Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Camaro Update: 11-11-2014

Since my last blog, I have managed to remove my engine from the Camaro. The damage is fairly minimal thus far, but the damaged roller lifter did damage the bottom of the lifter bore, requiring it to be sleeved.  That's ok though, as it will allow use of larger body roller lifters.  I will be switching to the bushing style lifter, as their added durability seems worth the price, even if it is more than double.  I highly doubt the car will be back on the road in 2015, which on a brighter note, will allow me to finish off all the small things that I've never got around to finishing/fixing.

Among the items I wish to finish are as follows: Trunk carpet, nitrous system, sound system, new brake lines, gauge cluster, interior items/upgrades, fuel tank pickup/sending unit, window net, trans shield, and other safety items required for the track.  While I pondered going with a 540 short block, I simply can't justify the cost at this time, nor would I ever get the wife's permission!  So, I have chose to fix what I got, and go the bushing style/larger bore roller lifter.  If I do ever get that 540 block, I can get it setup for the larger lifters, and all of the upper end will transfer from my 454 block.

I've been dragging my feet lately, but hope to get back on track in the next few weeks while on my furlough.  I can't promise major progress, as I won't be purchasing much, if any, parts for install.  That said, my roll control and nitrous kit are both complete (minus a nitrous plate) and ready for installation.   Until next time!



















Roadkill: Episode 34

Monday, September 29, 2014

Solid Roller Lifters - The Truth

As previously stated, my engine experienced a solid lifter fail a few weeks ago.  I got around to pulling the engine apart last week, as I at least wanted to see how severe the damage appeared.  It seems to be confined to just one solid roller, thus far.  I plan on pulling the engine all the way down, at the very least, clean it, and reassemble with new lifters.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I caught it early enough that the damage was minimal.  As you can see from the pictures below, the roller on the right seems to have either taken a pounding, of the finish began coming off.  After a bit of research, I found an excellent article addressing solid roller failure, and it seems metal fatigue was likely the cause of my roller failing.

I hope to have the engine out and completely disassembled within the next month or so, assess the damage, and go from there. I still plan on running a solid roller, I just have a much better understanding of their life span, and what to look for.  Here is the article I found, and what has convinced me that a bushing style roller is the way to go.

Solid Roller Bearings - Bushings or Needles, Which is Better?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Time to assess the damage

Ok, I think it's getting to be about that time.  After realizing one of my lifters had failed, it pretty much took the wind out of my sails this season.  I still made Woodward the next day, and was still motivated to get the family out to Hines Drive.  A family virus running through the family kept us from Frankenmuth's Autofest, and then just like that, BAM! Fall was here, temps had dropped into the low 60's for day time highs, and cruise season was over.

The car as sat, without much attention other than sitting inside it with my 1 year old yesterday.  That is about to change.  The other day, a local repair shop owner had his ride out front of his business.  Not just any ride, but a 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury, with a 498 ci big block mopar, huge tubs out back, and everything needed to run low 9's.  It made me a bit jealous, as he prepped his car for Milan this Sunday.  It was also that little nudge I needed to get my shit together, and at least start getting things ready to begin this winter engine rebuild.  I'm hoping that next week I can start wrenching on it, and perhaps at least get the intake off and see just what kind of damage we are looking at.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Farm Truck - Detroit

I ran across this Detroit version of Farm Truck, from Street Outlaws.  The owner was probably around 80 years old, had never heard of Street Outlaws, and was somewhat surprised by my interest in his truck.  It's cooler than he'll ever know!

2014 Hines Drive Cruise - Best Car Cruise in Metro Detroit

I have to say, the Hines Drive Cruise has become my hands down favorite cruise in Metro Detroit!

2014 Hines Drive Cruise

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Roadkill: Episode 31

Roadkill: Episode 30

2014 Woodward Dream Cruise

For the first time in 4 years, my Camaro missed out on the Woodward Dream Cruise.  Out of the 20 years the cruise has been happening, I have made 19 of them, and my Camaro has made about 10 of those.  I thought this was going to be a trouble free year, with multiple trips to the track.  After one trip, and just one run down the track, it seems a failed roller lifter has ended my cruise/racing season.  I'm hoping I caught the failure early enough so as no damage, other than the failed lifter, has occurred.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a new cam (or possible reground cam), set of lifters, and gaskets and I will be ready to go for 2015.  I may take this minor setback as an opportunity to install the nitrous kits I've had collecting dust for about 15 years.

I didn't allow car troubles to dampen my spirits, and we still made Woodward bright and early.  I rode up with my parents in their 1995 Pontiac Formula, while meeting up with my brother-in-law in his 2014 Challenger Shaker and father-in-law in his 2004 Dodge Rumble Bee.  Fun was still had and memories were still made.  Next up, Hines Drive!

2014 Woodward Dream Cruise

2014 Hines Drive Cruise - 8-24-2014

This year's Hines Drive Cruise has been moved to Sunday, which I think is a good thing, though perhaps I'm biased because I'm off work on Sundays.  I can honestly say that I look forward to this cruise nearly as much as Woodward.  There are very few, if any, cruise strips that can restrict access to only classic cars.  Hines Drive, being a park, is able to do just that.  While not nearly as walkable as Woodward, due to the cars being spread out more and not as dense, I think anybody who sets up their chairs anywhere along Hines will be plenty satisfied staying put in one spot.  Another downside, over the last couple years I have noticed that food venders are scarce, if not non-existent all together.  So, being a park, plan on packing a picnic of bbq-ing on site.  I picked up a Webber portable grill the other day, and will be grilling up some dogs this year and bringing a big cooler.

2014 Cruisin' Hines Drive

Nowalk Raceway Park 2014

Here area few more photos from my day, and single run, at the dragstrip.

Lily-Bug.  You think she's having a good time?

Emma Sue, also having a blast at the track, asking for a Jr Dragster, pink, with Barbie on it.

 Dad and I ready to run.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Woodward Dream Cruise 2014 - My Camaro won't be making the trip

Shit happens, pure and simple.  After making it down the track for the first time in 14 years, even though I had my troubles, I didn't seem to have hurt anything.  I was wrong.  Today, I topped off the tank in preparation of the Dream Cruise tomorrow.  I no more than left the gas station and I heard something was wrong.  Though the oil pressure was fine, the valve lash sounded loose, and a squeal, as if a bearing was failing, was a sure tell sign something wasn't right.

I had already been skeptical that one of the solid rollers may have been failing, after rechecking the valve lash a few days after running down the 1/4 mile.  Fortunately, I was just around the corner from home.  After parking it in the garage, oil pressure was still fine, though the driver side valve cover was obviously louder than the passenger side.  I quickly pulled the cover off, and the rocker I was concerned about had a lot of clearance.  The engine was hurt, and I can only pray that it's not hurt too bad.  As it is, it's parked for the year, and this winter will determine just how hurt it is.  I'm hoping I'm just a cam, lifters, and gaskets away from being back on the road and track ready.  Not the winter I was expecting, as I was hoping to leave the drivetrain alone this winter.

I'm not one to let my misfortune dampen my spirit, and will still be heading to Woodward with family and friends tomorrow.  I will enjoy it just as I always do, but my car simply won't be making the trip.  The downside of making so much hp is that sooner or later, something fails, especially when you push the limits of streetability.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Norwalk 2014 - First 1/4 mile run in 14 years

I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.  I would also be lying if I said I didn't have a blast and feel something inside re-ignited while blasting down the track.  I ran a disappointing 11.9@117.65 mph.  That said, I learned a lot in which I had forgot, and realized that my tune was WAY off, and was drowning the engine with fuel.  I plan to hit the track again soon, hopefully within a month, though this time it will be at the much closer Milan Dragway.  As you can see from the video, the car launches fairly well, then hesitates off the line with a bog.  I think a much leaner tune, a little more timing, and correctly adjusted valve lash will make a world of difference.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

FINALLY hitting the 1/4 mile

My car hasn't been to the track since 2000. Yeah, you read that right, 14 years! I have been preparing to get back to the track for most of that time, more so in the past 4 years since it has been back on the road. I come back with a vengeance, with a full cage, 200 extra hp, bullet proof 9", and some sticky Mickey's out back. Tomorrow, I head to Norwalk, now Summit Motorsports Park. The car is loaded and ready to go, and I am confident I have a fairly good tune on the car, and hope for a trouble free day. I have friends and family going and will have both pictures and video from the outing. It's just a test and tune night, but I hope to make it to the track a few more times this year, though most likely to Milan Dragway. I can't wait to blast down the track, as it's been building up inside for more than a decade. Summit Motorsports Park

Monday, July 07, 2014

Camaro Update: 7-7-2014

I just finished picking up the last of the parts needed to get my Camaro ready for the track, hopefully hitting Norwalk Raceway Park on 7/25/2014.  After a front end alignment and new tie rods a week ago, I picked up a new set of front tires today, rated up to 168 mph.  The old tires were shot, and to be honest, I believe they were responsible for the front end vibration.  In addition to new tires, I also picked up a Bell helmet, ordered a fire jacket, and stopped by Detroit Performance Center for a new shifter cable.  I also grabbed a book on nitrous systems while I was there, as at some point, my nitrous kit will find its way onto something I own.  I still have a few items to finish on the car, but I now have all the parts I need, and with a little tuning, the car should easily be ready for the track come July 25th!

2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat

707 hp. What else do you really need to know?

2014 Downriver Cruise

2014 Downriver Cruise

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Roadkill: Episode 29

This makes me excited to build our '68 Firebird!

2014 Gratiot Cruise - Eastpointe

This is the first year my Camaro has ever made it to the Gratiot cruise.  Typically, we all go to the show, but we park and walk.  This year, by friend Rod brought his '41 Ford pickup, my '69 Camaro, Dad's '95 Formula, Father-in-law's '14 Challenger SRT, and Brother-in-law's '14 Challenger R/T Shaker.  It was nice to have so many family and friends with their cars at the show.  After a few hours of settling in, we still walked the cruise, and though turnout seemed a bit lighter, was still a very good kickoff to this year's cruise season.

My wife's dream car, which I hope to some day get her.

One of the baddest wagons ever, and I'm not a big fan of Olds.  This Vista Cruiser though, man, with those skylight windows, simply awesome!

Nice Coronet.

This is about how my dad's Challenger will ride, perhaps even a little bit lower.

Twin turbo power!

A boat of a car, but those lines are perfect.  The wheels and stance are perfect on this one.

I really like the two tone on this Ford.

You don't see many Falcons, and this is one of the nicest, with some massive meats out back!

3rd Gens continue to gain popularity.

There are but a handful of cars that can get away with the metal flake paint jobs, and this one definitely qualifies.


2014 Gratiot Cruise - Eastpointe

Monday, June 16, 2014

1968 Pontiac Firebird Update: 6-11-2014

I sold off the power window motors a few days ago, and also picked up some full length floor pans and a radiator support.  While the car has been on hold for awhile, my Camaro is now on the road and ready for the cruise season.  I can now try and find some free time for us to get back started on the Firebird.  Next step is getting the subframe out and the floors cut out in preparation of new pans.

Hot Rod Power Tour: Norwalk, OH

While my Camaro didn't make the trip down, I simply couldn't let the Power Tour pass us by without stopping my Norwalk to check out the action.  While a very light rain prevented fun runs down the track until around 4pm, there were plenty of cars on the grounds to check out.  So many cars in fact that they had to start parking them on the west side of the track, after running out of space in the pit area.  It was a great turnout, and an amazing number of VERY nice vehicles.  This was my two daughters first trip to the drag strip, and while our 1 year old wasn't really phased by it, our 3.5 year old was having a blast.  She said "Daddy, this is cool!"  She then was cheering on the cars, and then even stated "Daddy, stop playing on your phone and watch the cars!"  I don't think I will have any trouble getting her back to the track!

The car responsible for me owning my '69.  I first read about this car in 1993 or so, and I was hooked.  I've watched this car change many times over the years, just as I've watched mine also undergo many changes. Thanks Crusher Camaro!

One sharp '58 Chevy!

When they first announced the Z28 I was skeptical.  $75K for a Camaro?  I will now agree, that it has it's place amongst the lineup, and is perhaps more worthy of the badge than any Camaro from any generation.

Perhaps the ONLY candle apple 2nd gen Firebird I have ever seen.

I admit, I didn't know if this was a new car, old car, or even a kit car.  Then, I stumbled upon an article in the Detroit News a day or two later.  It's a Lucra, and seemingly one hell of a track car. 

This is what my '68 Firebird would have looked like.

Big, road hugging, Mopar.

I believe this car was featured in Hot Rod not too long ago.  Simply amazing car.

Viper eater.  No, really!  Powered by a Duramax Diesel, this thing edged a Viper with a 12.1 to a 12.2 in the 1/4 mile...and the crowd went wild!

One of the coolest Olds ever.

I spotted this Camaro from a few isles away.  It caught my eye, as I new it was looked a little odd.  As I got closer, I realized that it was a 4th gen Camaro with a kit to make it look like a 1st gen.  I will say, I like it better than the Vette kits I have seen, but it still looks a little odd.  If they added chrome side mirrors, I think I could very well live with it.

I will say, from the rear, most Camaro enthusiast would be hard pressed to tell that it wasn't a '69 Camaro.  They truly did an awesome job in my opinion, and would be curious to see a t-top car.

I think the future of drag racing holds a lot of promise.  I say this, because I was watching a lot of "late model" cars running down the track.  My definition of late model is anything that came with efi from factory, so the 80's cars to the stuff being sold on lots today.  You saw a lot of owners of new Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers, Vettes, Vipers, and even Caddys blasting down the 1/4 mile, which is VERY healthy for the sport in my opinion.

2014 Hot Rod Power Tour - Norwalk, OH

Monday, June 09, 2014

Washed, filled up, cruised, and Emma approved.

I gave the Camaro a long over due washing, after filling it up the night before.  Then, I managed to talk my daughter Emma into a ride.  At 3.5 years, the only reason she hadn't rode in it before was it lacked sound deadener and the heat, noise, and fumes were a bit much in the cabin.  It's still loud, but once we pulled out of the garage Emma agreed, it wasn't TOO loud.  I'm not sure she stopped smiling the whole time we cruised to downtown Detroit, nor was she scared when I jumped on it, squealed the tires a bit, and grabbed second.  When we arrived home, she said she had fun, and was anxious to go again!  It was the reason I spent so much time this winter getting the car more family/rider friendly, and I think I was as happy as my little girl.  We are ready to hit a cruise night, as well as the Gratiot Cruise next Saturday.  Once our little Lily switches to a front facing seat, we should all be able to pile in the Camaro and make outings a one vehicle trip.

Norwalk Raceway Park or Gilmore Car Museum?

Tomorrow, I find myself in the same dilemma that I was in last year, and for the same reason, weather.  The 2014 Hot Rod Powertour makes their stop at Norwalk Raceway Park tomorrow, and I would love to check it out.  Yet like the NMCA event last year, there is a chance of rain.  In this case, it's a 40% by 6 pm.  Thankfully, the chance is less prior to 6 pm.  My second option, as it was last year, is to instead head west and check out the Gilmore Car Museum.  I have long wanted to check out the museum, but have always felt that it's one of those things best enjoyed after the cruise season is over, a rainy day, or even in the dead of winter.  I will make a last minute decision tomorrow morning, whether to head south to Norwalk, or west to Hickory Corners.  Either way, I will be seeing cars, taking pictures, and exposing my girls to the hobby.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Camaro Update: 6-6-2014

It's been a few weeks since my last update. Rest assured, I have made some progress, though still have a little work to do. I have taken it for a road test, though it was only a couple miles. I did verify that the transmission shifts through all of the gears, though I'm not sure that it shifts as hard as it did before. Granted, the way it shifted before was so violent that it left me a bit nervous when it shifted under part throttle. A defective temp gauge has prohibited any further road tests. My list is down to about a half dozen items, and will easily be finished by next week, and she will be ready to cruise. That said, I may hold off for a week or two on the line lock. I made a mounting plate today for both my line lock solenoid and my new proportioning valve/distribution block, but I will likely have to make 5 new lines and bleed the brakes, so I may put that one off until I can get all the lines ready to go, so as I'm off the road a minimal amount of time.  I also need to install my front seat belts, the new temp gauge, exhaust hangers, and secure my interior switches and two gauges.  That's it, after that, I will be ready to race!

2014 Challengers: SRT and Shaker

Here are some more shots of my father-in-law's SRT, as well as my brother-in-law's Shaker edition Challenger.  Both have already begun to see some mods.  The SRT has a new shifter, exhaust (with a nice rumble), strut support, and a cold air intake.  The Shaker has a new exhaust as well, and a nitrous kit is currently being installed for an extra 100 hp shot.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Camaro: First Fire Up of 2014!

Camaro Update: 5-20-2014

It's been awhile since my last update, and not because I haven't been working on the car.  I simply haven't had time to upload the pictures and provide updates.  The good news is, I fired her up today, with open headers, and I have video!  I still have a short list of items to get it ready for the track, and a VERY short list before it's ready for the street.  I'm not sure how the sound will be, considering open headers inside a garage are loud as hell. But, the video will be uploaded and ready to view shortly.

Roadkill: Episode 28

Not one of the more entertaining episodes. I was slightly amused by the bungee chord doors on the bug at 19:32. Obviously needed after the doors flew up prior to that.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Frickin Right!

Careful, those Canadians have some mouths on them. If you're gonna listen at work, keep the volume down, and be prepared to laugh your ass off!

Here's a new way to piss off your neighbors!

Camaro Update: 5/6/2014

Since my last update, I haven't accomplished much.  I do have the gas tank back in place and mounted, along with fuel line clamps on the frame.  Unfortunately, the fuel line was now too short, so new line was required.  I made what was hopefully one of my last orders to Jegs today.  Push-lock fuel line, a new trans cooler, and MSD vibration mounts, to replace the missing mount I lost probably a decade ago.  This week, my parents will have our girls, and I will have a few days to get back in the garage and knock out a lot. I may even be real close to firing up the engine and testing out the transmission.  Most of the list is little stuff, the most time consuming probably being cutting and modifying the driveshaft loop to provide better clearance.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Camaro Update: 4/25/2014

It's been a bit since any updates.  I finished up the transmission a few days ago, and thanks to a neighbor, got it out of the basement using a 2 wheel dolly.  WAY easier than how we got it into the basement, by carrying it, with the help of a different neighbor.  Once in the garage, I bolted up the new flex-plate with new ARP bolts, installed the engine mounts, and bolted the TH400 to the back of the engine.  Once bolted up and ready to go, I installed the engine/trans without too much trouble.  Now that the engine is in place I can start knocking some of the items off my list that required an installed powertrain.  I still hope to have it up and running in May, so that when I start furlough in early June, I can enjoy cruising it and hopefully hit the track once or twice.

Here is the trans all buttoned up and ready to make the trip out to the garage.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I did everything right, haven't not rebuilt a trans in about 15 years.  I'm confident it will function fine, but until I bang through three gears, I won't know for sure.

The 2 wheel dolly.  Man, I gotta get one of these.

In my younger years, I chopped up the hood latch/valence support in order to make room for an electric fan I was installing.  Support be damned!  Now, realizing it was a dumb move, I replaced the support with a non-chopped version.

Time to get the engine hoisted up and ready to install.

Flex-plate installed.

Engine mounts installed.

Engine and trans mated.

In she goes, with Sasha off to the left supervising.

Finally back in!  This is the earliest I can recall having my engine in the car.  Hopefully, I can go a few years without pulling it out this time.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Camaro Update: 4-19/2014

Just a quick update. My transmission is nearly finished, as all I have left is the shift kit, valve body, tail housing, and a few small odds and ends. My plan, as it stands, is to get the engine and transmission installed on Tuesday. I have quite a few pictures of the progress, but have yet to find time to get them uploaded. Look for more updates, with pictures, come next Tuesday.

Roadkill: Episode 27

For a beater, this Vette doesn't look too bad!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Camaro Update: 4-11-2014

Yesterday I got the roll bar padding installed, carpet in, and seats installed.  It's starting to look like a car once again!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Camaro Update: 4-10-2014

Today entailed reorganizing the work bench, once again, as things were getting out of hand.  After that, I spent the better part of the day insulating the trunk.  I was initially hesitant as to whether or not I wanted to do the trunk.  Now that it's complete, I'm so glad I did.  The difference is noticeable, even while simply working inside the car and in the trunk. You can tell that noise is easily cancelled out, and look forward to both a quieter, and much cooler car this summer.  Tomorrow, I hope to get the carpet and seats installed, more wiring covered, and the roll bar padding installed.  While I initially had hoped to get my transmission finished up this week, I think my time has been much better spent in the garage.  With two little ones, it's much easier to work on my transmission in the basement than it is to disappear to the garage.  My wife's on spring break in another week, so I should easily have the transmission finished and engine/trans back in the car.  I'm still planning on hitting the road in May, and the track in June.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Camaro Update: 4-9-2014

After a full day of work, it doesn't feel like I've accomplished much.  I got the underside of my hood painted, covering up the spackle paint, which had seen better days.  I got the car down off the jack stands, so it would be easier to work on, then put a coat of spackle paint in the trunk. The rest of the day was consumed by installation of the sound deadener.  I doubled up the transmission tunnel, as an extra effort to keep the heat out.  With the deadener installed, I can now work on getting the carpet and seats back in the car.  I didn't even touch the transmission today, as I felt my efforts would be better out in the garage.

2014 Dodge Challenger SRT8

My father-in-law recently took delivery of his 2014 Dodge Challenger SRT8, and my brother-in-law, his 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker Edition.  While the Shaker was home, I did get to check out the SRT8, and it's nothing short of badass!  While the day didn't permit a road test, I look forward to going for a ride in it soon.

Boy have the factory stereo systems ever changed!  18 speakers, 2 subs where the spare tire normally resides.

The Shaker was there, though only in spirit.

Camaro Update: 4-8-2014

Though I haven't updated my status for a bit, I have been forging ahead on my transmission.  I have made much more progress than is even pictures below.  I'm almost down to just the valve body and pump.  Right now however, I am in the garage, working out here for a bit before tackling some more of the trans this evening/tonight.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

I just finished reading this book a few days ago.  As somebody who had to put down his friend/dog of 8+ years, it really hit home.  The book takes a look at life through the eyes of a dog, whose owner is a road course racer.  I've always believed that there is a lot going on inside the head of a dog, and this book does an excellent job of capturing it.  A must read for any dog owner or car enthusiast.