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April - Sept. 2015

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3rd Qtr. 2014
  4th Qtr. 2014

1st Qtr. 2015                         HOME PAGE

We Will Go To SCR on Friday

The hood arrived on Tuesday and it is not the same as the old one. This one has the vent (windshield wiper) panel attached, unlike the stock configuration that I have. After much discussion, we decided to go with the new hood configuration.

We will paint the front of the car while we are at it and do a few more things to dress up the front. The work will be done by Mr. Lands of Mathis Automotive, 5813 Greenwell Springs Rd., Baton Rouge (225) 924-3232. He does paint and body and fiberglass work.

We will continue racing with the K&N Air Filter setup. There is a Sunday Test & Tune at State Capitol on this coming Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Looks like excellent weather for this weekend. The next big race is on Oct. 10, 2015.

I changed my oil and filter this week. I also worked to stop two minor oil leaks that have been evading me. Had to rimove the starter and tighten to front bolt on the oil pan for one of them. The other was a incorrect nut on the rear end that was not tight.
Oct. 1, 2015


Great Visit By Son, Glenn Holbert

Glenn, a Prospective Division Manager with AXA Insurance Co., visited with Barbara and I over the past week. Glenn had a conference in New Orleans and he turned it into a mini-vacation by spending 5 days with his father (Me)!

While he was here, he enjoyed "Knuckle Sucking Good" Fried Chicken from Delpits and great Bar-B-Que from Deep South BBQ (two visits each). We also visited a few other good seafood places, including Tony's and Drusilla Seafood. We took a tour around Southern and LSU's campus' and many other places in Baton Rouge and the West Side. We attended Shiloh M. B. C. on Sunday and watched a lot of football. Glenn is a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan (one of those crazy ones that you see on TV!

On Friday, Sept. 25th, Glenn talked me into running my car at State Capitol Raceway. We did not have the hood yet, but I had my K&N Air Filter that allowed us to run. Outlaw met us at the track and after our warm-ups, and watching a lot of other cars go down the track without a problem, we took a shot. We ran a 8.960 @ 148 MPH! We were very, very happy. After a cool-down, we came back with a 8.942 @ 148 MPH. In eliminations, we ran a 5.63 on a 5.65 dial-in and broke out for a loss. It was a very good night. Temps. were around 84 degrees all night and Humidity was high, up around 69% when we made our last run. Glenn enjoyed his visit to the track, and we enjoyed his visit.

Photos of Visit by son Glenn Holbert

Photos At SCR During Glenn's Visit
Sept. 27, 2015


Perfect Saturday & Sunday At The Track!

PHOTOS - Saturday 9/12/15

Photos - Sunday 9/13/15

I spent most of Friday watching the weather and getting the car ready for racing on Saturday. I also put the car back on the scales and moved some weight around to see if I could get close to the recommended numbers the on-line calculators said my car should have for corner weights. No matter what I did, including removing one battery, I could not come close to those numbers.

I put everything back to the way it was and connected the anti-roll bar. At that point, I took a final set of numbers off the scales and put the car back on the floor. The anti-sway bar is set up with no pre-load on either side.

(Update - 9/16/15) The scaling never got done. All we did was weigh the car, after all work was complete. ALL of the improvements was the direct result of installation of the new rear shocks, new rear coil-over springs and the Anti-roll bar - 99%).

Saturday morning we loaded up and went to State Capitol Raceway. I had planned to make two passes and then decide what to do, but when I got to Tech., I paid for two days of Top Doorslammer before we had made any passes!

The first thing I did was to give "Outlaw" strict instructions on, "Be Safe First" and paying attention to how the car is reacting, second. We headed to the line for our first qualifying run. The car went straight as an arrow and the left front wheel did not come up over two or three inches off the ground. We ran 5.680 @ 118 MPH. We were happy!

The second pass was 5.656 @ 120 MPH, which put us in the #13 spot in Top Doorslammer out of 27 cars.

We won in the 1st round, when Dave Walker had a red light. That was the first time we had beat Dave in 4 tries! The car just kept getting better. We had a 5.608 @ 121 MPH. In the next round we lost when we had a -.002 red light, running another 5.605 @ 121 MPH to end our day.

We were super happy with the car and our day. Each pass was straight and Outlaw did not have to fight it at any point. The front tires don't come up very much and our best 60' time Saturday was, 1.257 sec.. That was about avg. for the whole weekend, with a best of 1.255 on one pass Sunday. That 1.255 is the best ever for this car. (I know others are much quicker, but we are just as happy with what we have).

Sunday we qualified with a 5.608 @ 122 MPH. We were still way down the ladder and had to run the #3 qualifier. We had another red light and had to buy back into Super-pro. We won two rounds of Super-pro, and right after crossing the finish line on the 2nd win, we had our hood split and we lost over 2/3 of the hood. We have no idea what happened. Everything was secure. The part that flew off broke off several of the springs on the Dzus fittings. I have never seen a failure like that. The fiberglass hood split from front to back on the drivers side and went about 50-75 ft. in the air. The other part was still attached to the car.

In the 5th round of Super-pro, we lost to a dragster when we had to run with a borrowed air cleaner from "Mr. Willie Beathley". We thought the car would never run the numbers that it had been running, so Kevin had put 5.60 on the window for a Dial-in. I thought it should be higher, given the size of the air cleaner and no hood, and I changed the dial-in to 5.65 sec.. We broke out big time with a 5.599 @ 122.08 MPH! We were shocked! Both of us were wrong, but Kevin was closer. We were also very happy with the way the car ran all weekend.

After sleeping on it, and looking at the damage, and talking to my Crew Chief (Mrs. Barbara) and talking with Outlaw, we are going to order another 6" Cowl Induction hood and put it back the way it was. We will be down a few weeks, but that is all we have to do, thank God! We prayed for safety and to go straight all weekend. Our prayers were answered...

Barbara shot a good video of the hood flying off, and we both took a lot of photos.
 PHOTOS - Saturday 9/12/15

Photos - Sunday 9/13/15

Photos of Loss Hood - 9-21-2015

Sept. 16, 2015 (update)


Installation of Anti-Sway Bar is complete

Although we finished the installation in time to go to the race on Friday for the Gamblers Race, when we put the car on the scales, things did not come out to our satisfaction and we did not take the car to the track.

Right now we are making some hard decisions about the springs in the front of the car. We are going to complete the scaling when we decide on the plan of attack on the front springs.

Thanks to Mr. Reggie Jackson for all of his help and to my driver, Kevin "Outlaw" Gray for all of his help too. Len Augustus did a fine job on the Anti-Sway Bar installation.

We were looking at taking the car out for a test pass or two this weekend, but the weather looks bad for all the days except Sunday, Sept. 13th. We will keep an eye on the sky and make a move when we are able. I need one or two passes to see where I am right now.

I am learning a lot about scaling of drag cars. It is not as easy as it seems. This is especially true if your car is a ladder bar car with no adjustment provision on the front of the car. Strut front end cars have that adjustment and most circle track cars have it too.

There is a lot of information on the Internet about purchasing scales and how to set up to scale your car but I cannot find anything about the correct weights or percentages that we shoot for and how to get there. This is sort of like Head Porting and tricking out a transmission. Each craftsman has there own way and secretes. Scaling is truly an instance of having to, "Pay for Knowledge".
Sept. 9, 2015.    PHOTOS from past two weeks


Still Working On Installation

Hopefully, we will be done tomorrow, Friday, August 28th. I really wanted to run at State Capitol Raceway in that Gamblers Race Friday night.

The Installation is almost complete. There are a few welds to make on the rear end housing and them install the shocks and connect and adjust the anti-roll bar. We are also going to Scale the car tomorrow after all the connections are made.

Here are some photos from last week and today.
Aug. 27, 2015

Thanks to Mr. James Mott for all your help with my Throttle Cable and other things that I have needed!


Anti-Roll Bar

We ordered an A.R.T. Professional 36" anti-roll bar kit. The kit should be here on Thursday. It will require some sheet metal modifications to the tubs just to do the welding. The complete rear end will be removed from the car to do the work. Everything will be done in my shop. I will try to photo document most of the work.

The replacement shock came in by Fed-Ex on Saturday. After the anti-roll is installed, the car will be scaled. Len Augustus will do all the work.
August 18, 2015

Friday, No Progress

My shocks came in and one of them was bad out of the box. That shock has been returned and we are waiting on another one. The springs are here.

Between Kevin's insistence and Lynn;s agreement, we have decided to add a Anti-Roll bar to the rear end. That will be our next move. Some modifications to the current configuration must be made to accommodate the new installation.

I read up on the anti-roll (sway-bar) in my old book, "Doorslammers", and they describe exactly my situation and (one of) the fixes is a anti-roll bar. They also list a host of other things that could be wrong. The increased power of the new engine is part of the cause. With the power, I am causing more flex in different parts of the chassis. Although this was going on for over a year (the old engine was too powerful too), the new engine has exacerbated the problem.

We will not take the car back to the track until some of the changes are ready for testing.
August 14, 2015

We Won!

A win is a win! Three rounds, of Super Pro Money, to the winners circle and the final was a competition bye run when our opponent could not make it to the line. That would have been Silas Jr., in the little black, low 8 second truck, but he had engine problems. We really wanted to run him. Silas Jr. has beat us every time we faced him lately.

We still have handling issues with our car. We will be working on it again this week. It is still pulling to the right and lifting that left front up real high, even with the changes we made. I have new shocks and coil-over spring coming. We will scale the car this week.

I have some good photos that show the problems with the car.
Mr. Skip Time Trials-8-7-15

Photos At SCR - Fun Friday-8-7-15

Aug. 9, 2015


Working On Recommendations

I started at the front and worked my way to the back making corrections according to the recommendations from Lynn Augustus. First I removed both front shocks, Koni adjustable, and set them. The right shock is set at 1-1/4 turn from all the way tight. The left shock is set at, 3/4 turn from all the way tight. I also marked each shock every 1/4 turn on the outer barrel since the shocks are continua adjustable and will actually go around 2-1/8 turns to reach all the way loose.

I then set both rear shocks to 12/18 clicks each for the QA1 coil-over shocks. They are close to being very tight. Lynn does not like them and wants me to change to another brand.

The wheelie bars were next. They were set at, Left = 7.0" and Right at 7.5". Now they are set, Left = 6.5" and Right=6,0".

We will test it Friday, weather permitting, and make adjustments from there.

I have the new shocks on my "Wish List". That will be the next move, before we scale the car again. We may need new front springs, but the scales will dictate that.
August 2, 2015


Oh Happy Day!

July 31, 2015 - Mr. Skip Camaro ran a 8.944 @ 146 MPH (5.66 @ 120 MPH in the 1/8), with "Outlaw" at the wheel, during time trials on a 82 degree evening at State Capitol Raceway!

Our only change from last time out, other than the throttle cable repair, was a increase in shift RPM, from 6800 up to 7100 RPM. It was still pulling strong when it crossed the finish line. This indicates we should be shifting even higher. I am not going any higher at this time.

We are still fighting a handling problem. During the first round of eliminations, Outlaw had to get out of it just after the 60 ft. marker as the car went hard right. Nothing was hurt but we had already scheduled a consult with Lynn Augustus to talk about handling problems on Saturday morning.

Lynn concluded that our wheelie bars are set up just the opposite of where they should be. We will try that this coming week. He also concluded that our shocks in the rear may not be doing the job and recommended a different brand, double adjustable coil-over for the rear. This would replace my 5 yr. old, single-adjustable, shocks. This change will happen some time in the future. PHOTOS
August 1, 2015


Cable Is Complete!

After receiving my cable bracket and Morse Cable, I determined that was not what I needed. I got on the phone with Jegs and they sent me the setup that would work with my configuration.

When I got everything on Friday morning, by FedEx, I had it all completed and tested by Friday afternoon. It looks good and works even better. The bracket it black, like the Holley Gen 3 carburetor, and the firewall fit is perfect. Butterflies stand straight up when I press the accelerator to the floor. PHOTOS


GoPro Update

I got my GoPro Hero4 (Silver) camera. Now all I have to do is learn how to use it. Justin Jackson gave me a real good start on learning what can be done.

I have a educational application by the name of, which teaches thousands of subjects, one of which is the GoPro camera. has several tutorials on the different models of the GoPro. I have looked at several of the introductory videos and learned a lot so far.

The GoPro is very accessory intensive. It is so small, almost every application requires a different accessories bundle to mount it. It takes different accessories to protect it, control it or to process the output. It also takes special Mini-Micro SD cards (I have a 64Gb card that is smaller than my thumbnail). Power is another thing. Batteries, chargers and cables are extra cost items. The battery capacity is like back in the day when Camcorders only lasted for an hour and a half or less.

On the other hand, the video and photos are great. I love the resolution and many other things about this litter gem. I can see myself purchasing another one or two in the future. One of the cheaper models and one of the more expensive models that has even better picture quality. Almost all of the accessories will fit the other cameras that I plan to purchase. You can control them using your iPhone or Android phone from 600 ft. away. You can also monitor what is being shot on those same devices. Most of the software is free!
July 20, 2015


Started On Throttle Cable Repair

Yesterday I disassembled all of the throttle cable system, from the carburetor to the accelerator. I now see exactly what happened and most of what is needed to fix it.

The parts that I am waiting on should do the trick, with the exception on connecting to the accelerator. I may have to improvise there or order something that will work.

Connecting through the fire wall while providing strength for the cable and accelerator is my next challenge. The original fire wall was removed to provide for an engine set-back. The current fire wall is very thin and flexible.

P. S., I dreamed about my run on Friday, all weekend! Relived each moment (and how I will do better the next time).

GoPro Update

I read some reviews on the GoPro camera. There are several versions available, all with different features.

The latest is much smaller than the current ones, 2.5 oz. cube vs. 5.6 oz. rectangular shape, but must be controlled from a Smartphone or a GoPro Remote controller. The small version also has no viewing on the unit, but can be viewed on the Smartphone or downloaded to a computer.

A roll bar mount is available from Best Buy and it has a lot of other accessories available according to the sport or activity in which you participate.

The GoPro has Bluetooth and WI-Fi built in and can be controlled from approximately 600 feet away. It is waterproof down to 32 feet.

I know at least two other local drivers that have had these cameras in their race cars for over a year. I am still trying to make up my mind which one I want. The Crew Chief (Mrs. Barbara) says we WILL have one soon!
July 13, 2015


Back In The Drivers Seat!

I got behind the wheel of Mr. Skip for the first time since Nov. 14 and made one time trial on the first run of the night.

There are some things that a driver just cannot explain so I decided to drive and get the "feel" for myself. Wow! Did I feel it. The new engine is much more responsive and powerful than the old one. Although there is not that much difference in the time slips, Kevin and I both can feel the difference. I say that the time slips do not show much difference, but that is not true. If we factor in the temperature and humidity of comparable runs, there is a lot of difference.

When I made my run on Friday evening, the temp. was 88 degrees and the humidity was approximately 80%. I know that last year we could not run better than 9.20 in that type weather. We could not run better than 5.81 in the 1/8 mile when the tempt. was above 80 degrees. Last night my pass was 9.094 @ 146,91 MPH. Kevin's pass was 9.028 @ 147.44 MPH and his temp. was 84 degrees. Both passes were well below the 5.79 qualifying 1/8th mile time for Top Doorslammer.

I may have mentioned this earlier, but I read something by Coan Transmissions that said sprageless converters take a .020 hit in the 1/4 mile time but are equal to the sprag converter in the 1/8th mile times. I have the sprageless (Coan) converter, which is suppose to be stronger and lasts longer that a sprag converter.

I was very happy with the car and the performance, until we got to eliminations. We broke a throttle cable just after the burn-out in round one of eliminations. I was super-upset. Seems like we just cannot get past that 1st round without some gremlin reaching out and grabbing us.

I had just told Slim Davis, our 1st round opponent, how we were going to put him on the trailer. Slim made an excellent pass after we could not leave the starting line. My friend James Mott, told me not to shoot off my mouth until AFTER the race is over!

Barbara took two good videos of our two passes. It looks like our front shock adjustments worked. We were much more even (although not perfect) in the front when we left the line. Both of us thought the car was easy to drive.

I had raised the starting line RPM from 3800, up to 4200 RPM, but just before my time trial I decided to set it back at 3800. When I left, I could feel some slipping (tire spin) of the rear tires. The 60' time was, 1.326 sec. in the left lane. Kevin ran in the right lane, where most of the fast cars lined up all night, and he had a 1.298 sixty ft. time. That's good for Friday early evening passes before much rubber was laid down. I may raise the starting line RPM during a testing session when there are a lot of fast cars.

I can't wait for September when we run in Top Doorslammer! We may go out a couple of more times before then.

Right now, I have to figure out how to fix this throttle cable, again. Mini Vice-grips seem to work best. That just looks so unprofessional...

Later Today: I took a ride over to my friend, Reggie Jackson, owner/driver of the 7 sec. Mopar Dragster, and we talked about his GoPro camera. Very interesting. Justin, Reggie's son, who is the expert on the operation of the GoPro camera, showed me all the things that they could do at the track with the camera. I have got to have one of these things!

While there, Reggie and I talked about his throttle cable arrangement on the dragster. Reggie has a Morse cable with under carburetor mount that holds his air scoop. This arrangement is very reliable and heavy duty, especially the throttle cable. I ordered the side mount version for my car and that should be here around the last week in July. Problem solved! Thanks Reggie and Justin.
July 11, 2015


Lots Accomplished!

Today I checked the lash on all my valves. They were all OK except #8 intake and exhaust. They were both loose by .004-.005". I will keep a close check on them, but I probably made an error in setting them.

I changed the oil and filter and I had a leak on my rear end drain plug. Had to drain the oil to fix it. I took the opportunity to change to $ynthetic oil.

I was ready, I thought, to do a Leak-Down Test, but after I warmed up the engine I could not find my Leak-Down test instrument. So I set the valves incited

I reset my passenger side shock to allow that side to come up a little more. That shock is now set at 1 3/4 turn open. It only goes to 2 1/4 turns open.

I had a strange problem yesterday. My voltmeter would not give any indication. After many minutes of troubleshooting, I finally found a broken lug on a terminal strip. It looked like it was fully engaged but there was no continuity, when I took the screw out of the terminal strip, the wire came loose and the eyelet stayed on the screw. I had verified the meter working with a jumper so I knew it was an open ckt. somewhere. Made me feel like I was back in the Navy doing electrical trouble-shooting!
July 8, 2015


Entertaining Family

My daughter, Cynthia and her husband, George, visited with us for about a week. We were very happy to entertain them for their stay. We attended church, rode down to New Orleans and toured Baton Rouge looking for "Baton Rouge" T-Shirts and post cards. These items are hard to find, even at gift shops in Baton Rouge.

While in New Orleans, we ate at "Bubba Gump Seafood", in the French Quarter. The food was excellent! The same comment could be made for out night out at Baton Rouge's "Ralph and Kacoo's Seafood. Every night we ate at a different place with excellent food.

We walked through the newly renovated "Riverwalk" in New Orleans at the end of Canal St. I remember when that place was built as a part of the New Orleans World's Fair back in the early 80's. That was when I arrived in the area also. After the fair, the Riverwalk was converted to a shopping mall. Sometime within the past 3-4 years, they did another conversion to make the place a very beautiful discount outlet center. I was very impressed. Most of the same stores are still there, but many of them are now outlet stores. Don't forget to get your parking ticket validated before you leave. Saves a lot of the price of parking if you spend at least $20 total while on the Riverwalk.
July 3, 2015


Car Update

I have been planning to do a few things, but have not done anything yet. I am still proud of the way the engine performed and the good time we had at the race.

Here is a list of things I plan to do over the next few months as we make trips to the track.:

1. Change oil and filter - Done 7-8-15

2. Inspect valve springs - Done 7-8-15

a. Number 4 exhaust valve spring is showing more spring at the top of the retainer than the other valves. Spring does not appear to be broken. Lash was OK (.028").

3. Check valve lash (hot) - Done - 7-8-15

4. Remove Rt. Front shock (pass. side) and loosen it just a little, 1 3/4 turn. Done - 7-8-15

5. Remove delay button from steering wheel. (Later)

6. Insert 3 second delay (lock-out) in delay button. Done - 7-7-15

7. Remove diaper and inspect oil pan for leaks. Done - 7-8-15

8. Increase launch RPM to 4200 RPM (from 3800) -Moved back to 3800 (from 4200) before 1st run on 7/10/15 Friday night.

9. Try various shift points, now at 6800 RPM (7100) 7/31/15

10, Change fuel from 116 octain back to 112 octain, which is what I always ran in the 555 (CR is 13.8:1). (7/31/15)

11. Changed rear end oil to Lucus Synthetic 74W-90.
Update: July 11, 2015


Fathers Day Classic - June 20, 2015

Great Weekend of Racing: The car ran perfect! After all that work, I could not have asked for a better performing engine on the first time out. Friday night was good, with the engine restricted to a Burnout and shift at 6800 RPM, we went through the 1/4 mile at 13.24 sec. while keeping the RPM to just over 4500 RPM as we crossed the line. After pulling the hood and inspecting a couple of plugs, we stopped at the end of the track on the return road and inspected two plugs, and we looked at the Exhaust Gas Temp. Monitor and decided to change jets in the front of our carburetor from 92, up too 94. The back was left at 102 jet size. We have a Power Valve in the front (which I am still not liking, but I am trying to get along with it). Timing was set at 36 degrees for all run this weekend.

On the 2nd pass I decided to go all out and see if it would stay in one piece. We launched at 4600 RPM and shifted at 6800 RPM. The car carried the drivers side wheel past the 60 ft. marker and Kevin had to "drive" it back into the groove. We ran a 9.020 @ 148.17 MPH! The Temp., was around 86 degrees and the humidity was over 70%. We had a 5.734 1/8 mile time, which was outstanding for out car and engine (all motor). That would have gotten us qualified in Top Doorslammer on a hot day.

All the setup for this engine is based on what we were running in the old 555 setup. When we fine tune to optimize the 565, we should do much better.

We made another adjustment after the first time trial on Saturday. We tightened up the drivers side front shock to stop the car from bringing that side up so much. This has been a problem in the past. All of the runs after the adjustment were much better, the car went straight and Kevin did not have to fight the wheel.

I am very happy with the way my engine turned out. On Saturday, the best we did was 5.69 in the 1/8 mile @ 120.11 MPH. The temp. was 82 degrees F. With the 555, we could never get below 5.81 sec. when the temp was above 80 degrees.

We qualified #13 out of 18 cars in Top Doorslammer. We had to run my friend Silas, Jr. and he cut a better light and ran close to his dial-in for the win. It was real close at the end, MOV: .0164 sec.

I pulled 6 plugs today and they all looked very good. There was even distribution and the engine had no oil or water leaks and sounded SUPER!

Fathers Day Classic - Mr. Skip Photos - June 19/20, 2015

Back At Home Photos


Rest & Relaxation At No Problem Raceway - Watching Others Test

What a relaxing evening. I didn't even have to drive. There were many cars testing and getting ready for the weekend and the Fathers Day Classic.

I took a few photos but there were many more cars there. They still have the largest mosquitoes in Louisiana!

Today I changed the oil and put my racing oil filter on, topped off the transmission fluid, charged the batteries, put air in the tires and put the trunk in place. I also cleaned the inside of my trailer, started my generator and pit motorcycle and washed the F250 truck (the only thing Ford got right). The diaper is the last thing before the hood goes on and I put the car in the trailer. I should sleep well tonight.
June 18, 2015     PHOTOS


Today I competed the drivers side of the engine. The heads are torqued, the valves are set at .028" hot, and the stud girdle is on the rocker studs. I also changed the valve cover gasket on that side. All I have now is some cosmetic things, like body panels, hood and trunk to install. We will also put our Lucus 20W-50 Synthetic Racing Oil in the crankcase. Today, at 190 degrees F, at 1000 RPM, I had 28 PSI of oil pressure with the 10W-30 Havoline regular oil. We have now had three complete warm-ups and cool-downs and tow or three other starts and stops to let people "Hear the Power"!

We will wait to test on Friday evening at State Capitol Raceway.

Now I can wash and clean my trailer to get ready for Fathers Day! (Engine is complete with four days to spare,)
June 15, 2015

Progress Report

Today I started the engine and let it run for about 6-8 Min. and the Temp. got up to 185 degrees. That is N.O.T. for my engines because I have such a large radiator. That is right around the temp. that I cross the line during the Summer months. I get back to the trailer at around 190 degrees.

My plan was to set valves and re-torque both heads. No such luck! After running the engine, I had a small pool of oil under the passenger side at the back of the engine. We had pinpointed a valve cover leak in that area yesterday and I was going to change the gasket when I did the valves. After looking very hard from under the car and wiping down all the trails of oil, I discovered a small leak from the area around the starter at the junction of the pan and the block. This has been a source of leaks in the past and I just plain missed it this time. I usually pile a lot of "The Right Stuff" around that area and that takes care of it. Now I had to remove the header and the starter to get to the spot where I put the sealer.

If that was not enough, I started work on the head stud re-torque. To get to #1 stud, you have to remove the rocker. To get to #6 stud, you have to remove the rocker on the intake and exhaust and the both push rod guides to get to the nut on the stud. Since the engine was hot, I checked the lash and it was right on .028", which was what I wanted to end up with. I had set them at .024" cold, for the startup. Lucky guess!

Anyway, between leaks, header removal, gasket replacement and trips to the local auto parts store, I did not get the valves set, but I hope I fixed the two leaks. I have the passenger side back to normal and ready to start up for the third warm-up run in the morning.

I hope to torque the driver side head and set the valves and change that valve cover gasket on that side tomorrow. I also want to re-check the valves on the passenger side to make sure all of them are at .o28" hot.

During the run today, it sounded very good, even better than yesterday. Oh, the plugs on the passenger side looked very good after two runs. I have not been much above 2000 RPM, except a couple of short cracks of the throttle by Kevin. Response is GREAT!

I connected the accelerator cable and put my double return springs on today.
June 14, 2015


After A Scare, The Engine Comes To Life!

With moral support of many friends, Reggie, Lacey, MaC, Silas, Sr. and Silas, Jr. and the work of Kevin, the engine is running.

On the initial try to get oil pressure, we were at zero (0) PSI. My heart just sunk. We removed the oil line to the gauge and got nothing when we spun the engine. After priming the oil pump, we finally got pressure and upon start-up we had 72 PSI with the 10W-30 regular oil. Everything looks good. We had one small valve cover leak, but we will fix that.

I am very happy! The engine sounds good, but no better than the old 555. I may have been expecting more. Hopefully it will run better that it sounds. Kevin reminded me that we still have to set the timing, reset the valves, hot, and re torque the heads.

We did have one problem, the #5 header tube hit the engine block and had to be dimpled. It is time for a new set of headers. The headers also hit the bottom of the car under the firewall and that had to be knocked back to give the header room. The passenger side fit just fine.

It was late, about 8:15pm when we quit. Tomorrow, after church, I will get the 2nd warm-up and cool down. At that time I will reset all the valves and re torque the heads.

Thank God for Favor and Blessings!
June 13, 2015     PHOTOS


Engine Is In The Car!

After a day of rechecking valves, just to make sure, and getting everything ready for the install, I finally got moving. I am so paranoid about forgetting to put oil in my new engines that I put the oil in while it was still on the engine stand. I'm the same way about water. It will go in as soon as the hoses are connected to the water pump and engine.

There was at least three attempts to get the engine in the engine bay with no success. I finally got my handy-dandy engine installation bar, with the adjustable, sliding connection that allows you to tilt and turn the engine to assist in getting the engine in the proper location to stab it. This thing really works. Only took about 15-20 min., once I got it rigged up with the correct links of chain on each end.

I have the transmission bolted to the engine and all the motor plates connected. That was as far as I got today. Tomorrow, after cutting grass, I will install several of the things that hang on the engine and connect the torque converter. I hope to start up Sunday or Monday.
June 12, 2015    PHOTOS


Ready To Install

Today I dropped the distributor just to make sure it would go in without a problem. I also completed setting all the valve lashes. I did not install the stud girdle yet. All the rocker studs are torqued and the push rod guides are set and locked in place.

I checked all the rocker arm geometry and they were good. That will eliminate purchase of any more push rods.

When I changed rockers in 2013, they required 0.100" longer exhaust push rods. The intakes were OK. That will allow me to start the engine as soon as I get it installed in the car.
June 10, 2015     Photos

Heads Are On!

The head gaskets finally arrived and I installed the heads and set the valves on the drivers side. In order to do that, I had to install and adjust the push rod guides, which are adjustable. It looks like my push rods will be the correct length.

Yesterday I decided to install the oil pump and oil pan while I was waiting. Good thing because, as usual, I ran into problems. Had to fix two pan screws that go into the timing chain cover. I cheated and installed two oversize metric screws, since the cover was aluminum and the screw cut new threads for me. The pan went on without a problem. Lots of Ultra Gray sealer had to be used to seal the front and rear end of my pan. This has always been a problem with this engine.

I also had made a note back in 2009 that one of my head bolts needed to have a heli-coil installed. I put one in to take care of that problem. When I torqued the head, I had no problem reaching the required torque on the head stud.

Tomorrow I should finish the right side (passenger) of the engine and put the intake manifold in place. The water pump, alternator and crank trigger should be installed next and then I will be ready to put the engine in the race car.

The weather does not look too good for any testing this week. I hope to be started up this weekend. That will give me time to do a good break-in routine.
June 9, 2015


Doing The Little Things

I took my head back to Jr. at Womack's and he checked two of the springs while I watched. He checked the coil bind position, the open and closed pressure at a few different positions and installed the two springs. They had previously put my checker springs on #1 cylinder intake and exhaust. I also put all the push rod guides in place, but they are not tight. Have to have the push rods in place with all the valve train equipment to do that (at least that is how I am going to do it).

Since I am waiting on my head gaskets, I decided to do some housekeeping. I changed my transmission fluid. I am trying one of the Amsoil ATF that was recommended by Coan, my converter maker. Up to this point, all I have ever used was Type F ATF of many different brands.

I also disconnected ALL my grounds and cleaned them, along with all of the electrical connections in the trunk going to my two batteries and the disconnect switch. Next I will clean all the grounds under the hood and inside the car. My car has been very reliable, electrical wise, since I removed all the old wiring and replaced it in 2005 when I purchased the car. My car probably has many more grounds than most race cars.

I guess it will be Monday or Tuesday before my head gaskets arrive.
June 5, 2015 (PM)


Lots Of Progress!

I returned my head gaskets locally and had to order some thicker ones, which will not be here until around Monday or Tuesday.

I completed the cam degree work and also did the piston-to-valve clearance checking. The cam is slightly retarded, which will take away some of the starting line violence and give me a little bit on top end.

I installed all the head studs, the timing chain cover and the harmonic balancer. I can put the oil pump on and the oil pan but I normally put that on last.

I have never used head studs. That was an adventure trying to put the head on over those studs! Took me several tries before I got it in place. I can just see me trying to do that with the engine in the car!      PHOTOS
June 5, 2015 (AM)


Another Minor Bump

Previous calculations of how much the pistons will stick out of the bores was incorrect. I have to return the new head gaskets (.041") and find out if I must order custom head gaskets. I need something equal to or greater than .054". On my way to Engine Parts Warehouse.

Photos Of Project - June 3, 2015


Bump In The Road

i had planned to assemble my new heads with titanium retainers, which I already have, in place of the steel retainers that came on the heads. While at it, I was going to increase the open pressure slightly by adding a shim (recommended by AFR). To make a long story short, the heads are out at Womack's because I could not get them apart. I should have them back by Thursday. They are also going to install my checker springs on #1 cylinder so I can check piston-to-valve clearance.

While that is going on, I will degree the cam. All 8 pistons are installed and side clearances are OK. I had to loosen and re-tighten the thrust bearing cap in order to get an acceptable thrust clearance (before pistons were installed), but that came out perfect also.

These Wiseco Pistons fit much tighter than the old Ross Pistons (by feel and by specification). The Wiseco Pistons also come with their own piston rings. The top ring is only .043" thick, almost like a oil rail ring.

I am taking my time, reading the R-M Lower End Assembly book at every step. If I make it for Fathers Day, OK, if not, that's OK too. I just want it to be RIGHT. When you only build an engine every 4-5 years, at my age, a person tends to forget things. Now where did I put that dial indicator and cam wheel?

I do have an incentive to be ready for Fathers Day. I challenged "Outlaw" to a best 2 out of 3 Match Race at the Fathers Day race! We will both be running new engines and who knows who will win.
June 2, 2015


Coming Right Along

I got all of my rings cut and ready to be put onto the pistons. I went and got my head gaskets, exhaust gaskets and my break-in oil locally. I had to order a Moroso Hi-Volume oil pump with the welded pickup.

I installed two pistons and checked the deck height. I am going to be able to use Fel-Pro MLS .041" thick head gaskets. The compression ratio will be about 14.25:1 or a little less.

Tomorrow I will start installing pistons. I should be able to test on Friday, June 12, if things keep going well. I am not going to push myself.

Bracket Masters Racing Team and State Capitol Raceway have decided to have a Top Doorslammer class at the Fathers Day Race on June 20, 2015. Call Tarrus Jones for details. The flyer has not been updated yet.
May 30, 2015


Pan Is Back From Repair

Stef's Performance Fabrications did a fine job of repairing my oil pan. They put a 2" band under the pan that goes up about an inch on each side and welded the whole thing, They also put in a new oil drain plug, with magnet, that looks like one of the four access plugs on my kick-out. This was all done for free. I paid shipping only.

I spent the evening cleaning the pan, which means I had to disassemble the windage screen and some other internals to get to every section of the pan. At the end, I did a Navy "White Glove" inspection to insure I got all the aluminum grit and grime out of the pan.
May 27, 2015


More Spiral Locks, But I Am Learning!

Tonight I attended my churches 1st night of Revival Service. While sitting there listing to the feature speaker, I was reminded of several things that ring true in the Bible and in building this engine.

Now what can the Bible and engine building have to do with each other?

Let us go back to yesterday, when I was having trouble with the wrist pin spiral locks, in fact, lets go back to around 1995 when I was building my 1st SBC 383 engine for "Masterpiece".

Before this 383 engine, I had never worked with anything except the old style spring clips that held the wrist pins in place. They were relatively easy to install. I had purchased a new set of JE Pistons that had these spiral locks, that I had never seen, and I was told to put two on each end of the wrist pin. I tried and tried to get just one into the small grove. I called JE Tech. Support and was told that, yes, two locks go on each end of the pin. After working on it for a long time I got one on each end and finished assembling the engine.

After a few hundred runs, the engine started to lose power and I finally removed it. When I pulled the heads, I found two long groves in two of the cylinder walls where the piston pin had knocked the lock out and was bouncing off the cylinder wall. Three of the spiral locks were in the oil pan. The groves were so deep I had to junk the block.

Since that experience, I have always put the two locks on each end and made sure they were fitted correct.

Proverbs 3:5-7

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

This is what the pastor was preaching on when I though about the spiral locks.

During that same Revival, the guest speaker also talked about "Instructions". Again, my mind came back to those spiral locks.

Yesterday when I had so much trouble, I finally read the instructions on the package that contained the new spiral locks. They told exactly how to install the locks, including what tools to use and how to "stretch" the lock before trying to insert it. I did not read those instructions until I had spent over an hour trying to get the first piston done.

Tonight, during Revival, I was reminded not to lean toward my own understanding and to read and follow instructions.

Today, I completed 2 more pistons and my time has decreased to about 10-12 min. per piston. I did all of the odd side pistons. I spent a few min. figuring out exactly how the even side pistons go on the rods. You may think I am dumb, but... (and the next engine will be built by someone else!)
May 26, 2015


The Crank Is In!

There are 32 spiral locks on the piston pins. It takes me about 20 min. to put in four (4), or one piston. The first one took over an hour because I put the rod on backwards. I spent 15-20 minutes . trying to figure out how the piston on #1 cylinder should be oriented. then I precoded to put the rod on wrong. Those spiral locks are twice as hard to get off as they are to put on. I have completed two and 1/2 pistons so far.

I did not have any trouble with the crank. It slipped right in and rotates with ease. I even remembered to put the two piece seal in this time!

Tomorrow I will complete the pistons and determine what head gasket I need. I have not file fitted the rings yet. Another time consuming job.
May 25, 2015


Still Working and Measuring

The past few days have been packed with activity, but not much of it working on the engine. Barbara and I spent all day Weds. in New Orleans. I had a doctor apt. and after that we visited the new, remodeled Riverwalk. The transformation is very nice. If you go, make sure you get your parking ticket validated, if you spend at least $20. You pay about 1/2 of the normal rate (which is still too high!).

I do have all the rods measured and the mains are in the block, but that's all. At this rate, I may not make the Fathers Day Race on June 20th. I want to test at least a week before I get into competition.

The good thing is, I have not found anything to set me back, so far. I did order a nice digital, 2-3" micrometer, but I will be done before it gets here (maybe). I found a very good web site that has tutorial on how to read all types of measuring instruments, including metric instruments.

I have to go to my church on Saturday and oversee work on the organ, which quit last Sunday. We have Revival starting on Weds. of this coming week. That will take some more of my assembly time. The weather has been so bad, all of our tracks will be backed up with Rain Dates. We have to pray for good weather on Saturday, June 20th for our Fathers Day Race.
May 22, 2015


Measure, Measure, Measure!

I made a spread sheet with all my bearing measurements and the required clearances. Since I have not received the rod and main bearings yet, all I can do is measure the crank journals. The crank is still standard. I have the old bearings and they are still in spec so I know the new bearings will fit just fine. They should arrive today(Friday) and I will be able to assemble the corner pistons in the block and measure the deck clearance. That will allow me to determine the thickness of the new head gasket.

Every time I lay off using my measuring instrument, I have to re-train myself on how to read the micrometers. I did purchase a new digital caliper and a new digital, 4" - 5" micrometer. All you have to do with these is just read the number in the window. Somehow, I just don't trust them like I do the old (analog) instruments. I know that digital is the future (and right now). If I like the new 4-5" digital, which so far I do, I will purchase a 2"-3" Digital Micrometer. One thing I don't like about digital instruments is, replacing the batteries.

The new Wiseco Pistons are a different story. Since I do not have the hone plate that was used to arrive at the final measurement of the cylinder bores, all I can do is take the word of the machine shop. I know the block was not bored and honed until the pistons were available in the shop.

A few years ago, I was at the same spot in my engine rebuild (383 SBC) and when I took the cylinder bore readings, I panicked and went back out to Remi and was very upset because I was out of spec on my piston to cylinder wall clearance. Remi put the hone plate back on and we measured. Everything was just fine. This time, I am just going to trust that we have adequate clearance. I did take two readings and they were both tight, but almost at the lower limit of the spec. I will take the other 6 just to have a record.

I went to the fastener company and purchased three, Grade-8 studs to mount my water pump and alternator. I have broken two bolts in the lower water pump, driver side, hole. One was a standard bolt, the other was a Grade-5 bolt. Now I have all Grade-8 hardware holding the water pump and alternator. They always seem to fail when I am in eliminations and just won a round!

I worked on getting the new intake manifold ready for installation. The pipe plugs (2) were installed and the fitting for the temperature sensor. I also put in four long studs for the carburetor and 1" spacer. Air Flow Research (AFR) does not care for the 4 hole spacer. They recommend an open 1" spacer with their heads. That would be something that would be good to test on a dyno. I do not plan to dyno this new 565 CID engine. I have so much data on the old 555 CID engine, all I need is a few time slips (on Saturday) to see the difference.

Stef's is shipping my oil pan back, with the repairs completed, on Monday. The repairs were free, after 12-13 years!

Fed-Ex just left my main and rod bearings at the front door! It's 11am on Friday. Back to work!
May 15, 2015


O Happy Day! Engine Block Work Is Done!

Remi Baker, at Womack's Head & Block Shop, called and said everything was ready and today I picked up all my parts. The new Wisco Pistons look very good, and they came with their own rings. The only thing that is not here is the oil pan that I sent back to Stef's. I will call and check on that shortly. Now the time consuming part starts. assembly.

I have been cleaning up all my old parts that I plan to reuse. My measuring instruments are all ready to go. I have not purchased my bearings yet, pending the measurements.
May 7, 2015


Engine Update - April 27, 2015

On Friday of last week I received my rockers and lifters from Comp Cams. They look as good as new!

Today I called Stef's Performance Products to check on the model and depth of my oil pan. I want to install a Moroso Billet oil pump when I go back up. The pump was a gift, but the oil pan internals must be correct or it will not fit. I purchased my Stef's oil pan in 2004, I think, or somewhere around there. I talked to a very nice Tech. person and got all the information I needed to install the Moroso oil pump. Just before I hung up, the tech. asked if there was anything else he could do. I told him about my crack that had appeared in August of 2013 that we had repaired twice, and it had re-appeared. The tech. said, "Send it back". I said I could get it repaired locally again. The Stef's tech. told me how they would put a band over the crack and weld it from side to side and seal each end of the area, and they would do it for FREE! I just had to pay shipping. I had the pan all cleaned up, packaged and shipped by 3pm today! They are going to do the small mod to fit the oil pump and put new O-rings on the 4 holes in the bottom in addition to fixing the crack.

I have not checked on the block. I have cleaned up most of the parts that will be reused, and the new parts are ready to be installed. Push rods will be the last thing purchased after I check for correct geometry. I have a feeling I will have to buy at least 8 new push rods.
April 27, 2015


QM2(SW) Ryland L. Gardner
Re-Enlist In U. S. Navy For 4 Years

Barbara and I were invited to attend the re-enlistment ceremony of our grandson, Ryland in Mayport, FL on April 16, 2015. We took the rest of the week off and motored over to Mayport, which is just about 20 miles east of Jacksonville, FL. We had a very good trip, with no problems.

The ceremony was at 11:30am and was attended by many of the members of the crew of the Samuel B. Roberts FFG-58. Ryland is a member of the Quartermaster Division and many of the members of the division were on hand to see 3 members of their division, including Division Chief, Chief Quartermaster, QMC(SW) Ector, Leading Petty Officer QM1(SW) Kemp and Ryland, who is a QM2(SW), take the oath and re-enlist.

Mrs. Kemp was presented with a certificate for supporting her husband during the long deployments that the ship has had during the past few years.

After the ceremony, 6 members of the QM Division, Barbara and I, and QM1 Kemp's wife and mother, went to Fridays for some lunch. A good time was had by all!

PHOTOS - Camera 1        PHOTOS - Camera 2

April 18, 2015


The Engine is Out of the Mr. Skip Camaro!

Thanks to "Outlaw", the 555 BBC Engine has made its last pass. Early Saturday morning Kevin removed the engine to get it ready to go to the machine shop. We found the source of the water leak and we also had cylinder to cylinder leakage between all the cylinders on the right hand side of the motor. Don't know how much compression we were losing there. This was the side with the old head.

On Tuesday afternoon, I took the engine block, crank and rods out to Remi Baker at Womack's so he could determine how far out we can go with my block. After looking at it, he is going to bore it out to 4.600" to get me up to 565 CID. We are going to put new L-19 ARP rod bolts in the rods and use them again. We will get new Ross or Wiseco Pistons. I prefer Ross, because that is what I have run for the past 16 years, but they may not be able to give me a 4.600" piston without it being custom made. Wiseco has them on the shelf.

Since my block is already at Zero deck height, we will deck the block and end up with the pistons out of the block by a few thousandths. I will have to use the MLS gasket that is 0.0053" in order to have sufficient quench area in the chamber. This should solve the blown head gasket problem.

Friday I removed all the roller lifters and roller rockers and sent them back to Comp Cams for overhaul. We are going to have a good look at the lifter bores while the block is in the machine shop.

All of my rod and main bearings look as good as the day I assembled the engine. The crank is 16 years old and is still standard on the rods and mains!

Inside the headers looked very good. Numbers 1, 2 &3 were a little dark (rich), but all the rest were light gray, indicating excellent combustion. The tops of the pistons looked excellent too. My Exhaust Gas Temp. (EGT) probe had been in #7 header tube, and it had indicated just what we saw when we opened the engine up. Different racers and engine builders have EGT numbers that they like to use to indicate good fuel mixture (Jets). I try to stay between 1375 and 1475 degrees F.

A much better way to determine correct fuel mixture is to have dual quick response O2 sensors welded into your collectors with read-out inside the car. You can always just pull a couple of plugs (at the end of a run before you drive back to your pit area) and read the plugs to determine if you are jetted correct (much cheaper).

With my new AFR CNC 357 heads, the new Victor Jr. Intake, New Holley Gen-3 Ultra 1250 carb and 10 additional cubic inches, I should be able to run a little quicker. The Cam is going to remain the same for now. I may change it later.

I did not run in the Nitro Jam this year, but the cut-off for Top Doorslammer was 5.69 sec., rather than the 5.79 sec. that we had been using as the qualifying time. With my new setup, I should be able to make that in all types of weather. With the old configuration our best time was 5.58 sec. under ideal weather conditions. In the high temps. (>85 degrees) and high humidity, we struggled to get to 5.81 in the 1/8th mile.
April 14, 2015    Filed my taxes today!


Saturday At SCR - What A Drag!

"Outlaw" arrived at the track before I did and took the car out of the trailer as we have done many times in the past. There was water under the front of the car and he determined that we had a blown head gasket. The same side that was leaking in May of 2013. This is the side with the old head. Outlaw text-ed me with the bad news.

Now we have a good excuse to pull the engine and get that 565 CID engine built. We will remove the engine this coming week and get the block out to Remi Baker of Womack's Block & Head in Denham Springs, LA. After we inspect the block we will decide if a new block will be used or if we will keep this "seasoned" block.

I just stopped by Engine Parts Warehouse and asked Gary for prices on some of the small parts that I usually obtain locally, and the price of a block.

PHOTOS -Top, Super-Pro & Non-E

Friday Night At SCR

The car ran just fine Friday night. Outlaw did the driving and came out of the trailer with a fine 9.063 @ 147.03 MPH. Before the night was done we would have one run of 9.034@146 MPH. (VIDEO) During eliminations we experienced a malfunction with our delay box and left before the tree was activated. We still have not pinpointed the problem. We had everything set up correct and let go the button on the first yellow (we have video to show when the car left) but the cross-over delay did not put the correct delay into the trans-brake. All in all it was a very good night. We have some troubleshooting to do, but we can always go with no cross-talk. PHOTOS

April 5, 2015


Off The Jack Stands!

The car is out of the shop and in the trailer for the first time since October! We will try to make a few passes on Friday night and get some seat time in during eliminations. This will tune us up for Saturday's competition. I charged the batteries in the car and the trailer, checked all the tires on the car, truck and trailer. I put all the tools back in the truck, along with the folding chairs. Everything seemed to be in goo working order when I put the car in the trailer.
April 2, 2015

Welcome Granddaughter, Tynesha Holbert! Moving From California too, "The Heart Of The South".


Installed New Carburetor

I could not resist! I installed the new Holley 1250, after waiting on the recommended open spacer to go under it. I had been running a 4-hole Super Sucker for the past 2 years. Before that I had run a stack of of a 4- hole over an open-hole spacer. Both combinations seemed to work. Somewhere I read that each 1' of added spacer moves the power band of the engine up by 500 RPM. I did not need that at all, in fact, running 1/8 mile, I may be better off with no spacer. later on, I will have to run a test to see what is best.

This carburetor was suppose to be for the new engine. I started it up yesterday and meed all the adjustments to the idle screws, idle RPM and float level. It sounds super, and the response is great, it usually is when I finish with them! This one seems to have a little better response than most. Maybe it is the Power Valve in the front that I did not remove and toss in the trash can. Holley insists on putting them in their carburetors and I always remove them, install a plug, and normally get better performance, I don't have to worry about blowing it out if I backfire, and I don't have to worry about low engine vacuum making me too rich at low engine RPM. I decided to try it this time. The setting on the Power Valve is 4.5 in. of vac., which is fairly low and is most likely lower than my idle vacuum. The carburetor came from the factory with 92 jets in the front, with the power valve, and 102 jets in the rear, with no power valve.

I would love to go try it out this weekend, but there is not much chance of taking the car out. My neighbor passed away and her funeral is Saturday. Maybe I can go and park on Friday, get a few passes in, and make it back before eliminations on Saturday afternoon.
March 30, 2015


1st Qtr. 2015

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