August 2nd, 2000 Progress Report

Here is what was accomplished in the above photos since the last report on 6/07/00: I stripped the car and hauled it over to Bud's house for a thorough welding. On the way, the crossmember tab that I had tacked in place broke loose and the whole thing fell off. I retraced my steps hoping to find it lying next to the road. Well, I found it, but only after about 4 trucks had run over it. It was mangled. A new, much improved version has been constructed.

The motor needed a half-fill of Hard-Blok because of a thin cylinder. After boring .060" over, the lower thrust side of number 6 was only .120" thick! The block has been finish honed, decked and line honed and is on my motor stand in the basement with the rest of the motor. I ordered the rest of the motor parts (roller lifters & cam, rockers, oil pan, etc.) last week and they rolled in the other day. I've been measuring all of the internal components and writing it all down.

After degreeing the cam, I found that it should be advanced 2 degrees to split the difference in the error and get it mostly where it should be. I then checked piston to valve clearance, and found that with .022 lash, I only have .036" clearance between intake valve and piston. Yikes! Even a thicker head gasket won't get me up where it needs to be, so I may have to flycut some from the top of the piston. Unfortunately, that will lower compression a bit. I'm currently sitting right at 14:1, and don't want to go much lower. After talking to a few people, it seems common practice to simply retard the cam timing until the desired clearance is reached (within reason). This moves the power up in the RPM range, but heck, with a 5800RPM stall convertor, that's okay.

I found a fresh racing powerglide tranny complete with transbrake for a great price. Steve and Sharon in Texas crated it and shipped it off to me. It looks fantastic. Even the crate was beautiful. If it works as good as it looks, things will be just fine.

The Simpson -15 firesuit arrived last it's heavy! 4 layers of foam and nomex. It's black and red (like the car will be) and has a narrow band of white in the middle. Yea, looks just like design "L" in the catalog. So much for being creative :^) The neck support, gloves and shoes also arrived. The nomex headsock is backordered.

All of the cables and braided stainless line for the fuel and brakes are here. I've discovered that getting in and out of the car will be impossible without using a quick-release hub for the steering wheel and I have one of those too now. I have some new Wilwood parts to freshen up the brake calipers and replace all the old corroded, frozen bolts, cross-over tubes and bleed-screws.

I started trying to mock up the cowl in cardboard, and it's a bitch. Working with the aluminum is going to be even worse. I think this step will be the toughest part of the whole car.

I went paint shopping, and got a quart of THE brightest red I could get (look to the far left). I borrowed a nice spraygun from my buddy Bob and decided the best place to practice would be the engine block. If I get a run or orange-peel, no one will really notice, right? I mixed up a batch this afternoon, rinsed the whole block in laquer thinner and masked it off. I gave it about 5 thin coats and WOW does it look nice! It's shiney and smooth with only a few fuzzballs and unfortunate insects caught for posterity. I also painted a piece of the coated aluminum I've been using for body panels and painted it. I want to see if the reducer will react and cause a problem with the coating. Weeks later now, the sample still looks great. No problem putting acrylic enamel on this coated aluminum.

The last guy must not have seen the big "L" on the ring gear bolts. One was twisted off. Every bolt was different...Hmmm. Since gonads are at stake here, I ordered a new set of left-handed bolts from Randy's Ring & Pinion and put them in.

I wrestled with getting all the scratches out of the seat before putting it in for the last time. I had trouble finding pads and abrasives to do the job. Now that the new front cover is here from Hilborn, I should be able to button the motor up. The cover that came with the injector had no bearing in it to keep the cam from walking. It had been machined out by somebody. The gear on the Jackson drive is thinner and may require a spacer to be turned up to go behind the hex drive. The MSD 7AL-3, fuel filter and all the AN fittings got here today. So many parts and so little time...

Photos by: Bill Dare