455 FED Rail Break-In!

Discussion in 'Race 400/430/455' started by Rodney Byrd, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    Haven't posted in a while, I've been working on our Buick project. Now we have fired it, and it sounds pretty mean! I started a thread earlier this year soliciting HP estimates, and most people suggested 500+, no more than 525, and I realize that's all theoretical. To refresh, here's the components used:

    1972 455 block, .040 o/s, ARP studs & align honed, oiling passages drilled.
    1972 455 heads, Stage I Ferrea valves, double springs from TorqueTech.
    KB roller rockers, Lunati pushrods, Poston GS105A cam& matching lifters, TA grooved cam bearings.
    Speed-Pro .040 over Hyper pistons (with head milling and block decking,
    10.5:1 compression), stock rods with ARP's and resizing, cast .010/.010
    crank [.002 clearance rods, .0025 mains], KB full-groove main bearings,
    Clevite77 rod brgs. Stock timing cover with Melling HV pump kit and KB
    booster plate,TA adjustable pressure cap on relief spring, Poston dist. gear oiler, Poston lifter galley bypass line, TA oil pan [reads one qt. low with 8 quarts by the factory stick/tube], Mallory
    Double-Life distributor [converted to Petronix Ignitor] with TA bronze gear, MSD7 with LaunchControl 3step, Petronix 7mm DoubleConductor wires, AC plugs (2 ranges colder than stock), KB Wildcat CoolRunner intake, AED 850 DP Holley (actual flow 900+cfm), home-made "weed-burner" zoomies with 2"X2 1/8" step- 15" long.

    We fired it Sunday at dusk, after priming the oil pump. It started immediately, and timing was at 30deg., so I left it there for the first cycle. We could only run it in short sessions, because on our rail, we only have a small radiator (think:heater core!), fed by a CSR water pump and #16 line. I kept the constant rpm at no more than 2500, and occasionally went as low as 2000 and blipped to no more than 3000 a few times. It went REAL smooth. I even got lucky on my relief spring selection and adjustment setting on the oil pump, we had 70# max cold at 2500, then it mellowed to 50 HOT at 2500, no less than 30 idling at 1200 HOT. This is with 10W-30 Valvoline "NotStreetLegal" Racing oil, with a pint of Lucas Zinc TB thrown in to help the cam&lifters break-in. After the initial session, we cooled it down and checked everything. On re-start, I set the timing on up to 38 (it's locked in the dist.), and it sounded even better! We did several more sessions, and more yesterday, and on the last one, I had adjusted the relief spring another turn, so that I had 40# idling (remember 1200rpm idle!) and over 60 max HOT at rpm. I think after we know what the pressure is in the traps, I may play with it some more. I have set it up for it's debut with a 6500 rpm top limit, a 4500 rpm burnout limit, and put the launch control on 3200 (but it adjusts with dials in the cockpit, so we can easily twist it up). I want to set the shift light at less than 6000, like maybe 5800, and have the shift done by 62-6400 rpm, once we verify the characteristics of this actual motor. We'll start with lower shift points and move up when we get comfortable. I will post updates once we track-test it. If anyone sees anything bad-wrong with this scenario, let me know... RB

    PS: I know the Hyper pistons are sucky, and the camshaft is kinda outdated, but we put this motor together on a budget with stuff we had, bought for peanuts, or were locked into already. (MSD7 and a converted dual-point distributor from the '60's????)
  2. 73-462GS

    73-462GS GS Mike

    Good luck hope it works great for you. Mike D.

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    38 deg with hyperutectic pistons and iron heads is asking for trouble!:Smarty:
    Sure it'll sound better.....till it goes kaBOOM.
  4. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    Yeah, maybe. I'm going to start at 35 on track day and see what happens. Without pushing it too far and shattering one, how would YOU determine peak timing? I want to put a top end retard function on, like we have built-in on the Mallory box on our MoPar powered rail now. Once we get a good 60ft baseline, optimizing timing and launch rpm, then I'd like to fiddle with taking a few degrees out on top. I personally hate hyper. pistons IN A RACE APPLICATION, but I have run them in MoPar big and small block iron-headed wedges with nothing but success, both KB and FM/SpeedPro, and they are quenchless, spark-knock prone motors by design. I would not use any nitrous or forced induction with them, contrary to Silvolite/KB's recommendation. I failed to mention that we were running straight TrackTek 114 octane race fuel on break-in, we probably will cut 50-50 (103.5 oct) or 33-67 (100 oct) race/pump premium mix when racing. Detonation surely will also be reduced by the less than 2000# weight of the whole dragster/driver combo. This is not a 225 here!
    Version 2.0 is already on the "drawing board", funds permitting, with [at least] Pro-Tru flat-tops and Edelbrock heads. If we hit the lottery, of course we'd go TA Stage(?) and JE/Ross etc., but in the realistic future at least we'll be upgrading some. I do want to have some fun for a while with this cobbled-up deal, and I really appreciate the input. I will weigh and try to apply tips from those who have BEEN THERE!!! RB

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    If you can retard back to 30-34 on top end that should be fine esp with good gas.:TU:
  6. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    Thanks for the positive comment. We got a lot of criticism when we bought our first rail, turn key, with a big block Chevy, tossed it out for a 383 MoPar. All that went out the window when we went over .7 quicker (.5 better the first pass!) with the mini MoPar big block. Out of our partnership, I am the Buick fan, and Charles is pretty much all MoPar. Since HE is the one driving (I'm 6'4", 320+lb.), it took a little convincing to get him to try it. It helped that this rail (even though SBChevy powered before we bought it, rolling) had the BOP and Chevy pattern Ultrabell already with it. It did take a heap of block clearancing and rail tweaking to make it fit, and he grumbled. Maybe if he feels the TORQUE and it holds up good, I can make Charles a believer! I hope this Buick-powered one at least runs better than the BBC did on the other one, even though it was a roller motor with more compression. I like being different, and around here everyone is pro-Chevy or Ford, as if it were subsidized or something!!! I wonder if they even have cable or satellite TV, they're so herd-oriented... RB
  7. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    Wow, as low as 30deg on top! I guess those chambers are efficient as reputed to be. Our other rail (13:1 MoPar 395" Wedge, domed pistons, closed chamber iron heads) likes 38 initial with 34 on top, in different air it sometimes responds to 32 or 36 retarded, but always likes the 38-40 initial. Do you think tuning the initial off of the 60ft. will be safe (within reason, say 38 max)? RB

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    I'd say you could get away with 38 off the line since it's so light. Also, no heat will be trapped around the motor!

    I retard my timing all the way back to 26 deg to slow it down for 10.00 index racing. Still runs strong!
  9. 70aqua_custom

    70aqua_custom Well-Known Member

    This is how I do it, "Mike Canter : Reading For Ignition Timing

    Ignition timing is directly responsible for the heat in the combustion chamber and therefore the color of the plugs ground strap and the color of the first few threads on the outside of the plug. The ignition timing can be checked by looking at the color of the plugs ground strap and the position of the "blue line" on the strap. The blue line really indicates the point at which the strap has reached annealing temperature of the metal. To help to understand this think of a bar of steel (ground strap) on a table that is being super heated with a acetylene torch at one of the tip ends. As the end heats up and the heat starts moving down the bar you will see a blue line across the bar at some point down the bar away from tip with the torch. This blue line reflects the temperature that is the annealing point of the metal. As the temperature increases the blue line moves further down the bar away from the torch. Similarly, the blue line moves down the spark plug ground strap as you put more heat in the engine.

    If you are using a gold colored ground strap like with an NGK spark plug then not enough timing will show the ground strap as still gold or going light gray maybe with a few bubbles on it after a run. As you advance the ignition and put heat in the engine the plug ground strap will turn darker gray as well as the metal at the end of the threaded area. As the metal turns medium to dark gray you should start looking for the blue line (band) around the ground strap. Ideally, you want this blue line to be just below where the ground strap makes the sharp bend and above the weld. If you advance the ignition too far the blue will disappear off the strap and the strap will pick up rainbow colors (blues and greens). The next step beyond that is to start melting the strap from the tip end and detonation. When you are close to the correct timing then only change the timing by one degree at a time."

    complete article is HERE
  10. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    Thanks! Thats some good info!!! I will try and read the plugs after a full power run, starting from maybe 32deg. The color after cam break in and some fiddling around with carb, oil pressure adjustments and timing looks surprisingly good, not smut black or pure white, just a greyish cast. This is with NO LOAD yet, so I will put in a fresh set before track day and look for the coloration of the strap then. Got the last wiring (burnout limit switch) done last night and adjusted the oil pressure up a little more. It seems to be 65psi max hot now, never getting much higher past 3500-4000, but never dropping below 30 at a HOT idle (although 1200rpm!). I never rev the motor past 2-2500 with it below 160deg, we will probably be at 180 after the burnout and 210 at shutdown, if everything goes as planned. I will probably switch to synthetic oil after we fully seat the rings and get some baselines established, or at least run synthetic Lucas additive, for some extra heat protection. We tow to the line, and tow back to the pits, but heat builds fast on something with that small of a radiator... RB
  11. BQUICK

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    For 6500 rpm you need 75-80 lbs hot (at the front of the block). (I run 80-85)

    I'd crank it up some. Just trying to help that thing stay together.:TU:
  12. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    Thanks! I'm not certain which spring I have on the relief valve, I think I went with the middle one, not the whimpy one or a killer, because I didn't want to take a chance of too much pressure on start-up. I'm a freak about immediately firing and coming up to speed for cam break-in, so I didn't want to peg the gauge at first with everything tight and cold oil. It really went exactly like I hoped, which is unusual, but I don't want to get overconfident now and blow it (literally!). No harder than it is, I may pull the regulator assy. off and refresh my memory on the spring. I have plenty of adjustment left on the regulator, but I don't want to coil bind the bypass valve shut. Opinions always vary greatly on oil, and I'm highly opinionated/biased based on previous experience. I like thinner oil in a Buick, like 10w-30, but previously they have all been street cars, LeSabres, Electras etc. With the heat factors involved with this application, and my safeguards employed with the oil pump/ distributor gear, the full-groove mains and ample bearing clearances, I wonder if thicker synthetic oil (15w-40 or 20w-50) would be better? Our MoPar rail, with a dragster specific oil system (swinging pickup, external feed line to pump, etc.) isn't picky. We have 100psi cold at idle, 85# pretty much all the time when hot, so we have experimented a little with it, and we just use ambient temp/season to determine weight. Any tips on oil weight would be noted and considered. Thanks! RB

    PS: Next time I build one, I think I'm gonna plumb up the rear gauge fitting behind the intake, if I can clear the flexplate and still keep the lifter galley bypass line.
  13. RAMKAT2

    RAMKAT2 Randy

    So When Are We Going To Se Some Pictures?????
  14. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    Gotta wash it (dusty from sitting in our shop!), and put the sheetmetal back on. I'd really like to have the lettering and artwork done, too, before I post a pic. If we get it to the track this weekend, I'll try and post some race day shots next week. I borrowed my girlfriend's digital camera to put some stuff on Ebay, so I really have no excuse, other than a dread of downloading...
    We named it "BlackWidow", and she's black all over with the big red engine, so it kinda fits. It looks pretty good, 186"wb, ET slots on back with 33X12's, and solid CenterLines on front, a "Surfer" type scoop on top of the carb, braided line everywhere, etc. A friend of ours is a freehand pinstriper/customizer kind of guy, and he volunteered to paint the graphics, but he's always tied up. My partner's brother and sister-in-law have a sign shop, and do excellent vinyl, including complete vehicle "wraps", so we may let them do it in a few weeks! Thanks for the interest! RB
  15. Buick

    Buick Ramin Ansari

    Pics! We wanna see guts, not skin!

  16. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    It's mostly guts anyway! I will try and post some before/afters so you can appreciate the skeleton! Some close-ups of the clearancing required to fit the 455 in where a 377 small block Chevy came out would be interesting. The miracle thing is how the oil filter base protrudes right beside a diagonal brace, and almost perfectly centered between the upper and lower main rails! That is when I knew it was preordained! That and the fact that the previous owner only ran Chevys, but had paid extra for the universal Ultrabell!!! :beer RB

    PS: Bear with me, your smileys are starting to scare me... :shock:
  17. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    [​IMG][​IMG]Am taking digital pics today as we work on the rail. I set the timing for the final time before our shakedown pass at 34 degrees. I removed the oil pressure regulator after that, with the motor warm, and changed the spring. I had a long, whimpy spring in there, and with the adjustment where it was, I was nowhere near coil-bind. I read in one of my Buick how-to books to use the Melling white spring with 2 complete coils whacked-off. I did this, and reinstalled the cap in its pre-adjusted state. Upon firing, it now had 60# idling HOT, and way over 80# at high rpm, so I backed-off 1 turn, which gave me 75# at 4000 rpm. I think I'm gonna leave it alone, 'till I get some actual run data from Charles. Setting everything in a shop, with no load and race conditions can't be optimum. I removed the valve covers to change the valve cover gaskets, as I had re-used them from the initial build of this motor, which had chrome Riviera covers with the KB rockers that forced me to use the thick 3/8" TA gaskets. I guess they dried-out since I built the motor in '00 or '01 (can't remember), so I put some fresh FelPro corks on there with the new TA aluminum covers. I re-tightened the KenneBell shafts and rocker stops, and checked side clearance again. My preload still seemed good on the lifters, and it's oiling well up top (a problem I used to have before with oiling to the rockers was bad cam bearings in other motors). I got my burnout chips and plug wire looms from Summit Friday, and modified the looms today (everything is Chevy oriented) before installing. I set the burnout limit at 4200 and the top limit at 6200, ultimately I want to work both of them up 300 more RPM. The shift light is set for 5000 right now, we'll go to 5500 almost immediately when we see how it leaves and where the one shift occurs on the track. The new Optima gel battery is in place and charged. Rain blew in this afternoon, so it may be next week before we can go (damnit!!!), but we did NEED the rain... RB
  18. 70aqua_custom

    70aqua_custom Well-Known Member

    sounds good, I can't wait to hear how it runs. What track will you run at?
  19. alvareracing

    alvareracing Well-Known Member

    Rodney, you may want to consider a oil pan heater (what we use) with a oil temp gauge. When people talk about hot oil no ones really know how hot is hot. You will be surprise how much heat it takes and where the sweet spot is for the most power. I normally hit the water box around 150* oil temp, we don't really care for water temp, since we just fire it up and go unto the lanes. And by the end of the track is around 200*. At that point the H20 temp is around 185*. We run straight 40 weight here in Florida do to the extreme heat and clearances in the bearings. (lets say big). But anyway we religously monitor the oil temp and that tells us when to run it. I use a generator in the pits to heat the oil up, and some times I even plug her in on the way to the track depending how far we travel. This way is ready to start and race. Which by the way we never fire one of our race motors before oil heat up. Yeah its a pain in the ass to do but the bearing love us for it.
  20. Rodney Byrd

    Rodney Byrd Torque

    We're in central Georgia, so we go to Macon National Dragway, in Jeffersonville,Ga., near I-16 on Ga.Hwy96. It's an 1/8 miler that used to be 1/4, so there is plenty of shutdown room, we don't pull the chute on our MoPar powered FED, which runs 5.50@ over 125mph. Other tracks are closer but have bad return lanes (poor ground clearance or turn-arounds too sharp) and/or short shutdown. Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds,Ga. is a fair haul (85mi.), but has 1/4 length with plenty of shutdown, we haven't run there with our rail, but our door slammers are known there. Jim Netherland has run NSCA (?) there and knows it well. We have also been to South Ga. Motorsports Park in Adel/Cecil Ga., but it's almost to Florida. We did run our best 1/4mi times there ever, last summer in the heat (and forest fire smoke air, from the Okefenokee Swamp disaster). If I can YouTube the sound and/or a run video, I'll post a link... RB

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