Power Play: We Make Some Big Upgrades To Project MaxStreet

Our 1966 Chevy II, known as “Project MaxStreet,” is our longest running project vehicle here at Street Muscle Magazine. Project MaxStreet has been poked, prodded, torn down, and rebuilt more times than we can count. The goal for the Nova has always been to create the ultimate muscle car to cruise the streets, and our latest batch of upgrades have us on the cusp of making that goal a reality.

The automotive aftermarket is constantly pushing the technology that’s incorporated into builds forward at a high rate of speed. Project MaxStreet’s supercharger system, engine management, and fuel system were serviceable but were also outdated, so we decided it was time to update them.

In this article, we’re going to cover several of the updates we’ve made to Project MaxStreet. You’ll get to see the new blower we added to the Nova, the upgraded fuel system, the new ECU, and much more.

MaxStreet’s Engine was ready for some updates and upgrades.

ProCharger F-1-A94 And Serpentine System

Project MaxStreet’s Edelbrock/Musi 555 cubic-inch big-block Chevy is a nasty mill on its own, but when you add some boost it turns into a whole different animal. The F-2 ProCharger and cog-drive system we had originally bolted up to MaxStreet was rowdy, but it was almost too much for the street. It was time to re-evaluate how we were going to fill the cylinders of our big-block Chevy with boosted air.

We decided to make MaxStreet a lean, mean street-fighting machine. An F-1 A-94 supercharger and serpentine belt system would be a better fit to make this happen. The F-1 A-94 is a highly efficient centrifugal supercharger that moves enough air to support upwards of 1,300 horsepower, well within our targeted power range. ProCharger designed this supercharger to still be self-contained, so there’s no need to plumb it into your oiling system.

The F-1 A-94 supercharger and serpentine accessory drive system are a great combination for any street car.

The F-1 A-94 has a max airflow of 1,625 CFM, and it can crank out 38 psi of boost. Those impressive numbers are achievable thanks to the F-1-A94’s impeller design, along with the 3.7-inch inducer diameter, and 5.56-inch exducer diameter. Inside the supercharger, you’ll find an internal step-up ratio of 5.40:1, perfect for street duty.

MaxStreet is a street car, and the cog drive system for the F-2 ProCharger wasn’t ideal for that mission. A serpentine accessory-drive system is more suited for a vehicle that’s driven on the street when it’s outfitted with a centrifugal supercharger. Thankfully, ProCharger has a serpentine accessory drive system for a big-block Chevy like ours that works with the F-1 A-94 supercharger.

The ProCharger drive system uses a single six-rib belt and automatic tensioner that will work with an A/C compressor, power-steering pump, and alternator. This system has been designed to provide better belt wrap and longer life for the belt itself. The automatic tensioner plays a big role in the system, because it provides consistent belt tension. This is important when it comes to keeping the belt on the pullies. ProCharger designed its serpentine system to work with readily available A/C compressors, power steering pumps, and alternators.

Holley Dominator Takes Control

The landscape of high-performance EFI has changed drastically since its inception. What you can do with a street car these days far exceeds what racers could do with EFI systems just a few years ago. We wanted Project MaxStreet to run and drive like a street car, no matter how much horsepower it was packing. So the decision was made to move to a Holley Dominator ECU as an EFI solution. The Dominator would expand what we could do with Project MaxStreet, and allow the car to really take advantage of an E85 fuel system.

Holley's Dominator ECU is a very robust unit. When you pair it with Holley's dash you'll have no problem monitoring your vehicle's vitals.

Holley designed its Dominator ECU platform to be extremely robust. The Dominator has a bevy of inputs and outputs that can be used in a variety of different ways. These inputs and outputs come in handy when you’re running a power-adder combination like we are with the supercharger. We’re using several of these inputs and outputs for data acquisition so we can see what our big-block Chevy is doing, and feed that information to our Holley touchscreen dash.

The great thing about Holley’s Dominator platform is all the options it brings to the table when it comes to wiring and accessories. Instead of creating a custom wiring harness from scratch, we used one of Holley’s universal harnesses to connect the ECU to the engine. The universal harness setup works with all the engine’s sensors, fuel injection system, and ignition. Speaking of ignition, we also used Holley’s smart coil kit to provide the big block with plenty of spark.

We added a slew of new Holley sensors during our upgrade. The Holley wiring harness made adding these sensors super easy.

An EFI engine relies on numerous sensors to run. Holley has several Dominator packages that come with all the sensors you’ll need to finish an EFI conversion. For Max Street’s EFI system, we used Holley’s crank trigger, cam sync distributor plug, O2 sensors, pressure sensors, and three-bar MAP sensor. The Holley EFI software has all of the sensors pre-loaded so you don’t have to hunt for scaling information.

Holley Fuel System E85 Upgrade

We wanted to maximize the potential of MaxStreet’s new engine and blower combination, so we needed to have the ability to run E85. Now, you can’t just fill your tank with E85 and crank up the boost if you don’t have the right fuel system. That will lead to a lot of broken parts, and an empty bank account. To get MaxStreet ready for a steady diet of corn, we had to make some changes to the hard parts of the fuel system.

Since we needed to move a lot of E85 fuel to keep the big-block happy, all new plumbing was installed from front to rear in MaxStreet.

The backbone of any fuel system is the fuel pump, you need something that will support your horsepower goals and the type of fuel you plan on running. Holley’s VR1 series brushless fuel pump and controller fit the bill thanks to its 335 gph of flow and 130 psi of pressure. This pump’s two-step controller lets you run the pump at low speed during lower fuel consumption, like when you’re just driving around town. When it’s time to crank up the power, you can run the pump at full speed to feed your hungry engine. The VR1 pump and controller come wired and ready to be plugged into the Dominator harness.

The fuel pump is just part of a well-balanced fuel system, you also need a good regulator and filters. A Holley two-port VR Series fuel pressure regulator, 10-micron fuel filter, and 100-micron fuel filter were selected to complete MaxStreet’s new E85 compatible fuel system. The two-port VR Series fuel pressure regulator is designed to work with the VR1 series brushless fuel pump and has an adjustable range of 40-100 psi of base pressure for an EFI application. This regulator can also be referenced on a 1:1 ratio. The 10-micron fuel filter was selected to be the after-pump filter and the 100-micron filter was placed inline before the fuel pump. Both filters are made of 6061-T6 billet aluminum and have replaceable elements.

The Mr. Gasket fittings and fuel line we used are all rated for E85.

All of MaxStreet’s prior fuel system plumbing had to be removed to make way for E85-compatible parts. The old plumbing was replaced with Mr. Gasket black dylon braided hose and various Mr. Gasket fittings. The feed side uses -10 size fittings, while the return side uses -8 AN fittings.

TCI Transmission Controller Upgrade

Project MaxStreet has a TCI 6X transmission behind its big-block Chevy powerplant. The 6X is a beefy unit that can handle all the boosted power we’re going to throw at it, but it needs to be electronically controlled. TCI introduced its EZ-TCU wireless bluetooth transmission controller that will work with our 6X unit.

The EZ-TCU is a trick piece and made programming MaxStreet’s transmission much easier.

The EZ-TCU unit connects via Bluetooth to your phone or tablet, so you don’t need a laptop to make adjustments to the 6X transmission. We can make adjustments to the shift points, how firm the shifts, how aggressively the transmission shifts, and when the torque converter locks up. The EZ-TCU also has data logging and self-diagnostic abilities that can be used to improve the transmission’s tune. So basically, this unit gives you total control over how the transmission will behave.

Well, that’s a wrap on the big upgrades for Project MaxStreet. The Nova’s next stop will be the dyno for a tuning session, then it’s time to start cruising the streets. You can follow the Project MaxStreet build right here on Street Muscle.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. Brian enjoys anything loud, fast, and fun.
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