Author Topic: Potential FED Build  (Read 5033 times)

Offline lake_harley

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Potential FED Build
« on: December 23, 2019, 03:57:52 PM »
My first post here on the FED forum will serve 2 purposes.....

First, a brief intro. I'm 67 years young and have been around cars and motorcycles most of my adult life. I did a little bit of drag racing when I was in my late teens, got more interested in hot rods and a few British sports cars, eventually came back to dirt circle track racing with a street stock and a UMP modified, and have recently been smitten with hot rods again; specifically a T roadster and a '31 Model A coupe. But....there's been a hankering in the back of my mind for a FED ever since I bought my first Hot Rod magazine at age 12 in 1964 that had a very in-depth article on Don Gartlit's dragster. All of that brings me to today....considering ground-up building a mild (short by today's standards) FED for bracket racing at a local 1/8th mile track.

So, with that, the second part is asking some questions that I have in my mind going into a possible build.

I'm currently thinking a car with a 125" to 132" wheelbase to mimic the look of what a lower class dragster would have been when I was in my teens in the 60's and into the early 70's. I currently have a mild 350 SBC as well as a mild 327 SBC in my shop. Either might be in the 275-300 HP range on a dyno....I'd hope. I also have two Powerglides, one from a running, driving car that was being resto-modded, and another as a core.

I'm torn between building with chrome moly tubing vs DOM. I'm a competent fabricator and welder, having had a steel fabrication business for about 15 years prior to "mostly" retiring. I know a chrome moly car will be about 50 to 60# lighter, but there's a trade off on cost (slight, really) and having to TIG everything. I do TIG weld, and pretty nicely if I say so myself.

Budget would be a consideration, not that I couldn't spend a fair amount on the car, but realistically it will probably only be raced 6-8 times a year at the local 1/8th mile track at Sikeston MO.

I've seen some discussion about solid mounted front axles vs torsion suspended front ends and wondered if it would be a HUGE mistake to keep the front end simple and just go solid?

I'd likely go with a 9" Ford, that I could narrow the housing and have axles re-splined, or I already have a couple 8" Fords that would likely be plenty strong for a 300 HP, light car. With the 8" Ford rearend, I'd have to buy short aftermarket axles, likely from Moser. Some reading I've done has talked about setting up a "tight" rearend by shimming the spiders really tight rather than using a posi or running a spool. Is that a viable option?

I'm also wondering about smaller things, one example for now.....foot brake the car or run a trans brake? Current thinking is foot brake would just keep the car a bit simpler.

I would likely buy the appropriate SFI construction guildlines that apply to FED's, and although my car wouldn't likely be fast enough (thinking maybe low to mid 7's in the 1/8 Mi.) to need to be certified I might choose to build per guidelines to make the car: A) safe, and B) more re-sellable someday after I've had some fun.

Quite honestly, I don't have strong desire to even drive the car, but always have taken pleasure from the build itself, and would enjoy just seeing the car compete. Heck, I built an airplane that a friend test-piloted a couple times but I've never flown it, and I'm happy enough that I reached my goal of building an airplane. ;D

So, I'll wrap it up at that for now. I'd appreciate input and opinions about some of the questions I have currently. I'm sure there will be more.

I appreciate being approved for the forum and look forward to being an active part of it.

Lynn

Offline crider

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2019, 05:32:01 PM »
Welcome aboard, these cars are a blast to drive. Here's my personal take on it, I would build the chassis from molly and to the sfi spec, just for the sake of being able to sell it later on down the road. If it were for sale the first question 90% of potential buys will ask is, is the chassis certified. It will be a hard sell for very little money if it won't pass. As for the rear end, I would stick with a 9" for several reasons, number one being parts availability. It's also easy to make the anti rotation mount and to mount up a cover for the trans coupler. As for the question of trans brake or not, in my area at least they don't allow center steer cars in the foot brake classes, so that is something to consider. I'm sure some guys with more knowledge than me will chime in soon. And most of all have fun and enjoy the build

Offline lake_harley

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2019, 06:14:02 PM »
Thanks, crider.  I openly admit to being out of touch, so thanks for the info on center steer cars (dragster?altered/funny car?) not being allowed to compete in foot brake classes. I take it that pretty much mandates a trans brake, or is a hand/handle operated brake allowed? I'm guessing not?

Lynn
« Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 06:39:56 PM by lake_harley »

Offline jeff/21

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2019, 07:42:52 PM »
Hi!
I don' know if it's still the same but it use to be that dragsters with a 120"wheel base or less had to have suspension, ours 130" no suspension
i've found that short cars wide front axle makes car stable even on temp strips set-up at airports or streets
 9" ford all kinds of parts
powerglide use a input shaft made to use a turbo 350 torque greater choice used and off the shelf
build it to SFI specs

best of luck and Merry Christmas

Offline THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2019, 06:28:00 AM »
My opinion:

132" or greater

327 for the purists. With the right converter you won't miss the extra 23 ci of a 350 and the 327 will rev higher.

4130 chassis to SFI cert specs.

I like torsion F.E. (The first time you stand it up in the air on the line you'll appreciate it.)

9" w/ spool

Hand AND foot brake levers. Foot allows 2 hands on the wheel; hand allows precision staging.

trans brake; you can always disconnect it.

I know I probably just added another grand or two to the build but it will be fun to drive, more competitive, and have a higher resale value so you will recoup some of the up-front investment.

Good luck and Merry Christmas.

Offline denverflatheader

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2019, 08:37:34 AM »
Lynn - maybe you already have them, if not, I would acquire the actual front and rear wheels and tires you plan to run.  It will help you setup your chassis clearances exactly.  The 327 is one of my favorite engines of all times.  When placing the engine and pg, look at your oil pan ground clearance, it might end up below the lower chassis tubes.  The more clearance helps easier loading on trailer.  Alan

Offline lake_harley

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2019, 09:40:20 AM »
Frenchtown Flyer.....thanks for the recommendations. They all seem like sound ideas and good reason behind them. One exception I might make and that is a friend might have a 8 3/4" rearend for cheap, or even free. Says he has some taller gears too, maybe even something 5.00+ that would likely work out OK on the 1/8 Mi.. Free or cheap might be hard to pass up. If that falls through though, I'd definitely plan on a 9" Ford.

denverflatheader....Another good suggestion. I will definitely have wheels and tires that I want to use to properly space everything before narrowing a rearend housing and to determine chassis ride height.

Given the ~300-ish HP I expect to run, what size tire would be at least a good starting point? Something along the line of a 29-9 X 15 Hoosier on a 8" (or maybe 10") wheel even close to being able to hook up without dragging along a tire that's larger than needed for the HP?

Lynn

Offline wideopen231

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2019, 09:58:51 AM »
My opinion and at 2 cent maybe over priced. molly chassis is pretty much no brainier. Lighter,stronger and will resale. As for wheel base i would build longest you can(shop and or trailer limits).Not saying you would need 200 plus but 175 or so might make for easier job getting tuned out. I know you said you figure 300 hp,but that always seems to grow. As for 327. Probably my favorite sbc,maybe heard 10,000 stories from dad about the ones he raced when I was born is part to blame.

Rearend hands down 9".Strong,easier to find parts and fairly cheap. Transmission definitely glide,agian tons of aftermarket stuff and at 300 hp it would be cheap build.


As for building.Souns like no problem for you.Heck I built mine from ground up and if I was better I would be half a__ fabricator. Jump in and enjoy.
Relecting obama is like shooting right foot because it did not hurt enough when you shot left foot

Offline THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2019, 12:08:09 PM »
One additional recommendation I learned from a pro builder vis-a-vis chassis setup. Use four inches for ground clearance, not the minimum allowed three inches. It won't mean doodily-squat in terms of performance but it will make loading / unloading from the trailer much easier.

Offline lake_harley

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2019, 12:32:54 PM »
4" ground clearance....check. Please don't let that be your last recommendation though. ;)

Lynn

Offline wideopen231

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2019, 03:06:21 PM »
4" ground clearance....check. Please don't let that be your last recommendation though. ;)

Lynn
Agree .Ask How I know this?
Relecting obama is like shooting right foot because it did not hurt enough when you shot left foot

Offline crider

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2019, 03:39:03 PM »
I agree, you'll be glad for any and all extra ground clearance you can get

Offline denverflatheader

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2019, 04:22:36 PM »
Here’s an excellent online racing calculator which helps decision making.  For tire diameter answer, you input proposed rear gear ratio, anticipated engine rpm and mph at stripe.  This calculator is user friendly and lightning fast with answers.

http://www.wallaceracing.com/Calculators.htm

I had a 1970s dragster with an 8-3/4 Mopar (489) rear with Mark Williams axles and spool and had no issues with it.  It would work fine for your project.

Offline jeff/21

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2019, 04:35:41 PM »
we ran 10x30 on 10" rims  with sbc flat top pistons,  flat tappet cam, vortec heads 1 carb on gas hooked up really well.
free isn't always the best 8 3/4"are a fair rear end but are harder to get parts for and will take away from the resale value/ are you going to run drum or disc brakes we went cheap disc from a small ford truck
 chev impala calipers with circle track mounting brackets  heavy but they worked well after the first season things changed weight removal bigger motor bigger tires more upgrades in the trans alky injection more work but a faster car
plan around your budget and add 30% little things add-up

Offline THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER

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Re: Potential FED Build
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2019, 06:14:40 PM »
Please don't let that be your last recommendation though. ;)

Lynn
Getting back to the three inch ground clearance - dragsters and altereds are allowed to have body overhang of 30" ahead of the front axle.

Not in line with your vision of period correct? OK, but if you do it right that front nosepiece - or wing - or bumper - or whatever can be made to deflect downward so as to trip the finish line lights two feet ahead of the front tire, effectively making your lane 1318 feet, allowing your car to trip the clocks two feet before it arrives there.

Like my RPU
or altered