IN THE September issue, we gave you the rundown on Muscle Garage’s Jason Waye as he shoehorned a Ford Barra turbo inline-six into a dunger VS Commodore ute. The goal was to build a car he could take to our Street Machine Drag Challenge and run 10s for $10,000.
The South Aussie had the ute almost done except for an exhaust and the custom flash-tune in the stock XR6T ECU, along with filling it up with fresh Nulon fluids. That doesn’t mean there weren’t problems in the lead-up that tested the Muscle Garage crew’s resolve and patience.
“We first had issues with the rear brake calipers, which were seized and so we couldn’t bleed them,” Jason says. “A quick trip to the wreckers and that was fixed, but then we discovered we had two of the neutral safety-switch wires backwards so we couldn’t get it to fire. We fixed that and the car started turning over straight away.
“We then discovered a fuel-related issue, as we
couldn’t get stable pressure to the engine, and then we discovered the Bosch 044 fuel pump wasn’t plugged in, as we’d disconnected the power to the relay for when we’d primed the swirl pot. We reconnected it and it fired straight up.”
Jason got the VS down to Exhaust Technology at Kings Park in Adelaide for a free-flowing system. ‘Marky’ Mark Marcheson fabbed up a four-inch dump that reduces down to a three-inch system through a Magnaflow race muffler, then out through a standard V6 Commodore peashooter resonator, which actually hides a threeinch outlet for maximum sleeper points.
“The exhaust cost more than what I’d initially expected, but I wasn’t expecting to go that large on it initially,” Jason says. “This set-up will be fine for the next stage of the car, when we really lean on it and push it up to, or past, 400rwkW.”
With the pipes done, the ute still needed a tune, so the Muscle Garage crew spent some time on the rollers at Graham West Workshops, where the stock, unlocked, XR6T ECU was tweaked with HP Tuners flash-tuning software.
“We had fuel issues at the dyno where it started to lean out about 3500- 4000rpm,” Jason says.
“It took ages to sort out, pretty much two days, and the problem was the pump in the fuel tank was too big and was pressuring the swirl pot. This boosted fuel pressure from 60psi to over 110psi, but we got it fixed and it really took off after that.”
Jason had hoped to make around the 350kW (470hp) mark from the force-fed twin-cam six, but he was also keen to not break the Barra for the sake of dyno-room glory. Thankfully it all held together and the VS spat out 360kW (482hp) at the hubs.
“To get more out of it you really need more fuel,” Jason says. “There’s a little more boost there, as we’re running 16psi but can go 18psi comfortably. I seriously think once we’ve run a 10 and done Drag Challenge we’ll put the Plazmaman intake I have here on it, wind some more boost into it, put a fuel additive into it, and crack 400-410kW.” n e e d
With the exhaust and tune in the bag, and the required ANDRA safety items, Jason admits they squeezed the budget as far as they could, but it wasn’t quite enough. “We’ve just gone over budget, at around $10,584.
“Up to 3000rpm it drives very quietly, very subtle and lovely,” he continues. “But as soon as you get stuck into it – look out!
"I have to learn how to drive it, and that’s the big thing. Everything I’ve had has been blown cars or big V8s, where you put your foot into it and it just goes. The fly-by-wire throttle has a very short throw on it and when you stand on it, the pedal only moves 1.5 inches compared to four inches in an older car; you can’t feather it!”
Jason’s aim is to now get as much seat time as possible before Drag Challenge kicks off at AIR on 13 November. s
JUST as this mag was about to go to the printer, Jason got to the strip to test the ute’s performance. While he had hoped to work down into a 10, the combo wasn’t quite there just yet.
“We spent Sunday at the track and had a great time,” Jason says. “It was super-consistent, but the best we could muster was a 12.04 and fastest trap speed of 118mph.”
Jason has a good idea of how he can get the ET closer to what the mph suggests the VS is capable of. “The 60ft times are woeful at 2.1, which shows us we need to up the converter and change diff gears. It is doing 5300rpm in third through the traps, still pulling like a freight train!”