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Madd Maxx Upgrades – Suspension Re-Do & More

Our street stock project car gets a little better with every effort and the race finishes are starting to show the work that has gone into the project. Like most race teams, we learn a little more about the car and the driver’s preferences after each race. Then we take our car back home, make the necessary changes and get it ready for the next race. Sometimes the track tech officials help us out with making changes. For instance, on the tech pad prior to race four, our friendly tech officials explained that we needed to change the upper A-arm bushings. While they were explaining why the metal on metal bushings weren’t allowed by the rules, we asked if we could change the rear leaf spring bushings. So, with the mandated bushing change in the front and the blessing being given to the leaf spring bushings, we started our list of things to change before next race, even before we left the tech pad.

After the race we debriefed with the driver for any other items that we needed to change and upgrade.  The driver reported that one of the gauges wasn’t lighting up and so it was difficult to see at night, and the car was still running a little on the warm side.  We added new gauges to the list of growing parts that we needed to change before the next race. Also, we had some problems starting when hot, so we needed some more juice in our battery.

Golden West's Leaf Spring Bushing and Shackle Kit.

This was our upgrade game-plan:

We contacted Doug Nordin at Global West Suspension about bushings and leaf spring shackles.  We explained to Doug that the tech officials red flagged the metal on metal upper A-Arm bushings that we had on the front and we were looking for something a little more stable for the leaf springs.  Doug hooked us up with a few ideas and steered us in the right direction.

We ended up ordering Global West’s Upper Control Arm Bushing kit (Part #1016),  Tubular Tie Rod Adjusting Sleeves (Part #ADJ-3), and the Global West Suspension leaf spring bushing kit (Part #103SH).  Doug explained that the tie rod adjusting sleeves provided full thread engagement instead of the factory stock split sleeve adjusters.  In performance vehicles, especially dirt track cars where wheel scrub and contact with the wall can damage the integrity of the factory split sleeve tie rod adjusters, it’s just a smart and safe upgrade.

While the tie rods were off of the we pulled the upper and lower A-arms to replace the bushings.  We had welded in metal pivot bushings in the upper A-arms and had the sloppy stock rubber bushings in the lower A-arms.  Our friendly local tech officials informed us that the metal bushings were illegal with the warning to get them replaced by the next race. Installing the new Global West Del-A-Lum bushings and Shafts required us to get another set of stock upper A-arms or risk damage to the old A-arms by cutting the welded bushings out.  We purchased a set of “gently used” A-arms from the track’s part vendor, Bobby Thomas.

The Del-A-Lum bushings are constructed with an aluminum housing with a Delrin plastic/rubber rotating bushing inside the housing.  Delrin is a common bushing material and is used on a lot of stock factory street cars recently.  Often these are referred to as “self lubricating” bushings.  Global West has designed their Del-A-Lum bushings with grease grooves and a provision for a grease fitting.  The wear properties of Delrin are extremely good.

Our upper A Arm Del-A-Lum bushings.

The Global West Leaf Spring Shackle Bushings were just as cool and easy to install as the front bushings.  Using the same design characteristics as the A-arm bushings, the leaf spring frame bushing and shackle bushings feature the same lubrication capabilities.  The Aluminum and Delrin construction provide a very consistent pivoting action that can be kept perfect by routine lubrication and purging the track splatter out of the bushings.  Consistent and stable action is the hallmark of these bushings, and we believe the addition of the Del-A-Lum bushings on the front and rear suspension of our project car will help the driver control the car in the corners smoother by assisting in controlling the axle wrap.

Old Stock Style Bushing VS New Del-A-Lum Bushing.

Optima Red Toping

As long as we were making performance upgrades, we decided to make a change that we have been wanting to do for several months but waited till all of our electrical systems had been changed.  We upgraded to an Optima “Red Top” battery.  There were several reasons that we wanted to go with the Optima line of batteries, and among the top of our reasons was safety.  The “Red Top” battery is a completely sealed unit that can be mounted in ANY position and is shock resistant.

On the track, there are times when cars that are racing side by side make contact with each other or the wall.  Having a battery that is virtually indestructible is a plus for the driver and the racetrack. Battery acid on the track is not really a good thing.  We compared our old battery with the new Optima “Red Top” battery and was shocked to find how much difference there was in cranking power. Our off the shelf stock battery was rated at 570 Cold Cranking Amps where the Optima Red Top rated 720 CCA and 910 CA, plus it was smaller and looked better.

The Optima Red Top battery has more power, completely sealed, smaller and can be mounted anywhere.

We mounted our Optima battery in the usual location for dirt stock cars, on the left rear corner.

Auto Meter “Ultra-Night”

Finally, we got to the last upgrade before the typical thrash for the next race.  We wanted the driver to be able to tell us what the gauges were reading when the car was on the track but the driver explained that the gauges were too dark to read at night and the bargain basement gauges that we had originally installed had needles that were bouncing around so bad that it was difficult to get a quick read when he was slinging mud.  We talked to our friend Kris Carlson at Autometer about our problem.  Kris recommended that we try the Ultra-Nite Gauges from Autometer.  We chose the Ultra-Night Water Temperture Gauge (Part #4531), the Ultra-Night Oil Pressure Gauge  (Part #4521) and the Ultra-Nite 5 Inch Tachometer Gauge (Part # 4594).

Our new Auto Meter Ultra Nite tach installed in the car.

The Ultra Nite gauges have no electrical input for lighting.  These gauges use “glow in the dark” dials that illuminate in a greenish light, which makes it perfect for racing under the lights without over-lighting the cockpit.  Lighter weight and impervious to electrical failure, these were exactly what we needed.  The Ultra-night oil pressure gauge is a mechanical gauge that ranges from 0 to 100 psi and fits in a standard 2 5/8″ gauge hole.

The water temperature gauge is also a mechanical gauge that fits in the standard size gauge hole and has a range of 140-280 degrees.  Both of these gauges will fully operate in a total electrical failure.    The 5″ Ultra Nite Tachometer also has no provision for electrical lighting, operates on 4, 6, or 8 cylinder engines with points, electronic, and most 12V high performance racing ignitions.  The tach reads from 0 -10,000 RPM.  This set of gauges was a perfect choice for our get-r-done street stock project car.

Our new gauges mounted in the dash.

Our final upgrade dealt with better racing through chemicals.  We enlisted the help of Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation and the Red Line brand of products.  With more than 100 products, including motor oils, gear oils, assembly lubes, fuel additives, and the very popular Water Wetter cooling additive.  Because we had experienced some minor cooling issues with our engine in the hotter Southern California high desert, we started with Red Line’s Water Wetter.  This is a staple for most race teams and we recognized it’s ability to reduce the coolant temperatures because of proprietary blend of chemical agents that prevent the formation of air bubbles or vapor barriers allowing more “contact patch” for water to take the heat from metal.

Red Line's Water Wetter is no secret to dirt track racers. We've been using this product since it hit the market.

We also chose to change all of our fluids over to Red Line Oil Products seeking to take advantage of the performance gains.  We opted for the Red Line 40 weight race oil specially designed for stock cars, sprint cars and road racing.  The really enticing characteristics of the 40WT race oil is that is an ester based lubricant, which is more stable than mineral based oils and less likely to break down when excess fuel finds it’s way into the oil system. It also stands up to heat more efficiently – so when we are in a 20-40 lap feature, we know the oil will stay stable even when we are transferring lots of heat into the oiling system. It’s designed for flat tappet, hydraulic roller, and solid roller valve train so no matter what you are running, Red Line racing oil will protect it.

Red Line Oil race oils also boast of added zinc and phosphorus, over 2,200 parts per million in each quart, to help prevent wear in the rotating assemblies.  It only made sense to stock up on all the Red Line fluids that we could, from tranny fluid to diesel fuel additive for our tow vehicle. We even added our favorite Water Wetter to deal with the 100-degree plus temperatures our Street Stock sees.

Red Line's brand of fully synthetic racing oil was our choice for lubrication.

Armed with our latest upgrades to the project car, and some confidence boost to the driver and team, we headed off to do battle in the season’s 5th race.  Pulling into the racetrack pit area, we had the feeling that we would have a great race finish.  Stay tuned for the latest update on Madd Maxx to find out how our performance upgrades worked.

Sources

Global West Suspension
Auto Meter
Red Line
Optima Batteries

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