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Author Topic:   Horsepower needed to run competitively
dluna
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 334
posted September 15, 2005 04:15 PM  
Bare with meÖthis is a bit of a novel.

Iíve had around two years of experience in an older dw-8 3link car now and think Iím ready to start fresh with a new car (pierce more than likely) and motor next year. I feel like Iíve got a pretty good handle on how to setup a 3link car now (except on the extreme dry tracks), but there have been times this year that I could tell I am just being out-motored. We estimate to have around 525hp in our 383 sbc right now. Iím running a falcon transmission and turn up to 7400 rpms. When the track is tacky, I can throw the car in, burp the throttle for just a second, then be back in it full throttle until the next turn. If I pinch it down any at all, I loose a few car links. If I make the corner just right, I still loose around a car link. Iím sure turning more rpms would help someÖbut there is more too it.

What kind of horsepower are the top 5 or so guys pulling these days? I realize you can get too much motor and just start burning off the tires, but I just want to know that Iím getting beat by setup and driver, NOT by big $$$ in a motor. Iím still not going to be able to put the $20K in a motor that some are doing, but Iíll have to make the budget allow to get a little closer for next year.

Under the caution, I can see some of the guys in front of me turn right, then jerk left and stomp on it, and the LF tire comes off the ground a few inches. I know all about the 4 wheels is better than 3 discussion, but that has to take some serious HP to do that, doesnít it? I could be wrong as Iíve yet to get my hands on a 4bar car.

Iím just trying to figure out what Iím going to have to put into a motor next year to ďhelpĒ make me a top 5 contender (of course, there are many more variables than just the motor).

FlyNLoIMCA17
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 753
posted September 15, 2005 05:50 PM  
First off it doesn't take BIG HP to yank the LF wheel. Thats just as much in the setup as under the hood. I race in Alabama and I estimate that I have around 450-500 HP. (388 eng. domes, world heads etc.) I can run with any car around here as far as HP down the straights. On restarts I have no problem passing. But I have talked to others up more north and they are running 600-700 HP. But they are also most likely on UMP Hoosier's. I run the AR's or well IMCA tires (be Hoosiers next year)So around here you can run up front and win races with 400 HP. I guess it all depends on who and what your racing against. I know that very few drivers will tell you what the have under the hood, most especially if they are winning, but if you can find some up front runnin' locals that will share that info. it will probably be the best place to start.

andykmod
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 351
posted September 15, 2005 07:03 PM  
All i have to say is look at the usmts guys, lots of power and plenty of traction and they are on the american racers most of the time.

HarrisMod#30
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 353
posted September 15, 2005 08:07 PM  
man, i dunno about winning with 400 horse, but we race half miles so your definatly not gonna win with 400 horse where we race, even if its black from top to bottom. Guess track size would factor into this.

dirtzone
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 102
posted September 15, 2005 08:48 PM  
I've had good luck in the past doing things a little different. Where my motor lacked in HP, I ran a little less gear to make up for straightaway speed. It was a 406 w/lots of torque, so I didn't gear it for a lot of revs to make big HP. Also ran a 2 spd trans to help on starts. Missed shifts from time to time, but when it all clicked it would do very well against the bigger $$ engines. My motor probably made around 500 hp on alky. BUT - technology keeps getting better and better. I have heard of engines well over 600 gettin it to the ground, though.

dirtzone
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 102
posted September 15, 2005 08:51 PM  
Is there anyone that's successfully running 3 link with that kind of hp? Just curious...

FlyNLoIMCA17
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 753
posted September 15, 2005 08:58 PM  
I forgot to mention I'm on 1/4 mile tracks. On 1/2 mile it would be hard to win with 400 HP unless everyone else had 400 also. There is a guy at our track who in the past 2 years has lord knows how many wins and 4 track championships at 2 different tracks, he is running a 3-link. I'm not sure how much HP he has but he sure ain't runnin' a pea-shooter LOL!

Mr. Badboy
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 29
posted September 15, 2005 10:29 PM  
We ran 550 horsepower, with a four bar z link, and would pull the motor down due to being hooked up. Seems to me around north Texas that more horsepower than 550 is needed, and having a rotating assembly that can turn 8200 rpm is necessary.

dirtbuster
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 2007
posted September 16, 2005 09:29 AM  
track size, shape and condition will play a big part. Our weekly track on a tacky night can use 650+ but on a dry night 550 could be more than you need. Then look at the USMTS boys, those guys are running the AR tire and hooking up 700+ regualrly.

So in the end it all depends on where and what you run as to how much motor you need. And yes motor isnt everything but if your hooking every bit of 400 but the next guy is hooking up every bit of 600, guess whos prob faster. But remember you have to get the car through the turns before you can use the power too.

leapinlizard
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 402
posted September 16, 2005 09:42 AM  
Someone told me last weekend after I mentioned we were down on power becuase of our primary engine blowing up. "when you learn to flat foot it all the way around, you'll need to worry about the power."


You said in your post you were backing it in, Try treating the track like a big circle rather than a oval, or diamond or whatever.

Kromulous
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 796
posted September 16, 2005 10:04 AM  
I think people over look alot of stuff when it comes to HP, and Motors.

Our motor this year is 365 CID, Pro 1 heads unported, and 2925 EB intake. Nothing complex, just decent stuff in the lower end. We got about 6k in it, and it makes about 500 to 525 in the car. Which is fine for our second year, next year we'll improve on it and get more power.

This winter were gonna pull the heads and intake and have them ported. Also were gonna switch over to shaft rocker set up, and a belt drive. Plus we might change the cam profile.

Add all that up, 100hp at least i figure. Then do the normal maintance, new valve springs, new rings and bearings maybe. Then your set to go for next year. We'll put another 2 to 3k in it, and have 625hp in the car next year, easily competitive anywhere.

Next year we might put it all in a big bore block (dart), it will all fit except the pistons, and up the HP again. All for about 3k, its easier to spend 3k a year improving and engine we already got, versus buying a new one for 15k.

My point is you can upgrade stuff as you go. All our Engines are SBC's (well most of us) so you can add on and change things, upgrade, as you go. Build the best bottom end you can afford, then the next year come back and improve on it.

Also keep that rotating mass to a resonable number, mega lite spools, lightened gears, gun drilled axles, light hubs, light wheels, and other such things. All that rotating weight is just your high dollar HP going down the drain.


zeroracing
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1875
posted September 16, 2005 10:16 AM  
Does a belt drive gain any hp? how much if so? or does it just help control the harmonics.

Kromulous
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 796
posted September 16, 2005 10:30 AM  
It may add 5 or 10 i guess, but our engine guy wants one on there, he didnt fully explain to me why, i know harmonics was one reason.

dirtzone
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 102
posted September 16, 2005 08:41 PM  
If you're on alky, belt drive pumps don't produce fuel "spikes" or pulses. Just a constant flow of fuel. This lessens the chance of leaning a motor out at higher rpm. Was also told something about volume, versus pressure. Can't remember that part...

ford5
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 711
posted September 17, 2005 06:03 AM  
I think he is talking about a belt drive timing setup?

Dirt-Tracker
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 182
posted September 17, 2005 12:40 PM  
Hey Ford5----Tell Kromulus that we ALL dont run CHEBYs!!!

midmod34
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 119
posted September 17, 2005 12:55 PM  
I second that!!

tcmod
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 56
posted September 17, 2005 04:34 PM  
Oh, CHEBY, the one with the distributor in the back, lol. I run a simple 3 link, so far I am just learning, but I do like the 3 link, as far as the motor, it is slightly underpowered but this is my learning motor, very drivable, most important, forget about the 3 wheel thing, I could set mine up to do that but don't care to.

dirtzone
Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 102
posted September 17, 2005 06:21 PM  
quote:
Originally posted by ford5:
I think he is talking about a belt drive timing setup?

Doh! My bad

dluna
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 334
posted September 18, 2005 11:43 PM  
tcmod -

My car is a 3link, short LR @ 20* angle and long RR @ 5* angle, 225LR in front, 175RR coil-over behind, 7" rake in j-bar 2nd hole from bottom on pinion, 17* pullbar angle...700LF, 750RF running around 200lbs of LR bite.

Now before getting this on the track, I figured it was going to pull the LF all around the track, but the only time it comes up is if I hit a rut or something. I guess I just imagine if I had 600hp to the ground with this setup, the LF would be all jacked up. On the tacky (heat races) I'm not spinning the tires. I feel like I have anything and everything hooked up.

I don't want to run around the track on 3 wheels, but there's just something about seeing a car get on the bars and do such a thing, it seems to me like there just has to be some serious HP there.


Xtreme12x
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 874
posted September 19, 2005 08:47 AM  
I can make 300 HP Three wheel all over the place. Dluna, get rid of that j-bar... Try the short panhard again but mount it as low as possible with minimal rake. DW's take some modifications to really get them up in the air. A lot of it lies within the amount the left rear drops.

zeroracing
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1875
posted September 19, 2005 10:31 AM  
I am talking about the belt timing set up. I run gas so dont have fuel problems.

leapinlizard
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 402
posted September 19, 2005 10:50 AM  
Belt drives are able to absorb some of the crank twisting that occurs with every power stroke. This can change timing. Timing affect's power. Without a crank trigger system I see no point to it. The dist, gear mesh and free play move the timing a lot more than the crank flex does. So does cam walking forward.

5tbone
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 58
posted September 19, 2005 03:28 PM  
I ran A 355 Last year nothing fancy eagle bottom end, pro heads, vic jr intake, Holly 750(alcohol) had $6000 invested. Put it in a DW-8 3 link swing arm short LR long RR. Monty bar,j-bar. I could yank the LF a foot off the ground and it was a rocket. I could compete against cars w/ 15 grand in an engine and do very well. Even won a couple.

Mr. Badboy
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 29
posted September 19, 2005 07:25 PM  
Three wheeling aint for mods and LM/s anymore. A kid in North Texas, with his 300 hp, stock cast iron manifolds, 1977 Monte Carlo is three wheeling. How did he do it with a stock suspension? He dumped about 250 pounds of weight in the trunk, on the passenger side of things, and off he went to a win. He got protested, and went to the impound area where he told the protesters they could look at anything on his car they wanted, and to call him from his pits when they were done taking a look.

dluna
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 334
posted September 20, 2005 09:20 PM  
what size track 5tbone?

ryan
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 776
posted September 20, 2005 10:41 PM  
Not quite stock but he's fast track champ at one track for sure.


5tbone
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 58
posted September 21, 2005 07:39 PM  
small 3/8 medium banking. The only draw back is I went through rubber biscuits for the pull bar fast if I had more than 2 nights on a biscuit then it would not hook at all.

msnead
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted September 22, 2005 08:32 AM  
We bought our DW9 in June/July and it has lifted the left-front since day 1. (I haven't changed a lot because my driver is still getting seat time...I figure we can start making changes for next season.)

A few weeks back we blew our 377 and had to resort to a street-stock 355 bottom end with our heads. I would say that due to that, we are definitely under-powered...

Even with the smaller motor, we were carrying the left-front 12"+ off the ground 1/2 way down the straight. Horsepower doesn't seem to be the cause...

We are trying to prevent it from happening also... See my new post about bar angles/3-wheelin' if you have some insight on ways to prevent it.

My 2 cents.

Thanks,

m

msnead
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 77
posted September 22, 2005 08:33 AM  
One more thing...

The Monte-Carlo 3-wheeling is an awesome picture!

GRTmod
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 33
posted September 27, 2005 07:53 PM  
I was talking to benji about a month ago, he has a 383 with $3500 in it (dunno if it's true, but thats what he said) He goes and won the boone nationals and i called him up and he said that motor had half the year on it. So i dont think HP is EVERYTHING, but it wouldnt hurt.

Xtreme12x
Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 874
posted September 29, 2005 07:34 AM  
That is also Boone Nationals and I know that one of the top 4 cars had around 650 HP In IMCA. Afforadble my a**. If you can do it yourself and dump $5000-$6000 you should have one decent motor for Open shows. Claim stuff I can build for around $3500.

dirttrackin94
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 65
posted September 29, 2005 09:50 AM  
5-6 thousand will get you enough horsepower to travel around with and run good,even win.granted you have to know what your doing and not just buy stuff and throw it together.matching everything together and good portwork,carb combo will create big power.we build very strong 5-6000 dollar motors every year for poeple that win!

the guy going out and spending 20 grand on a motor to get 50-75 hp more is the guy driving up cost in racing,on a dry slick track alot of times 575hp is too much!

jonboy
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 26
posted October 13, 2005 05:01 PM  
I witnessed a 4.3 V6 beat an entire field of cars by a straightaway on a half mile.

Our car was one of the ones that got beat.

We turned 8,000rpms on hoosiers.($30,000.00 motor).

The V6 sounded like he never hit 7,000rpm. I think he was running American Racers. After the race, I heard all the b.s. about this and that, (traction control), busch grand national motor, but I took a calculator to our gears, rpm, tire runout, and if we werent spinning the tires, we would have been running 160mph. The whole field was going backwards the harder they ran. We beat ourselves.

Sometimes less is more.

Wayne Brooks was the guy that beat us I think?

m33mcg
Dirt Forum Racer

Total posts: 96
posted October 14, 2005 02:05 PM  
I ran my pro4 mod on a large 3/8 track against b-mods and ran up front. This was the second time in the car and the first time on that track. I had to much gear for the track which took me out of my power band. A friend of mine runs a stock bottom end that has been balanced with dart heads in his mod. He runs midpack at Likeside in kansas. My point is with a good setup and driver 450hp is all you need unless you like sending money.

superdave
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 280
posted October 16, 2005 10:34 AM  
Twice this year I have pulled valve covers on the top four and found rocker arms off. The drivers said they came off early in the race and they still made the top four. More horsepower is always good but is it necessary to win? Not on a regular weekly basis if you ask me.

dluna
Dirt Freak

Total posts: 334
posted October 17, 2005 09:24 AM  
Is that on a super slick IMCA track Dave?

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