Think you know a lot about Big Daddy Don Garlits?
I’ll bet you you don’t. The Swamp Rat Spotter’s guide tells you about each of the 50+ Swamp Rats Big Daddy had/has, in history and photos. Every one of them.
I’ll bet you you don’t. The Swamp Rat Spotter’s guide tells you about each of the 50+ Swamp Rats Big Daddy had/has, in history and photos. Every one of them.
With this virus thing going on, Deb and I have been spending every other week alternating between the lake and the shop – so not as much got done in the last month. That said, here we go.
The rocker set from Jesel arrived, installed, and the motor is back to ready.
The rear of the car was ass-backwards, with the batteries in back of the weight boxes, making it near impossible to get them out. So the weight boxes and batteries were swapped around.
While at it, the rear window was made easily removable, so I can clean the insides of the side and rear windows.
I also removed the old name and numbers, and replaced with something that better matches.
I had some boxes Fabricated out of 1/8″ aluminum. One is the same height and width as the inside fender, and a length that fits between the fender and the lift post. That is to carry loose weight needed for the car’s weight boxes – to change the weight of the car.
I drilled through the aluminum floor and installed threads, so I could easily remove the box, should I want to.
I then drilled holes in the box, bolted them down and filled with weights.
The other was to carry the jack stands in the attic of the stacker. They were mounted the same way.
The in-floor compartment for the winch was too small for both a 9000# winch and the pulley.
So I attached 6 strong magnets to it, so that it can be stowed when not used.
I have a sweeping magnet for when my fat thumbs drop hardware – like valve cover nuts – in the grass. I riveted holders for it and a car mop.
Some HD velco spots will let me keep the T-Handle hex wrenches steady on my work bench
This was my dream car that I bought new in 93. The AC was repaired and the vent that was cracked and broken was plastic welded with Hot staples to be good as new.
The first test drive had the pipes scrape on turns, the horn blow on turns, the transmission’s shifter would pop out of 2nd & 4th, and the motor broke up above 5000 rpm.
The latter was cured with a distributor re-curve and carburetor adjustment. The horn required the steering wheel disassembled many times and played with. Loosening the bottom shifter stops allowed the shifter to stay in 2nd & 4th. The car leaning so much in the turns and scraping the exhaust was solved by calling Espo Springs and More for a set of stiffer springs having a 1″ lift.
I took the car for a ride and it is exactly what I’ve wanted. I took a short video, which sucks because I’m trying to hold the phone, shift and steer a manual steering car.
This car has been rattling around in my head fir almost 20 years, and I’m happy to finally cross it off my bucket list. Here are some Glamour photos I took with my phone when I got back from my ride.
If you’ve been following along this blog for the last six months, you know that I dyed the leather, got new Radial TAs tires, and repainted the car. The only thing keeping it from being perfect was an under hood detail and paint, bumpers chromed, paint for the trunk and door jams, and new exhaust. I pretty sure I last posted photos of my cleaning, wire brushing, priming and painting the trunk; and also pulling the drivetrain.
Since then, the motor and trans have been gone through and inspected, resealed, cleaned and painted, while under the hood has been cleaned and made ready for paint.
The bumpers have come off and sent to be crush glass blasted and powder-coated gloss black. They’ll go on my Magnum XE and the freshly chromed ones on the XE will go on the GT.
I bought a Holley Stinger Throttle-Body EFI with an in-tank fuel pump, 20′ of 6-AN black braided fuel lines, a large black in-line filter with 6-AN fittings, and assorted black anodized fitting to get hooked up from the pump to the black anodized throttle body. Also bought a dropped air cleaner base made for the throttle body. I fell asleep at the wheel photo documenting the install.
I drove about 100 miles at varying speeds while in learn mode. Car drives great when driven sanely. Fast, with no stutters or hesitation. It still has some learning and tuning to happen for when it is hammer time as this motor is about 550hp and much faster than what it limited me to on the first hammer down. I’m sure it will make me happy and the car will run like a raped ape when dialed in. Below is a hammer time drive after 100 mile learn.
I’ve been working on getting the car right, and its not far away. I had a leak in both convertible rams, and bought replacements that were suppose to fit off Ebay. Their stroke was about 1/2″ short, so they were cut, threaded on both ends of the cut, and an extension screwed on in between.
While the back seat is out and I’m at the lake, my Shop Rat will vacuum, degrease and paint that area with POR 15. The car needs an exhaust modification as the new factory pipes have the left side has about a 1′ too close to the floor. After the exhaust, the car gets new carpet. Someday, if I win the lottery, I’ll convert it to EFI and overdrive too. Hell, it might someday have a pump gas 440 race motor that I have ready to go into something.
I’m not just stopping at my single-car trailer and three rocking chairs in Red, White and Blue.
I had my Shop Rat paint my fence with Red top boards, White posts and center boards, an Blue bottom boards.
Since Grandson #6 and his mother live at our Beasley residence, I had the playground strip down, the vertical boards painted White, horizontal boards painted Red and diagonal boards Blue. I ordered blue grips for the climbing platform, a red swing and a red toddler swing. The slide is in my paint booth, waiting for me to scuff, hit with adhesion promoter, and paint blue.
But why stop there? I have two chairs and table in front of my shop.
One chair is fixin to be red, the other blue and the table white. Then there’s the furniture on the front porch of my barndominium.
Yup, you guessed it. Red, White and Blue. That porch is fixin to get tripled in size and screened in for front porch time.
Well, that pretty has my shop action up to date.
I’ve added the NSS races for NMCA, TDRA and HRR at MoparWeb dot com. If you have a favorite race you want to add to the calendar – it is super easy.
Life is so much better with a Screamin’ Woody! Get yours now!
Since the motor in the wagon had been untested, I first put the Texas Thug on the Lift of the stacker trailer, and the Screamin’ Woody under it. If the wagon couldn’t make the call, then I would have raced the Thug. 1100 miles is too far to go with an untested car unless you have a backup.
So Deb and I; Smiff and Wesson (our Toy Schnauzers); and our two new 9-week old Black Lab puppies – Ole Black Bettie and Billie Sue left Sunday early and got as far as the NASA rest area in Mississippi. Monday night we arrived at the track, and spent the night outside the gate. Tuesday we got onto the track and set up the pits.
Wednesday you could rent the track for $250, which I did and got three hits in. The first run, off the trailer was a very slow 10.1, breaking up a little as I crossed the line. I turn up the fuel pressure a little and made a 9.89 pass without breaking up. I and a couple Buds started looking around to see what was wrong – and found the timing was set at 30 degrees. Set it to 36 and I went up for a third hit. The car wouldn’t start, despite my volt gauge saying 17 volts. I got towed back to the pits and thrashed on the car – swapping the newer pair of 16V batteries from the Thug to the wagon. It was a time consuming process as the wagon was set up wrong – having the batteries hidden behind the weight boxes. It took about 2 hours before I could get back in line just as last call was made. I managed a 9.69 @ 139MPH.
Thursday, there was another Test & Tune, but I didn’t take part in it, as I felt my car was where I needed it. I instead spent the day polishing the car, cleaning up the trailer and playing with puppies.
Friday we were given a time trial and two Qualifying hits. On the Time Trial I was feeling pretty confident when I did my burnout and staged. When the lights went Yellow I launched, and then the car fell flat on its face. I pulled to the wall and looked at oil pressure, it was good so I looked in mirror. I saw no smoke nor did I see a trail of liquid, so I continued idling along the wall. I had no accelerator response and looked at fuel pressure and it was a steady 3psi (when I run 7psi) – so I continued to move up track, trying to get off without the tow of shame. At about the 660′ the fuel pressure went to 1 and I shut the car off. The track’s 4-wheeler with a slick roller pushed me off the track. I tried to start the car, it started, I had fuel pressure, and I drove back to my pit.
In my pit I checked all electrical connections. I couldn’t find any loose connections, or duplicate the problem.
The next run was the first Qualifying. I loaded up with a ton of weight. The car launched with a Monster Wheel Stand and ran great until a few feet before the finish line, where it broke up just before I lifted. Below is the time slip.
As was making the turn off the track, I noticed my fuel pressure was a steady 3psi. I pulled over, shut the car off, restarted and was back to my 7psi.
Back in the pits I changed the fuel regulator, thinking I had some scumotes in it, which would backwash when I turned off power.
In the early evening I loaded up the maximum weight, as I was too fast in the first Qualifying. In the Staging Lanes, I showed 0 Fuel Pressure when I started the car to move into the Burnout Box. I shut car off and restarted and I was good. That weight had me doing a giant wheelstand and the car ran good down the track.
Done for the night, but obviously having an issue still, I changed the relay switch and disassembled the new filters to inspect and clean. They looked as clean as a whistle, so I doubt they were the issue.
This is where I need to give a shout out to Fuelab. In 2013, the year before I won the Championship, they sponsored me with product. I’ve used about every brand of fuel system and Fuelab was the best I’ve ever used. After winning the Championship I had a couple of bad years because of health, motor problems, and both of my in-laws (who we were taking care of) dying. You have to win to keep sponsors, and understandably, I lost the few I had, including Fuelab. That said, I bought and continued to use Fuelab rather than seeking sponsorship elsewhere. So while I was having these Fuel issues, Josh was following me on Facebook and reached out to offer any help he could give – and I really appreciate that. While I’m now convinced that my problem was the electric relay, Josh has invited me to send my regulator and fuel pump to him for testing – just make sure. I’ve just bought a spare as I’ve always (until the last few years) carried a spare – regardless of brand.
Feeling confident that I had my problem fixed, I put the car away for the night. Saturday morning Q3 was very early and a cold 45 degrees. I had the maximum weight in the car and the weather station said I’d be a 1/4 second too fast. The car didn’t pick up the wheels as high as Normal, but sounded and felt good going down the track. However, the time skip told a different story with me a 1/4 second too slow and a horrible 60′.
Back in the pits, the timing was rechecked and fine. Everything I could think of was checked, and I couldn’t find a problem. I wrote it off as being one of those unexplainable mystery runs – like tire spinning.
Saturday night was my final qualify hit. Again the launch sucked, as did my time slip and 60′.
Back in the pit, Doug Duell sprayed foaming window cleaner on each of my header tubes as the car ran, and found #8 hole dead. I replaced the wire, retested and found that it now had fire in the hole.
My crappy #11 Qualifying matched me up with Barry Dorn in the first round. I was convinced that the car was fixed, but again it was so cold that I was bagging a 1/2 second faster than my index. He too was fast as he was the last qualifier, because of breaking out on all four Qualifying passes. My strategy was to figure out if I wanted the Stripe or give it away when I got there. However, the car ran like it was stuck in mud, off more than 1/2 second too slow. As I was loading the car onto the trailer, we again sprayed foaming window cleaner on the header tubes and now #4 hole was dead.
We loaded up and was off the track by noon – driving about 600 miles to spend the night at a sketchy Walmart in Mississippi. Monday we finished the final 500 miles arriving home in the early evening. Tuesday, the car was unloaded and valve covers removed. It was found that the intake rocker number 4 backed off and the push rod went between the rockers – tearing push rod and rockers up. I ordered a new pair of rockers
While it would have been nice to have had things go smoother for first race of the year, this is both a new (rebuilt from ground up last year) car and motor. These things happen when you don’t have time to test locally.
The new motor is in the Screamin’ Woody and I took it for a blast down my nasty rural road. Appears to be fine, but I didn’t take it above 4500 RPM as we’ve had a lot of rain and the 35mph road is pretty rough. Changed the preload a little to help it launch straighter – but haven’t test that. I’ll come to Bradenton a day early and try to work out the wrinkles.
Back at the shop I put it on the rack. Changed the breakin oil for racing oil, cleaned the underside, and found a crimp in the fuel line making a 90 degree turn – so it was cut out and replaced with a couple 45 degree hose ends and a m/m fitting. Polished the wheels, put it back on the ground to clean under the hood, interior and exterior.
She’s ready to go into the Stacker when I finish out-fitting it.
Because the Screamin’ Woody will be untested before the race in Bradenton, FL in early March, I’m gonna throw the Thug on the Lift as a backup, in case there’s an issue with the Screamin’ Woody. So it too had its oil changed, wheels polished and a through detailing.
In the above photo, you see Grandson #2 – Jake. He and his twin sister Elwood spent a few days with Deb and I, as their mother was having a medical procedure. Jake spent a 1/2 day in the shop learning a little about tools and cars.
He naturally wanted to grab a seat (including back seat) in the three cars in Shop 1 – where most of the work is done. Afterwards, he learned how to mark a 1/2″ impact wrench holster level on the Stacker door, drill through one panel while stopping before going through the outside skin, and riveting the holster on the door.
As I was trying to show him how to mount and wire up a 9000# winch in the Stacker, I found that a 5-year-old boy’s 1st tool-time (keep in mind I have two sons and three handy daughters – so this isn’t my first rodeo) has limited patience. To get him to stop rummaging through the tool drawers in the Stacker, I used the “Ole Tape Measure Trick” and had him measure some stuff.
After he got bored of that, he decided Tool-Time was over and decided to play on the playground I built in front of my house a couple of years ago.
So speaking of the new Stacker, I need to finish out-fitting it so I can load the cars up. Check a couple of previous posts to update yourself where I’d gotten by mid last month. Most is done, but the winch (to get the cars in and out of the trailer) was not.
When I ordered the Stacker built to what I’ve learned about trailers over the years, I had them build an in-floor compartment for a winch with 1/2″ platting. There’s a door that covers it to make for a flat floor. I test fitted the winch and drilled some 1/2″ holes through the plate. The winch was then mounted by bolting in from the under the trailer, using Grade 8 hardware.
Once bolted in, it became obvious that Intech didn’t make the well deep enough for the relay box that sits on top. I took it apart to remove the mount, and the only place it would fit was in back of the winch – only if I removed the lower mounting rod off the winch.
Even then, I only had about 1/2″ clearance from the now neatly rolled spool. Since we all know this will be the last time the spool will be neat – that wasn’t going to work. I removed the relay and rolled under the trailer with it and a mount I had made from aluminum bar stock. After tearing out a clump of hair caught in the creeper’s wheel, I remembered that now that my hair is again Long – that I have to have hoodie up when on a creeper.
I then drilled a 2″ hole through the 1/2″ plate, almost breaking my wrist many times when the broch stopped moving but my big Dewalt drill still wanted to turn.
It would only be Natural that after taking two shots of mounting the relay box under the trailer that the cables to the winch would all be 1″ too short. So work stopped on the winch while I placed an order for 4Ga copper cable butt connectors and a couple options on 2″ hole grommets.
However, there was other work to be done.
Like a couple door baskets, disposable glove holder, magnetic bars for wrenches, and a couple Velcro straps to hold a yoga mat for me to lay on when under the car.
Mounted power tools, batteries and charger on bench splash board, and an oil pan holder on the wall under the oil rack. I should have the Stacker finished and the cars loaded in by the end of next week.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I have a 25 year old aluminum trailer I’m making new again. A few posts back I showed how the inside and outside was stripped and painted, new LED tail and marker lights, reflective Red/White/Blue stripes, Texas Flag painted on door, and about half of the out-fitting done. Since then:
I cut a 1″ square 3/16″ steel plate into four 6″x6″ plates, punched 1/2″ holes in them, primed and painted White to match the trailer. They’ll be backing plates to the Puck lock, to spread the stress on the inside and outside of the door, inside and outside of the trailer. I’ll be mounting the Puck lock next week.
At the rear of the trailer I mounted a jack pouch, spare tire, and blower on the curb side. On the street side – I mounted a strap holder with a cut down yoga mat as a wall protector. A broom holder and a holder for my director’s chair – in the black bag. Also hung a couple cord holders. I mounted some small D-Rings for bungee cords – to keep stuff from flopping or falling onto my car – as this is a very narrow trailer. I also secured the basket holding the jacks with bungee cords and D-Rings. That’s for in case the car gets too close winching out and I need to get them out of the way. The plan is to be able to quickly get to the spare, two bottle jacks and tire spinner by just opening the rear door – and not having to climb over stuff. I have much experience with flats as I drive fast, for long periods of time, on hot southern roads.
Moving to the front curbside of the trailer, I have a door cabinet with drop down table top, wrench/oil rack, fire bottle holder and a disposable glove holder on the door. On the side of the cabinet, I have rubber hands to hold the Weather station pole that extends above the trailer. Outside the door I have a White Board to leave and receive messages when I’m not in my pit. Inside next to the door is a strap rack with a yoga mat protector.
On the front street side:
I have hangers for my power tools, racks for papers and my log book, double helmet rack with stereo under and speakers to the side, a couple magnetic bars and some hand tools mounted. I still have to wire in two batteries, an inverter, a charger, the roof fan, the stereo, a pair of charging lugs and other incidentals. I also need a cover for the radio and plumb for compressed air receptacles under door and rear of trailer.
The gas sending unit in tank was swapped so the gas gauge now works. The shifter was hitting the steering wheel in 1st and second, so a spacer was made to fix that. The retro tach still doesn’t work, so I need to deal with that. The car was cleaned up.
I dug up three old 15″ Mopar wheels for the front, and spare. I took them down to Discount for my bud Gregg to dismount the rotted tires. They were cleaned up, prepped and I hit with rust colored primer. Next week I’ll play around with cream paint and primer to make look rusty like the back wheels and then take to Discount for some new Goodrich T/As to get mounted. Then the car is done.
The Gear Vendors overdrive is in the car, just waiting for the Driveshaft from Victory. It arrived yesterday, and that car should be back on the road next week.
The engine and Transmission was pulled.
All of the under hood parts were pulled.
Under the hood will get cleaned, wire brushed and scuffed before receiving a fresh coat of urethane to match the exterior. The engine will cleaned resealed and painted – as will the transmission. Then gets stabbed back in. The AC compressor cleaned and painted. The wiring cleaned – maybe replaced if I can find new authentic. Power steering pump replaced, hard lines either made to look new or replaced. I want under the hood to look as new as the exterior.
So I think that catches me up on the shop reporting. Next report in about two weeks.
About 18 months ago, I bought an early 90s Aluminum Trailer from a racing buddy. The reason was that I had a Motorhome and a Stacker Trailer for week long races, a pick-up truck and gooseneck for weekend races, and a Toy Hauler and pick-up for motorcycle trips. The Toy Hauler needed to be replaced because it was shit and cost me money every time I took it out. I came up with brilliant money saving idea that buying an older, quality, aluminum trailer would allow me to sell both the Toy Hauler and Gooseneck. I could take the Motorhome and trailer (If I set up to carry both my son’s and my Harleys) on motorcycle trips and pull it behind the pick-up for weekend racing.
So I buy this early 90s trailer from Jim Bailey. I paid a premium for it, but it was well cared for and I felt I could freshen up reasonably. To this date, I modified the interior floor to accept the “Lock ‘N Loads to transport bikes, added a winch, some D-Rings, and move the wheel stops to accommodate a bigger car. I then scuffed, prepped and painted the exterior walls white with Red & Blue Stripe. It cost me a gallon of Rustoluem white and a quart each of red and blue Rustoleum – plus some supplies. I also painted the A-Frame gloss black. I later replaced the red and blue stripes with red, white and blue reflector tape – and wrapped the bottom in red/white safety tape. Electrically, I replaced all marker and tail lights with LED and the 7-blade trailer wiring. Finally, I installed an electric jack. Below are a list of shop update links on Maniacal Ravings of Dave Schultz, where I posted Details and Photos of this work.
So the above brings you up until this last week. Everything on the wall was removed and the interior walls were scuffed with 400 grit on a DA Sander, wiped down, taped off, and painted while with a roller.
Then I started to outfit to my convenience. I started with buying a black Yoga mat, cutting it in half, and riveting into place (with 1″ aluminum stock) at the back of the trailer. I then mounted a broom holder, strap holder, cord and hose holders and the Spare tire. I also mounted a hanger for the Director’s chair carrying case.
Moving to the front, I mounted a double helmet closet next to the bench. Onto it I installed a Kenwood stereo and a pair of speakers. To pick up the track radio from pitted in the Boonies, I mounted a high quality antenna on the street side – extending above the roof.
You’ll also note the 12,000 pound winch with a wireless remote mounted against the wall and a removable snatch pulley in the center. Also on the floor are the Lock ‘n Load plates for the removable motorcycle chocks.
Moving to the door, I mounted a door cabinet with fold down table. Below that is an oil bottle shelf, which also holds wrenches and screw drivers. That should alleviate some of the running in and out of the trailer for the most basic tools.
And speaking of convenience, I bought another cheap Yoga mat with carrying strap and riveted the sprap above the door. That makes it easy to grab for those times in the pits when you need to lay on the ground or work under the car.
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.
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 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.
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.
Engine has been reassembled with a new crank, a new rod, New roller lifters. The fresh motor was stabbed in yesterday and will get fired up and tuned next week.
Photos obviously in reverse order.