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Lightning 4v R Kit

Currently In Development

Target Release Spring 2019

Finally, Lightning owners can take inexpensive 4v heads (such as those off of a Lincoln Navigator), bolt them to their existing 5.4 blocks, and strap most anything from an M122 to a 4.5L Whipple on top!  You can get 4v cylinder head flow, and the lowest intake air temperatures in the business. 

Let’s Get Right To The Performance

The intake manifold/intercooler:

This billet aluminum/composite intake manifold/intercooler is a variant of our GT550 manifold made to use GT500 blowers on Coyote engines. The same technology can also be found in our 3v R Spec manifold and Cobra Jet program.  It flat out works.  Why?  Primarily, cooling.  Here are some stats:

* These stats are based on 20+psi of boost. Boost is what makes the heat. At 20psi you will have roughly double the blower discharge temp that you do at 10psi. In reality 20psi will be more than double 10psi due to higher boost levels generally meaning the blower is further out of its efficiency range. These figures are also based off the rest of the intercooler system (pump, lines, heat exchanger, ice chest, etc) being set up correctly.

  • Maximum water flow through the best non Department Of Boost intercoolers available – 9.3gpm
  • The maximum water flow through the Lightning 4v R manifold (limited by the available pumps) – 28gpm
  • Cruising temp 8-12deg over ambient.
  • A 20-25deg rise in intake air temp during a 1/4mi run using just water. So, on a 75deg day you can expect to go through the traps at a 100-120deg IAT. And it will recover (not heat soak) almost immediately. To put this in perspective, a stock intercooler system Lightning at the same boost levels, can easily hit IAT's of 170-190deg in the same situation. Even with all the currently available intercooler system mods, Trick Stage 3 Intercooler, AFCO Dual Pass Heat Exchanger, Jabsco Pump, 3/4" lines, a Lightning at the same boost levels easily hits 140-160deg IAT's.
  • With ice water you can expect to go through the traps on a 75deg day in the 60-70deg range. If you run a really smart system and have your burnout/launch/pump timing/ice capacity sorted out really well we have seen 50deg IAT’s going through the traps. Again, to put this in perspective, even with all the currently available intercooler system mods, Trick Stage 3 Intercooler, AFCO Dual Pass Heat Exchanger, Jabsco Pump, 3/4" lines and an ice chest a Lightning at the same boost levels easily hits 110-130deg IAT's.
  • On the engine dyno we are seeing a roughly 1:1 IAT drop/HP ratio. A 50deg IAT drop is picking up about 50hp just in air density. If your current IAT’s are 130+deg you will see a much bigger gain than that stacked on top because you won’t be pulling ignition timing anymore.
  • Overall, we're talking a 70-80deg drop in IAT's when compared to a stock Lightning intercooler system, or 40-70deg drop in IAT's compared to a highly modified Lightning intercooler system. That is simply astounding! But what does it mean? It means that not only are you making more power due to the lower IAT's themselves, it allows the PCM to automatically (and safely) add anywhere from 4.5-8* of timing advance compared to before. Contrary to popular belief, the PCM does NOT simply begin to pull timing only above 150deg IAT. It is constantly changing it based off of a number of inputs, primarily IAT. The ONLY time you're getting commanded (full) timing, is at 108deg IAT or below. Anything above 108deg, it's pulling timing. On the flip side, anything below 108deg, it's actually ADDING timing.
  • The “pan” and internal manifold volume/shape is quite large and has good flow characteristics. Much more suited to big air volumes than anything else we have seen.
  • The intake ports are incredibly easy to port match to hogged out heads. And can go bigger than even the most wildly ported heads.
  • The bottom line is this. There is nothing out there that performs even close to our manifolds/intercoolers. You will never utter the words “heat soak” again.

The Cylinder Heads:

So, what's the big deal with 4v DOHC cylinder heads? Why are they advantageous over 2v SOHC cylinder heads.? Head flow volume primarily. These suckers flow. But additionally, the combustion chamber shape is a completely different design, and to sum it up, allows for higher compression ratios to be safely run compared to a 2v cylinder head combustion chamber.

So why do you want that more head flow? We all know we want it, but why? Positive displacement superchargers essentially move a set volume of air per revolution. That’s the number their sizing is based on. A 2.3L theoretically moves 2.3L of air per revolution. A 3.4L moves 3.4L of air per revolution. The "boost", or air pressure, shows up, because the supercharger is trying to move more air than the engine can ingest. Significantly improving the efficiency and flow potential of the engine post supercharger, lowers the boost pressure, while moving essentially the same amount of air. The lower boost pressure translates into lower IAT's (charge temperatures) and less power required to drive the supercharger because it is easier for it to spin. Don’t underestimate how much power it takes to drive these blowers. The speeds that Lightning guys spin their blowers regularly can suck up to 200hp. Increasing head flow will significantly change how much power it takes to spin the blower . With lower IAT's, comes the ability to safely run more ignition timing. What does that mean? That means at the same supercharger pulley ratio, a 4v headed engine will make more power, at lower boost pressures, with lower charge temperatures (then add on the extreme intercooling capability of this manifold).

The 2v Lightning heads in all of their variations, even aftermarket heads that have been CNC ported can’t keep up with an out of the box Navigator head. When ported, the Navigator head outflows the GT500 head and will flow just short of CNC ported GT500 heads. A little perspective here though. Of course, head flow is important. But, there is a point where head flow stops giving you a “one to one” return on performance. Especially with positive displacement blowers. Once you get into what Navigator heads flow un-ported you’re dealing with the type of flow that can support very, very big horsepower numbers. Un-ported Navigator head will support 700-800rwhp and be ideal. While porting can make any target rwhp number easier to achieve, the most benefit from porting Navigator heads would be seen by those seeking 800rwhp+ power figures. If you have a huge build with a massive blower, port them, and we should start seeing 4-digit supercharged Lightning's.

See chart below for head flow comparison:


The Belt System:

One thing that almost all positive displacement blower applications severely lack is belt system performance. It’s more than just belt slip. It’s not slamming the tensioner into it’s stops, damaging cranks and oil pumps. It’s also about not getting belt slip for brief moments when making gear changes (which is almost impossible to detect). And it’s about not having to put belts on every five minutes. We have not ironed out all of the options with the belt system yet. We will be throwing everything we learned doing the 3v R Spec belt kit, the 3v Kenne Bell belt kit and our Cobra Jet program at it. It will probably come in 8, 10, 12 and 14 rib variants depending on what blower you’re driving.


More Info:

The base kit will include billet aluminum lower intake manifold with integrated composite heat barrier (an industry exclusive) with an intercooler capable of accepting up to a 1.25” line/fitting (another industry exclusive).  For the Do-It-Yourselfer's, this leaves cooling system plumbing and alternator relocation options open to the end user to piece together if desired.  It also leaves the end user the option to use a single belt drive system or dual.  It will cost in the neighborhood of $2500 once it reaches the production stage.

The complete kit includes the billet aluminum/composite lower intake manifold with intercooler, billet aluminum idler bridge (8-14 rib belt capable), an alternator relocation bracket, and a remote mount thermostat housing. Price TBD.

Now why go through all the trouble of designing a brand new billet intake manifold? Simply put, we wanted to use Navigator 4v DOHC cylinder heads on Lightning’s.  Even untouched factory Navigator heads outflow CNC ported 2v Trick Flow heads by a significant margin.  Port the Navigator heads, and it’s simply game over for 2v heads when it comes to flow volume peak and under the curve.

Why Navigator or other C head variants?  4v B heads are fantastic high rpm screamers.  When we say high rpm, we mean 7k plus.  Think a short stroke turbo 4.6 in a light vehicle.  Certainly not the right choice for our relatively low rpm, long stroke, heavy, positive displacement supercharged trucks.  So why not GT or GT500 heads?  Well, not only does there already exists an OEM option for strapping a blower on top of those.  Have you tried pricing GT500 heads, intake manifold, intercooler, and other accessories needed for a GT500 swap?  The price is ludicrous. And the used market isn’t exactly flush with them.  On top of that, this new manifold/belt system performance is a galaxy better than GT500 stuff.

The Lightning 4v R’s advantages over GT500 parts are:

The ability to extract 3.5x more heat from the air charge in intercooler performance alone. A GT500 intercooler performs almost identically to a Lightning’s. Arguably worse.

  • Reduced system wide temperatures from the use of the composite heat barrier.
  • Reduced system wide temperatures because the engine coolant is not running through the intake manifold.
  • A drive belt system that can actually handle the big blowers.
  • The ability to run both Lightning and GT500 specific superchargers.
  • Lower overall cost of conversion. We’ve done the math, once you add up all the little things everyone tends to forget about, for a stock-vs-stock (un-ported heads, etc) comparison, the DOB Navi-headed setup will save approximately $1500-2000 off of a GT500 conversion using average parts prices. The cost savings on an "all out" conversion (ported heads, GT500 intake manifold mods needed to TRY and even catch up to the DOB manifold) is even more extreme, saving approximately $3000-5000. So, The Lightning 4v R costs far less than a GT500 conversion and outperforms it by bus lengths.

The Lightning 4v R manifold will fit any C-headed 5.4 engine.  So, heads off of a 99-01 Cobra, 03-04 Cobra, Mach 1, Marauder, 4v Navigator/Blackwood, 4v Aviator etc will work!  That leaves you with a plentiful supply of cylinder heads to choose from off a number of different mass produced vehicles.  All found inexpensively.  For those looking for the ultimate performer, while untouched GT500 heads do outperform untouched Navigator heads, the cost savings of typical used Navigator heads over typical used GT500 heads can be applied to porting the Navigator heads, giving the Navigator heads the advantage flow wise, while still saving money.

So what blowers can you use?

If you want to use a single belt drive system, you can use any blower that bolts onto a GT500.  However, another part of reasoning behind designing the new manifold, is to be able to use the Lightning dual belt system, and the existing 2# through 10# Lightning lower pulleys.  So, the GT500 blower snout needs to be extended to reach the outer belt system.  For M122’s, you simply bolt up the factory Lightning M112 snout to the M122 blower with an aftermarket upper pulley.  Yes, they bolt up.  Terminator guys have been doing this for years.  For the TVS crowd, VMP makes a longer snout that can be used.  For Whipple’s, Whipple makes the correct length snout for us as well.  Now for stock M112’s, Magnum Powers, all Lightning specific Kenne Bell’s, and Lightning specific Whipple's, an optional adapter plate is being designed so that those blowers will bolt right up with no snout changes. Currently, it is projected that the use of a GT500 supercharger (stock or aftermarket) will LOWER the supercharger height in the engine bay by about 2" compared to stock. That's awesome for fitting big plenums. Lightning specific blower will remain at their same height.

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