With our goal of producing in excess of 899 horsepower and running in the 8-second zone with a 3,600-pound all-steel car, we knew a well-built rearend housing was a must for our Project 899 Camaro. With the abbreviated build time of the car — just nine days from start to finish — a turnkey rearend package was a necessity. There was simply no time to custom-fabricate a housing. But when leading brands like Strange Engineering offer high-end fabricated housings custom-built to your application right out of the box, there’s little reason to go to the time, trouble, and expense to build one from scratch anyway, regardless of your time window.
One 0f Strange Engineering’s showcase products is its Ultra Fabricated 9-inch rearend housing. At the core of the Strange Fab 9 rearend housing lies a foundation of uncompromising strength and precision. The housing centers are constructed from .125-inch alloy steel, fortified with a robust .375-inch faceplate. This combination not only ensures durability, but leads to consistent and straight launches, thanks to a thoughtfully-engineered, triangulated design that produces a high degree of housing tube support. Internal radial gusset plates reinforce the end of the housing tube, elevating overall housing stiffness.
To accommodate the demands of heavy-duty main caps and a range of gear sets, the housing is designed to provide ample clearance for 9-inch, 9.5-inch, and 10-inch gear sets. As a testament to our commitment to excellence, all housing centers come equipped with center section studs pre-installed.
Meticulous Construction Process
Strange Engineering’s construction process begins with an Ultra Fabricated center, and can be built using .250-inch wall, 3-inch, or 3.75-inch mild steel tubing, which is inserted deep into the housing until fully engaged with the internal gusset near the faceplate.
Using an alignment jig, the tubing is welded 360 degrees to the outside of the housing, along the housing slots, and to the internal gusset. The mounts, crucial for securing your driveline and suspension components, are attached to the jig and welded to the tubes. Finally, the ends are welded after all other welding is complete to ensure absolute alignment perfection with the center section.
Customization To Your Needs
Recognizing the diverse needs of drag racers, Strange Engineering offers various configurations of the Ultra Fabricated housing to cater to your unique requirements, including:
- Tubed Housing: For builders who prefer to install their mounts or may need to trim the tubing further, Strange offers the tubed housing option. This provides flexibility in choosing tubing diameter, with larger tubing ensuring additional strength. A welding jig is a prerequisite for housing end installation after all other welding is completed.
- Housing with Ends: Those seeking control over their build can opt for the Ultra Fabricated housing with ends. However, care and precision during the welding process are mandatory to preserve housing end alignment. An alignment jig is recommended post-welding to verify alignment accuracy.
- Housing with Mounts: If you’re uncertain about the final width or already possess housing ends and an alignment jig, the Ultra Fabricated housing with mounts may be the ideal choice. This configuration provides a solid base for a housing intending to use a floater kit. You also have the option to fit and weld purchased Strange floater spindles. Any fully welded housing can be ordered with an optional satin black powdercoat finish for added protection and aesthetics.
The Full Package
The Ultra Fabricated Housing is ideal for those who prefer a hassle-free, turnkey solution. Strange takes care of the intricate work to ensure the perfect alignment of the housing ends, and the fixturing and welding of the housing ends are meticulously executed as the final step in the manufacturing process.
For vehicles like this where hard launches are par for the course, an optional back brace, designed to eliminate housing and tube flex under harsh conditions, is available. You can also enhance the aesthetics and longevity of the housing with an optional satin black powdercoat finish.
In the world of high-performance engineering, precision is paramount, and Strange Engineering’s Ultra Fabricated 9-Inch rearend housing embodies this. The housings are crafted with meticulous attention to detail, offer unparalleled strength, reliability, and the flexibility to meet the unique and often custom needs of drag racers.
Project 899’s Build
With the help of the team at Big 3 Racing, we worked with Strange Engineering to craft a custom rearend configuration to align all of our shock and Caltrac leaf spring bar mounting tabs, and accommodate the Mickey Thompson Pro 275/60/15 drag radials. To accomplish that, we determined the proper WMS (wheel mounting surface) to pinion measurements (60.25 inches overall; 30.25-inch on the driver’s side, and 30.00 inches on the passenger side). We also optioned a back brace for extra support, had a sensor bracket and ring installed, Once we had all our measurements, Strange built the housing up the same day and overnighted the entire package to us, ready to drop in.
The housing (Part Number: HF9LEUF) is outfitted with a 3.812-inch Strange Engineering Pro Series aluminum HD center section case with a spool, featuring a Richmond 3.60 rearend gear, which we conferred with the team at Late Model Engines to carefully determine based on engine RPM and the estimated trap speed of 155 mph.
Additionally, we utilized 40-spline gun-drilled Ultra Light lightweight axles (27- and 29-inch lengths) with 5 on 3/4-inch Ultra Light flanges and 5/8-inch studs to finish the build out.
Of course, we also have to get the power from the output shaft to the center section, and to accomplish that — as we’ve done problem-free with so many other project vehicles oat every level of power output — we sourced one of Strange’s 3-inch chrome-moly driveshafts (Part Number: U1702), sporting 1350 weld ends and u-joints. Strange constructs these from heat-treated 4130 seamless chrome-moly tubing, 3 inches in outer diameter, and with .083-inch wall thickness, and fully TIG welds and balances (electronically balanced with a total run-out of less than .008-inch) every custom-made unit.
The weld ends are likewise a 4130 chrome-moly forging with additional material in critical areas. These accepts larger u-joint than typical OEM applications. The u-joints sport a 1-3/16-inch cap size for high strength, and their non-cross-drilled design improves overall rigidity.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s all got to come to a stop … hopefully after lighting the scoreboard at 8.99 seconds or less. For this, we’ve utilized a Strange Engineering Pro II rear brake kit (Part Number: B1706WC2), intended for late big Ford/Torino housing ends. This brake kit is designed to deliver unparalleled performance in drag racing applications.
At the heart of the brake kit are the two-piece floating slotted steel rotors (Part Numbers: B2794L/B2794R). These rotors are precision-engineered to isolate the rotor from the hat section, eliminating any pulling forces that could lead to rotor deformation. Additionally, strategically designed slots enhance air circulation, mitigate warpage, and contribute to a reduction in weight. With bolt circle options of 4.5-, 4.75-, and 5-inch available for both 1/2-inch and 5/8-inch studs, these rotors offer both versatility and adaptability.
The four piston directional calipers are an another highlight of this kit. Crafted from aluminum to significantly reduce weight, they feature pistons measuring 1.625 inches and 1.750 inches that allow for precise pressure variation, effectively reducing pad taper. Further bolstering their durability, stainless steel pistons resist corrosion, ensuring long-lasting performance. Anti-rattle clips have been integrated to minimize brake pad vibration and noise, enhancing the overall driving experience. The inclusion of DTC-30 semi-metallic brake pads (Part Number: B5010) underscores the kit’s racing pedigree, offering exceptional cold-holding power, making them an ideal choice for vehicles reaching speeds of up to 150 mph in the 1/4-mile. The kit also boasts the convenience of aluminum caliper mounts, featuring a billet one-piece design that eliminates the need for periodic maintenance, and ensuring peak performance and reliability.
Stay tuned as we carry you through the rest of this build and the big day, as we put all these great parts and pieces supplied by and built by some of the most talented folks in the business to the test, in our pursuit of an 8.99-second time-slip!
As part of our 30 days of Project 899, we will be bringing you in-depth tech content on the engine build, transmission, rearend, suspension, and coverage of the entire build going together. There will also be video content showing the entire nine days of the build including commentary and explanations from our team, bloopers and outtakes, and hurdles we encountered that had to be overcome to meet the deadline. If you haven’t already, follow LSX Magazine on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to the Power + Performance YouTube Channel to catch all of the Project 899 content.