2016 FUEL JET “SPIRIT OF AMERICA” RACE TEAM NEWS
NEWS UPDATES TOP FUEL JET #253
Dec. 17,2015 We now have completed design changes to our new pop-off safety valve with modifications to release 20% more pressure and to replace the leaky o-ring seal. O-rings do not effectively seal pop-off pistons because the jet pump intake pressure goes from vacuum to pressure on the starting line causing the o-ring to unload as it travels from one side of the groove to the other. This momentary unloading of the o-ring creates intake leakage increasing cavitation on the starting line and becomes a greater problem in boats with horsepower above 2000 . This problem is further compounded when a Teflon o-ring is used because it is far to rigid to seal at low pressure static conditions.
We had to sit out the 2015 season until we could correct these problems and pump breakage issues. We just finished building a new almost bullet proof jet drive with help from American Turbine and are still awaiting the new HIP pressure treated bowl which also has machining changes to improve strength. It is expected to arrive in the next two weeks! The team felt we should not race until these problems were corrected because of safety concerns. We are now proceeding to finish the boat for the 2016 season.
This fall we also tested the new Terminator Fuel Jet hull design in lower horsepower applications and it performed beyond expectations. Our testing resulted in a 9.34 E.T. with a stock small block Chevy engine in our two seat, lake hull, that is not even fully dialed in yet!
We are now looking for additional sponsors for this up coming season.Please contact us or Bryan Letterly on FACEBOOK.
June 23, 2015 We just popped our first 2016 Terminator LS Performance jet boat out of the new mold. Hulls will be available for as little as $8500 The LS version is expected to run 90+ MPH with our new 376 inch, all aluminium, small block Chevy power-plant.
The above photo was taken at the beginning of the crash just after the jet casting failed. Wild Horse Pass, Chandler AZ. Lucas World Finals 2014.
We have now have a redesigned stronger jet drive to eliminate this type of failure.
SPIRIT OF AMERICA TOP FUEL JET NEWS UPDATES FROM LAST YEAR
May 17,2015 We picked up the new Terminator race hull last week. As of today we have the capsule installed, the intake installed with our new billet suction housing. Additionally we have added the tunnel air plates and axle shaft.
The new all composite hull weighed in at 485 lbs. This week we will be installing the motor mounts and centering it for the Lenco drive line and adding the fuel cell. Photos of the new hull are shown above.
April 3, 2015 The new Spirit race deck was popped out of the mold! The engine is complete and ready to rumble. All we need is the bottom half!
Mar.10,2015 Today we finished installing our new Manton shaft rocker arms and last week we began laying up the new deck and bottom for our new 2015 Terminator race hull.
Our newly designed billet Jet drive which may be completed by July. The new stronger drive will hopefully reduce drive breakage and make the boat safer than in the past. We have decided to design a new Pop-off valve specifically for the new billet drive. We will not attend any races until the new valve is completed because safety is our No.1 concern.
Additionally, we would like to thank our sponsors for their past assistance and for their continued support in 2015.
Jan. 31,2015 Today, the plug was waxed and straightened a small amount. Pat will start laying up the mold this Monday or Tuesday. Bryan and his brother will be helping weld the mold framework this week.
Mike and I finished the bottom end on the new motor and we are awaiting to arrival of the updated blower. Things are going as planned at this time. We are awaiting drawings of our new billet jet drive for our approval. If the design looks satisfactory it is expected to be completed in about a month.
Jan. 22, 2015 Lucas Oil has updated our previous World E.T. record to 5.552 E.T. The record was accidentally over looked at the last San Diego race when we set the MPH record with Brad Parrack driving. Doug Durnall, our previous driver, had the existing record at 5.78. Brad Parrack now has both ends of the National Lucas Oil Top Fuel Jet records for MPH and E.T. driving the old Spirit of America which were set in San Diego..
Jan.21,2015 We just completed our new plug mold for making the permanent mold for our 2015 Spirit Of America. The old hull design has been updated with many changes to reduce drag and add down force. We will begin construction of the new mold this weekend. The boat should be completed in early to mid 2015 and will be 100% composite construction. The new hull design we be marketed as the “Terminator Tunnel”
Nov. 6, 2014 We have located a used hull and will modify it with the latest bottom design and make a 4th generation version of the Rogers Dragstar.. We will then build a new mold from the latest design.
We will continue to use this basic hull design because of it,s proven safety record and superior handling characteristics. No Dragstars have ever crashed, hooked or barrel rolled unless caused by mechanical failure. We expect the new hull will be built in Phoenix and will be ready by this next season.
Nov. 1.2014 Lucas Oil National Drag Boat Series- World Finals, Chandler AZ. While qualifying we had a drive casting break, causing a spectacular crash. Our new Pilot Bryan Letterly was uninjured and can’t wait to get a new hull built!
Oct.12,2014 Lucas Oil National Drag Boat Series- Lake Havasu, AZ. Our new Pilot, Bryan Letterly, got his license in the new Spirit Of America Top Fuel Jet!
Bryan did a great job and managed to cut a reaction time of .015 seconds at 140.581 MPH on straight methanol fuel without any nitro. This was the first full track pass on the new hull design. The boat had very conservative hardware and the pop off valve was released at 700 feet because this was the first test pass on the new hull design!
Interestingly our on-board computer showed no intake pressure drop whatsoever at 700 feet when the safety valve was opened. The boat still accelerated with the valve wide open and picked up 1o mph from the 900 ft. clock to the finish line at 1000 Ft. This made us realize that the pop-off safety valve exhaust opening was to small for the larger impellers and R.P.M. used currently in Top Fuel Jet. We realized we needed to modify the valve in order to help set the hull down before beginning deceleration. This project is underway as we speak. We will not race again until this problem is corrected!
The new crew members are Rob Wiley, Mike O Neil, Josh Letterly, Paul Boop, Petunia Petalbottom and team owner John Cost.