572 CI, Twin Turbocharged, 3,700HP Big-Block Chevy
Mike Moran, Taylor, MI
Drag racing has always been a showcase for pushing the limit of internal combustion engines, and Mike Moran is right there in the middle of the fight. We first met Moran back in the early days of Fastest Street Car racing when he surprised everyone with an 8-second, nitrous'd, Cleveland-powered Pinto wagon. Moran garnered even more respect with the first Fastest Street Car to run 200 mph. Today, Moran is pioneering a twin-turbocharged car in NHRA Pro Mod. That alone may not be newsworthy, but it is when you discover Moran is the first to combine hair dryers with electronic fuel injection and methanol.
"I put a flow meter on the car and the max rate is 7,000-plus pounds of fuel per hour." That's the equivalent of sticking a small fire hose down the intake at the rate of 4 gallons of fuel per pass.
Last March, Moran took his Monte Carlo down to South Georgia Motorsports Park and ran an astonishing 5.97 at 250.41 mph in the quarter. This was the culmination of an enormous technical push to build EFI injectors that would flow at this capacity. Moran ended up building his own injectors that he now sells through Moran Motorsports (moranmotorsports.com). Moran's Gen V injector is the only place where you can find rates from 150 to 600 lb/hr. With this much methanol through the engine, Moran doesn't need intercoolers. The fuel does that job very well, thank you.
A. EFI Moran says that once he got past inventing a set of injectors that could feed this 3,700hp monster, he knew his buddy Meaney would figure out how to control all this electronic mayhem with his BigStuff3 EFI controller. One result is Moran can now warm up the engine and not dilute the oil with raw fuel. The blown-alcohol guys turn gallons of oil into a mustard-hued milkshake after every run, while Moran can put a full race on the engine before he changes oil because of the superior fuel control.
B. Intake Here's where things get a little wild. CFE's Carl Foltz built the lower manifold and the billet runners, while Moran prototyped the top and then commissioned Wilson Manifolds to build the bonnet. That temporary cover hides what Moran doesn't want the competition to see, but it's hard to disguise those eight high-pressure rubber lines that are obviously feeding eight more injectors. Exactly what they are, Moran won't say, but that's on top of 16 electronic injectors in the manifold.
C. Injectors Since nobody made injectors that could flow 600 pounds per hour, Moran had to design and build them himself. He says the learning curve was expensive and enormously time consuming, but the result is injectors that are constantly being upgraded as he learns more about the dynamics of fuel pressures above 90 psi and boost pressures in the high 20s. Keep in mind that as manifold pressure increases, fuel pressure should also increase in a 1:1 relationship. But Moran has learned that the theory doesn't always hold true. "At the pressures I'm working with, it's more like 1.5:1," he says.
D. Long-block Moran wanted a big-bore, short-stroke big-block, so he started with a Dart Machinery, billet, CNC-machined, 4.900-bore-spacing block, mounting a Sonny Bryant 4.25-inch stroke crank, and 4.63-inch-bore JE pistons that only squeeze 9:1. The GRP 7.400-inch-long aluminum rods take all the abuse, yet Moran says, "I don't touch it for 100 passes and then we only take it apart to change the rods. They look great, but it's good insurance to change them." Moran would rather not talk about the Moran-spec mechanical roller cam. CFE also did the heads.
E. Ignition Moran says that learning to tune this beast was a long, difficult process. He learned that one of the big issues with methanol is all that fuel is like adding "liquid compression" and it requires a monster MSD 44 Mag-style ignition that is capable of pushing more than 1 amp of power across a spark plug gap. It was also a challenge to combine the John Meaney-designed BigStuff3 EFI controller with a magneto-style ignition, but with the external MSD 44 box, Moran and Meaney now have nearly total digital control over the ignition curve.
F. Turbochargers Hidden underneath the engine down by the oil pan is a pair of 91mm Precision turbochargers. The turbos feed directly into a pair of Moran-spec 95mm Wilson throttle-bodies. The headers are Larry Larson-built 2 1/4-inch primary tube pieces feeding directly into the turbos.
The envelope for this engine is a late-model Monte Carlo fitted around a Larson Race Cars tube chassis Moran's partners, Bart Lemieux and Gordie Sprosek, bought in 2003. Moran runs a Liberty three-speed behind the big-block with a 4.30 rear gear and 36-inch-diameter Hoosier tires. Moran says that unlike in other cars, the turbos just continue to pull all the way through the lights. On that 5.97 pass, the Monte ran 194.52 mph in the eighth-mile, pulling another 56 mph by the end of the quarter. This was also the first turbocharged car to qualify for Pro Mod at the Summit Racing Nationals.