Shop Goin’ Ons For December 2019

Petty Tribute

I aged some 15″X8″ Wheel Vintiques wheels to look Rusty, and mounted 245/60-15 Goodrich TAs on the rear. I still need to do the same for the fronts.

I repaired the old steering wheel, primed and painted to match the interior.

I tried three different shifter handles and all hit the seat, dash, or both. I finally made a 6″ adaptor to raise a pistol grip shifter 6″, which was enough to clear the bench seat and stay under the boot.

I bought all of the pipes needed to get the block hugger collectors to 2.5″ side exiting exhaust. This is all that is required to finish the car. These are the pipes needed to do the right side.

Magnum GT

If you’ve been following along on the Magnum GT, You’ll know it was recently treated to a new poly-urethene paint job, and the leather dyed before that. This week, everything was taken out of the trunk, the Surface flash removed, it was then masked, primed and painted. Since the car is pure black, it was an easy rattle can project. I’ll give the a paint a week to get hard, and then clean and replace the carpet.

The Screamin’ Woody

The engine was reassembled with a new crank, rod, and set of lifters; and stabbed into the car. It will be started and tuned next week.

Outfitting the Stacker

I spent a day getting the Stacker trailer mostly outfitted. On the door I installed a door cabinet fire bottle holder, tire gauge holder, rack of screw drivers and a pair of clamps that hold the weather station in travel mode, and the telescopic pole it goes on (to raise 5′ over the stacker’s roof) when in the pits. Another set of clamps were installed inside the door to hold the pole in travel mode.

On the front wall of the trailer, I mounted a stainless coat rack with 4 stainless steel hangers for my safety suits. Above the coat rack I mounted a pair of stainless steel baskets for racing shoes and gloves. On the ceiling I mounted a swiveling hook to hold my helmet.

Next to the overhead cabinets I mounted an Oil Rack and used Industrial Grey Velcro to hold the lift’s remote control in place. To the rear of the trailer is a strap holder, jack pouch, a blower holder and a couple cord holders.

I also put the hand tools in the appropriate drawers, but I’ll need to go back to clean and oil them before the first race.

In the attic I mounted a holder for four 5gallon fuel jugs.

I still have a day left to finish organizing myself into a 2′ shorter trailer.

Other

  • Installed an electric gate
  • Replaced all bulbs in Magnum XE with LED
  • Replaced AC blower motor on Magnum XE
  • Removed the Grill to the Magnum GT to paint when it gets warmer
  • Figured out I had the wrong parts to install an overdrive in the Magnum XE, and ordered the correct ones
  • Did a little cleaning and organizing in the shop

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SCREAMIN’ WOODY GETS NEW OIL PAN

I post this mainly in case someone had same issue as me.

Charlies Oil Pans had been making the fabricated oil pan to fit the Screamin’ Woody, my 60 Plymouth wagon. Charlies went out of business and when I contacted Stef’s, they said 2 months and $1000 to make one. Milodon made a off the shelf that. fits, but no windage tray for a 4.50″ stroke.

I found that 440 Source makes a pretty good looking 7-quart fabricated aluminum pan that fits, and there’s a windage tray for strokes up to.4.501″. It only cost about $225 for both and looks to be pretty high quality.

Hopefully the crank comes back from machine shop this week and engine can start to go back together. Need to cut a hole for the external oil pump and swinging pickup.

To The Track

With the Screamin’ Woody finally reassembled after a two year tear down from the Texas Whale and rebuild to the Screamin’ Woody, it was time to take it to the track. Normally I’d take it to San Antonio Raceway, a 1/4 Mile track about 200 miles away), but I was really Jonesing after missing Norwalk and Joliet, and the Indy race was coming up.

SHRA had an 1/8-Mile NSS Race in Denton (350 miles) on the 14th. While further and only 1/8 mile, it would help support NSS Racing (which is weak in the South) in Texas and give me competition practice. So I loaded up on Friday night and left for Denton early on Saturday morning. I arrived at the track at 1 pm, unloaded and got ready for the driver’s meeting at 3 pm. It was 98 degrees at 3 pm.

The wagon was in line to make its first hits since a total rebuild

First Qualifying was at 4 pm. I launched the car but it didn’t pick up the front wheels (like it use to) and carry the front end, but worst the that, the motor started to break up so I shifted. It quickly started to break up again – so I shifted again. It didn’t break up crossing the line, so I made a mental note that had to be in the 6000-6500 rpm range. Back in the pits, I only had time to cool the car down, put a charger on it, log the run, change tire pressure, and adjust the 5 point harness – which needed a foot taken out of the shoulder length.

First hit had a high 1.38 60′, and a 6.47@105mph

At 5 pm, just as I was finished with harness and we were called for last qualifying. I told myself that this pass I’d stare at the tach to figure out at what RPM it was breaking up. I dropped the slick’s pressure a 1/2 pound, launched at 2000 RPM, and starred at the tach. It started to breakup at 6300, and I shifted immediately. Again it broke up at 6300 and I shifted to third. I don’t have that time slip, but the 60′ improved slightly to low 1.38 and ET was 6.34.

Back at my pit, I got car ready for first round of Eliminations and did some Basic looking around to figure out why it was breaking up, and couldn’t see it. I had declared the 6.25 Index, and was hoping it might get cooler and I’d find the problem. It didn’t get cooler (95 degrees at 6 pm) and I didn’t find the problem – so I set my shift light at 6200 (normally 7200-7300 on a 572-13 head motor) and dropped the slicks another 1/2 pound psi.

Track photo from first round of Eliminations shows that not only is the car not picking up the front end well, it looks like a Chevy with the twisting

I was racing a slower car who would leave 3/4 second ahead of me. I was convinced that there was no way I could run the number (6.25), and would have to cut a great light for any chance. I got my wish with a .005 light, but my inexperience with the 1/8 mile stripe cost me when I took too much Stripe with a 6.248 ET on a 6.25 Index, or 2/1000 of a second too quick. My 60′ was a little better with a high 1.37. The car did not break up with me shifting at 6200.

2/1000 of a second too Quick

So I loaded up and was heading south by 7:30 pm, arriving back at the shop at 1 am Sunday. Other than the breaking up and launching with left front higher than right front, I was relatively happy with how the car performed, considering everything being new. On Monday, I backed the car out of the trailer, replaced the Distributor Cap and Rotor (both of which looked new), check all of my wiring to the plugs, and all wiring going to the MSD 7AL2 ignition box. I noticed that the box had 7000 rpm pills in it, and remembered reading that the pills (working by having their Ohms read and converted to a Maximum Limit of RPM allowed) can be off by as much as 10%, which 700 RPM, which subtracted from 7000 = 6300. I changed them out to 8000 RPM pills, which really should have been there in the first place. I put the car back in the trailer, and loaded spare parts consisting of a spare ignition box, spare distributor, spare set of plugs, and new set of wires.

Tuesday at 4 am I left my shop in Beasley, TX and arrived at my bud Doug Duell’s Mother’s house (Southern Indiana) at 6 pm. I dropped the truck and trailer there. Doug and Anne took me to dinner and put me up for the night. In the morning Doug took me to look at the new house that he’s building, and then to his dealership for me to look at the Palisades Limited, which I’m interested in a pair for Deb and I. At 9 am he took the lead with his motorhome and stacker, as I followed him in my dually and trailer. We had a little delay due to a Turbo issue on his coach. We got on the track at about 5, and I was at the hotel by 6.

Photo a NMCA Staff Photographer took and posted on their web site

I arrived at the track at 9 am, paid my entry, got car out of trailer, established credentials, got my chassis certified, teched the car in, and made it ready for the first 1/4 mile hit since being built. We checked the car’s timing, I charged up the dual 16v batteries, created a new weather station database for the car, and at about 1 pm (this is Thursday now) they called us for the first time trial. The car had an unimpressive 9.99 and 1.38 short time. Worse yet was that there was oil all over the front of the car, and another racer told me that I dropped a part at the line. I opened the hood and found the AN-12 Screw on plug for the oil filler was missing. I went to the starting line, and it was in the trash can, mangled an unusable. I couldn’t figure out how it could make six 360 degree turns and blow off – but it did. This would become understood later. I bought another fitting, screwed it on, and used electrical tape stretch around cap & bung to hold it on. I spent the next hour wiping the car down underneath of all of the oil. When called for next time trial, and after my burnout – I was backed up and off the track with them saying I was leaking oil.

I went back to the pits and spent three hours under the car wiping up oil and trying to figure out where three mystery leaks were coming from. I finally got under the car with it running and only then did I see weeping from the oil pan gasket — which the engine builder had used grey Permatex to make. Many of the oil pan nuts were loose – and I snugged them down. Just as I was lowering the car — the track announced a clean up session for those who didn’t get two test hits — and I hustled off to it.

After I came out out of the burnout area I had all of the track people looking under the car for any drip. They cleared me and I pre-staged, Staged and took off. All was going well until the 1000′ when I looked in the mirror just as the car started smoking. I immediately pulled over and off the track’s first exit. Off the track I found I was leaking oil all around the oil pan. It was late and I was both worn out from working all day in the heat and sore to where my back and shoulder were killing me. I was going to throw in the towel for the day and try to deal with it in the morning — but Jeff Frees talked me into dealing with it that night.

Doug Duell was the only one small enough to drive the car onto the lift in Jeff’s trailer

Long story short, Doug Duell drove the car onto Jeff’s lift, Jeff and his crew started to tear the car apart, I drove to an all night auto parts store in Indianapolis for a couple of gaskets, and I was back at the motel by midnight. I was back at the track at 6:30 the next morning to clean up the car and make ready for the First Qualifying at 8:30 AM. I took it for a ride to blow off any extra oil that I might have missed off the car, and gave it a final check. All looked good.

So they call us for the first qualifying hit — and that’s when we noticed that oil was under the car again. Again to make a long story short, my vacuum gauge in the car wasn’t working and Jeff came over with a manual vacuum gauge to take a reading and adjust in more vacuum to slow the leak, so I could make the pass. That’s when we got the puzzling gauge reading of positive pressure instead of vacuum. It was too late to make a hit — so I got out of my racing suit and headed over to the car to disconnect the vacuum pump for Q2. While Brent Wheeler and I were looking at what was needed to disconnect — we both, at the same time, realized the hoses had been installed backwards. While both hoses were the wrong length to be properly swapped around — they did fit for a temporary fix. I did that and made it in time for the second Qualifying — which appeared to be good — albeit slower than expected.

Track photo of Screamin’ Woody’s Pass in Second Qualifying Round

The next round was the first round of class eliminations for FX. There was a couple grand on the line — including $1600 in side bets to the winner. I was matched up against Dan Cook, who was the faster car by 1/4 second. Car felt good on that pass, and I saw the Win Light for me – but when I picked up the time slip I found that I’d run a 9.9 on a 9.75 Index and only won because Dan had a really bad light. Worst yet, after I picked up the ticket — I started hearing a noise that sounded like valve train clatter. I still had oil pressure but the motor didn’t sound right. In the pits, dozen’s of people were coming by to give their opinion and advice. After the valve covers came off and on three times — I was done and parked the car in the trailer.

I returned to the track the next day to be a spectator and attend that evening’s Dave Duell Classic Dinner. I left the track at about 10 pm with my truck and trailer, got a little sleep and left the motel at 4 am. I arrived at my shop (1125 miles later) at 11 pm.

In the shop, we first thought that the noise was from a couple of rockers rubbing on the valve cover. The valve covers were clearanced and we still could hear the noise/ With a stethoscope it sounded like it was coming from under the valley pan – lifters suspected. When the lid to the valve cover was removed, it was noticed that pools of race gas had formed in the damned off areas. A witness mark showed that the levels were as high as 3/4″ before draining through the bolts holes into the motor. Draining the oil found a lot of gas in the oil, which only had two runs on it. A shop rag dipped into the oil more closely exploded than burned when a match was put to it. It was decided to pull the motor. There are some issues. A puzzling one is that the rods and crank bearing surfaces appear to have been contaminated and have specs on them. We’re assuming from the race gas. So that’s where we’re at with the wagon as I write this.

Screamin’ Woody Goes To The Track

Finish Interior

The door cards on the Texas Whale were cardboard with black and gray carpet glued on. For The Screamin’ Woody, I wanted to match the red exterior a little more – so the seats were dyed red, the cage painted gold hammered, a red window net and safety harness installed – and I wanted the door panels in a red quit pattern. I made the door cards out 1/8″ plywood, drilled the holes for door handle and mounting screws, and pulled some vinyl quilted fabric I bought on Ebay.

Get Ready To Race

I’d taken the car for a couple of blasts on the rough (from farm tractors running up and down it all day, everyday) 35 mph narrow road that the shop is on, and made adjustments between blasts. The problem is you can only conduct your testing to about 3/4 of the cars capability, because of the terrible condition of the road. I wanted to take the car to race at the NMCA Nationals in Indy this coming weekend, but needed to take to a more local track this past weekend, to see if it was worthy to take to Indy.

SHRA had an 1/8 mile race in Denton (350 miles from the shop) yesterday, and I decided to take it there. While cleaning the car up, I noticed a lot of overspray on the front fenders and doors, from when it was painted under the hood. That took me better than 4 hours of slow clay-barring to get right. Then I loaded it into my trailer.

Racing In Denton

Friday the 13th, I loaded up the truck and trailer with what I needed to race. At 8am Saturday I left for the 350 mile drive to Sanger, TX. I arrived on the track at 1PM to say my Howdies, unload car and set up my pit. At 3PM we had our Driver’s Meeting and at 4PM we had our first Qualifying run – in 97 degree heat.

ON the first pass I had a decent .043 light (considering it was June since I last took a stab at the tree) but the car started to break up way before the Shift-Light was suppose to come on – so I made my 1st-2nd and 2nd-3rd shift as soon as I felt it break up. Frankly, I was busy mentally monitoring my concerns of going down the track in a car that had every nut and bolt removed, every component rebuilt or replaced, and reassembled. Other than the breaking up at higher RPMs, the car felt good – but I was unable to look at the tach to see where it was breaking up. I was guessing it was about 6000 RPM as I wasn’t breaking up crossing the Stripe.

My Safety Harness was all screwed up, as I forgot to adjust the length when new ones were installed so I spent much of the half hour between the First and Last Qualifying fixing that. I was able to verify that the Fuel Pressure was right at 8psi and make a shock and tire adjustment to try for a better 60′. I told myself that I would stare at the tach to figure where it broke up. The sun was in front of the tree and I totally missed the lights, but was able to improve my anticipating the breakup and shift quicker. I was able to find that the breaking up was occurring around 6300-6400 RPM.

I decided that as opposed to weighing the car down for the 6.41 Index, that I’d shoot for the 6.25 Index by setting my shift light for 6200 (before the breaking up), as opposed to closer to the 7500 RPM that those heads (572), Cam and 2 1/2″ headers wants. I figured that and the weather getting cooler might give me the .06 I needed. When they called us to race, it was still 94.5 degrees and I felt I would have a hard time hitting 9.25, so I’d need a killer light. I also took 2 more Clicks out of the front shocks. I had to line up against Gary Durham, who had a slower car, so he’d leave first. The setting sun still had the tree right in the middle of it, concerning me about seeing the light and pushing the Tree. Gary left, and I left. I felt I had a decent light as I was going down the track. As I was coming to the stripe and passing Gary, he jammed the brakes and gave me the Stripe. When I picked up the ticket it was the yellow copy, meaning loser! Looking at the ticket I saw I threw away a .005 reaction time by running a 6.2477 on a 6.25 index. 23/1000 of a second too fast.

So I was loaded and on the road by 7:00 and home by 1AM

Getting Ready For the Nats at Indy

Tomorrow I’ll back the car out of the trailer; make a floor modification to the trailer; and change the distributor cap, rotor, ignition chips, and wires on the Wagon. Give the car a quick Cleanup and load it up again. I’ll track down some parts like a spare regulator, distributor and plugs, and take the fuel pump and carbs off the Thug to bring to Indy – and I’ll try to fix the car at the track. I leave at 4am Tuesday.

Finally Race Ready!

Took the Screamin’ Woody for three hard blast down the road in front of my shop, bringing back for adjustments in between. I think its ready to race after the brakes get bled again, as they suck. The quilted interior material came in, and I’ll recover the door panels next week. Then I’ll detail it and take to the SHRA race in Denton Saturday 9/14. If all goes well there, then I’ll head to Indy for that race. If not, I’ll swap the Wagon for The Thug and run it in Indy.

Shop Update August 2019

It’s been about three weeks since I’ve posted any update on the shop goin’ ons. There have been quite a few, actually so many is the reason why I’ve not been able to post much. I’ll post what I can remember, but I doubt it will be half of it.

First is the Screamin’ Woody

The motor is finished and installed with the fresh transmission. The car is about 15-18 hours from being Race Ready.

Petty Tribute

All of the trim is on. I bought a 10-circuit wiring harness to replace the 60-year-old stock wiring. I also bought a Competition Engineering aluminum dash to give it that NASCAR look, and a plasma cutter to more easily trim to correct fit. I’ve not yet decided on the gauges, but have bought the switches. The motor is ready and a Passion Performance Hemi 4-speed overdrive transmission ought to be here in another week or so. I found some rattle can blue-green that comes close to matching the vinyl of the seat tops, and I’ll remove and spray the metal interior trim soon. I’ve made a decision on the wheels – but not yet ordered them. This is a car that will stay on the lift of the stacker, and go to the races with me for off track duty.

The Mohawk

The Mohawk is a very neglected 30-year-old project, which has spent a lot of time at a couple shops rotting. It has been back in my hands for a couple of years now, and I’m starting to give it my attention.

To refresh memories, it started life a 63 GT Hawk. The “Mo” part is that it will be Mopar powered. I have a 25-year-old “Fresh” Aluminum head 340ci motor. That’s to say that it was built by the first shop 25 years ago. Pulled a head and the pan for an inspection, and turned the rotating around a couple cycles. All looks and feels well, but the outside needs a wire brushing and paint. The first guy also grafted on some fins that look horrible. I bought a fiberglass front sheet metal clip from a 53-54 Commander about 25 years ago, but I’m going to see if I can find real metal. I have a pair of fins from a 1960 Plymouth that will replace the ones grafted on.

At the second shop, the body stayed outside with the windows open for a couple of decades. The floors are shot and the body has a lot of surface flash. I’ll take it to get Dustless blasted, and then primered, so I can see exactly what body work needs to be done. The second shop convinced me that I needed to make a tube chassis for it, and grafted on the Fat Man Mustang II front end that I’d bought for the original frame. I think the problem was the first shop butchered the frame and the Fat Man front clip was far from on straight. The rear end is a Mopar 8.75″. All of it was rusty from so many years sitting in the weeds at the second shop. The chunk in the 8.75″ was locked up to where it had to be removed to move the car. I don’t know what is salvageable on the new brakes and front end.

Everything was stripped off the tube chassis frame, some added strength welded in, and I did a little grinding and smoothing. Then I took the frame to get blasted and Powder-coated semi-gloss black.

I picked it up from the powder coater and it looked good, so I took the axle housing and leaf springs for same treatment.

I’ll pick up the axle and springs tomorrow and set up an area to reassemble the chassis. I ordered a blasting hopper, and will bead blast the axles, which have a lot of flash on them. Like all projects before (the 46 Olds, the Thug, Screamin Woody, my Magnum, and the Petty Tribute – this will most likely take a year of two. Stay tuned for Updates.

The Thug

My racing season is pretty much over for this year. I traded my motorhome in on a 2020 that I ordered. It won’t be ready until October some time. I sold my stacker and ordered a new one to match the coach, and it won’t be ready until November. The new coach is three feet longer, so the new stacker will be three feet shorter. The Thug is ready to go, and I might take it to the next SHRA race.

New Old Aluminum Trailer

I bought an early 90s Aluminum trailer off Jim Bailey. It appears to have been well cared for. I’ve done some work, like mount a 12000# winch and motorcycle chalks. I bought the Screamin’ Woody back from Indiana; and took my Son’s and my Harleys to ride in Colorado in it. Nice light trailer. All of the bearings now have new grease.

It’s in the process of being stripped and repainted White with Red/White/Blue stripes on from three sides, and the Texas Flag on the rear door. I’ll outfit it more to my needs as I have time. Already painted the A-Frame replaced the electric jack – twice. Need to mount a jack pouch, radio, a couple roof vents, and a few other conveniences, but after the inside is painted.

I suspect it will be finished this next week, before I take a week to stay at lake to get some work done there.

Odds and Ends

Spring Cleaning

I have a man in his early 70s who is my “Shop Rat”M-F 8-4. He keeps the place clean, does the yard work other than mowing (which I do), accepts deliveries on the days I’m not there, washes cars, etc.

I also have a racing bud working there about two days a week on the race cars and the cars I’m getting ready to sell. It is my plan to sell off about 2/3 of my stuff (cars and parts), and then build a smaller shop close to my lake house (100 miles) away. I want to move to the lake full time instead of commuting. That’s why there’s the thrash to get shit down.

Anyway, with three of us running around jumping from project to project, stuff doesn’t get put away well, and is often lost or put away dirty. Last week I spent three days solid, taking stuff out one of the four containers of parts, cleaning and wrapping; throwing out any junk and making sure everything gets put into the proper bin.

I’m about 7/8 finished with the one that was the biggest mess. I’m going to wait until it is cooler before tackling the others, as I about keeled over a half-dozen times working in the container on 100 degree days. I’m not taking the heat as well as I use to.

Trucks

I put bed saddle bags in my Ram, like I’d done for my daughters F150 – back when it was mine. I bought a ladder that mounts on the tailgate, to make it easier to get my fat ass in the bed. It wouldn’t work with my rollup bed cover, so I mounted it on my daughter’s truck – so her 7 months pregnant ass can get in the bed. I found a side mount ladder that works for my truck and installed it.

Sold my 58 Dodge Truck

The Magnum GT, Viper GTS, 67 Marlin, 78 Diplomat, 86 Grand National, 67 Barracuda, Sixpack Superbird and Genesis are all ready for new homes.

Daldavco & Bloomin’ Blinds of The Woodlands

Been spending a lot of time on the business end of things with that. Yesterday I went on an Installation with Dallas.

I’ve had a ton of other time consuming stuff happening. And convinced this retirement is going to kill me. I’ve worked hard all of my life, but never this hard!