Drag Racing Weight Reduction Ideas
- Remove rear seat.
- Lightweight racing seats.
- Remove interior trim, carpet, upholstery and insulation. (Wal-Mart cheap
carpet is the lightest carpet - aircraft carpet might also be useful).
- Scrape & Remove Putty from floorboard joints. (Submitted by Charlie
- Replace heavy inner door handle assembly with a cable pull. (Submitted by
Dr. Alan Lott)
- Remove locking mechanism completely if you can. (Submitted by Dr. Alan
- Remove Sound Deadener and seam sealer from under carpet, trunk, rear
- Remove Headliner, Sun Visors, Clips, Sail Panels.
- Replace glass windows with Lexan.
- Replace Old Glass with new replacement glass (lighter).
- Remove the stereo, speakers and wires.
- Remove the air conditioning, heater, defroster, ducts and controls.
- Remove the windshield wipers, the washer system and mechanism.
- Remove the ashtray and glovebox.
- Remove spare tire and jack.
- Remove window regulators
- Remove door crash bars.
- Remove dash cover.
- Remove excess wiring
- Remove OEM gauge cluster.
- Gauges - Auto Meter "Ultra Lights" are good, but what is even better is
they are self illuminating and require no wire for lighting, no connectors,
bulbs or heavy switches or the weight you carry with these minor items.
(Submitted by Wayne Carroll)
- Light weight steering wheel (there are some very light ones used in
circle track, all aluminum).
- Use Chrome Moly for your Cage vs Mild Steel.
- Use Velcro for mounting most of your electronics and light applications
on carbon fiber brackets. It is easily removable, weighs nothing and does not
require fasteners or metal brackets to save weight. (Submitted by Wayne H.
- Replace OEM steering column with racing type. Flaming River has some
aluminum ones if you want to get fancy.
- Switch to billet aluminum brake, clutch, etc pedals. not the boy racer
billet "covers" but the pedals themselves - the entire pedal box assembly can
be bought/made in billet. (Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
Use a smaller battery.
- One battery instead of two (Submitted by Rob Cacioppo)
- Smaller and/or lighter fuel cell.
- Remove trunk hinges and spring, use hood pins or Dzus fasteners. Another
option is to use the little gas charged spring rods.
- Fiberglass trunk lid
- One big fuel pump to feed engine and nitrous instead of two systems
(Submitted by Rob Cacioppo)
- Fiberglass or carbon fiber body parts (bumpers, hood, doors, trunk lid).
- Aluminum bumper brackets.
- Use aluminum engine parts.
- Use pins or quick release fasteners to retain the hood and trunk in place
of heavy stock hinges and springs.
- Circle Track Hood Pins are available in aluminum.
- Even Stock Fiberglass hoods can be modified to save weight - "I used an
angle grinder, Dremel tool and diegrinder and removed all of the substructure
attached to the underlayment of the hood. The hood shakes a little at 90mph
or better, but it filled up a trash bag full of fiberglass and metal that
weighted 30lbs according to my scales" (Submitted by Crystal Douglas)
- Eliminate power window motors.
- Fiberglass bumpers.
- Remove flip down license plate bracket or replace with aluminum bracket.
- Aluminum or Titanium bolts and nuts for non-critical areas.
- Carbon Fiber nuts are now being produced.
- Media blast entire car down to "white" (bare metal) 100% of car - top to
bottom. shoot with minimal primer (one coat of etch) and use only two or
three coats of lacquer paint. with original paint, a car carries about 15+
pounds of paint/primer alone. the undercoating also weighs quite a lot. if
the car has been repainted without stripping to bare metal - very, very rare
- it is probably carrying an extra 12-15 pounds in paint. more repaints equal
more weight. You will likely find that there is somewhere around 40 to 60 lbs
or more of paint, seam sealer, bondo etc. on many cars like a Camaro. Have
the floorboards, trunk pan, firewall done top and bottom done to get every
- Paint - Use water based paint. Jerry Sievers-Paint N- Place says he saves
approximately 1/3 of weight on his funny cars painting for the pros (John
Force, Del Worsham, etc.), by using water based paint and decals –
lighter colors (white) without pigment are the lightest. (Submitted by Wayne
H. Carroll, E.S)
- panels can be lightened/thinned by using tip number two.(Submitted by Dr.
- Acid dip parts that are not critical for strength - dipping can
functionally reduce 18 gauge metal down to 20 gauge or less. drill holes with
a hole saw for even greater weight savings.(Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
- Fabricate all non critical brackets/attachments out of aluminum. many of
these are available pre made but it is amazing what you can make with some
aluminum from your local home improvement store - with some heat, aluminum
can be bent and is easy to work with otherwise. (Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
- For all non critical fasteners a) if you can't afford titanium, gun drill
all steel fasteners or replace fasteners with gun drilled aluminum b) drill
all nuts through the flats - in other words, when you are through, each flat
of the nut will have a hole - maximize the size - i think a 3/8 nut will take
a 1/4 inch hole. you can also use a jam nut (thin) instead of regular nuts.
aluminum jam nut ... very trick.(Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
- Dzus Fasteners - Drill the middle of those as well. (Submitted by Wayne
H. Carroll, E.S)
- Replace grill assembly with aluminum mesh/hardware cloth. (Submitted by
Dr. Alan Lott)
- Have louvers punched in your rear valence or use a hole saw and drill
some. saves weight and will release air trapped at speed - also looks cool if
done right - even if you use the hole saw.(Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
- Remove Bumper shocks and replace with tubing (Submitted by Charlie
- On older cars there can be an amazing amount of rocks, dirt and other
misc. crap built up inside rocker panels, behind the firewall in the trunk
and behind the wheelwells. Difficult to remove, but you may find 2 lbs or
more of dirt/rocks/who knows what in those locations.
Engine and Engine Compartment
- Use an aluminum master cylinder.
- Switch to manual brakes/Remove Vacuum Brake Booster.
- Switch to manual steering box (aluminum Vega is lightest) or rack &
- Use an aluminum radiator.
- Use a smaller radiator. Antifreeze/water weigh about 8.5 pounds per
gallon. (Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
- Remove all unnecessary junk from under hood - windshield washer
equipment, plastic shields, hood insulation, etc. remove plastic under-fender
liners (Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
- Get an aluminum or carbon fiber driveshaft.
- Remove the front antisway bar.
- Replace the glass headlights with plastic headlights (Round 7" style can
be found on ebay, look for "tri bar headlights").
- Replace control arms with tubular type.
- Rack and Pinion Steering.
- Remove Horn, Charcoal Canister.
- Replace all brass or steel fuel/oil fittings and line with aluminum where
- Remove or use Fiberglass inner fenders.
- Reproduction Radiator core support has thinner metal. (Some Malibu's came
from the factory with aluminum core supports)
- Tubular trans crossmember.
- Headers – Stainless steel headers are expensive but very light,
think about it. (Submitted by Wayne H. Carroll, E.S)
- Aluminum Water Pump (Submitted by Tim Herron).
- In Line Water Pump – Think about shifting this weight behind the
cars center of gravity, it will save weight over the very front of the car
having the water pump relocated and running long aluminum tubes and rubber
connectors for water transfer to the radiator. Similar to plumbing for turbos
or standard radiator locations. (Submitted by Wayne H. Carroll, E.S)
- Aluminum oil pan, valve covers, air cleaner, etc. (Submitted by Dr. Alan
- Mini-Starter (Submitted by Tim Herron).
- Aluminum Balancer (Submitted by Tim Herron).
- Drill lightening holes in non load bearing areas like radiator support
- Use one 15lb Nitrous bottle vs two 10lb bottles.
- Aluminum Heads / Block (Submitted by Rob Cacioppo)
- Titanium / Aluminum Fasteners (Submitted by Rob Cacioppo)
- Titanium Rods (Submitted by Charlie Daubitz)
- Aviation Nuts / AN Washers and Bolts where allowed (Submitted by Rob
- Mill Block of unnecessary items such as fuel pump boss, side motor
mounts, etc. (Submitted by Rob Cacioppo)
- Use Fabric Braided line (push together) instead of Stainless Steel
Braided (Submitted by Rob Cacioppo)
- Note: NHRA Approved Lines are: Aeroquip FC300, FC332; Aeroquip Star
Lite 200; AQP socketless; Earls Prolite; Gates LOL Plus; Goodridge
536;Goodridge 710; Russell Twist-Loc 836 and XRP HS-79; Dayco imperial
- Alcohol– Run alcohol if you race brackets or high index cars and
are prohibited from towing up to the staging lanes; then use a smaller
radiator - the Scirocco with plastic tanks and water is less than 9 lbs. If
you tow to the line in the low index or pro cars – lose the radiator
completely, you could probably make it back to the pits under power without
any water pump/radiator/pulleys/clamps/t/stat housing/t-stat/belts, etc. That
is a lot of weight over the nose of the car that you could shed and really
make a difference. If you can’t make it back under power, tow it back
to the pits. (Submitted by Wayne Carroll)
- CSR" TRANSMISSION SHIELD I think the CSR Kevlar Trans shield is a big
weight saver over the silly formed steel blast shield that we've used over
the years. Extra weight from the nuts and bolts and the attached steel
bracket running under your automatic transmission pan doesn't help either. It
has to be worth more than 1 or 2 pounds, too bad it costs some "heavy
ducats," otherwise I would dig down. (Submitted by Wayne Carroll)
- Stamped or Fabricated Aluminum Transmission Pans are lighter than cast
aluminum, and typically have more ground clearance which you'll appreciate if
your car is prone to wheelstanding. (Submitted by Wayne Carroll/John Heard)
- Powerglide's are approximately 25 lbs lighter than a TH400. (estimated
- Aluminum Flywheel (Submitted by Charlie Daubitz)
- Use a 153 tooth Flexplate instead of a 168 tooth (Submitted by Scott
Chassis and Drivetrain
- Mono leaf springs are lighter than multi-leafs.
- Bias-ply tires are lighter than radials.
- Aluminum Rear Chunk vs Nodular Iron
- Backcut Rear End Gears
- Aluminum Brake Calipers.
- Aluminum Disc brake hubs.
- Aluminum Brake drums.
- Aluminum wheels - some aluminum wheels are a lot heavier than others.
Bogart and Weld Wheels are typically known as some of the lightest wheels
available. The new Mickey Thompson rear wheels are supposed to be very light.
- Valve Stems – Aluminum valve stems with caps, Speedway has them in
their catalog for “roundy round” cars. Really cool! Get four of
‘em for your light Bogart or Weld Wheels on Good Year Front Runners (no
tubes) and your Rear Slicks (no tubes). Remember, any unsprung weight has a 1
to 8 factor to what you carry. One pound unsprung is equal to 8lbs of sprung
weight. A 6 lb. tube times 2 or even 4 if you have them up front as well as
at back, can equal a bunch using the 1 to 8 factor…it’s an ugly
number so go figure. (Submitted by Wayne Carroll)
- Clean undercoating, dirt and grease from under car (you might be
surprised what that weighs).
- Gun Drilled Axles (Submitted by Tim Herron).
- Aluminum Spool (Submitted by Tim Herron).
- Lightweight Spool (profile milled)
- Lightweight Ring Gear can save up to 6lbs over non-lightened (backside ground)
- Wheel Studs don't have to stick out of the nut a mile, use the shortest necessary to fully engage the threads in the Wheel Nut
- Titanium Drive Studs (Submitted by Tim Herron).
- Titanium or Aluminum Lug Nuts - can save 4 oz off each wheel (Submitted by Greg Hazlett)
- Gun Drill Cam Shaft (Submitted by Tim Herron).
- Use .125" wall Chrome Moly axle tubes instead of Mild Steel.
- Don't run tubes in your slicks.
- Front Tires vary a lot on weight. Mickey Thompson 8-ply Sportsman tires
weigh 19lbs each, a typical "Street Radial" tire is going to weigh a lot
more. Phoenix 26" Front Tires are listed at 14lbs, Mickey Thompson ET Front
and Moroso DS2 tires in 26" dia weigh about 12lbs ea. The Moroso Drag
Specials and Hoosier 26" tires weighs 11lbs ea, the lightest 26" tire we've
found are the Goodyear Eagle at 10.83 lbs for the same diameter. 26" Toyo
front runner tires weigh in at 11.97lbs (measured).
- Don't use bolts that are longer than needed. 1 thread above the nut is
- Aluminum Gear Housing (9" Ford)
- Use lightweight spindles, springs, and shocks in the front.
- Use lightweight control arms. (Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
- Remove the front sway bar assembly. (Submitted by Dr. Alan Lott)
And last but certainly not least, consider putting your own body on a diet!
It's amazing that Hot Rodders will spend untold dollars on light weight
parts and looking for every ounce to remove from the race car while still
packing around tons of fat on their own bodys.
- Dump your extra change, keys, cell phone, pocket knife misc. stuff in your
- Racing shoes are lighter.
- Clean the tire rubber off the back of the car, inside wheelwells, etc. You
might be surprised how much builds up along with small bits of rock. One of our
forum members recently cleaned his car and got 6 lbs of rubber off it!
- Pretty Girl – Find a petite “pretty” girl. She is 60% of
your mass and can save 100 to 200 lbs in body weight. If you are a fat guy,
tell her to drive your race car and pick up .2 tenths of a second. If
she’s ugly forget it…bad idea. (Submitted by Wayne H. Carroll,
Some Fast Facts...
- Weight of 1 US Gallon of water = approx. 8.35 lb
Got some more ideas on weight reduction?
Send me an email I'll add yours to this list
Related: Drag Racing Weight Savings, Weight Removal
Last Updated 3/10/10 - Dragstuff.com