so i decided to build an AI car! - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 07-24-2009, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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so i decided to build an AI car!

had a 2 day track day at NJMP and ran into a guy who was there with an AI car and all i can say is I'm hooked. i mean i've been hooked on racing, and i've actually been thinking about getting into AI, but after he took me for a ride in his car, i got the itch. to scratch this itch im selling my supercharged 89 LX thats set up for drag racing. u can check in out here. https://forums.corral.net/forums/show....php?t=1144394

to keep it tech, what are some good engine setups for an AI car? the guy whos car i rode in had a 32V making 330 hp. (if u dont know about AI, theres a 9.5:1 weight to hp ratio) he was saying a lot of the AI guys are doing 331's. i think a carbed 331 made to rev up to 6500 would be nice. cause if the car weighs 3000 lbs, it only needs to make 315 hp. any oppinions?


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post #2 of 53 Old 07-24-2009, 05:07 PM
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Welcome to the club. First thing to do is download the NASA CCR and AI rules. AI has a 9:1 torque rule as well. A well sorted 306 can be equally competetive on TQ/HP.

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Don't rule out the mod engines. With the new trickflow heads, they might be worth looking into. One shop recently got 350rwhp and 357rwtq out of a set for an AI driver. The blocks are also better built and will last longer than the 5.0s which are known to split. Get a block from an Aviator (aluminum block) and get the 44cc heads and you should be in the 11.x:1 range for compression. You get more power and lighter weight (roughly 430lb engine). 2008 2nd place finisher at American Iron nationals was running a DOHC with roughly 340-350 at around 3400lbs race weight.

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post #4 of 53 Old 07-24-2009, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by loudnslow98gt View Post
had a 2 day track day at NJMP and ran into a guy who was there with an AI car and all i can say is I'm hooked. i mean i've been hooked on racing, and i've actually been thinking about getting into AI, but after he took me for a ride in his car, i got the itch.
Think very long and very hard about whether you want to run in AI or the MUCH cheaper CMC. Both series offer fantastic racing and close competition, but CMC is a lot easier on the budget.

And if you simply HAVE to race in a higher horsepower series, you can always upgrade the car to AI specs later.

Oh, and if you can, BUY your race car, don't build it. You'll spend less than half compared to doing it yourself.

I do know of a very competitive AI car for sale in Texas...

-- Robert King
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post #5 of 53 Old 07-24-2009, 08:53 PM
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I agree 100% with Robert King. If I were to do it all over I would have purchased a used CMC. I have been building my AI car for a long time and have been throwing money at it like I had a money tree. Get a used car, save the money and the time.
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post #6 of 53 Old 07-24-2009, 10:50 PM
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good luck. i know a guy was selling a sn95 on the njstangers without a title for real cheap

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post #7 of 53 Old 07-24-2009, 11:24 PM
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Congrats. I'm thinking of looking into CMC myself. Let us know how the build goes.

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post #8 of 53 Old 07-25-2009, 01:20 PM
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A 331 should easily make AI power, a well sorted 302/306 will also do the trick with the right parts. The engine in my sig is stock bottom end 302 that only revs to 6000rpm. 3 seasons open tracking and time trialing and the only problem I've had is a leaky head gasket.

Buying a complete car is good advice. I bought mine for 1/3 of what it cost to build it.

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post #9 of 53 Old 07-25-2009, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by gt40mkII View Post
Think very long and very hard about whether you want to run in AI or the MUCH cheaper CMC. Both series offer fantastic racing and close competition, but CMC is a lot easier on the budget.

you can always upgrade the car to AI specs later.
Very sound advise. Have you checked out Matt King's SN95 CMC build in MM&FF? The 5 part series is good reading, from initial build to the CMC Championship race. IIRC, the part one started in Feb. or March, but don't quote me. Whatever you do, good luck with the build and keep us posted.

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post #10 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 02:09 AM
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Buy my old car... It's a 2003 body in white with a '95 title all set up and ready to go... I think he put a new 331 in it and it is absolutely spotless! It was on ebay, but can't find it now. Was asking something like $20k but should be cheaper now?
Call Allen Denson at his company.
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post #11 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Very sound advise. Have you checked out Matt King's SN95 CMC build in MM&FF? The 5 part series is good reading, from initial build to the CMC Championship race. IIRC, the part one started in Feb. or March, but don't quote me. Whatever you do, good luck with the build and keep us posted.

yeah, i read every series about that build. my first objective is to sell my 89. but a trade deal might be the best way to get rid of it if the trade is good. i'll definitly take the advise of buying a complete car but they might be too hard to find around me or too much to buy straight up.

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post #12 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Buy my old car... It's a 2003 body in white with a '95 title all set up and ready to go... I think he put a new 331 in it and it is absolutely spotless! It was on ebay, but can't find it now. Was asking something like $20k but should be cheaper now?
Call Allen Denson at his company.
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http://www.capdog.com/contact/contact.html
20K is way out of budget for an upfront cost. thats why the build my own route would work for me. as well as when you build ur own car, u know every little detail about it, which is priceless sometimes.

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post #13 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Welcome to the club. First thing to do is download the NASA CCR and AI rules. AI has a 9:1 torque rule as well. A well sorted 306 can be equally competetive on TQ/HP.
i did read the CCR and AI rules a little while ago but will def read them again (probably 2 or 3 times) before i start any building.

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post #14 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Don't rule out the mod engines. With the new trickflow heads, they might be worth looking into. One shop recently got 350rwhp and 357rwtq out of a set for an AI driver. The blocks are also better built and will last longer than the 5.0s which are known to split. Get a block from an Aviator (aluminum block) and get the 44cc heads and you should be in the 11.x:1 range for compression. You get more power and lighter weight (roughly 430lb engine). 2008 2nd place finisher at American Iron nationals was running a DOHC with roughly 340-350 at around 3400lbs race weight.
im not against a mod engine, but it comes back down to money. i know the mods are starting to get a little cheaper but still not near a pushrod motor.

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post #15 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 08:12 PM
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If you think you can build a competative AI, CMC or AS car for under $20k you are in for a ride! Stay away from the modular stuff... that engine is so much taller - raises the center of gravity, blah, blah If you can build the whole car yourself, welding, suspension set up, wiring, plumbing, etc. and can do it within the rules, you might have a chance at building something that will just do laps at the back of the field for $15k.

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post #16 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 10:08 PM
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If you think you can build a competative AI, CMC or AS car for under $20k you are in for a ride!
Of course, a lot depends on the region, but I thin you certainly can build a competitive CMC car for under 20k. The last two years the national CMC champion has been from the texas region, so I know these cars fairly well. I know of several cppetitive (in Texas,) CMC cars that were purchased for under $6000 (Adam Ginsberg's CMC car was a former AS car that he got for about $5k.)

There's a HUGE leap, cost-wise between CMC and AI. I figure a competitive AI car should cost around 12-20k, dependong on how fresh it is and how much was put into it (SLA front, fuel cell, etc...)

To build one, I'd budget $30k, minimum. A more realistic number would be more like $60k, I think.

American Sedan (AS)? You'd be lucky to build the motor for $20k! AS is a very old class, and therefore, very sophisticated. The restrictive ruleset means you end up paying a LOT of money for very small performance gains. This is how I see CMC ending up in 20 years, unless the series directors are VERY careful.


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Stay away from the modular stuff... that engine is so much taller - raises the center of gravity, blah, blah If you can build the whole car yourself, welding, suspension set up, wiring, plumbing, etc. and can do it within the rules, you might have a chance at building something that will just do laps at the back of the field for $15k.
$15k is PLENTY to build a CMC car. I doubt Jeff Burch's national championship CMC car cost $15k to build.

$15k to build an AI car? Yep -- I think it's doable. I think it can even be a mid-packer or better, given the right driver.

But if you buy instead of build, you get triple the car for your money. Remember that. Building something and calling it your own has a lot of appeal (hell, I built my AI car from scratch,) but that appeal falls a little flat when you get your ass handed to you by cars in a SLOWER class!

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post #17 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 10:25 PM
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gt40mkII has experience, qualified? yep! Sound advice.

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post #18 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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i think i can make a decently competitive car for 15k. especially if i get crafty with craigslist and e bay. and i do plan on doing every thing myself. including the cage.

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post #19 of 53 Old 07-26-2009, 11:54 PM
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don't base your decisions off of things that haven't happened yet. Get a basic setup, work up from there. Experience builds better cars.

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post #20 of 53 Old 07-27-2009, 11:56 AM
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im not against a mod engine, but it comes back down to money. i know the mods are starting to get a little cheaper but still not near a pushrod motor.
Think of your costs in terms of maintenance as well. I have looked at cost as well and would have agreed until recently when the trickflow 4.6 heads came out.

https://forums.corral.net/forums/show....php?t=1140167

The useable powerband looks great, and might be too much in some instances. You have a ton of used factory aluminum engines on the market that can be used for their shortblocks. Some costing as low as 1.3k. The internals were also designed to rev so 6500rpm should not be a problem. You can also use the factory PI intake, so replacements should be cheap. Your more expensive pieces would be the heads and cams which would be around 2.5k.

A built 331 shortblock will cost roughly 2.5k-3k, but it still uses the stock block. You would still need to get aftermarket heads, cam, and intake. That will take it just above 2k. Then you also have to look at all the miscellaneous pieces that would need to be upgraded like the lifters, pushrods, rockers, etc, and the costs don't look as cheap anymore. The 4.6 works great with a lot of the pieces being factory stock. Below is a link with experiences from AI racers cracking their factory 5.0 block.

http://www.nasaforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=29310

I am not saying the 4.6 is superior to the 5.0 in performance, but I do think the gap in performance has been reduced especially for AI, and it is definitely an option to consider. Just understand that neither option will be cheap.
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post #21 of 53 Old 07-27-2009, 06:16 PM
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i think i can make a decently competitive car for 15k. especially if i get crafty with craigslist and e bay. and i do plan on doing every thing myself. including the cage.
OK, let's see your proposed parts list and prices. I think I could maybe do it, but it's be very, very close.

Have you ever done a cage before? Do you know how to design a PROPER road racing roll cage? How much welding experiance do you have? Are you willing to bet your life on a cage you welded?

I don't ask these questions lightly. I've seen how bad impacts can be. I've seen what they can do to even well built cages. This is not a trivial undertaking. The only guy I'd truct for my cage is one who's military-traned (or has a TON of experiance in an industry that demands perfection in their welds -- my fabricator welded on navy submarines and then started his own race car fabrication shop 20 years ago.) If you don't have similar experiance and know what works in a cage and what doesn't (and WHY,) then I highly suggest you think long and hard about building your own cage. It's a lot tougher than it looks.

For an idea of what's involved, read the "Cage Design" thread over at Corner Carvers. Lots of very good and very bad design examples there.

I still strongly recomend buying a proven race car for $15k.

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post #22 of 53 Old 07-28-2009, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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I'll try and get a run down of the list of stuff and see what it all comes up to. and yes, i've been welding for several years and would totally trust my welds. i don't know a ton about cage design, but thats why i'll study the rule book, and then study real life examples. i am 100% confident i can do it.

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post #23 of 53 Old 07-28-2009, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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good stuff on the links diesel.

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post #24 of 53 Old 07-29-2009, 01:26 PM
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In case you start thinking about buying instead of building, it's in your part of the country also.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...m=260454240622

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post #25 of 53 Old 07-29-2009, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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very nice car and thanks for looking out for me but theres a few things wrong. the bid at this time is 11,000 and that already is too much for me. and it wont fit into the class i want to compete in. even if i had the car, the parts for it are so expensive. thats what i like aobut AI. im not against buying an already built car, it just has to be the right one.

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post #26 of 53 Old 07-29-2009, 01:55 PM
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the reserve on that has to be close to $30k
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post #27 of 53 Old 07-29-2009, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loudnslow98gt View Post
very nice car and thanks for looking out for me but theres a few things wrong. the bid at this time is 11,000 and that already is too much for me. and it wont fit into the class i want to compete in. even if i had the car, the parts for it are so expensive. thats what i like aobut AI. im not against buying an already built car, it just has to be the right one.
Just thought I would toss it out there, I'm doing the same as you are as I have to piece mine when I find a good buy.

I bet the reserve is pretty high on that car, I'm watching to see what happens.

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post #28 of 53 Old 07-29-2009, 10:40 PM
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I know of a nice 94/95 roller with the cage done, needs motor and trans. (they have some extra parts that they would sell/packed deal) I think they want 3-4k but not for sure. Pm me if you want some info.

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post #29 of 53 Old 07-30-2009, 12:27 PM
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All said and done, I will have approx. $6600 and change in my CMC-2 car. This includes a new Painless wiring harness, fresh E7 heads (I know not the GT40Ps, but the stockers will still do), and a fresh T-5. Heck, it even has new paint!

It is possible to build on a budget. The only things that I really went over with was the wiring harness and as far as I can tell, it's the best $550 I spent.

The car was bought as a roller and approx. 18 months later I have a decent ride. It might even be for sale...want to talk? I am always looking at messing with something else.

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post #30 of 53 Old 07-30-2009, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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what do u have as far as suspension?

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post #31 of 53 Old 07-31-2009, 08:34 AM
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The basics as the class keeps that in check.

The front has Koni single adjustables, H&R super race springs, 25mm front bar, camber plates. The rear has Koni single adjustables, H&R Super Race springs, MM lower control arms, FMS HD uppers, and a MM Panhard bar.

The whole setup is very basic, very tried and true, and easy to tune. You can drive it flat footed and it works.

No, nothing fancy as far as coilovers and DA shocks, but when you are new to the game, those items are a distraction more than a tool. Those types of suspension toys can always come later...albeit with the bigger, badder motor, transmission, yada, yada...

Send me a PM to discuss more if you are interested.

Wishing everyone peace, love, and the perfect apex . . . everytime.

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post #32 of 53 Old 08-01-2009, 03:59 PM
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If you're a member at C-C.com, there is a winning CMC car for sale there $8,000. It's in WI but you can probably get it home for less than $15K.
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post #33 of 53 Old 08-03-2009, 10:51 PM
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I'm almost embarrassed to throw this out there but if I was closer to NY this car would probably be sitting on my trailer, bow tie or not. This ad is on the NASA Forum and the guy claims he built the car to SCCA AS specs. His ad says it got teched and a log book but he never raced it. He started out asking $3900 and is down to $1800.

http://www.nasaforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=26209

I do not know this person or this car but if it's half decent you can't go wrong. Heck you can't hardly get a roll cage built for $1800.

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post #34 of 53 Old 08-13-2009, 01:29 PM
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i am slightly ahead of you on your quest for an AI car. I decided to build my own after trying to sell my mustang first and buy one built. so, i took my 95 off the street and started gutting, cutting and welding. the cage is not for the average joe. i was quoted $3200 to have one put in. instead, i bout a $1000 prebent/notched kit and set off to MIG weld it. that was a joke. so, i bought a TIG ($1300) and the welding began. then, i ran into trouble finish welding around the roof. couldn't get in there to save my soul. so, it was off to the shop that quoted the cage install to have them finish it up. this process (gutting to finished cage) took nearly 3 months! 3 months i could have been racing or at least doing HPDE while i saved for a car that was done. now i have burned up most of my budget and am looking at the new projected timeline expanding well into 2010, which was planned to be my debut year in AI. all the while, i have nothing to take to the track!

my opinion, having set down your road already, is to drive HPDE and timetrials, while saving to buy a car thats done to your liking and budget.

and for your original question, the 331 is in my plan for an engine and a full MM suspension is on mine already.

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post #35 of 53 Old 08-15-2009, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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3 months? that sounds like a lot. where did u get ur cage from?

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