Since the start of Project Valiant Effort, we knew it was going to be raced from time to time. With that plan in mind, we needed to make sure we could pass tech. The things we did to the Valiant are required for the e.t. at which the car is expected to run. There are many NHRA classes you can choose from, and Valiant Effort will not be traveling the quarter-mile faster than 11 seconds flat. After that, is it really a street-driven car? (I bet I'll get a lot of e-mails regarding that question).
For starters, you need to ask yourself: How quick and fast will I be going? NHRA has certain guidelines that each car must follow, and they base these guidelines on quarter-mile e.t. and mph.
If you want a complete list of NHRA rules, rule books are available for $12. If you sign up to be a member, a current rule book is included with the purchase of a membership. Contact NHRA Membership Services, P.O. Box 5555, Glendora, CA 91740-0950.
The first thing we did was...
The first thing we did was decide where to mount the master disconnect switch. We wanted to mount our switch inside the trunk, where it would be hidden by the battery box. Make sure the switch is far enough away from the quarter-panel so that it can be removed from the bracket if need be.
All Juiced Up
Everybody should know that if your battery is in the stock location, it must be securely mounted. No bungee straps are allowed. An easy way to aid in weight transfer is to relocate the battery to the trunk, where it's no longer adding weight to the nose of the car. When placing the battery in the trunk, it is usually placed over or behind the passenger-side wheel.
If you do choose to mount the battery in the trunk, it must be mounted to the frame or frame structure with a minimum of two 31/48-inch diameter bolts and a metal hold-down strap. The supplied J-hooks are not allowed. Also, the battery must be completely sealed from the driver compartment. This means a bulkhead must separate the trunk from the driver compartment. The battery can also be located in a sealed metal box, constructed of a minimum of .024-inch-thick steel or .032-inch-thick aluminum.
Moroso also offers an NHRA-accepted plastic battery box, PN 74050. Any car with a relocated battery must be equipped with a master electrical cutoff capable of stopping all electrical functions, including ignition. In other words, if somebody hits the master switch, it must shut off the engine as well as the fuel pumps and so on. The switch must be located on the rear of the vehicle, with the off position clearly marked. If the switch is a push-pull type, push must be the motion that shuts off the switch. Plastic or keyed-type switches are prohibited.
For our application, we contacted Summit Racing and got one of their battery-relocation kits, and Moroso sent us a disconnect switch and a long-arm conversion for mounting the switch inside the trunk.
We then drilled a hole in...
We then drilled a hole in the small panel under the taillight to run the switch arm through. Next, we connected it to the switch inside. On push-pull applications, the flow of power must be stopped when the switch is pushed.
Here you can see we have drilled...
Here you can see we have drilled the holes, installed rubber grommets, and have started to run the hot wire from the switch to the starter. Also visible is the ground strap that will be attached to the body. The small wire runs to the alternator to interrupt the current flow and stop the engine when the switch is pushed . . . or so we thought.
The main wire was run from...
The main wire was run from the switch up front to the starter. It's also necessary to run a heavy 8- or 6-gauge wire from the starter to the starter relay on the inner fender.
According to the wiring diagram...
According to the wiring diagram supplied by Moroso, you need to buy at least an 8-gauge wire-length determined by car length-and run a small jumper wire from one of the main switch terminals to one of the small terminals on the switch. The other small terminal on the switch has another section of the 8-gauge wire connected to it and then up to the alternator. We found this didn't kill the power on our application. Instead, we ran one length of 8-gauge wire from a small terminal on the switch to the front of the car and hooked it into the switched wire that feeds the alternator. We then ran a second length of wire from the other small post on the switch back up to the alternator.
Common Sense Solutions
Finally, there are other things we do to keep things safe during our day of racing. We always carry a fire extinguisher in the car. Don't just throw it on the floor to roll around and maybe end up under your brake pedal; fasten it securely. Even if you mount it in the trunk, you'll probably be able to get to it quicker than the fire truck can get to you if your car is burning. Don't try to race in shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, and a pair of Birkenstock sandals. No matter what your e.t., long pants, sleeves that cover your arms, and shoes are required.
A helmet is required if running 13.99 seconds or quicker. Yes, they check to see if it is properly rated. It is important to note that the helmet rating must be designated on a tag inside the helmet or sewn to one of the helmet straps. The designation stenciled on the exterior of the helmet is insufficient for NHRA technical inspection. Also, some tracks require all drivers to wear helmets, so check in advance.
|Battery Relocation Kit || $42.95 * |
|Optima Battery ||$129.69 * |
|Driveshaft loop || $24.50 * |
|Radiator catch can || $15.00 * |
|Lakewood Bellhousing || $40.00 * |
|Disconnect switch || |
|and long-arm handle ||$106.90 * |
|Total wallet damage ||$359.04 ** |
* Swap meet find
* Priced through Summit Racing
** You know the drill-prices tallied at time of writing.
The supplied J-bolts in the...
The supplied J-bolts in the battery relocation kit are not legal for NHRA racing. We took a couple pieces of 31/48-inch threaded rod and welded nuts to one end of each. We then brought them through the floor and the battery box.
As long as you have a good...
As long as you have a good ground from the engine to the body, you can run a ground wire from the battery to the body. We chose to mount ours to the spring shackle box at the rear. We then painted it to keep it from corroding.
Before we slid the box over...
Before we slid the box over the battery hold-down studs, we put nuts on the interior side of the threaded rod to hold them in place. Use a couple of wide washers on both sides of the floor to help distribute the holding power. There are strap indents on the bottom of the battery box in which the stud and nut assemblies fit, allowing it to sit flat on the trunk floor.
At this point, we slid the...
At this point, we slid the battery box over the threaded rods and installed the battery. We used a piece of 11/48x2-inch flat steel and cut it long enough to span the width of the Optima battery. Cinch down the nuts on top of the hold-down strap.
Don't forget to identify the...
Don't forget to identify the switch.
Remember we said wiring the...
Remember we said wiring the switch per the orginal wiring diagram didn't work on our application? Plan A is the factory diagram, and Plan B is the way we did it in order to get the engine to shut off when we hit the switch.
Spring Time Although some...
Although some tracks will let you race with only one throttle-return spring, it's a good idea to use a double-spring system. Better safe than sorry.
Fuelish Endeavor All non-OEM...
All non-OEM fuel lines must be metallic or steel-braided. A maximum 12 inches of nonmetallic sheathed-rubber line can be used for connection purposes only. To ensure we were within the rules, we first cut a piece of fuel line 12 inches long to make our connections at the fuel filter, fuel pump, and gas tank. In the June '03 article "Sneaky Shooter" we showed how we upgraded our fuel system. We didn't use the entire 12 inches of rubber line.
Juice Can A catch can for...
A catch can for coolant overflow, with a minimum capacity of 16 ounces, is required on all cars to keep coolant from spilling onto the track. It only costs about $15 from Summit, so why use a beer can?
Get Looped If you're planning...
If you're planning on running a 13.99 or quicker e.t., you'd better have a driveshaft loop, unless you're running street tires. If you're running street tires, 13 or slower e.t.'s are exempt. We plan to add slicks, so we contacted Summit Racing for our loop. The loop must be made of 11/44-inch-thick and 2-inch-wide steel and must be within 6 inches of the front universal joint. The loop must be mounted to the frame or steel structure of the car. In our case, the steel structure is the floor.
Cover the Goods If you are...
Cover the Goods
If you are running a four-speed car, it's necessary to run an SFI-approved bellhousing when e.t.'s exceed 11.99 seconds. Since we plan to eventually get that quick, we fitted the car with a Lakewood bellhousing.
Inner Dilemmas No matter...
No matter what speed you're going, you need a seatbelt. A minimum of a lap belt is acceptable until e.t.'s reach 11.99 seconds. Since we aren't there yet, the stock-style belts are fine.