SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY: We go behind the scenes at Monster Jam
So, Monster Jam used to be all about Sunday, Sunday, car crushing Sunday.
But you would be surprised at the amount of technology that is inside of these trucks.
It allows them to be everything from a brute force offensive lineman to aggressive ballerina.
We're here at Monster Jam World Finals in Orlando, Florida to find out just what makes these trucks so special.
Monster Jam fans might just be the most rabid motor sports fans out there.
And they are rewarded with a huge hit party where they can check out the trucks up close and talk with their favorite drivers.
[UNKNOWN] the driver of Grave Digger to give you an autograph and a selfie?
Yeah, try that with Lewis Hamilton.
Monster Jam drivers are accessible, and that's why the fans love them.
In previous years Monster Jam was just about two events.
Racing, either Timed or Head to Head, and Freestyle, where drivers get get a limited amount of time to impress judges and fans with their Wheelies, Backflips and Jumps that can reach more than 130 feet.
Today's drivers have to be a bit more well rounded Not only has Monster Jam added the popular two wheel competition, where points are awarded for the best sense done on two or even one wheel, but today's Monster Jam driver has to be able to raise small as well racing both a TVs and what the company called speedsters.
A cage side by side that's nimble, but too much gas can definitely make it go shiny side down.
So i'm here with Morgan Kane, he is one of the drivers of grave digger, probably the most famous monster truck that is out there, and i gotta ask you some questions about, how all of these works, so like what are the specs on the motor first of all?>> Well, so first of, this a fine tune machine.
It's 12,000 pounds of pure carnage right here.
So as far as the specs of the engine, it's based off of a Chevrolet big block.
and it's a custom block that is 540 cubic inches.
And we have a super charger on the top, it's 871, and we're putting out about 1500 horsepower.
Do you know what the torque is?
The torque is a little bit higher than that, and I've actually never looked at the numbers because it varies.
My God>> Depending on power, and level, sea level, and>> Sure, sure, sure>> Even the ai, you know so>> So you've got 1500 horse power going through a transmission>> Yep>> Is it manual, is it sequential, automatic?>> It's what they call a.
Like semi automatic.
So basically you have to shift it to manual valve body.
It's a two speed powered glide so you have a high and a low.
So when we start out like only when you see us racing and we come out of the gate we start in first year which is low and then you shift to high gear and you stay.
And let it go.
And you have a third pedal?
No it's just gas brake.
And then everything from inside, it's separate steering
So wait, you can steer the front wheels and the rear wheels
So where is that [UNKNOWN] where is that [UNKNOWN] like where is the steering box for the rear wheels?
So when you go around to the back
Okay, let's go around the back
You have this steering rims.
So the two black parts right here, it pushes fluid back and forth from an electric motor up top.
We control it with our right hand.
Some have left hand stuff too but.
So when you want the rear tires to turn your turn something over here like maybe as you're turning your steering wheel.
Yes, yeah, so normally like for me, I like to.
To use a lot of rear steer, because it almost sets you into a drift and you can keep your momentum going faster so you don't have to slow down as much because when you when you do front steering and rear steering, it's a tight turn and you have Sometimes you have you flip over what yeah well that's the whole point I'm I used to wait until the end of freestyle to really push it but so and then I noticed
So let's go around here because I noticed that there's a break.
So you don't have brakes on the actual wheels.
No, it's what you call a pinion break.
So for the pinion break, what we do is because of the gear ratios From our planetary on each tire each axle and everything, the drive shaft spins faster and the pinion spills spins faster than the tire check.
So with that you're able to have more control and with the opinion break because it's just one and
You're just talking a lot quicker.
Yeah, most of your soft power comes from So it's not just like a quick grab, it's nice and easy.
So but if you really stab on the break is that how you get your front wheelies and stuff?
Yeah so if we're going wide open down or straight away and you stab the brakes as hard as you can, it'll actually lock all four wheels up, like you will skid.
Okay, so you've got dual shocks that are, but I see there's no coil springs, so what's actually holding this thing up?
So nitrogen is what we put into our shocks, so this is an air oil shock basically.
So there's no springs or anything that holds it up?
No, it's all air.
It's all compression.
When you take a big jump it extends all the way out, and then as you compress it, The only, like oil, oil is from here all the way around the shock,
In the main body,
You have 420 pounds compressedin this one area.
That's so much,
It's a lot.
So much pressure.
And then when we land, it compresses it all the way down, and you're getting intolike thousand.
Of PSI into that little area.
How much travel does this have?
So we have 30 inches of travel on the back, 26 inches in the front.
And this tire, okay, I'm 5'9.
So maybe 5 foot tires?
It has the readings on the side.
My God, you're not gonna make me read anything.
By 43, 25 inch diameter.
How much does one of these weigh?
So as it sits, if you pull it off the truck, it's 850 pounds.
That is crazy.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.
Yeah, no problem.
This is awesome!
We're at Monster Jam, this is Monster Jam.
So I'm here with Krysten Anderson, she's another driver of the Grave Digger truck, and she's gonna take me into the inside.
So show me how you climb inside, and then we'll go through some of the tech on the inside.
Alright Something that's really interesting about Grave Digger, actually, is we're one of the only Monster Jam trucks that have a door.
So I swing this door open, just like this, I put my foot on the four-link bar, put my foot on the foot peg right here, swing in, and hold on for dear life.
There you go.
All right, so I'm gonna put my foot here, there.
They're all me.
I did it.
There we go.
There we go.
All right, I'm just gonna kind of sit right here.
Okay, all right.
So show me like what is your what do you do that when you first get in the vehicle
When I first get in I usually I have my helmet my horns already on my neck mistreating my helmet.
I start settling in and here I'm putting my belts over I run a seven point Simpson harness.
So that means that I have seven seven points right.
Got go can I go.
I run the latch like I'll usually put my belts over me and before I sent him up.
Get my steering wheel, pop it on here because I can't reach out [UNKNOWN] [LAUGH] [CROSSTALK]
Yeah, I'm not the tallest [UNKNOWN] driver, so I usually do this and when we fire the truck up, we actually just trying to [UNKNOWN] systems on
So we run the fuel open all the time.
So I run my fuel always open.
So your fuel pump is like pumping in as much fuel as possible at all time?
Yes, yes, mine is pumping in at all times, when I pull the power on like this.
Okay, so that's like is that your battery?
Yep, this is our main power, we're gonna pull this on.
Lift the ignition up, turn the lights.
[UNKNOWN], fans, rear steer.
And then push up by, we're not gonna [CROSSTALK] here.
Yeah, turn it on and then she's ready to rock.
So carry us up this steering system, cuz I know you got weird steering and I was talking with Morgan earlier and he was saying how you have to, there's like a seperate.
Dial for the rear steering.
Yes, we do.
We actually have this over here, This my rear steering toogle switch, this tracks are so big and long we don't have the greatest turning radius.
Especially on the series that I run, I don't really run in the stadium all the time.
I actually run in the smaller compact arenas.
So, this is like my best friend.
So we've got it hooked up right here.
It's always right here for me I usually when we're racing come right off the line from the shifter you want to shift straight to here and go left right left right and then I can turn myself centering on and off.
So what is a self centering?
So usually when I'm in a doughnut we don't really want to wear out the steering pump just sitting here holding it.
So I'll flip this off when I'm in a doughnut so it doesn't center back.
Okay>> So they self centered themselves, like if i go like this, the truck will go, [SOUND] And it will come back right to center>>Oh, it well like just give you a little bump behind the back>> So don't i just wanna sit here and wear out the solenoid, i usually just flip off, and then when ever i'm done, i put the back on>> That's so cool, is it tough to like, because you are basically steering your front wheels with this, and your rear wheels with that, is that weird to like have one hand going this way, and the other hand going the opposite way?>> Yeah, so.
Yeah we usually so when I go left I some people set it up completely opposite, some of the veteran drivers to go left they want to do it right and to go right they want to do it left.
I did it the easiest way possible.
If I want to go left I'm going left I want to go right,
And then sometimes we're trying to like crab steer the truck like get them parallel park somewhere.
You gotta go, you know, the opposite way and then that way.
And then the opposite way then that way.
So ->> My ghosh.
It does get really confusing sometimes when you trying to get in like tight areas and get parked.
I figured it out pretty quick.
This is your best friend.
When this doesn't work, it stinks.
It really stinks.
Doing a three point turn into a 12,000 pound monster truck is not the best.
So, when you guys are putting this into gear, I notice when you're doing the two wheel challenges, they're going from reverse to, forward gears to reverse through so quickly.
Like how fast Can you shift that thing?
So I can't see anything on my head and everything is shifted all the way back and I see.
I can't see my shifter at all, it's by feelings.
so we just run high low and hang on.
They're just a power glide shifter, so I got first to second.
usually we do all of our two wheel tricks in first gear it's just easier on the transmissions and everything that way and So when we're shifting we're just feeling around cuz I have this T-handle right here for safety.
So I can feel my bump and I know that I'm neutral, then my next thing is reverse.>> [CROSSTALK]
T-handle in for the all the gears or just in your reverse?>> No, just in to reverse.>> Okay.>> So it's stop right here I can just go you know shift up, I'm going to neutral, and then I'm in reverse and then I'm all the way down to park.>> My Gosh.>> So it is, it's all by feeling.
If you definitely can't memorize the shifter, then the two wheel skills competition-
Is not gonna be good for you?
Yeah, it's not gonna be the competition for you, not your strongest link for sure.
This is so awesome.
I really wanna drive one.
I hope I get a chance to drive one soon.
Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
Yeah, thank you.
Thank you guys for having me.
So not only have these trucks gotten better, the tracks have gotten better as well behind me is the track setup for the two wheel competition.
So there are all kinds of obstacles that are set up specifically to result in like a nose wheelie or in a slap wheelie.
They've got pipes embedded into these things.
They've got tires embedded into it.
Also that they can make sure these trucks put on the best dance show that they possibly can.
And you know, after talking to the drivers and watching them in practice, I realized these trucks are more than just 12,000-pound behemoths.
They're like ballet dancers.
Displaying a kind of grace that's not seen in any other kind of Motorsports.
I mean, I cannot believe how these trucks have all this balance and precision and yet they are so big and heavy.
Earth shaker again with another [UNKNOWN] and a [UNKNOWN].
Look at that it's to the derriere.
Who would call this a songs bollocks that is a without wheel and manage.
Do you see any other form of Motorsports do their tricks without their steering wheels?
This is crazy.
And here we've got photos are giving us a series of groans you today.
That's right big massive jump Now we've seen a [INAUDIBLE] before but check this one out, this is a [INAUDIBLE] so high, these jumps are so high.
Now check out the sequence from [INAUDIBLE] we got a [INAUDIBLE] Porsche [INAUDIBLE] if you will, and then it goes right in to a turn in the air, [INAUDIBLE] on the air for son of a great digger, man, Really wanna drive one of these vehicles.
Okay, here's the bulldozer again, and check this out.
He's got a delicate [UNKNOWN] That would be Ballet speak for a whipping turn that you really have no control over.
Now, some might call this a backflip, I'm gonna call it [UNKNOWN] the ballet world would call it.
A complete tour on the air.
My gosh, look at that right to a [UNKNOWN].
Now we already know what that means, right?
Changing the feet and gliding across the stadium.
Alright so yes these trucks sometimes break and I'm gonna call that an [UNKNOWN] it means separated, so look at that, the [UNKNOWN] is full on [UNKNOWN] from the truck men, his dance career is over.
And what about [UNKNOWN] were on their feet?
They were [UNKNOWN] and this guy's gonna need a new one.
And this is change one No, no it's a total of the hair.
right into English side and down formed you I am done.
Well, I certainly have enjoyed my time here at Monster Jam World Finals.
These trucks are so awesome and I've learned so much about them.
I cannot wait to drive on people Because there is a Monster Jam University.
But I need your help.
You guys need to tell me, what should I call my truck?
Let me know in the comments, and you wanna read more about Monster Jam, I've got a full article plus a whole bunch of pictures over on theroadshow.com [SOUND]
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