Nothing exceeds like excess, and when it comes to excess, nobody excels like
Tim Maynor of Best Choice Custom Sounds in Gainsville Georgia! Tim is a
long-time dB Drag Racing competitor who just happens to own one of the most
radical competition vehicles on the planet.
For starters, Tim's vehicle has a stainless steel windshield. Its purpose is
to reduce sympathetic vibrations which can result in cancellation and a
reduction in Sound Pressure Level. Additionally, all of the vehicle's side
panels are filled with cement! Again, the purpose here is to make the vehicle as
rigid as possible.
To drive his Blazer, Tim must don Virtual Reality glasses so that he can see
where he's going. A closed-circuit video camera with a wide angle lens gives him
a frontal view that is equivalent in size to an 80 inch television. In the dash,
you will find a color LCD monitor that can be used to display video from the 8mm
VCR or images from the grill mounted camera.
The side windows in the rear of the Blazer have been replaced with
electrostatic glass. In the off condition, this glass is opaque, meaning you
can't see through it. When you turn the glass on, it becomes fully transparent,
revealing the fuse blocks on the other side. Way Cool!
With eighteen 15 inch woofers and over 18 thousand watts of power, Tim's
vehicle exhibits many of the same characteristics as a nuclear weapon. At the
1996 USAC Nationals in Kansas City, Tim's Ferrari red 87 Blazer broke the 160 dB
barrier for the first time in USAC history! Tim went on to win that event with a
USAC legal SPL score of 161.3 dB.
On the whole, Tim estimates that the installation in his Blazer took two
years to complete at a cost of two hundred thousand dollars. Grab your checkbook
because Tim's going to tell us how he did it.
Electrical Power Plant
It takes power to make power. This is a fact that many sound-off competitors
learn early-on in their careers. In fact, I can usually tell how serious someone
is about dB Drag Racing by just taking a look under the hood of their vehicle.
One glance is all it takes to see that Tim is very serious about
competing. He has not one; not two; but eight high-output alternators!
The total output current capability of his alternator setup alone is more than
one thousand eight hundred amps!
To fit all of these alternators under the hood, a significant number of
modifications needed to be made to the vehicle and the engine. First, Tim needed
to free up as much room as possible for the new alternator arrangement. To
accomplish this, he replaced the engine fan with an electric fan and the
mechanical water pump with an electric water pump. He then removed the existing
alternator, alternator bracket, and stock fan belts & pulleys from the
engine. According to Tim, this is where the fun began.
To accommodate eight alternators, a custom made steel bracket would be
required. Considerable time and engineering went into this task. Finally, a
steel cage that accommodates four pairs of alternators in a face-to-face
configuration was decided upon.
The next obstacle to overcome was, "How do we turn the alternators?"
Obviously, it would be next to impossible to squeeze eight fan belts into a
space already filled to capacity. And even if you could fit that many fan belts
under the hood, how would you keep them from slipping when the system was under
a loaded condition. Tim's solution is as novel as it is eloquent. Instead of
using traditional fan belts, he decided to use a timing chain. This turned out
to be easier said than done.
First, Tim had to have custom sprockets manufactured for the alternators and
crankshaft of the engine. Tension rollers also had to be custom built. Finally,
a custom timing chain needed to be assembled to the proper length. All-in-all,
Tim estimates that the alternator installation alone took close to two months of
serious, round-the-clock activity.
It takes a tremendous amount of power to generate the Sound Pressure Levels
required for competition at the national level. Tim utilizes 36 Rockford Fosgate
Punch 500m amplifiers in a bridged configuration to deliver more than 18
thousand watts of power to his speakers. To aid in troubleshooting and
maintenance, all of the amplifiers are mounted on a hinged steel gate that
swings open for ease of access. According to Tim, each amplifier can be replaced
in a minimal amount of time without cutting wires or making other changes to the
When designing SPL vehicles, most installers try to maximize the cone area
in the vehicle. This school of thought says that the more woofers you have, the
higher your SPL will be. The problem, however, is that there is only so much
space available in a given vehicle. This is exactly the dilemma Tim was faced
with. He wanted to install eighteen 15 inch woofers in his Blazer but he just
didn't have the room. The solution: Make the Blazer bigger.
To get additional height, Tim first removed the gas tank from underneath the
Blazer. To replace it, he installed a 5 gallon fuel cell underneath the hood.
Next, he cut out more than 80% of the vehicle's floor and lowered it to a point
just above the rear axel. For additional width, Tim cut the sides of the vehicle
and extended the cabin outwards. To insure rigidity, the floor, roof, and doors
of the vehicle were covered with Dynamat and then layered with MDF and
The subwoofer enclosure for Tim's 18 woofers is constructed completely out
of Fiberglas. Instead of box carpeting, Tim used gelcoat that is painted the
same Ferrari red color as the vehicle. The enclosure is encapsulated in a steel
frame for additional strength and rigidity, and further braced by 2x4's that run
along the sides of the vehicle. When I asked Tim about his enclosure, all he
would tell me is that it is "sealed." For now, he considers his
enclosure volume "classified information."
dB: Why do you do this?
Tim: "Because I'm crazy! Seriously, I enjoy the feeling of
accomplishment. It also makes me feel proud when I see others admiring the
dB: What was it like to build this truck?
Tim: "It was like a roller-coaster ride. There were highs & lows
along the way. The entire project was hard mentally and physically on everyone.
Sometimes, we would work 24 hour shifts. Ted Brannen, Edward Warren, and the
rest of my crew were great! I couldn't have done it without their support."
dB: Why do you like dB Drag Racing?
Tim: "I think its great. It's exciting. The spectators love it because
they know someone is going to lose every time. I love to see those lights go to
the top of the light tree."
dB: Do you have anything special planned for the upcoming season?