Chapter 1   <  ^  >

Subject:   Return of Rustpuppy report 1 (Rustpuppy Log report 18)

Date:  Wednesday, January 19, 2000 9:19 PM


A lot of water has gone under the dam since the last Rustpuppy Log report.  After the “Knock from Hell” started I have been deprived of my precious seat time.

In desperation to get Rustpuppy back on the road I tore into the 400 motor stored in my shop waiting to be built up for the Junkyard Dawg in a future project.  I was thinking that if the 400 was in as good shape as described by the previous owner I could just do a quicky rebuild job and then pop it into ol’ Rustpuppy.  But that plan was not to be.  When I pulled one of the heads on the 400 I was presented with bad news on top of more bad news.  The 462624 heads had teeny weenie little 1.72 valves and the bores showed almost 0.020 wear. (bellmouthing on the thrust faces)  (ror1-4.jpg)

I decided then and there that drastic measures were called for to allow “The Return of Rustpuppy” to take place in a reasonable time..  I had read and was intrigued by the five part series in Chevy High Performance magazine about building up a bottom of the line Goodwrench crate motor.  (Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, 1999 and Jan 2000)  And with the extra Christmas dough I just got I could afford (probably kidding myself) to “invest” in a brand new motor for ol’ Rustpuppy.

On the 4th of January I ordered it from Sallee Chevrolet (1395 plus about 170 bucks shipping) and on the following Monday (the 10th) I picked it up in town at my local NAPA store which kindly allowed me to have it delivered at their loading dock.  Tracy and Scott (who also has a bad back) manhandled the 475 lb crate down from their lowest dock to the tailgate of my Suburban in the rain. (about a 13 inch drop)

Tracy (the only non-cripple) was below catching and me and Scott just pushed the motor off the dock.  Tracy managed to catch it and his face did get red, his eyes popped a little and he made some strange noises but the motor was safely down.  Then we slid it inside the rear of the Suburban out of the rain and the task was done!

The Goodwrench motor has been lurking in the back of the Suburban ever since the 10th as the weather really turned bad last week (19 inches of rain in 9 days) and I have been slowly clearing away stuff to allow room for the cherry picker to find it’s way from the back of the shop to the front door.  Progress has been made and any day now the motor will be home on the engine stand..   

The weather broke for two days and I managed to get about 2 minutes of seat time when I moved Rustpuppy from in front of the shop and parked her up by my dying cedar trees.   She looks sad and neglected up there.  (ror1-2.jpg)  But the Suburban has the place of honor in front of the shop and is backed in close ready to have the motor moved out..  (ror1-1.jpg)

Monday this week (the 17th) in a package from Jeg’s some gaskets, valve seals, and my CompCams XE268 came.  What a work of art it is!   (ror1-3.jpg)

I have been considering milling the heads of Rustpuppy’s Goodwrench motor when I have them off doing the pocket porting and valve spring replacing but close technical scrutiny convinced me to leave them alone.  To do it right involves more modifications than I want to make (milling the manifold and block) and I do not want to do it in a half-baked way.  (and I don’t mean baked..)

Just putting in the thin Fel-Pro head gaskets will raise the compression by .4 points (from 7.8 to 8.2) and that will have to be enough..   I had targeted 8.6 to one but will be happy with 8.2..(with the crappy gas we have here you need a much more high-tech cylinder head to have higher compression, like a Vortec for instance)

On a different happy note the five part series on the “Goodwrench Quest” from Chevy High Performance  has been scanned in (by me) and Ray Buck is getting it together to have available to all on the Rustpuppy web site.  It is not ready yet but will be soon.

More to come...

Rick Draganowski

(Goodwrench is good)


Subject:   Rustpuppy Run

Date:       Sunday, January 30, 2000 6:34 PM


I promised the list pictures of the “Rustpuppy Run” where all of Rustpuppy’s G-Tech Pro measurements were made.  The first picture (run.jpg) is the beginning (you might see some “Rustpuppy Tracks” if you look close) of the .7 mile causeway on Hwy 101.  The second picture (run2.jpg) is about at the quarter mile mark where the speed is highest.  The round bush looking thing on the right is a 20 foot tree growing next to the causeway.  No shoulders or guardrail..

Scary at times..

Rick Draganowski

(fun though..)



Subject:   [nova] Dyno2000  to Goodwrench dyno comparision

Date:       Monday, January 31, 2000 11:49 AM


I messed about with Dyno2000 to simulate the Goodwrench motor built up in the Chevy High Performance article.  A few minor changes  in the flow file brought the peak horsepower to about the same point.  Here is a crude hand made chart of a correlation between the numbers from the simulator and the numbers from the actual dyno runs..  (goody2.jpg)

The dots are the data points from Dyno2000 the x’s are data points from the actual dyno runs.

Rick Draganowski

(not too bad..)



Subject:   Connecting rod

Date:       Tuesday, February 08, 2000 1:38 PM


Sometimes something so weird happens that you expect Rod Serling to step from behind the curtain and start talking about “a place not of Sight or of Sound but a place of Mind.”

It happened to me day before yesterday.

I was taking the oil pan off Goody (Goodwrench crate motor) so I could replace the timing cover correctly after transplanting the cam with the XE268.

I had the motor inverted on the stand to make it convenient.

I removed the bolts and unstuck the pan.

I pulled it off..

I looked down..

And saw this.....  (rodcap.jpg)


Rick Draganowski




 Subject:  Powdered metal rods

Date:       Wednesday, February 09, 2000 1:58 PM


As the list knows I overreacted to the strange (to me) appearance of the connecting rods in Goody.  Got a good tip from Christian that the funny looking (and ugly at first sight) rods may be the new GM high tech powdered metal rods.   Luis and Larry mentioned that they had encountered them.

So I did some research last night and found out the following:

On the GM crate motors the PM rods (#10108688) are alternate parts with the old forged rods on the 190(Goody) and 285hp motors.  (they are looking better to me already)

The old 350HO 300hp used them as alternates as well as the new 350HO 330hp (Aren’s new motor).  So Aren’s motor may have them.  (starting to look more attractive all the time)

Then the ZZ line of performance motors shows them as alternates on the ZZ3 and the only rod specified for the ZZ4 and the ZZ430 (same part number as Goody’s rods)..  Wowza!  (they are looking drop dead gorgeous to me now)..

GM decide to drop the old weak forged rod in favor of the fantastic new high tech powdered rods in the LT1 and the LT4 as well (different design on those motors, longer..)

So the ugly ducklings have really turned into swans for me.

Beautiful, aren't they? 


Rick Draganowski

(research is good)



 Subject:  Goody Stats

Date:       Saturday, February 12, 2000 4:26 PM


The attached graph from Dyno2000 shows the expected output of “Goody” (modified Goodwrench motor) and I am really lookin forward to getting it done and into Rustpuppy..  (goody1.jpg)



Here is what she is..

New Goodwrench Universal 350 Crate motor with..

0.040 milled off heads and

0.017 thinner head gasket putting compression from

8 up to 8.9

and with custom porting of stock heads (done by me, in process now)

and with a CompCams XE268 with matching valve springs and

Performer intake

and DynoMax Ceramic full headers.

and supertuned 750cfm QuadraJet carb


The graph shows curves both with mufflers and with headers open..

Rick Draganowski

(350 horses for the Rustpuppy!...  Yowza!..)


Subject:   Return of Rustpuppy report 2

Date:       Saturday, February 19, 2000 7:43 PM


We left the story with the brand spanking new Goodwrench Universal 350 crate motor (Goody) sitting in the back of my Suburban in front of my shop being rained on bigtime..  I spent much time re-organizing my (cluttered to the point of insanity) to be able to move my cherry picker from it’s parking place straddling the stored 250 six (original motor out of Rustpuppy) and over to the front sliding door.  (my shop is a converted (not much) old sheep barn that was built in 1943 out of lumber stolen from the Government (salvage from a Liberty ship that shipwrecked in front of our place))

About the time I got the crane moved the weather broke for a couple days and I sprang into action.  Attaching a chain to the lifting eyes provided by GM and putting a long chain with the come-along in the middle on the rear of the crane prepared the scene.  The come-along and chain is so I could winch the crane carrying the motor up the ramp in front of the door.  I had practiced this technique when I pulled the motor salvaged from my junked pickup and transplanted it into Rustpuppy.  The extraction went without incident and after what seemed like hours of fooling around Goody sat still crated in my shop..  The excitement was building..

Then I slowly (taking lotsa pictures) opened the crate keeping it almost intact and just unwinding the sides.   Goody sat in solitary splendor on the wooden pallet thingie that makes up the bottom of the crate.

Then I maneuvered the crane around to pick Goody up leaving the pallet below.   After removing the pallet I realized that Goody was turned around so the bellhousing end was toward the crane..  No good as I needed her rotated 180 degrees so I could put her on the engine stand.  So then I fetched the pallet and returned it to under Goody and let it back down so I could put a 180 degree twist in the lifting chain.

That done the next time I lifted Goody I held it so the rotation was controlled and it turned 180 degrees slick as a whistle.   Then I opened the plastic bag just enough to bolt the engine stand bracket and pivot thingie to Goody.  Raising it higher and rolling the engine stand forward I was able to slide the bracket into place and Goody was where she will be till the modifications are done and it is time to put her into Rustpuppy.

(ror2-1.jpg, ror2-2.jpg, ror2-3.jpg, ror2-4.jpg, and ror2-5.jpg show the sequence)






So here I have a brand new motor to replace the old pretty used up and knocking salvaged motor (I think 80k miles in a truck carrying a heavy camper and pulling an Airstream trailer broke it in good) in Rustpuppy.

So what do you think I start doing?

Right.  Take it apart.

Stay tuned for “The Return of Rustpuppy report 3”

Coming soon to a Nova List near you..

Rick Draganowski

(real soon now)



Subject:   Return of Rustpuppy report 3

Date:       Friday, March 03, 2000 8:15 PM


We left the story with the pristine untouched and fully warranted by General Motors for 3 years or 50,000 miles Goodwrench Universal crate motor (Goody) on the engine stand. (ror3-1.jpg and ror3-2.jpg) Naturally that condition will have to change..


So I proceeded to pull the valve cover and behold the new-age self centering rockers.  Strange to see but I suppose they work.. (ror3-3.jpg)

 Then the rockers came off and with the ball and nut as well as the pushrod put into little freezer bags.

The headbolts seemed strange.  Large flanged heads with tiny ” hex heads.  In any case my half inch drive breaker bar followed by the small air wrench made short work of them.  The headbolts were sealed into the threads with the teflon paste stuff I have been hearing about.  Gotta get some of that..  The torque on the headbolts seemed uniform and correct..  (bet they use a computer controlled assembly torque measuring assembly wrench)

It seemed very strange to be taking apart a brand new motor with everything looking so nice..  Not at all what I am used to and quite pleasant..   This is really the luxurious approach to rodding and I have always been stuck at the poverty end in the past.   (credit cards is good)

I hope I don’t get spoiled as the 350 with the knock in Rustpuppy now and the 400 on the floor in the corner are not clean and new inside..  (too many projects is good)

I have 7 pictures of this report coverage and they will be attached here.    (ror3-4.jpg, ror3-5.jpg, ror3-6.jpg, ror3-7.jpg, ror3-8.jpg, ror3-9.jpg, and ror3-10.jpg)



Rick Draganowski

(new motors is good)










Subject:   Return of Rustpuppy report 4

Date:       Saturday, March 04, 2000 9:50 PM


We left with the heads off of Goody and plenty more to do.  The same day the heads came off I checked the cc measurement.  76cc!  Surprise! (ror4-3.jpg, ror4-4.jpg, ror4-5.jpg, and ror4-6.jpg)





Next I pulled the valves and bagged them with the springs and keepers.  (ror4-7.jpg)

Then I took the now stripped down heads and put them in the Suburban with plans to take them to the machine shop for the milling job.  I originally planned to take 0.040 off the heads and then changed my mind twice which left me back where I started.  I expect to get 8.6 to 1 compression versus the 8.4 to one the Chevy High Performance guys had.  They only milled the heads 0.020...  I expect just a dab more performance and have been using the 8.6 number in almost all of my simulations over the last year or so..

I got to town the next day and dropped the heads off with specific instructions.  I told Scott to try to get the smoothest finish on the job since I would be using the picky Fel-Pro rubber coated shim gaskets..  The next morning I called at about 9:30am to verify the amount that Scott was going to take off the intake faces to let the manifold fit properly.  He wasn’t in yet..  I called again at 10 and then at 10:30..  Then I was busy for a while and called the last time at 11:45..  He was finished already!  I verified that he took off approximately the right amount on the intake faces (bout the same as the milling 0.042 and I wanted 0.039 based on my engineering drawings..)  Close enough for Government work..  That afternoon I came up with a good excuse to make another trip to town and pick them up..

Like everything else in life they weren’t perfect (you could still see milling marks) but they looked good enough if I use the spray CopperCoat gasket sealer..

I wanted to get the CompCams XE268 in place and the motor buttoned up so I could get the painting done.  I am painting the motor silver with Oldsmobile blue valve covers, manifold and accessories..

Before I started on the porting job on the heads I had one warmer day and used it to pull off the timing cover.  GM must have learned a bit of a lesson as the timing set was the heavy duty stock model with the wider silent chain and the cast iron cam sprocket and powdered metal crank sprocket. (ror4-1.jpg)

 High reliability stuff compared to the el-cheapo timing set with the skinny chain and the damn plastic coated aluminum cam sprocket which came in the 79 Target Master motor in Rustpuppy.

The stock cam was out in a jiffy. ( I noticed that the oil holes in the cam bearings were at random alignments.  They must have put an annular grove in the bearing bores so the alignment is not important.  Simplifying assembly is good.

I was a little bummed out about two things I found at this stage though.  The first one was the torque on the bolts holding the cam sprocket to the cam.  They were just too loose in my opinion.  And the second one was that three of the cam lobes were dry as a bone with not a trace of break-in lube.  Somebody is not doing their job..

Oh well..  The XE268 went in smooth as silk.  That is it posed in the picture. (ror4-2.jpg)  

I put lots of break in lube 360 degrees on each and every lobe..  I don’t need no more stinking flat cams!..  I will put a liberal gob of the lube on the business end of the lifters when they go in as well..  It was so easy and such fun doing the cam swap on the engine stand compared to the one I did on Rustpuppy with the motor in the car that it seemed to be over nearly as soon as I started..  Engine stands are good..

I had ordered the Standard Abrasives Deluxe porting kit from Northern Auto and was set for the pocket porting.  I had flanged together a air pressure regulator and flexible hose pigtail for the die grinder and was all set except for one thing..   The weather..  We started having unnaturally cold weather and I could not function well in the 40’s to low 50’s in the shop.  I picked around for what seemed like weeks (was weeks) doing a little at a time until just recently when I declared the heads finished and ready to go..  (ror4-8.jpg, ror4-9.jpg, ror4-10.jpg, and ror4-11.jpg)





During this time I took one picture of poor forlorn Rustpuppy. (the sun came out for a minute)  (ror4-rpup.jpg) 



I really hate having to drive only the Suburban.  I stomp on the gas and the poor thing does it’s very best but it is a bloated cow and will never be a runner..  (17.9 @ 78)    (210 horses hauling 6000 lbs is just not the same)

More to come...

Rick Draganowski

(painting now..)




Subject:   Return of Rustpuppy report 5

Date:       Sunday, March 05, 2000 10:36 PM


This is more of a cleaning up of missed items than a progress report.

I had omitted to include the traumatic experience of the unusual (to me) looking connecting rods in Goody.  After scaring me with their unusual appearance they turned out to be the new powdered metal rods used in new motors including the excellent ZZ430..  Ror5-1.jpg is the last picture I took while the pan was off.  I pulled the pan to properly seal the front of the motor since I had pulled the timing cover to swap out the cam..


Rort5-2 is a nice picture showing a little of the pocket porting I did. (it was a fun learn-by-doing experience for me)

Ror5-3 shows the large bosses or lumps in the intake ports (they are there to prevent the rocker cover bolt holes from penetrating into the intake runner if the cores shift a little.)

 I used the carbide burr on the die grinder (ror5-4) to make them ugly bumps just a bad memory. (ror5-5)

Ror5-6 is the before and ror5-7 the after pictures on the neat silver paint job on the heads.  They look even better than these pictures show..  


NAPA Commercial Coatings Silver in a rattle can is the stuff..  It takes a long time to properly set up in the cold weather (recommended 70 degrees) so I have the heads sitting on top of my puny little 500w electric heater (ror5-8) ..

 (see those cracks in the floor, they open to the out-of doors and a cold draft comes up through them)

More to come...

Rick Draganowski

(silver and blue is good)




Subject:   Return Of Rustpuppy report 6

Date:       Thursday, March 09, 2000 8:55 PM


This installment is about valve springs and exhaust valve rotators.  I measured the difference in room allowed the valve spring between the plain retainer and the rotator.  I measured first from the end of the valve to the face of the retainer where the spring seats.  The rotator measured 0.109 farther from the end of the valve than the plain retainer.  (see pics ror6-1 and ror6-2)


Then I measured the actual dimension in the head with the valves and retainer/rotator and no springs. (see pic ror6-4).  

The plain retainer has 1.75 inches for the spring and the rotator has only 1.64 inches.

The three springs in picture ror6-3 are, from left to right, the stock exhaust spring, the stock intake spring, and the CompCams 981-16 spring recommended for the XE268 cam I am using in Goody.

Note how short the inner flat damper spring is on the CompCams spring.  It is the limiting factor on the stock valves. I used the vise to compress the three springs and measure the coil bind dimension (fully compressed).

I was amazed to see the stock exhaust spring bind at 1.212” due to the long damper spring..   This means that the stock exhaust spring (using the rotator with an installed height of 1.64) is jammed solid at 0.428 valve lift. This is weird as the stock LM-1 cam in Goody has a 0.401 lift. Just 0.027 clearance.

The stock intake spring (with 1.75 installed height) is coil bound at 1.095 which means that it will not bind solid until 0.655 lift.

The CompCams 981-16 spring is coilbound at 1.090 which binds it (at the installed height of 1.750) solid at 0.660 inches.  The spec for the CompCams spring is to have an installed height of 1.70 inches so I need to use 0.050 shims to bring it up to spec..

Now for something entirely different.   The last picture (ror6-6) shows a salvaged 1.84 intake valve from a 305 next to one of Goody’s 1.94 intakes.  I had wondered why when Chevy High Performance had the valves back cut with a 30 degree angle they only did the exhaust valves.  It seems that word had gotten out and the neat 1.94 intake valves in Goody came from the factory with a 30 degree back cut already..  How about that...

More to come...

Rick Draganowski

(back cut valves is good..)



Subject:   Return Of Rustpuppy report 7

Date:       Friday, March 10, 2000 10:35 PM


I moved on to the next step, the back cutting of the exhaust valves.  I decided to polish and check the exhaust valve seats and mark the valves with the seat pattern so I could back cut them without worrying about narrowing the seating area.  Most of the heat that builds up in the exhaust valve is heatsinked off at the valve seat.  That is why the exhaust valve seats are normally much wider than the intakes. Polishing them makes them seal better but really makes them cool the valves better..

The ror7-1.jpg and ror7-2.jpg pictures show the rig I used to polish the seats.


 (one shown polished in ror7-7.jpg)

 I taped  a narrow strip of 240 grit wet-or-dry silicon carbide paper to the actual valve I planned to use in that port and then rotated  them with electric drill fitted with a bit of fuel line (5/16”) (see ror7-5.jpg)

Then using a felt tipped marker (ror7-3.jpg) I coated the valve evenly  and then inserted it and pressed it and rotated it by hand to mark the seat area. (ror7-6.jpg)

 Then using the setup on my lathe shown in ror7-9.jpg I slowly ground the 30 degree back cut.

It is a tricky standing up and watching closely operation so I only managed to finish 4 valves (one head) before my back started hurting so bad that I left the other for tomorrow..

More to come...

Rick Draganowski

(looking forward to a lot of progress on Goody this weekend..)




Subject:   Return Of Rustpuppy report 8

Date:       Monday, March 13, 2000 10:50 PM


We left off in the middle of the exhaust valve backcutting.  I finished the job on Saturday and pressed on to the installation of the CompCams springs and salvaged retainers (from a scrapped 305) to replace the rotators.

First I measured the clearances to be sure the .477 intake and .480 exhaust lift would be compatible with the stock valve guides and seals.  No problem at all on the exhaust side but the neat intake valve seals looked like trouble.  When I installed the first one by hand (tough to do) the clearance between the seal and the bottom of the retainer was only 0.460.. (ror8-1.jpg)

Damn! I thought to myself and it is Sunday too... I sat and stared at it for a while and then measured one of the seals which was off and one of the guides with no seal and figured that they might work if the seal was really down all the way snug on the top of the guide..

Then with little to lose I tried this.  With a small ball peen hammer and the hardwood handle of a wire brush I gave a few smart raps on the valve stem with the keeper and locks in place to smack the seal down hard.  It visibly moved from what I thought was fully seated and when I measured again I had 0.490 clearance.  After the seal relaxed from the shock the clearance shrank to about 0.480 but that was just fine as worse case..

I went ahead and installed the rest of the seals and verified the measurements on them all.  No problem.  I was careful to reinstall the little o-ring seals (sealing the retainer to the valve stem to keep oil from running down the stem)   (ror8-2.jpg, ror8-3.jpg, and ror8-4.jpg)


With the heads together I went back and checked the cc volume of the combustion chamber to verify what the 0.040 head milling had done..   It was neat to find a volume of 69cc..  I had expected 70 but that was just a close approximation based on area measurements of the 400 head..

While fooling around with the heads I verified the exact casting number.

Chevy High Performance has the number wrong in the Goodwrench Saga series.  They have it as 83417338 but it is really 93417369..  The nines on the ends do look like eights since the casting is pretty rough but I did a really close inspection on both heads and they are definitely nines..

More to come...

Rick Draganowski







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