Wednesday, May 26, 2010

AFR's have arrived!

After patiently waiting for about 6 weeks, my AFR heads have finally arrived! I went with the 315 cc fully CNC'd heads. Flowing 387 cfm on the intakes, 315 cfm on the exhaust, these heads are the secret to making the serious horsepower I am shooting for. Though extremely costly, at $2,600 bare, you get what you pay for when it comes to cylinder heads. In my opinion, AFR's are about the best head money can buy.

I hope to get them to the shop within the week, and hopefully will have a complete engine in a few weeks, in time for my vacation to begin and serious work on the car to start taking place. I'll try and get a few pictures before taking the heads in, though not sure if I want to fully unpack them, in order to ensure they stay safe and nick free before going to the shop. Curiousity will likely get the better of me though, and I'll likely unbolt them from the backing board they are mounted to for further inspection/pictures.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Michigan winters take their toll

Michigan winters, and the salt that they bring, can do quick damage to an aging car in regards to rust. I bought my Formula 6 years ago, with 70,000 miles on her, and little more than a little paint flake on the hood. Since then, cancerous rust has found its way into nooks and crannies and caused more damage than I had initially thought. Yesterday, while changing the oil, I did a thorough inspection of the car from bumper to bumper. What I discovered is hardly enough to warrant not restoring the car, but more metal work will be instore than anticipated. Step by step, I'll walk through each area of the car.

The hood really isn't bad at all. Aside from some paint peel and a few dings, its in near perfect condition.

Rust in the driver side wheel well lip is fairly minor, nothing to be overly concerned about. Strange, considering that you'd think that lip would be most effected, catching/retaining salt from the road.

The driver side door hasn't faired nearly as well. Though the bottom of the door is still solid, a portion of the skin near the back of the door appears paper thin. Some blasting, welding, and fill will be needed to get it back into shape. Also, the door rubs the fender slightly on the edge, something a new alignment/pins would solve.

Oddly enough, the passenger side door hasn't experienced the same rust as the other side. You'd think being closer to the shoulder of the road would cause more encounters with debris, causing paint chips, in turn leading to rust. That however is not the case.

The passenger lip, much like the other side, has relatively minor damage and will be easy to fix.

Though a little hard to see, the spoiler is literally coming apart. Rust from the skeleton bleeds out, and the structure is becoming very fragile. Luckily, they replace the material used with fiberglass on the aftermarket spoilers. I imagine they are considerably lighter too.

Here is the worst of the worst. This is the top of the passenger side wheel well. For whatever reason, the top has deteriorated to the point where some major work will be needed, and essentailly new wheel wells/fabricated wheel wells will need to be installed. The bracket you see in the middle of that hole is actually the attachment for the seat belt. It has rotted away and is no longer anchored.

The passenger fender and door took a good beating from shopping carts at Meijer a few years ago. They will need some straightening, though easily salvagible.

Door damage from the same shopping car encounter.

The Passenger side floor pan has faired fairly well, I'm sure mostly thanks to the aluminum heat shield which offers added protection. Add to that the exhaust heat which keeps that side dryer than the other side, and you have another bonus. The area near the rockers will need replaced, as is true for both sides. The majority of what you see though is surface rust, thankfully.

The driver side wheel well top is also soft, but nowhere near as bad as the passenger side. I'll likely rebuild/replace the same as I do for the passenger side. Especially after discovering the seatbelt attachment.

The driver side floor pan has a few more soft spots than the passenger. It also suffers the same major rust in the rocker panel area of the floor pan. Some metal strips will need to be welded in on both sides.

Though very little effort has been put into underhood detail over the years, it has remained fairly clean and presentable. Someday, another powerplant will find it's way under the hood. Most likely, something of the LS series of engines.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2011 Pony Car Wars

The outcome is somewhat expected, though I am a little surprised that the Camaro placed 3rd instead of 2nd, though can understand their reasoning. Any way you look at it, you can't go wrong with any one of these three muscle cars. Though I like the Camaro's styling the best, mad props go to the Mustang for keeping itself significantly lighter than the other two heavyweights. Also, to the Challenger, for easily having the most comfortable ride of the three. Definately would be my choice car for long road trips.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fuel System - Mechanical wins

I have reconsidered my initial plan for my fuel system. Initially, I planned to go with an electric pump Aeromotive setup, which was going to cost upwards of $1,000 including a fuel cell. I have since checked into alternatives, including mechanical pumps. After some searching, I came across a mechanical pump highly regarded by builders on a forum. The pump is made by Clay Smith, cost $125, and is good for around 1,300 hp. Going this route, I will add a sufficient electric pump later on down the road, only used as an auxiliary pump for when the nitrous is activated.

For this season, in an effort to simply get the car on the road, I am borrowing my former carb from my dad's Challenger. Though Barry Grant recommended their Demon 800, my former Demon 750 will have to make due for a year. Considering that the car will not see the track this year, I'm sure it'll be fine.

Another area in which I'm cutting corners to cut costs is with the brake systems. I will be reusing the factory disc brake setup, though converting to a Wilwood manual brake setup. Again, this is to cut costs, increase braking from what it was, and allow me to get the car on the road this year. I can upgrade to the full Wilwood setup as time/money allows.

Aside from that, I am still waiting upon the cylinder heads to arrive. They should be a week or two out. I need to disassemble my cast iron heads, as I will be reusing the rocker arm studs, titanium retainers/locks, as well as the pushrod guide plates.

Everything is still on track to start coming together this June. Though I'm started to doubt whether the car will be drivable, I hope to at least fire up the engine and be very close to being road worthy come July.