Project Hellraiser 3

Page 26


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It was finally time to get the engine ready for install. I picked this engine up almost 2 years ago off of Craigslist for $300. The seller was an instructor at a local trade school who said the engine was a low mileage unit pulled from a rear ended vehicle. It was used as an example motor before being stored and eventually purchased by him for a Datsun Z project. Once he got to actually mocking up the engine he discovered the firewall issues with the rear intake and put it up for sale. I bought it figuring if it was crap I could use it as a core plus it gave me a donor blower to fool around with.


I knew the thing was clean inside and out but the best indicator was when I got down to the timing chain, the tensioner had virtually no wear on it.

So in went the cam, new timing chain, tensioner and associated gaskets. Up top I installed the 90lb valve springs with new seals, retainers, upgraded pushrods and an ARP head stud kit (stock head bolts are torque to yield).


On top I installed new plug wires w/ heat sleeves (had a few melted ones on the old motor), new vacuum lines and swapped over my alternator, coils and PS pump from the old engine. The valve covers were a father's day gift a year ago. Best I can tell the engine came from a 98 due to an extra vacuum connection on the top of the S/C.


I am going to run an easily swappable pulley this time so I can tailor the buggy for different uses if desired.  So smaller pulley for times when I want to run race gas, etc. Plus the modular pulley fits in with the current color scheme.


The swiss cheesed bracket is the ignition module mount. The thing is a motor mount in the OEM vehicle but the motor mount requirement gets dropped the way we mount them. Pretty sure the stock bracket tips the scales at 9lbs. I have always wanted to make a new, lighter version but the two pulleys that mount to this one complicate things so I just whittled it down some more over lunchtime at work. I am down to around 3 lbs


The ARP head studs interfered with the header mounting flanges, Ended up having to notch the flanges for clearance on both sides. Also noticed the #4 spark plug wire rests against the header. I may try swapping the wire around since the other end has a 90 on it.

The final drive train mounting consists of the usual motor mounts up front and a transmission cross member that grabs the two bolts in the transmission tail housing.  In addition to those mounting points I also added a mount to the back side of the transfer case and to the passenger side head.


The winch also had to go in and I ended up uttering a few swear words when I went to bolt up the fairlead only to discover there was no room for a nut on the backside of the mounting plate. So much for buying a pre-fab'd part to save some time. The winch plate was from Ballistic. I had two options, one of which was to cut the rear lip to move the winch back then re-drill all the holes. I ended up grinding off the paint, cutting bigger holes to press some 3/8-16 nuts in, then tig'd them.


One of the last big fabrication projects was the steering setup.  With the axle finally in place and all the pieces on hand I could go about positioning the ram, determine the tie rod lengths and locate the mounting holes for the rod end mounting bolt on the steering arms.  The steering arms are a new product from Artec which utilize the concept I got from Scott way back before the days of sticky tires and steep waterfall climbs.  Essentially we found the strongest way to connect a hydraulic ram to a stock knuckle/high steer combo was to attach the tie rod joints to a large bolt which is then captured in double shear by the steering arm and lower TRE mounting hole on the knuckle.  This arrangement takes a huge load off the upper kingpin cap mounting bolts which were never intended to take the forces generated by a steering arm.  


We had been asking people to manufacture steering arms like these for years and finally someone listened.  Due to variances in the TRE hole locations on both stock and aftermarket knuckles there is some fabrication required to get the ¾” steering bolt mounting holes to line up. I started by opening up the stock TRE holes in the knuckle with a 1/2" drill. The taper is pretty big so really only the lower section of the hole guides the bolt which won’t be an issue once the sleeves are factored in.

Next I transfer punched the hole on the bottom of the arm I made sure to use a sleeve to keep the transfer punch square to the hole in the knuckle. FWIW my transfer punch consisted of a piece of .75” diameter material with a 3/8” hole drilled up the center of it which holds a transfer punch.


On the passenger side knuckle the sleeve didn't sit flat due to the casting so I dusted it off with a grinder till the sleeve sat flat on the TRE mounting surface.


Since I don’t have a vice on my drill press at home I took the arms in to work, clamped then to a flat plate so the drill was 90 degrees to the sleeve mounting surface and then drilled the required ¾” diameter holes for the tie rod bolt.

 After that I measured for the tie rods and fabricated them from some 1.50 x .120 DOM with extra sleeving over the tubing bung (7/8 rod ends). The bung was first tig welded all around the diameter of the tie rod tube, added two opposing plug welds for good measure then slid the reinforcing sleeve  (1.75 x .120 wall ERW) over the end and tig welding all around that.

On final assembly everything went together nice and snug and I  found it best to leave the arm bolts loose until the 3/4" tie rod bolt is seated. Once the sleeves are captured by the arm and knuckle, any slop that was apparent in the lower holes is now completely gone. So this essentially means that the holes are not super critical location or size wise once you factor in the top and bottom holes as well as the sleeves which fit the bolt very tightly. Anybody with a 1/2" drill and drill press should be able to install these. Nice job Artec, thanks for listening


With all the horsepower upgrades I decided to upgrade the rear axle shafts which were two year old stock units. Amazingly there was no twist evident in the splines but in my mind they were the weak link in the drive train.  I went with a set of Tormax double splined axle shafts from Performance Cryogenics. 


The material is supposedly comparable to 300m but cryo’s better.  The splines are also sinusoidal which in theory would eliminate the stress riser that would occur if the splines were all the same depth.  The inner spline count matches the stock 14 bolts (30) while the outer portion of the axle shaft is 35 spline and engages a 4340 drive flange.

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