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1968 Pontiac Firebird Racecar For Sale

Contact: Skip: oholber@yahoo.com
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April - May - June - 2013    

4th Qtr. 2012 - 1st Qtr. 2013

 

Feature Racers - June 2013

Patrick Allen & Patrick, Jr.

Patrick Allen Patrick Allen, Jr.
Photos

Video Patrick's 79 Camaro

 

Fab On Throttle Cable Complete

After looking and thinking about it for a few days, I finally did away with the fancy throttle cable holder that I had purchased a year ago and designed my own. I now have full travel on my secondary butterflies, without doing anything to the carburetor. All it took was to move the support point down to the level of the carburetor baseplate, below the pivot point, instead of even with the pivot point.

I am still working on the air dam. It is in the final stages. I have all the supports fabricated. I am going to try it one more time with the temp. plastic sheet before I cut the aluminum sheet.

Windows 8.1

I guess I'm not the only one that is having trouble with Windows 8. Microsoft just announced they have available a "tweak" that will reintroduce some of the old features that they took away, such as the Start Button. You can go to the Microsoft web site and download Windows 8.1, which is a test version of what will be available to the general public late this Summer. I am not brave enough to download it yet. This is just day two of availability. I'll give it a few weeks and read some reviews before I jump in.

I had purchased three books on Windows 8. Looks like they are going to be almost useless.

One thing that I like about my new computer is the speed. I purchased the top os the line, Intel Core I7 processor and this thing screams! Once you get past the OS, and into the applications, you can really tell the difference. This Core I7 chip is the fastest thing out there (It is not a gaming computer, but it is close). Video processing, web site updating and precessing photos for the sites are really fast now. Even the Anti-virus scans and Mal-ware scans are quick. I don't know if a Core I5 would have done the same, but I am glad I spent the extra $100 and got this one.
June 27, 2013

Fabrication

For the past few days I have been working on perfecting the air dam that I installed before the Father's Day race. The initial installation was made of thick, white, plastic board. The kind of stuff that kids display their science projects on in school. It worked OK, but I wanted something a little more permanent (professional).

I talked to Joe Scott at the track and he made several suggestions. Joe did a lot of the fabrication on Outlaw's truck and has been at this kind of work for years. He is very good. I decided to try to do some of the things that he suggested.

Carburetor Cable

In the process of working on the air dam, I decided to remove one of my two spacers from under the carburetor. I had an open spacer and a new style 4-hole spacer right next to the carburetor. I removed the open spacer. When I checked the linkage for completely opening the butterflies, I found that my secondaries were only going about 75% open. This is the same thing that was happening with the old BG carburetor. I thought the Holley did not have that problem. As a matter of fact, last week when I sat down with the BG to try to fix the linkage on that carburetor, I found that it was going all the way open if you operated the linkage with your hand. At the time I just said I would check it out later.

Now I find that the Holley is doing the identical thing as the BG. IT IS NOT THE CARBURETOR! The linkage, from the accelerator too the carburetor, is the problem. (I will finish this later).
June 24, 2013

Later...

Last night I went on-line to find out what other racers have done about this problem. Not a lot of help there.

I decided to modify my cable mount. I have a hi-tech cable mount made for the 4500 style carburetor. It has so many adjustments that you would think there has got to be a spot where this thing will work. I am sure I have tried them all. My next step is to modify the bracket.

What is happening is, the cable is pulling straight back on the accelerator arm. That arm needs to go just a little below the centerline to make the secondary open all the way.

Before I modify the cable bracket, I am going to try an old trick, that I have not done for a while, and put a small screw & nut in the slot with the secondary linkage. That should make that secondary open a little sooner (before it reaches the centerline) and open those butterflies all the way. If that does not work, I will start bending and cutting!
June 24, 2013 late

New Trailer Wrap

Thanks to Jeff and Mary at Central Graphics for the excellent job of putting the wrap on my trailer in time for the Father's Day Race. All of the graphics on my car are from Central Graphics. I had painted the door and the front (Vee-nose), and now, the rest of it looks so good, I am going to have the rest of it wraped. PHOTOS
June 18, 2013

Father's Day Race - June 15, 2013

Since the truck was not running, I decided to let Outlaw drive the Camaro. It was just too hot for me again this year. Bracket Masters did move the start time for the big cars back to approximately 3:30pm. This did help a lot.

Our first time trial was 9.181 @ 145 MPH. The 1/8 mile time was, 5.825 @117.5 MPH. Again, not bad for over 90 degree heat.

We lost in the first round (Lionel's Nova) and we were so tired, beat and frustrated, we did not buy back. We just packed up and went home.

We had made two changes during the down period the last 3 weeks. I changed the timing from 36 degrees, too 38 degrees and put an air dam under the carburetor to stop the flow of hot air from the fan and headers into the carburetor. When we last ran, the Exhaust Gas Temps.(EGT) were in the low 1500 degree range. Friday night and all day Saturday those EGT's were in the mid-1300's. This is just opposite of what I expected. It should be getting more air, and running lean. That would push the EGT up, not down. There are several things to try:
1) Move the timing back to 35 degrees. (I think this would be counter-productive and moving in the wrong direction)
2) Remove the air dam, which seems to be reducing the air flow. That would explain the rich (low EGT) condition.
3) Put less jet in the carburetor (raise EGT back in the 1450-1500 range. (running 88 square now, in the Holley 1150).
4) If I had the resources, I could install a Dual, Fast Acting, O2 sensor system. That would take all the guesswork out of tuning this beast! Oxygen sensors are many times better than EGT, which is old technology (like me).

All of these numbers are for MY ENGINE. I have been playing with them for years and know what to expect. Don't use any of this information for your engine (Mr. Skip).
June 16, 2013 (Happy Father's Day to all Dad's)
Updated June 20, 2013.

Not A Good Night - Friday 6/14/13

After being the 7th & 9th cars through the gate on Friday night, things really went downhill fast from there. To make a very long story short, we took the truck to the line three times and did not make one pass down the track. Oil leaks from the distributor, timing cover and vacuum system combined to stop us at each attempt.

Outlaw and several people worked through the night to make it right, but in the end they gave up and decided to wait for another day.

Mr. Skip Gets Taken Out By
Silas, Jr.

The Camaro ran very good for the high temperature Friday night. We finally made a pass late into the evening and ran a 9.248 @ 145 MPH. For me, that was not bad in 90 degree heat on the 1st pass.

In the first round of Super Pro $$ Eliminations, I dialed a 5.84. Silas, Jr., in his Nova, dialed a 5.63. I cut a better light, but had lined up out of the groove and when I left the car shot towards the centerline. I got out of it and back in it (Outlaw was highly upset about that) and just lost by, .0153.

I had a good time, and as Slim Davis said, as we loaded out cars, "We didn't break anything"!


No Testing At NPR On Wednesday

We will not be able to test the truck tonight at No Problem Raceway because they are closed (next week too). This will really put a lot of pressure on us to get the truck ready for Saturday's Father's Day race. There is just too much to get done.

We will have to treat Friday night like our only shot at getting it right. We should be able to get two time trials, at least one elimination run, and maybe one or two extra time trials after eliminations start. That's 5 passes, and I think that should be enough. That's saying everything works as it should or we can make repairs between rounds, quickly. As fast as Outlaw works, that should not be a problem.
June 12, 2013

Fine Tuning Da Truck

Yesterday Kevin changed out the front carburetor bowl and the hose going up to it from the regulator, which was leaking.

After starting up, he reset the float level in the carb. and I had reset the idle adjust screws from 1.5 turns open, up too 2 turns open. We also put in some 93 jets all around. The last time we ran, we pulled a few plugs at the top end of the track and found them to be very lean. We had 90 jets in then. We had experienced some "popping" on the top end also, another indication that we were too lean. Since the weather is a lot warmer, we may have over-compensated, but we will see. We are also switching to 116 octane fuel, just to be on the safe side.

The new slicks should go on today. We are waiting to see the effect of the slicks before we make any adjustments to the rear end and wheelie bars. The truck was pulling to the right at launch. We have some changes in mind, but we want to get the engine testing out of the way and give the new tires a few passes before we start adjusting the chassis.

Did you know that "Outlaw" is the defending champ of last (2012) Father's Day Super Pro 1/4 mile race?
June 11, 2013

Va-Voom! It Comes To Life!

Under the watchful eyes of several friends, Slim Davis, "Big O", Silas, Silas, Jr., Kirkpatrick Rogers and Mr. Skip, Kevin's engine started and ran without any problem. Oh, there is a little gas leak from the front float bowl and one of the hoses needs to be changed, but those were only minor problems that can be fixed in a flash. At start up, we had good oil pressure and it sounded very good. We warmed it up to 180 degrees F and still had 60 psi oil pressure. The valves need to be set, hot, and a little adjustment to the carburetor, but all in all, the overhaul has come out good, so far.

Kevin plans to take it to No Problem on Weds. night to make a few easy passes before he lets it all hang out Friday at State Capitol raceway. While the truck was in for engine work, a new set of slicks came in and they will be put on before the outing at No Problem.
June 9, 2013

Waiting On Parts

The head gaskets should be here tomorrow. We have the pan on, after fighting with the Moroso Billet oil pump, we had to revert to a Stef's Select HV oil pump with the pick-up welded 360 degrees.

For future reference, always talk to the oil pump vendor about which pans will fit. Seems the oil pump vendors try to push you towards purchasing their oil pan. I learned a lot about what fits and what does not.
June 5, 2013

Motor Assembly - Getting There

We have all pistons installed. We put the cam back in and tried to degree it, but since it had been so long since I had done it, I had trouble getting the numbers to come out right. After sleeping on it, I got up and went out there and followed the procedure step by step, and wrote down everything I was told to do and what do you know, I got it right!

Did you know, in cam grinders talk, 112+4 is 108 degrees, not 116? When we checked, we got 107 degrees and thought we were off by at least 5 degrees, and maybe as much as 9 degrees.

After a trip to Cam Motion, in Baton Rouge, to talk to their tech. guy, I learned that I was only off by one (1) degree. He said I did a good job and explained that 112+4 is a cam that has its intake centerline at 112, with a 4 degree ADVANCE, which makes the real intake centerline, 108 degrees. In cam talk, + is Advance and - is Retard, but you don't treat those Plus and Minus signs like you do in math. Are you confused? Join the club.

Now our next challenge is the oil pump and pan. The new Moroso billet oil pump will not fit into the oil pan without some modifications. We are about to start that modification. I need about 1/8 inch to make it fit. Now where is that BIG hammer?
June 4, 2013

Motor Assembly - Slowly Moving On

We have one piston in the block! After taking main bearing clearences, rod bearing clearences and having all of them in spec., we took the piston side wall clearences and those were not as good as we wanted, but we will live with them. We did the ring end gaps and got them fitted just right. Crank thrust was good. After the crank was torqued, we put #8 piston in the block. Everything spins effortlessly. (Top Fuel crews do this in about an hour!).

Skip's Car Is Ready For Father's Day!

While I was working on Kevin's engine, Kevin was installing the water pump and alternator on my engine. We got the grade 8 bolt and put it in place. The two bolts on the opposite side are stainless steel, and are very short. The one that broke, for the 2nd time, was very long, about 5 inches and it broke in the exact place as the last one (I still had the old broken bolt, from about two years ago). We think it is a vibration problem. This alternator has a cogged belt and we think some resonance is being produced by the belt and the engine. Anyway, we did away with the grade 5 bolt and put in a grade 8. We hope that will solve the problem.
June 2, 2013

Start Assembly - Kevin

I have all the parts for Kevin's engine and we are ready to start taking measurements before assembly. Everything is laid out and ready to go. Our goal is to be ready for Father's Day, with a testing on that Friday night. My goal in the assembly is longevity and consistency.

Water Pump - Mr. Skip

I picked up the bolts for the water pump and alternator today. Grade 8 this time. We are taking our time with this and most likely will not run again until Father's Day.

We are fabricating an air pan to go under the carburetor to stop the flow of hot air from the radiator into the carburetor. I tried to do this a couple of years ago and it did not work out too well. This time I have a new idea and design.
May 29, 2013

Friday Night Drags!

We made it! After a few setbacks and a lot of prayers, we did make it to SCR and participated in Super Pro $$$, where we lost in the 1st round. We were so happy that the car ran better each time it went down the track, that we did not care that we lost.

An old recurring problem came back on my BG 1090 Carb and rather than trying to fix it, I just pulled out the Holley 1150 and went with it. I did change the jets from 92, down to 88 square. The problem with the BG was the progressive linkage would not open the secondary butterflies all the way. I thought I solved this problem a few months ago. Since BG is no longer building or supporting the King Demon carburetors, I am on my own for a fix. What I need is a rod that does away with the progressive feature. This should not be hard to fabricate.

Kevin did all the driving tonight. I was so tired when we finally got the car to the track, I was ready to just stand on the sidelines and watch. The car came out of the shop, and out of the trailer with a 9.200 @ 145.51 MPH. One the 2nd pass we had a 9.146 @ 145.65 MPH. In round 1 of eliminations, Kevin could not slow down enough the broke out, with a 5.77 on a 5.79 dial-in. The best 1/8 mile time had been 5.80 up to this point. We were very happy with the way the car handled and with our repair work. So far, no leaks, no water.

We had one problem. On the 2nd time trial one of the bolts holding the alternator and the water-pump, broke. I had so much "The Right Stuff" on it, there was no leak! We will extract the broken bolt this week and seal everything back up. The bolt was a Grade 5, but you could see where it had a flaw in it and was cracked over half way through. I will replace it with a Grade 8, and change out all the other three bolts while I am at it.

The car has fresh oil and filter, the valves have been set, both cold and hot, and I kicked up the timing from 36 to 38 degrees. I also changed out the distributor cap and rotor. Plugs only have 6 total passes after tonight.
May 24, 2013

Relaxing Day

Sunday, May 19th, Barbara and I visited Kevin's church. True Hope, Church Of God In Christ over in Plaquemine, LA. That was a very enjoyable experience and we will go back in the future. Kevin was glad to have us and so was the congregation and pastor, Rev. Charles Lukus. After church, Kevin took us to the lunch buffet at Bayou Bistro in Burley, LA. The food was great. Thanks, Kevin, for a great Sunday of church and eating!
May 24, 2013

Almost Ready!

With the help of "Outlaw", I am almost ready to start up the "Mr. Skip" Camaro 555. This is probably the least expensive repair we have ever done. We paid less than $100 for a single head gasket, an intake set and a tube of The Right Stuff to seal everything. All of our parts came from Engine Parts Warehouse and actually cost less than mail-ordering them. The major plus was, we got all of our parts Monday morning. The hardest, most time consuming part of this job was cleaning up the old parts to get ready for re-assembly.

We are using a FEL-PRO head gasket with the built in steel rings around each cylinder. We hope this will seal better than the Fel-Pro MLS head gasket that we are replacing. This gasket has a compressed thickness of, .039" and the one we are replacing had, .041" thickness when compressed. The CR should increase from 14.5:1, up to 14.65:1, or not enough to worry about. I can still use 112 octane racing fuel.

Outlaw's Motor Update

After removing the crank and taking some micrometer readings, we think the crank can be saved. Kevin is taking it out to Louie's Crank Shop and they will tell us the true story. We will need, at least, one replacement rod, maybe two. The mains are good. The pistons are in good shape and it also looks like the heads are in good shape too. A new oil pump, with pick-up attached (welded), would be a good investment. The truck may not be down as long as we had anticipated!
May 21, 2013

Two Down and None To Go!

Kevin's engine is down, thanks to a spun rod bearing, and my Camaro engine is down due to a leaking head gasket.

Kevin returned from the track Friday night and started to remove the engine from the truck. Saturday at 11am, he was at my shop with the engine in the back of his truck. We got it torn down and found the oil pump pick-up had come loose, causing loss of oil pressure and taking out #2 rod bearing. The crank is shot and so is #2 rod. Everything else seems to be in good shape. The oil pump pick-up was tack welded, but only in one spot, with a very bad weld.

We removed the right head from my engine and found at least two places where it was leaking. I had discussed with Reggie, a extensive testing program to find the problem, but in the end we just pulled the head off. So much for my testing program. This was the MLS head gasket that I had switched too the last time I overhauled the engine in 2009, it was replaced in Oct. 2010 when the heads were CNC by Mr. Alvin. I am going to put a Fel-Pro head gasket with the steel rings, like I have always used in the past, back on it. Everything else inside that side seems to be in excellent shape.

After looking over the parts that I would need and the machine shop work to do a overhaul, I decided to put it off. I am going to purchase some parts and put them on the shelf while I continue to run for a while longer. I want some new heads and a new block. May as well say I want a new engine, but there are a lot of good parts that I don't need to have a real winning combination.

Since Kevin will be down for a while, I don't have to worry about driving. We should be ready to go by the end of this coming week, if Engine Parts has my gaskets. If not, I will have to order them and we still may be ready for testing Friday evening.
May 19, 2013

Windows 8, Not So Bad...

After sounding off about Win8 for the past few weeks, I finally decided to try to learn something about it and stop complaining.

There are a lot of tools, such as You Tube video, tutorial that come with the operating system, books and other resources that I have found that explain how to use Win8. All I had to do was go to the search window and type in: "Learn how to use Windows 8". I spent hours yesterday watching video of how Win8 works. Believe it or not, I think I am going to like it, once I learn all about the new START screen and what each corner of the screen will do.

One word of advice, if you have not already invested in a Windows 8 computer, when you do decide, get the touch screen version of a laptop. Windows 8 was made for touch screen. I have a Desktop Computer, so I miss out on some of the great features of the operating system. Even if you don't purchase a touch screen laptop, you can still use some of the features on the touch pad that most laptops have built in below the keyboard.

I also purchased three books, one of which is, "Windows 8 For Seniors". Just what I need. Large print and lots of photos!
May 16, 2013

Truck Alignment

After looking real close at the rear end arrangement, we decided to make more than one adjustment. We set both coil-over springs to the same height and set the wheelie bars to 7.5 inches, with 8psi pressure in the slicks. We also set the shocks to 6/19 clicks on each rear shock. Kevin took the truck to Joe Louis' Car Care, where he works, and they put the truck on the alignment machine. They corrected the rear alignment and set the rear end straight in the chassis. Now we have a good starting point to work with.

We should be at State Capitol Raceway this Friday evening to do some testing and fine tuning on the rear end.

Skip's Engine Problem

When we tried to put the Camaro in the shop, we had a hard time starting the engine and when it did start, we got water out of the right side header, again. We decided to remove the heads and see if we can determine what is going on.

I have decided to have a complete valve job and to get the two heads matched with the same cc on both sides. Since it has been at least 5 years since I had new valves, I will get some new valves and another set of springs.

I have a bad feeling that the problem is inside the block, and not just a head or head gasket problem. If that is the case, I will be down for a long time.
May 15, 2013

Outlaw's Truck Is Running!

After working on the truck for three days, we finally got it to start yesterday (Friday). There were multiple things that needed to be corrected. We found the plugs needed to be indexed, gaps were closed down significantly from where they were installed. We now have the plugs installed with the electrodes in the upper 20 degrees on either side of zero. We have at least one index washer on each plug, with two plugs having two index washer. Those two plugs run the risk of not being far enough down in the combustion chamber.

When we got the engine started, it sounded very good, with great response. We did find the engine was running very lean. ALL of the plugs were either white or super white! As I am writing this, I just remembered that point. We must jet up at least 2 steps before the next run.

We had to rotor phase the distributer (crank trigger system), and we changed from a MSD 6AL, over to a Mallory CD ignition system that was loaned to us by Rudy Vedros. All in all, I think the big problem was the rotor phasing (distributor had moved). The plugs were a close 2nd place on the problem list. We have to check a few of the plugs after the first burn out and first full pass to see if the gaps close again.

We are going to make one change to the chassis setup on the truck to try to determine why it pulls so hard to the right when leaving the line. I have a few ideas that I want to try, one at a time.

Mr. Skip's Camaro

Now that the truck is running, I can get my car out of the trailer and into the workshop to clean it up and do the maintenance to get ready for the last big race of the Spring at SCR this coming weekend. Looks like I will be driving since the car and the truck will be running.
May 11, 2013

Not Lazy, Just Frustration!

Kevin and I both made it to the track this past weekend, one day each. Kevin's truck made one pass and shut down after crossing the finish line. It also made a dart towards the center line when it left. We have not determined what made it shutdown, but we are going to change the ignition system this week.

My big frustration is still the computer. I have a lot of really good photos to post, but cannot do it until I complete the changeover to the new computer. Working on this old one is playing with my last nerve...

My car ran very well Saturday, with Kevin driving. We won in the first round and lost in the 2nd round. Bought back in and due to the way it worked out in the staging lanes, we had to run one of the Ezell dragster that had earned a Bye from round 2. We won the round! We came back and lost in round 4 and came home. We did not run Sunday.

Hang in there with me, I will get the photos up and let you know how the trouble shooting is going with the truck.
May 8, 2013

New Computer - Ugh!

It seems I did not do enough research on Windows 8 before I purchased a new computer with that operating system. As I write this, I am using my old computer with Windows XP, which I enjoy. I understand that W-8 is the lowest selling OS that Microsoft has offered to the computer world. As a matter of fact, I never had a desktop with Vista or Windows 7.

I have had the new computer for a week and already I have had to delete all my apps once (not W-8's fault), after loading many of them. I have had some other software and driver problems. Then there is the problem of loading my applications that would not transfer through the built-in transfer application. I had a lot of programs that I use for photos, web site building, racing, office work and other unique programs that I accumulated over the past few years. Many of them do almost the same thing, but each application has it's own strength.

Now you know why I have not updated in a long time.

Skip's Rear End

I am almost as upset about the car as I am about the computer! We had to order one more part. The Strange Engineering chunk has a special, 2-piece, with shims, crush sleeve. If I had ordered a complete kit from Strange, I would have gotten everything I needed. Live and learn. The lone part was suppose to be here this afternoon. It is now almost 10pm and no part.

Outlaw's Truck

Looks like all I will be able to do this weekend is support "Outlaw". He got the truck running after a series of mis-steps. All the things that we did and talked about were not the cause of his troubles. The problem was a leaking intake gasket, on the bottom side (lifter galley). He reports the truck sounds good. The new parts he installed will not hurt anything, in fact many of those things needed to be done. He will be testing this Friday and running on Saturday.
May 2, 2013

 

Skip's Engine

After pulling all the spark plugs on the right hand side of the engine and spinning it over, I did not get any water out of the plug holes or out of the exhaust. The car had been sitting, without starting, for about 2 weeks. I removed the radiator cap, very slowly, and heard the rush of air being released from the cooling system. This has always been the case for the past year or so, after I stopped all the water leaks. The system is real tight.

After discussing all of this with Kevin and Reggie, I have decided not to pull any of the heads off to look for water leaks. Kevin suggested something that I am going to do, replace the crankcase evacuation system check-valves and the valve cover breathers. He thinks this may be the source of the moisture inside my valve covers. This is a very inexpensive fix, or experiment. Those parts are very old and have been used on three cars over a 15 year period.

After helping Kevin with his truck, working on the plug wire problem and distributor cap, I decided to change out my cap and rotor. The plug wires are only about two years old and they are in good shape. I will check each wire for the 40-50 ohms per foot resistance.

We got all of our rear end parts. The chunk is being set up now. I hope to be ready for next weeks "Mardi Gras Night of Fire" at State Capitol Raceway. This is a three day event, May 3-5, 2013.
April 24, 2013

Outlaw's Truck

I had the pleasure of looking under the back end of Kevin's truck over the weekend. It looks great! The wheelie bars, relocation of the fuel cell and installing the new anti-roll bar on the rear end. The workmanship is excellent.

There were some other problems with the truck. Kevin has been experiencing a miss in the engine for the past two weeks, even during his runner-up performance. Several items were checked, including a change of carburetor, resetting the valves and changing the spark plugs. None of these things took care of the problem.

After talking about the problem and how the truck was running, we decided to check the spark plug wires. Knowing that MSD wires have a variable amount of resistance, according to the length of each wire. MSD says it should be somewhere between 40-50 ohms per ft. of each wire. We checked the 8 plug wires and found one wire that was open, no resistance at all. We also checked the distributor cap and found several of the cap posts that showed an open ckt. between the top of the post down to the inside where rotor almost contacts each post as it rotates inside the cap.

We have not replaced the wires, cap and rotor yet, but we think we have isolated at least part of the problem. Monday, we will obtain everything to replace the bad parts.

Skip's Parts On The Way!

My tracking information indicated that my last bearing has been shipped and should be here by Tuesday afternoon. After that, the setup will be completed and we should be rolling by Saturday.
April 21, 2013

We May Be Down For Some Time

In addition to the one bearing that we can't seem to locate for the rear end before April 29th, we have some other issues that we have been looking the other way and getting by with for about a month. We are seeing water in places where there should be none and we think we may have a bad head gasket.

The majority of the problems are on the side where I have the old (1999) head. The other side was new in 2009. They are both Dart Pro-1 345 heads. We are seeing water (milky oil) in the valve covers, much more than I normally see, and we are getting water out of the right side header on the first start of the day, only a few drops of rusty water. We have changed the oil twice and not had any oil in the pan.

This may be as simple as a new head gasket and a clean-up cut on that head. Worse case would require resurfacing the block and the heads, if nothing is cracked, and I don't think that is the case. I would do a complete overhaul.

The heads have been on the engine since October of 2010, when Alvin did the CNC porting on them. The engine has been running since August of 2009. It seems to be doing as good, or better, now as it did when I first rebuilt it.

What I really want is a new set of heads. I feel good about my bottom end, but a new crate engine would be a great way to finish out this season and be ready for a good run through the next 3-4 years. I did purchased a Mega-Million ticket yesterday. That would probably be the only way I could get one.
April 17, 2013

The Road To Runner-Up

Outlaw had to go 6 rounds before ending up in 2nd place, in Super-pro, on Saturday at SCR. The eventual winner was Britney Ezell, in her 55 Chevrolet.

The truck had just come from the chassis shop and had a new set of wheelie bars and anti-roll bar in the back. It also has new adjustable shocks and springs in the rear. Outlaw says the truck was a lot to handle in each round, but it did the same thing each run. This made it easy to control, knowing what to expect when the car left. The car is going back to the chassis shop for more adjustments.

The truck laid down a series of runs that were very consistent. The slowest run was 9.23 @ 146 MPH, and they quickest run was 9.20 @ 147 MPH. In fact, he had two runs of 9.20, two of 9.21, one 9.22 and one of 9.23. His sixty-ft times were what was the most concern. They were very inconsistent, between 1.363 and 1.381. Not good at all. We are hoping the adjustments will result in some much better 60 ft. times. Before all the work, the truck was getting 1.27 - 1.29 sixty-ft times, but was a hand full to keep on the track.
April 14, 2013

Kevin Finishes 2nd at SCR!

I don't know the details, but Outlaw was Runner-up in Super Pro at SCR on Saturday! Congratulations Kevin. He was driving his truck this time!

Rear End Adventure

After removing the rear end chunk and assessing the damage, we found 3 teeth broken on the pinion gear. The ring gear was chipped, but not broken. I went to work trying to determine what parts we would need to completely overhaul the Strange Engineering, Nodular Iron center section. It has a 28 spline pinion gear and the spool has 35 splines for the axles. All of that was in excellent shape. All I needed was the seals, bearings and a new set of 4.56:1 gears.

I had to wait until Monday to call Strange Engineering and find out what to order for that special pinion support. The unit has a Strange aluminum pinion support designed for drag racing.

Strange was very helpful, but you can only communicate with them by email. The phone number on their website was out of service. They did answer my email within two hours, which was not bad. I would rather talk to a person.

I do like the "Chat" applications that some sites offer. They seem to solve problems, and you get a written transcript of everything you discussed and your business is conducted in real time.

Strange provided all the part numbers and verified some other things that I had questions about. They could not give me the part number of the complete center section that I have. It has no casting numbers, only a serial number. Strange does not keep up with serial numbers. That seems strange to me (pardon the pun).

When everything arrived on Wednesday afternoon, we did not have any outer races for any of the bearings. I had to order races for two bearings. The Strange kit also did not include a small pinion support bearing that fits into the case of the center section. I rounded up gaskets and gear oil from local establishments, such as Zimmer Gears and O'Reiley Auto Parts. Now we have to wait until our new shipment arrives, hopefully this coming week.
April 13, 2013 (Two days left to do those taxes!)

Congratulations "Outlaw" & Shannun! Both Are Winners!

First to my driver, Kevin "Outlaw" Gray, for his win in Super Pro Money Friday night at State Capitol Raceway. Outlaw was on his game all night. The car ran a string of 5.76 ET's and he even got a bye into the semi-finals due to the good light he cut in the round before. Again, Congratulations Kevin!

The second Congratulations goes out to Shannun T. Walker for his win in Top Doorslammer Class at State Capitol Raceway on Saturday, April 6, 2013. Again, I say Congratulations Shannun!

Broken Rear End

Now for the bad news. the "Mr. Skip" Camaro has a broken rear end. Kevin tore it down right after we left the track and found the pinion gear had sheared off all of the teeth. It was a wonder that it let us get the car back to the trailer under it's own power and into the shop, where Kevin did the work to find the problem. I will order a set of gears and some bearings and we should be back in business for next weeks race.

Today we had qualified with a 5.78 in round one of qualifications for Top Doorslammer. We came back with a 5.776, but we were still number 21 out of 21 Top cars. In the first round, we broke the rear end right off the starting line. That was the end of our day. For the third time this year, we were matched up with Dave Walker, who beat us again! This is getting old...

How Did The Jet Change Work?

Friday night, after the 1st time trial, which was a 1/4 mile pass, we pulled two plugs. Number 1 and #8. Number one looked good, maybe a tad on the lean side, but #8 looked perfect. We decided to leave everything alone, with the jets at 87 square. I may go up too 88 in the front. We were very pleased with the way the car ran.
April 6, 2013.

Jet Change

After reading my spark plugs, I decided to lean out the engine by moving from 89 jets too 87 jets. Since building this engine back in 1999, it has always run rich. I will be listening for indications of the too lean condition and I will pull a couple of plugs at the top end the next time I make a full 1/4 mile pass in time trials. The time slip should help also. I have been down to 87 jets in the past, and ran some good times. It just seems scary to run a 555 BBC on that small of a jet, but I never had a problem. I have been as high as 94 jets, in the cool weather and the plugs just get blacker and the car does not go any quicker.

I just read the R-M article in DRM this last issue. They don't support changing jets from season to season (cool weather to hot weather). For once, I don't agree with the experts. I do agree that you can settle on one set of jets that allow you to run without detonation in both hot and cool weather, but then you should use a weather station to predict what the car will run. Consistency is the name of the game in Bracket Racing. If you are like me, and need to run as quick as I can to qualify in my class (Top Doorslammer), I need all the help I can get!

Photos From This Past Weekend at State Capitol Raceway - Pro-Mods!

April 2, 2013

 

Great Race, but...

I attending the race at State Capitol Raceway yesterday and really enjoyed seeing the Pro-Mods running. The concept was very good, to have only 4-5 very fast classes and put on a good show, which they did, but the flow of the show was horrible.

There was too much time between rounds and for a lot of that time, there was nobody in the staging lanes. I can understand giving time to cool down and to make repairs (Pro-Mods), but this was way too much time. Most of the spectators left before the third round. Some of those fans may not come back. This is just my personal opinion. If I had been running a car, I would still feel the same way.

Exhibitions cost money, but something should be done to keep the interest of the spectators. As much as I hate watching the Index classes, I guess they serve a purpose (but not at this type of event). Some Super-Pro or Quick-16 would have been a good fill-in for the time we spent watching nothing going on on the track. In fact, I think Q-16 would be a good fit for this type of event.
March 31, 2013

Change of Plans

I will not be racing Friday night. I will try to make it to the race on Saturday, but that is in danger of not happening too.

The weather should be great for both days. The cars should really fly, and the drivers should not sweat!
March 29, 2013

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