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 too 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..
(you don’t notice the whine when you are racin’..)
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 ½ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org..
And the wind was picking up and the dew forming so it was time to go home..
More to come..
(Test&Tune is good)
No real tuning today but I spent some time on the road with Rustpuppy to record the axle whine I have been bitching about. I promised Wade that I would send him a recording today. That is not what is attached to this message.
While I was fooling around I thought it would be fun to share the sound of Rustpuppy going through the gears a bit. I made one run with the recorder on and started very sedately to prevent the insane wheelspin I get on the weathered and traction free section of the old highway where I was fooling around.
Here is the sound of the Rustpuppy taken from the passengers headrest. I am shifting at 5800rpm and as you see I run out of road just after the 2-3 shift..
Based on the rpm I think Rustpuppy gets up to a little over 82mph in the recording.
More to come...
There was a break between the cold spring rains (actually winter with ice last night) and I got a chance to dig into the neutral/park safety switch wiring. After looking everywhere except under my nose I eventually found my terminals and crimper kit. It seems like I spend most of my time aimlessly wandering around looking for stuff.. I must be getting old..
Using the great instructions from Scott Windle I easily located the switch on the steering column and the two plugs were out in a jiffy. In t&t3-1.jpg the white thing on the top of the steering column is the switch. the fat and lean harnesses are hanging below.. I am just going to hook up the safety switch. It r&t3-2.jpg you can see there is less than 3 feet to connect up.
According to the Hurst ProMatic instructions the front switch is the neutral and park job and the rear one the reverse one for the backup lights. My ProMatic came with no wires and no connectors.. Mr.Gasket is saving money I guess..
The GM connector worked good with standard male Faston terminals.. (t&t3-3.jpg)
The El Cheapo switches (not even tin plated) required the miniature low current terminals.. I had to bend and tighten up a couple of standard Faston female terminals to connect to the cheap switches.
Eventually they were on and working good. I need to come up with some kind of cover for the wires now.. (t&t3-5.jpg and t&t3-6.jpg)
More to come.. Going to swap the HEI coils if I have time before the rain starts back up..
(with a functioning neutral/park safety switch..)
The day seemed young after finishing the wiring job. (daylight savings time probably had something to do with that) And it wasn’t raining yet..
So I got into the HEI coil swap job..
Took a picture of Goody with the old coil.. You can barely see it back there. (t&t4-1.jpg) Here is an interesting thought. Chevy put the distributor in the rear with the hinges of the hood. Ford tried to do better but blew it. They put the distributor in the front with the hinges..
The distributor cap is probably about 15 years old and the coil is the original one from 1976.. (t&t4-2.jpg) The high voltage harness was off in a jiffy.. (t&t4-3.jpg)
T&t4-4.jpg shows the wiring to the distributor cap. The triple connector is the harness to the distributor the thick pink wire is the ignition and the skinny green one is the tach.. That old Delco cap still looks good after 15 years..
Then the cap and coil assemblies pass on the little red stool. (t&t4-5.jpg)
The new cap adds a bit of color to the engine compartment.. (t&t4-6.jpg)
T&t4-7.jpg shows the finished job.. Didn’t even have to mess with the timing.. It is tricky to get to the rear cap latch. I have to peek behind the hood holding the cable harness to get a peep hole. Usually I don’t bother with that and just loosen the hold down bolt so I can turn the distributor for access.. This time I wanted to just change the coil and leave everything else alone.. For testing purposes..
The last picture shows the old coil cover. (t&t4-8,jpg) I wonder if they are still called Delco-Remy? I bet they are not..
The coil swap only took about 15 minutes so I had time to crawl under Rustpuppy and tighten up the bolts on the probe and drogue exhaust flangeup. The one on the drivers side (Orville and Mary Elizabeth) had loosened to the point of making the exhaust pipe bang on the driveshaft loop when Goody was idling in gear..
I used a ¼” drive socket and rachet both for access and to prevent overtightening the flanges and bending them..
More to come...
(doing indoor stuff today..)
In spite of dire predictions the weather cleared up last night and it got really cold.. (30’s) and today dawned bright, clear, very dry, and cool.. Perfect race weather..
I was physically challenged by the abrupt changes in the weather and could not walk very well today but I pressed on regardless..
I met up with my UPS man Mark just before taking off and he stopped for lunch down at the beginning of Rustpuppy run’s north end and so I had an audience for the first run of the day. I was trying to do too much.. Had the Vaio hooked up to record the run and was fooling with the G-Tech plus I was nervous about traffic showing up on the staging area.. So I botched all of the tech stuff but paid attention to the driving.. The run seemed much better than any before but with too much wheelspin off the line. The southbound run staging area has a much older and more weathered surface than the northbound.
A little later I tried again, this time northbound and still had too much wheelspin.. I got the G-Tech time that run and it was bad.. email@example.com.. There was something screwy with the transmission too like it hesitated before getting all the way down to low and then hit so hard that the wheels spun madly. Like a neutral drop.. I have to look into the shifter adjustment.. I found later if I do a tiny burnout and listen for the first gear whine I can be sure of a clean start.
There is lots to think about.. And not much time for fooling around since you are sitting in the middle of the main highway in the county.
Remember I have been waiting to test the new high voltage coil (Proform unfortunately) that was swapped in. I had seriously important business in town so got to town and took care of it all. I even got to give Chris at the saw shop the ride I promised. He is a rodder and thought the 120 foot two wheel fishtailing burnout we did down at the Hunter Creek road was very cool. (new nice pavement with two aboard.. I even was impressed)
Rustpuppy is idling better, starting better, and seems much stronger all through the power band.. It was a good omen..
On the way home I tried another northbound run but the wind was picking up and I got the tranny foulup and did not complete it.. The gusty crosswind on that causeway makes me very nervous. I will wait till later after the wind dies down and the road is cooler.. The sun has been baking it all day..
Later and cooler came quickly and I set out for another attempt. I took the old road south to below the beginning of Rustpuppy run doing practice starts and messing about with the first gear drop thingie.. I think I have it figured out but I still will check the shift cable adjustment.
Got to the highway. There was no traffic. The wind had died to nothing.
It was cool and sunny.. It was time to boogie..
The run went perfectly. Good start. Tracking straight. No traffic. No mistakes. The sun was shining on the G-Tech so I could not see the signal for the end of the quarter so I stayed on it till I felt Rustpuppy go up on her toes.. That is the 115mph signal so I knew it was way over.
The pictures show the result.
I was so excited (like a little kid) that I left Rustpuppy idling and got the video cam to record the G-Tech reading.. Then I just sat in the running Rustpuppy for a while because I knew if I turned the motor off the pretty numbers would go away..
(a rewarding day..)
A serious cold front is moving in and the temperatures are down. It is still dry so I took Rustpuppy for a run in the coolness. I figured the low temp is worth some horsepower and she always ran better in cooler temps.
At first on the trip south on the old highway I didn’t really notice that something was wrong. I was concentrating on the job ahead..
Then when I did the first staging and launch practice. It hit me. Something was seriously wrong. The TCI converter would flash to 2800 and then stick at 2600 as Rustpuppy leisurely took off. It was like driving a Dynaflow Buick. The rpm stayed at 2600 from zero up to over 50 mph..
What the hell?
Some testing and fooling around and I found that Rustpuppy now had a 1 speed transmission. Just drive.. Reverse worked but 1st and 2nd were completely gone.
Looks like saying nice things about the BLC’s car has shifted some bad mojo my way. Remember the neutral drop thingie. What was happening was the tranny was starting out in 3rd and then finding 1st later. Now it wasn’t finding 1st at all, or 2nd..
Interesting that with the high stall converter Rustpuppy was still drivable and very well mannered.. No worries about traction or shifting.. Hmmm.... She was downright “streetable”..
Thinking about the problem as I motored home like a law abiding citizen I theorized that there was some defect associated with the detent pressure in the transmission.
After getting home I checked the fluid just for laughs. It was fine.
Then I pulled the air cleaner and disconnected the detent cable. It seemed very easy to move. Like it was not connected somewhere. Or broken..
I had it adjusted pretty tight, maybe a little too tight. In my excitement during the last few days I have a feeling that I may have overstressed some component of the detent system with my heavy foot..
And the rain is starting back up so I am restricted to indoor work..
(Bad Luck Charm II)
After the miserable cold rain part of the cold front passed the weather cleared up with little showers once in a great while. T&t7-1.jpg and t&t7-2.jpg gives you some idea. Sunny but about 15 degrees colder than normal..
In t&t7-1.jpg you can see the little Airstream trailer lurking behind the new construction. I have been living in it for 22 years and maybe next year can get out..
Rustpuppy is being jacked up for todays work in t&t7-2.jpg and t&t7-3.jpg with bumper jacks fore and aft. T&t7-4.jpg shows the completed work area. Note the large jackstands under the front and rear subframes. On the other side both wheels are chocked fore and aft. Not taking any chances on getting squashed..
T&t7-5.jpg is the underneath shot of the work area.
I theorized (probably full of bologna that a stuck modulator valve might cause the strange 3rd gear only symptoms. It was worth a shot as it is easy and convenient to check.
After studying more in my Turbo-Hydramatic 350 Handbook (Ron Sessions) last night the theory was looking more and more like wishful thinking..
It was. The modulator valve is working just fine, like the governer..
During today’s road test (made first thing) I noticed some more symptoms. The engagement of the clutches when going into gear seem way softer than normal in both drive and reverse. I even tried a mini neutral drop from 1500rpm in drive and there was no bone shaking thump like usual.
It looks like the line pressure is way low. I have been wracking my brains about what would affect both the 1-2 shift valve and the 2-3 shift valve. The governor pressure is a common factor and if it was stuck way too high it would inhibit the shift valves. But the governor is fine. The modulator acts to oppose the governor pressure so I though that if it was stuck low that was the problem. This would cause the line pressure to be lower than normal too. But it is working fine.. Now what.. Mebbe there is an internal leak in the modulator circuit? Hmmm.. The detent valve directs modulator pressure to the shift valves.. Could something be screwed up there? The deeper you look the more complicated it gets..
It really looks like the next step is to pull the pan and check everything with transmission fluid dripping in my eyes.. Oh well.. At least I am having fun..
More to come..
Cold (never got up to 50) with a couple short showers but I was back out laying on the cold ground trying to get ol’ Rustpuppy going again.
I took a couple pictures, yesterday in the bright sun, of the location here. T&t8-1.jpg is from the middle of the yard looking down on my neighbors house and the Pacific.
T&t8-2.jpg is from the attic window on the new home I am in the process of building. (very slowly)
The tallest rock (sticking above the Pacific horizon) is actually an extinct volcano about 360 feet tall. I am at about 300 feet above the sea and 1100 feet back from it.
Rustpuppy looks small from up there..
Back to business, this is a view of the action area.. It is pull the pan time.. (t&t8-3.jpg)
Like magic the pan is off and the valve body out for inspection. (t&t8-4.jpg and t&t8-5.jpg) Unfortunately it checked out perfect. No flaws or defects anywhere. This is bad.
It gets worse.
There are little shiny silver hunks and other stuff in the bottom of the pan and mostly on the top of the filter. (t&t8-7.jpg)
It get even worse.
In the pan I harvested this mess of rubber chunks. This is really not good. (t&t8-8.jpg)
And this is a closeup of the filter again.. I don’t know what some of that stuff is but it don’t look good to me.. The metal bits are like sand.. Some dark and some silver..(ror8-9.jpg)
This transmission looks like toast to me.. Bummer..
To close with a positive note. I figured out an easy way to put the hairpin pivot for the detent cable lever back in. Pry it open and prop it with an external ¼” star washer. Then insert it and tap it with a screwdriver handle to free the washer.. Worked slick.(t&t8-6.jpg)
It looks like the rebuilt transmission I bought because I knew I was going to toast the old one in Rustpuppy is going to go in..
I am not sure I am up to this..
More to come..
The day came for getting rid of the Prothane polyurethane bushings in Rustpuppy’s rear suspension. First carefully putting Rustpuppy’s passenger side up on jackstands t&t9-3.jpg and t&t9-4.jpg) after pulling the bracket and prying down the spring the bushings were out in a jiffy. (t&t9-1.jpg)
Getting the metal and rubber stock bushing in was not such a simple matter.. I started out being careful but ended up pounding like a madman with my 3 ½ lb hammer.. I seem to have mashed up the end of the metal insert so the bolt will not fit.. (Primitive Pete at work) I had to get out my ½” drill and a ½” bit to clear out the mushroomed end..
The bracket and bolts were back in a jiffy and it was time to proceed to the drivers side. I figured out a more sophisticated way of prying the spring down on this side (2x3 on the other).. You can see the markings on the flat sides of the bushings where they were squeaking and popping..
When pounding in the stock bushings it helps a lot to pry the eye of the spring open by pounding in a screwdriver.. (t&t9-6.jpg Primitive Pete again)
This side I took my time and hit at a 30 degree angle so the edges of the steel bushing took the punishment and the center tube was untouched.. (t&t9-7.jpg see! I can learn!)
I was careful to center the bushings in the spring.. (t&9-8.jpg)
For some reason one of the bolts on this side was a bitch to get in. It took some weird prying and pushing and I wasted about 40 minutes on what should have been a 2 minute job.. T&t9-9.jpg shows the finished job on this side..
After pounding in the front bushings and securing the brackets (leaving the big bolts loose till Rustpuppy was back on all four wheels I laid under the rear bumper and replaced the bottom urethane bushings (top ones were already rubber) with rubber..
Funny thing happened at this time.. Since I had my special pot-o-chili for dinner last night I was a bit bloated.. I cut a huge fart and felt instant relief. Then about 2 minutes later I saw something moving in the sky out of the corner of my eye.
There were a couple of vultures circling the yard.. They must have thought I was dead and starting to stink.. How humilating..
After all the bolts were tight and everything buttoned up I took Rustpuppy for a test drive.. Ahhh! What a difference.. The squeaking and creaking and popping were gone and the loudest noise was the sweet sound of Goody through the Super Turbos..
And I got Rustpuppy up to the axle whining speed and found that the level of whine was only about 1/10 of what it was with the hard bushings.. Success!
More to come..
(jet smooth ride..)
It was time to drag the race transmission I bought from Wade Austin last year out and get it prettied up for installation. I knew last year that the old transmission in Rustpuppy was not going to last..
T&t10-1.jpg shows the drab primer the tranny came with all the way from South Dakota.
I decided to go with the Oldsmobile blue engine paint for the tranny instead of the Star Trek silver I used on the last one.. T&t10-2.jpg and t&t10-3.jpg shows how I propped it up during the painting.
T&t10-4.jpg shows the finished product.. Looking good..
I put Wade’s name and e-mail addy (t&t10-5.jpg) on the transmission as he gets the credit (good or bad) for this tranny.
Wade assures me that he has put some really special building tricks and race oriented goodies in this transmission.
While I had the chance I threw the tranny up on the scale.. (yeah right.. threw... t&t10-6,jpg.) It was interesting to see that the standard TH350 weighs 121 lbs..
Unfortunately that is too much for an ol’ cripple like me to carry around so it will be fun getting it into Rustpuppy’s passenger compartment for the trip to town..
More to come..
It was time to horse the transmission into Rustpuppy. Starting with the hand truck and getting a nice floor to scuffle around on.. (t&t11-1.jpg, &t11-2.jpg)
Sitting on my little red stool I stood the tranny on the bell housing and then rocking it back and forth adding blocks to get it high enough to slide over the lip through the door..
(t&t11-3.jpg and t&t11-4.jpg)
Sucess! Now I have to worry about getting Rustpuppy to the shop in town..
I have a tow bar rigged up for Rustpuppy..
More to come.
Faced with the problem of getting Rustpuppy to town by myself I decided against driving her with the crippled transmission and bumming a ride home and got out the old towing rig I set up many years ago to transport Rustpuppy.. (back in 1995 or so)
T&t12-1.jpg, t&t12-2.jpg, and t&t12-3 show the rig.. The super Disco bumper is plenty strong with that steel girder inside. So I just bolt brackets that support a towbar to the bottom of it directly.
T&t12-4.jpg shows the hookup to the Suburban. It takes a bit of getting in an out of the car to get everything lined up but I am getting good at this..
Finally on the road you can see the Nova is following the Suburban very closely..(t&t12-5.jpg)
Actually they are parked cause I am in the middle of the yard taking the picture..
I stay on the old farm road as far as I can (about half of the 15 miles to town) and keep the speed down to 40 on the highway but the trip to town was uneventful..
Now Brett at Central Curry Truck and Auto will work his special 145 buck transmission R&R..
More to come...
(the excitement is building)
You will notice that there is no Test&Tune 13. Ol’ number 13 would have been about the rotten time I had with the driveshaft transplantation and organ rejection. I went through hell getting Rustpuppy’s old too short driveshaft apart so I could transplant the slip yoke to the proper length but beat up and mebbe bent driveshaft I got gouged 75 bux for locally.. The slip yoke on it was rusted into uselessness..
Then my mechanic Brett went through even more hell the next morning trying to assemble the driveshaft. There was something wrong with the slip yoke and after it got beat up and heated and beat up some more the driveshaft is vibrating like Aren’s Nova..
Enough about the crappy driveshaft. It will be fixed next week..
Rustpuppy was ready to come home yesterday but the weather was so crappy I put it off. Raining and 60mph winds..
Today was a much better partly sunny job and the story starts at Central Curry Truck And Auto.. Bretts shop.. Here is a quote from Brett.. “If there were no Fords I would be out of business.” Most of his work (and he hates it) is on the little Ford trucklets. Rangers, Explorers. Broncos, and that kinda stuff. He even offered me some free late model Ford motors that litter the floor in there..
T&t14-1.jpg shows Rustpuppy lurking in the corner of the biggest auto repair shop I have ever seen. (It used to be a fishing boat manufacturing plant.. Big..)
T&t14-2.jpg, t&t14-3.jpg, t&t14-4.jpg shows Rustpuppy being moved around and hooked up with the Highway 101 Historic Rogue River Bridge in the background..
T&t14-5 shows a corner of Brett’s shop showing how close it is to the bank of the river..
There is room to fly radio controlled airplanes inside his shop.. I am trying to talk him into opening up a small body shop in the corner.. (selfish reasons..)
It seems like trailing a car is more stressful than I remember. Partly because of the radial tires on the Suburban making the rear end move in strange and uncomfortable ways from the pressures on the towbar from Rustpuppy. I left the motor idling in Rustpuppy for the trip home and t&t14-6.jpg shows the whole herd together on the yard..
I ran a series of test drives to verify all of the functions of the new tranny and everything checked out great (with one quibble and one problem). The governor, modulator shift linkage, etc all checked out A-OK..
The problem you already know about.. The driveshaft vibrates like a booger at about 50 mph and then again at 100..
The quibble is the difference in the 1-2 shift.. The old crapped out tranny had an instant shift while the Wade special has a softer, longer shift. Positive but just longer and softer.. More on this later..
I decided that since I had “The Hole” still uncovered from the transmission troubleshooting last week that I would get in there and check the tooth count on the speedometer drive gear.. T&t14-7.jpg, and t&t14-8.jpg..
19 teeth on that critter.. Bummer.. I think the maximum is 22 teeth and that is not enough to correct for my big error in the speedo.. 60mph actual = 74 mph indicated..
I planned on finishing this part of the story with the pretty picture
through the hole at the nice blue tranny.. T&t14-9.jpg
But later this evening while I was washing dishes a sudden urge came over me.. I was still fired up from the transmission test runs and I had the idea of making a G-Tech run to see what was up.. So I left the dishes in the sink half way through and jumped into Rustpuppy for a quick trip down to the south end of Rustpuppy run. Something must have been dragging and grinding in the old tranny because during the test runs there seemed to be more beans than before..
I got to the south end of Rustpuppy run. Weather good, wind still, no traffic, Got staged ok. The launch seemed to hit harder than usual so there was much more wheelspin than expected. Enought to jog Rustpuppy’s rear about 3 feet to the left but I stayed on it. (I bet I lost a lot of time there)
Finally hooked up and went good.. I hit the shift lever with the shiftlight at 5800 but the slight delay of the softer 1-2 shift had the rpm up to about 6200 before pulling it back down with a vengeance. Instead of chirping the tires it felt like Rustpuppy was twisting..
Time for third came in jiffy and I stayed on it past the end of the quarter because the sun was on the G-Tech again and I could not see the LED’s..
As I coasted down for the turn off I could see the flashing leds but couldn’t read them.. Around the corner and off the highway and I could see firstname.lastname@example.org (corrects to 103.5) (t&t14-10,jpg and t&t14-11.jpg) So almost the exact same e.t. as with a perfect launch and picked up almost 1 mph.. Something must have been dragging in the old tranny.. Headed home to my dishwater..
I am sure that with a good launch Rustpuppy will be well below 13.5. And then it is time to start tuning the timing and mixture for some horsepower.. Yowza! I am amost sure Goody is still at 28 degrees total advance..
More to come..
END OF CHAPTER 1