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Jul 12, 2023

Often times when we interview diesel builders at race events, we get a lot of “it’s nothing much,” or “it’s a pretty simple build.” We like to think people are being modest, because some of the stuff we see is anything but ordinary. Earlier this year at the Ultimate Callout Challenge, we had the privilege or making a new acquaintance out at the track – one Dan Snyder of Snyder Performance Engineering (SPE) Motorsport.

The Latrobe, PA-based shop, just east of Pittsburgh, states on its website that it takes a “mom and pop approach to business” that allows the shop to focus on the quality of its products, which are manufactured in-house. SPE does everything from air-intake systems and fuel systems, to superchargers, turbos, engine components, and transmissions primarily for F-series trucks and Mustangs. SPE also has a full fabrication shop where they build chassis, roll cages and the like for drag racing cars.

Since Powerstrokes are such a big part of the business, building a diesel drag car was almost like a “science project,” as Snyder describes it. They began work on it in 2015 and have constantly been evolving and upgrading the build.

“The 6.4L and 6.0L really kind of gave Ford a bad name in the diesel world,” Snyder says. “Coincidentally, I was working for Ford when the 6.7L came out and of the engineers told me this new platform would fix a lot of the problems from the other ones, including the head gasket stuff. I hopped on that quick. As much as we can, we use factory parts, and the car still has a 4R100 truck transmission. Not only does it help us sell things, but it backs up the idea that I could have that in my vehicle.”

The engine is a factory block, crank, and ported heads, but there are a few performance additions that make it competent on the track. It’s got Carrillo rods, modified MAHLE cast pistons, a custom ground Colt camshaft, and Manton pushrods.

“The crazy thing is we’re turning this thing almost 6,000 rpm with factory rockers,” he told us. However, the real power comes into play when you get to the air and fuel setups.

Snyder’s drag car runs a triple turbo setup, all of which are 96mm S480s. For fuel, he has Exergy 300% over injectors paired with a 10mm CP4 pump and a 14mm CP3. Everything working in conjunction to allow the engine to make a cool 1,800 horsepower as it flies down the track. It will run close to high 7s in the quarter mile and hit 5.40 in the eighth during UCC, although Snyder noted it spun most of the way down the track.

“We got it all setup right before the weekend, so we’re still kind of incrementally walking it up and feeling the nitrous out,” he says. “We flexed the crank, so we know that’s on borrowed time at that power level. We’ve already got in touch with Winberg and they’re going to do a billet crank for us, so that will help. But as far as crazy sorcery in this motor, other than setting proper bearing tolerances and weight that MAHLE does for us, there’s nothing really that crazy.”

Diesel of the Week is sponsored by AMSOIL. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].

Diesel of the Week is sponsored byAMSOIL. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].