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  #1  
Old 10-06-2011, 12:49 PM
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Thumbs up Top Fuel Front Engine Dragster Buildup

This is the buildup of a Nostalgia Top Fuel Front Engine Dragster.

Van has decided to build one or two funny cars for drag racing (NFC). Before building the funny cars, he thought it would be nice to have a car for us to play with while the funny cars are under construction. Ultimately, it was decided to have a front engine dragster for play time.

At first, he acquired a rear engine dragster chassis that appeared to be an old Top Fuel car from the early 1970's that was built by Mike Case. That chassis was to be updated so that we had our "interim toy." Instead, the old Top Fuel chassis got cut up and its engine cradle was retained for a new front engine dragster which will be built up from scratch around the Top Fuel dragster's engine cradle.

So starting from scratch, there's a big pile of chromoly tubing gathered on the floor:



There is also an overwhelming collection of race car hardware (not pictured) in the form of Dana 60's, B&J transmissions, TH400's, etc, etc, etc. Most everything collected is really for the funny car program. So while some of those parts may not be "ideal" for the front engine dragster, they will be used and allow us to have a blast.

The dragster chassis itself is being built around a Mark Willliams blueprint and will receive the highest possible NHRA certification for Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragster.



Based on the above blueprint, slight changes will be made as noted in this thread, including the latest NHRA updates. Also, relative to the blueprint much of the tubing used in this build will be either, A) one diameter larger, or B) one wall thickness greater. This car is being built with safety in mind, and the weight difference is slight enough (in the Front Engine Dragster field) that it is of little-to-no concern and the car will remain as fast as the NHRA allows.

Next is to secure the tube bender to the concrete and start going to town:



Below, the Top Fuel dragster's engine cradle is secured to the chassis jig and the first pieces of tubing are bent and welded to the engine cradle:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 0001_RawTubing.jpg (92.1 KB, 2118 views)
File Type: jpg Tube_Bending_Seat.jpg (69.0 KB, 2057 views)
File Type: jpg BlueprintChassis.jpg (39.1 KB, 2048 views)
File Type: jpg 001_FEDragster.jpg (50.3 KB, 2033 views)
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:52 PM
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Cool

The chassis section forward of the engine gets its start. Note the fitting of the upper and lower rame rails:



Welding the upper and lower fame rails together:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 002_FrontTubing.jpg (64.9 KB, 2025 views)
File Type: jpg 003_FrontTubingWeld.jpg (68.5 KB, 2024 views)
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:28 PM
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Wink Blueprints

How did you aquire the BPs and are they "classified" or readily available.
Like the moderator or Sting says, I'll be watching you!
Thanx Daryl
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:06 PM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Rail View Post
How did you aquire the BPs and are they "classified" or readily available.
Like the moderator or Sting says, I'll be watching you!
Thanx Daryl
Daryl,

Mark Williams Enterprises offers the race car blueprints for $50. They are non-transferrable (you must buy them to use them) which is why the image I uploaded is intentionally fuzzy and incomplete. In addition to the chassis kits they sell, they offer the blueprints to construct a Top Fuel Funny Car, Top Fuel Dragster, Front Engine Dragster, Super Comp Dragster, 4-link Dragster. They are in the Chassis Components section of the website (go there, scroll down and select "Browse Chassis Kits and Prints") or you may simply type "blueprint" into the "search" field on the home page.

Paul
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:26 PM
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Default blueprints

Thankyou, I figured there would be copy write issues, and I will check out their site and follow up on your progress. Daryl
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:10 PM
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Very good Paul. What are you guys going to power it with? Rear diff? What's the wheel base? This ought to be a fun toy. I'll be watching too.
Rob
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:30 PM
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Is it gonna be Ford powered??...Chevy??...Chrysler??
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:50 PM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by TorinoStyle2 View Post
Is it gonna be Ford powered??...Chevy??...Chrysler??
Quote:
Originally Posted by White Lightning View Post
Very good Paul. What are you guys going to power it with? This ought to be a fun toy. I'll be watching too.
Rob
Engine: This car is almost done (as everyone will soon see) and that includes the engine plate fabrication. The engine plate has been drilled for three engines: small block chevy; big block chevy; 385 Series Ford. Remember this is the interim car and so when it's time to sell it, the market interest jumps sizably with the SBC/BBC mounting patterns. The engine currently being assembled for this car is your typical 533 cubic inch Ford with a 4-bolted D9TE block, 4.3 stroke forged crankshaft, aluminum rods, forged pistons, brand spanking new A429 heads (ported and 2.300" intake valves), and will run on injected alcohol (hat on a tunnel ram).

(Note: Because of the stockpile of SBC parts all over the engine shop, there is a blown SBC already built for the car. It will probably be used for shakedown runs and also serve as a "training wheels" engine for some of the people who wish to try making a pass in the car...before they drive the BBF. The SBC could also help sell the car if someone wanted a turn-key deal. It has a 4-bolt block, factory forged crank with a lot of work done to it, Arias pistons, Arias aluminum rods, the most wildy ported SBC 202 heads I have ever seen, Crower front cover and a blower with all the goodies. You can see this engine in the background above in the tube bending pic. And hey, if we blow the SBC up we don't give a rats azz.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by White Lightning View Post
Rear diff?
Rear End: Although uncommon in the front engine dragsters of yesteryear, this one will get a narowed full floater Dana 60. (Remember, lots of funny car parts over here for the upcoming program.) A Dana 60 is not something that is normally seen in a front engine dragster; usually you'll see an aftermarket Ford 9. But today those old Nostalgia front engine dragsters of yesteryear are little more than a cackle-fest car and would not pass NHRA spec for competition in today's classes. With that in mind, current rules state that if you want to run blown nitro then you must have a full floater rear end. Needless to say, Van likes to run blown nitro and the Dana 60 gives us that option with this car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by White Lightning View Post
What's the wheel base?
Wheelbase: The wheelbase came out to ~200 inches.

Paul
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Last edited by Paul Kane; 10-08-2011 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:14 AM
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Cool

Milling the front axle for a 26-degree king pin angle:




Solid axle fitted to the front of the chassis. starting to look like a dragster chassis:




Straight ahead photo:



Above photo: Note the clamshell fitment that secures the front axle. This is more of the safety overkill fabrication that this car design does not require but will have. Also note the spread width of the front frame rails. Period-correct nostalgia dragsters have their tubes meet much closer together at the near-center of the front axle and then the chassis must utilize radius rods which extend out from the chassis tubing and attach near the king pins. By spreading the front tubes the radius rods are not required because the kinpins are within 18 inches of the nearset frame rails. Another advantage is that the chassis is stiffened against twist by way of the widened chassis frame rails.


View from the rear:





Paul
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 004_26DegreeKingpinMill.jpg (93.3 KB, 1981 views)
File Type: jpg 005_FEDraster.jpg (60.7 KB, 1964 views)
File Type: jpg 005A.jpg (48.0 KB, 1947 views)
File Type: jpg 006_FEDraster.jpg (63.3 KB, 1940 views)
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Last edited by Paul Kane; 10-07-2011 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:37 AM
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Nice..... how much stagger? You just taught me something about the front end fittment.....
Rob
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:01 PM
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Talking Coooool!!!

Paul

That looks really Cool.
Clay
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:25 PM
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Looks like way more fun than you should be allowed to have....
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:47 PM
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Cool

Thanks guys. Van gets the credit. That guy can weld, does sheet metal fab, bodywork, paint, poured blocks at a foundry, is a machinist, has created engine components that did't exist for the Ford, builds thousands of horsepower reliably, etc. In the 7+ years that I've known him I've yet to find anything that guy can't do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by White Lightning View Post
Nice..... how much stagger? You just taught me something about the front end fittment.....
Rob
The axle is straight/no stagger.

Paul
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Last edited by Paul Kane; 10-07-2011 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:14 PM
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Cool Dana 60 Fab & Fitment

Keven (driver) cleaning up the bare axle housing which has been shortened and will get rewelded, reconstructed, etc. This is the very early stages of the rear end construction:




More overkill: When it comes to the rear axle housing mounting plates, the blueprints dictate that the mounting plate welded to the chassis be 3/16-inch thick. This car is getting 1/4-inch chromoly plate for the mounts welded to the chassis. This thickness will also be used on the mounting plate which is fitted to the axle housing. Below, Van is machining that mounting plates that will be welded to the axle housing:



In the height of front engine dragsters, these axle housing's mounting plates were supposed to be welded 180 degrees around (halfway around the axle tubing), minimum. As time went on, it was increased to 220 degrees around, and today the requirment is 270 degrees around. But as you can see in the above photo, Van is machining a complete circle to the axle tubing's mounting plates and they will be literally slid over the axle tubes during the rear end housing fabrication and then welded a full 360 degrees all the way around the axle tubing.


Completed axle mocked up in the chassis:



Note in the above picture the axle mounting plates welded 360 degrees around the axle tubes. Also note the aluminum rear cover with bearing cap preloaders. Custom made spindles.

Paul
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 008_DanaFab.jpg (77.8 KB, 1894 views)
File Type: jpg AxleMountBracket.jpg (93.7 KB, 1893 views)
File Type: jpg 016.jpg (64.3 KB, 1871 views)
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Last edited by Paul Kane; 10-11-2011 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:29 PM
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Cool Rear Axle Cont'd

If the axle should ever break loose of the welded chassis mounting brackets, the entire third member can spin around backwards and whack you between your legs with the pinion yoke. So the blueprint calls for a few simple braces securing the axle, known as "anti-rotation" braces. As usual, overkill max effort is applied:




Note the front anti-rotation bracket also integrates the drive shaft cover mount (ring):






Paul
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 013.jpg (75.9 KB, 1875 views)
File Type: jpg 014.jpg (71.6 KB, 1872 views)
File Type: jpg 14A.jpg (54.0 KB, 1849 views)
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Last edited by Paul Kane; 10-07-2011 at 10:49 PM.
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