russell's exclusive line lube made attaching the full-flow hose ends on every connection a much easier task.
It's the little things Everything was hunky dory until we went to attach the fan. The diameter of our old spacer was too big to fit into the pulley. Fortunately, my friend Gus works at Pro Tools down the street and was able to throw the pulley on a lathe and turn it down to the proper size. It was a piece of cake and gave me an opportunity to get out for a drive. But it turns out that wouldn't be the only trip to Gus' place that we'd be making.
The Dry Sump is Where? Ford dry sump engines, like those you'd find in an asphalt car, often have the pump mounted low on the passenger side, toward the front of the motor. But because of the way the motor is mounted in most Dirt Late Models (ours included) that location won't work. The pump will hit the motor mount. So, our pump is mounted on the top driver side of the bellhousing and is driven off of the back of the crank.
Bobby found a unique use for...
Bobby found a unique use for a 1/2-inch upper control arm shim. To clear an unused mount on the bottom, right-side framerail that normally locates the liftarm, the oil tank had to be moved out 1/2-inch. Thankfully we had some spare shims from Longacre that slid right into place. Rob Fisher
When we ran the Pro Classic...
When we ran the Pro Classic lines through the mid-plate, we were concerned the rubbing of hose against aluminum could cause damage. That problem was easily solved by some rubber highjacked from an old tire. Rob Fisher
Here you can see the twin...
Here you can see the twin fittings (in blue) that carry water to both heads. Rob Fisher
And this would be our fabricated...
And this would be our fabricated solution to making a Chevy radiator fit a Ford engine. Special thanks to the Roush Yates machine shop for this little setup. You can see the hoses running from the Y-pipe to the heads. Rob Fisher
An interesting little situation cropped up after we got the engine completely installed and ready to fire-we noticed that the oil pump belt rode half off the pulley on the pump. The bracket Roush Yates machined to attach the pump to the bellhousing for the dyno run never took into account the size of the mid-plate. Back to Pro Tools for more of Gus' machining expertise.
Cool Issues One thing I failed to mention at the start of this story is that this motor swap was such a major undertaking because we decided to do it between races. That's right we raced Saturday night, pulled the old motor on Sunday and planned on racing the new motor the following Saturday night. I know what you're thinking, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
One of the interesting things you'll find about switching from a Chevy to a Ford is that a Chevy radiator (which is what we have) has the inlet and outlet on opposite sides. On a Ford they are both on the same side. Couple that with the fact that the Roush Yates engine requires cooling hoses to feed both heads and we had some fabricating to do to make our Chevy radiator fit our Ford application. Now, before you start sending letters to the editor, remember we were trying to make a race deadline. We'll be swapping in a new Ford radiator in a separate story in a coming issue.
Cranking It Up The new Circle Track Dirt Late Model race shop is around the corner from our main office and is situated in a small industrial park. In addition to our DLM team there is a street performance shop that specializes in a number of different vehicle makes right across from us. They're a great group of guys but it's not unusual to hear that trademark tuner whine come out of their shop. With the last wire connected to our MSD ignition, it was time to fire up the engine. It was late Thursday evening and our tuner friends had been poking their heads in to see a "big" motor all night long. They took delight in revving up their turbo four-cylinders as the clock continued to tick, almost baiting us. It was pretty clear that they were almost as anxious to hear the engine as we were.
When Jeremy finally primed the carb, hit the switch and the 822 horses came to life the steel buildings rattled as if a Category Five hurricane just blew through. It was music to our ears and we felt ready to take on the world.
When was the last time you turned 9K?
Here's the dry sump pump mounted...
Here's the dry sump pump mounted to the bellhousing as it sat in Roush Yates' dyno room. You'll notice the belt rides perfectly on the cog. kevin thorne
"You'll have to twist that motor for all its worth," said Billy Wells, owner of Wells Brothers Racing and the first ever Roush Yates dirt late-model motor. "Choose your gears wisely."
The switch to the Roush Yates motor was a huge step up for us. Other than the fact that both engines had eight cylinders, there are few similarities between our new motor and the old Chevy. But the real significant difference is when the car hits the track. With a ton more horsepower and torque in a much higher rpm band, driver Bobby Clark will have to drive the car in a whole new way. Flat-footing a track like East Bay Raceway Park (1/3-mile oval), in Tampa, FL, will no longer be an option. Rear gear selection, while always important, will be critical, just like Wells said. Harnessing all of that horsepower and learning when to use it and, more importantly, when not to use it, will be something that will take some getting used to.
Our inaugural run with the new Roush Yates Motor is set for Volusia County Speedway in Barberville, FL, followed by a visit to North Florida Speedway in Lake City. Stay tuned for next month, where we lay it on the line.
In the meantime, head over to www.circletrack.com to see video outtakes and bonus photos, including some really funny ones, from this story. And if you want a Roush Yates Dirt Late Model engine of your own, Jeremy Anderson will hook you up for $25,000-which includes everything but carb, headers, bellhousing, and plumbing. Get him a Cuban sandwich from Brocato's and he might even come help you install it.
However, with the motor in...
However, with the motor in the car, the belt rides too far toward the front of the cog. When the bracket to hold the pump to the bellhousing was fabricated, we forgot to take into account the thickness of the mid-plate, which wasn't used during the dyno run. We had to run up the street to Pro-Tools to have the bracket machined down so that the belt would once again ride in the center. Rob Fisher
That's Jeremy in the blue...
That's Jeremy in the blue shirt; we made sure that he did way more on his trip to Florida than just tune and fire the engine. Here, he helps Bobby put our radiator back into the car. Rob Fisher
358 cubic inches of Doug Yates...
358 cubic inches of Doug Yates magic ready to unleash it's 822 horsepower on the competition. Tune in next month to find out what happens. Rob Fisher