Drag Racer Phil Swales has Been Using FUELAB Since the Day We Opened!

outlaw-632-class nhra-drag-racing-fuel-pumps-fuelab ihra-drag-racing-fuel-pressure-regulator firebird-racing-fuel-pumps-fuelab

FUELAB sponsored racer Phil Swales spoke with us about his drag racing experience:

Q: When did you start racing?
A: I started racing 1984, in high school, when I was sixteen years old.

Q: What got you into racing?
A: I got a flavor for it from my Dad, who drag raced. I also worked at my uncle’s garage until I was 22. I built cars there with my two cousins. One had a T-Bucket, and I had a ‘74 Trans Am with a Super Duty 455 and 4 speed. We were doing street drags, and also some racing at the New England Dragway.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: The ’74 Trans Am.

Q: What were some of the other cars you have raced and when?
A: I also had a ’91 Firebird Formula 350 that my dad drove. About twenty years ago I started racing a 1970 Nova SS that had a 598 with conventional heads, single carb and nitrous. That car was pretty competitive in the NMCA. I then swapped that motor into a 2000 Trans Am, and it was one of the most consistent cars out there – running 4.7 to 4.8 in the eighth mile. Now the Trans Am is running a new 632 Big Chief racing motor that puts out 1,230 horsepower.

Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: I’ve raced in the NMCA, NHRA, PSCA, Outlaw 10-5, and Outlaw 632 Class.

Q: What have been your major racing successes over the years?
A: I won the All Chevy Show in 2003, 2004, and 2005. One year I came in with the Nova, and a ’69 Camaro that was owned by my friend Craig Cerniglia. We qualified first and second. Craig was going to drive the car, but he didn’t have a license to drive the car as fast as it would go. Some people complained, so my brother in-law Gary Unger ended up driving the car.

After that there was a period of time where I had to back off racing. My kids were growing up, and I had to spend time with them. Now I’m back at it. In 2015 I placed well in the NMCA Semi Finals. This year I was runner-up at Heads Up Madness. Currently, I’m number three in the points now in the 632 class.

Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: I like the competition and comradery. Over the years I have gained so many friends from all over the country.

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: Yes, my wife and two boys help me. My dad comes down from the Northeast to watch.

Q: How long have you used FUELAB?
A: Since the day they opened. I’ve used it on the Firebird, the Nova and my brother in-laws car.

Q: Why did you start using FUELAB?
A: It’s a great product! My car hasn’t burned a spark plug in a year and a half, even with a 600 horsepower spray of nitrous.

Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that FUELAB solved?
A: I was having problems with other manufacturers pumps keeping fuel pressure regulated properly. FUELAB pumps don’t drop pressure. They’re the only pumps that I have seen do that. I don’t have readjust the pressure.

Q: How has FUELAB affected your racing success?
A: The performance is always consistent.

Q: What FUELAB parts do you use?
A: I use one of their carbureted pumps, and a bypass style fuel pressure regulator.

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of FUELAB products and company?
A: They are very hands on, and know what they are talking about. You just don’t get customer service like that anymore. You can talk the actual person who built the pump.

Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in 5 years?
A: That’s tough. Win a championship then spend effort helping my kids with racing.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I drag race! Otherwise I like to do things like hunt.

Share

The Best Location for a Fuel Pressure Regulator

Example of close regulator placement to fuel destination

Example of close regulator placement to fuel destination

Location, location, location
It’s not only the number one rule in real estate, it’s also a contested point when mounting a fuel pressure regulator.

There are those who believe it’s best to place a fuel pressure regulator close to the fuel’s destination (fuel rail, fuel log, carburetor, diesel or direct injection pump), while others feel it’s just fine to place it further away; sometimes at the opposite end of the vehicle. Either philosophy could be correct, depending on the application.

Choice of regulator location can affect ease of installation, adjustment, and appearance. Some people may elect to mount the regulator in a space that is convenient, and/or easy to access. Or, they may mount it in an out of the way location to achieve “a cleaner look”. However, when it comes to performance, fuel pressure regulation can be affected by regulator location. The further away the regulator is from the destination fuel rail, carburetor, diesel injection pump, etc., the longer the fuel line is between them. The longer the fuel line, the greater the potential for fuel pressure loss. Hence, getting the regulator close to its destination can help pressure regulation.

With many applications there is not a need for a high degree of pressure regulation, or the overall flow demand is not as great. In these instances, the amount of fuel pressure error created by placing the regulator away from the destination is insignificant. So, the choice to place the regulator close can be secondary to choosing a location for ease of installation, adjustment, and appearance. Application examples include:

Diesel Systems – OE or Mildly Modified

For some OE or mildly modified diesel systems, pressure error or differences in pressure do not affect the system as much. For example, FUELAB lift pump systems have integrated relief valves regulating the pressure within the assembly. For applications that are not subject to high g-forces and do not require very highly accurate pressure, this regulation point is not a significant distance from the injection pump to cause an error, or a loss of pressure, during high demands. The level of performance is acceptable.

“Lower Power” Gas or Ethanol Systems

Carbureted or EFI systems that are not using extreme amounts of flow rate may not lose significant pressure regulation when having added distances from the carburetor, fuel log, or fuel rail.

Then there are the applications in which close placement becomes more important:

“High G” Launches

Vehicles used for drag racing are subjected to high g-force launches, which can reduce fuel pressure. This could occur if the fuel line between the regulator and the destination fuel rail, fuel log, carburetor, diesel or direct injection pump is positioned to run lengthwise on the vehicle, and the regulator is placed behind the fuel destination. The g-forces at launch can actually push fuel away from the fuel destination, and the effect is a direct function of the length of the fuel line. The shorter the line, the less pronounced this condition will be. Therefore, having the regulator close can remove or minimize this error. It’s interesting to consider that if the regulator is placed in front of the fuel destination it can actually increase fuel pressure – especially with carbureted applications. Note, no issues are created by high g-force launches if the fuel line between the regulator and destination run perpendicular to the direction of the launch.

High Power Applications

High power applications (500+ horsepower) are typically characterized by a great amount of difference in fuel flow rate between idle and full throttle. When the throttle is applied quickly, the resulting sudden and large increase in fuel flow rate creates fuel pressure loss between the regulator and the fuel destination. Placing the regulator close will reduce the pressure loss. It should be noted that that high performance diesel applications which use a lift pump with an internal regulator can also benefit from an external regulator that is close to the injection pump.

“Extra Low Fuel Pressure” Systems

Typically, low pressure carbureted or injection pump systems can experience a greater difference in “percentage” of change regarding error. A 1/2 PSI change in fuel pressure is not significant for 60 PSI EFI systems, however for a 2 PSI system it can be dramatic. Close placement of the pressure regulator is recommended.

It’s important to choose the correct location for your fuel pressure regulator. In many cases, you can mount the regulator in a location to satisfy ease of installation, adjustment, and appearance. However, in the cases of high power applications, extra low fuel pressure systems, and high-g launches, it’s best to mount the regulator as close to the fuel delivery destination as possible. It can make the difference between being the winner, or being the loser.

Click to see FUELAB Fuel Pressure Regulator models for gas, e85 and methanol applications

Click to see FUELAB Fuel Pressure Regulator models for diesel applications 

What is Cavitation? How to Avoid It.

The most common failure of high flow fuel systems is cavitation, or “vapor-lock”. The combination of too much heat or too much inlet restriction can create this operating condition, where the liquid fuel literally vaporizes (boils) inside the pump assembly. Symptoms of this operating condition may include one or more of the following:

  • Dramatic loss of flow rate
  • “Gauge Bouncing”
  • Ratchet or grinding sounds from pump
  • Inconsistent or loss of fuel pressure
  • Temperatures above 120°F (50C)

As bad as the symptoms of this condition are, the results of this condition are often permanent, even if what caused the condition in the first place was fixed. Loss of fuel delivery pressure will also result in a lean-out condition as well that can result in engine damage. Typically, even with very short amounts of time of exposure to cavitation (depending on severity) will cause damage to the fuel pump. This damage results in a direct loss of capacity and efficiency. Often as noted when unchecked, this damage to the pump results in operating conditions that quickens cavitation exposure at each use. Eventually, the fuel system resorts to complete failure to build or maintain pressure. For all fuel systems of any manufacturer, this failure can be avoided as it is not a result of a manufacturing defect, but a result of a fuel system design failure. Two operating conditions can create the cavitation condition:

  • High operating temperatures
  • High inlet plumbing restrictions

High Operating Temperatures

High fuel system operating temperature conditions can exist for several reasons including high inefficiencies (for example a worn or damaged pump), overly high fuel pressures, high flow rate pumps for long durations with low fuel amounts. Or it can result in secondary sources of heat such as engine heat, or exhaust heat.

Most high flow EFI and carbureted fuel pumps are rated as “not continuous duty”. This is due to the amount of heat build-up that occurs over time as the fuel system is operating. When the fuel system has a high enough temperature the fuel will start to vaporize at the pump assembly – even with low pressure drop plumbing at the pump’s inlet. Once the fuel temperature is above 120°F (50C) the fuel is prone to vaporizing. A rule of thumb is: if it’s hot enough to be uncomfortable to the touch, then it is too hot. To allow for continuous or “street” use, voltage controllers are employed to reduce the pump speed during low engine demand operation to prevent heat build-up. Prodigy fuel pumps have a unique feature that allows reduction of speed without the need for an external pump controller. See our forum topic under Speed Control (http://fuelab.com/forums/forum/customer-support-2/prodigy-fuel-pumps/speed-control/) for more information relating to speed reduction for Prodigy Fuel Pumps.

High Inlet Plumbing Restrictions

Some refer to pumps as “pushers” or “pullers”. The truth is that all pumps are both. This reference comes from the amount of resistance to cavitation a particular pump has versus another. Minimizing the amount of restriction feeding the pump’s inlet is a critical element to avoid cavitation. This is the main reason why typical OEM fuel systems have pumps mounted inside the fuel tank.

Use of straining filters is required for the inlet of the fuel pump. They to provide fine enough filtering to protect the fuel pump, yet coarse enough not to inhibit flow, or capture enough particles to cause a building up of debris. Finer filtration, to protect the rest of the fuel system (such as fuel injectors and regulators) can be accomplished downstream of the fuel pump with a second filter. Typically, straining filters for fuel pumps elements have micron ratings from 25 to 150 micron rating. FUELAB recommends the use of 75 micron rating for Prodigy Series fuel pumps (75-150 micron required). Typically, modern OEM straining filters are at a lower micron rating and made of plastic weave cloth. These types of filters are adequate and desirable for OEM applications, however, the typical aftermarket fuel system has too high of a flow rate to accommodate this form of straining filter easily. The biggest mistake (and almost certain doom for a high flow fuel system) is to use a 10 micron filter upstream of the fuel pump.

Plumbing size and the types of hose (or tube) play a vital role in the effects of cavitation as well general performance. The higher the flow rate, the larger the line size must be. Always avoid the use of check valves, or cross-drilled fittings when plumbing upstream of the fuel pump.

What Cavitation Damage Looks Like

These pictures show the damage that can be done due to cavitation. The housing on the left shows cavitation damage and the housing on the right is how the housing should look. The last picture shows the cavitation damage to the wear plates. Although the damage may look minimal to some, it’s certainly not. If you understand machining principals and the tight tolerances that go into a modern build, it’s plain to see that there is a lot of damage here.

Fuel Pump Cavitation Damage

You can see the grooves cut into the housing from the broken carbon vanes (left) compared to the perfect housing on the right.

Avoid Fuel Pump Cavitation Damage

Same picture, with some added vane carnage.

Vapor Lock Damage

The shiny/bare metal is cavitation damage. Much like a cylinder wall, it’s no good when you can feel the marks with your fingernail.

British Drag Racer Andre Gysler Talks About Racing and FUELAB

Santa Pod - Andre Gysler - Fuelab Photo 1 Santa Pod - Andre Gysler - Fuelab Photo 2 Santa Pod - Andre Gysler - Fuelab Photo 3

While not as popular as it is in the US, drag racing does have prominence in the UK. Andre Gysler is a FUELAB sponsored British drag racer, and was kind enough to spend some time with us discussing racing and FUELAB.

Q: When did you start racing?
A: 2012

Q: What got you into racing?
A: Initially, I saw people struggling to reach certain power levels with 3000GTs and GTOs which I believed could be achieved.  I exceeded these power goals on a club dyno day and so visited the drag strip to back up the dyno figures with timeslips.  I smashed the then current records on my first ever visit to the track…..I was hooked.  Later I looked at the ‘old’ HKS drag Series at Santa Pod and again believed I could beat the times that others were doing.  That series is now called the Jap Drag Series and I still run in it.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: Mitsubishi GTO twin turbo

Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: MSA

Q: What have been your major racing successes over the past 5 years?
A: European records for HP, torque, ¼ mile ET and terminal speed, European standing km.  Currently 4th in the world rankings and looking to exceed 200 mph in the km.

Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: Beating the guy next to me

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: As spectators only due to our youngest two sons being autistic, although I have full support from my family in every way they can help.

Q: How long have you used FUELAB?
A: Since 2013

Q: Why did you start using FUELAB?
A: My power goals required a large fuel delivery system and I wanted to go with a large single pump rather than multiple smaller pumps. Fuelab produced pumps that were big enough for what I wanted as well as having an excellent reputation. That plus the car is a road legal car, so their eFPR (electronic fuel pressure regulator) was a very interesting addition to the fuel delivery setup.

Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that FUELAB solved?
A: Yes and no, I had been struggling to stick with dual in tank pumps but was reaching the end of their capability.  Whilst switching to a fuel cell, I had to address the fuel delivery system.

Q: How has FUELAB affected your racing success?
A: Fuelab has been nothing short of excellent!  As well as great products and innovation, they are always on hand and willing to help design / discuss fueling requirements and solutions.  Nothing ever seems to be too much trouble.

Q: What FUELAB parts do you use?
A: Prodigy 424 series pump, 82823 75 micron pre filter, 82833 6 micron post filter, 52902 eFPR

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of FUELAB products and company?
A: The quality of product, support and high end parts availability.  That plus the people at Fuelab care.

Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in 5 years?
A: World record holder for ¼ mile ET and TS in a 3000GT/GTO/Stealth.  World records for HP and torque in a 3S, still taking the car fishing!

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Fly fish for the England Lochstyle team, skiing

Most Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulators Leak Small Amounts of Air

Fuel Pressure Regulator Air Leak

Most Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulators leak small amounts of air. Many people don’t realize this. Though this leak is not significant, and ultimately is accounted for when the vehicle is dyno-tuned, it can be helpful to be aware of this condition.

We were recently reminded of this when a customer, who was diagnosing a turbo boost issue, told us he discovered a small amount of air leakage at the regulator where the adjustment screw is threaded into the regulator cover. He thought it was the source of his problem, and that the regulator was defective. We assured him the regulator was not faulty, that most Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulators leak small amounts of air – no matter which brand it is, and the leak was far too small to create issues. He then went on to find the true source of his problem. This conversation got us thinking it would be informative to explore this phenomenon, put some numbers to it, and report our findings.

Most adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulators have threads in the cover, into which the adjustment screw is inserted. Here small amounts of air blow by can be detected when the pressure reference port is positively pressurized with air – like when the port is plumbed to a turbo charger. Conversely, under vacuum conditions, as when the port is plumbed to the intake manifold, a small vacuum leak can be found at this location. The volume of air leaked is generally insignificant, the amount of leakage is consistent, and once dyno-tuning has been performed (assuming the Reference Port is plumbed) it is accounted for.

For our experiment we used a graduated cylinder to collect and measure the amount of air that leaked through the regulator cover. The leakage was measured as volumetric flow rate; which is the amount of time that it took for a given amount of volume to be displaced. The reference port of the regulator was connected to a compressed air source pressurized to 20 PSI, and the regulator was submerged in water.

*Please note, you should NOT perform this test on your own regulator. Because the cover is pressurized without the fuel pump operating and with an amount of pressure greater than the fuel pressure (zero in this case), the diaphragm can be permanently damaged as it is pressurized in the wrong direction. This can lead to internal leakage that can flood your engine with fuel.  If you do perform this test on any fuel pressure regulator be sure to replace the diaphragm assembly afterward.

We conducted four tests. Test 1 shows results when the regulator has been set up to induce the most leakage. Subsequent tests were performed after taking incremental steps to reduce leakage.

Test 1

For Test 1 the adjustment screw was threaded into place, however, the jam nut and washer were left loose with a gap visible. This condition obviously leaked the most at a total of 0.20 CFM.

Test 2

For Test 2 the jam nut and washer were snuggly tightened. This condition leaked less at a total of 0.09 CFM, and would be the amount of leakage typically expected. Test 2 shows the change in leakage is about half as much Test 1. For consistency it would be best to lock down the jam nuts prior to dyno-tuning.

Test 3

For Test 3 Loctite 242 (Blue – Serviceable) was used on the adjustment screw threads and in between the jam nut and washer.  This technique sealed the hardware, and thus had a total leakage of 0.0 CFM.  Loctite 209 (Green – Penetrating) thread adhesive can be used on assemblies that are already together, thus can be added after final pressure adjustment.

Test 4

After Test 3, the hardware was loosened up and excess adhesive removed. The hardware was still slightly “tacky”. This test was repeated to note the difference in flow (such as after making a change in adjustment, when Loctite is used) and the total leakage was only up to 0.03 CFM.

Conclusion

Obviously, considering the total capacity of air flow for a typical high performance – high power engine, the amount of leakage being measured is insignificant.  At an idle condition, it does become a bit more significant.  While it does not impact performance, some people may be particular about taking steps to achieve zero leakage, while others have no concerns and leave the regulator as-is. In any case, it’s best to at least be aware this condition exists.

 

How To: Accurately Adjusting Blocking Style Fuel Pressure Regulators

How to adjust blocking style fuel pressure regulators - FUELAB

Accurate and consistent fuel pressure is critical for maximum and consistent high performance. Therefore accurate adjustment of fuel pressure is critical. This can prove to be a challenge with Blocking Style fuel pressure regulators: Unless proper adjustment procedure is followed the regulator’s design can cause “pressure creep”, resulting in inconsistent fuel pressure readings during the adjustment process. This article focuses on avoiding pressure creep while adjusting fuel pressure on a Blocking Style Regulator.

Pressure Creep

What is pressure creep? To understand, let’s review how Blocking Style Regulators and Bypass Style Regulators function.

Blocking Style Fuel Pressure Regulator (aka: Traditional Style)

Below is an example of a Blocking Style Regulator. Please note the cut-away image shows the fuel regulator in the valve closed position.

Adjusting Carbureted Fuel Pressure Regulators - FUELAB

With a blocking style regulator, fuel enters through the inlet port (A) and travels past the fuel control valve (B) and then is distributed through an outlet port to the carburetor. In this example, there are two outlet ports (C). Fuel flow and pressure are controlled by the fuel control valve that is actuated by a diaphragm (D). The diaphragm’s movement up and down is limited by a spring (E). Fuel pressure (psi) to the carburetor is set with a threaded adjustment mechanism (F). A vacuum/boost reference port allows the regulator to compensate for boost pressure with forced induction applications (G).

Blocking style regulators are characterized by a lack of a fuel return line from the regulator back to the fuel tank. When there is no fuel demand from the engine the fuel flow is brought to a halt by the fuel control valve (B). Thus, no fuel is flowing into or out of the regulator.

Please note, Blocking Style Regulator function is described in greater detail here: http://fuelab.com/fuel-pressure-regulators-low-pressure-applications/

Bypass Style Fuel Pressure Regulator (aka: Return Style)

Below is an example of a Bypass Style Regulator. Please note the cut-away image shows the fuel regulator in the valve closed position.

Adjusting a Blocking Style Fuel Pressure Regulator - FUELAB

With a Bypass Style Regulator, fuel enters through the inlet port (A) and travels past a fuel bypass valve/fuel return line port (which governs fuel flow and pressure) (B) and then is distributed through an outlet port to the carburetor (C). Opening and closing of the bypass valve is limited by a spring (D). Fuel pressure (psi) to the carburetor is set with a threaded adjustment mechanism (E). A vacuum/boost reference port allows the regulator to compensate for boost pressure with forced induction applications (F).

Bypass Style Regulators are characterized by a fuel return line from the regulator back to the fuel tank. When there is no fuel demand from the engine the fuel continues to flow as it is “rerouted” by the fuel bypass valve (B) away from the engine and to the fuel tank: As opposed to the Blocking Style Regulator which halts fuel flow completely.

*Please note, Bypass Style Regulator function is described in greater detail here: http://fuelab.com/fuel-pressure-regulators-low-pressure-applications/

Now, let’s get back to pressure creep. As fuel pressure reaches the maximum value to which a Blocking Style Regulator has been set, the fuel control valve must shut off inlet pressure from getting to the outlet port. This action requires extra force (fuel pressure) to fully shut the valve off and creates a spike in fuel pressure as the valve reaches the closed position. This is often termed “Pressure Creep”. The graph below demonstrates this condition. Of note, Bypass Style Regulators do not experience this problem since fuel never stops flowing.

Graph

Pressure creep can cause fuel pressure readings to be inconsistent when taken with the fuel control valve fully closed, and the engine shut off (but with the fuel pump energized). Meaning that the engine can be run and shut off multiple times, and pressure readings taken between each run/shut off cycle can vary. This makes it difficult to accurately and consistently adjust fuel pressure.

Avoiding Pressure Creep While Adjusting Fuel Pressure with a Blocking Style Regulator

To properly adjust fuel pressure with a Blocking Style Regulator, pressure creep must be eliminated. This can be achieved by keeping a small amount of fuel flowing through the regulator while making adjustments. The most popular method for doing this is operating the engine at idle speed.

However, there are times when this method won’t work. Such as when adjustments need to be made with the engine shut off (with the fuel pump energized). Or in the case of nitrous oxide applications that implement an additional regulator, fuel only flows through this regulator when the fuel solenoid is activated under full throttle. So, how can a small amount of flow be provided in these situations? The answer is bleed returns which can be used to simulate flow rate (trickle flow).

Here are a few ways to set bleed returns:

Plumb a permanent -3AN fuel return line from the outlet port(s) to the fuel tank

-3AN line provides sufficient restriction (use of -6AN line would provide too much  flow and throw off readings)

More lines may be plumbed for additional regulators

If -3AN line is used and is connected to an otherwise unused port, it can be permanently left in place as it is restricted enough not to cause capacity issues. Otherwise, the line(s) can be disconnected when not in use, and the outlet plumbing is reattached to the regulator, and/or the unused outlet port is plugged.

Or:

External Flow Source:

Establish means to quickly hook up a temporary fuel line through which fuel can flow into a fuel safe container outside of the vehicle. This can be done in different ways including:

A “tee” fitting that can be put place at the gauge port, to which the fuel line is attached

A specialty adapter fitting that can be placed inline in the outlet plumbing, to which the fuel line is attached

The fuel line can run through a valve or orifice to provide a restriction to flow small amounts of fuel. Note: Use of a higher flow rate valve may also be used to simulate higher flow rates as well to help judge general capacity.

Fuel System Bleed Return - FUELAB

Conclusion

Properly adjusting fuel pressure is essential for maximum engine performance. Following these methods will help to ensure the most accurate and consistent adjustment of Blocking Style Regulators.

Diesel Racer Johnny Gilbert Talks Racing and FUELAB

Johnny Gilbert - FUELAB Brushless Diesel Lift Pumps Johnny Gilbert - FUELAB High Performance Diesel Lift Pumps for Drag Racing Johnny Gilbert

FUELAB sponsored diesel drag racer Johnny Gilbert spent time with us discussing his drag racing career, and experience with FUELAB.

Q: When did you start racing?
A: In about 1985, I was fifteen years old. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Q: What got you into racing?
A: My old man (dad) got me into it. He raced 1955 and 1957 Chevy’s in Kentucky at Clay City Dragway. That’s where I did my first run.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: It was a 1970 Chevelle with a 400 small block bored .30 over to a 406. It ran 12.70 to 12.80 in the ¼ mile.

Q: What were some of the other cars you have raced and when?
A: I was hooked on Chevy’s. When I turned 18 I got a 1971 Chevelle SS 402 with a TH400 transmission. I started racing it at Osceola, Indiana. The car has seen ten different variations of engines and transmissions installed over the years. My best run was a 10.13 when I was bracket racing in the IHRA. I still have the car, and it runs a 10.29. About 12 years ago I was racing the Chevelle at an event and the rear end broke, so I made some runs in the 2001 Ram 2500 4×4 diesel pickup I was using to tow the Chevelle. My friends were all laughing, but I did alright. About seven or eight years ago I started getting serious about racing the truck, and at that time I got it into the high 11’s.

Q: What have been your major racing successes over the past 5 years?
A: In 2014 I was points champion in the NADM Unlimited Diesel Class, and won the Unlimited Diesel class. Last year in the ODRS I missed half the season with a broken crank, but still ended up 6th in points overall. We won the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza five years in a row, and in 2013 I won in two classes over the weekend; in the Heads Up Pro Truck class I ran a 6.70 in the 1/8th mile, and a 7.70 in Quick Diesel. This year we are running Pro Street class with a lightened up chassis in the ODRS. The truck is now running a triple turbo set up. So far my personal best is a 5.7 second 1/8th mile at 128 MPH. There are a few guys that are a little quicker.

Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: What really sticks out is the comradery – seeing old friends at events. I also like the competition. I’ve always been competitive.

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: Yes, my wife does photography and keeps tabs on other racers. Sometimes she helps work on the truck.

Q: How long have you used FUELAB?
A: I first started running FUELAB on my tow vehicle about two to three years ago and was very happy with it. Last year I saw racers running FUELAB that were doing very well, and that got my attention. Then I met Josh Davis, from FUELAB, at a race. He was very knowledgeable and I learned a lot about the company’s technology. I was so impressed I installed FUELAB on my race truck.

Q: Why did you start using FUELAB?
A: Everything is excellent quality, with great attention to detail, and it lasts a long time. Plus it is made in the USA, and that is a big deal to me.

Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that FUELAB solved?
A: The FASS fuel system we had before was fine, but couldn’t handle the 2200-2500 horsepower level we are shooting for. We wanted to get the best fuel delivery system possible so we went with FUELAB. Their top-notch high quality can’t be beat.

Q: How has FUELAB affected your racing success?
A: The performance consistency is great. Our data logger shows the same fuel pressure all the way through a run. It loses zero pounds of pressure – it’s cool to watch! We’ll be slowly turning up the power during the season, and we are sure the FUELAB pumps will be able to handle it.

Q: What FUELAB parts do you use?
A: We run two Velocity Series 200 GPH Lift Pumps, each can handle 1,500 HP. We also have two FUELAB 42402 regulators, and FUELAB fuel pre-filters.

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of FUELAB products and company?
A: I think FUELAB is awesome. The tech reps will take the time to get your questions answered right away. Even after hours. They’re really professional, really sharp, and willing to go the extra mile.

Q: Where do you see diesel racing in 5 years?
A: I’d like to see the diesel class move into the four second range, and there to be an increased truck count.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I live, eat and sleep racing. Otherwise I like to do things with the family – like take the kids to the beach.

Fuel Pump Motor Technology – Brushed DC Motors vs. Brushless DC Motors

FUELAB is proud to be the innovator of brushless and speed controllable fuel pumps in the automotive aftermarket. Our Prodigy Series of fuel pumps feature brushless electric motors for efficiency, long-life and reliability. Prodigy also features Digital Variable Speed Control that matches fuel flow to engine demand, keeping fuel cooler, and helping to avoid vapor lock and cavitation damage.

Please note; this article will delve into motor technology, while a future article will detail the function and benefits of FUELAB’s Digital Variable Speed Control.

Why did FUELAB choose use of brushless motors, rather than brushed motors? To answer this question let’s first explore the design and operation of a brushed DC motor, and a brushless DC design.

Design and Operation of Brushed and Brushless DC Motors

Brushed DC Motor

A DC Brushed Motor is comprised of four fundamental components: an armature (which holds wire motor windings, and magnets), a ring of magnets (or field magnet), carbon brushes, and a commutator. The ring of magnets and the brushes are non-moving, while the armature and commutator rotate together on the motor shaft within the field magnet.

The armature is an electromagnet, and the ring of magnets is a permanent magnet. The commutator is a split-ring component which is wrapped around the motor shaft and contacts the brushes, which are connected to opposite poles of the power source. The brushes charge the commutator/armature inversely in polarity to the ring of magnets, which causes the armature to rotate. Thereby turning the motor shaft and providing propulsion to that which the motor is driving.

FUELAB - Brushed Motor for Fuel Pump Not Used

Brushless DC Motor

With a DC Brushless Motor there is no armature. Rather, the wire motor windings (called a Stator) are non-moving, and are “hard wired” to the power source. The field magnet rotates and is directly connected to the motor output shaft to provide propulsion.

The layout of a DC Brushless Motor can vary depending on whether it is in “Outrunner” style or “Inrunner” style.

  • Outrunner – The field magnet is a drum rotor which rotates around the stator. This style is preferred for applications that require high torque, and where high RPM isn’t a requirement.
  • Inrunner – The stator is a fixed drum in which the field magnet rotates. This motor is known for producing less torque than the Outrunner style, but is capable of spinning at very high RPM.

DC Brushless Motors are more complex than DC Brushed Motors in the way the motor is charged. In the case of a brushed motor the brushes simply charge the commutator/armature inversely in polarity to the ring of magnets, which causes the armature to rotate. With a brushless motor a small circuit board coordinates the energy delivery to the windings to charge them inversely in polarity to the field magnet.

Brushless Fuel Pump Motor - FUELAB

Above: Outrunner Style Brushless DC Motor

Now, let’s compare Brushed and Brushless DC Motors.

Brushed vs. Brushless DC Motors  

  1. Magnets

Brushed DC Motors typically use ceramic (Ferrite) magnets, which are composed of strontium carbonate and iron oxide. The benefit of ceramic magnets is their high resistance to corrosion and low cost. The down side is their moderate magnetic strength, and that they are brittle and easily broken.

Brushless DC Motors typically use Neodymium magnets, which are composed of an alloy of neodymium (rare earth metal), iron and boron. Neodymium magnets produce significantly stronger magnetic fields than ferrite magnets, and are the strongest and most affordable type of rare-earth magnet. Neodymium magnets have a higher magnetic density which allows more power from a smaller motor. The negatives are they are relatively more expensive than ceramic magnets, they rust easily and extra steps must be taken to protect them from corrosion, and they also are brittle and will crack under stress.

  1. Conductive Efficiency

Brushed DC Motors are not as efficient conducting electricity as brushless motors. Due to the interface of the carbon brushes (less efficient a conductor than copper) and the copper commutator, a voltage drop is created.

Brushless DC Motors are “hard wired’ to the power source. The copper on copper connection doesn’t cause a significant voltage drop.

  1. Friction

Brushless DC Motors don’t experience loses attributed to the friction of brushes dragging on a spinning commutator. Even though brushes are made from carbon for lubricity, friction still exists, thereby reducing the energy efficiency of brushed motors.

  1.  Motor Longevity and Reliability

Since Brushless DC Motors have no brushes to wear out their service life is greatly extended as compared to a brushed motor, which extends the reliability of the motor over a longer period of time. It should be noted that the brushes of some brushed motors can be replaced, which can extend the life of the motor overall. However, the chance for motor failure due to brush wear is eliminated with a brushless motor.

  1. Size/Weight

As previously mentioned, neodymium magnets have a higher magnetic density which allows more power from a smaller motor. Therefore, the Brushless DC Motor used for a particular output need can be smaller and lighter than its brushed counterpart.

Brushless Fuel Pump Motor Versus Brushed Fuel Pump Motor - FUELAB

Above: The Brushless DC Motor (left) is a fraction of the size and weight of the Brushed DC Motor, yet the power output is significantly higher at about ½ H.P. vs. 1/3 H.P.

  1. Submergibility

While in operation Brushed DC Motors should not be submerged in some fuels as it can cause premature brush wear and failure. This is especially so with diesel applications: ultra-low Sulphur content fuel has low lubricity. Brushless diesel fuel pumps are typically designed with a shaft seal to ensure fuel doesn’t submerge the motor. These seals often wear and fail, allowing fuel leakage into the motor bearings, which is one of the main reasons for brushed diesel pump failure. Brushless DC Motors can be submerged in fuel during operation without issue. So, brushless pumps have no need for a shaft seal, thereby allowing them to be longer lasting and more reliable.

Submersion capability also allows for liquid cooling of the motor – which is especially beneficial for a small, high energy motor that can generate much heat.

For gasoline applications a benefit of submergibility is that the gasoline helps keep internal components from corroding. In a brushed system the non-submerged motor could be exposed to water and such – causing corrosion.

Conclusion

FUELAB decided to use Brushless DC Motors in our fuel pumps as the overall efficiency, long-life and reliability the technology offers is superior to that of brushless motors. Further, since more power can be obtained from a lighter motor, our fuel pumps are lighter, and they can provide more flow than a similarly sized fuel pump with a brushed motor.

Brushless Fuel Pump - FUELAB

Above: The pump on the left is a FUELAB pump with a maximum power usage at about 1/2 H.P., and the other is competitor’s brushed pump with a maximum power usage at about 1/3 H.P. Our pump without brackets weighs in at 2.40 lbs., and the brushed pump weighs 4.98 lbs. However, because the FUELAB pump is much more efficient it is rated at 190 GPH, while the other pump is rated at about 90 GPH.

 

 

 

 

 

FUELAB Event Schedule 2016

FUELAB will be displaying at these events in 2016. If you are there please stop by – it would be great to meet you!

RACING EVENTS

Drag Start

NMCA & NMRA

8th Annual NMRA NMCA All-Star Nationals – Atlanta Dragway – Commerce, GA  – April 7th-10th, 2016

15th Annual NMCA Blue Grass Nationals – Beech Bend Raceway Park – Bowling Green, KY – May 12th-16th, 2016

11th Annual NMRA NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing – Route 66 Raceway – Joliet, IL – July 28th-31st, 2016

15th Annual NMCA World Street Finals – Summit Motorsports Park – Norwalk, OH – August 25th-28th, 2016

NADM

NDS Show – Kearney Raceway Park – Kearney, NE – April 22nd,23rd, and 24th, 2016

Haisley Thunder in Muncie – Muncie Dragway – Muncie, IN – June 17th, 2016

East Coast Diesel Nationals – Numidia Dragway – Numidia, PA – July 16th, 2016

U.S. Diesel Nationals

40th Annual U.S. Diesel Truckin’ Nationals – Raceway Park – Englishtown, NJ – September 17th, 2016

TRADE SHOWS

PRI

SEMA Show – Las Vegas Convention Center – Las Vegas, NV – Nov 1st – 4th, 2016

PRI – Indiana Convention Center – Indianapolis, IN – December 8th – 10th, 2016

Racer Build Series NMRA Mustang Build – Fuel System Install – Part 2

Rob Farley - Mustang Lifting Tires01

Rob Farley is currently converting his NMRA Mustang from carburation to an electronic fuel injection system. The engine is a Ford Motorsport 351 Windsor block bored and stroked to a 408 that pushes over 1,000 hp in carbureted form.

To be installed are a FAST EFI system #30400, a FUELAB EFI in-line fuel pressure regulator 52501-2, FUELAB fuel pre-filter #81833-2 10an, FUELAB fuel post-filter #81823-2 10an, and FUELAB Prodigy High Pressure EFI In Line Fuel Pump 41401-2.

Rob Farley - Fuelab Parts
FUELAB parts to be installed

Rob’s briefs us on removing the low pressure fuel pump used for carburation, and replacing it with the FUELAB Prodigy High Pressure EFI In Line Fuel Pump:

Safety is paramount concern! Before I start working with fuel I make sure the power is turned off (or the battery is disconnected) and then drain the fuel from the fuel cell. I did this by loosening connection at the fuel filter and caught the dripping fuel in a funnel, which has a valve to keep the fuel from leaking out.

After the fuel was drained I the fuel pump was removed, followed by removal of the fuel lines. I was able to mount the fuel pump to the existing bracket that I made for the old pump.

DSC_3114
Old carbureted fuel pump and filter were removed

DSC_3123
New FUELAB Prodigy Pump is in place

Because the new pump is an inline configuration I will need to make new lines. I will make a fuel line to adapt from the filter to the pump – or I may attach the pre-filter directly to the pump. I need to determine that. The fuel lines from the cell to the filters and pump will be -12AN. From the pump to the engine I’ll use -10AN fuel line. Stay tuned for the install!

Remember, it’s important to read the instructions that are included with the FUELAB pump. Depending on the way you set the pump up (high volume/low volume) you will see a graph of amperage draw. This will indicate what size fuse you should use with the proper gauge wire to be used. It may also be a personal preference if you would want to install a relay. I would strongly suggest it as for safety.

 

FUELAB Billet Brackets – Extreme Strength and Beauty

FUELAB Billet Brackets provide extreme strength while offering an attractive custom look. Machined from billet aluminum, the brackets are used to mount FUELAB Prodigy Fuel Pumps and FUELAB Fuel Filters, and are offered in a variety of configurations to accommodate most any mounting location: Roll Cage Tube Style Brackets are machinable to accept tube diameters between 1.25” and 1.75”. Plate Mount versions are available as well. Rubber cushions provide sound and vibration dampening. Corrosion resistant stainless steel hardware is used, including PEM nuts for high strength connections.

Billet Bracket on Cage with Comments   Diesel Pump with Billet Bracket

See all of our Billet Bracket styles at: http://tinyurl.com/p33jdzt

 MSRP:
  • Part # 45101 – $151.16
  • Part # 45102 – $68.38
  • Part # 45103 – $215.90
  • Part # 45104 – $99.01
  • Part # 45105 – $151.16
  • Part # 45106 – $215.90

Wiring High Current Configurations for Diesel Applications

This article focuses on the proper wiring of diesel fuel pumps. While FUELAB pumps are efficient, they can draw much electrical current during high flow/high pressure use. This article will concentrate on wiring pumps for reliable and safe use while operating under these conditions.

While people tend to focus on the performance characteristics of high performance diesel fuel pumps, they often don’t give as much consideration to its proper wiring. This can be a critical mistake as without a reliable source of power the pump is useless. Poor wiring techniques can not only dramatically reduce the reliability and capability of the fuel pump, but can contribute to fire as well. To help minimize problems encountered during any product installation it is essential to follow the provided instructions. Included instructions not only help avoid mistakes, but also provide valuable specifications and requirements that help ensure component compatibility. Therefore, carefully following FUELAB installation instructions included with each pump is imperative. As an expansion on these instructions, this article focuses on additional requirements for use of FUELAB pumps operating at maximum potential, and addresses increased current draw, vibration, abrasion, and general safety.

Increased Current Draw

Focus: Relays

For the bulk of the FUELAB Diesel Line that is relatively low pressure, installation does not require a relay. While the 200 GPH lift pumps using our installation kit can support much power, the system is still designed to operate at the “Reduced Speed” mode of operation only.  However, for very high flow applications (typically used in conjunction of modified fuel tank or fuel cell) a relay will be required due to the increased demand for current draw.

Inside a relay is a small coil of wire that creates a magnetic field high enough to actuate a power switch inside the coil. When the small amount of current passes through the coil (trigger), the relay activates a high current capacity circuit. This gives the ability to not only switch high amounts of current, but to do so remotely – therefore eliminating the need to wire thick gauge wire all of the way to the switch.

Relay Image

Focus: Wire Gauge

In general, Fuelab recommends 10 or 12 gauge wiring.  Depending on the length of wire, and the operating condition and model of pump, 12 gauge is usually sufficient for all 200 GPH pumps. If extremely long wiring is required use of 10 gauge wire is recommended.

Wires and Ring Terminals Image

The following chart can be used to determine the appropriate wire gauge for your application.

Wire Guage Selection Table

Focus: Additional Power Draw Considerations

Other high power capacity automotive systems should be considered when planning an automotive electrical system. In addition to high flow fuel pumps, such components as high energy ignition systems, high powered lights, and audio amplifiers can significantly increase electrical load. In these cases the power supply components, such as battery terminal connectors, may need to be upgraded. Component suppliers with these types of solutions include Crutchfield:  http://www.crutchfield.com/.

Vibration

Focus: Wire Crimping

Many opinions exist about crimping and not crimping connectors.  As a general rule it’s best to only crimp the wiring to connectors.  While soldering can help reduce the amount of voltage drop at the connector in some high vibration conditions, a soldered (even crimped and soldered) attachment can break at the connector due to wire flex.

Crimping Tools Image  Crimp on Ring Terminal Image  Soldering Image

Abrasion

Focus: Wire Wrap

Wire wrap around the harness can help prevent abrasion of the vehicle’s body against the wire insulation – thereby avoiding an electrical short. Wrap can also make for a “clean” installation as well as help conceal vehicle modifications. Use of loop clamps to secure the harness is helpful in reducing vibration to connectors, and positioning the harness in a desired location on the vehicle’s body.

Conduit Style Wire Wrap

Safety

Focus: Fuses

Keeping the fuse close to the battery is helpful for safety in case of an accident. However, do not locate the fuse on top of the battery as the fuse could be a potential ignition source at the battery.

Fuses Image

Wire & Connector Sources

Many sources of electrical products exist. For your reference – specialty electrical supply companies specific to the automotive aftermarket include:

Painless Performance Products: http://www.painlessperformance.com/
Ron Francis Wiring: https://www.ronfrancis.com/
WiringProducts.com: http://www.wiringproducts.com/

 

 

 

Joe Salisbury Tells Us About His Drag Racing and Experience with FUELAB

Joe Salisbury 2  Joe Salisbury 1

Outlaw Street Car racer Joe Salisbury was kind enough to spend time with us for an interview:

Q: When did you start racing?
A: I started about twelve years ago, when I was thirty five. I was in the military at the time.

Q: What got you into racing?
A: The love of cars. Being able to build motors – making stuff faster. My father-in-law got me into it on a more competitive basis.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: A ’79 Monte Carlo with a 355.

Q: What were some of the other cars you have raced?
A: I’ve also raced a ’79 Grand Prix, an ’82 Firebird Pro Street drag car, a few Chevelles – ’66-’68 and ’70, an ’80 Malibu, an alcohol fueled big block rail dragster, a ’65 Nova with nitrous.  I had access to a bunch of my father-in-law’s cars. Now I’m running a ’71 Nova in Outlaw Street Car in the 6.50 index class.

Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: Outlaw Street Car. Otherwise I have been running in shoot outs and bracket racing.

Q: What have been your major racing successes over the past five years?
A: I won 2nd place in Outlaw at Hardinsburg 2015. In Outlaw Street I went from 36th place to 10th place – the first year out with the car. I was the only one running a drag radial. I am also running a naturally aspirated big block – which required a lot of learning (to get set up correctly).

Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: I love to meet a lot of people and make new friends. It’s a family like experience. I like the friendship of racing – the comradery. We help each other out at the track.

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: Yes, my wife acts as my pit crew, and I am her’s when she is racing. My son is part of it too. He is moving back home after being in North Dakota and he is going to start racing soon.

Q: How long have you used FUELAB?
A: 2015 was the first year. I asked for sponsorship – I usually don’t do that – but I really liked FUELAB so I called them.

Q: Why did you start using FUELAB?
A: I saw Andy and John Warren were running FUELAB and they thought it was great. I saw it was easy to set-up and was very reliable.

Q: How has FUELAB affected your racing success?
A: I don’t have to worry about fuel pressure – or lack of fuel. It makes tuning easier, and the car is a lot more reliable.

Q: What FUELAB parts do you use?
A: A Prodigy Pump, fuel pressure regulators, and fuel filters

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of FUELAB products and company?
A: FUELAB has been awesome. Their help with tech support is great, and their customer service is outstanding.  The simplicity for set up is much better than the manufacturer I was using previously. The speed control function enables a car to be run on the track or street, and the pump is very quiet – so you can listen for other noises in the car. Also, the fuel system we have provides flexibility – so we can use the same system if we make upgrades to the motor or nitrous. I’ve been blessed to have FUELAB pick me up.

Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in five years?
A: I love the sport. I guess in five years I hope I have a faster car. Maybe move into True Street.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I own Bad Boyz Performance in Rineyville, Kentucky and spend a lot of time there building cars and doing restorations.

Racer Build Series NMRA Mustang Build – Fuel System Install

Rob Farley - Mustang Lifting Tires01Rob Farley - Fast PartsRob Farley - Fuelab Parts

The Holidays have past and Rob Farley is back at it with his NMRA Mustang Build. The Mustang is currently running a carbureted Ford Motorsport 351 Windsor block bored and stroked to a 408 that pushes over 1,000 hp.

Rob is about to change over to an electronic fuel injection system. To be installed are a FAST EFI system #30400, a FUELAB EFI in-line fuel pressure regulator 52501-2, FUELAB fuel pre-filter #81833-2 10an, FUELAB fuel post-filter #81823-2 10an, and FUELAB Prodigy High Pressure EFI In Line Fuel Pump #41401-2.

Stay tuned for the install article!

NMCA Racer and FUELAB User John Warren Tells It All

John Warren - Head Shot John Warren - Wheel Stand John Warren - NMCA win

John Warren was kind enough to spend time getting grilled for our Racer Profile. Here is what he had to say:

Q: When did you start racing?
A: I started racing when I was 16. I was barely driving at the time.

Q: What got you into racing?
A: My Dad had been racing since I was a kid. When I was eight or ten years old I started going with him to the races and I’d sit in the stands and watch him make runs.  Later I started racing, and my younger brother Andy got into it too.

Q: What was the first car you raced?
A: A ’72 Nova, which I still race. I bought it when I was sixteen for $650.00. I got the money mainly from mowing lawns and doing side jobs. I’ve had it for twenty six years now. It came with a 307 V8 and a Powerglide transmission. I made into a Yenko clone four years ago. Now it has 565 Chevy Big Block with a Powerglide.

Q: What were some of the other cars you have raced and when?
A: I’ve seriously raced only the Nova. I’ve had a few street cars I’ve played around with. I also race a motorcycle every now and then.

Q: What associations have you raced in?
A: I’ve raced in the NMCA. Also, some local stuff – in the Outlaw Street Car Association.

Q: What have been your major racing successes over the past 5 years?
A: I’ve been able to get the car to run high 4’s in the 1/8 mile, and 7.60’s in the ¼ mile, which I think is a major accomplishment. I’ve done well in NMCA point standings. I’ve gotten two Runner-Up’s in NMCA Extreme Street. I’ve won a few event races in NMCA and Outlaw.

Q: What do you like most about racing?
A: I like to go fast. I like to line-up with someone beside you and race. You put on your helmet and everything else goes away – you have a job to do. I also like the fan support – how they come to the pits to talk to me, and talk about the car.

Q: Is your family involved in your racing efforts?
A: Yes. My Mom and Dad go to every race, and my brother races too. So, we are all together at the races. My Dad helps with the cars, and the track too.

Q: How long have you used FUELAB?
A: For three years now. My brother Andy was using it before, and then he got me onboard.

Q: Why did you start using FUELAB?
A: They have a great product. Also, Brian and everyone at FUELAB are good guys and great to deal with. They really help the little guy out with support. Plus, the yellow and black logo goes well with the colors of my car too ha-ha.

Q: Was there a particular problem you were having that FUELAB solved?
A: No, I wasn’t having a particular problem when I changed over, but since putting it on we have run faster times.

Q: How has FUELAB affected your racing success?
A: We’re getting records with the car – I’m the fastest car with stock suspension in my class – the car has leaf springs.

Q: What FUELAB parts do you use?
A: We use FUELAB filters, regulator, and fuel log

Q: What do you see as the primary benefits of FUELAB products and company?
A : All the products they make have excellent quality and engineering – like nothing I’ve ever seen. The stuff they come up with is unbelievable. The details are great – like their billet brackets for instance. The people there are great and seem like a family.

Q: Where do you see yourself in racing in 5 years?
A: I want to keep getting faster, take home more Championships, and keep promoting FUELAB.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I’m either with family or out racing. Other than that, I have lots of work to do!