In Today’s Episode of “As The Shop Rocks”

Thug was loaded into the stacker, and its ready to head to Norwalk, Ohio next Monday afternoon. I really needed the shop space it was taking. Cars are parked and stored everywhere until I can get furniture (sold my house in Katy Monday) sold that taking up valuable car space.

The clutch pedal on my 58 Dodge Pickup wasn’t engaging. Pulled the bell-housing off, and the throw-out bearing was literally held on with bailing wire. New parts ordered and that will be fixed so I can sell it, as part of my Make life easier with less stuff plan. Sold a very nice Little Red Express for $35k Friday. I’d had that truck for a long time, as I’ve had this 58.

Took the motorhome to get inspected, and then to the DMV to renew tags for it, my 64 Imperial convertible, and Ole Blue – my 94 Harley. Moved a bunch of cars around, to keep them all covered while I work on getting my 12-car garage back by selling furniture in it.

Pulled the rear suspension out of the wagon “The Screamin Woody“. My shop rat will spend the next week cleaning it and the underside of the car so it can be inspected, fixed where needed, and painted before reassembly.

Moving on to my 1999 Kawasaki Drifter 1500. removed the fenders and tank, which I’ll take to either have painted or wrapped. Still deciding.

When the bike is just started, the hydraulic clutch engages right at the end of letting the lever out, and there’s no adjustment. When the bike gets warm, the clutch slips. Bleeding didn’t help, so the clutch was taken out and inspected. The 8 discs were a little worn but in spec. However the three retaining springs were flattened out and not in spec. Since the discs were only $13 each, I figured I’ll replace them as the bike will be in my garage when I die. It my only bike I can ride in shorts without getting a muffler burn. Unfortunately, the parts won’t be here until next week.

This morning, my ac unit on the other side of the wall from my bed woke me with the racket it was making. Outside it was rocking like an out of balance washing machine, and worked its way off the foundation. One of the blades broke off, breaking two other blades. I called my home warranty and was told the ac repair guy would call an schedule within 24 hours. No calls today. August in Southern Texas means they’re backed up, and we’re sitting in front of fans.

Finally, the 46 Olds Street Rod got a new set of plugs, wires and cap. Its ready for interior, but I don’t have an interior shop lined up. The one I was using screwed me the last time.

Tomorrow the plan is to put the Vitamin C in my other trailer and move a 1960 Plymouth Project from the back row to the lift bay. The leaning tower of Power and 3-on-tree will be coming out and replaced with a BB Mopar and 4-Speed. It’s interior i already done in Navajo Indian blankets, and the exterior will be a funky Southwest look. The underside has also been cleaned, painted and rebuilt. It has an 8.75″ axle from a 68 Chrysler.

So much to do, so little time!

Problems Resolved, Ready for Norwark

If you’ve read “Dave & Buster’s Excellent Adventure“, you’ll remember that my car didn’t have a full charge on the batteries for my Bye run in the Semis, and I had a stutter that felt like either lack of fuel or loss of ignition. I was able to get about 20 minutes of a charge before the Final, but I was dead right from the start with a 1.39 60′, and a couple Stutters in the run. Then about 150 miles from home, while driving in a bad storm, some idiot going about 30 pulled in front of my rig traveling in the left lane going 70. I locked up the brakes and was able to avoid hitting anything, but the car moved into a jack pouch and damaged the rear fender.

So, since I didn’t have a backup ignition and the batteries were a couple years old, I ordered a new 7AL2 Black box, new charger and two new batteries, just to be safe. While they were being shipped, The oil filter was cut open to see if there was any bearing material, as I felt the car might have been getting slower. The filter showed no gold, and in reality we had a strong tail wind Thursday and Friday; and a moderate tail cross on Friday and Saturday.

Moving onto the valve train, it was inspected and valves run. All was good. It was noticed, when getting the motor warm enough to run the valves, that the fuel pressure was a pound and half low. That too might explain speed falling off a little. My carb’s jetting was 113 square, and it has now been leaned up a little to 113/110.


Despite my batteries (when fully charged) being just as strong a week later, I replaced them anyway since I had bought the new ones. I’ll either use the older ones in the wagon, convert the Vitamin C to 16V, or sell cheap.

Pulled the Gold 7AL2 out of the Thug, and put it into The Vitamin C – just to make sure it runs right the next time I run that car. The Thug’s batteries were put in the Vitamin C, and it’s 7AL2 put in the trailer for a spare. While doing that, it was found the ignition wire had a very poor crimp in it, and it was a very loose connection. I’m pretty sure that was causing the stutter. That’s now fixed.

Also goin ons at the shop this week, was catching up mowing my five acres and the five acres of Miss Lavone (a sweet 93-year old lady) next door. The new air cleaner and valve covers on my 46 Olds street rod got a coat of gold paint, and drilled for breather and PCV. The Olds also got a new fuel pump and all it needs to be finished is an interior shop to do its magic and a new exhaust system.

Also had to reattach the fascia on my youngest daughters Hyundai, which appears to have been damaged by a concrete parking stop jumping in front of it.

Today, Randy Stansbury drove in from Louisiana to fix the damage from coming home from Joliet. While the primer was drying, he polished the car. Look at the below photo compared to the one at the beginning of this post.

Randy then laid a coat of base and clear over primed repair, and I’ll try to Blend Buff next week.

So after the blending, I’ll load the Thug into trailer to make room for a project, and I should be ready for Norwalk.

Dave & Buster’s Excellent Adventure

Last week was NMCA’s fourth race in the point series, held at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL. My wife had just had surgery on both feet, so it was just us boyz – my Chocolate Lab Buster and me. We took “The Thug”, which is a car I’d just finished a couple of months ago and need some data on. Its first race was Bowling Green, where I broke a rocker shaft. The next race was the Hot Rod Reunion, where I only got three passes and was fighting a couple of problems. This would be its third event.

Monday morning I loaded up the stacker, and headed out Monday at about 2pm, as I wanted to avoid Houston’s traffic. I drove 300 miles to Atlanta, TX, where I parked in Walmart’s parking lot over night, and loaded up the coach’s fridge with groceries and adult beverages.

Tuesday, I had a leisure morning, leaving at 10am and driving a little less than 500 miles to Sikeston,  MO – which is the last known Walmart parking lot in that direction that I know will not give me a problem parking on the far side of their lot.

Wednesday, I again had a leisure morning and leaving at 10 am for the 350 mile drive up the middle of Illinois, known for ticketing rigs as long as mine for over length. I arrived at the staging area (the NASCAR Track across the street from Route 66) at about 4 pm. About ten years ago that would have me 3rd in line, but this year there were at least 100 racers ahead of me. Wednesday night there was a new record of over 350 racers in line for this race.

Thursday, morning in the past would have the track start moving vendors in at 10 am, and racers at 11 am. This year, to the surprise of almost all of us, they started moving us in at 8 am. We (Rollie saved spots for Doug Duell, 00Joe Ewing, the Frees Brothers and I) got to the pits at 10am and I was set up, credentials established, and car teched in by noon.

I paid the $40 (now there’s a racket!) for test and tune, and that opened at 1 pm. I wound up being the first car down the track.

I’d checked my left weight box and it was empty, and I assumed the right was also, and so I didn’t check it until after the 1st pass, where I found 58 pounds. That put me in an awkward position between the 9.50 & 9.75 index (with breakouts for NSS). I took the weight out and decided to see if I could get close to the 9.50 index by shifting at 7200 instead of 6800, where the car still felt like it was pulling.

That didn’t buy me near enough, and it appears 6800 is the right shift point.

I pulled a plug to see if I could increase timing or lean  jetting, but it appears I was where the timing and jetting should be. I had pulled one of the two batteries, and was about to pull a seat to drop 100 pounds, but Doug talked me out of that plan. Good plan Doug! So I put them back in, loaded both boxes with weight and headed to the lanes for a third Time Trial Hit.

I waited in the staging lanes for three and a half hours while I saw some cars go through twice. It pissed off a lot of racers. There were a ton of wrecks an oil downs causing chaos.

By the time I’d gone up to race after sitting for 210 minutes with the cut off switch on, and not enough of a charge on one of the batteries,  I barely got the car started –  and had only 11 volts. I backed out and only had 4 volts by the time I got back to the pits.

Friday we had two Qualifying hits. The first at 8:30am. The car did a monster wheel stand (I’ve not put wheelie bars on the car yet) and was too fast at 9.71.

We waited a long time for the second Qualifying, as there were again a lot of oil downs. I was dead nuts with a 5. That moved me to number two, behind Jeff Frees who was dead nuts with a 2.

Saturday morning at about 8:30 am we were called for our third qualifying. I thought I was set on kill to try for dead nuts with a 0 or 1, but I ran a 9.77. We did have to wait, and weather changes fast in the mornings. Also My 60′ was a little off. They were hand spraying just as we were pulling in, and didn’t give any time to dry. As a matter of fact a video shows someone spraying in back of my car as I was staged. It might have been that, but from then on my car seemed to lose a little more each pass.

Sheet after 3 hits had me stay #2

1st Round Ladder

In the first round on Saturday night  I had Geary (pronounced Gary, as it threw me off for years) Bates. Long story short, he gave me lane choice last time and I gave him lane choice this time. He wanted Left so he could use his door mirror to watch me come up on him. I’d set my car up for a 9.73 and did a 9.76 all out. Geary took a little too much stripe (14.5.’ according to “Run Completion”) and broke out with a 10.48 on 10.50.

Sunday morning Round Two was against a pretty black 67 10.0 Chevelle that I don’t recall seeing before. He came to my trailer and told me he’d been racing for decades, quit for a little while, recently started again, and had been to a couple races I been at. I offered him lane choice, and he also chose the Right Lane. This round was a gift. As my light counted down I lost focus because he’d not left before me, and I had a .109 light. I was even more confused when he’d still not left when I did. He had a .289 light. I gave it less than full throttle and just stayed a fender ahead of him for a 9.99. I couldn’t use the run as data as it was so screwed up. I didn’t even enter it.

At about noon, Round Three was against Kurt Neighbor kn his 9.50 yellow 65 Comet. He’d been both tough on the tree and running the number all weekend. I asked him what lane he wanted, willing to flip if he wanted Left, and he wanted the Right lane, which I feel is correct for the faster car. I bagged three and we had a great race (look at the package at the bottom of the below ticket) with me dragging the brake and a little lift at MPH cone .

Run completion says I cut it pretty close and almost broke out with a 9.71 had I not lifted when I did.

Since I was the number two qualifier, won my first three rounds and there were 23 racers, I won a Bye for the fourth round. It was a good thing I had the Bye. After Round Three, I attached the charger to the charging terminals on the car and started the generator. While I was doing this Jeff Frees and his entourage stopped by to congratulate me for the close race, and then Kurt stopped by. By the time they called us for Round Four, I realized I never plugged the charger in. When I started the car, I barely had 16 volts. The last time I had to start to move into burnout box, it slow cranked and I had 14 volts for my burnout. It stuttered badly after my second gear shift, and I just drove it at 4000 RPM to get off the track. I kinda was surprised it wouldn’t run with 14 volts. Anyway, I was glad it was a Bye. I hurried back to pit to put the charger on at 25 amps, and it was taking it all.

Kevin Gass was the winner of the other Semi. He came to my pit wanting the Left. By then I had made 7 of my last 8 passes in the Left lane, and wasn’t looking to switch, so we flipped. Thanks Bobby Barrick for a heads flip for me. They called us in less than a half hour and my batteries were still taking all 25 amps. I had a hair above 16 when I started the car, and a hair under when I staged. I was dead right from the hit with a 1.39 60′ and then a stutter. I never could catch Kevin.

While I wanted the win more than you can imagine, Kevin is both a great racer and a nice guy, so if I had to lose to someone…

Being an old one eye fat man racing without help, it took me until 9 pm to tear down the pit and load up the trailer. Being it was late, that I’d had a few cold adult beverages, and that I was tired — I decided to stay overnight at the track. I showered and got to bed at about 11 pm.

Monday, I was up at 5 am, had breakfast, walked Buster and pulled out into the fog at 6 am.

I drove hard and non-stop — pulling into my shop (almost 1200 miles from the track) at 11:58 pm on the same Calendar Day.

This morning , I unloaded the trailer for a major disappointment. I stopped every couple hundred miles to take a click or too out of the straps. However, I didn’t for last 300 miles because of heavy rain. Outside Lufkin I had to lock the brakes up and swerved into the next lane because of an idiot. I should have stopped and checked the car’s straps, but I didn’t.

I’ve got my bud Randy Standsbury, who painted the car, coming next week from Louisiana to fix it for me before the Norwalk race. The car will also be gone through to see where a little speed might picked up from.

Here’s a track photo from the NMCA Gallery.

Thursday and Friday was chaotic with all the oil downs setting the schedule hours late. However Saturday and Sunday went very smooth, especially for the number of cars racing. NMCA has their stuff together.

I’d like to thank my sponsors, but on this car I have none except the battery hold downs from Aerospace Components, which are pretty nice pieces and some help from Mancini Racing with an annual credit for misc parts. On this car, I paid for the new brakes, headers, fuel system, converter, and every single other part on the car. Missing a couple of years (family and car issues) hurt me in the help department.  I feel like I’m coming back with this car and the wagon, which I’m just starting to rebuild. I hope to have the rust knocked off me and the cars by the end of this year, and come back next year with a vengeance. While far from probable, with five rounds and  #2 Qualifier Points, if I was to run the table on the last two races – and the right people fell on their face – I have a chance still. Weirder stuff has happened, and it doesn’t hurt to think BIG.

Dave & Buster’s Excellent Adventure

Coach filled with water and secured for travel, air checked on Coach and trailer tires, Thug and Golf cart are loaded and strapped down, race and generator gas jugs are filled, limited amount of spare parts and supplies are attic of stacker.

Now I need to recover from near heat stroke, pack and load my clothes and personal crap, and shower then we’re ready for

Buster and Dave’s excellent adventure

to the Obnoxious Mustang Racer Nationals in Joliet. Will will leave at about 2pm to get under tomorrow’s Houston morning rush hour traffic with a five hour drive to Atlanta, TX for the night, and to load up on groceries and Lone Star beer.

Report From Hot Rod Reunion

Deb and I arrived at Beechbend Raceway in Bowling Green, KY at about 1pm, and set up out pit with my pit bud Doug Duell.

This was the largest HRR ever, with over 500 drag cars. As such the line to tech in cars was about a 1/4 mile long and a two hour wait, so I waited for it to die down some, and at 3:30 hopped in line.

I was one of the last cars to make it before the 5pm cut off.

The next morning the First Qualifying started at about 9:30am. It was hot as Hell the whole weekend, and I was flying blind between all the engine repairs and a no Time Trials. I took a wild guess and declared the 9.75 Index and added 55 pounds of ballast. I was pretty close and ran a 9.79.

That would actually stand as my best of the three qualifying passes as my foot slipped off the gas (first time ever) on Q2’s launch, and I had too much weight in the third qualifying.

I wasn’t feeling comfortable with the engine on all three qualifying passes. In the first pass the car had three minor hiccups in the mid RPM range. Quite honestly they started running us as soon as we got there, and my engine was about 20 degrees cooler than normal, and those rat roaster Intakes need some heat. I pulled the valve covers off to inspect the new rocker arm and the valve lash caps.

On Friday, the second pass was wasted when my foot slipped off the accelerator. The third pass 9.83@136 was not strong, and I was wondering if I was too fat for the heat with 113 square on the jets in both carbs. Clay helped with running the valves and we found eight loose and three tight – and I put the car away for the night.

Saturday morning I was matched against a 11.75 index car, meaning I was going to have to wait two full seconds at the light on my converter. The motor sounded better driving to the staging lanes. When I left on yellow, I was surprised that he wasn’t as far ahead of me as I expected. I caught him at about the 1/8 and paced ahead of him about a fender from about the 1000′ – crossing the line at a leisure 9.80@122mph. It was all in the lights we had. Mine was decent and his sucked bad. I calculated the run completion and I would have gone a 9.72@137 if I’d stayed in it. The car felt great!

It was after 5pm before we had our next elimination. I was against an even slower car, a 12.50 second 65 Buick driven by Division 3 regular, Jimmy Gower.

He left and 2.75 seconds later I left. Again, he was closer than I expected, and I assumed I had a good reaction time margin. Then my car stumbled bad. I lifted and instinctively jumped back on it, and the thought better of it and lifted until I could analyze. I had oil pressure, saw no smoke in the mirror, and the motor sounded good so I drove off. The car drove fine, and the time slip showed that while my reaction was as bad as its ever been – he still gave me .080 to where it was nearly impossible to lose, but my car found a way.

It felt like a fuel problem, but I loaded up for home, watched Kurt Neighbor win NSS against Butch Cassidy, and Doug Duell win Top Stock in his Barracuda. We spent the night, and left for the 900 mile trip home early in the morning.

Today, the problem was found to be a broken crimp connection on the negative lead of the fuel pump – making a loose connection. That and the positive was soldered. The valves were ran again, the plugs inspected, a new cap and rotor put on, header bolts tightened, and a through clean and polish.

We’re ready for the next race, hopefully with a better outcome.

Almost Ready For The Hot Rod Reunion

This morning, a stock (and shorter) Hemi dual 4bbl throttle cable replaced the single 4bbl that was binding from being too long.

Since the broken rocker arm was replaced, and .080 valve lash caps are now being used to deal with rocker interference, I took the car for a hard run on the road in front of my shop to make sure it would stayy together. Before I got to the road, I heard/felt a miss and turned back. Number 6 plug wire came off again and Number 8 looked a little burnt, so those wires were replaced. Back out and I quickly bought the car up to 7,000rpm in third gear twice. It felt and sounded good.

I gave up on trying to do Chrome paint on the Thug’s bumpers. It’s just been too damn hot to get the base coat on wet enough without being too wet and running. It was up to 99° at one point when I was chasing down paint today.

Anyway, I sanded, primed, hit with a couple coats of metallic silver, and some clear and called it done  Bumpers go back on Thursday.

I took my golf cart seats and new covers to an interior shop, and they wanted no part of putting on. I obviously need to find another interior shop. Part of the problem was one seat was separating from its base, and I was told it takes expensive glue and has to be put on a vacuum machine. I took back to the shop and recovered three of the four cushions my self. On the one needing “expensive glue and vacuum machine”, I used a full 14oz caulking tube of the clear strong RTV that I use on my Charlie’s oil pan, a couple of clamps and a tire. I’ll recover it and reassemble the cart on Thursday.

Not so much racing related, I hadn’t started one of my Harleys in six months, and today’s crappy gas had all kinds of Scummotes in my S&S Super E carb. I couldn’t get the bike over 70, and that was a struggle. Rebuilt it, changed the plugs and took it to about 95mph and its back running good. I bought Ole Blue in 1993, and repainted it about five years ago.

Recipe for Dave Schultz’ Patented Alligator finish

Recipe for Dave Schultz’ patented Alligator finish by rattle can
1. You have to be very rushed, in my case it has to be dry by 8am tomorrow as engine builder is coming over to fire up car, hot lash, and inspect lash caps after I hammer it down the road
2. It has to be a hot Texas day of 95 or hotter
3. Select an even hotter room that is another 20 degrees hotter, like a metal container having the full sun beating on it
4. After a flawless coat of primer and color, go the extra step of using a whole can of clear, one coat after another with only 2 minutes between coats.
5. Get busy doing something else for a couple hours, and then go back to see that the combination of heat and not letting clear dry between coats has the paint crawled into a puddle look
6. Panic and start wet sanding even though clear isn’t fully hardened yet because it was applied so thick
7. Now hose down and blow dry with compressed air
8. Immediately hit it (because you’re in a hurry) with primer again.
9. Come back and see it has crackled
10. Say screw it, it almost looks cool and hit it with a half can of year old (cuz you have no other left and Lowe’s is 20 miles away) black paint that didn’t have the nozzle cleaned by the person who last used it – and have dribbles and splatters all over you, the project and concrete
11. Find a nozzle off can in trash and finish.

12. Take next month trying to decide if you like the look, or need to strip and try again

Photos from shop today

Started with hitting fiberglass bumper with gloss black over primer. It was so freaking hot that I’ve got some orange peel to wet sand out before chrome base coat.

Next, I got the Thug’s shifter unbolted and test fitted in car and drilled proper holes. Tomorrow I’ll sand and paint. A wrench was put on every nut and bolt under car while in air. Only a couple nuts lost a little torque, but were tight. A transmission line had a leak and was fixed. The fuel return line was rerouted.

I had Ole Blue (my 25-year-old Harley) in a few pieces in my garage at the house in Katy I’m selling. We got word Sunday that the garage door was open and a black man (none on our street) was inside looking around. So I went down there to put a battery in it and reassemble to ride to shop in Beasley. Last gas I bought for that bike was in October, and I didn’t run it out. So my 40 mile ride to shop was having a lot of coughing past 1/2 throttle, even after a bottle of Gumout and 2 gallons of Super. At the shop I put a quart of Berryman’s in tank and rode about 20 miles. It got a little better. I turned off Petcock to run carb dry, and then opened to take for another 20 mile ride. Didn’t get any better. Hopefully the Berryman’s in the carb will dissolve the scummotes from today’s shitty gas blends, but I’m sure the carb will have to come off to be cleaned.

Power widow lift are finally in the 46 Olds, but I need to locate new upper window channels. Any leads?

Bumpers are Primed & Shifter Pedestal Started

The Thug’s fiberglass bumpers got a wet sanding with 400 grit, and wiped down with wax and grease remover.

Then I hit with 24 ozs of black primer.

Tomorrow they’ll get a light wet sanding and I’ll hit with the Liquid Chrome’s Base Coat. They’ll need to cure for two days and then I can brush on the Liquid Chrome. A day to cure then the Top coat gets sprayed on.

The Thug’s shifter is located too far back and and too low for my comfort. So I used some scrap aluminum to start fabricating a shifter pedestal that will bolt in where the shifter currently is, but will raise the shifter 7″ and move it forward 7″.

Tomorrow I’ll locate and drill the shifter mounting holes, scuff it up with 180 grit, wipe down with wax/grease remover and hit with primer. After that dries for a day,  I’ll paint gloss black, and then a couple coats of clear. I ordered some black marine grade vinyl and 6″ thick memory foam. I’ll make a 7″W x 7″L x 6″T armrest on a piece of 3/8″ plywood, and attach it in back of the shifter by running a couple of wood screws from under in the predrilled and countersunk holes. Then I can attach the shifter and mount it to the floor. The decorative holes also allow getting a wrench in to install and remove the mounting nuts.

While not related to the Thug, I finally located the Uber rare chin that mounts under the 60 Plymouth Wagon’s front bumper on eBay – after eight years of looking. Knock off the rust and I’ll take to my bud’s body shop to fix the dent and skim with filler.

Then finish sanding, primer, and take to the lady wrapping the wagon in a new theme so she can wrap it with the car. I should have that car back next month so I can start reassembling it

 

Mission Accomplished

Hopefully that’s not the typical premature statement.

Engine is back together and will be started for hot lashing next week after the intake sealant has dried, and I have put the car on the lift for an inspection and to check the tightness of everything under the car.