Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

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lcrken
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Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by lcrken » 21 Jan 2019, 20:12

In my post looking for a local machine shop to do some engine work on my 289, I said I would post some more details of the project, and ask for some advice, so here goes.

This is a project I'm doing with my grandson. We're building an early Lark 2-door to be a combination street and track day car, and maybe run at El Mirage, just for fun. But mostly, we're looking at something that handles on the track and has enough power to be fun. The engine is a 289 from a '57 President. It's got the 535976 casting number heads, and a 4-barrel manifold. We're planning to do a twin turbo build that will run on pump gas. The bore is stock, but with enough wear that it needs to be bored. The crank is good, but will need to be turned to the first undersize. We're looking at using Ross +.060" pistons, and keeping the CR down to 7 or 7.5. Using stock rods with ARP rod bolts, rebuilt and shot peened (if we can find someone that stil does that). We can do the head work ourselves, and plan to fit R3 intakes and clean up the ports, but nothing drastic. Current plan is to keep stock main caps, but use ARP fasteners. Also going to ARP studs for the heads. We were hoping to run 15 psi boost, but not sure if that is practical with pump gas, even with 7.0 CR. Not building for really high rpm, but for strong mid range performance and reasonable top end power. Still thinking about whether to run stock cam or something designed for a boosted engine. We're planning to do an intercooled blow-through carb system, mostly because we're used to jetting carbs, and only have a little experience with tuning FI systems (and only on bikes).

The Lark will have Mustang II based front suspension and steering, probably a 9" Ford rear, and Wilwood brakes all around (my grandson works at Wilwood). It will have a full cage, race seats, and a pretty spartan interior. But it will still be a street legal car, and will have the basic amenities (heater, wipers, radio, etc.). Haven't decided on a transmission yet, but considering Ford top loader 4-speed or Tremec 5-speed (T-5 doesn't look sturdy enough).

So, on to the questions:
1. Can we run that much boost (15 psi) with 91 octane pump gas and 7.5 CR?
2. Are we safe with stock main caps with ARP studs, or do we need to go to 4-bolt mains?
3. Would a blower-specific cam work better than the stock cam for our purpose?
4. Do we need to o-ring the block?
5. What is a reasonable red-line for some reliability on street and track for such a build?
6. Is the stock intake manifold (port matched to the heads) OK for this use, or do we need to consider one of the modified (Mopar, Chevy, etc.) manifolds that are regularly discussed on the forum?

FWIW, I have a lot of experience in building and tuning motorcycle engines for road racing, but haven't done any hot rod stuff since the early '70s.

Thanks for any recommendations, suggestions, comments, etc.

Ken

lcrken
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by lcrken » 21 Jan 2019, 20:32

Just thought of a couple of other questions.

Is it worth the effort to fit the R3 intakes, considering that I'm not planning any serious port work?
Should I be considering more serious head work?
I'm good at normal valve and guide work, and the mechanics of port work, and I've done a lot of that on motorcycle heads, but the Studebaker head seems to need a real expert to improve it past what a good valve job and port cleanup will do. If I really need to go that direction, I'll send it off to someone else. Our basic plan for this engine is just to build it strong, and get the performance from boost, not trick parts and high revs.

Ken

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Mike Van Veghten
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by Mike Van Veghten » 21 Jan 2019, 20:44

Ken and son -

1. Can we run that much boost (15 psi) with 91 octane pump gas and 7.5 CR?
It'll be close with iron heads. Might have to be gentle with the ignition timing. Or a better way to go, run "race gas".

2. Are we safe with stock main caps with ARP studs, or do we need to go to 4-bolt mains?
Not sure there is much advantage with four bolt caps on a Stude engine. Some have used them, but in reality, the main webs in the block are not all that strong. Adding bigger caps...not a big increase in strength.

3. Would a blower-specific cam work better than the stock cam for our purpose?
Absolutely..! IF you are looking for power...ALWAYS use a cam meant for your application. Note that positive displacement blower cams WILL be different from turbo type cams.

4. Do we need to o-ring the block?
While not mandatory...yes, why take chances..?

5. What is a reasonable red-line for some reliability on street and track for such a build?
Like any other engine, depends on the cam you choose..!

6. Is the stock intake manifold (port matched to the heads) OK for this use, or do we need to consider one of the modified (Mopar, Chevy, etc.) manifolds that are regularly discussed on the forum?
The OEM manifold flows about what a stock set of OEM (stock) heads flow. "Port matching" accomplishes very little. SO...if you increase the intake flow in the heads...! The simplest way to go is to get a set of Chevy/Studebaker manifold adapter plates.
A welded Chrysler/Studebaker manifold, while is a big step up from an OEM manifold, these do need some careful filling of pot-holes /cavity's left over from the plate to manifold attachment. I've got a couple of Jeff's manifolds and can be a very good way to go, but to work properly, just need some runner work to be properly done. I've used some marine (sorta expensive) epoxy to fill in the cavity's in my copys.


Note on the head work. There is a couple of us that have spent a LOT of time learning what the Stude heads need to make them flow well...AND last. Tread LIGHTLY in BOTH the intake and exhaust bowls. Making them pretty and round, may help flow, but the walls will end up being VERY thin, and will crack very easily. the same with the intake roof in a couple of locations. Don't spend a lot of time on the exhaust ports. They already flow well enough.

Sounds like fun, have a good time.

Mike

A P.S. to your add-on note -
Yes, the R3 valve and stock exhaust is a good way to go for any combination.

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PackardV8
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by PackardV8 » 22 Jan 2019, 00:53

Yes, we get good results with larger intakes and stock exhaust valves.

As to your pistons, let me check the stock, but we may have a set of Wiseco forgings ordered for just such a high-boost-low-compression build.

As to the cam, you'll want something around 244/252@.050" on a 115.5 LCA and .525" lift. That will mean a custom roller.

jack vines

lcrken
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by lcrken » 22 Jan 2019, 14:16

Thanks for the inputs, guys. I've already read a lot of the older posts from both of you here on the forum. Lots of useful stuff there.

Let me know about the pistons, Jack. I was going to call Ross today, but I'll wait till I hear from you. I have a dealer account with JE. They've been making Norton motorcycle pistons for me for 20 years now, and I could have them make custom pistons for the Stude, but it looked a lot simpler to just buy from someone with an established design, like Ross.

Ken

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Mike Van Veghten
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by Mike Van Veghten » 22 Jan 2019, 14:47

Ken -

According to what they (Ross) told me during a face to face a few years back...they mostly treat every customer as a single entity.
That is, they will build what YOU want.

After...we settled on what "I" wanted, they told me that they had a couple of different Stude piston designs. But not everyone wants the same thing.

Then again, if someone like Jack comes in and says, I'm building "another" XXX engine, I need my No.2 piston...no problem, they build what he wants.

If you walk in and say I need a set of pistons... They will ask a ton of questions. YOUR name will go on the drawing for that piston. The only thing that may change that, is if they find that what you want is just like my piston, or one of Jacks pistons, or just like someone else's piston.

In todays custom piston world, most all manufacturers will build you what you want, and all of the "surviving" (from the 60's and 70's) companies, will build you a quality part. I wouldn't hesitate to go to any of todays manufacturers.
The reason "I" went to Ross, is because they'd seen me in their shop with a friend doing header work on the owners car(s), AND they were close to where I worked.

Mike

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PackardV8
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by PackardV8 » 22 Jan 2019, 16:00

As Mike says, Ross, JE, Wiseco, Arias, Racetec, et al, can make you pistons. Since many Studebaker forged pistons are based upon 92mm or 93mm flattop import blanks, about all which is different for the Studebaker V8 is the choice of pin diameter and pin height.

jack vines

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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by lcrken » 27 Feb 2019, 17:15

Just a status update. The rods are at Jack's for magnaflux, shot peening, resizing, and installing on the Wiseco pistons with pressed in Ford pins. The crankshaft is at the local grinding shop (Ron Williams Automotive Machine in Ventura, CA), and I'm getting a set of later rockers and shafts from forum member Kenny Buchanan. The block is ready to go to the shop as soon as I have the pistons in hand. I should be picking up the Lark this weekend, and will post some pictures and details. Still haven't settled on the cam, whether to just start with an R2, or look for something else. I can't get too carried away on the cam. This car needs to stay reasonable for street use, with occasional track days.

Ken

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PackardV8
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by PackardV8 » 27 Feb 2019, 17:41

Your rods have been shotpeened, magnafluxed, had the ARP bolts installed, the big ends reconned and the small ends bored for Ford pins. They'll be balanced and the pistons hung if it ever quits snowing up here.

As to the cam, it just depends on whether you are in the market for a $2500 roller cam kit or a $200 flat tappet regrind and reground lifters, or something in between.

The R1/R2 will work well with your twin turbo setup, building power quickly. The R2+ has a bit more power above 3,500, but it's also noisier. We have a slightly stronger regrind, but again a bit noisier and slightly less low end.

jack vines

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Jeff Rice
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Re: Twin Turbo 289 for Street and Track

Post by Jeff Rice » 28 Feb 2019, 09:16

One interesting tidbit I learned about the Ross piston (and could well be on other brands)...

The Ross is available in a flat top, a 5cc, 10cc, 15cc, and 20cc half or full dish.
Interesting (to me) was that they are all done from the same forging and no finish work is done underneath.
Meaning that if you order a flat top piston, the weight will be more than a 20cc dish.
You could lighten the backside of the piston if you were running a flat top.

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