Looking at a Top Fuel Dragster or Funny Car, one might think that ANY intake manifold would work with that much blower on top. And to some extent that’s correct. Stuff air and fuel through it at that rate and the engine doesn’t even have a chance to care. But, the gang at The Blower Shop have recently taken it to a whole new level. This is the TBS500 Billet Fuel Intake, and it’s awesome. In fact it’s so awesome that Don Schumacher Racing bought a dozen or so. The rumors were that he was buying all of them so nobody else could have one before going into Pomona. No such luck, The Blower Shop will have 200 of them on the shelf by January 1 with even more on the way! Check this thing out.
At first glance you’ll notice that this intake is made entirely of billet aluminum. Shwing! Billet isn’t just used in this case to be trick. And either is the two piece design, or the dual burst panels. Before we get into the specifics, lets revisit the challenges a Top Fuel engine and crew face.
When you stuff an engine with so much fuel that it’s air fuel mixture is nearly a liquid, thing either go really right or really wrong. When they go wrong blowers tend to try to leave the party. When they do they are held on by the blower restraints and the intake manifold becomes the fuse between the engine and the blower. Now, if the intake somehow survives the blower will still leave the party because it is held onto the engine with aluminum studs that are designed to break away and let the blower come off instead of explode. Should there be a problem with the engine, that results in the blower wanting to leave, that results in an intake manifold failure, the most common results has been for the intake to come apart in pieces and for the lifter valley to be exposed with allows oil to also leave the party and that causes multiple issues. Clearly oiling down the track causes delays, but it also creates dangerous situations with regards to the safety of the driver and car either from lack of control, fire, or both. The third thing is costs is money. Not from the blown up parts, but from the cleanup itself, and the penalty that NHRA assesses for causing said cleanup.
So how does the TBS500 address these things? It’s so stupid simple it’s awesome!
Because of the machining capabilities of CNC machines, and in their case Mastercam CNC software, The Blower Shop has been able to machine a new intake of their own design that addresses all the common reasons for intake manifold destruction seen today. No wonder Don Schumacher Racing bought a dozen of them and scared everyone else! Machining the intake manifold out of billet aluminum creates a part that is much stronger than any cast and then machined intake manifold. That alone makes this intake better. But the innovative two piece design, which honestly also helps the machining process dramatically, allows for the isolation of the half of the intake that is in contact with the block, heads, and oil from the half of the intake that is mated to the blower. These two halves are bolted together using Blower Studs which again are designed to shear under too much pressure. If there is an intake manifold failure with the TBS500 it will allow the bottom half of the intake manifold to stay attached to the engine so that the oil doesn’t find it’s way out.
But wait! There’s more! In addition to being ultra strong, and two piece, the TBS500 addresses one of the most important things when trying to keep blower intakes from exploding. That is Manifold Burst Area. The size of the burst panel. Or in their case, two burst panels. They have increased the Manifold Burst Area to 130 square inches which is 4 times current designs. That means that when the engine drops a valve or whatever and it pressurizes the intake manifold the likelyhood is the new burst panels will be able to let enough pressure out to avoid popping the blower in the first place! Wood woot! Oh and did we mention that the design is apparently good because guys are already seeing performance improvements too?
Sounds like a win win to us. Definitely a cool new innovation in a class that is predominantly thought of as being more brutal than sophisticated. We dig it.
For more information on this, and other billet intake manifolds, blowers, etc, contact the guys at The Blower Shop.