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.

Motor, Bumpers & Polishing

Pulled the intake and all of the lifters are Ok. Drained oil and cut apart oil filter to look in folds. Not a spec of anything. Put new rocker arm on, and the geometry is a little off, so I ordered a set of .080 valve lash caps.

The Thug’s bumpers were removed and I hit the flat areas with 400 grit on a random sander. My shop rat with wet sand the curves and the entire bumpers tomorrow and wipe down with grease/wax remover. I’ll spray with black primer and he’ll wet sand again next week. I’ll apply the chrome base coat wait two days, apply the chrome, wait two days, and then hit with Top Coat.

In other shop news;

I’ve decided to sell my 40000 mile Grand National that I’ve had since 1999. So I broke out the polisher to give light polish with Liquid Ice, and a coat of Mothers Carnuba wax. I only got half finish. I’ll finish tomorrow and take photos so I can list for sale.

I also have a like new, low mileage, factory AC Little Red Express that I’ve decided to sell. I will detail and photo over next week or so.


Thug’s Maiden Voyage

So the Thug’s first time on the track occurred last week at the Dave Duell Classic in Bowling Green Kentucky. We left the race shop Monday afternoon to get under traffic, and dropped anchor 150 miles later at a Walmart in Lufkin, Texas – so I could watch the Rockets game. We pulled up anchor at 9am and called it a night at the Walmart in Jackson, TN. We again left at 9am, dumped waste tanks and filled fresh water in Franklin, KY, and meet Doug Duell at track at 2pm.

I’d also brought the Texas Whale in the stacker, as it is its turn to be restored, and I’m using a car wrapper in Evansville, In. Doug arranged for a trailer to take it from the track to Evansville. After unloading from my trailer and onto the other trailer – I helped Doug mark off pit spots for the NSS racers.

Thursday I helped park racers, replaced the slicks with new, established credentials, got my cage certified, teched car in and paid for Test N Tune.

The first time down the track the car left like a dog, and there was a bind in the throttle. I had a bad feeling in my gut when I picked up my time slip. Back in the pits we adjusted for WOT and I went back for another hit.

Again the car left like a dog and the time slip wasn’t any better. In the pits we checked timing and it was only 31 degrees – so we bumped it to 35. the throttle cable moved again – so we moved that, and I found plug six wasn’t on right. I was told it would be my last hit of the day because of a storm coming.

I think we might have found the problem. Ignore the light, I followed a Pro Mod and they left the tree on Pro.

In the morning was a Time trial, and I threw 100 pounds in the box to see what the car did with weight.

A little slower than I expected, but my cars have always been .003-.004 slow on first pass of day. Shortly thereafter we were called for the first Qualifying. I took 40 pounds out, but was too fast.

An hour or so later we had Qualifying Two. I went back to 100 pounds shooting for a 9.77 on my 9.75 index, but had a bad 60′

Then coming back to pits the Idle increased. I initially thought the rings seated, but when I restarted the car to put in trailer when rain came, the motor didn’t sound right.

Inspection showed a loose rocker. Closer inspection saw a loose center rocker arm nut, and when rocker arm was removed – I was discovered broken at that center stud hole. While the parts were available to fix rocker arm, I threw in the towel for the event, as I want a deeper inspection of the lifters.

We left the track Sunday morning, and arrived at the shop Monday afternoon, where I unloaded the trailer.

I’ll have the motor partially torn down Wednesday morning. If I dodged a bullet and only have to replace the rocker arm, then the Maiden Voyage will have been a success when you consider all of the new parts put onto a 53 year old car.

Ready To Race

Final touch thrashing has been going on to make the Thug ready to go racing.

Aluminum Bumper brackets were fabricated and Bumpers have been mounted.

When I get back from Dave Duell Classic I’ll finish sand, prime, sand again, apply Easy Chrome Basecoat, brush on Easy Chrome, and spray with clear. Wasn’t enough time to do before.

Located and installed hood lip trim. I’ll refinish the grill after the race.

Installed a hood rod.

Polished the ten year old radiator.

Fabricated some battery hold down spacers to replace stacks of  washers I’d been using on battery hold downs.

The five year old hold downs polished up well.

Also polished up weight boxes and fuel cell.

Before is above, after is below. I also swapped out bolts on hold downs and boxes with stainless socket screws.

I replaced intake lid screws with new, and used longer stainless where fuel regulator mounts, as the bolts weren’t catching threads.

Fixin to load up both cars (wagon going to get wrapped) into stacker. Were spending weekend at lake before heading out Monday evening. Virtually everything on the car is new and there was no time for Test ad Tune. The Dave Duell Classic will have to be our test season, so I expect that a lot of tweaking will be required.