UNDER THE HOOD: Latest News From Project Big Red
June 17th, 2020: It was time to make a few upgrades and help keep our Rossler built Turbo 400 a lot cooler. I installed a new DeRale 16 row cooler with a 650cfm fan, and a new aluminum deep slotted trans pan. A ton of fabrication had to happen to make this work. The new cooler was significantly larger than the old one and to top it off, there was no room for it. With the help of some creative brackets and home engineering I was able to fit it. The new trans pan had to be heavily modified to accommodate the overflow tank and temp sensor. I finished the job off with a custom little air scoop that covers and hides the cooler. It was extremely stressful cutting, grinding, and welding on a completely finished car. Thank God I was super careful and had no "oops" happen.
June 15th, 2020: We contacted the super friendly people over at RPM Performance Data Loggers and ordered a new transmission temperature sensor and cable kit to add to our data logger. Randy sent over a set of easy to follow directions on how to wire the cable, program the data logger to read the new sensor, and program the digital dash to read the data logger. I have become a data junkie and love seeing everything displayed on my laptop. Special thanks to Randy at RPM for all of his help and making this upgrade and install extremely easy.
March 5th, 2020: We are proud to introduce our new Big Red T-Shirt and Hat designs. The super talented people over at Konstant Designs did a great job bringing Big Red to life on that shirt. If you are interested in purchasing a T-Shirt, Long Sleeve Shirt, Hoodie, Hat or Beanie shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
February 17th, 2020: I finally found the time to install the new springs. We went with a 50lb heavier spring and 2 1/2" longer. We will definitely not get any more coil bind after launching. Hoping to get a little more preload and weight transfer as well.
July 13th-14th, 2019: We had a great time at the Menards Chevy Show. Big Red won Best Pro Street and Top 10 Raceway Award.
June 16th, 2019: The new Billet Specialties Wheels look AMAZING! Check out the Parts Counter column for our feature on them. I can't believe how much of a difference they make in changing the look of the car.
June 16th, 2019: After a lot of research we finally found the ONLY rear brake kit that will fit with the new Billet Specialties wheels we ordered. Thank God it is made by Strange which is known for their super high quality racing parts. This new kit was so easy to install and very well designed. Big Red should be able to stop a lot better now. Some of those shut down areas are way too short for no parachute,
June 15th, 2019: Big Red officially left the body shop for the last time today. We fitted the hood and fixed a few gap issues. It is hard to believe that she went from rags to riches. It was a long journey and a lot of hard work. I lost all of my fingerprints from sanding so much. Here is what she looked like when she left the shop.
April 20th, 2019: Well Big Red is finally painted, wet sanded, buffed, and polished. Matt at Convenience Collision did an amazing job showing why is the premier painter in the area. If all goes well I am bringing her back home today to start re-assembly. I will share more pics with you when she is back in my shop. Here are a few for now.
October 7th, 2018: I got the official word from Matt at Convenience Collision to start taking Big Red apart. We are bringing the parts in stages so she gets to stay in my shop for as long as possible and free up room in Matt's shop. Here are some pics of the process. More to follow.
July 29th, 2018: We loaded up Big Red and attended the Mt. Lake Car Show and she won Best Race Car. This is a REALLY cool show and is well run. It doesn't get any better than a day with my wife and daughter, and Big Red lakeside with hundreds of cool cars and fellow gearheads.
July 20th-22nd, 2018: After a little abuse at the Menards Show and our favorite racing spot here in NJ, we found out that the CryO2 tube on the passenger side settled in was hitting the alternator fan. After looking at the situation for an hour or so and trying every possible way to make a bracket, I decided to make it as simple as possible. I made a cardboard template and transferred it to the aluminum and did my thing bending and drilling. After a quick polish, I mounted one end to the engine bay and the other to the clamp that holds the filter to the tube. It was simple and clean and most importantly INVISIBLE to the front of the car.
July 13th-15th, 2018: We packed up the truck and hauler and took Big Red to the Menards Chevy Show at Maplegrove Raceway in Reading, PA. The old girl was well received and won Best In Class. Our hats go off to Brian and his crew for running an excellent event as always and for Maplegrove Raceway for hosting this prestigious event. I had a great time with my family and my little brother even joined us on this trip. It was great to see so many old friends and enjoy 3 days of gearhead utopia. Special thanks to all of our sponsors for believing in us and making this happen. We are grateful for your support and will continue to spread the word wherever we go.
April 20th-May 15th, 2018: I bit the bullet and completely redesigned the cooling system on Big Red. After a hard day at the track or an even longer cruise, she has the tendency to get a little warm. After a lot of research, I found out that AFCO makes a double pass radiator 80101NDP that is the same dimensions as my old one. The double pass technology should be the missing element I am looking for. The only problem with this plan is that the upper inlet is on the opposite side, and the new radiator has a filler cap and overflow port on it. I was really not looking forward to anymore fab work on a finished and tweaked car, but I have no choice. Thankfully Jegs makes a universal intake port that can be flipped for either left or right side application. It comes already set-up for my temp sensor and ports for the lines that cool the back side of my Brodix heads. The next obstacle was that the old radiator did not have a filler cap. So I essentially made the new radiator filling port useless by capping off the overflow port and putting a 25-27psi cap on it. Since steam rises, I will use the port on the intake as my filling port and cap it with a 19-21psi cap. (raising the pressure of the system considerably raises the boiling point) AFCO radiators are pressure tested to 30psi and after speaking with them, they assured me that many of their racers successfully run 25-28psi. I had to modify the top support and make room to accommodate the filling port. Since I had the top support off, I stopped by my buddy Matt's shop and had him buff it to a brand new lustre. I was able to fit everything in that tight little space and keep everything looking as tweaked and professional as it used to. It passed the driveway temp and pressure check, but I ran out of time and good weather to do some pavement pounding and see she how she really works. On a positive note, it was really hard trying to get to operating temperature while idling in my driveway. This was NEVER the case with the old radiator and my 572 CI beast.
February 1st, 2018: It's been a while since we updated all of you about Big Red. I bought her a car cover for Christmas and she has been resting nicely in the shop under her new blanket. And yes, I start her up at least once a month to keep my heart beating and the carb clean.
I am proud to announce that RPM Magazine did an 11 page feature story on her with 21 pictures taken by the famous Rick Belden. She was featured in the January 2018 issue and even has a cover photo! Special thanks to everyone at RPM for believing in my car and making a lifelong dream come true.
September 2nd-19th, 2017: After hearing a disturbing sound coming from the rear at high speeds, I decided it was time to take her out and see what was going on. Just to play it safe, a complete rebuild was in order. I installed new Timken bearings and races. A new Strange Diff and a bigger set of Strange 5:13 gears. The only thing I re-used was the Moser axles as those and the end bearings were just installed over the winter. Since I had the rear out of the car, I figured I might as well give it and the rest of the rear suspension a fresh coat of paint. The Dana 60 might be old school, but this one has the best of modern parts in it. Finding the time to work on your own car is ALWAYS a challenge. There was a lot of late nights in this baby. On another note, I now own every tool you could possibly need to rebuild a Dana 60. We are back to green flag racing!
August 19th, 2017: We took Big Red and our 908 Hauler to the Cops n Rodders Car Show to benefit Children with cancer. We had a great day meeting so many awesome people. Big Red had quite the crowd during a few scheduled start up sessions. She won another award.
July 30th, 2017: We entered Big Red in the Mt. Lake Car show and won 1st place in the Race Car Class. There were some really nice cars on site and a few awesome race car entries. As always I enjoyed talking with everyone about the project and telling them about all of our sponsors and the benefits of their products. I highly recommend this show to everyone. Good people, amazing lakeside scenery, and well run. Fun for the whole family.
July 13th-16th, 2017: I decided that since Big Red is only a virgin once, I was going to enter her into the Menards Chevy Show at Maple Grove Raceway. She was well received and made quite a splash for her debut showing. We thank all of our new friends for helping us that weekend and showing us the ropes. Special thanks to all of our sponsors for making this happen. We are grateful for your support and will continue to spread the word wherever we go.
July 6th, 2017: Special thanks to Mike at E-Town Raceway Park for opening up his beautiful facility for our photo shoot of Big Red. The weather was horrible and it rained 99% of the time we were there. We shot most of the pics under their iconic tower because there was NO way my baby was getting wet yet. The rain stopped just long enough for my brother and I to set up on the track and get the picture I was hoping for. We will be attending some car shows and then its time to test all of the new parts for our amazing sponsors. Here is a preview of the photo shoot for our upcoming feature.
June 25th - July 1st, 2017: The LAST pieces of the puzzle were put into place. I finally found the the elusive hood strut brackets from Brocks Camaro in Columbia, South Carolina. Check out his e-bay store if you have a Camaro or Firebird. I had to modify the brackets to fit my fiberglass hood. After a bending, cutting, and grinding, I sanded and painted them to look new. Thanks to VFN Fiberglass for sending me the lower pressure hood struts so we don't crack the hood trying to close it. It is so good to see the hood open without using a prop bar.
June 15th, 2017: I brought Big Red to Funk Signs to have the front and rear rally stripes put on. Special thanks to Joe at Funk Signs for taking his time to make sure these turned out great. We worked all day together and was able to do what other decal shops said would be near impossible because of the size of the cowl. Joe made it look easy as this job transformed right in front of my eyes. If you are looking for a great job by someone who pays close attention to detail, Joe at Funk Signs is your guy. He is certainly the only one we will ever go to!
June 8th, 2017: The engine is finally COMLETE and is a piece of art!. I plumbed the Design Engineering CryO2 Air Bulbs into the Spectre cold air pipes. The solenoid sends CO2 to the bulb on the right first then passes through the -4 braided line and feeds the other bulb before venting out under the car. I also made a new upper radiator support out of aluminum. We will be starting it up again this weekend and take a short cruise with her. We are just waiting for the decal shop to schedule us in and lay down the rally stripes on the hood. It is hard to believe that all of the the work is coming to an end. It is time to schedule a photo shoot and capture the beauty of this beast before we get her dirty at the track.
May 27th - 30th, 2017: Putting the interior back together was an internal milestone for me. I was very anxious to test all of the electronics that I labored over during the winter. There are so many things that get controlled and monitored. Every piece was custom cut and painted. I am happy to say that everything worked perfectly. The new NRG quick release and steering wheel look amazing. It is finally beginning to look like a finished car again. The only thing left in the interior is to put the Kirkey Racing Seats in and the G-Force Safety harnesses.
May 27th - 30th, 2017: It is time to get the interior back together. I was very happy with the way the center gauge cluster came out. I was able to find a stock piece on e-bay and began planning how I was going to fit the RPM Performance digital data logger dash, Painless switch panel, Autometer gauge cluster and warning lights in such a small spot. After a lot of measuring and mocking up parts, I took out the air saw and began cutting things up.
May 25, 2017: Today I mounted the transmission overflow tank. This handy little part will not only keep everything clean under the car, but it will keep transmission fluid off of the rear tires. Had to cut a hole in the tranny tunnel to access the vent port and thread in the AN fitting. That was no problem, just had to make another patch panel and seal it back up.
May 17th-18th, 2017: There is no better way to ruin a perfect hood than to drill some pilot holes in it to see if your hours of measuring and planning actually worked. Well there is a better way and that is to take an air saw to those pilot holes and join them together. Special thanks to my gearhead buddy Shawn for helping with this "all-nighter." This is not something you want to attempt by yourself if you are an OCD guy like me. Not to mention that we took the hood on and off over 40 times. I used the blue tape to not only protect the finish on the highly polished tubes, but to chart the progress and lay out a grid to see where each next cut would be. There were 18-22 different cuts on each side. I am so happy with the way it turned out and can't thank Shawn enough for his help and calming through the entire process. TEAMWORK!
May 1st, 2017: With the exception of the CryO2 Air Bulb Chillers the engine is almost COMPLETE. Special thanks to Guy at Spectre Performance for his help in designing the dual plenum and tube layout for us. I am really happy with how everything turned out. All of the countless hours paying attention to the smallest details paid off. Now I have to try to make the hood fit over this beast.
April 28th, 2017: Had an EXTREMELY productive day in the shop. I was able to mount the Mike Norris oil catch can / separator that I got from the great people at Scoggin Dickey. Thanks to some detailed measurements earlier in the week, the location I chose was perfect. I made all of the braided lines to connect the oil catch can to the carb and breather. I had to drill and tap the breather to accommodate the 1/8" NPT to -6 AN adapter. I also made the braided lines to connect the radiator overflow tank to the inlet on the intake. I installed the radiator and used my Nutsert gun to mount the upper radiator support. The new braided radiator hoses from Spectre Performance worked perfect and added a nice touch to the engine bay. Since I was in the "making braided line mode" I also made the 2 fuel lines from the Aeromotive regulator to the Pro Systems Carburetor.
April 6th, 2017: I was able to make the alternator brackets, paint them, and wire and mount the alternator. The new Powermaster Alternator looks fantastic. I also installed the front engine plate today. I needed to mock up the CryO2 Cold Air Tubes so I could get some measurements. We are so excited, It is going to look amazing.
April 1st-2nd, 2017: The long awaited day has come. The engine and transmission our now back in its home! Special thanks to my gearhead buddy Shawn for flying in from Florida just to share this special event and lend me a hand. A special thanks to my friends Marty and Zack for letting us use their shop and make this install so much easier. We were able to install the converter and check for all the proper clearances as well as the mid engine plate and transmission. Everything was right on the numbers we hoped for. The freshly ceramic coated headers from GSD Coatings were then installed and helped make this entire beast look like a piece of art.
Once the engine, tranny, and tubular k-member were safely back in, we left my buddies shop and headed back to my own shop to begin reconstruction. We installed and plumbed the trans cooler, front air dam boxes, secured the mid engine plate, and got side-tracked fabricating a tow hook off the front of the car. This will keep me off of my back when I go to winch her in and out of the hauler. Like I wrote about in a "Shop Talk" Its the simple things that we tend to overlook, and starting off a day at the track or a car show without getting wet and dirty is a MAJOR plus. I am looking forward to plugging away at the rest of my checklist and finishing this project and sharing it with all of you. I am also looking forward to re-paying the favor and helping my buddy Shawn with some electrical work on his hot rod.
March 25th, 2017: I had some time to finish up some loose ends today. I was able to get the CO2 regulator mounted in an upright and centered position with the help of the creative use of some brass fittings. There was no way I was going to have the regulator mounted upside down or to the side of the tank. I also finished wiring the alternator fuse through the firewall in my quest to keep the engine bay clean and clutter free. The engine and tranny go in NEXT WEEK! I can't wait! Stay posted the engine install pics will be here soon.
March 15th, 2017: I wanted to give a special "shout-out" to a fellow gearhead that answered a distress call I put out on Instagram. I sent in a picture and asked the world of gearheads if anyone could help me find some parts that I could not find on my own. I needed a piece of plasic that separates the headlights and adds a finishing touch to the way they look. I also needed a bracket that gets mounted to the hood that holds the gas strut to the shock tower. Not only did @nickjp99 tell me he would look around for me, but he actually found the headlight separator. To top it off he had it shipped to me from across the country and would not take a penny in the process. Just when you lose all hope in humanity the gearhead community shows up and gives you hope again. We thank Nick and all of the other people who put aside their busy lives to help someone in need.
March 10th, 2017: It has been a long winter. We got a ton of little detail work done on the car since our last entry. We are scheduled to put the drivetrain back in April 1st-2nd. We will keep you up to date with detailed posts and pictures. We can't wait to get this beast on the road again!
Be sure to check us out on Instagram (908motormag) we will post all of the pictures of the final assembly.
January 12th, 2017: With all of the wiring complete, I decided it was time to check if everything worked properly with the new data logger. It was very cool to see that thing light up and come to life for the first time. Next step is to tuck and tie everything up and make it clean. Can't wait to test all of the functions and make some passes. We are definitely ready to put the drive train back in and get another step closer to firing it up!
December 29th-31st: The fuel system has been COMPLETELY rebuilt with the finest parts available. Special thanks to Aeromotive and RCI for providing us with their incredible products. Back in October I shared with you some pictures of the custom straps I made to hang the fuel cell now check out the finished product! I am so happy with how it turned out. I used the Aeromotive A-1000 Fuel Pump and Regulator along with their pre and post filters. Russell Pro Flex fuel lines and Jegs fittings connect everything to the custom made RCI fuel cell. RCI did an amazing job at taking the drawing and specs I sent to them and making this beautiful cell.
December 17th-18th: Project Big Red is FINALLY ready to put the engine and transmission back in! I finished up some wiring in the interior and connected the Optima Red Top to the new power wires I just installed and actually tested all of the circuits. I am happy to report that everything worked perfectly with the exception of a bad flasher relay. It was very encouraging to see all of that hard work come to life and show me signs of completion.
December 10th-13th: I ran a brand new 1/0 master power wire from the engine bay power lug to one side of the rear kill switch. I then made a new main power positive battery 1/0 wire from the positive side of the battery to the other side of the rear kill switch and shared that lug with a new master alternator 2 gauge wire that gets connected to a 150 amp fuse block in the engine bay and then to the alternator. I ran all of the new wires in a Vulcan Thermal Shield from the great people at Performance Plus Connection.
November 24th-27th: After finishing up a few cars for customers and recovering from a few days of crazy back pain, I FINALLY had some time to get some more work done on Big Red. I am almost ready to put engine back in this beast. I have the complete Aeromotive fuel system finished. I hung the absolutely beautiful new RCI fuel cell with the custom straps I made, mounted the fuel pump to my freshly made bracket, made all of the lines and ran them in a Vulcan Thermal Sleeve, connected the filters, and hung the regulator.
I ran the wiring harness I made that connects the back of the car to the front in a Vulcan Thermal Sleeve and mounted it to the frame. I also ran the rear brake line and the CO2 line into the engine bay. I mounted and wired the bump switch in the engine bay along with running the wires for the water pump, fans, line lock, CO2 solenoids, water temp sensors, and alternator exciter wire.
Lastly, I mounted the G-Force Accelerometer, Line lock solenoid, and the CO2 solenoid and connected all of the braided lines to them. I really needed to get all of that done and into the engine bay before I get the 572 back in. Once that beast is in place there is just no room whatsoever to do the kind of detail work I expect from myself. I have a few small things to finish up before I schedule my buddy Shawn to come and help me get the engine back in. I can't wait!
November 5th: I had a great time at the SEMA show. I was able to visit all of our sponsors booths and spend some time looking at all of their amazing products. It was so good to finally put a face to the fine people I talk to throughout the year. Be sure to check out our sponsor section and visit their web-sites to see for yourself. While SEMA was fun, It is good to be home. After drooling at all of the amazing cars this past week, I am looking forward to getting back to work on Big Red. By the way, did I mention that I got to hang with the legend Don "The Snake" Prudhomme? The last time I was able to talk to him I was 9 years old. He is the king of cool and will always be my favorite Hot Wheels car. #SEMA
October 28th: Big Red was given a complete make-over at Convenience Collision. Matt or as I now call him "The Paint Whisperer" and his crew did an amazing job and saved me a fortune by polishing a turd of a paint job and making her worthy of all the new upgrades. She is finally back in my shop and will undergo reconstruction surgery as soon as I am back from SEMA. Like I wrote about in this months Shop Talk column...... SOME THINGS JUST TAKE TIME!
October 24th: I brought Big Red to my friend Matt at Convenience Collision today for him to perform a final tweaking on the paint. His work is stellar so I am super excited to see it on Thursday when I pick it up. I will share the pictures with you so you can see for yourself.