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S550 A Pale Horse Build Thread Profile - S550 Mustangs

150
275
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Southern California
Moving Forward
As most of you know, the engine is toast in its current form. Rod 2 is fully separated from the piston, several rockers were taken out, and the oil filter has been decorated with metal for Christmas. I've spent several years now following builds and listening to people talking about their engines letting go. Since we're being propelled around the track by contained explosions, I thought it would have been a much more grand spectacle than it actually was. Here's a short recap of what happened:

Day 1 Chuckwalla (First time ever being there) with NASA Socal was a miserable showing on my part. Session 1 I went four off, session 2 I was disqualified by 5 pounds, session 3 I turned AdvanceTrac off as I wanted to get used to the nannies not interfering. Felt great until I spun and went off backwards. I could tell the rear of the car was twitchy and I had recalled @honeybadger had experienced the same when turning AdvanceTrac off with this setup (FP springs with FP sway bars set to soft up front and stiff in the rear). So going into the last session of the day, I had no official time. I put down a high 1:58 I think and called it.

Day 2 I had a plan for feeling out the car and driving better than I was the day before. I was going to put down a time in the first session, turn AdvanceTrac off in the second with no sway bar changes, make the changes in the third session, and then use the last session to try and put down a fast time. It didn't matter what time I put down anyway, the local guys were dominating with 1:52s and 1:53s in TT3. That didn't go as planned. On my first flying lap of the day I was in the middle of turn 15 and as I pressed the throttle to exit, the engine just gurgled and did nothing. I immediately checked the oil pressure gauge and it was plummeting. I got off-line, ripped my fire extinguisher off the mount, and watched for flames out the back window since the smoke was pretty thick. Here I am way out there doing my best "cool guy smoking alone" impression and then being escorted off track.
IMG_20221116_224934_745.jpg20221113_085701 (1).jpg

This is when we thought it was just a head gasket as there was no oil pouring out, no ventilated block, and oil was still in the pan. My initial thought was as the coolant was mixing into the oil, the oil was rising and pushing the coolant down, causing the oil pressure gauge to drop. As we know now that isn't the case. The real heroes of this story are @PaddyPrix for riding with me an hour out to get some tow straps and @Hye Power for helping Pat and I get the car loaded up onto the U-haul trailer. Because of how low the car is and how the front of the trailer is designed, I have to back on. I'd still be stuck out there without these two.

Screenshot_20221113_175346_Instagram.jpg

So what happened?
Based on what I'm seeing without having the engine fully out, my guess is the OPG let go. That would explain the oil pressure loss, damage, and shrapnel everywhere. Those gore pictures should be coming later this week. I just need to get my buddy's time to help guide the engine out.

Going back to the topic of how awesome our community is, when I put the message out there that the motor let go, five different people reached out to me to let me know that @Oxford5pointoh had an RPG built motor on the marketplace. Once I found that the rod was toast, I made the decision to buy the engine. Man what an awesome guy. I think he was just as excited about the engine going into my car as I am. He had built it for his S197 track car but hadn't got around to putting it in. I made the drive upstate to grab it and it is currently sitting in my garage as of last night. Here are the highly NSFW pictures:
20221204_115353.jpgScreenshot_20221204_220500_Instagram.jpgScreenshot_20221204_220450_Instagram.jpg20221204_215558.jpg

For any wondering, here are the specs (Not mentioned in the specs, but the exhaust cams are also locked out):
Screenshot_20221204_225433_Instagram.jpg
Screenshot_20221204_225505_Instagram.jpg

I need to think about how I'm going to finish off the build. I'm considering the GT500 pan but I want to talk to a shop about having it reinforced as I know Honeybadger had one let go, likely from vibrations as I recall. Either way, this engine is going to put me in TT2 so I've committed to some ARH longtubes and would like to pull as much weight as possible out and then have it caged. Fortunately I have 2023 to figure that out. For now I just want to get operational and get seat time.
 
Last edited:
Moving Forward
As most of you know, the engine is toast in its current form. Rod 2 is fully separated from the piston, several rockers were taken out, and the oil filter has been decorated with metal for Christmas. I've spent several years now following builds and listening to people talking about their engines letting go. Since we're being propelled around the track by contained explosions, I thought it would have been a much more grand spectacle than it actually was. Here's a short recap of what happened:

Day 1 Chuckwalla (First time ever being there) with NASA Socal was a miserable showing on my part. Session 1 I went four off, session 2 I was disqualified by 5 pounds, session 3 I turned AdvanceTrac off as I wanted to get used to the nannies not interfering. Felt great until I spun and went off backwards. I could tell the rear of the car was twitchy and I had recalled @honeybadger had experienced the same when turning AdvanceTrac off with this setup (FP springs with FP sway bars set to soft up front and stiff in the rear). So going into the last session of the day, I had no official time. I put down a high 1:58 I think and called it.

Day 2 I had a plan for feeling out the car and driving better than I was the day before. I was going to put down a time in the first session, turn AdvanceTrac off in the second with no sway bar changes, make the changes in the third session, and then use the last session to try and put down a fast time. It didn't matter what time I put down anyway, the local guys were dominating with 1:52s and 1:53s in TT3. That didn't go as planned. On my first flying lap of the day I was in the middle of turn 15 and as I pressed the throttle to exit, the engine just gurgled and did nothing. I immediately checked the oil pressure gauge and it was plummeting. I got off-line, ripped my fire extinguisher off the mount, and watched for flames out the back window since the smoke was pretty thick. Here I am way out there doing my best "cool guy smoking alone" impression and then being escorted off track.
View attachment 81688View attachment 81690

This is when we thought it was just a head gasket as there was no oil pouring out, no ventilated block, and oil was still in the pan. My initial thought was as the coolant was mixing into the oil, the oil was rising and pushing the coolant down, causing the oil pressure gauge to drop. As we know now that isn't the case. The real heroes of this story are @PaddyPrix for riding with me an hour out to get some tow straps and @Hye Power for helping Pat and I get the car loaded up onto the U-haul trailer. Because of how low the car is and how the front of the trailer is designed, I have to back on. I'd still be stuck out there without these two.

View attachment 81689

So what happened?
Based on what I'm seeing without having the engine fully out, my guess is the OPG let go. That would explain the oil pressure loss, damage, and shrapnel everywhere. Those gore pictures should be coming later this week. I just need to get my buddy's time to help guide the engine out.

Going back to the topic of how awesome our community is, when I put the message out there that the motor let go, five different people reached out to me to let me know there was an RPG built motor on the marketplace. Once I found that the rod was toast, I made the decision to buy the engine. I'm not sure if the gentleman selling the engine is on TMO, but man what an awesome guy. I think he was just as excited about the engine going into my car as I am. He had built it for his S197 track car but hadn't got around to putting it in. I made the drive upstate to grab it and it is currently sitting in my garage as of last night. Here are the highly NSFW pictures:
View attachment 81686View attachment 81693View attachment 81685View attachment 81684

For any wondering, here are the specs (Not mentioned in the specs, but the exhaust cams are also locked out):
View attachment 81692
View attachment 81691

I need to think about how I'm going to finish off the build. I'm considering the GT500 pan but I want to talk to a shop about having it reinforced as I know Honeybadger had one let go, likely from vibrations as I recall. Either way, this engine is going to put me in TT2 so I've committed to some ARH longtubes and would like to pull as much weight as possible out and then have it caged. Fortunately I have 2023 to figure that out. For now I just want to get operational and get seat time.
I personally wouldn't any metal pan/pickup on an engine using an FPC - even reinforced - because you're using the wrong material. The 350 composite-based pan is actually very good and hasn't shown any major issues on a car using a street engine.

Should also note that no one I know of has been able to successfully prevent a metal-based pickup tube from cracking on an FPC-based engine yet. So you'll be pioneering new territory.
 

PaddyPrix

If breakin' parts is cool, consider me Miles Davis
663
970
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
San Diego
Can't wait to see it all finished, and that @Oxford5pointoh is a pretty good guy, even if he no longer has an Oxford White Mustang or RPG engine.
 
150
275
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Southern California
I personally wouldn't any metal pan/pickup on an engine using an FPC - even reinforced - because you're using the wrong material. The 350 composite-based pan is actually very good and hasn't shown any major issues on a car using a street engine.

Should also note that no one I know of has been able to successfully prevent a metal-based pickup tube from cracking on an FPC-based engine yet. So you'll be pioneering new territory.
Yeah that worries me. I think I'll end up following your advice and just using an OEM 350 oil pan. Even though this new engine will be a big change, I'd like to keep as few changes as possible to make the inevitable teething issues easier to find and diagnose. Thanks for the advice!
 

PaddyPrix

If breakin' parts is cool, consider me Miles Davis
663
970
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
San Diego
5,170
6,106
With regards to "anything with a tow hook can also tow"
I have had a guy jacknife his trailer while I pulled his car up on the rig because he didn't have a winch.
He placed his truck 90 degrees to the trailer, I pulled directly in front of the trailer, ran a tow strap over his trailer to his race car, and pulled it up on his trailer.
 

PaddyPrix

If breakin' parts is cool, consider me Miles Davis
663
970
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
San Diego
With regards to "anything with a tow hook can also tow"
I have had a guy jacknife his trailer while I pulled his car up on the rig because he didn't have a winch.
He placed his truck 90 degrees to the trailer, I pulled directly in front of the trailer, ran a tow strap over his trailer to his race car, and pulled it up on his trailer.
Ah, that was something that was a concern of mine. I lined up right next to his truck and drove just enough so that the ropes wouldn't scratch up his bed or hit the truck. Since his trailer was directly even with the truck, it distributed the weight about as good as it could have, only real issue was Harbor Freight "quality", where we got stuff rated for a few notches higher just in case they lied or underreported.
 
Yeah that worries me. I think I'll end up following your advice and just using an OEM 350 oil pan. Even though this new engine will be a big change, I'd like to keep as few changes as possible to make the inevitable teething issues easier to find and diagnose. Thanks for the advice!
I think this is a good approach. If you're worried about oil pressure, adding an accusump will ensure you never have an oil pressure issue and not add any FPC risk.
 
150
275
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Southern California
I think this is a good approach. If you're worried about oil pressure, adding an accusump will ensure you never have an oil pressure issue and not add any FPC risk.
Yup. That is 100% going in with the new engine. I'll have one on order in the next few days. I was just watching your video on it last night too! It's expensive following in your footsteps 😁
 
918
1,471
Exp. Type
Time Attack
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
SoCal

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