on January 30th, 2018

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook about a 68 Firebird that a guy was thinking about selling. Someone posted that they thought it was worth about $3700. So I offered the owner $3500 and he accepted. I was also willing to haul it away, quickly so that helped the deal go through.

Anyway – there were many unknowns. Including how well the car would run. The owner asked if I wanted to hear him start it when I picked it up and I opted not to because I assumed it had old gas in the tank.

A week or so after I got it home, I attempted to drain the tank. It was basically empty. So I went out and bought 10 gallons of premium gas and put it in the tank.

Then I went up and hit the key.

It started!

I’m excited to get this new 50 year old bird running to work and school and around town. Will keep you posted as we get it cleaned up and on the road!

on December 4th, 2016

Well – we got the new mid engine plate.

Now comes some meticulous measuring to make sure we position it right.

In order to do it accurately, I’ve decided to take all my measurements with an unused block. This affords me full access to all pieces around the motor and allows me to locate the motor mounts and angles accurately. This would be much more difficult with a fully assembled engine.

I think the mid engine plate will not only rigidize the powertrain in the chassis for this engine but also if/when we add power-adders like turbos. Exciting!

Here’s me and my son installing the bare block to take some measurements.

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on February 20th, 2016

I’ve had some time recently to really ponder some of the next moves on the racecar. Here are some of the things I have in mind…

So putting these on the car means that we can run the big engine. I believe we have everything else on the car that we need to get it to run consistently. We have new slicks, once we can tweak the tuning via the EFI setup, should be able to be more competitive in index races as well as get a good handle on being consistent at bracket races. Very exciting. Now if I can just find the $3500 I need to make it all happen. Hehe.

on August 23rd, 2014

Spent the evening at Knoxville Dragstrip last night. Good times. But the last run was a little weird. It totally skipped the 1-2 shift. I’m thinking it was traction related (do we need new slicks?)

Here is the Racepak chart for all 4 runs.
2014-08-23 08_06_51-DataLinkII
The two red circles are for that 4th run. You can see the driveshaft to engine ratio spiked (which mean the tires spun) and I think it shifted from 1st to 2nd right then and there and then later in the run (around the 2.25 seconds mark, where it usually shifts 1-2, you can see it was flatlined because the engine was just pulling through 2nd.

So – why did it lose traction? Are the tires out of stickiness? We are definitely getting close to the wear indicators.

I think you get about 200 – 250 runs out of a set of slicks (based on recent convos I’ve had lately – I haven’t personally researched it yet) and looking back through my notes – we have probably made half of those since I took over the racing operation in late 2003. Crazy to think – but yeah – these are things that wear out so it very well may be time for a new set of shoes. So I’ll add that to the budget and we’ll keep on trucking. But now – the question is for today. Do I try to make another run? Or do put on the set of “spare” slicks we have? I think I am going to put on the spare set. 2014-08-23 08_16_32-Datasheet _ DragTracker.com

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on May 20th, 2014

It is probably no surprise to everyone that reads my blog (is this thing on?) – I am not the greatest tuner in the world. I wish I was. My dad is a PRO. He has AMAZING techniques for troubleshooting, is extremely logical and tenacious. I admire these things about the guy.

Me, though – I have other skills. I’ve won some events, driven the car with no brakes, through farm animals and other border-line extreme conditions. So perhaps that is where my gifts lie. I am usually pretty good at having clarity during situations that there is little margin for error.

So here I sit with an engine that is capable of, between 600 and 700 horsepower and yet I can’t get it to idle. The big problem is that I can’t test and tune it in my neighborhood because it is too loud and the neighbors have already labeled us as the people with, “the loud car”. I don’t want to wear out our welcome in the neighborhood.

I am really only able to test at the track and yet I can hardly keep it idling enough to get it on the trailer. Yikes.

I got a chance to talk to John Gaydosh at the Atlanta NHRA event and he gave me some confidence to keep trying to solve this problem. And since I am definitely one who is “in to” logging stuff (a la, dragtracker.com) – I’m going to try very hard to keep good notes and solve this problem. I also thought I’d share some of what he and I discussed.

  1. Definitely bump up the timing to 36 degrees (we’ve been running 32, and I’ve been comfortable with that for a while but we USED to run 36 and John recommended it so I’ll go back to it)
  2. Get better at reading spark plugs. You can tell a few things (lots, actually) looking at them – fuel ring on the ceramic, there is a mark on the probe if your timing is right, plus they won’t look dirty if it is not overly rich and right now – we might be over-rich and getting hot EGT’s because of excess fuel in the chamber that is not burning
  3. Start adjusting the air bleeds and try to get that ironed out

I’ve got my work cut out for me. I would love if some other company had built my engine and had given me a setup that was guaranteed carb to oil pan, but alas – I wanted to try building my own setup and it is for that reason that I am facing these challenges. Its my own food to chew and I am going to do my best to solve this so I can get back on the track and be competitive. I’m looking forward to it!

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