Deep Cleaning of the Shop Continues.

In the last year, I’ve had mechanic help come in now and then to help out. Between he, I and my shop rat – things start to get out of place with good used parts, new parts, and complete garbage laying around – instead of put away properly. Getting stuff done has taken a priority to organization and putting parts, tools, and supplies away. Currently I’m going through the shop and putting stuff away, and trying to improve organization. Yesterday I spent the first couple of hours putting good parts away, and bad parts in garbage. There was a lot of both. Then I started reorganizing the electrical crash cart, which was a total mess. I got rid of the bad short wires thrown in the cart and wound up good short pieces, sorted and bagged connectors which, somehow got unsorted. I put switches and fuses; shrink tubes and relays; and connectors in cases.

I still have six other crash carts to straighten out, but this was the worst of them. On my stacker, the door cabinet was mounted very low because of some plates I used to mount a puck lock system.

It interfered with the golf cart when loaded. So it got mounted higher today after cutting a relief hole in the back.

Also in the stacker, the aircraft cargo track that got ripped up when I had to lock up the brakes with a car on the lift – had a new one cut, edges ground smooth, bent to fit beaver tail, and screwed down with new screws, lock washers and nuts.

The Magnum has been sitting for a couple of years. Recently the gas was drained, carb rebuilt and car running and tuned before replacing the carpet and seats. It drives great, but brakes were horrible. Originally it was suspected to have been the master cylinder – so that was removed and inspected. It was fine and the brakes bled and adjusted. Brakes still sucked so car was jacked up and both rear wheels still turned while brakes were applied. Since the they bled fine, it is suspected that the pistons are froze up inside from sitting so long – and ones are on the way.

Also in the “spent a lot of time and money fixing the wrong items” department, the hydraulic clutch on my 99 Drifter 1500 motorcycle was slipping. It got replaced last month. Now it has a slight delay engaging. Bleeding didn’t help so I bought a used master cylinder and a rebuild kit as new is made of unobtainium. It was rebuilt and put on, but same issue existed. the slave cylinder was bled, and same thing. The hose between the two was removed. While 150 psi of air was introduced at one end, less than ten psi comes out of the other end – meaning 20 years has degraded the hose and its collapsed. It too is made of unobtainium, so I’ll have to take someplace that can take a hose with banjo fittings.

So a lot of hours were spent wasting time yesterday. Heading to the lake for the weekend, so thrashing resumes next week.

Fall Shop Cleaning

I spent last week at my Little Cabin on the Lake, mostly turning it into a smart home. While I was gone, I gave my Shop Rat the task of doing a Deep Fall Cleaning of the shop. He started in one corner of the building and moved clockwise cleaning/washing walls, purlins, garage doors, shelves and the floor. Below are some photos of his work.

He was also tasked with spreading three yards of dark mulch.

When I returned Monday, I took the coach to the Spartan shop (120 mile round trip) to fix oil leaking from lug nuts, opened a ton of packages of parts needing to get thrown on cars, and mowed the five acres – which had gone wild from all of the rain. It was kinda muddy still, but there was a forecast of another week of rain, so it was mow now or wait a couple more weeks.

Finally, I took some photos of the rust detail on a 60 Plymouth I bought ten years ago to part out, but have decided to just sell as is instead.

The rest of this week I intend to further organizing the shop while having the shop rat detail the inside of the stacker. Then back to work on the wagon and my street car collection.

Early October Shop Updates

Been working in shop more than posting this week, as I’ll be spending next week at the lake with family. I usually live at the lake Friday through Monday and at the shop Tuesday through Thursday – but after being gone two weeks racing, I had a shop thrash going on this week.

I picked up the rear bumper to my Magnum XE (I point out XE as I also have a black 79 GT) and installed.

The ten year old and squeaking serpentine belt was replaced with a shorter one that was required after changing the heads from iron to Edelbrocks. I took the car for a hard drive (110 mph to) to test the belt. While that’s good, the brakes were mushy and won’t lock up. They’ll have to be dealt with when I get back.

Almost 20 years ago I put the above Dakota Digital gauges in a custom dash panel for my Magnum XE. To me the Kool Factor has gone away. I ordered a Kustom set of gauges that I’ll install into a stock dash panel, after I scuff, sand, and paint flat black with plastic adhesive paint. I’m still thinking about what to do with the “Idiot Lights” on right side of dash panel, as the gauges handle that monitoring.

If you have a 75-79 B Body and want my old Digital dash panel with gauges, lights, and switches, its yours for $300.

Moving off the XE and on onto the Magnum GT. The leaky valve cover gaskets were replaced as was the sticky brake light switch that keeps draining the battery. I’ll detail and sell that car as part of my new “Reduce my foot print and make more simple” philosophy.

The 81 Imperial I’ve had since 1986 (I restored with a 380hp 360ci, street strip trans, 8.75″ with 3.55 gears…) had the AC, Power Seats and power antenna fixed. Found a gas leak when it was filled with 93 octane, and replaced the line. The gas tank and straps were new when I restored it many years ago. It now runs perfect and has zero issues. It too needs to be detailed so I can put up for sake when I get back.

The leaking gas tank in my 58 Dodge Pick up was repaired, and it too needs to be detailed and sold. Also in the photo is my trailer of three yards of mulch I picked up yesterday. That’s to keep my Shop Rat busy next week.

Speaking of the Shop Rat, he washed the Coach (above), sanded and painted the tongue of my old Aluminum trailer with POR15, and cut 2′ X 4′ shelves from 3/8″ plywood to replace shitty stock particle board shelves that have bowed and broken.

I put together a milk crate with two bottle jacks (one of them air) operated, an impact wrench, and sockets in my Stacker trailer. I have 150 psi air supply from the coach. I mounted a 50′ air reel to the compartment connection to reach the trailers. I’ve used once the air setup to change a Stacker tire, and it is now a no problem 10 minute job by me alone – compared the PITA Dallas and I use to go through.

I fixed the trunk seal on the Thug, and the Rat washed it. Waiting on the rear glass from Proglass. I’ll be tearing the trunk down over the winter for another coat of spatter paint and clear, and to polish the aluminum. The car also needs to go on the lift for the Rat to scrub the underside and for me to inspect and tighten suspension. I really hope to have the Screamin Woody ready as primary car for Bradenton, and for the Thug to go to back up duty. Maybe Dallas will run once or twice next year as his car is kn need of a total rebuild as he’s working too many hours to deal with it.

Speaking of Screamin Woody, the underside was painted and the rebuilt rear end and 4-link reinstalled.

The high HP 383 that will be going into my 60 Plymouth Post Street car is now finished. The engine compartment has been cleaned, scuffed, and is ready for Petty Blue paint. It will ultimately be wrapped to look like a sun bleached Petty NASCAR that has been left outside since 1961.

One of my all time favorite cars is a 1967 AMC Marlin. It is the rarest of the three years Marlins were made, and the only year made on AMC’s full-size Ambassador platform. The 65-66 were built on the shorter Rambler Rouge platform. They looked weird being that short of a fastback.

So I finally bought a nice southern 67 Marlin about 15 years ago. I drove it for a couple of weeks and then parked it to wait for a restoration. This week it got pulled out to be made running, before being tearing down to restore. It had no brakes, so they were replaced. The fuel pump was missing – don’t ask me how or why. Anyway the 67 for a 343 ci was a one year only, and impossible to find. The 68 was also a one year only, equally hard to find. Both have the fuel filter as part of the pump, one on top and the other on the bottom. Everything I found on the internet says only option is to replace with an electric pump. I was able to find a new 68 for a 343, and it works perfectly. Why isn’t that on any AMC forum? So car runs great, except for a whistle from a failing carb to intake gasket. I ordered the gasket, but it had to be removed so I would order the correct one. Engine uses  Motorcraft 2bbl carb. The GM distributor had the points replaced with a Pertronix electronic, but needs the gasket I ordered to test it. Once the car has been taken for a drive, it will be torn down. Engine compartment, interior, trim,… I’ll sent car to be repainted Red (always loved red with Black top Marlins), chrome to chrome shop, detail engine and covert to 4Bbbl. I need to see what interior I can locate in black. Based on that, I’ll decide if I will change to black or keep gold.

So that’s this past week at the shop.


Finishing Up The Indy Race

About a week after the fact, but I’ll tie up the loose ends from the Indy race in this post.

Starting with the All Star race, I’m not All Star worthy! All weekend long up until I smacked my head, I was chopping the tree down. However, I red lit for the first time in competition in three years On the All Star race. I when I passed the red light, I figured it had to be 00something red, but it was more than that.

Later that night the ladder came out for the Big show, and I drew Russ Konkowski, one of the very few cars faster than me. I had calculated a few numbers in the bag to play the stripe. We were the first to go down the track Sunday morning. As I made the left from the staging lanes onto the track, the sun was low and right in back of me. I left with a paranoid light after going red in the All Star race. At the thousand foot I could see nothing out the back window from the sun defracting off all of the scratches on the rear window, after it popped out and passed me the day before. As I was coming up on the MPH cone I looked out the side window, saw nothing and got on the brakes pretty hard. I crossed the line first, and saw the win light in the other lane, telling me I broke out.

Russ couldn’t run the number and I gave it to him because I had no idea where he was on the track. In Texas there’s a saying “Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes the windshield.” I was the bug that week.

I did manage to squeak out a Top Ten in points for the year.

So we loaded up, I made arrangements to leave the trailer and race car at the track, and I drove the coach to the factory in Northern Indiana, while my wife followed me in the street car.

Got to the factory at dinner time, drained the tanks, filled with water and settled in for the night. Up at 5 am, closed up coach, loaded up the car and did a walk through with their service writer. We then drove to Hamburg, NY so my wife can spend a week with her sister. The coach was suppose to be ready Friday, we were to drive there today (Sunday), and we’d check it out tomorrow. However, I got a call Friday that it  wasn’t ready yet. The plan is to leave tomorrow morning, spend the night in the Coach, and hopefully the part they’re waiting on comes in Tuesday for them to install it. Then to Indy to get the cars loaded into the Stacker, and then back to Texas.

Thug’s Qualifying At Indy

First round of qualifying at Indy was at 1 pm Friday, one hour earlier than scheduled. I usually set up to go a number slower on the first round, and then go for broke on the next two Qualifying. I felt like I had  a good launch, so I lifted at the MPH cone.

Got a 9.768 on my 9.75  index. We calculated what I would have run without lifting, and it was a 9.753. Another bad decision. Tough crowd here, so I was number 8 of 53.

I have a street car on the lift, as I’m dropping the motorhome off at the factory and then driving to Western New York for my wife to visit her sister while the coach is being worked on. When walking under the lift fairly fast, I smacked my head on the landing puck on the underside of the lift. I got woozy and fell hitting my head on the trailer fender. When I rolled over and put my hand to my head, blood was gushing out. I had blood running down my hand and arm; and my face and gasses were covered in blood. I staggered to the coach to get my wife to wet down a towel to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile another racer in the staging lanes saw me and ran to the NMCA guy directing the staging lanes. He sat me down and called the ambulance, which stopped the race. They treated me, bandaged the head up, and had me sign a waiver refusing to go to hospital for stitches. I was going to go after the second round, which was suppose to be in another 15 minutes. However, they pushed us back another two hours and we were the last ones down the track – following Pro Thug and Radial Wars, which takes a different prep. I figured the starting line was going to be garbage, and set up expecting a 1.38 60′. Another bad decision, as I had a 1.36 60′ and broke out by that difference. That moved me down to 13, now with now 63 NSS racers.


After that round, we called the Urgent Cares in the area and was told I’d have to go to a Hospital Emergency Room. I didn’t feel like I wanted to pay a $400 deductible to spend a Friday night in an Indy Emergency Room. I self treated by rubbing some dirt on it and drinking heavily for pain management.

Didn’t sleep worth a damn last night. It was midnight when I went to bed and at 2 am I had to deal with the Carbon Monoxide detector blaring. We were to race at 8:30 am, which means they call us to the line at 7:45. I got out of bed at 6 am, got the weather station set up, generator running, and the car pushed out of the trailer. At 7 am I started the car, took it for a ride to warm it up. I parked the car in my pit and put the charger on.

The weather was thirty degrees cooler, calling for a lot of weight to be added.

At the line the car stuttered and bogged. Not sure if it was low fuel pressure, wrong jetting, or the car not being warm enough for the cold air. Maybe a combination of all. Anyway the bog caused a shitty light and a horrible 60′.

That caused me to get knocked out of the All Star Shootout. Worst yet, my back glass blew out at 136 mph.

There was a mandatory NSS driver’s meeting after Q3. I wasn’t wanting to go, as I knew I was out of the All Star Shootout, and that’s what it was about. Doug Duell insisted I go, and I thought maybe he was going to pick me as his “Champion’s” choice. The way the shootout works is that 16 NMCA racers go against 16 Victory Series racers. To get the best of each, they each take the Top Five from last year and the 9 best qualifiers (who’s hot this weekend) from this race. Then the past Champion picks one. While Doug and I are good Buds, we’re also strictly business when it comes to racing. Doug picked Doug Wright, who has been on fire this year. It was the right choice. So the rest of us NMCA racers (about 20) Each got a Raffle Ticket for the final “Lucky Dog” pick, and my number was called. I haven’t been feeling lucky this weekend, and debated giving it to someone else.

So now I’m in a race with a car that bogged, has no back window, and I have a screamer of a headache from the day before. Randy Stansbury, who installed the Pro Glass back window when he painted the car, started putting it back in. Barry Dorn, who has done a few came by to help him.

They had it in in less than an hour. Thank you very much Randy and Barry. I then put on some of my wife’s “Happy Camper” duct tape to hold it in until the new Pro Glass, NASCAR window tabs and molding clips arrive at the shop.

So right now I’m “Chillin”, trying to shake this killer headache, before they call the first of five rounds for the “All Star Shootout”. Sunday, NSS has the eliminations or all 63 racers at 8 am.

The Thug Is In The House

We’re up at the NMCA Finals, and the Victory vs. NMCA Showdown at Lucas Raceway in Indy. Deb and I took a leisurely 2 1/2 day ride up here from Texas. It was relatively uneventful, with the exception of breaking a strap on the street car that was on the lift. That required me unloading and reloading both cars in a Walmart parking lot. Basically we left Monday afternoon and arrived at the track at 5 pm Wednesday.

Thursday, the track opened at 8:30 am, and we had the pit set up, credentials established, car tech’d in by noon.

Time trials started at 1 pm. Air was a horrible 4200′. I ran a 9.77 without weight.

2nd test and tune hit was a couple hours later. Starting line was horrible and I had a bad 60′.

My final hit was a little better when I took some air out of the slicks.

This morning we had a Time Trial at 10 am. The air was obviously much better, with a little tail/cross wind. I didn’t run with weight, although it was predicted I should put 60 pounds in to hit my 9.75 index.

So the First qualifying is scheduled at 2 pm, hot lapping us for the second at the end of the 2 pm group.

That assumes the weather allows all of that to happen.

Polish, D-Rings, New seats, Engine Assembly and Paint

What does all of that have in common? It and more happened at the shop yesterday.

All of the aluminum in the truck of the Thug got polished up.



I needed more loose weight as I’d been borrowing from 00Joe and Dennis Breeden, so bought a couple dumbbells and chopped off the ends.

Photo is upside down, they weigh 11.1 pounds each.

I bought an aluminum trailer from Jim Bailey, but since his car was much shorter, I didn’t have enough angle for front straps, and damaged the paint on the Thug. Yesterday I cut 3″ holes through the aluminum floor and took a high speed bit to it to shape for 6,000 pound recessed D-Rings. A few bolt holes, carriage bolts and impact wrench to drive nuts on and I’m now good to go.

Moving onto my 1960 Plymouth, the Leaning Tower of Power was pulled in favor of an approximate 450 hp 383 that was in the Thug when it was a street racer 15 years ago. The 383 was assembled as far as it can go until another parts delivery arrives. Also found a bent push rod a two bad rocker adjusters, so they were ordered.

Also painted and wrapped the low mileage and strong 6-banger that came out of the Plymouth, before putting it into the shed.

I bought a set of like new black leather seats from a 2-door BMW and installed into my 78 Magnum. They looked great in the car but my “Full-Figured” ass  was too wide to be comfortable. So they were yanked out in favor of new leather aftermarket, which took 3.5 months to get here.

Wrapped these seats, which are for sale. If you have a Muscle Car with black interior, there’s nothing like the comfort of modern power seats.

These are the aftermarket leather seats. No power, and they have a satin look to them, which maybe leather conditioner might shine up, but they’re very comfortable.

Also found a couple of hours to mow my 5 acres and wash Zero turn.

Fixin to head out to the shop for another very full day.