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  • Mormon Missile Duramax Streamliner - World's Fastest Duramax

Mormon Missile Duramax Streamliner - World's Fastest Duramax

An All-American Assault On The Diesel Land Speed Record

David Kennedy
Jan 1, 2009
Contributors: Stephen Clark
Photographers: Stephen Clark
Photo 2/14   |   mormon Missile Duramax Streamliner left Side Angle
Speed Week 2008 marked the two-year anniversary of Diesel Power's first visit to Utah's Salt Flats. Our first visit to Bonneville was a memorable experience in many ways. We were witnessing the amazing landscape of the Salt for the first time, and the shear number of diesel-powered vehicles racing was impressive.
There were a dozen different diesel-powered entries competing at Speed Week in 2006-in about every imaginable class, from motorcycles to semitrucks and streamliners. The most notable streamliner, however, was the JCB Dieselmax. It came over from England to set a new diesel land speed record using two 5.0L four-cylinder engines that JCB and Ricardo developed for JCB's construction vehicles.
Another vehicle that debuted that year was the Duramax-powered streamliner owned and driven by Lynn Goodfellow. Speed Week 2006 was Lynn's first run on the Salt in almost forty years. Yet, while JCB's Dieselmax went on to set a new land speed record of 350 mph, Lynn struggled with his car to hit 221 mph. So in 2007, Lynn returned to the Salt for a rematch, and pushed his Duramax to more than 242 mph.
All New Land Speed Racer
Now lets fast-forward two years to Speed Week 2008, where the circumstances are immensely different. This year the corporate-backed JCB Dieselmax team stayed at home, and a waning economy meant there were fewer diesel race vehicles. Unlike two years ago when JCB was the center of attention, the talk of the paddock this year was about a different diesel-powered car. Yes, you guessed it; Lynn Goodfellow's team was back. And back in force with a brand-new car and much stronger effort.
Lynn's previous Duramax-powered streamliner served as a learning tool, and whet his appetite for a faster speed record. After setting the B Diesel Streamliner record in the Summer of 2007, the team had returned home to Boulder City, Nevada, to construct an all-new car-the Mormon Missile. Lynn and a small team worked around the clock for seven months to create the Mormon Missile streamliner. It's a Duramax-powered car that just might be able to take the diesel land speed record away from the JCB Dieselmax. The Mormon Missile name is a tribute to the historic Mormon Meteor car of David Abbott "Ab" Jenkins. In order to build Lynn's new diesel streamliner, the team had a simple design criterion: create a chassis to hold a Duramax V-8 in the most aerodynamic shape possible. They ended up with a chassis that places the engine in the center of the car driving the rear wheels, and putting the driver in front of the engine.
The chassis is a space-frame design fabricated from chromoly steel and wrapped in a polished fiberglass body. Much effort was put in the design to ensure the aerodynamic drag was as low as possible. The long, sleek body is very smooth and pointed, so it cuts through the air with minimal wind drag. The Mormon Missile sits slightly above the ground with contoured panels surrounding the underside of the wheels. This is intended to reduce the drag around the tires. The underside also tapers upward toward the rear of the car to create a venturi effect that will essentially suck the car toward the ground at speed.
Team Goodfellow
Lynn Goodfellow has spent his working career building up a family business selling and modifying rock-crushing construction equipment. His Goodfellow Crushers facility in Boulder City, Nevada, is well-equipped with metal fabrication equipment, so that's where the car was built. Jim White was the crew chief on Goodfellow's previous car, and will carry out a similar role for the Mormon Missile. He was also heavily involved in the building of the Missile. One of the technicians at Goodfellow Crushers, Mike Reff, also expressed an interest in the car. When Lynn found out Mike had drag racing experience, he was quickly drafted onto the team. Other members include Lynn's sons Kurt, Mark, Chad, and Cody-and fellow 200mph Club member Paul Green.
Powering the car is a highly modified 6.6L Duramax V-8 diesel. Lynn used a Duramax in his last car and was happy with its performance. So it was an easy decision to use it in the Mormon Missile. But, unlike the old car's Duramax that used stock internal components, the new engine was built with substantial internal modifications by Curtis Halvorson. Curtis has built a reputation for very powerful engines, and has an impressive resume that reads like the yellow pages of the world's top racing companies. After working for a number of industry leaders like McLaren Engines, Roush Performance, and Gale Banks Engineering, Curtis is now running his own company, Diesel Performance Research. He is keen to make his mark in the history books, and has spared no effort in picking components and assembling Lynn's race engine so that it is capable of powering the Mormon Missile past the 350mph FIA record set by JCB.
6.6L Racemax
The engine uses a twin sequential turbocharger setup that provides a burst of top-end power to propel the car through increasing aerodynamic drag. The charged air is cooled using two intercoolers; one large aluminum unit that sits in the valley between the cylinder heads, and another that cools air between the two stages of turbocharging. Because airflow is limited underneath the body, both intercoolers use chilled water to cool the air.
Curtis worked with Volker Schwarz on the engine. Curtis concentrated on the mechanical components, and Volker worked on electrical and injection components. One major problem that the Goodfellows had with the previous car was with the electronic and computer systems. When the stock Duramax ECU is disconnected from all the other components it usually deals with in a truck (transmission, differentials, lights, etc.), strange things happen. On the last car, a stock ECU was used, but with many patches in the system that basically lied to the computer, it never really worked properly. With so much time and money riding on the Mormon Missile, Lynn couldn't afford to make the same mistake again, so Volker was invited to join the team to develop the electric system. Volker's company, MDE McSchwarz Diesel Engineering, provided a custom BSG ECU-CR.8 that is specifically programmed to control the engine in its present state. Ironically, this ECU is similar to the BSG ECU that JCB used in the Dieselmax car.
It will be very interesting to see how the Mormon Missile does at Bonneville, as this vehicle is special in so many ways. Not only does it represent the pinnacle of American diesel performance technology, but it's also the second round in a battle between the American Goodfellow team and English JCB team. Will the millions of dollars of corporate money be enough to hold off the raw passion and determination of Team Goodfellow? We can only speculate on the result of this duel, but one thing is for sure, when the car runs, Diesel Power will be there to cover it.