I know I've been here before, as have most unsuspecting upgraders. We build up our project car over the period of a couple of years, adding new components from stem to stern. Finally, we start our freshly completed restored or modified toy and want to go out and beat on it, and we take careful precautions breaking in the camshaft properly to ensure a lifetime of trouble-free service. But what else needs to be broken in properly and carefully in your driveline? Certain clutch packages take very specific break-in procedures, based on the friction material and their mating surfaces. There may be specific techniques needed for your transmission and differential run-in. In an automatic trans, you will definitely want the clutch friction material and fresh steels to have time to burnish themselves into a nice relationship—and for the frictions to have plenty of time to absorb ATF fluid. Whoever built the trans for you should have soaked the frictions in ATF for at least an hour before the build. Finally, for manual gearboxes and hypoid differentials, you need to give the gearsets time to welcome their new friends that they need to transfer torque through. This should start on stands with running the car though the gears and letting the differential run through the motions without putting load on the gearset. After you put the vehicle into service, you should be nice to it for the first 100 miles. This early attention will go a long way in protecting your upgraded ride.
This past month I finished and tested our wagon with its new Strange Drag Race front brake kit. And just yesterday, I replaced the front rotors and pads on our daughter's, Ashley, Mazda wagon. Road-racing folks will be very familiar with this process of bedding in several sets of pads at a time, since you need to replace pads throughout a race. If you haven't bedded in the pads properly and put them into a racing environment, they'll immediately glaze over—and your driver wouldn't be too happy with you. Worst case, the car would come back on the wrecker after being put into the wall or another competitor.
The bedding process cooks the manufacturing glues and resins from the new brake pads, and seasons the new rotors with a layer of friction material from the brake pads. In street-performance applications, this bedding process is a series of six to eight braking events from about 60 mph down to 10 mph, without stopping. Each of these braking events should be made at moderate to high rates at about 75 percent of the braking force required to lock up the brakes. These six to eight stops should be made one after the other without allowing the brakes to cool between stops. After this procedure, either drive the car for some time to allow the brakes to completely cool, or park the car until the rotors are cool to the touch. This is considered one bedding cycle. For most street applications, you are ready for years of trouble-free braking. For race-specific pads and applications, the bedding process is just more aggressive, mainly in speed, and in amount of heat cycles. For racing applications, make sure that you follow the manufacturer's recommendations for break-in because it will be pad specific.
So remember, when you finish up your build, make a plan of what needs to be broken in, and in what order. When you pull out of the driveway the first time, you need to bed in the brakes. If not, you may be chasing your tail for years asking yourself why your cool big brake kit doesn't whoa down your hot rod.
Wish In One Hand
A As a longtime reader of your column, I know you've answered some pretty tough questions, and I hope you can help me with mine. I bought a nice 1993 Corvette Coupe cheap. Why cheap? It had no engine, trans, or rearend. I found a good LT-1 to build into an LT-4 and have the heads and intake from an LT-4. I have a fully rebuilt T-56 that RPM put its magic touch on. Also, I have a Dana 44 with 370 gears. After scouring everywhere, I can't find a Maggie-style blower and intake to fit this engine. I did find several guys online who have cobbled something together, but most have had less than stellar results. I have even thought about taking my spare LT-4 intake and having the top cut off and having a plenum to put a Maggie-style blower on top. Sure, with enough dollars anything is possible, but I hate to reinvent the wheel. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A. The first GM vehicle Magnuson built complete supercharger kits for was with the release of the C5 Corvette and the LS1 engine. Then in the late '90s, Magnuson continued and offered complete kits for the 1500 and 2500 trucks with the LS engine family, and the rest is history. Magnuson builds complete emissions-legal, OE-quality supercharger kits for almost any performance-base domestic car released today. Unfortunately, as you have found, there is nothing for the Second Gen small-block Chevys. Yes, you could cut and weld into your LT4 manifold, but that would be quite an exercise.
Check out what ProCharger offers in its centrifugal blower kits, like the kit for 1992-96 Corvettes that features its P-1SC blower and a two-core intercooler system, which produces 8 psi boost. The P-1SC is a self-contained supercharger with its own oil sump, which contains special synthetic oil that keeps the 4.1:1 gearset cool and lubricated. The service interval for the supercharge oil is 6,000 miles. The nice thing about it being self-contained is you do not have to use the engine oil to lube the blower and the attending plumbing required to get the oil to the blower and back into the pan. This kit mounts the blower to the front of the passenger-side cylinder heads with an arrangement of billet aluminum brackets, and it allows you to keep the stock hood with no modifications. If you were able to mount a Magnuson you would have to modify your hood for additional clearance.
With the 8 psi of intercooled boost you can expect a 55- to 60-percent increase in baseline N/A horsepower. Let's say you build a production LT4 with no upgrades. This type of gain would give you 510-530 SAE crankshaft horsepower. Since you're building this up from scratch, we don't see the N/A power at 330 hp. No, the centrifugal superchargers don't give you that instant full boost torque rise at slower engine speeds, but they do help keep the tires hooked up and allow you to put that power gain to the ground. Check with ProCharger at 913.338.2886 for exact specs you need to put your blower kit together.
Sorry we couldn't help with your quest for a Maggie-style blower. You had already found that it was going to be tough. But if you have the tools and skills, Magnuson has the parts. Good luck with your huffer project!