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Project VF Boosted Part I - Just Add Air

 

 We have often been asked over the years why we focus so much on n/a performance at the drag strip. The answer has always been -" it show we know how to make power, move air and apply it in the real world." To expand on that, to make another 30hp n/a is a real feat when you are dealing with one atmosphere supplying your airflow. Boost? Well we can change a pulley or dial up a waste gate controller to do the same...far from the same challenge. But one thing SQP has always maintained...a good n/a engine will make awesome power with boost. A few revisions in design of camshaft etc and it will shine. This is where the n/a development shines through...valve train design for rpm potential, camshaft lobe design for stable rpms and valve events that promote movement of air plus harness the dynamics of that airflow. Roll it into one and just add boost...well it gets exciting!!

 

So where do we start with Project VF Boosted?? I reckon with a little history on SQP and how the journey got us here. Many know SQP started in 1989. We moved into our current shop in March 1990. Based on an engine reconditioning base with high performance modifications as its focus. From those early days we spent a lot of time and effort on cylinder head modifications for airflow improvements. Watching air disappear though a port on a flow bench can be a challenging past time with the frustrations and small wins making it worth while. Hearing and watching an engine perform after that effort has always been a buzz....and it makes you a sucker for more. In 1995 we were approached by two customers ot put together some blown hemi combos for them. Picture below is one of the results.

 

Above is Peter Hamilton 14/71 Blown hemi laying a strip at Ravenswood in 1996.

 

SQP continued with speedway racing and Blown Doorslammers though the 90s including campaigning Dave Simpsons 6.40 EL Doorslammer on the East Coast. Into the new century the development on these blown cars continued at KMP seeing Peter Hamilton being the 3rd FASTEST in the World in 2004 running 242mph...only second to Victor Bray.  Being recruited by Gary Phillips to help campaign his Doorslamer and Top Alky dragster kept the midnight hours ticking. Lots of travel but the reward came in 2008 when the team won the Australian Doorslammer Championship...the last guys to stop a rampaging John Zappia... During this time SQP were building and developing LS products with manufacturers around the World...pioneers in the LS market we worked with some great people to bring product to market that solved the weakness of the LS platform. Subcontract built engines saw dyno comps won with engines going over 1300rwhp for the 1st time. One of the cars that featured during that development period was Daniel Collins from Chipmaster with his Project Monaro. SQP hand build engine based on the 3.90 bore LS design with hand ported head ran 10.22@ 139mph. Supercharged by an early 2200 whipple blower it was the quickest and fastest LS in Oz at the time.

 

 

 

One of the last Doorslammer builds we were involved in was David Simpson's Mustang. Starting from the ground up with a bare Anderson chassis...SQP turned it into the creation below. Body was hand crafted and moulded in a back shed in the Perth hills. Some innovative design. Sadly Dave's poor health saw us fail to reach the full protential of this vehicle...3000hp alky burning rocketship!!

 

 

Clearly SQP is no stranger to blown engines and what is required to get them down a track. We have assisted many customers over the years with their track attacks but never done a shop blown car. Well...that just changed. Many of our guys either want to stay in the 10s so they can keep going to the track or have been kicked after just 2 full power passes when into the 9s and over 140mph. That is frustrating and some have used it as a tool to try and state SQP can't deliver on a blown package. Answer to that? Project VF Boosted!

 

So Where Do we Start?

 

Since early 2018 we were on the chase for a VE to do a boosted build from. Project VFII is just too damn nice a car to start welding cages into and another VF was out of the budget. Then we received a call from our good friends at Gardner Motors who had just traded a 2013 SS Ute. With 155000km on the clock it was a perfect candidate and the price was right. Deal done...let the build begin!! Full poverty pack high miler...this is not going ot be a high dollar build...just a bunch of carefully chosen parts made ot work together. There will be no smoke and mirrors...just straight up narrative of the development of this car.

Seeing as the target of the new Project VF Boosted was to be able to demonatrate different upgrades and their gains in both performance and power along the lines of Project VF...we were going to have to get it to ANDRA tech for 9.99 and faster as used on Wednesday night events at PMP. So a cage was sourced for it. We wanted to be able to remove for street events and new ANDRA rules allow for a ute to use a bolt in 4340 CrMo cage to 7.99 so we had one built to those specs. Beautifully painted by Johnny Packer and the boys at Outerlimitz...check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

so with rollover protection fitted, we looked at and took care of other safety items.

 

 

 

Drivetrain.

 

 

 

Now being a 155000km car...we weren't going to mess around with the drivetrain and if you are going ot freshen...you upgrade. Our sponsor and good friends at Harrop came on board supplying us a tried and true Tru Trac limo for the rear and some really trick transmission components for the 6L80E. Thank you Heath, Greg and crew for your support! We fired the ute of to our transmission specialist in LSX Powertrain and got Josh on the job of building the trans and fitting up the Tru Track LSD. Why LSD for a track car and not a spool? Well we want to drive the big girl around and spools on the street suck hard! Josh truly is the go to guy on late trans rebuilds. He is at a level above the usual trans guy that jack pressures and mess with shit they don't understand...then whinge it is programming when it won't perform. Great working with him on this project! The trans has some nice parts but far from a over the top build. more like a freshen and update. Careful calibration and maintanance of the torque models will be the key to it's service. There is much more to calibrating these trans than just smashing 100% onto a torque model EQ multiplier as is the current trend.

 

 

Tru Trac locked and loaded.

 

 

 

OEM pressed metal drum...naah...

 

 

Replaced with billet steel and billet intermediate shaft. Smash it into 4th!!

 

 

Some extra clutch area.

 

 

As with Project VF and VFII Jason at Autoflyte supplied a Dominator Eliminator converter built to suit the 6L80E trans with full lock up intact. Can't wait to see this converter show its tech!

 

 

 

 Cars at the power level where we intend PVFB to be we have found always struggle with tyres. The 17" slicks we used on PVF just don't have the development that some of the 15" tyres do. The stand out being the Street Radials in 15" that guys are running into the 7s. So we decided...street car so radial it is. That meant a 15" rear wheel. To facilitate that, we had to bring in some suspension components from BMR Engineering in USA. Combined with Strange double adjustable coil over shocks, full adjustement on toe and camber we had something we are sure will plant the tyre and give us scope to tune. Omega brakes fitted to rear fit inside the 15" wheels...just!

 

 

 

 

Both compression and bump adjustable on this shock. Bit of a stab on settings and send her!

 

 

 As with PVF, Racestar wheels got the gig.

 

 

 

 A set of second hand Brembos from a VF SSV Redline up front and Motorsport rims...PVF Boosted is dressed to thrill in its war paint!

 

 

Safety- Check...

Drivetrain- Check...

Suspension- Check...

POWER TIME!!

 

 We debated which direction to go with a power plant for PVFBoosted...if we went cubes some wall call it a big budget build...so we went with a basic LS3 build unitlising common run of the mill items like LS3 block, OEM crank and used the opportunity to test some of our parts we have in development. Cast your eyes over the build...

 

 

 SQP Branded I beam rods are utilised with Custom JE forged pistons, steel rings and heavy walled pins. The rods are a design SQP has been working on and waiting to test for a couple of years...validate them in our motor first!

 

 

Clevite bearings meter the oil flow via SQP specific clearances.

 

 

OEM LS3 crankshaft turns in Clevite Race main bearings. OEM Main caps held in place with ARP studs and rods retained with ARP 2000 rodbolts.

 

 

 Cam installed 

 

 

 

Which cam? The SQ53B. So a little on this cam design...back in 2002 we put together a grind that was extremely popular in the 5.7L market...it was a SQ12. Based on a Comp XE 224 lobe on the intake, it made great power, was soft on parts and drove like a stocker. Along came the GenIV motors and we continued down that road with the SQ53. Revised for better intake flow and exhaust duration increased with a new seperation angle to compensate it also proved immensely popular. Needless to say the XE lobe was put to bed a long time ago and was not used on the SQ53. Lobe design has moved on a long way from those early days. SQ53 is a great allrounder cam but we always were a little disappointed that it rolled off a little early on the boosted engines resulting in an increase in boost from 6000rpm on as the cam stopped moving air at a greater rate than the blower improved airflow. So we designed the SQ53Boost. Idea to have the same manners as the SQ53 but to carry itself somewhat higher in the rpm range....does it work? Read on...

 

 

 

Melling timing kit with Jwis single chain is employed to time the camshaft. Why single? We are going to feed some cams through this engine so a single allows the chain to be removed a lot easier.

 

 

 

 

Chain set on and cam timing set...no dot to dot stuff here.

 

 

OEM oil pump employed to take care of oiling duties. SQP has used the factory pump in all its builds since 2001. NEVER had a failure. The only time we have ever seen OEM pump issues was when they have some in full of swarf from a lifter demolition or a poorly fitted valve stem seal jamming a relief open. Rods out...pump blamed! We have seen the same with aftermarket also. Nothing likes being filled with chaff! The OEM pump is a great piece and we have no issues using them on all builds from a standard freshen to a high end RHS killer...

 

 

Used high miler LS3 block stuffed with goodness.

 

 

So which heads? Well the BEST of course. We had a set of trade in MAST LS3 mid heads sitting around...loaded them up with PAC springs and clamped then down with ARP head stud kit. LS9 head gaskets doing the sealing. Why MAST and why not the factory head ported? Well the MAST head has the highest flowing intake for the smallest cross sectional area. This leads to great discharge efficiency and better cylinder fill. Many get wound up on a few flow bench tests using static airflow and meters that aren't indicative of air moving dynamically through and negine. Sure it give you a decent indication of flow protential but it sure doesn't give a definitive answer to power production and airflow dynamics. 30 years of flow testing sure teaches a few things but it also shows you how little you really know when it come ot the black art of engine airflow dynamics. SQP have been with this cylinder head casting since it came ot market in 2004. one of the issues we had with LS cylinder heads in the early days was the piss weak deck that wouldn't hold a gasket...Cary Chouinard from ETP in those days went into making a cylinder head that addressed that issue. It was a journey iam sure if he knew was going to be so full of pit falls and curve balls he would never of started. SQP received some of those first cylinder heads back then and we have worked with him via ETP, PIS and finally MAST for all that time until recently when he left MAST.  GM engineers also found their head was as solid as a foam esky when they set out on the LSA/LS9 programme. They revised the Gen IV casting several times deleting the end core pulgs and adding stiffness to the casting. This somewhat negated the No1 engineering feature of the MAST head. One thing they didn't address was the port cross section efficiency. It was still derived off the LS7 port devised by Mike Chapman. Sadly the valve angle was taken back to a LS1 15 degree. The MAST head is a shallow angle 11 degree design that discharges down the bore more efficienty with higher velocities. Some get het up on exhaust percentage and flow...well exhaust flow is a dynamic thing that really has no place being assessed on a flow bench. So when we look at the picture above...we see a heavier than OEM valve being operated by a heavier roller rocker. Why roller rockers? Valve tip and guide life. Some buy those parts, put it together and it makes power but not at the level they expect. Generally it is nothing to do with airflow but valve train design that starts at the cam lobe. Near 15 years on that programme...we have some stuff that works. Back to backs on the same lobes etc are mostly not going to work when used to compare the results from a lightweight LS3 intake valved head against a MAST cylinder head.

 

Time To Get It in And Running!!

 

 

The 155000km old L77 is unceremoniously ripped from its home...

 

 

TCI race plate fitted...seen OEM shatter and take out the trans and rear of the block. No chances taken here!

 

 

LS3 swinging in the breeze. PowerBond balancer fitted.

 

 

Sitting in the hole.

 

 

SQP Billet power steer delete fitted. 8Rib pulley inloop system aligned.

 

 

SQP HD tensioner and billet mount sorted. Blower fitted. Which blower? Well Harrops 2650 of course! We could of spun a 1900 hard with a 2300 close behind but have seen nothing but rediculous intake temps from those blowers when pushed hard. We have ran a few at near 140mph already and sure they move some air but at the cost of efficiency. So straight to the big dog. Utilising the latest rotor design paid for by GM in 2015 for the LT engine the efficency of these blowers leaves the 2006 designed 1900/2300 in its tracks. Conventional intercooler utilised with all off the shelf parts from Harrop. Looks sexy hey??

 

 

 

 

 

OTR on and catch can fitted up...Fuel system time.

 

Pumpin'

 

Some who follow our FB page would of seen the release of our SQP twin pump module that we have integrated into the VF electronics system giving a closed loop PWM controlled fuel system. No sitting of pumps on regulators or switching them on hobbs switches. Our system monitors fuel pressure and will deliver what ever you tell it to in the GM software under 65psi. It is the only high capacity OEM compatible system on the market and we have proven it on the standing 400m and 800m on 1000hp combos. Onto PVFB it goes.

 

 

155000km old pump is a bit ugly hey? New twin pump module on the right.

 

 

Restrictive OEM fuel line deleted.

 

 

Twin pump module fitted and wiring completed. Note second power circuit to second pump via OEM connector.

 

 

Pulse dampener and second -6 fuel line fitted.

 

 

 

Wiring in the fuel pump controller and voltage booster requires access to the OEM FPCM which Mr Holden put behind the drivers seat...thanks  mate!! LOL!!

 

 

All complete and awaiting rear trim.

 

 

Sweeeettttt!

 

Speaking Of Plumbing...How about an Exhaust?

 

 

 

 Once again we enjoyed the support of one of our suppliers that we work with weekly. Daniel from Manta was quick to jump on board the build supplying us a SQP/Manta twin 3" system in stainless steel. Using our SQP/Manta cats we coupled it to a set of 1 7/8" DPE headers left over from the PVF/PVFII testing. This is the same everyday system we utilise and sell through our shop.

 

 

DPE 1 7/8" headers with merge collectors

 

 

Sexy curves hey??

 

Just Add Air? Long Winded Already!!

 

Well with the car all together with the assistance of our sponsors it is time to break in the new motor and hit the dyno. Tank full of E85 and let the fun begin. 100km of road test setting up the trans and bringing the VE table into line using EFILive we bolted on our dyno tyres and hit the rollers. Dyno tyres I hear? Yeah well it goes like this...sticky street rubber turns to mush on the dyno in next to no time. After many years of battling tyres SQP have a set of shop tyres that are the same everytime they bolt on and run a bunch of pulls before turning to the consistency of jelly. For many years we have told our customers that are constantly changing stuff to get a set of dyno tyres. it is the same set of tyres used everytime that will show the changes that have been made in combination of parts rather than the tyres being a variable. Many don't get it but it is simple science. Control the variables to believe your results.

 

 Dialed in over 10 pulls the little LS3 pushed out a healthy 760rwhp through the 6L80E trans at a tidy 15psi. Nice baseline! Enough time in the shed...lets get to the track and let this thing go!

 

 

TRACK ATTACK TIME!!!

21/11/18

 

So why built it but to race it?? Finally the day arrives and we load PFVB up for the trip to the 'Plex! Why the trailer? We got cause last season breaking an axle and had to sit around for hours waiting for a tow blah blah. Not doing that again...old bloke needs to be in bed by 10pm!! So trailer to the track it is.

 

 

Plan is to run it soft off the line and through the gears to half track...roll off and look at the data...

 

 

Well we all know the best made plans of mice and men...rolled it off the line, it felt decent through 1-2...nice through 2-3...shifted 4th....thought " this thing feals ok will just run it through." Hit the return road and under the tunnel...picked up the timing slip was thinking low 10..

 

9.90@ 141.84 for a shake down! Woohoo! That is nice for a first ever lap with a stab at shocks and tyre pressures. Trans shifted awesome and hit all the targets there so lets roll around and get after it off the line some.

 

 

Another PB...spun the tyres hard through 1st but a 1.47 60' with that spin is great starting point. Drove to the tunnel...it goes into limp at idle. Weird...mess around in the pits but the Throttle Body is dead...obviously didn't like closing at full boost and stripped a gear internally... Oh well. Great shake down...got some data. Lets call it a night.

 

We're Back!

28/11/18

 

New throttlebody fitted error code sorted...time to hit the track again. Wednesday before the Goldenstates so a Test and Tune has been in play. Should have a decent startline early before the streeters spin it off again.

 

First lap out...drive it off the line relatively hard but not as hard as the 9.80 pass that resulted in spin. It hooked nicely and drove out...ran through the gears well moving around the lane at half track but nothing serious!

 

 

9.69@143mph! A New PB straight up...awesome! so 1st 3 passes....9.90....9.80....9.69! Gotta be happy with that for a starting point. 1.41 to the 60' shows we have something to work with!!

 

 

Change nothing and try to get it off the line harder...spins like a MOFO...back to a 9.78. Damn. Lets do something with these tyre pressures.

 

 

Start line still isn't getting this thing off but we are faster through the track going 9.73@144.53. Nice mph for sure as the air comes in. That pass alone would of made it the quickest and fastest  PD blown VE/F in WA never mind the 9.69 ran earlier. Suppose it could be said that PVFB should be call Cyclone Tracy...it came in and blew the town away! Let try another run...

 

 

Naah just going backwards off the line but a new PB speed wise...145.04! That is showing 970 odd Morosso Speed Calculator HPs on the weight of this car. Now we have NOT done ANYTHING to pull weight. We have in fact made this car HEAVIER via the addition of a roll cage and other safety items. It still has it's tailgate, passenger seat and my heavy arse in it! Can't wait to get more track time on it in the next few weeks and let the upgrades begin!!! Thanks for taking the time to read this far...LOL!!!

 

Back Soon...