Progress Thread Dirty Water Racing 89 Notch Project

ShedBuiltMS

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Sep 24, 2020
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What’s going on stanget. Sorry for the lengthy first post, seems like a solid place to document things!

I’m the owner of Dirty Water Racing out of Boston, MA been a long time follower just getting back into a 89 grey notch. Coming out of a Mazda FWD drag racing build. We were in the process of making it an SFWD 9-8 Second car but with the lack of aftermarket support and minimal support it started to get pretty dang expensive. Needless to say I always had my eye out for a clean notch here in the northeast and when I finally found this one I couldn’t help but pass up the opportunity to snag it. Figured I’d drop a build or "rebuild progress' thread. The part out alone from the Mazda paid for the car and I still have a long list to sell. I should be able to flip all of it into the notch and have a pretty solid rebuild. Plan it to make it just as fast if not faster then the mazda was going to be and still have some $ leftover.

Details on the car and mod/build list (from what I've been told)
Grey 89 LX Notch SSP FL Car

ECU
MS3 Gold Box with Innovative IC2 Wideband running Speed Density
(IAC valve deleted) Not sure what they had going on there. Seems like they couldn’t figure out a tune issue and decided to delete it. There are two extras in the trunk so it seems it was a "throw parts at it" situation.
(Only thing I have paperwork on with the car for its install)

POWER PLANT
331 Scat Stroker with 9:5 pistons
Anderson N41 Cam
Ported pro Comp head with pro Comp roller rockers
Edelbrock upper and lower intake with 70mm Throttle body
32lb injectors, 255lph pump and BB fuel reg
Unknown brand deep oil pan
Upgraded aluminum radiator
Fluid Dampr Crank damper
AC delete
BBK Long tube headers with unknown axle dump exhaust

TRANSMISSION
C4 Transmission
B&M Pro ratchet shifter
Stiffler trans mount
trans cooler w. fan
(feels like it might have a fairly high stall converter)

CHASSIS and SUSPENSION
Unknown Brand Suspension Front coil overs and upgraded rear struts and springs
QA1 Front adjustable caster/camber plates
Tubular upper and lower rear
Tubular K member tubular LCAs and UCAs
Sub frame connectors

POWER ADDER
Zex Nitrous kit plumbed and installed
(Claims it was never used, just installed)

Plan was to bring it up to New England drag way and get a baseline before the end of this season.

Did a 360 check of things that need to be done before then front to back:
Cruise and Idle tune are a bit dirty (in the process of cleaning it up in tuner studio) Drives great over 2500 RPM
Couple coolant leaks from coolant hoses (Fixed)
Front and rear main seals (small leaks) Purchase seal and overhaul kits)
Cracked trans bell housing with hole (I dont know if they hit something or threw something through it from inside. (Pull bell housing and fix/ weld it and pick up and extra as a replacement)
Trans output shaft seal leak (Purchase seal kit)
Trans Dip stick tube adapter fitting leaking (Reseal threads)
Rear Dif seal leaking ( i think it might be dry)
Wide band seems to be on the fritz. Takes longer and longer to warm up day by day (could be part of the tune issues)
Rear end is either dry or toast. has one wheel peel-itus. need to find out what is in it for a rear end (going to do a rear wheel/driveshaft turn check this week)

NON EMERGENCY fixes id like to do are:
Redo sub frame connectors (booger welds)
Clean up exhaust. Re Weld some leaking areas
All wiring needs to be gone through and redone. (Electrical doesn't seem to be the previous owners best ability)

WINTER Plans for 2021

-Yank motor and do a top to bottom refresh. internals being changed will be dependent on condition of block and internals of course. if all check out then just a simple refurb in order. basic machine work, ringlands, main and rod bearings. Replace all seals and gaskets. Freshen and clean up accessories, valve covers etc.
-Rebuild the rear end (depending on what it is) or replace it with a 31 spline rear end. (Hav not decided gearing yet)
-Have the C4 refurbished and maybe upgraded by a buddy who does transmissions
-5 lug conversion with disk brakes in all corners front and back
-Add a few sensors for the megasquirt. Oil Pressure, Fuel Pressure, nitrous related stuff etc.
-Not definite but have been toying around with building a turbo kit and running a VS racing turbo (I have everything needed already from the Mazda (sensors etc.) to make it happen.
- Pull interior and do a little bit or corrosion prevention and coating to the floor pans and surfaces (seeing as they are already in good condition id like to keep it that way)
- Build and install a 10pt 8.5 cert cage
- Fuel cell and complete refurb of the fuel system. All PTFE SS braided AN Lines, external fuel pump etc.(Thinking trunk mounted)
- Upgrade the stock rad fans
- Add a relay/switch panel for accessories, fuel pump, fan, power, ign etc.
- Battery solid state kill switch
- Clean up and preserve chassis, engine bay, towers etc.
- Create a fire wall with a fiberglass fabric i use on all my cars to keep heat out of the cabin and of course fire
- Get zex kit running and working, purge system etc
- Upgraded steering shaft and de-power the steering rack. Steering wheel with 2/3 Step, trans brake etc.

The list will grow I'm sure. But I am excited to get this car out and make some passes even if i don't make it out this season.

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ShedBuiltMS

Member
Sep 24, 2020
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Boston, MA
www.dirtywaterracing.com
House was full of contractors today.
Decided to throw the notch on the Jack's.
Shot over to O'Reilly's and grabbed some stuff. Garage is still packed with out entire house so outside on the ground it was.

Did a rear gear size test before popping the dif cover. 3.75 turns on the driveshaft. Popped the cover. Fluid was pretty burnt up. Cleaned it all up. Confirmed 3.73 ford gears. New sealant sent it home.

Yanked the driveshaft out. Replaced the seal (previous owner had the incorrect seal in it)

Knocked a couple things off the checklist. Rear still seems shot only spinning the passenger side wheel when it gets loose.

Took it out for a ride to help my buddy get some welding done on the turbo kit for his 6.0 LS Malibu.

Ordering within the next few weeks:
Strange 35 spline axles kit with Strange spool differential and C-clip eliminators.
Ford 4.10 ring and pinion
Bearing/seal rear end rebuild kit
B&M bearing support diff cover
Parts to build an Aux switch and relay panel for fans, pumps, IGN, start, Etc

(Figure out what I want for brakes)
May just keep the drums in the rear and convert the drum to a 5 lug for the strange axles and just get 5 lug fronts for the factory spindles)

Also starting to get ideas on what I want to do this winter. Keep it NA or go turbo. The ON3 turbo kit seems appealing enough to maybe pickup this winter and change a few things to how I'd want it or I may just get a set of front facing manifolds and build the kit myself. Undecided.

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ShedBuiltMS

Member
Sep 24, 2020
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Boston, MA
www.dirtywaterracing.com
Put in a fairly large order of parts yesterday. I've come to terms I'm not going to be able to make it out to the track this season so might as well get started.

Ordered:
Strange 8.8 35 spline spool and 5 lug 35 spline axle kit (going to weld the tubes this winter)
Ford 4.10 gears and rear end rebuild kit
Bearing cap studs
B&M bearing support dif cover
New C4 bellhousing
18" drag race seat and pad
Mounting brackets for the seat
Scott Rodd complete rear seat and deck delete
C4 trans brake valve body (keeping it forward patter)
5 lug drums and new shoes (going to stay with the drumsfor now)
Slotted 5 lug fronts hub/rotors and new pads
(Will probably end up just getting a strange or wilwood kit over the winter)
Couple of center console and interior peices to clean it up.
Chromoly tube stock on order for the cage
TQ box kit
Materials to build a panhard bar
Strange Double adjustable rear shocks

Also on YouTube under Dirty Water Racing for anyone that wants to follow along.

Garage is almost cleared out, time to start getting my Fabrication areas setup. Get the tubing bender mounted and tables setup. Get my toolbox back from being stored at my brother in law's.
 

ShedBuiltMS

Member
Sep 24, 2020
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Boston, MA
www.dirtywaterracing.com
That’s a solid parts list.

is this car a dedicated dragstrip car?
75% track/25% street

I'd like it to be "drag week" capable. Something I've always wanted to do and plan on attending in the next 3 or so years. Hard to do in MA but we know people and I'm confident I can get it to pass as a "street car". I've also dabbled in the thought of getting electronic dumps for this reason. Or if I go turbo, 1 boost activated valve or detachable exhaust/dump setup.

The dump/exhaust setup is actually something I just setup and fabricated for a my buddies Malibu and I don't mind it at all.

Said goodbye to the old racecar today as well

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ShedBuiltMS

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Sep 24, 2020
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New Bellhousing, Dif cover and vent guage plate in. Also went ahead and ordered a @stanglx2002 Digital Dash. Really can't beat the PnP ability of it especially with a in dash fitted option. Plan to mess around with it and try and experiment with some stuff. I'm an electrical hardo but PC/Programming stuff has never been a strong suit.

Going to pick up all the other stuff that should be in today from LMR.

Also looking into some type of rust prevention or coating for the interior, floors etc. Go ahead and pull out the carpets. Get a good cleaning in. Maybe start welding in my cage plates so I'll have targets for everything once the chromoly comes in and I can start bending some tube.
 

ShedBuiltMS

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Sep 24, 2020
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Boston, MA
www.dirtywaterracing.com
Car has solid bones for sure. Why did you go with a 4:10 gear?
Few things at the moment. Reasons if I were to Chuck it in and go now before testing it down.
Aside from the Obv. (Speed)
I'd like to get it in a usable power band with forced induction or spray.
Instead of having the trans screaming at the top of 3rd on the drag strip I'd like to have that head room.
I feel like it's that barrier of maybe going too far for my 75/25 goal with strip/street before you start encroaching into dedicated track car territory.
Finally, I'm going to have it out and all pulled apart, dropping the entire rear to to through it so, so might as well pop a new 4.10 in.
I can help with the software items if needed, when you get the dash in hand my card will be in the box.
Thank you, that's very much appreciated!
 

ShedBuiltMS

Member
Sep 24, 2020
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Boston, MA
www.dirtywaterracing.com
Decided to take it for a ride into work at the FD today. Tried playing around with autotune in TS to smooth up the "cruisability" and just basically see how TS does with it on the highway etc. Did ok cruising back roads. Rough on the highway. Made it into town (25ish mile) everything running looking good anyways. Definitely needs a human touch. (It also could have vacuum leaks for all I know)
Mile out from the firehouse got stuck in some traffic. Fans decided to stop working, MS was commanding it but no worky. Made it to the firehouse and shut it down (temps were around 230ish) it popped the upper rad hose(thing was dry rotted). Thankfully local advance had one in stock. Pop it on, fill the rad.
Going to jump the fans out just to verify they work. If they work just wire them to the relay for the Nitrous switch just to get home later.

Thing is an electrical nightmare lol, but I'm a glutton for punishment and love doing electrical work on cars.

Just put in an order for a jolt switch box with billet buttons/switches. Going to stand alone everything. (Preference to have control over what's on and off). Should ask open up inputs in the gold box (not that it needs anymore)

Think I will make this the final drive before putting it up for the winter and starting into everything.
 

stanglx2002

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New Bellhousing, Dif cover and vent guage plate in. Also went ahead and ordered a @stanglx2002 Digital Dash. Really can't beat the PnP ability of it especially with a in dash fitted option. Plan to mess around with it and try and experiment with some stuff. I'm an electrical hardo but PC/Programming stuff has never been a strong suit.

Going to pick up all the other stuff that should be in today from LMR.

Also looking into some type of rust prevention or coating for the interior, floors etc. Go ahead and pull out the carpets. Get a good cleaning in. Maybe start welding in my cage plates so I'll have targets for everything once the chromoly comes in and I can start bending some tube.
Look forward to getting it in your hands and the pictures to follow.
 
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Monkeybutt2000

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Few things at the moment. Reasons if I were to Chuck it in and go now before testing it down.
Aside from the Obv. (Speed)
I'd like to get it in a usable power band with forced induction or spray.
Instead of having the trans screaming at the top of 3rd on the drag strip I'd like to have that head room.
I feel like it's that barrier of maybe going too far for my 75/25 goal with strip/street before you start encroaching into dedicated track car territory.
Finally, I'm going to have it out and all pulled apart, dropping the entire rear to to through it so, so might as well pop a new 4.10 in.

Thank you, that's very much appreciated!
Do you know what size rear tire you're going to run?
 

Monkeybutt2000

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Aug 11, 2019
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I do not know yet. But am open to suggestions. Coming from a SFWD car I'm learning things can be the complete same in some aspects or the complete opposite when it comes to setting up this car lol.
If you run a 26" tall tire,you will be real close to running out of gear at the end of a quarter mile. A 28" will help,but if you spray it no bueno. Not to downplay you,but ideally you want to cross the traps at you max rpm. There's calculators out there to help you choose the ideal rear gear.