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Episode Transcript

(Marc)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Marc)>> Today we stop by DBR High Performance for a little inspiration from the TrackHawk. We haven't had a chance to drive one of these.

(David)>> Well the key's in it. It's all yours.

(Marc)>> Let me see what it does here. Oh yeah! [ engine revving ]

(Brandon)>> And come up with our own plan. Some type of Jeep s-u-v, supercharged, big bad brakes.

(Marc)>> 707 plus horsepower.

(Brandon)>> To go really fast. [ MUSIC ] [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> David how's it going? Olivia!

(David)>> What's up?

(Marc)>> So this is Brandon and I told him what a nice place you had down here and were hoping that you would give us a shop tour.

(David)>> Come on back. DBR High Performance is a speed shop. We take your vehicle and make it faster. We specialize in domestic V-8's, whether that's Chevy, Ford, Dodge. Anything from superchargers, turbos, nitrous, bolt ons, cam shafts, anything in the realm of that. We do a ton of trucks. Trucks are really popular, especially in the Tennessee area. I started DBR High Performance because I just felt there was a need in this Nashville area to go fast, and I wanted to fill that need. I've always done racing since I was a kid and I just wanted to do it for a living. So this is our dyno room. This is where we do all of our dyno tuning on our main line hub dyno.

(Marc)>> I see the Vette on there. That's pretty awesome, ZR-1. What I want to know though is what's this grocery getter doing in here?

(David)>> Well it does look like a regular Grand Cherokee. It is a Grand Cherokee obviously, but if you notice the brakes they're a little bigger than normal.

(Marc)>> So it's an SRT, SRT-8.

(David)>> It's not an SRT-8. There's something tricky under the hood. It's a Jeep TrackHawk.

(Marc)>> Wow, it doesn't look like it.

(David)>> It doesn't. It's been debadged to not look like it on purpose. A bit of a sleeper.

(Marc)>> I guess that's the point of the pin striping here. Blacked out calipers. We haven't had a chance to drive one of these.

(David)>> Well the key's in it. It's all yours.

(Marc)>> So we can take it?

(David)>> You can take it.

(Brandon)>> I want to drive first!

(Marc)>> Awesome! David you're the man.

(David)>> Alright!

(Brandon)>> Oh and it's got the red key.

(Marc)>> Now it's time to get a little inspiration for our next project. Listen to that.

(Brandon)>> That whine is incredible!

(Marc)>> You hear the exhaust a little bit but the whine just pops. [ engine revving & whining ]

(Brandon)>> Dude! [ engine revving & whining ]

(Marc)>> Oh nice! That is no joke!

(Brandon)>> I think you're gonna see it in my face. I'm like whoa!

(Marc)>> At least it's got good brakes too.

(Brandon)>> It feels in the whoa and the go.

(Marc)>> On its own it's just a 700 horsepower Hellcat engine right, but it's what you put it in that makes this thing so valuable. It's what makes this thing so expensive.

(Brandon)>> What makes it the package of getting what you want in something practical.

(Marc)>> Turn right here. Actually pull into the church.

(Brandon)>> And then you want to switch.

(Marc)>> Yeah let's switch. So you gonna let me drive it?

(Brandon)>> Yeah. [ engine revving ]

(Brandon)>> Dude this thing, and the braking is just on point with it.

(Marc)>> That was naughty! [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Let me see what it does here. Oh yeah, dude! [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> This thing hugs the road. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> I didn't even expect it to do what it just did. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> This is the pinnacle of a performance s-u-v, performance truck slash s-u-v. Like this is it. Nothing gets better than this. What if we just took the performance level that this thing comes out of the box with?

(Brandon)>> Big brakes, high horsepower.

(Marc)>> S-u-v, and we build our own.

(Brandon)>> I think that would be more challenging and different than just going and buying one of these and making 1,000 wheel horsepower.

(Marc)>> And then we can just build it the way we want and we can do it at a fraction of the cost of buying this thing new.

(Brandon)>> So the key points are some type of Jeep s-u-v supercharged, big bad brakes.

(Marc)>> 707 plus horsepower. If you knock that off then you've got a knockoff.

(Brandon)>> Let's go ahead and just take this back to the shop.

(Marc)>> Yeah I think we need to do some testing.

(Brandon)>> And reconnaissance. [ engine revving ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Coming up next, instead of us getting our own TrackHawk we want to use this to inspire our newest build.

(Brandon)>> Ladies and gentlemen introducing the TrashHawk.

(Marc)>> 707 horsepower all-wheel drive, zero to 60 in three seconds flat on the street. This thing is a complete animal. I cannot say enough good things about the TrackHawk. I've had a lot of fun in vehicles over the years but never had as much fun on the street in a stock production vehicle as I have with this, and that says a lot considering it's a big, heavy s-u-v. Now we could pick one of these up for the shop but I think this thing is perfect the way it is. We could do bolt-ons, E-85 swap, make 900 at the tires but people are already doing that to these. So instead of us getting our own TrackHawk we want to use this to inspire our newest build.

(Brandon)>> Ladies and gentlemen introducing the TrashHawk.

(Marc)>> This is a 1986 Jeep Wagoneer, not a Grand Wagoneer. It's based on the XJ platform just as the Cherokees were from 1983 to 2001. This one's just a little fancier.

(Brandon)>> This one came equipped with factory vinyl wrapped wood grain, four headlights, even came with a set of fog lights. That's where it all stops. It doesn't have 707 horsepower, not all wheel drive, no a-b-s, no warranty, not reliable. The list goes on and on. The only thing it does have is the $2,000 dollar price tag.

(Marc)>> Which I like, and we could pick everything out of this or even one that's been rolled over and put it into our Jeep but at what point do you just buy one of these. So we really need to take what the essence of a TrackHawk is and inject that into our Jeep. What do we need to do that Brandon?

(Brandon)>> Well it needs to be a V-8, needs to be supercharged. Gotta have that whine, and it needs to make at least 707 horsepower.

(Marc)>> Okay that's enough. I mean if we can accomplish all of that we've got our hands full. Now before we dig into this thing and start taking it apart let's look at what we're starting with. I said we picked this thing up for pretty cheap, $2,000. Well the reason is because it's got the 2.8 liter V-6 under the hood but not only that the crankshaft is broken. So this is basically a pretty nice roller. One thing I noticed right off the bat it's a small engine bay. So that's a bit of a concern for me.

(Brandon)>> The one good thing is they put the straight sixes in these trucks. So you know we have length but the width is gonna be the problem. Might have to pull the sawz-all and grinder out but we've got to make sure that we put all the strength back cause it is a uni-body. That's one of the big concerns.

(Marc)>> Well we can figure that out. Engine bay, we'll get there. Let's talk about my favorite part of this vehicle. I love this interior. Brandon how about leather and corduroy?

(Brandon)>> It's the continuing wood grain for me.

(Marc)>> And it's in good shape too. For 35 years old you can tell this vehicle was really well cared for.

(Brandon)>> It's all original and nothing's been cut up.

(Marc)>> That's probably the best part. You think the front seats look good wait until you see the back. This thing looks like it's never even sat in. I mean look at that leather.

(Brandon)>> Seating for five and check this out. All this room, you could start a family in here.

(Marc)>> Let's just get it in the air and see what's going on underneath. [ mechanical humming ]

(Brandon)>> XJ's are uni-bodies and this one's been taken care of pretty good. Someone undercoated it before to stop a lot of corrosion.

(Marc)>> But just because they took care of it doesn't mean that it's gonna handle all the power we're gonna throw at it.

(Brandon)>> No especially the Dana 30.

(Marc)>> Right, I mean that thing is super puny. Look at this driveshaft. It is no thicker than my thumb.

(Brandon)>> Yeah, that's puny.

(Marc)>> We put steering shafts on trucks bigger than that. Transmission, transfer case?

(Brandon)>> Junk!

(Marc)>> Exactly, moving on to the rear.

(Brandon)>> Fuel system that's not gonna handle 700 horsepower. Dana 35 not gonna handle it.

(Marc)>> Well we just need to start draining some fluids, getting some things out of here.

(Brandon)>> Let's tear it apart.

(Marc)>> Let's do it.

(Brandon)>> Up next.

(Marc)>> Send it to the scrap bin. It's time to figure out just the right engine.

(Brandon)>> The uni-body and the firewall, where they meet, that's the strongest point on that truck and if you start cutting that up.

(Marc)>> I have an idea, meet me at the truck.

(Marc)>> Well we're plugging away on our Jeep Wagoneer here. We've got everything underneath disconnected. That'd be the driveshafts, exhaust, all the plumbing and linkage, and we even got the transfer case sitting there on the cart.

(Brandon)>> Everything under the hood's been taken apart. Radiator's gone, all the hoses and wiring. Even got the transmission on a jack right now. The only thing left is the two bolts and this thing's coming out.

(Marc)>> Do it! I'm loose here. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Did you disconnect everything?

(Marc)>> Got an oil pressure switch sitting over here. I hope so. We'll find out in a minute. That's loose. [ MUSIC ] A couple of vacuum lines. There's only 100 of them.

(Brandon)>> Well it's the '80's.

(Marc)>> You're good now. [ mechanical humming ]

(Marc)>> Send it to the scrap bin. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> There we go. [ mechanical humming ]

(Marc)>> Good enough!

(Brandon)>> There's actually a lot more room than I thought there was. Even though the engine mounts, they've got like another bracket we can get three or four more inches out of, at least for the width.

(Marc)>> So now what do we do?

(Brandon)>> Take all this vacuum stuff up, and clean it up, and see if we can take some measurements.

(Marc)>> Let's do it!

(Brandon)>> We're not sure what we're gonna use yet but we know what we're not gonna use. So out it comes. Sorry cruise control. [ MUSIC ] I think we should save the power distribution block for the alternator and battery. This goes into the main harness but a lot of this sensors.

(Marc)>> Yeah this is more sensors.

(Brandon)>> I would just lob it all off. [ MUSIC ] Got you there! Now you've got to wonder if I was being serious or being facetious.

(Marc)>> I'll tell you what. I'm just gonna keep them here for now and if we need to cut them later.

(Brandon)>> Yeah you can decide later. I love tearing everything apart. Whether it goes back together is sometimes my problem but a lot of times not my problem. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> It's gonna be my problem. I think I'm gonna leave everything else here. Looks kind of important. [ compressed air hissing ]

(Marc)>> A blank canvas. These engine mounts and brackets, obviously all that's gonna have to go but let's just take a measurement across the narrowest part and see what we're working with. Can do the back of the bracket.

(Brandon)>> That's 23 and three quarters on the back of my bracket.

(Marc)>> That's not a lot. Being this is a uni-body, without notching the frame it's gonna be kinda tight. I think we should just start measuring some engines and see what we got.

(Brandon)>> I mean if we got Hemi block.

(Marc)>> Gen three Hemi? We actually have one in house. Let's get a measurement on that and go from there. Alright so I think this is Detroit Muscle engine but it kinda gives us the idea for size.

(Brandon)>> Gen three Hemi!

(Marc)>> So we should probably like outside of the valve covers.

(Brandon)>> That's 26 and a half. That's pretty tight. The bottom might work. As far as the block but if you use the stock manifolds or even if you made some custom exhaust manifolds.

(Marc)>> I think the problem's gonna be with the firewall.

(Brandon)>> Well the uni-body. I mean the uni-body and the firewall, where they meet, that's the strongest point on that truck, and if you start cutting that up.

(Marc)>> I have an idea. Meet me at the truck. Hey Brandon, catch!

(Brandon)>> Oh man, LS?

(Marc)>> Well yeah, what's wrong with that? Look at that.

(Brandon)>> I mean it does fit. I hate to be those guys who put LS' in everything but there's a reason. It's a small package with a lot of potential.

(Marc)>> We could force the Gen three Hemi thing but the guys down in Engine Power actually have an LS that they're working on right now that we be ideal to reach our power level. We just need to get a supercharger to put on top of it. I say we make some engine mounts and just go from there. With our engine choice made and Brandon working on the engine mounts I figured I'd go ahead and get our transmission figured out and show you what we're working with. Now we know that the TrackHawk is both all-wheel drive and automatic, and that's part of what makes it so streetable but we're gonna actually go in another direction. We're gonna go with a stick and two wheel drive, and to do that we're gonna use this Magnum six speed that we got from American Powertrain. This thing is great because it does have six forward gears but the main thing with it is it'll handle that 700 pound feet of torque that we're thinking we're gonna make. Not only that the kit comes with a scatter shield. You can just run a regular cast bell housing on something like this. A twin disc clutch from Centerforce. What's great about a twin disc is it is streetable but then it also has that extra grip for that kind of torque level. The kit also comes with this hydro-max clutch release bearing kit. It's basically your throw out bearing is your clutch release, and that's gonna be all hydraulic, and we'll figure that out as far as connecting that to a clutch pedal later on. For now we're just in the mock up phase. So we just need to get the bell housing mounted to the transmission and get it in the truck. [ MUSIC ] Coming up, we test fit for a new engine for TrashHawk.

(Brandon)>> Plus our transmission works its way in. I'm not hitting the floor any more. And then comes a big surprise. Special delivery!

(Brandon)>> Now TrashHawk hasn't been this clean since probably before I was born. So after its bath I still had to make the engine mounts. Now this is a uni-body. So you can't just go welding motor mounts to the sheet metal. You actually have to plate them, especially since we're running 707 plus horsepower in this thing. Now I found a company online, Overkill By Design, that actually makes engine mount swap kits for LS to XJ's. This is perfect because it was pretty much what I was gonna design but this is bolt in and it's gonna save us a lot of time on this project. Plus they're powder coated.

(Marc)>> Yeah and on the engine side it comes with these polyurethane mounts. So all we really need to do is drop this thing in.

All the room! Let's go up with it.

(Brandon)>> Yeah!

(Marc)>> Well we've got our engine mounted in place and that is a big relief. We still need to figure out our transmission here, but looks like there's a lot of room. What is gonna be concern is where the shifter is gonna land. Now this vehicle was an automatic and we removed the shift, and it was like this big shifter assembly, and it left this big hole in the floor here and that's really where our shifter needs to land. That's gonna be the most comfortable for the driver. So there's only one way to find out. Get a measurement and figure out where it is, and the center of this hole's actually 23 and about a quarter. So let's see what it's like here, 27.

(Brandon)>> That's a little long but these shifters are reversible. It might get us pretty close.

(Marc)>> Actually yeah, if it flips around 180 that's gonna be like within a quarter of an inch.

(Brandon)>> Let's try it. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> That's the great thing about these aftermarket transmissions. There's different shifter configurations, which work in a wide range of applications. Look at that! 23 and one quarter. That's the center of the hole.

(Brandon)>> You can't get any better than that. [ drill humming ] [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> Might have to take that bracket off. Right there you're touching.

(Marc)>> It's hitting that bracket.

(Brandon)>> So we're gonna have to take that bracket off. Even though the transmission fits in the tunnel we want to make sure that there's enough clearance for when the drivetrain's under load.

(Marc)>> Oh it looks good this time. Let me change the angle just a little bit. Can you swing the rear? Is that where the boot's sitting?

(Brandon)>> Yeah. I think if we just cut that floor pan open just a little bit more.

(Marc)>> Like right there. So mark that. [ saw buzzing ] [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Alright then. Yeah that's close. [ MUSIC ]

(Brandon)>> We're not hitting the floor any more.

(Marc)>> That's good.

(Brandon)>> Before I make my own I want to see if this original crossmember is gonna work for us. [ MUSIC ] [ drill humming ]

(Brandon)>> Dude that crossmember actually works pretty good.

(Marc)>> You've got enough room here, and what's nice is we'll be able to run our exhaust above it.

(Brandon)>> All we've got to do is make a little pedestal for the trans mount.

(Marc)>> Well the factory one was similar but we could either bolt it in or just weld it on there with an offset pedestal.

(Brandon)>> I think just weld off a new pedestal.

(Marc)>> For now, since this is where we want to set it do you want to just set something in here for now? That way we can get the transmission jack out and go back up top?

(Brandon)>> I think a two by four will set in here.

(Marc)>> We'll make that later, cool!

(Brandon)>> Go ahead, good? Special delivery!

(Marc)>> Oh look at that. That's gonna make the power.

(Brandon)>> You want to throw it on?

(Marc)>> Yeah let's do it. [ MUSIC ] Slide back a little bit.

(Brandon)>> Right there. I think the hood's gonna close.

(Marc)>> Only one way to find out. Alright let's give this thing a try. I think it's gonna close. Oh yeah, and room to spare too. Brandon how's the shifter location? Brandon, hey, how's the shifter?

(Brandon)>> It's awesome! It fits in the same hole. I think the hole interior's gonna go back the same.

(Marc)>> Perfect, we're well on our way then?

(Brandon)>> Yes! This is too much fun though. [ MUSIC ]

(Marc)>> Follow along with us on this build at Powernation TV dot com.
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