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post #1 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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Open track and engine reliability?

So a couple friends and i have decided to take a fox I have and make it a super cheap open track car. I figure betwen the 3 of us, the car will be running dang near back to back for 2-3 hours. The current engine either needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Idea is cheap and reliable, so it doesnt have to be fast. Would we be better off rebuilding the engine with certain specs, or buying a cheap used stock 5.0 or gt40 explorer motor? As far as cooling the car already has a 3 core radiator and electric fan. Any other input would be nice.


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post #2 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 09:29 AM
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So a couple friends and i have decided to take a fox I have and make it a super cheap open track car. I figure betwen the 3 of us, the car will be running dang near back to back for 2-3 hours. The current engine either needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Idea is cheap and reliable, so it doesnt have to be fast. Would we be better off rebuilding the engine with certain specs, or buying a cheap used stock 5.0 or gt40 explorer motor? As far as cooling the car already has a 3 core radiator and electric fan. Any other input would be nice.
I ran a stock 5.0 in open track for years and years. The format was two run groups with 25 minute sessions. A friend and I drove my car back to back all day several events with no ill effects.

Beware of overheating. Get a good water temp guage to replace the stock guage. I warped the deck on that block on a 106 degree day in South Carolina.

While you are at it, you should get a good oil temp guage too. A big oil cooler running -12 lines (-10 absolute minimum) will be a good investment in engine longevity. Also, I would definitely get a roadrace oil pan like a canton. Oil control will save your bearings. An accusump is a must with a stock pan and still a very good idea with a roadrace oilpan.

The STOCK 5.0 is a very reliable combination. If you start adding power however, the stock block really doesn't have the strength to hold together. MFE had a very cracked block running only 275 hp on a stock block.


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post #3 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 11:28 AM
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If you can find a good rebuilder with good rates, tell him exactly what you intend to do with it, as it should influence how he sets up the clearances. And frankly I'd rather do that than do a pull & pray on a used engine. Put a good balancer on it, but keep the revs down, they're what kills stock blocks. I'd put a Canton pan on it for oil control in corners if nothing else, or maybe an Accusump, but regardless, you're going to want an oil cooler and an oil temp gauge, and if you're running that much back to back, you're going to want to put a cooler on your trans, even if it's a manual trans. I've lunched two 3rd gears in my T5's at the end of long hot sessions even running Redline fluids, and I'm convinced it's heat-related. And don't just trust your radiator, put a real coolant temp gauge in it too.
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post #4 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Oil cooler and balancer are def on the list. I think we're leaning towards a rebuild.

94 gt: trickflow HCI, longtubes, 75mm tbody, 3.73, vortech s trim @ 11psi, 11.1 AFR 16 degrees timing, 470rwhp Tweecer tuned by Wes @ TPS Performance [ Sold ]
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post #5 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 01:31 PM
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Keeping the engine cool is all about good water flow. While you have the engine apart, take some time with a die grinder to "port" and gasket match the water passages in the timing chain cover. The transitions from the water pump to the block are typically pretty rough. Cleaning them up will help water flow just like porting heads and intakes helps airflow.

Another thing you may want to do, especially if you run an underdrive crank pulley (and I can make you a good deal on various pulley's if you are interested) is to get a water pump pulley as close to the size of the crank pulley as possible. While underdriving the water pump can save HP, it doesn't do any good for cooling on track. A 1:1 crank to WP pulley ratio is a good target.

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post #6 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 04:33 PM
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The other thing to watch is brakes as they won't get a chance to cool off between runs.

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post #7 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 05:40 PM
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Good luck with your project. One question. Are you all of different driving ability? Most every OT event I've attend ran by groups and unless one of you were a novice, the next an intermidiate and another from the advanced group I don't see how the car would be in constant use for 2-3 hours?

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post #8 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 09:20 PM
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other then what has been mentioned, definately add some brake cooling ducts... will help tremendiously!!!
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post #9 of 29 Old 09-20-2009, 10:26 PM
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I believe Sam's car has a 5-lug conversion on it and 13" cobra brakes up front so it's not going to be saddled with stock fox brakes.
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post #10 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah it does have cobra brakes and the 5 lug swap. I was worried about the brakes also. I think we will eventually do brake ducts but not till we get everything else sorted. We are all novices, but I was thinking they might just let us run the novice and intermediate and maybe the advanced? Maybe they won't, I'm not sure. The first time I think I would see if they would let an experienced person ride with me so I can learn the ropes. We have spare brakepads, we could swap them and maybe rotors between runs lol.


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post #11 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 01:13 PM
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If you are all novices you will (for everyone's safety) all run novice group until someone shows they can run with the others. Experience is req'd for the more advanced groups because of higher speeds, expanded passing zones, etc.
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post #12 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 01:46 PM
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The first time I think I would see if they would let an experienced person ride with me so I can learn the ropes.
From what I've been reading, I'm pretty sure they're going to INSIST on you having a co-driver, especially the first time out.
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post #13 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 02:17 PM
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That's not stopping all of you from entering the same car in an autocross or two before hitting the track
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post #14 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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I have autocrossed a few times, perhaps they can put me in intermediate and my friends in novice lol.

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post #15 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 02:59 PM
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I have autocrossed a few times, perhaps they can put me in intermediate and my friends in novice lol.
I really doubt it. (And if they did, I wouldn't be inclined to run with them again...)

No organization should ever take a driver at his word. The first time you drive with them, unless you have trusted credentials, you should expect a check-out ride from the organization to make sure you are what you say you are. You may be the best driver since Rickey Bobby, but the organizers shouldn't be taking your workd for it. You're going to have to prove it.

(That used to be my job -- check rides. These are always interesting since the driver is often a complete unknown and you've no idea if he's a good driver or a maniac. Siometimes they're both!)

Expect everyone in your little enterprise to be thrown into the novice group. If one of you is fast enough to gt bumped up to the intermediate, that's great, but it would be very surprising. Road course work isn't like autocross and autocross experiance can hurt you as much as it can help you.

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post #16 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 03:08 PM
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All our 89 does is run track day events. Take the time to make duct work in the front of the car such that any air that enters the grill openings has no place to go except through the radiator. The 89 typically runs 5º over thermostat setting on hot days. It does have a multipass oil cooler sitting in front of the radiator and I typically see 260º oil temp. Cobra brakes with 12" rotors (this is an X-CMC car) and brake cooling ducts keep us from having brake issues (Hawk Blues with a good high temp brake fluid). Runs a stock oil pan with an Accusump and have had no issues with oil pressure.
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post #17 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 03:45 PM
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So, is something like this kit worth it: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CTR-22-700/
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post #18 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 03:51 PM
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So, is something like this kit worth it: http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CTR-22-700/
It has all the right plumbing bits (i.e. braided stainless steel hose, and real AN fittings.) I'd make sure the hose is AN-10 (AN-12 would be better,) and personally, I'd opt for as large a heat exchanger as I could get. Oil doesn't give up heat nearly as readily as water, so a big heat exchanger is a Good Thing.

Alsp, you may want to think about how you plan on routing the hose. Those straight hose ends may not be the best approach.

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post #19 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 04:04 PM
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It has all the right plumbing bits (i.e. braided stainless steel hose, and real AN fittings.) I'd make sure the hose is AN-10 (AN-12 would be better,) and personally, I'd opt for as large a heat exchanger as I could get. Oil doesn't give up heat nearly as readily as water, so a big heat exchanger is a Good Thing.

Alsp, you may want to think about how you plan on routing the hose. Those straight hose ends may not be the best approach.
good point(s)...going to start a new thread on this topic, thanks

...okay...well, let me rephrase that...going to do a SEARCH first, and then create a new topic if necessary
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post #20 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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What about this oil cooler? its slightly bigger and has a bypass built in for cold oil

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/FMS-M-6642-S101/

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post #21 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 08:19 PM
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...autocross experiance can hurt you as much as it can help you.
What part of autocross experience is a downside that outweighs the upsides of learning how to look WAY ahead of the car, to modulate the throttle, modulate the brakes, balance the car, anticipate slides, recover from them, learning to deal with impurious officials, and standing around doing nothing for hours at a time?
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post #22 of 29 Old 09-21-2009, 08:31 PM
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....learning to deal with impurious officials, and standing around doing nothing for hours at a time?
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post #23 of 29 Old 09-24-2009, 07:51 PM
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Auto X people tend to throw the car around a bit too much and that translates to bad stuff at speed.

you and Wes bringing out the car to NPR this weekend for a shake down?

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post #24 of 29 Old 09-24-2009, 08:27 PM
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Auto X people tend to throw the car around a bit too much and that translates to bad stuff at speed.
True enough, and they tend to always want to pivot the car around the outside front tire on the brakes, but neither of these things hurts more than the training that comes with it helps.
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post #25 of 29 Old 09-24-2009, 08:29 PM
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I've felt no drawbacks from autocrossing more than I open track. There is a braking zone, an apex, and a "line" in both.
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post #26 of 29 Old 09-25-2009, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Auto X people tend to throw the car around a bit too much and that translates to bad stuff at speed.

you and Wes bringing out the car to NPR this weekend for a shake down?
Unfortunately the engine needs a rebuild. So it won't be till next month perhaps. I think we're gonna come out and watch you run and get the feel for everything. Is it possible to get a ride with you or is that not allowed?

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post #27 of 29 Old 09-25-2009, 11:38 AM
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Hey Sam, I've got a set of Cobra heads and a cam that your rebuilt engine would just love

I also have that Bassani exhaust if you're looking for fox stuff.

Oh, and a Griggs race panhard and TA diff cover too. I'd cut you a deal on the whole lot.

I may even sell that EVM 3 link and rear springs too.

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post #28 of 29 Old 09-25-2009, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Sam, I've got a set of Cobra heads and a cam that your rebuilt engine would just love

I also have that Bassani exhaust if you're looking for fox stuff.

Oh, and a Griggs race panhard and TA diff cover too. I'd cut you a deal on the whole lot.

I may even sell that EVM 3 link and rear springs too.

hey vic, we actually talked about the heads/cam you were selling. We didn't really anticipate an engine rebuild to begin with, so I think we're gonna stick with stock for now because the whole theme of this is cheap. Goal is to get it running then decide what parts we feel we should upgrade. Is your fox still running? You gonna come out to the road course one day?

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post #29 of 29 Old 09-25-2009, 12:06 PM
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Is your fox still running? You gonna come out to the road course one day?
It runs great, but all the car playing stuff is on hold for a bit, except for the 408w motor swap which will be happening very soon. I want to buy that house down the street from you on Hyacinth, the one almost to Stanford. So I'm selling all the excess, decluttering, putting the money and time into the current house to sell it (or so that my house is really nice if I can't work out a deal). Regardless, it'll be a while before I make another autox or can make it out to NPR.

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