CASTLE Hill Performance Centre and its owner Dale Heiler are no strangers to horsepower. Aside from being heavily involved in setting up and tuning a number of the USA-based Street Outlaws cars, Dale’s tuning shop has seen a mountain of tough street and strip monsters roll out the doors in recent years.
Outside of work, Dale has his own racing program, and the recent Pro Street meeting in Sydney saw his VT Commodore hit the track with what would have to be one of the toughest smallblock powerplants in Australia. Boasting almost 2100rwhp, and with six-second capabilities, the 427ci LS-based engine is fitted with a monster 118mm Precision turbocharger that dominates the engine bay. An assortment of high-tech sensors keep this baby alive thanks to the latest Haltech engine platform and software.
Originally Dale wanted to build a car that would run a seven-second pass, so he bought a VT Commodore body, sent it to Western Sydney chassis guy John Willard and had him weld in a three-quarter chassis. The car went back to Dale’s shop and the lads started with the tinwork and a complete fit-out of the car.
First up was a 408 LS that Dale built in-house.
It wasn’t anything special, with your basic Eagle rotating assembly and single 91mm GT55 turbo.
It was no slouch though, making 1100-1200hp at the rear wheels, and running a stunning 7.91@171mph with 30lb of boost on alcohol.
“I thought, what the hell, that was easy, let’s build a six-second car,” Dale laughs. “The next motor was actually a customer’s engine. We built this thing up and it was a fairly serious bit of gear with an LSX block and a set of Nathan Higgins cylinder heads.
It still only had a hydraulic-roller cam, but we fitted a bigger 106mm turbo and we went faster again, with a 7.50@184mph.”
To run sixes, though, Dale knew he had to build something serious, and this latest motor is about as serious as you can get with an LS-based engine.
The block is a bulletproof LSX with a Callies Ultra counterweighted crank swinging GRP alloy rods and Ross pistons. It’s a 427ci combination with close to 9:1 compression. It runs a copper O-ring head gasket with a step in the block, similar to the Top Fuel system, rather than a multi-layer Cometic or a copper gasket with beryllium fire rings, which have become popular with boosted engines in recent times.
Cylinder heads are All Pro LS7s that have been lightened and fitted with titanium exhaust valves and Inconel severe-duty inlet valves. The Camtech solid-roller cam reportedly has 280 degrees duration at 50thou.
The rockers are shaft-mounted T&D items, while the inlet manifold is an out-of-the-box Holley Hi-Ram, modified to take two sets of injectors – a
2200cc and 1600cc set, both manufactured by Bosch. An Enderle 1200 pump feeds this animal alcohol fuel through an Aeromotive regulator, with the pump rated to a massive 19.5 gallons per minute.
The custom exhaust system was built in-house using mild steel and coated by Hi Octane Coatings in Sydney. The massive 118mm Precision turbo, supplied by 6boost in Queensland, is matched to a pair of 60mm Turbosmart wastegates.
It’s no easy feat making this combination sing, and the heart of the operation is the Haltech Elite 2500 ECU with a Race Expansion Module that seems to have every sensor known to man keeping tabs on the engine’s health. The main ones include: coolant sensor; coolant, crank case and exhaust pressure; eight EGTs; dual wideband O2 sensors; as well as a number of wheel and tailshaft sensors to allow traction control systems to operate – all interfaced with the Haltech data dash. In addition to the Elite ECU there is a Haltech CDI providing the spark for the operation.
A two-speed TH400 with a ProTorque converter sends all the power rearward to the chrome-moly Mark Williams rear end and a pair of 33x15.5in tyres.
On its maiden outing with the boost pulled back from 34 to 26lb, the car punched out a stunning 7.33@193mph. While it’s only early days for this combo, it’s pretty clear to all involved with the car that this is a six-second deal.
“I guess I’d like to see it run a 6.80@210mph,” Dale says. “We certainly have the car, the power and all the right people involved to make that happen. We need to play with the set-up and get the power delivery tuned just right; obviously the Haltech traction control will play a big part in making it all happen.”
WOLLONGONG-based racer and nitrous man Simon Kryger has been upstaged by the new owner of his mega-cube 10.5 nitrous-powered 1969 Camaro.
The Sonny Leonard 864ci mountain motor made an astonishing 1700hp naturally aspirated and is fitted with four stages of nitrous; it ran a best of 6.58 for Kryger before it was sold to Adelaidebased racer Arthur Tsalamangos.
The car has had a little tidy-up and the driveline has been freshened, with Mitch Krenc from Performance Specialties in Adelaide giving the engine the once-over and Norm Alavanos from Sydney’s Victory Transmissions renewing the twospeed TH400.
“It would have been nice if it wasn’t 40 degrees at the track when we ran the PB,” Arthur says.
“The car felt really good, although it wasn’t superclean up top. Simon has been doing a great job of tuning the car and is confident we can run into the 6.40s, but as racers, we always think there is more in the tank!”
THE Sainty Speedworks Top Fuel team builds its own engines from scratch, and for the past 10 or so years they have been running a full billet three-valve-percylinder 496ci engine in their car that has run a best of 4.87@299mph.
The blocks were traditionally made of numerous pieces of billet all CNC-machined, as you could not buy one piece big enough for the job. But with the increase in available billet block sizes, they are just starting on eight new engines they hope to have finished by early next year. At $3000 apiece for the billets, and with limited racing (Sydney only) and no sponsorship currently on their Top Fuel car, it’s a true testament to the Sainty team’s devotion to the sport.
When you consider Stan Sainty is now 70 and builds all the equipment on the lathes, while brother Norm is 66, blind, yet prepares all the CNC programs, it really is an inspirational effort by this family, which also includes Stan’s wife Margaret, who steers the office, and their son Terry, who drives the car.
IT’S been a while since we heard from Fremantlebased Pro Street racer Colin Palmer, but he is on the last leg of finishing his full-chassis 1971 Barracuda, complete with a 14/71-equipped 527ci Hemi that will run bottom sevens.
Out of sheer boredom, and because he can, Palmer recently finished a pretty cool event-style car: a ’68 Barracuda with a blown and injected 528 Hemi.
“I bought the 528 crate motor, stripped it down and fitted Crower rods and Ross slugs, and made a few other changes to the deal,” Palmer says.
“It’s still running the Mopar Performance block and steel crank, and I’ve got a 6/71 with a Bird injector hat on it.”
The ladder bar and 8¾in rear end that was originally in the car has been ditched for a sheetmetal rear end with 40-spline gun-drilled axles and floaters. We’re not sure what kind of power it makes, but Col assures us it smokes the tyres everywhere it goes.