R&D’s Yamaha FZR #18:The Real Monster
R&D’s FZR proudly deserves to get a Monster paint job, since it perfectly reflects the pure and powerful engine’s characteristics as well as its sharp and race only oriented handling performance.
R&D’s Bill Chapin had spent almost ten months working on the new Yamaha platform and managed to fine tune the engine on such a level that he extracted the maximum useful power out of it as well as to translate it into usable thrust. Actually, the later seemed to be more difficult since the big displacement engine had already the potential to produce more power than any other personal watercraft engine. To start with, Chapin took the stock engine apart in order to replace stock pistons and rods with aftermarket ones in order to increase reliability since the modified engine was going to operate on a higher boost pressure. Pistons were made by JE under R&D’s specifications. A stage 2 hone was carried to the OEM cylinder block that was topped off with a plateau honing operation (made by bristle plateau honing tool). This is necessary to get rid of jagged peaks and folded or torn material in order to ensure a perfectly round bore and good ring seal. The latter was verified with the leak down test that Bill carried out at the end.
Then Bill focused on modifying the cylinder head. Since the engine was going to still operate on a higher RPM rhythm by using stock cams there was need for different spring rate to be used on the valve springs. The stock ones have a seat valve pressure of 52pounds. Bill replaced the single OEM spring with twin springs and that were shimmed to provide a seat valve pressure of 64pounds and also provide a smoother, linear operation through their operating cycle and perform well over 10.000rpm. Therefore, they ensure better valve seal and additionally they prevent valves from floating. According to Chapin these R&D springs can be shimmed up for more boost pressure and will accommodate another 0.100 of valve lift.
The stock Supercharger was replaced with R&D’s C5 set up and for safety a new R&D connecting charger drive shaft was used in order to increase reliability. All stock exhaust tubing was replaced with aluminum ones in order to minimize the side effects of the rubber tubing when it got hot. Additionally, the exhaust manifold was Extrude honed to ensure better flow of the exhaust gases. On the intake side Bill ditched the stock fuel injectors and fit a set of specially made to R&D spec injectors of 725cc. According to Chapin the Yamaha 1.8 litre engines running 15 pounds of boost plus need big fuel injectors, otherwise there is no chance of making big power. R&D actually offers 1000cc injectors as well. At this point Bill mentioned “If there is anyone out there that is giving you crazy horsepower figures then you better check their injectors and then you will know that they are making fool of themselves”. Further machining was carried out to the injectors in order to place them deeper to the inlet manifold with the scope to achieve better fuel atomization.
The R&D open class intercooler system is totally different from the R4 and R5 R&D intercoolers and it is placed on a specially designed mount on top of the fuel tank (actually underneath the deck). The intercooler system mounted on the top of the fuel tank gives the open boat balance needed with 400 plus H.P. Its performance is 200% over the stock one therefore, the inlet temperature drop is substantial with this big intercooler. Chapin mention that “the log file will display the air temperature after is goes through the supercharger and through the intercooler to be 85 degrees, which is only 20 degrees above the air we are breathing”. Chapin modified an aftermarket tube to make the appropriate mount for K&N’s air filter (due to the lower deck an R&D could not be fit). Though, as he assured me R&D will soon have the appropriate version made specifically for Manvell’s hull applications.
Fuel delivery, engine timing and overall engine performance was dialed perfectly via the MoTeC M400 ECU. Pete Swinny (from MoTeC) was working very closely with Bill and MacClugage every day, analyzing the records of the data logger and making small changes were needed in order to achieve the best out of the engine’s performance. Bill assured me that MoTeC’s ECU made a big difference to the overall research and development of the FZR package. It monitors so many parameters that you are bound to find what goes wrong if something does not operate properly. Bill downloaded a file and showed me my actual performance on the water. I was very impressed with the software as well as with the hidden aces that it had. Pete of MoTeC was working with Chapin every single day during the last week all the way up to Pro weekend in order to fine tune engine mapping according to the race craft’s over all set up. Bill has had a lot to do with helping to bring MoTec into personal watercraft racing and works well with Pete.
No matter how much are going to produce, you still have to able to make good use of it. According to Bill not only a special Skat-Trak 160mm, 12 vein pump was needed but also a lot of work was carried out to the pump nozzles and cone in order to get good, crispy acceleration without sacrificing top speed. This was actually Bill’s big innovation and he was trying to keep it secret until I tested the boat. He actually kicked me away from the beach when carrying out last week’s testing. This new special pump cone will soon be released on the market by R&D. The auto drop nozzle and steering nozzle were also modified and fine tuned to match the engine’s output characteristics and ensures instant, out of the whole acceleration and incredible buoy to buoy acceleration without having any hesitation. Getting the power from the engine to the driveline inevitably passes through the couplers and coupler dampener. The later is a point that Chapin plans to modify in the near future since it sets the limits on the reliability of powerful engines. Actually, it was the mechanical issue that Craig Warner faced in the first moto of the Pro Runabout Open. Chapin replaced the dampner between the first and second moto to insure no failures. Of course the O.E.M. drive dampner is being pushed to the limits with 400 H.P.
It is worth stating that R&D’s Yamaha FZR is equipped with Lee Manvel’s hull and not with a stock Yamaha bottom. This hull is actually lightweight (weighs 210lbs with stock deck which makes it 90lbs lighter than stock FZR hull)and in terms of design is based on Kawasaki’s STX-15F hull. It is a first generation Yamaha hull and according to Lee it features the best pump intake pump (he has tested many intakes in the past) for this particular application. An experienced eye will notice it by the R&D tricky sponsons as well as by the R&D’s ride plate. This hull apart from being lighter than stock, also sets the engine backwards about 100-140mm. Also, the engine seats lower about 25mm and additionally the rider’s position has been lowered to another 25mm. Therefore, the overall Center of Gravity has been lowered significantly.
“Horsepower is a beautiful thing” that was Factory Pipe’s saying long time ago though, it is true and when it comes to horsepower figures some people over exaggerate it… Chapin guided me through the power curve of FZR’s output explain the following:
Free flow filter, free flow exhaust, spark arrestor removed, aftermarket SPC wheel and Intercooler:+150hp
R&D 9.5 pistons:+22hp
R&D C5-C8 spc wheel:+15-20hp additional housing machining
According to these readings, Chapin estimates that Chris’s race craft was producing safely and reliably 410hp. He would have been able to extract more horsepower but then other details have to be encountered in order to keep the race craft running reliably for 12-14laps.
The moment of truth
It was the third day after the World Finals, that finally I had the chance to ride R&D’s true weapon, the “beast” as Bill usually described it to me. Chapin warmed up the engine as the craft was still seating on the trailer while I was getting prepared. The atmosphere was breezy with a light chop floating at Body. I made a circle around the small island and then I grabbed the throttle. Well, to be honest I was shocked since the Green Monster roared underneath me, accelerating hard, vicious but still smoothly without elongating my hands as would anyone probably suspect. It was pure, lean, mean acceleration that impressed me instantly since I had never felt something like it before. Back in 2006 I thought that Chris’s 15F Supercharged was a real Monster but it was a different idea… This FZR was accelerating hard though still hooked up superbly and got into plane without purposing. Out of the whole, I also used the trim tabs which made it much easier anyways.
Lee Manvell’s hull was perfectly balanced and provided pure race handing no matter how I was riding the craft. Whether I was sweeping through high speed corners or tight hairpins I was feeling secure on this set up. Handling was predictable, with no sudden hook ups or slides being presented no matter how aggressive I was while getting into my riding style. The hull set up provided very good hook up, therefore, I could decelerate late, in other words I was late on the brakes, and could steer the sharply around the buoy. I was watching Chris up from the Monster and realized that he was getting really tight lines on his way to the twin split or the two hairpins. The steering cables arrangement and overall set up provided a superb feeling on the steering system although, Chris still used the OEM ones since R&D’s is on its way to the production line. Somehow some people believe that if you fight the boat while riding it, that means that is very powerful and you cannot keep up with it. Unfortunately, this is wrong since a real race weapon, is the one that you can actually ride to the limit without wearing yourself out.
Chapin’s masterpiece is a true race craft, a pure Monster that not only helped Chris to holeshot, but also proved that it is made its way through the pack and climbed to second place in a moto (thanks to Chris's unique riding capabilities). Chris may have lost the title but proved that he was riding the finest Yamaha and one of the best race crafts out there in the race course. As you read these lines Chapin is working hard to fine tune some other parts in order to make the FZR an even better race weapon. I heard something about using telemetry next year… I am sure that Chris will have a protagonist role once again next year, if he will be riding R&D’s FZR.
Chris MacClugage’s #18: R&D Yamaha FZR
Yamaha OEM crankshaft with R&D/Carillo T1 rods
R&D/JE 9.5:1 SPC pistons custom made for R&D
Cylinder block 3 step plateu honing
Yamaha stock cylinder head
R&D high rev. dual spring kit with titanium retainers and high performance guides
Stock exhaust system modified by Bill Chapin since the motor was moved backwards
Exhaust manifold has been Extrude Honed
C5-7 Supercharger with 15-16pounds boost pressure
R&D spc shaft kit
R&D spec 725cc high impendence racing fuel injectors
R&D fuel pressure regulator (70pounds)
R&D 255liter high pressure fuel pump
R&D/Macc Racing custom filter kit
Modified engine mounts
MoTec programmable ECU with Launch LC2
NGK Laser Iridium ILFR6T11 spark plugs
Yamaha SuperJet On/Off switch
Pump and driveline
Skat-Trak 160mm, 14 vein Magnum One-offset Pumpw/25,4mm Setback, with 83mm hub
Skat-Trak three blade, stainless-steel Impeller, 13.5/21-22
Skat-Trak Extended-length drive shaft
Macc Racing billet aluminum bearing housing
R&D billet aluminum couplers
R&D drop nozzle system with auto trim
R&D 2.5 degree nozzle FZR casting modified to fit the Skat-Trak pump
R&D custom made pump cone (soon to be released)
Reduction nozzle diameter: 85,5mm
Steering Nozzle diameter: 90mm
Hull and Handling components
Lee Manvel hull 2nd generation
Yamaha FZR deck
Stock seat modified
HT moto seat cover
Macc Racing rear seat unit (9 lbs)
Macc Racing 4 piece lightweight hood
Macc Racing billet aluminum by-pass fittings
R&D STX-15F backing plate machined and repositioned,
R&D custom made Mac Pro blade sponsons
R&D STX-15F ride plate modified
R&D/Macc SPC Racing intake grate modified
Macc Racing trim tabs
HT Moto deck mats
HT Moto front deck mats with lifters
R&D/Macc Racing steering system
Star Bars handlebars
Macc Racing trigger throttle lever
UMI Racing trim lever
Skat-Trak trim cable
Estimated engine output: 425-430 hp
Estimated torque: N.A.
Top speed: 86-87mph
Monster Energy, Yamaha Motor Corp., R&D, MoTec, Oakley, Quakysense, HT Moto, Macc Racing, JE Pistons, Race Deck, Alpina and Strawrubby.