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Episode Transcript

(Mike)>> American endurance racing is 18 hours of flat out competition where you'll see plenty of European performance vehicles.

(Pat)>> But it's a fox body Mustang that grabbed our attention. Today on Engine Power you've got a front row seat to the Mid-Ohio race.

(Mike)>> Plus the test sled ran like a top with a Chevy power plant but now it's Ford's turn. [ Music ]

(Mike)>> It's always exciting when we get to hit the road, especially when we're going to the races. Today we're heading to the Mid-Ohio sports car course in Lexington, Ohio, for American endurance racing. [ Music ] It's two 9 hour days of punishing competition with roughly 60 race teams winding out their rigs at one of the Mid West's most challenging and scenic road course. Race cars must be a production based design, built for competition and sanctioned road racing. Cars are required to run DOT approved street tires with a minimum tread wear of 180. For the most part otherwise it's open class racing. As AER puts it, run what you got. These cars get driven hard. In addition to getting a fresh driver behind the wheel pit stops are the time for both brakes and drivers to cool off. Teams are divided into five classes based on lap times. Class five is the fastest. All teams compete with the other members of their respective class. Whoever runs the most laps wins. Each day's race counts as a free standing event but overall winners are also determined. Lap times are monitored during the race to make sure teams aren't running faster than they qualified. It's a strong deterrent against cheating.

(Scott)>> And if you jump out of your brackets like bracket racing and drag racing then they bump you up to the next class. So you could be winning one class one minute and losing the next class up the next second. So it's best to be honest.

(Pat)>> With mid Ohio's rolling green hills you'd almost think you'd landed in Germany, and when you see the race cars flying by, BMW's, Porsches, Audis, you'd swear you're in Bavaria. It is the American endurance racing series, and while you will see a handful of late mode domestics there is a decidedly European preference. Now don't get me wrong there are plenty of excellent cars produced on the continent but I was born and raised in Michigan. So if it comes off the assembly line in Detroit it's gonna be my first choice.

(Mike)>> I'm right there with you. So when we heard about a race team running a well-worn fox body Mustang in the AER series it struck us as kind of unusual and very cool. That team was BMR Racing and we just had to meet this crew in person. We invited them down to our shop and after chatting for a few minutes it was clear that the four of them had almost everything it takes to field a winning race team.

(Pat)>> Certainly they had the skill. A couple of them were driving instructors at Mid-Ohio who knew the course like it was their best friend. They even had a larger than life legend of formula car racing, Tommy Byrne. If his name may be unfamiliar there's a reason for that. In the early '80's he was quickly climbing up the ranks of formula car racing. His driving skills were undisputed but he lacked the massive financial support needed to underwrite and F-1 team. In addition to money drivers needed a high tolerance for the politics of racing, something Byrne had little interest in.

(Mike)>> Some things never change, especially when it comes to money. For several years through talent and hard work BMR managed to stay competitive in American Endurance Racing but lacking the necessary funding they continued to run a stock engine making about 200 unimpressive horsepower.

(Tommy)>> These guys have been working on the cars over the years and we've been getting faster and faster every year. A second here, a second there, but we're finishing lower and lower because they're coming out with BMW's, and Porsches, and we're kinda in the wrong class. It is a lot of fun but we still like to be up at the front. It's not a lot of fun in October if you've got no chance of winning.

(Pat)>> BMR had a problem and Summit Racing Equipment had a solution. They sponsored the team, helping BMR make significant upgrades to their Mustang including the power plant. When they invited us to build the new engine we were honored to do it.

(Scott)>> We just originally just wanted a couple more horsepower and they said, you know, let's see what we can really do with this. I think there's something really cool that we could do.

(Pat)>> We took a 363 cubic inch small block Ford, along with a bunch of performance parts from the Summit Racing catalog, and got to work. On the dyno the engine made 575 horsepower and 467 pound feet of torque, all on 93 octane pump gas. With an engine that makes almost three times the horsepower of their old power plant we cannot wait to see this Mustang run.

(Mike)>> Up next we go inside the garage for a behind the scenes look at the madness and mayhem of qualifying.

(Mike)>> Priming a newly built engine with oil before the initial startup is critical to prevent premature wear. Here's this week's tech tip.

(Tim)>> Here's why you prime an LS engine before first fire up. They have a crank driven oil pump instead of a distributor and the conventional bolt on oil pump setup. There should always be a film of oil between the engine's bearing faces and the journals they house. Priming will accomplish this in a quick manner. Turning the engine over to allow the pump to prime the engine can cause early bearing scuffing and other long term issues. Trick Flow makes priming the LS, late model Hemi, and several other engines without distributors easy with this hand held priming tool. Simply attach the feed line to an oil galley using the supplied adapters. Attach the other hose into your oil container and tighten a drill on the hex drive of the Trick Flow tool. Power up the drill and you will hear an audible change when the oil is pressurized in the galleys. [ drill spinning ]

(Pat)>> We're back on Engine Power as the BMR race team preps their Mustang for this weekend's AER endurance race. Like any kind of racing there is always a thrash getting everything all together.

(Scott)>> Well we're gonna go through the whole car and we've got to put a wrench on everything in this thing. Nut and bolt and make sure everything is tight.

(Pat)>> While we did some last minute engine prep Bill and Scott were sciencing out the car's new rear wing. With almost triple the horsepower under the hood additional downforce is needed to keep the Ford stable at higher speeds.

(Scott)>> Added aero to the car. That's gonna help with the downforce. That's gonna help under braking. That's also gonna help us stick to those corners at high speeds as well.

(Mike)>> The Mustang received a bevy of upgrades. Gears and axles, adjustable suspension, bigger 18 inch wheels sporting wider 275's, and bigger brakes just to name a few. All these upgrades did add some weight to the car but thanks to the new fiberglass hood, hatch, and doors the car's overall weight didn't change.

(Scott)>> It has put us exactly right back to where we were before at 3,000 pounds.

(Pat)>> American Endurance Racing is a sportsman class series, but like all automotive racing it takes support to be successful. In addition to sponsoring the BMR team Summit Racing Equipment is the title sponsor of the AER series.

(Jim)>> We love the racers that are involved. We love the way they run the event. We love their rules or should I say lack of rules. There's no rules to a specific car. It's based on how fast the car qualifies. So then you're grouped in a class. So that kinda evens the playing field and it really allows the teams a lot of ingenuity, but everybody's in a competitive class with a chance to end up on the podium at the end of the day.

(Pat)>> With everything buttoned up we fire up the engine to check timing. We've adjusted the timing by a degree and a half due to the variance between our dyno ignition and the system in the car. [ engine revving ]

(Pat)>> That thing sounds mean.

(Mike)>> Can we go up with the car? I just want to see the collector, make sure that's tight. Alright what's going on now is Bill is dropping the exhaust to move it back a little bit. The headers on this car have a slip fit collector and the O-2 sensor's mounted behind that. Well without a little silicone on those tubes air can be pulled and that will obviously mess up the injection system to make it think it needs more fuel and go into an over fueling situation. So we're gonna add a little silicone and take care of it. [ Music ] ( )>> Oh yeah!

(Pat)>> All kinds of work going on in here. After removing the collector it's deburred to go back on smoothly. Some high temp r-t-v will seal up any possible air leaks in the collector. Aligning the head pipes to the collector is tricky. So a second pair of hands is always appreciated. Something's happening. [ metal clanging ] ( )>> We did it!

(Mike)>> In addition to a full slate of races Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course offers training in defensive driving and performance driving. During a break in the action I got to go for a ride along with instructor and technician Max Gee using one of Mid Ohio's training vehicles. It's a 2013 Acura ILX that's mostly stock except for safety, suspension, and brake upgrades. The factory 2.4 liter engine produces about 205 horsepower. In a smaller car that weighs about 2,900 pounds that makes for a spirited ride.

(Pat)>> Back in the shop Scott mounts a fresh set of tires before heading to the course. American Endurance Racing does open qualifying. So teams qualify whenever they want during the qualifying window. A transponder in the car allows race operations to record track times, and an RF ID chip in each driver's helmet lets them know who's driving. Out of 59 teams BMR qualified in the 20th position, 3rd fastest in class three. They picked up 20 miles per hour on the straightaway and achieved their fastest lap time of one minute, 41.398 seconds.

(Mike)>> Once they get everything dialed into perfection BMR will certainly achieve their goal of running with the leaders in class five.

(Pat)>> There's an iron clad rule when you're dropping in a big engine. Give yourself as much room as possible.

(Mike)>> Now it's time for Pat and I to get the test sled ready for some laps of our own. Our original plan was to stick the Old Gray Mare between the frame rails next. It's a 408 cubic inch Windsor that made right at 600 horsepower back on our engine dyno, but we ended up having a conversation with some really good friends about a killer engine build and a little Coyote happened to slip right in. Now nothing bad happened and we're not giving up on the Windsor, it's just a Coyote, a big blower, and let's say north of 800 horsepower is going to be a lot of fun.

(Pat)>> Now for those not familiar with our test sled here it is. It's a bare naked Factory Five Type 65 Coupe-R, and it is purpose built to be our road dyno. Now it'll take Mopar, small and big block Chevys, Fords. The list goes on and that is thanks to a modular transmission and engine mounting configuration. The last bullet that was in this was a 1,200 horsepower single turboed LS. Now in a 1,900 pound car it was a handful. Check it out! [ engine revving ]

(Mike)>> Now we have to get the mockup of the engine and transmission in the test sled wrapped up because the engine will be taking a ride to SamTech in Houston, Texas. The place to forge a career in high performance engine building, machining, and tuning. Now they're gonna go ahead and prep the block, work their magic on the cylinder heads, assemble the engine. Then go ahead and dyno it. All we have to do is install it and we get to thrash on it. Not a bad deal. We team up with SamTech every year to put together a unique project engine. They range from LS' that power Copo Camaros to one that pushes a fourth generation Camaro over 200 miles an hour in a one mile event. Don't forget the late model Fords. Here's the one that goes in Austin Ford's factory shootout Mustang. It makes big power, and that is the reason SamTech sets records and has the reputation they do.

(Pat)>> We have several brackets and engine mounts for all the engines we plan to install in the test sled. The Factory Five engineers have it down to a science. It doesn't get any easier to put an engine into our test sled.

(Mike)>> The engine mount perches are built into the chassis for a rigid and fail safe design. Now in conjunction with the engine's mounts the height of these will position any engine in the correct location for a proper engine and transmission angle.

(Pat)>> Okay so what's coming out of here aside from what we have to put back in it?

(Mike)>> Everything.

(Pat)>> Oh that's good.

(Mike)>> The Holley e-c-u, Holley harness, boost controller, all that's gotta go. We're gonna be running the Ford control pack on the Coyote. So I'm just gonna go right back into the original location where we mounted the e-c-m but right now it's just undoing the connections we need to do nice and clean so we can go right back into them with the Ford harness and that's it.

(Pat)>> So all the electronical wiring is coming out. New electronical wiring is going in.

(Mike)>> It's all electronical, all day.

(Pat)>> Well at some point there's gonna be a naturally aspirated engine here where you've just got to hook the fuel to it and like one wire for power and that's gonna be it.

(Mike)>> That's another thing that's gonna be easy is hooking the fuel system up cause we were e-f-i before. The pump, the regulator, everything.

(Pat)>> It's gonna be a no brainer. So we have a good fuel system already in the car.

(Mike)>> These Earl's grommets are so good.

(Pat)>> Oh yeah!

(Mike)>> You can pry on them, push on them, squeeze them, stab them and they still work. There it comes. [ Music ]

(Pat)>> Probably should write on that what it is for what car.

(Mike)>> Yeah and put the turbo tune or something on it with just a silver Sharpie.

(Pat)>> Let me find something here.

(Mike)>> Fuel line a-go-go. Alright battery switch is turned off. So all this can come up here and stay.

(Pat)>> This throttle cable can stay.

(Mike)>> And then I'm going to leave the transmission line drawn back and tied up right there along the dip stick tube.

(Pat)>> This is some charging stuff.

(Mike)>> That is charging.

(Pat)>> So that stays and that's all good. That's the nice part about the car is so universal that all this stuff will work no matter what we put it in.

(Mike)>> Alright we just started, what, a minute and a half ago, and now we have room to drop the engine.

(Pat)>> And you said it before but this unobstructed engine bay. Look how easy it is to put stuff in it. This engine's wide. This'll be about the widest engine we put in this. [ engine revving ]

(Mike)>> Cutting or grinding in cramped spaces can be a pain, and if you're using air tools you have to worry about getting tripped up in your own hose. Well now you can get into tighter areas, not worry about the air hose, and even control your grinding better thanks to Matco Tools' 16 volt Infinium right angle die grinder. It accepts both an eighth and quarter inch collet, weighs right at 3.4 pounds with the battery attached, and has a no load speed of 3,400 r-p-m. If you get it as a kit you get 2 batteries with charge status indicators, the 2 wrenches to change the collets, a charger, and a molded case. It's a great addition to you Matco Tool collection. Up next, if the Coyote won't fit make it fit.

(Pat)>> Alright!

(Mike)>> We've removed everything we possibly can from the test sled engine bay. It's time to set this very wide Coyote engine into place. [ Music ]

(Pat)>> There we go. Ooh look at this! Are you ready? [ Music ] You good on the stud?

(Mike)>> Oh I'm in. Yeah I am in the hole. I've got the stud through and my locator pin is sitting in the hole. It is good but I can come this way.

(Pat)>> I'm gonna put a little more tension on the engine cause I'm just barely hung up on that.

(Mike)>> So it needs to roll this way?

(Pat)>> It has to roll this way. Oh something happened.

(Mike)>> Is the oil filter adapter hitting the chassis? Right down here on this bar?

(Pat)>> Yep.

(Mike)>> That's a problem. From what I can see under here is the engine is sitting a little over to the passenger's side and it actually needs to physically move your way about a quarter inch. There you go.

(Pat)>> Something's happening. Now it's sitting on the steering shaft.

(Mike)>> Yeah see that's what it was sitting on, that little ear right there.

(Pat)>> That's easy enough. [ grinder buzzing ]

(Pat)>> The engine mounts have to be modified to handle the Coyote. We'll simply drill a hole and lengthen the slot using a carbide burr. [ Music ]

(Mike)>> Alright it's all you bud. [ Music ]

(Pat)>> Here we go.

(Mike)>> I'm good. I'm in and in. Are you in?

(Pat)>> Yep.

(Mike)>> Still tons of room though.

(Pat)>> You got those little tiny hands.

(Mike)>> My hands aren't that tiny. I've got big feet.

(Pat)>> You know people with big feet have a better understanding. That's right. Keep my day job.

(Mike)>> The engine is contacting the steering shaft but that may change once we install the transmission. Alright buddy.

(Pat)>> Ready? Alright clear.

(Mike)>> We have had great success with Gearstar transmissions and this one is no exception. It was actually in a project truck down the hallway and we happened to grab it without anybody knowing. Now these are built by a single individual giving it the utmost attention to detail. Now this is one of their stage 4 performance 4-R-70-W builds. Inside are alto hardened colleen steels, a 300-M hardened intermediate shaft, heat treated and stress relieved input shaft, new electronics, and the list goes on and on. On the outside you'll find a custom 360 degree shift lever arm and a large capacity deep oil pan. Now if you want to find out more about this transmission or any others that Gearstar offers just log on to their website. [ Music ] Well and the good thing is when the motor's going away for a little bit but the transmission's gonna stay. When we go to drop the motor in it'll just be boom, transmission's there.

(Pat)>> You know these cars really weren't built for an automatic transmission anyway.

(Mike)>> They ran manuals in them.

(Pat)>> You ever notice how we always do stuff a little bit different.

(Mike)>> You know it's not a bad thing though cause it shows people that there's so much else out there you can do. I mean look at it. Look how much of the actual bell housing is in view.

(Pat)>> Right all of it.

(Mike)>> All the transmission bolts you can access from the top. You can put the transmission dip stick in from up here. I mean it's good. Guys like you that are engine builders and stuff you don't necessarily like working on this stuff.

(Pat)>> That is 100 percent true and especially something. If something's hard to work on I don't want to work on it. This car in particular is extremely easy even with how wide this engine is. That's the amazing part of all this because this is about the widest thing you'll ever put in this unless you put a 426 Hemi in it or a Boss 429, ooh!

(Mike)>> Now you're talking.

(Pat)>> The transmission crossmember plate needs 2 new holes for the Ford transmission mount. They are marked, then drilled, and the transmission gets installed for good. [ Music ] [ drill spinning ] [ Music ]

(Mike)>> As luck would have it, bolting down the transmission pulled the Coyote's front end up slightly, giving us plenty of clearance between the steering shaft and the engine. The mock up went great. With the engine and transmission where they need to be the next thing we have to do is get a driveshaft length. Now I'll climb under the car and holler out some numbers to Pat, and I'm sure you don't want to see it because we've shown it 100 times. So until next time get out in the garage and mock something up.

(Pat)>> And for more information on anything that you've seen on today's show visit Powernation t-v dot com.
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