Project: BUICK Grand National
"Perseverance is the key to innovation's endless possibilities and varieties locked within each of us."
-Donald R. Wang
If you ever had the chance to drive a Buick Grand National or T-type, especially during the 80's when performance cars were thought to be a thing of the past, it was hard not to become attached to the wonders of this turbocharged powerplant. I became hooked around 1988 when I took a customer's car for a test drive to check on the operation of a transmission I had just rebuilt for the car. It was a blue T-type. At the time that really didn't mean much to me. During the 80's there were a lot of turbocharged cars out in the market, and to be frank, none of them really did much to turn me on. Well, after a thorough test drive, I was hooked. It was a truly unique ride that changed my perspective on high performance cars forever. After that test drive I had become a Buick fan. The strides that Buick's performance division, and a hand full of special people devoted to the Buick V6 project made during that period was phenomenal. A David and Goliath story. What this forced other divisions of GM, car manufacturers and aftermarket manufacturers to do then was to step up their product and politically squash Buick's performance strides to make the embarrassment stop. Buick did much to show the world during that time that performance was not dead.
Project SummaryA quick description of our shop project that started in the late 1990s. The project started out with the intention of creating an efficiently run, and truly unique turbocharged Buick V6 using methanol as the sole fuel. The project would be restricted to a pair of first generation M&A heads that were the first aftermarket heads available for the Buick V6. They're based on production style heads and are known as a Stage One style head. Porting work would be the only modification done to the heads. These heads are not known for netting good flow numbers on a test flow bench, compared to the aftermarket heads that are now available, but they're what I had purchased for the project long ago before better heads were available. The challenge was to see what could be done with camshaft, intake and exhaust specifications to get the most out of these heads.
With the help of engine analyzing software, I came up with camshaft, intake and exhaust manifold specifications. The original projected horsepower level was 800 bhp. That would later prove to be a low estimate. I was aware that a large, single turbocharger that would allow such a horsepower level would be slow to spool with the small displacement that was part of the planned configuration for the engine. The use of nitrous oxide injection would help with that issue. I was going to be doing something different with the nitrous system though. I would be pairing up the nitrous system with methanol, not gasoline as is more common.
May 25th, 2012. The engine is presently going through some upgrading. A set of Buick Motorsports Stage II heads are being fitted, along with all new intake and exhaust manifolding. We're expecting a 27-37% increase in horsepower with the new upgrades.
Car Model: 1984 Buick Regal Grand National
Vehicle Weight: Currently 3,290 lbs. with driver.
Simulation Software: Engine Analyzer Pro, Cam Analyzer, Drag Racing Analyzer Pro, 4 Link Calculator and Practice Tree. All provided by Performance Trends Inc. This project would not have been as successful as it turned out without the feedback from these simulators.
Engine: Single turbocharged 224 cubic inch displacement, Stage I BUICK V6 configured and built by DRW. The specifications below are for build v3.2. A new Stage II build, version 4.0, is currently being configured.
Calculated Horsepower Level: With the new 91mm turbo, currently 1,150 bhp @ 31 psi with development continuing.
Engine Redline: 7,800 rpm. Valve float: 8100 rpm. Shift points: 7,200-7,400 rpm.
Block: Aluminum by TA Performance Products. On-center configuration. Block prepped by DRW.
Crankshaft: Moldex Crankshaft Co. Billet. 3.06" stroke. Internally balanced, 50% factor.
Rods: Oliver Racing Parts. Billet. 6.5" length. Wide journal.
Bearings: Federal Mogul. Supplied by TA Performance Products.
Fasteners: ARP (Automotive Racing Products).
Pistons: JE Pistons. 9.21 CR.
Piston Pins: Titanium. Supplied by Stealth Engineering Technologies.
Piston Rings: Total Seal Gapless top ring, low tension, metric sizes.
Cylinder Heads: 1st generation castings by M&A Performance Products. Valve sizes; int. 1.835", exh. 1.500". These were the first aftermarket aluminum heads made available for the Buick V6. Port configuration is based on the production cast iron head. These are not the more elite Buick Motorsports racing Stage II style heads.
Head Port Work: Mike Mendenhal.
Valves: Titanium intake and exhaust. Exhaust valve heads with heat barrier coating. Supplied by Stealth Engineering Technologies.
Valve Seats: Beryllium Copper from CV Products.
Valve Springs: Crane dual springs w/damper. 1.550" OD. H11 tool steel.
Valve Spring Retainers: Del West Super 7 Titanium.
Valve Locks: CV Products Super 7 hardened, machined steel.
Rocker Assembly: Shaft mounted 1.7 ratio. Jesel Valvetrain Innovation.
Head Gaskets: SCE Pro Copper with .041" stainless wire o-rings installed in the head surfaces and receiver grooves cut into the top of the sleeves. A very light coating of Hylomar sealer from a spray can used to help seal the gaskets.
Camshaft: Special DRW Spec custom grind by Crower Cams and Equipment.
Camshaft drive: Milodon geardrive.
Lifters: .903" diameter Crower mechanical roller tappets by Crower Cams and Equipment.
Pushrods: Manton Pushrods. 3/8" to 7/16" single tapered.
Oiling System: 3 stage drysump. Components supplied by ARE (Armstrong Racing Engineering).
Engine Oil: Generally, Pennzoil 25-50 racing or Redline straight 50 synthetic.
Oil Filters: Canton Racing Products Super Filter on the pressure line to the block. Dual standard paper spin-on filters on the scavenge line to the drysump tank. A small Peterson Fluid Systems inline filter to the turbo.
Crankcase Evacuation Pump: Moroso 4 vane.
Intake Manifold and Throttle Body: Custom fabrication by DRW. 100mm throttle blade. Large plenum, short runner. Some components supplied by Kinsler Fuel Injection.
Intake Gaskets: Special Stage One gaskets from TA Performance Products.
Exhaust: Custom fabrication by DRW using Burns Stainless components. 304 Stainless material. Equal length, single stepped primaries with turbo double slip, merge style collectors. Turbine exhaust piping is 5" diameter, exiting in front of right side front tire. The exhaust back pressure to intake boost pressure ratio at 24 psi intake boost pressure was 1.58:1 with the previous T76/T4 .96 a/r turbo. With the new 91mm turbo setup, the exhaust back pressure to intake boost pressure ratio is .90:1.
Turbocharger: A FI91X turbo from Forced Inductions with a T6, 1.15 a/r, divided turbine housing. Compressor airflow capacity: 1,650hp. Exhaust to intake pressure ratio with this combination is .90:1.
Boost Level: The boost limit of the engine is 40-45 psi. Presently, we're up to 31 psi in the ongoing testing and development.
Intercooler: Air to liquid. Core supplied by ARE (Aluminum Radiators and Engineering Pty Ltd).
Turbocharger Spooling Valve: Special DRW designed valve used along with a divided turbine housing to quicken the spooling rate of the turbo, minimizing turbo lag time. Especially useful in an application where you have a large turbo in relation to the engine size.
Boost Controller: NLR Systems AMS-1000 with CO2.
Wastegate: HKS GTII 60mm with 2" piping exiting in front of right side front tire.
Blow Off Valve: Turbonetics Godzilla. Switches between MAP and CO2 control.
Damper: SFI approved. Supplied by ATI Performance Products.
Water Pump: Divorced. Supplied by Meziere Enterprises.
Alternator: 200 amp. Supplied by Powermaster.
Plumbing Manufacturer: XRP fittings.
Plumbing, Hoses, Fittings, etc. Suppliers: Good Vibrations Motorsports. Mike Clancy's Hose Specialties in Santee, CA.
Fuel: Methanol. BSFC: 1.18. WOT a/f ratio: 4.5 - 4.75 to one. For a forced induction, methanol fueled application, these values are fairly lean. Oil contamination from fuel is relatively low.
Fuel Additives: Klotz Synthetic Lubricants Uplon Fuel Lube. Keeps corrosion, usually associated with methanol fuel, under control.
Fuel Pump: Model 2345-A Weldon pump, supplied by Kinsler Fuel Injection. Base fuel pressure set at 45 psi.
Fuel Pressure Regulator: Model 12104 supplied by Kinsler Fuel Injection. Boost referenced.
Fuel Pump Booster: Voltage booster supplied by Kinsler Fuel Injection. Supplies up to 18 volts to the fuel pump for added fuel delivery capacity.
Fuel Injectors: 160 lb/hr @ 42 psi, 220 @ 70 psi Bosch supplied by Kinsler Fuel Injection.
Auxiliary Fuel Nozzles: Flowed at 97.4 lb/hr @ 30 psi. Rated using gasoline. Aerated mechanical injection nozzles located inside the plenum, aimed down the middle of each intake port entry. Supplied by Kinsler Fuel Injection. Auxiliary fuel comes on above 19 psi boost pressure.
Fuel Filters: Peterson Fluid Systems . Kinsler Fuel Injection.
Cold Start Priming System: Ron's Fuel Injection Systems.
Nitrous system: DRW custom built port nitrous oxide injection system used for initial turbo spooling up to 176 kPa MAP. Some NOS components used.
Engine Management System: Electromotive TEC3r using WinTEC 4 control software.
Wide Band O2: Supplied by Performance Trends Inc.
Ignition Wires: MSD 8.5mm super conductor.
Spark Plugs: Champion racing plugs. Cold, non-projected nose, short cutback ground strap. Gap set at .022".
Delay Boxes: MSD.
Transmission: General Motors Turbo Hydra-matic 475 by DRW with Hughes Performance manual valve body, electric trans-brake, and special max duty intermediate sprag assembly from Mike's Transmission. Special DRW engine crankshaft thrust saver modification employed. DRW direct drum stabilization method employed. Home built transbrake creep feature employed.
Torque Converter: Manufacturer: *****. 9.5" diameter. Spragless. Stall w/o nitrous, zero boost: 3,200 rpm. Stall with our Nitrous/Methanol Drag Turbo Anti-lag System: 4,590 rpm. Stall with our latest development, the Nitrous/Methanol Drag Turbo Anti-lag System with Afterburner Augmentation: 6,200+ rpm.
Flexplate: SFI approved. Supplied by J.W. Performance Transmissions. Lightened model.
Shifter: Precision Performance Products.
Rear Axle: P/S 3.73 gears with a steel spool in a Moser Engineering 12 bolt axle housing. 33 spline Moser axles.
Rear Axle Lube: Schaeffer Gear Lube, Red.
Driveshaft: 3.5" x .083" DOM steel, 1350 U-joints, Spicer yoke. Critical speed 8,566 rpm. Driveshaft built by East County Driveshaft of San Diego County.
Chassis: Roll cage by Bryant Hibbs of B-BAR-H Unlimited. Custom fabricated X-frame member by DRW.
Fiberglass Doors: Supplied by GLASSTEK.
Suspension: Stock angled 4 link configuration. Pro Launch Gold adjustable upper control arms with TRZ Motorsports upper control arm rear spherical mounts. DRW design, adjustable lower control arms. TRZ Motorsports roll bar. AFCO coil springs in the rear, 2 5/8"x14"-125 lbs/in rate, part# 24125.
Shocks: Rear - AFCO T2 double adjustable 7" drag, part# 3870R-1. Front - TRZ Motorsports QA1 coil over single adjustable conversion kit, 350 lbs/in rate springs.
Rear tires: Mickey Thompson Tires, 29.5x10.5-15W. Stiff sidewall. Tubes being used. The rear frame rails have been notched.
Wheels: Weld Racing Wheels Aluma Stars. 5" backspace on the rear rims.
Brakes: Front - 4 piston Strange Pro Race w/steel rotor kit for stock spindles. Rear - Wilwood Dynalite Pro Series rear axle disc kit. Strange dual inline manual master cylinder. Manual adjustable proportioning valve. Roll control installed on both front and rear braking systems. Brake pressure gauge.
Supplier of misc. components: Jegs. CV Products. Total Performance of Santee, CA.
Waterjet Services: Cal Waterjet.
Engine Machining Services: Total Performance of Santee, CA. ARCE Enterprises.
Alignment Services: Roger Daniel's Alignment of Santee, CA.
Metal Supplier: Competitive Metals.
Best 1/4 mile Performance to Date:
November 20th, 2010.
Event: Pinks All Out
Track: Firebird Int. Raceway in Arizona.
Vehicle weight at the time: 3,290 lbs. with driver.
Density altitude: Unknown
The best mph to date is 158.69.
Best 1/8 mile Performance to Date:
January 1st, 2008. Final state of tune with build version 3.1.5 with the T76 turbo.
Track: Barona Drag Strip in San Diego County.
Vehicle weight: 3,200 lbs. with driver.
Density altitude: ?
February 12th, 2011. Tuning still continuing with build version 3.2. Latest best with the 91mm turbo configuration.
Track: Barona Drag Strip in San Diego County.
Vehicle weight: 3290 lbs. with driver.
Density altitude: ?
60' 1.277 (03/26/2011 - 1.271)
Latest Pictures of Alky Buick V6 v3.2:
There are many more pictures that follow the history of the project located in our scrapbook.
Latest car picture 1 (7/2011)
Latest car picture 2 (7/2011)
Latest car picture 3 (7/2011)
Some of the videos below are the same as the ones in the You Tube viewer above, but are better quality.
Sights and sounds of Alky Buick V6 ver.2.0. This was the first daytime visit to the track with build v2.0, late in 2004. Video by Don and Chad Wang.
Early test run. One of the first passes with the car late in 2004 with build v2.0. Initial testing with the car did not include nitrous oxide injection to spool the turbo. I was still finalizing the mapping of the volumetric efficiency table and was testing the THM200C transmission for high horsepower use. Shift points were around 6,600 rpm and the max boost was set at 18 psi using a T70 Turbonetics turbocharger at the time. CRANK IT UP! Video by Chad Wang.
http://drugg.net/BuickTurboSprayed2_0001.wmv. A video of the car I found on the web, taken in August of 2005 according to the site. Judging by the launch, I don't think this run included nitrous oxide for turbo spooling assist.
Las Vegas 2005, run 4. Build v2.0. Darn, short shifted 3rd! Special thanks to XxDARKSIDExX for the clip. This particular weekend was the first time where aggressive use of nitrous oxide injection to spool up the turbo at the launch was used by us. It was actually the first weekend that the tune-up was being bumped up before a planned PM of the engine. A boost spike problem ended the weekend prematurely. Although build version 3.x.x is greatly detuned to provide better protection against a stray boost spike, initial calculations and test runs show that after the engine management is dialed in, the new build should, at the very least, match the best performance of the previous engine build.
WCN at Speedworld 2007. We made a trip to Speedworld Raceway in Arizona for the Buick Grand National group's, annual West Coast Nationals. I don't think things could have gone any better for us that weekend. It truly was a bunch load of fun for us. Sunday, the tune-up finally came around for us and clearly showed me that all the time and effort put into the project was well worth it. My whole configuration is completely contrary to popular opinion and to have things work out so well turned out to be very rewarding. I hope others can learn something from what I've done with my project to further their own.
Start with a dream... Back it up with a lot of research, practice and hard work, and anything is possible. It doesn't have to follow what everyone else is doing. It's OK to make it your own. Video by Chad Wang.
Hangover Nationals at Barona 2008. I put together this video to showcase the effectiveness of using nitrous oxide injection to quickly spool a turbo. Notice how the car launches more as if it had a naturally aspirated engine powering it. Video by Chad Wang.
Testing at Barona, Jan. 12th, 2008. Minor tune-up tweaking on this day. Tuning up my driving skills too. Video by Chad Wang.
Track Rental at Auto Club Dragway, March 2008. First time back at the track after correcting an exhaust blockage problem. From starting line to about the 50 foot mark, more tuning work needs to be done. There's an excessively rich spot in the midrange that I'll start leaning out to smooth the launch. All other areas of the fuel map are done. Video by Chad Wang.
Barona Test and Tune, April 5th, 2008: Leaning in the midrange which entails the first 50 feet of the launch. The results are promising. Time to dust off and install the wheelie bars. Video by Chad Wang.
L.A. Invasion at Auto Club Dragway, May 26th.2008. New delay box being used to control nitrous and transbrake release. It worked out very well. On this day, we were using a 24 psi boost tune-up. Later in the day, I broke out of my bracket with a 9.28 ET on 24 psi boost. This engine never ceases to amaze me.
GN Project slide shows:
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DRW Transmission Specialties, Inc. 10728 Kenney St. Ste. B, Santee, CA 92071
Office phone: (619) 258-4240 Fax: (619) 258-9105
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