PLUMBING

Plumbing on a racing car is critical. Hoses, fittings, clamps, and coverings keep fluids contained from dangerous situations, such as starting fires or getting under a tire at speed. They also keep critical fluids — engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant — flowing to their intended destinations.

With Big Red, the importance is increased exponentially. Big Red is in a constant state of change. The components and systems may be swapped from Road Race to Land Speed/Top Speed mode, then swapped back again multiple times per year. AN fittings make the swaps much easier. Fittings can wear out and hoses can break down and start seeping. It’s good to keep retired fittings around for when you get in a pinch. The team only saves old fittings when the flares and threads are in good shape. There’s always a time when they may have a need for a fitting in a pinch. The black fitting thread sizes are the same size as the gold fitting next to it. The nut obviously is larger on the gold fitting. The biggest and most important difference is what’s different on the inside. The black, hard-anodized XRP fitting is

“flowed”; the inlet has a smooth transition. The inlet on the gold fitting has been machined 45°. This is a simple example of the upgrades Big Red will get during the rebuild. Even though they procured most of their AN fittings from Cliff at G&J Aircraft, XRP was their top choice in double swivel fittings. Dave said, “We ended up using many no-name-brand fittings during the rebuild. We found XRP makes the best [double swivel] fittings, so we used a lot of its 90° fittings.”

Steel-braided hose has a built-in shield around it, but the braided steel doesn’t protect against extreme temperatures. The crew used a lot of DEI Fire Sleeve thermal protection hose coverings. It withstands 500°F continuous and 2,000°F intermittent heat. The guys installed it in the before-fire rebuild. They were so pleased with the performance of the product during the fire that they used the same product in the after-fire rebuild, too. Tim, Cliff, and Mark ordered a couple hundred feet of steel-braided hose for the project and the shop. It all will be used before they know it. In comparison, the amount of hose used for the Road Race setup paled in

comparison to the amount used in the Land Speed/Top Speed mode with the ProCharger. The guys got really good at assembling AN hoses.

Tim started making the -12 AN cooling hoses that run from the side freeze plug fittings to the dual mechanical KSE water pumps for The Elephant. Cliff and Mark cut the longest lengths to build the oil and fuel hoses that run through the rocker panels. Mark, Cliff, and Tim made a great plumbing team. When it was all said and done, the Land Speed/Top Speed setup probably has 200 to 300 feet of steel-braided hose. No team member wants to venture a guess at how much money was spent on those hoses and fittings