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Discussion Starter #21
If I didn't say it before, this whole project took me 9 years. For one year it stayed in Roy's back yard until I could get a patio made on the side of my house. Then my total time was from 1992 to September of 2000. OK, now for a quick look at the engine. I showed the reciprocating parts in a previous post. Ross forged pistons, Crower forged rods and Childs and Albert's Zero Gap Second Ring (ZGS). I had the crank from my old 400 checked out and prepped for this engine and put it together. The cam I installed was a Comp Cam from Jim Butler. I've got a private story to tell if someone sees me in person. It's not about the Butler's, they're all good. The cam was 271/278 at 0.050" on a 106 LSA. I advanced it 6 degrees per their instructions. Now I put the heads on and check for valve to piston clearance. It wasn't a pretty picture. It was somewhere in the 0.040" range. The proper solution would have been to take the engine apart and have the valve reliefs made deeper. I didn't want to take the whole thing back apart, so I called the Butler's - again. My first question was what's the minimum VP clearance I should have. The said they make sure they have 0.080" on their customers' engines. So I asked them how close they go on their own engines. The answer was 0.070". So I did two things. I installed a head gasket a little bit thicker, and I moved the cam back to a 103 degree LCL instead of 100. I kept playing with it and checking all 8 cylinders as they are never exactly alike. CR ended up being 9.9:1, which is pretty low with aluminum heads.

B/T/W, notice the metal rods I had welded across the unsupported lifter bores.

To top off the engine I used an Edelbrock Victor aluminum intake and a 1050 Dominator set up by The Carburetor Shop. Brad Urban did my carb before he passed.

I'm all scanned out for the night, more later.

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Discussion Starter #22
"If you know my car, you might note something different about the graphics. I'll show you later."

Here's pictures of the before and after of the Indian on the fenders. Roy looked at the black and white one and said "it doesn't look mean enough. I'm going to redo it". So I left the fenders with him and put the hood and bumpers in a storage shed. You can see the result.

I only had the engine it, but I just had to start it up. It sounded awesome! It was particularly responsive without having anything attached to the crankshaft. I purchased a 4200 stall convertor from the Butler's and put it all together. I didn't know anything about spacing convertors, so I just bolted it up. When I fired it up it damaged the transmission. So out this brand new trans comes for a rebuild. This time I made sure I had the exact space they recommended between the convertor ears and the flexplate. The project had taken so long, I just had to take it to a couple of car shows as it sat. This one was the "Chiefs in The Channel" in the Ventura Harbor, put on by the Channel Islands POCI chapter. I think the year was 1997. I took pictures of several Pontiac people next to my car. Jess Tyree, Doug Thorley, Jerry "The Judge" Young, Stan Antlocer, and my good friend Ron Hildreth hanging on the door. Unfortunately none of them are with us anymore.

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Discussion Starter #23
While at the show in Ventura, I got lots of looks at the car - which was a good thing. The car had been partially converted to disk brakes before I got it. I took the calipers off to rebuild them. I didn't notice the two are different and I got them on the wrong sides. The bleeders ended up in a position where the calipers wouldn't bleed. I had spent days trying to get them to work to no avail. Someone there pointed it out to me. I changed them when I got home, and low and behold I had brakes.

One other show that I went to was in Long Beach. One of the guys checking out my car was Scott Parkhurst, who originated the Engine Masters Challenge. At least I think he was checking out the car. As I go through these pictures and find pictures of my wife, I feel I must include some of them. It's been close to 17 years and I'm having quite a bit of difficulty dealing with it this year being "imprisoned" in my home. BTW, the long haired guy peering into the engine compartment is Dave McGarry. The engine was running at the time.

The next issue was aligning the front end. It was 1998, and I was trying to get to a car show in Kansas. We couldn't get the front end aligned. The A-arm hit the header tube. I wasn't about to dent the header tube, so back to the fab shop.

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OMT, this thread is Da Bomb. So much work goes into a car. Nice to see all the pictures of the results.
Those headers look insane.
I liked the 4th set of graphics you posted ( the ones you chose)
That car is so cool
 

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While at the show in Ventura, I got lots of looks at the car - which was a good thing. The car had been partially converted to disk brakes before I got it. I took the calipers off to rebuild them. I didn't notice the two are different and I got them on the wrong sides. The bleeders ended up in a position where the calipers wouldn't bleed. I had spent days trying to get them to work to no avail. Someone there pointed it out to me. I changed them when I got home, and low and behold I had brakes.

One other show that I went to was in Long Beach. One of the guys checking out my car was Scott Parkhurst, who originated the Engine Masters Challenge. At least I think he was checking out the car. As I go through these pictures and find pictures of my wife, I feel I must include some of them. It's been close to 17 years and I'm having quite a bit of difficulty dealing with it this year being "imprisoned" in my home. BTW, the long haired guy peering into the engine compartment is Dave McGarry. The engine was running at the time.

The next issue was aligning the front end. It was 1998, and I was trying to get to a car show in Kansas. We couldn't get the front end aligned. The A-arm hit the header tube. I wasn't about to dent the header tube, so back to the fab shop.

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Well OMT....you just made my day. I thought I was the only one that had non working disc brakes because they were installed with the bleeders down on the wrong side lol. Never even knew that was possible 😱. Well hang in there Jim, old times and ways have a way of creeping back to the memory when there is not much to do, Nothing wrong with that. Maybe go into your gym and start lifting those gallon jug motor oil dumbbells, bench press a crank. I just went out and bought me a used punching bag for something to do during these times... covid/winter. And I am no spring chicken, tho I get the best out of the bag every now and then. Spring will soon be here and it will be hard to hold us back. Enjoying your posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
LATECH and RMTZ67 - Thanks for your comments. I wasn't sure anyone was reading the thread. If the way I'm presenting it is OK, then I will continue. It grew past "just the facts mam" to more of my life story with cars.
 

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LATECH and RMTZ67 - Thanks for your comments. I wasn't sure anyone was reading the thread. If the way I'm presenting it is OK, then I will continue. It grew past "just the facts mam" to more of my life story with cars.
Thats why it is so great. It is part of your life, nothing good comes easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
So, my plans for making it to Kansas were dashed. The car goes back to the fab shop. The easiest way to solve the problem was to completely grind off the upper A-arm mounts and install tubular A-arms. They are straight ones for roundy-round cars because they were a lot cheaper. However, the overall process took a long time, which was pretty depressing. About that time there was a special on Frank Hawley's Drag School at Pomona, so I committed to it. You could pick a Super Comp Dragster or a Super Gas Trans Am. I picked the Trans Am as I thought it would be more like my car. The process is to run full throttle for short distances, and when you've done it successfully you move up to the next distance. You start at 300', then progress to 600', 1000' and then the full 1320. They video tape everyone's runs, and then review all of them to everyone after each round. Every run the throttle is floored. As soon as you let off you have to abort the run.

I had never driven a "chassis" car before, and they handle differently. My first run felt a lot out of control, but I kept in it the full 300'. The car felt like it moved to the right, just like my GTO. So I turned the steering wheel to the left, and then went back and forth. Upon reviewing the video tape you could see that the tires were straight and then I turned to wheel. The car was getting up on the tires, but the tires were straight. The instructor (Jack Beckman) showed the video and asked me why I turned the wheel? Anyway, the next time I knew to ride it out. I made enough to get my license, which I received from Frank Hawley. My best run was 9.54 at 144. It was good experience for my car.

That's me in the race suit, Jack Beckman on the starting line for my runs, and me shaking hands with Frank Hawley. It was a great class. I don't think you can make it out in the picture, but #5 on the run board was Skip Walls - the owner of Lokar.

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1971 GTO resto mod. Modified 428 HO, 4 sp (built by midwest muncie) Dana 60, 3.55 rear
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Wow, what an amazing journey OMT.. I've never seen headers that came on the outside of the frame rails like that.. What a superlative job on your car.. Please keep up the commentary as you have time.. No worries, no hurries.. I have enjoyed reading every last posting.. Oh yeah.. wish my Eddy heads and motor looked that good and clean..
Jim K.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
OK. moving right a long. After getting the A-arms fixed, and the front end aligned. the next issue was getting mufflers on the car. I called Flowmaster (I think it was Paul Carver I spoke with) to get their recommendations. Their input was to use a complete 4" system (off of a 3.5" collector) with an H- pipe, their 4" Racemaster mufflers and 4" turn downs. The car really sounds wicked. I'll have to look around to see if I have any recordings of it, but I'm not sure if I do. Later I'll discuss the efficiency of the system. I did a test for HPP for the Shoot Out that was in their November 2005 edition. I'll cover this later.

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Discussion Starter #33
I think those were the main things to get up to the car racing. I had never run or maintained a high performance engine with solid lifters, especially rollers. It was also my first experience with true roller rockers. It's a different noise you have to get used to. My first outing was at Carlsbad (about 17 miles from my house) on August 19, 2000. Just beating my goal of having it racing by my 60th birthday, 10-15-2000. Being a racecar, I was not able to test anything before going to the track. So my first run I went to about the eighth mile and really hit the brakes. There was a big hill at the end of the track, and you wanted to make sure you stopped before it. I hit the brakes so hard the track officials thought the car broke. I didn't even get any incremental times as the time slip wadded up in the printer. OK, the second run is for real. I launched at 4000, shifted at 6000 and hit the 6800 RPM rev limit several hundred feet before the finish line. The car ran 11.15 at 120.36. BTW, the total race weight was about 3400 without the mufflers. The last run I upped my shift points to 6500, hitting the rev limiter little sooner. 11.01 at 121.39. It hadn't dawned on me to take torque converter slippage into account, and that's just about the difference in hitting the rev limiter too soon. I didn't make any more runs as the lifters were getting quite noisy. IIRC they loosened up about 0.006". I went out the next week and ran my first 10 second run in this car. 10.95 at 123.80. I had moved the rev limiter up from 6800 RPM to 7000. My third time out was my first race at Pontiac Drag Days. I don't remember winning a single round, but my log book shows 4 elimination runs. LACR was an altitude factored track, so multiply your speed by 1.03 and your ET by 0.97. I ran 11.12 at 119.44, which factors to 10.78 at 122.98. The bad news is that on the last run the rear end sounded like it was coming apart. It turns out the builder adjusted the pinion depth with a crush sleeve rather than solid washers. The car had no problem crushing the sleeve even further. So out the rear end comes to be rebuilt. I missed the last two Drag Days races, but I got it back to Carlsbad on November 25. All the driving techniques stayed the same and the car ran 10.78. The difference was in the 60' times. Carlsbad was pretty slippery. Ultimately I got it to run 10.71 at 124. I raised the rev limiter to 7200. I learned that I had to re-lash the lifters after every event.

The only clip I've got of it is just after the 2:00 minute mark of the referenced video. I've got the full run somewhere, but apparently not on YouTube.


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Discussion Starter #34
I found the video of the 10.71 run. It's a very poor quality, but you can get the idea. The car I was racing was a supercharged Mustang. Before the run I was told it was in the 11's.

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Discussion Starter #35
I did not have any more problems with the car after the rear end was fixed. I did have to adjust the lifters after every event, and I changed the lifters at somewhere between 200 and 250 runs. I think I changed the valve springs twice. Remember, I had minimal valve-piston clearance.

I put a total of about 440 runs on that engine before I decided to change it - that's a story of it's own, but I'll keep it in this thread.

There was one very perplexing issue. If you watched the 10.71 video, then you saw the car bouncing up and down. I'll let that sit with you for awhile before I tell you what I discovered.

I've included a couple of stills here. I bet I've got 100 or more of them.

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Discussion Starter #37
There's a whole lot more to the racecar story, primarily with the larger engine. But first I'd like to share some of my racing experience with the 400. Previously I mentioned the bouncing up and down that the car did on the launch. Most people diagnosed this as porpoising, but I wasn't convinced. I think I raced 1-2 years with this problem. Finally I took a video camera and had some one zero in on the lower quarter panel. We reviewed the video at length and still couldn't find anything, even in slow motion. Finally I went through it one frame at a time. On one frame, and one frame only, you could see that the rim of the wheel was almost touching the ground. The tires were M/T 28x10.5 slicks. At that time there was no choice on the sidewall type. Apparently they were way too pliable. Once the tire squashed that much it acted like a balloon. It launched the rear end back up. In trying to recover it kept going up and down until it dampened out. The solution was another tire. I bought 29x11 Goodyear's with stiff sidewalls. Porpoising problem solved!

I just loaded a video of a run much later as it's the only one I could find with the newer tire type. This was 2012 with an engine that got put in shortly before that. A 505 replaced the 400.

 

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Discussion Starter #38
My first race was in September of 2000, which I posted about above. I was racing in an 8 race series (every year) in the Pontiac Drag Days event. I don't think I even won a round until 2002. In February of 2002 I had to have double hernia surgery. I scheduled the surgery around the events, but one of them got delayed. So they doubled up the next month. I was out of work for four weeks as my recovery was slow. The weekend before I went to work was the two race weekend. BTW, these races were at LACR (Palmdale). I got the doctor's approval to race, so I went. I knew I couldn't travel back and forth, so I stayed at my sister's on Saturday night. She lived in Palmdale at the time. I didn't just win a round, I won my first event. Everyone mentioned how bad I looked, and Sunday turned out to be a disaster. I think I red lit every single run. BUT - I had my first event win.

As a reminder, I have a transbrake and a delay box. The main purpose of the delay box is to be able to "leave" (release the transbrake) on the top bulb. They call this a "clean" bulb as there is no warning. Being an old stick shift race, I was used to leaving on the third bulb. I just couldn't get prepared for the "clean" bulb, so I copped out and used the third bulb, adding any delay I needed for that light. At the time I was putting in 0.030-0.050 seconds in the box. D-Mac had talked me into going to the Pontiac Heaven event the first weekend in April of 2002. We are good friends, and he kept telling me to use the top bulb. He gave a very vivid imitation, which translates poorly without being able to show the body language. He said "It's easy. You see the first bulb and let off of the transbrake button like it is on fire (lot's of arm action to demonstrate). Then you wait and BANG, it throws you back in the seat (again lot's of body language)." OK, so I bite the bullet and go to Carlsbad for a test-n-tune. All I did al day was to try to do what Mac had told me. So the next weekend we all go to Speedworld in Phoenix. My first light was an .002, and my second one was an 001. I added a bit more into the delay box and ended up with my first event win at Pontiac Heaven. The really neat thing is that the two cars in the finals were D-Mac and myself, both from 400 miles away in Escondido. I didn't get a picture of the trophy, but attached is a picture of Mac and I in the finals.

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