We Have Oil Pressure! Project Number Cruncher Roars To Life

We’ve been chipping away at the Project Number Cruncher Firebird for several months trying to get it ready for the track. Anytime you make wholesale changes to a race car there are going to be challenges, and we’ve hit just about all of them. Thankfully, our hard work has paid off and Project Number Cruncher will be hitting the track soon.

The 427 cubic-inch LS engine that was built by the students at SAM Tech fit nicely between the front framerails of our Firebird. A Dart LSNEXT block is the foundation of the 780 horsepower naturally-aspirated engine. A Dart billet CCW crankshaft, K1 connecting rods, and Wiseco pistons round out the rotating assembly.

Total Seal rings ensure the fire stays where it needs to inside the engine, while the MAHLE bearings make sure everything rotates as it should. We used nothing but fasteners from ARP throughout the engine. Lubrication is handled by a Melling oil pump that draws oil from the Moroso oil pan. All of the details about the short block build can be found right here.

We wanted to make sure our engine could get all the air it needed, so a set of Dart Pro1 LS7 cylinder heads, Dart Pro1 LS intake, and a Wilson Manifolds throttle body were bolted to the short block. The valvetrain is outfitted with a COMP Cams LST camshaft, COMP Cams race XD lifters, Manley valves, PAC valve springs, Trend pushrods, and rocker arms from T&D Machine Products. A timing set from Cam Motion keeps the camshaft and crankshaft on the same page. The engine is kept cool by a water pump from Meziere Enterprises. A set of American Racing Headers were selected to expel the exhaust gases from the engine. You can learn about the top end build and dyno results here, while information about the headers can be found here.

Project Number Cruncher is a little different than most bracket cars, as it’s controlled by a FuelTech FT550 ECU and WB-02 Nanos. The FT550 is connected to the engine, Fuel Injector Clinic fuel injectors, and Holley fuel pump by a FuelTech LS wiring harness. A set of MSD coils and spark plug wires deliver spark to each cylinder. We cover the FuelTech system here, and talk about how to build an EFI fuel system for bracket racing here.

Project Number Cruncher’s goal is to print consistent time slips, and to help make that happen we decided to use a Powerglide transmission. We worked with FTI Performance to get the correct transmission and torque converter for our combination. The torque converter and transmission is connected to the engine via a Superflex flexplate from Boninfante. We used a Chromoly driveshaft from Strange Engineering to send power to the rear tires. The transmission and converter are covered in-depth right here.

We’re down to a few small details to get Project Number Cruncher ready for the track. You can follow the entire build right here on Dragzine and see what the car runs very soon.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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