Humle och Dumle i Amerika
This Second part of our adventure in USA was dedicated to Research &
Development to have the Blackout SS on its toes before the 2006 season.
It was the original plan.
However, since the car didn't arrive in time for our First part in October 2005
we still had to solve the dropping-oil-pressure-problem which we were
supposed to have fixed before the SSHS 5 race in Atlanta.
This whole adventure was possible because of the hospitality of Autoshop Racing Engines in Orlando,
Florida. Without their interest in our project it wouldn't have happened at all. Lennart "Bagarn" and
Birgitta Bergqvist are friends of mine since way back in the 70's in Umeå, in northern Sweden. Lisa-Marie
was born in Umeå, Austin in Orlando. Buddy is a new friend. Autoshop has for at least 25 years been
working hard, purposeful and without shortcuts to be on top in the business. They have hundreds
of happy fast customers both in Europe and in USA. And now the plug was completely pulled out when
winning the 2005 Engine Masters with this Chevy 509 which kicked ass among the top of the pops!
851 hp on 91 octane pump gas, through air cleaner and mufflers...
Popular Hot Rodding Magazine did a big article about "The King and Queen of Orlando" after their win in
this fierce bench race! Read more about Autoshop Racing Engines and this Pump Gas Master on their
website: autoshopracingengines.com And don't forget to visit their "Press Releases".
Team Blackout Full Size Racing says Thanks Autoshop!
Day 1. Blackout SS outside now famous Autoshop Racing Engines in Orlando. Tony sent proof picture
from his mobile phone to Hawkeye in Gothenburg who was reporting live at Pit Lane on this site. After a
short and bumpy (squarish slicks) drive up and down Hanging Moss Road to again confirm the oil
pressure drop at 4000 RPM we parked the Impala SS in the backyard.
Five hours later Jeezus and transmission were out. A new record for Tony and me. It was just great to
be working outside in the warm Florida weather after having left the icy snowstorms in Gothenburg.
We stayed at Motel 6 with lots of action around the clock. Police cars are no more Caprice 9C1's. Still
we got up with the sun every day and went in our '06 Charger to breakfast at Denny's or Dunkin'
Donuts before the long day's work. The tall body and low windows of the Charger give it a feeling of a
fighter jet, really cosy. But it had a really stupid mileage! Was always filling it up, never again thanks.
Jeezus back in the Autoshop Racing Engines Dyno room, but this time it's an exclusive DTS dyno.
We had to fix a special coupling for the fuel line. The SAE meets Metric blues.
Ready to go! Headers had extra long pipes mounted on the end of collectors (inside the big exhaust
tubes) so lambda sonds could work in a real environment without pulsating fresh air.
My personal nightmare was to "unhook" the FAST and MSD systems out of the car and to make it
work again on the dyno. I did it. Yes, I did it!
It didn't take long for Lennart to see the dropping oil pressure. 60 psi until around 4000 RPM where it
quickly dropped to the 40 psi level and then slowly further down to 20 psi where it stopped.
"Take down the tray..." was his awaited call.
We always tried to remember that we were in Florida and sneaked out in the warm weather whenever
we could. But often we just had to go back into the airconditioned shade.
Lennart inspected the oil pump, but didn't find anything strange that I hadn't found earlier that could
cause the problem. Changed to a brand new Z28 pump anyway. The tray was filled to find the
max level before the oil touches the stroker crank which will result in oil sucked up by the crank.
Maximum is 6 quarts of oil, and at the dyno we found out that less than 5.5 quarts of oil will result
in dropped oil pressure at higher RPM due to insufficient oil delivery. A narrow window indeed.
Tony got the order of making more oil baffles to further reduce the risk of the crank sucking oil.
Also the pick up on the pump was modified to be lower to the tray floor. All these modifications
were made one by one and tested on the dyno and we saw the problem disappear.
One of our extra fixes was to change from 3/8" to 7/16" rocker arm studs. That means wider rocker arms.
So we also had to change to steel 1.52 rockers that are slimmer than the normal Crane aluminium ones
which won't fit underneath the LT1 valve covers which have a center bolt design. Lennart still had to grind
away some from the support castings in the valve covers so they could fit.
Waiting for the run signal so I could start the FAST logging just in time before Lennart starts a pull. It
was very interesting to compare the FAST values to the DTS values. I'm as close to the engine here
as in the Impala SS but this was a scary experience when reaching screaming 6800 RPM! Why did
I suddenly think about connecting rod bolts....? And imagine what it must be like when Lennart is
pulling 1700 horsepower IHRA Pro Stock engines of 816 ci and the likes at 10.000+ RPM! Crazy!
Day 4. Finally, after solving the problem with the oil pressure we made a few pulls just to confirm
that Natural Aspirated Jeezus still had what he should have. 488 HP and 460 lbs of corrected torque
made us happy. (448 lbs is indicated torque) We could have had more by advancing the timing a
few degrees on the crank trigger but that was not our mission. Click DTS Graph to have a larger one.
Moments to remember. Saturday night, packing the things back into the Impala SS. With the new spare
TCI 4L80 transmission. Imagine yourself sitting here in the warm night, ZZ Top playing, drinking coffee
and just looking at the things around you and knowing the problem is solved. In January 29th!.
Even later Saturday night, at home at Motel 6, Winterpark. It was even so late that Tony could send
messages to his dear Lotta in Sweden (which is six hours ahead of east coast USA). Really amusing to
get the weather reports from the winter, but I didn't get all that she wrote...Tony was very often remote
with his phone like in this picture. .."Tony!...Yes..... What do you think about tomorrow?...Yes..."
We had this Sunday to get all fixed and ready again. Tomorrow Monday is Chassis Dyno day! The sun
was too bad so I went to K-Mart to buy this E-Z Up tent. $ 99.99. Wow! It was cheaper than $ 100!
installment Tony changed to the old transmission tray since we had features
in that tray which the "new" one didn't have. Oil temp for instance.
We had already decided to mount the new "back-up"
TCI Streetfighter 4L80E transmission at this time. Mainly because my first 4L80E didn't kick in the 1st gear when shifting manually since we changed to the new TCI internal harness.
We have to solve that later on, ensuring to have a state-of-the-art back-up trans.
It was nice underneath here in the shadow...
Sunday night. We found FM 96.5 on the Charger's radio which we played all the time. A fantastic radio
station with 50 min of rock per hour! And it was Led Zeppelin, Foghat, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, ACDC,
Gentle Giant, Deep Purple, Grand Funk...yes, you get it! Tony began to sing even if he knew that is a
forbidden thing! The Charger played for us every day. We had to start it up now and then to charge the
battery just to be safe. Since it was a Charger we also charged our mobile phones in it. Ha ha hm..
Day 7. Monday morning. Everything's fixed and we are ready to go to the Chassis Dyno. First I made
some moderate passes with the Blackout SS up and down Hanging Moss Road just for the confirmation
happiness it gave to read 60 psi on all my Oil Pressure gauges! Oil control! Ahhh!
Maybe a little race with our rental Charger too? "Hey, Tony!... Yes..."
We hired a tow truck instead of driving on the M/T slicks. Also it wasn't all that clear if my insurance
would be valid in the USA. And some said you couldn't buy insurance in USA if you haven't registered
your car. Others said it was possible. Anyway, I had no time to discuss this with everybody in USA,
call the tow truck. But $90 was a steal.
At Lamotta's we were asked to change to colder plugs. This was the third time Tony changed plugs
this day even before going onto the rollers! Good thing that "Tony Tight" joined this trip to USA
because no one does it better or quicker. Note the well known horse in the Lamotta logo, yes, this is
really Mustangland! Everywhere you looked around the shop you saw Mustangs with BIG engines with
BIG turbos or ProChargers. Brothers Jake and Jay Lamotta are famous Mustang racers in USA.
Job Spetter Jr at work! This really nice guy from New York is travelling with his laptop to hot spots all over
the USA to tune cars with forced induction and EFI. At chassis dynos and races. At the age 24 Job is a
highly demanded prodigy who began his career already as a kid helping his racing daddy with computers.
Lennart "Bagarn" knew about him and knew there was a chance to have him to do our Impala when he
visited Lamotta. That's why we worked like slaves to get the Impala ready. And, yes, it was worth it!
Job works the MSD. At this point the ignition was not controlled by the built in boost retard program
but we solved that so now it's on. Tony and I tried to get all Job did on video tape. Maybe we can
learn something from it, if played in slow motion and freeze pictures, because his fingers were fast
and the menus went up and down and up. Lennart said the true word "We're all idiots"
Job used his lap top for the FAST and mine for the MSD. These systems don't talk to each other.
The ignition is completely on its own and FAST doesn't even log it. He made the best and "cleanest"
tuning of this car so far. We ran on VP 109 octane. Had ignition from 18 up to 24 degrees.
The screaming pulls on high gear gave us a feeling of 6000 horsepower but the truth was not that fun!
"It looks like there's a huge plug in this car" was Job's first reaction after seeing the dyno's graph that
was kind of flat instead of increasing. Still it was the "normal" 21 psi boost (I have always expected
much more!). After Job had been eyeballin' the 3" exhaust system with straight mufflers he suggested
the intercooler to be the plug. "It looks tiny, is it for a truck?" The engine delivered power allright but
the blower took back as much power as it was giving. This blower has not been working in the
best of worlds! Poor poor blower! And this will also explain a lot of problems we've had the last three
years! Of course all my blower belts were torn to pieces. And when getting an extreme belt,
crank broke with all this resistance!
The Lamotta staff and Job also pointed out that my ProCharger F1R was broke because of the loud
scream it had and also the "rattling" feeling of it when turned by hand. I said it's always been like this
and they showed me another F1 sitting in a Mustang...OH MY GOD! I must have gotten a bad blower
from the factory!? Well, it was decided to send it to ProCharger in Kansas for service. Lennart also
wanted a pull on the chassis dyno without the blower. This was smart, because a Natural Aspirated run
on the rollers compared to the dyno runs at Autoshop's DTS told us exactly how much power was lost
in converter/4L80E/exhaust system/driveshaft/chassis/rear end/slicks and of course a little slip on the
rollers. Too much I can tell you! A Chassis dyno is also very brutal to all parts involved, as on the drag
strip! Except an already broken blower, we burned one alternator and had to put in the spare one,
the worst thing was that the newly tightened converter bolts unscrewed themselves and were
finger loose! Pheew! This was a very very interesting day! Should I cry or should I laugh?
The AC Delete wheel (right) also unscrewed itself on the chassis dyno and the plastic wheel broke.
Good thing about being in USA is that you get new parts same day or next day. There's always a
GM dealer around the corner and we also had Birgitta. Needless to say, we had the best support!
Now nothing happened with the Impala for two days. Hello Daytona Beach! Wanted to take Tony on a
tour of the infield at Daytona International Speedway but it was closed. This was two weeks prior to the
Big 500. So we went to the expensive souvenirshop instead but since I've read Smokey Yunick's book I
was too much thinking of the Frances to be able to buy souvenirs. "The mule ain't blind". Then we (once
again) went to see the The Best Damn Garage in Town. Since the property had new owners since
January 1st we expected ruins but it still was there! Could we breake a souvenir out of the wall...?
When we were here in October we wanted to take a cruise on the beach with our rental car but we came
too late, it was closed because of evening flood. Same thing now. Sorry Tony. But we could walk down
there and feel the cold water from Sweden. Then we had a really marvelous dinner at the Greek
"Famous Steve's Diner" at South Atlantic Avenue. Fantastic menu and food!
Day 10. Then King Karl Ellwein came to town and all girls at our hideout Duke's Bar were...surprised.
Karl had a short vacation from the nuclear plant in cold Maryland and wanted to spend it with us in the
sun. Actually he planned to bring one of his quick Impalas down here to race us but I called him and
said that racing may not happen. Karl is terrific company, a very good mechanic and - he's the King
(even if his name - quickly said - sounds like "kval-elvan" in Swedish ears which for us means "11th
qualifier". Lennart asked Karl if he ever had been 11th Qualifier but didn't get an answer on that, and
that wasn't at all meant to be rude to this Natural Born No 1 Qualifier in Bracket Racing!) Karl just
loved my new NIKE jack from Eskilstuna, Sweden. However, we were low on duties while waiting for
blower to return from ProCharger so one day we drove to Don Garlits' Museum
of Drag Racing in Ocala, 1 hour drive north.
Garlits' museum has grown a lot since I last visited in 1986. There's now a special engine hall which was
a wonderful place to stroll! As read in Smokey Yunick's book his dynamometer was donated here.
Smokey built it himself in 1955 (!) because there were no dynos around to buy at that time and this one
was far ahead of what all car manufacturers had in their R&D departments! Smokey put it to good use
up to the point when he retired from working.
Right: In the museum's separate Antique building we found Smokey's own Octane Level Checker
from circa 1950 (!) Don Garlit's sign read: "A unique piece of equipment, Smokey built this to brew his
very own racing gasolines. In the early days of racing, engineers like Smokey were able to use additives
of all types to generate maximum horsepower... Smokey's legendary performance successes were, in
large part, due to his ingenuity in crafting this and similar tools to keep him ahead of competition..."
Here are some of Smokey Yunick's winning engines on display at Don Garlits' Museum. The first Chevy
small block - the 265 ci - came in 1955, and it also had its premiere in the '55 Chevy at NASCAR the
same year and put the racing flavor on Chevrolet for the first time! AJ Foyt had Smokey to build the
429 Boss "Shotgun" for the USAC series in 1969-70 "about 450 hp". The Buick 231 V6 was built for
IMSA racing. All three engines are clickable if you want to try finding "Power Secrets" close up...
However, Karl was much more interested in the Engine Masters winning CBB 509. And talking to the
builder. I guess Karl also was thinking what I've been thinking. Imagine having this straight looking
natural aspirated big block in the Impala SS instead of the LT1...!? 851 hp on 91 octane! And fill up
some racing fuel and turn up the ignition!!!? 1000 hp? 1100? And just a little little little nitrous...Nah...
OK, good bye ol' buddy! Sorry you couldn't cope with all the air that tried to pass through you! Cooling
expert and welder Ronny Landström did a very good job and after my wishes. We both thought this
should work, but we were already going in the wrong direction...this core was too thin and tight.
For my needs anyway.
We cut it up to get use of tubes and more for our next project. F1R came back from ProCharger, now
in a condition it's never been in before since I bought it new four years ago! Thank you very much.
Problem after problem was thrown out of the Impala. Some you couldn't imagine to be a problem before.
Before Karl was going home we went to John Force's restaurant Race Rock and had a good time. Like a
Hard Rock Café with a racing theme, Top Fuelers on the walls and Indycars in the bar. If you ever tried
the spare ribs you know about their bar-b-que sauce and you may understand why I bought a whole
box with 12 jars to bring home. We've always bought one at the time, but they didn't last until next visit.
Day 16. Tony sent a pic to Hawkeye when visiting the race car shop of Tim Takash who we asked to
help us to TIG weld our new aluminium induction pipe going "straight" from blower to the throttle body.
Tim showed why he is one of the best builders in Florida! A 4" aluminium tube was squeezed to fit the
ProCharger oval 4" knee. Tim had no problem welding the thin tube to the thick cast one. And quick
too, inexpensive as well. My lucky day.
Really neat isn't it, even if it was a quick mock up? Note the red "pressure burger" which now is
located underneath the tube. The idea was to go back to Lamotta for a new run with the newly serviced
blower but with a bypassed intercooler (and boost controlled ignition). How much boost would it make?
How hot would the intake air get? We were hoping to not exceed 200° F.
The reason for our hopes to get a maximum 200° F intake air was the rare possibility to completely
eliminate the intercooler! Hey, look what that would have given us! Better radiator- and trans oil cooling!
Space to mount the AC radiator again! A much better air intake for the blower! At least 20 lbs less
weight in the front! Also much more space in the engine bay which had given a better cooling for the
alternator. So...please no more than TWO HUNDRED DEGREES FAHRENHEIT !!!
Day 17. First two quick burnout bursts on the parking lot were logged and checked. 26 psi of boost in
no time! Highest reading ever in this car. Good. Air temp didn't go further than 140° but it was too short
time. The car didn't want to spin tires on the spot, it just left with brakes on! New 4-link seems to work...
Same thing on the Hanging Moss Road, Impala just hauled and you can see the front of the body is on
a high level, HAL shock absorbers are stretching out. Good. A short spin and then we left.
The short spin, and then the test lasted for only 3 seconds. It was just wonderful then "Boff!" This is my
first blown head gasket, looks pretty...artistic, no? And sorry, the intake air went to 220° F in those
fabulous 3 seconds. I really need an intercooler. I had to call Keith Mease again at MPE production in
New Jersey the same night to order his state-of-the-art SS intercooler. I had already called him after
the chassis dyno day to check his possibilities of fabrication and deliverance.
Nice try anyway! Cheers! This was the last night for Tony before going home next evening. We
celebrated - as every night - with beers and cigarettes in our beds, watching Discovery Channel. Karl
had earlier taught us to drink Budweiser Select, a good Budweiser. No, it's true! Note that oil painting
which I got from Tony at Christmas, it's called "Bad moon Rising" and is painted by Tony himself.
Tony Döbrösi is a talent in many ways. Also note that fine art which I got from Rick "LoveSS" Graves
and wife Irene from St. Louis, Missouri and their club GRAIL - Gateway Regional Area Impala SS
Lovers - when I was in Atlanta.
The other head off. I guessed that Tony would miss our daily lives around the combat garage in
Autoshop's backyard, a 40 foot container which smelled of cinnamon because Agneta bought some
Christmas decorations in form of "cinnamon brooms". These 4-5 brooms were locked in here in
November when we were over to race in Atlanta.
The "blown head" was milled 0.001" by the Master machinist Ed Gordon at Autoshop just to make
sure we were on top again. Lennart "Bagarn" now began a several day fight on my Air Flow Research
heads. He cleaned up the chambers after the seat job I had to do last year.
When Tony left at the airport I picked up Glen "Stumpy" Koenig who flew in from Limerick, Pennsylvania!
Like Karl, Stumpy also was prepared to haul his Impala SS down here to race me! He calls it "Little
Blackout" because he also uses a 4L80E and bought the transmission crossmember I designed.
I called Stumpy and said that there will be no race for us soon, because I blew the head gasket. So
Stumpy asked his Celeste if he could fly down here anyway, and she is a wonderful woman.
Stumpy liked to walk around at Autoshop, found a blown Mopar in the dynoroom.
Lennart began to port an exhaust port and checked it on the flow bench. Ported, checked, ported and
checked. When he was satisfied he did all ports. The work didn't make it flow better, but a little more.
"I did what I could already when building this engine in 2002"
Then one day Kenny Canniff from Tampa drove by! "How many are you?" Lennart asked. This SS-guy
was supposed to get together at least 30 cars from Florida's west coast to race me if I was ready! Kenny
and Stumpy together were entertaining to say the least. "No Kenny, I'll bend this rubber hose" We were
out shopping rubber hoses (behind the counter at Advanced Auto Parts on our own) to fit the Stewart
water pump that now was mounted in the Blackout SS as a precaution of eventual risks of overheating.
was often beautiful in the backyard at sunsets.
After the sunsets we went to Duke's Bar to get a couple of pitchers of some of the best beers of the USA - the lager - the
Well, Kenny had a Pepsi, he could still convince both Stumpy and me to enroll in Golf Coast SS where he is the president, by just talking about the club.
Click logo if curious on a well working club.
The extra front bar in 1 3/4" chrome moly for the roll bar we made before shipping the car to Atlanta.
I had it polished and chromed and brought it here on my flight. If we get a chance of testing on the
drag strip this time I'll mount it in. Stumpy has a talent for electrics so he got the mission to do the
wiring for the Stewart water pump with relay, small lamp and everything. The Stewart will be an
extra boost pump together with the Meziere, as it is used in NASCAR. Thanks Stumpy!
Lennart checked out the heads good. Had them in the exclusive Newgen which is the best valve seat
machine on this planet. Made in France, cost about USD 70.000! The Pro Stock-guru Warren "The
Professor" Johnson has one, all the F1-teams has one and Autoshop has one. Birgitta is also working all
the time, from morning to evening, with ordering, packaging and sending parts all over the world. Tons
and tons of parts! And at the same time she's on the phone talking to their customers in the best of
moods. And she's often in the background to Lennart discussing parts and engine issues. They update
each other over the day in all concerns. They really are a team. And thanks both of you!
Hey, look who came back when Stumpy went home!! Kval Elvan!! He had a couple of days more of
vacation and he rather spent them in Florida. I guess he liked to be around Autoshop and especially when
we were invited out to Linda's Mexican Bar and Grill in Orlando. WOW! Those t-bones which are their
specialty, the best we ever had! Now I know why people waited outside for more than an hour to get a
table! Thanks Autoshop...Birgitta "The Queen" can still make a funny face for my camera. =)
From now on we'll use MLS - multi layer steel head gaskets. Hoping to not reach the need of O-ringed
block... Welcome back Karl, in time for mounting the heads back on! He just loves this. If we are lucky
we may be able to go to the local Orlando Speedworld to make some test passes tonight...
And look here! Just in time for packing! The intercooler made by Keith Mease of MPE Racing Fabrication
in New Jersey! 4" thick state-of-the-art cores and 4" inlet and 4" outlet. It has only a 1 PSI of drop.
Keith is within the Impala SS community himself and this piece is tailormade for an SS front even
with the brackets on top to fit in the SS. Keith made it in record time and even drove to an airport
over in Pennsylvania (through blizzards) to see that it arrived at Autoshop in time! He also included
straight and bent 4" tubing so I can go to work with the new intercooler system as soon as the
container comes to Sweden. Thanks Keith! Website: www.mpefab.com/
No we didn't get lucky, so we couldn't go racing. We got issues with the ignition to solve and when we
were done we just drove around in the backyard then it was time to disassemble the roll bar because
it would stay here in USA with its new owner.
The chill came with the dew at night. Not too bad if you're working and moving. I sent Karl home for bed,
he's always working beyond duty. And I needed him next day as well. I stayed for a couple of hours
just sorting all tools and things and began to pack the car. It was totally loaded everywhere and I guess
it must have weighed close to 6000 lbs when I was done!? Pumped up the slicks a bit...
Day 25 - the last one. Good morning! Time to squeeze the big car into the trailer and without crushing
the Ferrari F-something already inside. I guess 1 inch was left. Then time for the driver to squeeze...
Have a safe trip down to Ft Lauderdale and the warehouse where it will be parked waiting for a ship.
When car was gone we were busy making this pallet with my old 8.5" GM rear end and the roll bar and
to have it sent to new owner Doug Youth in Hawaii! Good to be at a place where they pack and send
things all the time! Thanks Birgitta! And Karl helped me to the very last minute. Thanks Karl!
Bye bye, now I had to rush for the airport and have a Bloody Mary before going to the gate.
And you know what, I think I deserved it!
Oil pressure problem solved.
New Z28 oil pump.
New oil baffles in tray.
New fuel regulator.
Change from 3/8" to 7/16" rocker arm studs.
Change to 1.52" steel rockers.
Exhaust channels ported/flowed.
Better oil returns in heads.
Change to VP 10w40 Synthetic Racing Oil
Change to MLS head gaskets.
Change to new TCI-built 4L80E
Adjustment for trans linkage.
FAST tuned by Job Spetter
Idle now controlled by FAST
MSD ignition now running on boost control.
Change to colder, other design Champion spark plugs.
Stewart water pump mounted.
New MPE Impala SS 4" in 4" out intercooler from Keith Mease.
4" silicone tubes from Amazon.
Complete polyrethane body mount kit bought.
See the film of this adventure,
click on film frame!