Chapter 11   <  ^  >

Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 96

Date:         Wednesday, February 14, 2001 5:57 PM


Had a bad week but pressed on with the Nova work regardless..

The first order of business was to get the seat out of ol’ Rustpuppy.  Since I have the mounts modified (moved back about 7.5”) and the shifter locking the position of the seat from moving forward on the slides getting the two rear bolts out involved a bit of acrobatic standing on head in back seat while scratching around under the seat with wrenches.  But eventually skill and science prevailed and the seat was out.. (ror96-1.jpg and ror96-2.jpg)


The seat assembly weighs 84 lbs..  More than I thought..

The nasty looking grot all about on the floor is mostly just dirt built up over the last 8 years..  (and a bit of surface rust..)   Ror96-3.jpg shows the brackets which allow the seat to go back far enough to fit my long fat ol’ legs..

Ror96-4.jpg and ror96-5.jpg show the special alloy brackets I made back in 1993 to move the seat belt reels back so they can be used properly with seat so far back..  I have never been happy with these brackets as they really require a second mounting point to prevent them bending the floor and pulling up in case of a serious crash.   Having the seat out allows this omission to be corrected..


The next picture shows the seat out and ready to be properly hog-ringed up to put the seat covers from Whitney on correctly.  (ror96-6.jpg)

Remember back when I was doing the rear axle swap and I was bitching cause I lost track of the metal bar used by GM to hold the right rear emergency brake cable in the right position?   Well it showed up imbedded in the lawn right where I dropped it.  The picture was taking after it was moved so it is quite visible.  Before it was just barely peeking out of the grass..  I cleaned up the rust and gave it a couple coats of the self-etching primer..  Looking much better..  (ror96-7.jpg and ror96-8.jpg)


More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 97

Date:         Friday, February 16, 2001 5:32 PM


As I mentioned in ror96 the brackets, which mount the seat belt reels, were not good enough.  I attacked this issue first.

First I scratched around under the car looking for a good place to mount a rear brace.  There was a clear space in the reinforcing plate, which mounts the spring bracket on each side so a 3/8” hole appeared in them.   It would take a lot to pull through there.

Then I pulled the brackets, cleaned them up and milled the corners off to allow a clear shot for the rear braces.  (ror97-1.jpg)  You can see the hole in the floor in this pic.  

Then I burst into a frenzy of cutting, grinding, drilling, and hammering to fabricate two rear braces.   They are 1/8” by 1” steel with a nice coat of the self etching primer..  Ror97-3.jpg shows the drivers side brace in position..


Then I wanted to do something about the naked battery cable running through Rustpuppy. (which is live all the time and not really too safe)  The front is threaded through a piece of conduit in the hole in the floor to protect it from the edges of the hole.  (ror97-4.jpg)   

The rear just leaks in through one of the big holes leading to the trunk. (ror97-5.jpg)  NHRA does not like these big holes I understand..

My solution for the battery cable is based on a piece of ” flexible conduit.  (called it BX cable when I was a kid workin with my Dad..) Currently the battery cable was protected under the hood with a piece of split heater hose and some aluminum tape.. (ror97-7.jpg)

After drilling out a 1” hole in the firewall I removed the battery terminal (breaking it) and threaded the cable through the flexible conduit.  Easier said than done as it took a lot of fooling around and all my strength to slide it through there by pushing..

Ror97-8.jpg, ror97-10,jpg, ror97-11.jpg, and ror97-12.jpg show the new improved battery cable system..  Looks good to me..   You can see the broken terminal in ror97-9.jpg..   I had a spare hangin on the shop wall because I know these cheapies are one-shot jobs..




Next I will be cleaning up the interior and doing something about them big trunk holes..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 98

Date:         Tuesday, February 20, 2001 3:12 PM


First I have a shot of the JCWhitney saddle blanket seat cover I hog ringed on to Rustpuppy’s tattered ol’ bench seat.  It is nice and the only cheesy part is the stupid vinyl piece in the middle.  What exactly is that for?  (ror98-1.jpg)

The cleanup work on the interior started with soap and water.  (ror98-2.jpg) You can see that it needs it..  (ror98-3.jpg)


 After a while and a lot of scrubbing it started looking much better.  The original white paint is still mostly there..  (ror98-4.jpg)

Then I crawled into ol’ rustpuppy and attacked the masonite cover for the package shelf.  I started out in a rational way but after a while I was tearing at the aged and brittle as glass masonite like an animal.  I got a snoot full of nasty dust from the decayed soundproofing mat under the rapidly fragmenting cover.  ( made me sick for the evening)  Finally the masonite was all gone and the ugly mat exposed.  (ror98-5.jpg and ror98-6.jpg)


I got out the heavy duty shop vacuum and removed the mat in tiny fragments.  It was falling to bits and could not be moved any other way.  Then I cleaned up the bulk of the really nasty residue with a mop so I could do it without climbing inside.  After mopping up 90 percent of the residue I painfully climbed in and finished the job by hand.  It is looking pretty good back there now..  (ror98-8.jpg)


I only saved one little fragment of the torn apart masonite package tray cover to show you..  (Ror98-9.jpg)

Rick Draganowski

(tearing at old cars like an animal)




Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 99

Date:         Tuesday, February 20, 2001 6:59 PM


Now that the interior is clean it is time to do stuff with steel.  I plan on making a sealed steel firewall between the passenger compartment and the trunk.  Partly because that is the rules but mostly because I want the exhaust fumes which come in through all of the rust holes in Rustpuppy’s cosmetically challenged body to stop gassing me.

Ror99-1.jpg is the starting point.  About 50 bucks worth of 28 gauge by 20 inches by 30 feet steel valley flashing.   Since I am at the end of the world here I have to make do with what is available.     30 feet of the stuff should last me a long time..  (it is a particularly repellent poop brown in color..)

I start on the package tray cover by laying out a cardboard master template on the trunk lid.  I am measuring 5 inches in from where the steel should end inside.  You can see the little marks if you look close.  

Then after connecting the dots I cut out the template.  (ror99-3.jpg)


For fun at this point I struggled with the steel to flatten out and cut off a piece.  It was a real Laurel and Hardy moment as the coiled steel did not cooperate..  Eventually I won because I outweigh it by a lot..  (ror99-4.jpg)

Back to the template work.  I took the initial cut of the master template and put it back on the trunk for verification at 2 inches.  Naturally it was a little screwed up.  (about ” off on one side of the curve) (ror99-5.jpg)

After trimming off the screwup I went ahead and made a check template from the master template using come aluminum covered building paper.  Easy to cut using a razor knife.  (ror99-6.jpg)

Then I struggled my fat ol’ bod into Rustpuppy with the check template and put it into proper position..   (ror99-7.jpg)

Too cool!  It fit perfectly.   Now if the weather will cooperate (it has been raining buckets all day and probably will tomorrow too) I can use the check template as a guide to cutting the brown steel.   I can use my air driven sheet metal nibbler to do the cutting so it should be fun and easy.

Went to town in the rain today to pick up some more (3 rattle cans) of the self etching gray primer.  I plan on using it as the interior motif..  Got some battery cable stuff and terminals to use on the master cutoff switch too.  It and the Lakewood driveshaft safety loop are on the way from Jeg’s as I speak..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(rain, rain, go away..)



Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 100

Date:         Sunday, February 25, 2001 8:28 PM


After 5 days of 40 degree rain with wind the weather finally cleared up to make a beautiful sunny day.

I ordered the driveshaft safety loop from Jeg’s last week and it showed up on Friday so today I started digging into the installation.  First I got Rustpuppy up high enought to crawl under and mess about.   The plywood is because the ground is still mighty soggy..  (ror100-1.jpg)

I set the Lakewood loop parts out to take a look at.  Something seems wrong with them..  More on this later..  (ror100-2.jpg)

A trial fitting in the highest setting showed a clear lack of even coming close to fitting.  I have the jack holding it up temporarily.   It is just too low on the bottom and too low on the top..   Bummer..   (ror100-3.jpg and ror100-4.jpg)


Ror100-5.jpg shows the parts lined up at the highest setting possible with the Lakewood ( read, Chang Metalworks, Hunan Province, Peoples Republic of China) supplied holes.

Ror100-6.jpg shows what might work with some drilling and cutting.  The lower loop would be shortened by about 1 inch from this picture and the L-shaped tails trimmed off..

Ror100-7.jpg is the Chinese version of the loop.  Notice that they drilled the multiple adjustment holes in the long arm of the bar instead of the short one..  And there are holes missing from the loops.   Somebody did not know what they were making and didn’t know how to read the blueprint..  Bummer..

Ror100-8.jpg is the actual design pictured on the Lakewood box.  Notice the differences in the location of the holes..

Oh, well I expected to have to modify it.  Just not this much..   Without changes it looks like it is set up for a 4 wheel drive monster truck or something..

Hmm.. You don’t think that Jeg’s sent the truck kit by mistake?

I will look into it tomorrow..

On another front I wrestled with the stupid coiled up steel and decided that if I was going to put a firewall in Rustpuppy it should have a structural purpose. The steel was so bent up from being coiled tight that I couldn’t do nothing with it.  I took the balance of the steel coil back and picked up a couple of sheets of 0.090 aluminum from one of the local boatbuilders.  (ror100-9.jpg)

I will be attaching it all the way around (inner fender wells, floor, and along the top of the seat back area) to stiffen up the chassis.  And the package tray will be structural as well..    I will cut the aluminum with a carbide blade on the Skilsaw.  What an incredible noise that makes...

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(several days of good weather coming,  That is good..)


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 101

Date:         Monday, February 26, 2001 6:13 PM


Considering my options on cutting the driveshaft loop to get it right I called town to see if anyone had a reasonable priced chopsaw in stock.

No one did but I begged the owner of our Ace hardware store to do the four cuts on his big Skil chopsaw.    I also put in an order for one of the DeWalt 14” 15 amp jobs for myself.  (about 220 bucks..  Rushing out in a buying frenzy again..  But it is for the company..)

Anyway Dan did the cuts and I cleaned up the ends on the grinder and now it is time to drill the 12 holes needed..   Setup is going to be tricky on the curvy thingie but I have a big drill press and a lot of clamps and vises..  Tomorrow is another day..  (hmm..  I say fiddlesticks instead of cussing too..  must have seen Gone with the Wind when I was too young..)

So Ror101-1.jpg shows the final configuration of ol’ Loopy..    And after checking Bruce’s picture against Rustpuppy it looks like the floor where the loop mounts is more than one inch and mebbe almost 2 inches lower in the Disco..   No wonder nothing seemed to work..

The last picture for today is a ray of hope.  Spring is definitely starting to show up here.  The warmest places are showing the daffodils..  See ror101-2.jpg..

With the sunshine and blue sky along with the 67 degree temperature today it is really encouraging..    Most of my orthopedic problems improve greatly with the better weather and my Nova work production should greatly improve..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(will be slicing steel like bologna next week..)



Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 102

Date:         Wednesday, March 07, 2001 3:46 PM


The holes needed drilling in the cut off pieces of the Lakewood loop.  The drill press made it much easier..  (ror102-1.jpg)

  The bolted together loop and the cut off extra bits show up in ror102-2.jpg.   Notice the pronounced dihedral in the wings..   I think that will be a problem..

It seems the Chinese metal bending technology cannot quite make a right angle yet.  Ror102-3.jpg shows the L-brackets clamped down.  If the bends were right the ends would line up..   Not...

The solution was careful cold-forming of the parts to conform to the task at hand..  Using a BFH..   (ror102-4.jpg)   That is my little #5 hammer (only 3 lbs)  Number 6 is 8 lbs..

We have had a very dry winter..   Rainfall is down to only about 30% or less of normal.  You can see the grass growing on the lawnmower is starting to suffer from lack of watering..

After crawling under, fitting, crawling out, hitting it with the big hammer, and then crawling under and fitting some more and then doing it again and again I was tuckered out.   The project stretched into several days because of weather and health problems..

Anyway had dropped the exhaust pipes because I knew that they would interfere with ol’ Loopy..   I have the long tailshaft in Rustpuppy and the loop has to be mounted about 3 inches farther back than ordinarily..   But surprise, surprise!  After getting it bolted in I find that if I turn the bottom four bolts around so the heads are on the outside of the loop I have about ” or so clearance on both sides..  Cool.   I had expected to have to take the loop back out till I had the exhaust system properly re-installed for the changes made..

Ror102-6.jpg and ror102-7.jpg show the final setup on ol’ Loopy..  (notice the one screwed up hole in the floor, damn, I can never get anything quite right the first time..)  It was a bit of a struggle but I promised Chuck Butcher that I would put a loop in even if I didn’t have to..


Now I gotta get the exhaust system hooked back up and get back to work on the interior..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 103

Date:         Saturday, March 10, 2001 6:32 PM


Yesterday I took care of the exhaust hookup on the drivers side and today got the passengers side squared away.   Ror103-1.jpg and ror103-2.jpg show how close the exhaust pipes are to ol’ Loopy.   It looks like only 1/8” on the drivers side and over ” on the passenger side.   


When I get the exhaust pipes modified to fit correctly without the probe and drogue kludge I will have Tim make sure that there is plenty of clearance.

I was amazed at the like new condition of the left front body bushing rubber biscuit.  That is an original one and it has been there since late 1975..  Long time for a rubber part..  (ror103-3.jpg)

The exhaust hookup was complicated by the fouled up measurement I made way back when I first got Goody going in Rustpuppy.

The two probes I made, I call them Orville and Wilbur, are identical twins.  Orville on the drivers side mates with a drogue I call Mary Elizabeth.   She is thrilled to be getting any probe at all and works just fine.

Wilbur over on the passengers side wound up with a drogue I call Sheila.  (after a girl I dated back in my Space Center days..)  Now Sheila requires a lot more than Mary Elizabeth to make her happy.    You know what I mean..  Things were fitting so badly that the Super Turbo on that side was hitting on the floorpan and making really terrible sounds..

So I had to make an extension for Wilbur to make things work.  You can see the probe augmentation in the mated pair in the background in ror103-4.jpg.  With the use of the extension Wilbur and Sheila managed to make things come together properly and get the job done..

Ror103-5.jpg shows the Mickey-Mouse emergency brake hook thingie I made after losing the proper part in the grass during the rear axle replacement.  It is much shorter because I just bent it to fit so I didn’t have to move the adjustment nut back to where it belonged.  I was anxious to get on the road you see..

It was a beautiful sunny day today and I think I got another little sunburn because I started early and the shade from the shade tree was missing..  You can see it was great in ror103-6.jpg..   

I think I burn so easily because living in Oregon for 21 years has given me a very pasty white frog belly looking skin..   When I lived in Florida or Texas it was completely different..  When I was laying on the plywood in the sun working on the exhaust system I pulled up my pantlegs to get some sun on my pasty ol’ legs..  It was creepy seeing them in the sun bare.   Like a dead man..   You can see the shade hadn’t got to protect me yet in ror103-7.jpg.

When I was making the extension for Wilbur I hauled out the Chopsaw and set it up..  Cutting steel like bologna..    Too cool...  I love it...   You can see the little end off the extension sitting on the base of the saw..  (ror103-8.jpg)

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(making sparks is good)



Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 104

Date:         Tuesday, March 13, 2001 6:16 PM


Moving ahead on the interior project I started with the  template (made from aluminized building paper) sitting on the handy box the rear axle came in..  (ror104-1.jpg)

Ror104-2.jpg shows the target area that will be fully boxed in with the 0.090 aluminum.

When I attempted to cut the aluminum to the correct shape (making an enormous noise with the carbide bladed Skilsaw) I found that I could not cut anything but a straight line.  Not very good.   (ror104-3.jpg)

After searching for hours I found my air powered nibbler.  Duck soup with this I thought.   Not.  The jaws of the nibbler were jamming and I could make only a tiny nibble.  Bummer..  (I think the nibbler is rated at 0.63 aluminum and was overloaded at 0.090..)   (ror104-4.jpg)

But skill and science prevailed and the job got done..   See ror104-5.jpg..

I put on the Starrett metal cutting blade for my 12” Craftsman antique wood bandsaw that I had bought several years ago for cutting aluminum.   Then I had to turn the saw around to get the clearance to slide the long workpiece through there..   The blade speed is still set for wood so it really zips through the aluminum..  (ror104-6.jpg)   You can see that end of my shop is overloaded..  Note the old Nova 250 six TH200 assembly crowding up the area.

I notched the plastic rear window trim bits to make room to slide the aluminum in and it went in fine and fit perfectly.  Excellent, better than I expected..  (ror104-7.jpg and ror104-8.jpg)


Next it is time to make the template for the vertical firewall piece.  It will extend from the top clear down to the floor and be fastened all around to structurally reinforce the body of ol’ Rustpuppy..    Lotsa crawling around in the back seat area for the ol’ cripple coming up..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(bandsaws with narrow blades is good)


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 105

Date:         Wednesday, March 21, 2001 6:10 PM


We left the story with me about to crawl my old fat body into the back seat area and make a template for the vertical firewall..    Ror105-1 shows the first cut at the job.  I use a two stage process with these kind of projects.  First a rough template which gives me the information I need to generate the operational template.   I have found that it is impossible to get the initial template fitting good enough because of the inevitable mistakes that creep in.

Ror105-2.jpg and ror105-3.jpg shows the rough template being transferred to the operational template.


The initial fitting of the operational template shows the fine trimming needed to make it correct.  (better a little too big than too small) (ror105-4.jpg)

After a couple hours of cutting and fitting I was happy with the result.


I have big impressive scars in my hands from working with sheared or freshly machined metal that has not been deburred and the edges broken.   I took the time to do it with my nifty little deburring tool.  (ror105-6.jpg)

Then securely clamping the operational template to prevent shifting during transfer I got the correct outline on the aluminum sheet.  (ror105-7.jpg and ror105-8.jpg)


At this point I sat an looked at the pattern on the sheet and thought..

It would be difficult and downright dangerous to try to manhandle a piece this big and  cut it out on the bandsaw.  Some experiments with the Sawzall and scraps were no fun either..   What I needed was a plasma cutter..  Hmmm..  Them cost serious bux..

Then I realized that Wayne Adams at the Sea People Manufacturing boatworks (where I bought the aluminum) has a spiffy plasma cutter..

I bundled the sheet into the Suburban and hit the road to the boatworks..

That was yesterday afternoon.   Wayne sez today it will be ready to pick up tomorrow..  He would have done it today but he forgot and when I called to remind him he had left his phone off the hook..   Bummer..   Made the 10 mile trip for nothing..   But wait.  I found some great short angle pieces in Wayne’s scrap box to make the needed brackets for the sides and bottom of the firewall so it wasn’t for nothing..

The best way to make difficult cuts in metal is to have someone else do it..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(when is a cheap plasma cutter coming on the market?)


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 106

Date:         Friday, March 23, 2001 4:26 PM


The weather has been crappy for two days now.  50 degree drizzle mixed with cold fog and the slugs have been dancing all over the yard.

Yesterday afternoon I fetched the aluminum firewall from the boatworks and with a bit of a break in the weather got some stuff done today.

Ror106-1.jpg shows the cutout aluminum next to the pattern.  Ol’ Wayne did a pretty nice job on the cutting.  He just used his big bandsaw and never even had to fire up the plasma cutter..   He charged me 10 bucks and it really was worth it..

Naturally the edges all around were savagely sharp and jagged so I took the angle grinder with the flap disk and cleaned it up all around on all edges.  I can still taste the aluminum from the dust kicked up..   See ror106-2.jpg..

Then it was the big moment.  Will it fit in Rustpuppy?

Ror106-3.jpg shows the answer..   Cool..  Pretty close and with a little more grinding it will be perfect..

It is supposed to rain buckets this weekend so progress will probably be slow..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(sloshing around on the “Happy Slug Ranch”..)



Subject:    [nova] Return of Rustpuppy report 107

Date:         Monday, March 26, 2001 4:54 PM


It did bucket down Saturday and most of Sunday but late Sunday afternoon the break came.  I proceeded to mark and grind the firewall to clean up the last non-fitting bits. It came out nice..  See ror107-1.jpg and ror107-2.jpg..


Then I got ready for the primer coat.  I am using a dark primer from DupliColor for the package shelf becase the cool self-etching stuff from NAPA is much too light in color..  When I washed the parts prior to painting I could see that there was a oily film adhering to the surface.  I bet the rolling mill has switched to silicone oil..   And it don’t wash off..  Rats..  Sanding it off is the only answer..   Just like the Karate Kid..

Wax on... wax off..  wax on... wax off..

Ror107-3.jpg shows the package shelf with the self etching primer (two coats)..  Too light..  Later you will see it with the dark gray primer finish coat..

It took quite a while to do the wax on.. wax off.. trick on the firewall..  I use 6” self adhesive silicon carbide open grit sanding disks stuck back to back..  No pad, just by hand..   Ror107-4.jpg and ror107-5.jpg..   (need a d-a sander..)


Then the primer coated pieces went in for the last time..  ror107-6.jpg

Today I dug into the riveting job..  Just drilling and riveting and making brackets in a frenzy..    The riveting job took 4 hours and actually was a lot of fun..  The air powered riveter is great..

Ror107-7,jpg shows the firewall where it ain’t moving from and ror107-8.jpg shows the dark grey (almost flat black) package shelf..  It ain’t going nowhere either..


Finally tomorrow I am cleaning up, finishing the primer interior theme and maybe getting the seat back in..  Then it is seat time again!..

If it don’t rain again..  Sigh...

Hoping the weather stays nice..    I gotta list..

1)   replace front shocks with NAPA whites

2)   transplant 1” anti-roll bar from Junkyard Dawg using the polygraphite bushings and links from Aren.

3)     finish final adjustment on left front wheel camber

4)     install battery cut off switch and put 3/8” tie down bolts on the     battery box..

5)   then it is G-Tech time..

6)   and mebbe spend some practice time up at the 1/8” mile strip up in Coos Bay.. (but it is 70 miles away, sigh..) It would be best to make a fool of myself there since no one knows me..   It is much easier for me to be an idiot in front of strangers..


Rick Draganowski

(rain, rain, stay away..)


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 108

Date:         Thursday, March 29, 2001 1:12 PM


It did rain a bunch more but yesterday it ended.   Just cool fog so I busied myself making some steel straps to reinforce the aluminum seat relocation brackets.  After they went in I finished the self etching primer interior theme..  See ror108-101.jpg, ror102.jpg, ror103.jpg, and ror104.jpg..  Notice the matching duct tape trim on the seat belts..




Then the issue of moving the 85 lb seat assembly from it’s safe haven in the barn/shop to Rustpuppy.  It is too cumbersome and heavy to try to walk with for an ol’ cripple like me so I hit on the idea of plopping it on a small silver tarp and dragging it across the soggy muddy yard..

That worked good..  (ror108-5.jpg and ror108-6.jpg)


It was a real hassle getting the seat back into Rustpuppy so I took my time..  (and wasted most of the afternoon..)   But eventually it was in place.  (ror108-7.jpg, ror108-8.jpg and ror108-9.jpg)   What a relief that was..



But,  (why is there always a but?)

The addition of the steel straps to the seat brackets changed things just enough so the bolts didn’t quite line up..  Things never seem to fit perfectly the first time..   I quit for the day, leaving the boltup work and the seat belt threading and tightening down for today..

I had hoped to get at least 8 hours of sleep last night but the suppressed excitement of knowing that Rustpuppy would be on the road the next day defeated me.

So I was out bright and early digging around ond the misaligned bracket problems.. (the lack of sleep is going to cost me later if I am not careful)

Loosening up all the bolts and a bit of judicious prying and hammering and the hardware all came together.  Considerable standing on your head time in the back seat area but I got through it safely..

It was a great feeling to sit down in Rustpuppy and start her up and make her move.. I went for about a 5 mile run to see if everything was ok..  It was..  It is funny how strange (low and perky) Rustpuppy feels after wheeling the big old Suburban for a couple months..

I parked her up next to the Suburban and will go to town in her just after finishing this report.    (ror108-a.jpg)

More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy goes to Town..  No cheese with the whine..

Date:         Thursday, March 29, 2001 4:45 PM


The trip to town went well.  I stopped at the saw shop to see Chris and show off Rustpuppy a little..   His helper wasn’t at the shop so Chris couldn’t go for a ride..   Then after the mundane chores  (groceries) I stopped at Jeff’s office.  I have been aggravating Jeff since 1980..   He put his kid in charge of the office and piled his bulky bod into Rustpuppy..    (he weighs over 360lbs..  I am a lightweight at 296..)  Between us we were the equivalent of almost 5 people..    Anyway after we got away from town, and I could show off a little, his responses were as follows..

Launch--   Holy Shit!!

1-2 shift-   Holy Shit!!

2-3 shift-   Holy Shit!!


I guess he was to stimulated to be creative..

With Jeff in the car the traction in first was much improved..  I could barely spin the tires at all...    Hmmm..   On some tracks it may be worthwhile having a passenger..  Mebbe a smaller one..

I am a little concerned about the whining coming from the new axle.  It is very noticable at certain rpm’s like there is a resonance in the system..

I think the hocky puck like polyurethane front eye bushings on the rear springs combined with the hard polyurethane spring pad adds to the noise transmission to the floorpan.  And guess what I have riveted solidly to the floorpan almost right were the spring mount attaches..   A nice resonant piece of aluminum..  Hmmm..

I notice that since I took the carpet and pad out of the Suburban the 10 bolt in there whines a little at certain speeds too..

I am stilll going to do some recording of the whine and mebbe get with Wade (the axle builder) about this issue..

Ol’ Rustpuppy ran flawlessly today..  The only detail is a little roughness in the motor above 5600rpm..  I suspect the bone stock Delco 1977 truck HEI just ain’t cutting it above 5500rpm..

Now that it is test and tune time I think I will transplant the high voltage coil off the Proform distributor and see if that makes a difference..

I am not sure that the front shocks on Rustpuppy even need replacing..  On the bumpy back road to my place the shocks seemed to be working just right..  Hmmm...   That just leaves the camber fine tune and the neutral interlock switch wiring..  And the trunk battery hold down bolts, and the main battery disconnect..   And a ton of body work..

And the whine recording and investigation..

Tomorrow is another day..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(you don’t notice the whine when you are racin’..)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Run Test&Tune 1

Date:         Thursday, March 29, 2001 6:17 PM


I couldn’t hold myself back so I dropped everything in the office and got Rustpuppy back on the road..

On the southbound run everything was perfect, the weather fine, the road fast, the wind still, everything but...

Nother damn but..   Rustpuppy was not quite up to race operating temperature from the easy 2 mile downhill trip to the head of Rustpuppy Run..

So there was a hesitation at launch.  Not a bog..  Just a drawn out hesitation... Damn..  After that Rustpuppy took off like a scalded cat..  But the results of the Southbound run  was a little disappointing.


Remember though, no tuning has been done yet..  That is a starting point..

I went up to the private turnaround..  Ever since I got caught up in the herd of rollers I have been shy about turning around at the rest stop..   I was calm and clearheaded and felt confident..  But the best laid plans..    I was a little hurried to stage since there was following traffic and I had very little time..    The launch was perfect though with the front and rear of Rustpuppy eagerly leaping into the air as both rear tires spun about 1 revolutions..

But there is another damn but...    There was some uneveness in the pavement since I was staging about 100 feet up from the best spot and the traction was messed up.   With the posi axle when one tire lost traction the rear jogged to the right with alarming speed..  Since I was on the causeway and there was no room for this kind of foolishness I let up on the throttle instinctively..  And naturally the damn TH350 upshifted because I had signaled with partial throttle..  Poop..

I stayed on it but the run was a dismal 14.26@102.3..

And the wind was picking up and the dew   forming so it was time to go home..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(Test&Tune is good)

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