When talking about drag racing horsepower, there are two main questions you will be asked. 1. How fast do you want to go? 2. How much money do you have to spend? I was led to believe (as most drag racing beginners are also) that you gotta have lots of money in order to build a fast hot rod. Is this really true?
This is true if you plan on buying every gadget and part out there to increase your horsepower, trying to buy horsepower can literally run into the thousands of dollars; but lucky for some of you, I was born a good ole country po-boy and all my life had to improvise when others could splurge.
So when it came to building my first race car, I had to work harder and think harder to compete with the other drag racers who had store bought horsepower.
Over the years, I proved many people wrong when it came to producing horsepower on a budget, and now I am going to share my secrets on where to find hidden horsepower for basically little to no money at all.
You may be surprised to find horsepower hiding in so many unexpected places. Of course, the obvious way to gain horsepower cheaply is to reduce the weight of your car. There are numerous ways to do this which I tell about in my article weight loss for cars.
Now let’s take a look at some less obvious ways to gain free horsepower. First of all, just engage the old grey matter(your brain) and really think about the parts of your car which can be removed or by-passed in order to get more power to the rear wheels.
1. You can reduce drag by putting an electric water pump drive on your car to turn the water pump, but you will need a battery charger on hand if you do this. Note: This will keep the engine cool if you remove the belt completely.
2. Certain parts take lots of energy to run, such as the alternator, power steering pump, A/C unit, water pump and air pump, because they are all driven by the crankshaft, so when you completely remove the serpentine belt and make a pass, you free up some serious horsepower. By doing this, you can transfer about 20-40 hp your rear end.
When I staged up at the light, I would take my belt completely off to rob power from the electrical system and crankshaft, by doing this, you must charge batteries in between rounds so keep a good battery charger on hand, and basically all I had running was the electrical water pump to keep the engine cool. This would free up about 20-30 horsepower.
3. Another trick you can do is instead of using the basic distributor, I would purchase a crank trigger to fire my spark plugs and this would take the drag and load off the camshaft gear.
4. More cheap horsepower is hiding and just waiting to be found when you add a set of underdrive pulleys or swap a short belt at the track. Pulleys will reduce drag on the engine by slowing the pulley speed.
5. Want to produce 10-30 horsepower with a simple change and very little money, then add a windage tray which bolts to the bottom of the engine and serves as a blocker between the crank and the oil in the pan, and as the engine runs, it keeps oil off the counterweights of the crankshaft and reduces drag.
Even better, you can use a deep sump oil pan, it’s better because it increases the distance from the crankshaft to the oil sump. The best pan is an aftermarket one which will have a mesh screen and prevents oil from splashing on the crankshaft. The very best in oil control is a dry sump which holds the oil in a separate tank, and no oil is left in the oil pan.
6. Your wheels can cause some serious drag which is known as rolling resistance. By running your front tires with as much air in them as possible you will reduce drag and improve your times.
There are several other things you can do to your car to reduce drag. Learn to make horsepower the cheap, easy, simple and sometimes freeway. Drag racing horsepower doesn’t have to be expensive for drag racing beginners but just accessible with just a little help from the drag racing tutor.