Engines can take on personas just like the cars, airplanes, boats or whatever they propel. Look at tail art on an old warbird, boat names on the aft deck, or hot-rod pinups on the cowl. After all, engines do the talking for your favorite ride, why not give them a name worth remembering?
We’ve seen Steve Morris’ Kylo Renn, and Danzio Performance Heisenberg has recently been revamped for a generation II version. Geared toward the sand car crowd, this twin-turbo LS architecture is nothing new to desert rats, but the performance numbers and feature are.
“When we first started we named all of our engines. It was kind of cartoony but people were ordering them per the name of the engine. We called it the Heisenberg – gave it a name. Heisenberg was the king right? Right now, generation I is undefeated in the Horsepower Wars competition in Glamis. We built this engine to be even better than the other one,” Chris Muzio of Danzio Performance announced.
As a testament to the foundation for this Gen II engine, famed desert racer and chassis builder Dale Dondel of Racer Engineering has been running the original Heisenberg to terrifying speeds on the sand.
“Dale just went 151 mph, pulling the front tires up around 130 mph. They had to put another person in the car to pull the front down – that’s the generation I of this engine. In a sand car, with a Fortin transmission, 39-inch tall Trophy Truck tires (because that’s the only thing we can get to stick on the dyno), the first generation engine made 1,400 hp to the wheels and 1,150 lb-ft, it actually snapped my belt!”
The second generation takes what the folks at Danzio have pioneered, and improves nearly every individual system. Starting with an RHS standard deck block, a 438 cubic inch displacement provides the ‘cubes to make power.
The choice to use a standard deck platform over a tall deck was a conscious decision, as Muzio explained; “We rev these to 7,600 rpm. A lot of guys with this combination in sand cars build a tall-deck engine, it’s preference, we just do it a little differently.”
The cylinder head program has been carried over from the Generation I Heisenburg in that Brodix still supplies the heads, but that’s where similarities end. “These are Brodix BR7 heads assembled with custom titanium valves, Crower shaft-mounted rocker arms, we have oiling on the valvetrain with spring oilers. The head design on this engine is different from the Gen I, it’s the same brand head but the port program is different, different valve and spring combination,” Muzio detailed. Opening the valves is a custom-ground cam profile, updated from the Gen I engine, and unique among Danzio’s engine offerings.
Force-feeding the Heisenberg is a pair of 70 mm mirrored Nelson turbochargers. Aesthetically and functionally, this system lends itself to discerning customers who value presentation alongside performance.
“This is our first time running billet symmetrical turbos, we put the Wiggins clamps on there because we run 25-30 pounds of boost in these engines,” Muzio continued. Keeping the engine and turbos lubricated is a Dailey Engineering dry sump system. “We use a Dailey Engineering dry sump with a turbo scavenge section. We actually scavenge the oil out of the turbochargers,” he emphasized.
The turbos sit atop a set of headers from Richard Glaszczak of RPM. The exhaust had to be all new for the Gen II engine with the symmetrical turbochargers. A further upgrade is the pair of 60 mm Precision Turbo wastegates. “These engines make so much power, sometimes you have to get rid of the boost to keep the front end of the car down,” Muzio chuckled.
The induction system is one of Danzio’s own designs and feature machined runners and a sheetmetal plenum. The fuel delivery system is one of the defining characteristics of the Gen II Heisenberg.
“We use a Hogan’s intake that we designed, it’s a carry over from the Gen I engine but when we went to this Gen II engine we ran out of fuel with eight injectors so we had to go double. A lot of guys will run a bigger injector, and there are companies that make a bigger injector. We used 16 injectors so we can get enough fuel in there,” Muzio explained.
“The injectors we have right now are 1,000 cc, and having 16 in there allows us to stage them in the ECU to make the engine smooth and drivable, as well as having all the power.”
Of course the final result is variable depending on the setup and boost control, but in a featherweight sand car we don’t think you’ll be wanting for horsepower. “This thing will make 1,700 horsepower, we build them for endurance so you can pound on them. I can turn the boost up and it will make more. The generation I was making 1,550 horsepower reliably,” Muzio boasted.
“We’ve done 10 of first generation, and knock on wood, haven’t lost one yet,” Muzio concluded. With a track record like that, Danzio has a good sense of what these platforms can do reliably. Look for more breaking projects from them in the future.