T&T Chapter 3   <  ^  >

Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 30

Date:         Monday, May 28, 2001 8:36 AM


The moderate amount of vibration from the red driveshaft has been enough of an annoyance to warrant pulling it out and taking it down to Chuck’s machine shop for a balance job.

When I got it back the nice red paint was a bit spoiled.  (t&t30-1.jpg) You can see from t&t30-2.jpg that Chuck ground and welded around on both ends and the middle..


I have been knurrin up the bolt heads on the u-joint clamp bolts because the wrench did not fit down properly to grip fully.   I modified my 35 year old Craftsman box wrench by grinding the outside diameter to properly fit since I have been pulling driveshafts almost weekly..   T&t30-4.jpg and t&t30-4.jpg show the fit.


Finally the driveshaft was painted and ready for installation..


I installed it today and the vibration was down by another 80%..  I ran Rustpuppy up to about 5600rpm in third and it was nice and smooth.  (that is about 110mph)

There is still a little bit of vibration at about 2500rpm since according to Chuck the axle end of the tube is slightly bent and cannot be perfectly balanced.

When I picked up this driveshaft I dropped off the original one that was badly butchered by Brett when he had trouble installing the HD Spicer joint.  I am having Chuck weld on a new yoke and balance the assembly and am hoping to wind up with a perfect driveshaft.

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(spending too much money on driveshafts)


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 31

Date:         Tuesday, May 29, 2001 9:53 AM


The whole basis of Rustpuppy’s existence (and good excuse to spend money on an old rusty Nova) is for her to be the test vehicle for the products of my company Servo Computer Corporation.

Finally she is starting to fulfill her destiny.

The first product is a complete exhaust gas temperature system.   I started on the installation over the weekend.   T&t-31-1.jpg shows the innocent “Goody” before the intervention. 

The first step was mounting the thermocouple multiplexer to the alternator bracket.  The elaborate shock mount was designed for a race boat installation.  T&t31-2.jpg shows the mess..

Then holes for the temperature probes needed to be drilled in the Dynomax ceramic headers. (t&t31-3.jpg and t&t31-4.jpg)   I was surprised at the softness of the steel when center punching and how thin the tubing is.  These headers are built cheaper than they look..


T&t31-5.jpg and t&t31-6.jpg show the display.   This unit also has special shock mounts for the race boat installation.


I used twist ties to install the wiring because it will be pulled out in a few days to be installed in Tim Hardings class B race boat.   You can see the probes mounted into the pipes with hose clamps.  (t&t31-7.jpg, t&t31-8.jpg, and t&t31-9.jpg)  These are all hand made prototypes.  The production versions will be prettier with anodized heat sinks..



It is great to be able to get the system into Tim’s boat.   I hope that it works well as racers from all over the world will be looking at it..

Rick Draganowski

(testing is good)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 32

Date:         Thursday, May 31, 2001 1:06 PM


Most of my time was spent on business and medical stuff lately but a couple good Rustpuppy things have happened.

Firstly during the excitement and distraction of testing the prototype Pyrometer system I pushed Rustpuppy into a corner of her performance envelope which has been untested for several years.

I needed data from full throttle running over as long a period as possible.  So out on Rustpuppy run I inadvertently wound up at 6200rpm in third gear full throttle..   Hmmm..   There was a moderate direct headwind (not a side wind or I would have been in trouble) so the airspeed was high.   I calculate the ground speed of between 120 and 123 depending on tire growth and with the 15mph North wind the air speed could have been as high as 137..

The extreme front end lift Rustpuppy used to have seemed much less.  It seems replacing the springs and bringing the rear back to stock height changed the lift factors considerably.  Before, Rustpuppy was very nose high and tail low.  Now she sits level. I bet lowering the front a bit would make more improvement.

Now for something completely different.   I had an early morning appointment with Tim Harding to get the exhaust system on Rustpuppy finally fixed properly.  The probe and drogue kludges are now just a fond memory.   It is all welded up now and ready for long trips..

More to come..

Want to get back to racing and get below 13.5..

Rick Draganowski

(flying low)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 33

Date:         Wednesday, June 06, 2001 9:41 PM


I have been having a lot of medical tests to evaluate my problems.  I am not even half way through them and went in for an appointment to see my doctor (town1-7.jpg)

today in the downtown metropolitan area of the big City of Gold Beach.  (town1-9.jpg)

Don’t let the smile for the camera fool you as Reg was pretty serious during the consultation..

The news so far was depressing.  Lots of arthritis (back, hip, knees, wrists, etc) and a ruptured disk in my back..  I go for an MRI on my neck tomorrow (that is what is my main worry) and then an examination by an ophthalmologist to see why I seem to be going blind..   Sigh...  All very depressing and I can’t help but feel a little sorry for myself..

Since I gave up drink back in December of 1995  and my Deloris passed away last January  there are not many things which help me fight depression.

Town1-8.jpg is one little crutch..

And after I got home I noticed that the wind had completely stopped.   And with the road construction both north and south of here the traffic was traveling in bunches with long periods with no traffic at all..

It was time to get Rustpuppy out to Rustpuppy Run!

I did a few practice starts (up to about 50mph) to get my brains organized in race mode and when I got to the South end of Rustpuppy Run conditions were perfect..

I got a good launch and was shifting at a tad above 6000rpm..   Rustpuppy was tracking perfectly and the run was flawless..    I stayed on it till the speedometer indicated about 110 mph and then slowed down to 55 in a hurry and motored home slowly like an honest citizen..

After I turned off of 101 I peeked at the G-Tech..   Good time but almost exactly the same as Rustpuppy’s best time so far.   It was 13.56@107.9 .  (t&t33-2.jpg and t&t33.1.jpg)


Last best run shifting at 5800 with 34 degrees of advance was 13.57@107.8 .

Looks like I will put the 5800 pill back in the shift light and drop the timing back to 32 degrees for the next test..

The racing really helps with the mopes and I am really happy with the great way that Goody is running..

Rick Draganowski

(racing and pizza..)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 34

Date:         Friday, June 08, 2001 9:18 PM


Laying low after the miserable road trip to the hospital yesterday and stayed in working on technical stuff for the company this morning..

But in the afternoon the Nova work called to me and I got started.   First I messed about cleaning up and painting the newest driveshaft for Rustpuppy.  I had the messed up front yoke replaced (some mechanics are just too brutal) at a cost of an additional 115 bucks..  That will be a lesson to me..   The super sized Spicer HD joint cannot be made to fit without messing up the yoke.  So with the puny yoke you must stay with the smaller Federal Mogul HD u-joint..   T&t34-1.jpg  shows the old bent up job balanced above the new HD Spicer rig..

I did a half-hearted sanding and primering and painting job on the black driveshaft..  Remembering the happy hours I spent on the red, bent, and unbalanceable one..  Grrr..

(t&t34-2,jpg and t&t34-3.jpg)


While working on the driveshaft I noticed that conditions were perfect for perhaps a little racing?  Yes a little..

First I messed about with the timing to set it back to 32 degrees for the next test..

Then on the road to Rustpuppy Run..  It was frustrating  and I made several attempts but the traffic was always too much..

I messed about with 0-60 times on the old road and Goody seemed a little dull and unresponsive..   The best Rustpuppy did was a miserable 5.28 seconds..

What is wrong?

While up at the prayer spot on the hill it came to me.   The old idiot Draganowski forgot to put the vacuum advance hose on again..   What is wrong with me..  Sigh.. Old age is a bitch..

I had also noticed that the Pyrometer readings were about 200 degrees higher than normal from the lean condition..   Interesting..

After a bit I got turned around and did another 0-60 test.    This is shifting at 5800 and 32 degrees advance..   It was 4.87 seconds..    Goody was back on form..   Cool..

The traffic was still too hectic for any serious racing so I went home and messed around cleaning up my shop for a while..

Then I got back out to Rustpuppy Run and  went in circles till there was a break..

The run went well with a good launch and everything working perfect..    The

time was off though at 13.74@106.2 .   Almost 2 tenths off of Rustpuppy’s best..    I guess the 32 degrees is not enough..

 Hmmmm..     36 degrees is too much and 32 degrees is too little..   Better get back to 34 degrees..     I set the timing back to 34 and was careful to replace the vacuum advance hose.. What a blockhead I am sometimes..    That is twice I been racing Rustpuppy with that hose off..

I took a short road trip to see about ordering some special groceries at the local market.  (not super, just market)

On the way home it looked like the traffic was finally cooled off..

Most excellent.  Cloudy cool and humid..   Goody runs best under them conditions..

I found the perfect spot to stage and the launch was perfect with less than one turn of spin on the tires..   The shifting at 5800 seemed just right (6000 always seemed late) and I knew the run was a good one..  It was with Rustpuppy back on form with at 13.55@107.9 on the G-Tech..     (see t&t34-4.jpg and t&t34-5.jpg)


It looks like I have wrung out the last drop of performance at this level..  Now I think I will test different ways of launching..    All of the previous runs were just putting the foot down from idle..

There are delicate balances at play.  I can tell the difference in traction between running with a full tank of gas versus with a mostly empty one..

Hmmm...   Wonder how I can get Goody just a tad more horsepower..

I have it!

If I could get Chuck Butcher to drive instead of my lard butt that would lighten the race weight by 200 lbs..

How much would that be worth?

Rick Draganowski

(weight reduction is good)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 34 addendum 1

Date:         Friday, June 08, 2001 9:22 PM


Racing is good..   Check out the consistency..

1) 13.57@107.8

2) 13.56@107.9

3) 13.55@107.9



Talk about slow progress though..


More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(34 degrees and 5800rpm)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 35

Date:         Sunday, June 10, 2001 7:19 PM


This report covers the two days of the weekend..

The first issue that came up was the antique fan clutch on Goody.  It is the original Delco device  from back in 1975 or so..   I had been noticing a lot more fan noise and dust blowing when doing cold starts so all of the talk on the list about fans got me to check it out.

It seems the little thermostatic valve was not sealing and the clutch stayed engaged partially all of the time..    Hmmm...   In my last post I was whining for more horsepower and mebbe there is some to be had by replacing the clutch with a good (practically new, 1992 or so) NAPA clutch still hanging around from Knocker’s removal.

The fan was off and the swap made in a jiffy..  (t&t35-1.jpg is before and t&t35-2.jpg is after)


Then after some hours of real work the issue of the newest (old fixed up) driveshaft came up.   I have done this so many times that it is routine..  You can see the new black one alongside the still vibrating red one in t&t35-3.jpg.

I did get some pictures of the great fix Tim Harding did on the exhaust system to eliminate the probe and drogue kludges..    Someday I want to be able to MIG weld like that..  Sigh..  (t&t35-4.jpg and t&t35-5.jpg)


When I took Rustpuppy for  a spin it was drizzling rain so there was no possibility of anything but danger if anything stupid was done..

Finally!   A driveshaft that does not vibrate like Aren’s Nova..    I am happy as can be about this..    Everything is coming together  (except for my old bones) and Rustpuppy is just getting better and better.

The above took place on Saturday.   This morning I was up bright and early and while I was working I got the idea to take a little spin in Rustpuppy (it was about 8:30 Sunday morning) to see if fixing the clutch fan helped Goody’s horsepower.    I figured the tourist traffic would be at a minimum and it was dry and windless..

I made one 0-60 run after driving around in circles waiting for a break in traffic on Rustpuppy Run..   The motor homes are thick as flies this time of year..

On the old road I staged on the one good patch of pavement and got off to a textbook launch with a perfect run up to about 80 mph..    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the 0-60 time on the G-Tech..    It was 4.58 seconds!    Wow!    Better than I had ever hoped for on the street tires..

It was a fluke as there was more traction than I had ever had before..

I was all worked up now on doing a mile run but after going around in circles for another 15 miles (on 2 miles of road) I gave up.   The traffic was light but with only about 15 seconds of gaps between the bunches..

So I decided to motor to town for gasoline (wasted going in circles) and some groceries..   I had promised Matt Metcalf a ride in Rustpuppy if I got her to town on the weekend.   Matt is a graduating HS senior who works at the Texaco station pumping gas..

After filling up I called Matt and tracked him down..    Matt is a good kid and is headed to college soon.   He is going into law enforcement and probably will be coming back to Gold Beach as a policeman someday..  Hmmm...  I could use some friends on the force..

I took him out to Hunter Creek for the perquisite 100 foot fishtailing burnout and then did a racing stage on 101 on the way back..   Rustpuppy felt stronger than usual (bet it is the fan) and Matt was impressed..

Then on the way home I circled Rustpuppy run a few times looking for a break in traffic..  One finally came up but I could tell by the tiny spots of water on the windshield that the light rain had just started..  Damn..   Not going to be any traction..

I got one run in though with lots of wheelspin.   The numbers were interesting.  13.71@108.7..    Almost one mph higher than the best time before..  (0.8mph)

Then it was home and back to work again..  (having your business on your property makes it tough to get away)

After a few hours I noticed that it was drying out  and the sun was trying to come out..  I got the itch again..   I unloaded the stuff in the trunk to make up for the full tank of gas..  Between the spare, two jacks, and the big cross wrench it was about 90 lbs of ballast.

I had to make three circles to get the clear road needed but I managed to get in another run.  It was dry enough (but the humidity was still high) and everything went well.   Goody definitely has more horses as I was still having traction problems at launch and now the second gear chirp has become more of a screetch and is a lot longer.

The run went very well with Goody pulling hard.   The time was 13.62@109.5 on the G-Tech..  I don’t know what to make of that speed.   The G-Tech folks say the mph could be 3mph high, Scott Windle tested his at about 4mph high..  And some technical folks over at the Mustang group (data is were you find it) said that their testing of a high 11 second car showed the G-Tech to be 7 mph fast..

Going with that it looks like Rustpuppy is at an honest 102.5mph or mebbe more..    It felt fast..  (t&t35-6.jpg and t&t35-7.jpg)


The indicated speed is about 1.6 mph higher than the best times before with the old fan clutch.   This translates to about 15 horsepower or more..  Cool..

I had the Pyrometer hooked up during the racing and you can see the marks left by peak readings..  (t&t35-8.jpg)  All between 1300 and 1500 degrees..  Perfect for what Goody is.

It really looks like this is as far as is possible to go with those BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires..    Goody has more power so the e.t. gets slower..    Grrr..


I gotta get some 15 inch wheels and BFGoodrich Drag Radials for the next stage of fooling around..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(going in circles)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 36

Date:         Wednesday, June 13, 2001 6:08 PM


Rustpuppy went on her first serious road trip yesterday.   Over 100 miles round trip..  The road along the coast south has 3 or 5 places where it has to climb pretty high to get over some of the coastal range mountains..

It was a sunny and warmish day..   About 70 degrees.  Now Rustpuppy runs cool, usually between 170 and 180 degrees..    But on the road trip pulling the grades the temp was going up to about 190..  Once even to 195..   I kept thinking that there may be something wrong and by the time I got almost to Brookings (the destination) I realized that it was the high stall converter pushing the temperature up.

I bought a cooler for the transmission months ago from Jeg’s.  When it arrived I found that the installation kit was missing..  It took a couple weeks to get that straightened out but by then the cooler was pushed to the back burner by more important projects..

It looks like it is time to get it installed..

I was thinking (while lurking in a dark room this afternoon) that installing the cooler right in front of the radiator still transfers heat to the radiator.  It would be best to install it somewhere else where it can get airflow and not be involved with the radiator..

I could only think of two places..   Cut a hole and install it in the front bumper or cut a hole and install it in the plastic air dam below the front end of the Discos..

Will probably do it the easy way in the plastic part..

Now for the exciting return trip from the California border.

On the way back I got behind a string of cars following a VW camper..  When we got to the first grade all of the cars passed and went on except for the late model Thunderbird in front of Rustpuppy.

The T-bird acted like it could not get up the power to pass the 40 mph VW by creeping past at 41mph..

And then the Ford driver stayed in the left lane at 41mph..

I turned on Rustpuppy’s headlights but got no response..

After what seemed like a long time I lost patience and floored Rustpuppy and blew by the T-Bird making lotsa noise in the process..

I stayed on in a little too long and noticed the speed was up to about 105 mph..  This is on a serious uphill grade.

The next thing I knew there was a lot of smoke coming up from under the hood of Rustpuppy..   I could see a serious cloud behind.  There was no place to pull over on the side of the mountain (not even a shoulder) so I was quite apprehensive..

I slowed to 60 quickly.   The gauges looked normal with the temp at about 195, oil at 55lbs..

Goody sounded good.

The smoke started thinning rapidly and by the time I got to the top of the hill it seemed to be gone..   I motored gently back to Gold Beach (another 10 miles or so) and my mind was filled with conjecture..

The only thing that fit the symptoms would be oil getting on the red hot headers somehow..

When I got to town I pulled in to the Texaco station and Matt Metcalf (the kid I gave the ride to last weekend) came up and said that he could smell smoke..

He crawled under a little and said that there was oil all over the right hand header collector and on the rear of the starter and back..

I don’t know what could be leaking back there but Goody was a quart low..

I am guessing the pan gasket is the culprit..

Matt put in a quart of oil and said that he would pay for it..  What a nice kid..   I bet he will be a good cop.

Today instead of getting under and finding out what is going on I had the eye doctor appointment and have been lurking in a darkened room waiting for my pupils to un-dilate..  Got to talk with Ray for a bit so it was a good afternoon..

Now I got to go out and find out what is going on with the oil leak..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(I was really worried for a while, the last time I saw that kind of smoke the motor never got over it.)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 36  addendum 1

Date:         Wednesday, June 13, 2001 8:37 PM


My eyes finally returned to normal (but I still got a splitting headache) so this evening I got Rustpuppy jacked up and on a jackstand and crawled under for a close look at the burning oil problem..

It was a mess under there.. No wonder the puppy was smoking..   My pretty pipes are all marked up with burnt on oil and the quart of oil that came out made a mess..  (the wind must have been blowing under there pretty good at 105mph)

I cleaned and examined for quite a while and am convinced that the problem must be the oil pan rail gasket behind the starter.  Two of the little bolts were still dripping..

I took my ” ratchet set and checked them.   The rear larger bolt was looser than I would like but the first small bolt forward of it was loose enough to take out with your fingers without a wrench..   The one in front of that was loose but not as bad..

This is my theory..    With Goody tilted back because of the steep hill she was climbing and full throttle above 5000 rpm for quite a while the oil level was intersecting the crankshaft rear throw and being flung around in there in an incredible spray..   The weakest link was the loose bolts on the pan so the oil must have squirted out of the tiny gap there and went into the turbulent air blowing around under there.

After tightening the suspects I decided to take Rustpuppy out for a little drive to warm her up and then park over a cardboard sheet to see what drips overnight..

So I found myself on the road to Rustpuppy Run..

Can you guess what happened there?


The first warmup 0-60 on the old road went nice with a 4.89 seconds with Goody still cold.  Since the wind was stronger than is good for racing I made the first run Southbound testing a new piece of asphalt.   It hooked good but Goody was still cold and a little hesitant for a run of 13.92@104.4..    But the run warmed her good..

Turning around for the Northbound run and dawdling for traffic to clear I concentrated hard on the steering and tried not to worry about the racing..  On the Southbound run Rustpuppy was pushed about 6 feet off of line by the gusty Northwest wind and that is a big concern on the narrow Rustpuppy Run.

The Northbound run was splendid with everything working well.   Due to the 15mph quartering headwind Rustpuppy was off of her best times but turned a respectable 13.65@107.1 on the G-Tech.    A tenth and 2mph off of her best..

But she sounded great..

Then it was back home and on the cardboard for the drip test tonight..

I will be checking and tightening all of the pan bolts when I get Rustpuppy up on a lift over at Brett’s shop.    Scrubbing and cleaning up the mess under there too..

Rick Draganowski

(the lesson is not to race on steep uphill grades)


 Subject:   Rustpuppy Test&Tune 37

Date:         Monday, June 18, 2001 6:10 AM


The time came to figure a way to get the transmission cooler mounted.  The original ideas I had about mounting under the bumper were bad ones as the cooler would be too vulnerable in that location.   The concept of installing in in the bumper became more trouble than it was worth upon closer examination.

I finally settled on a position behind the grille on the passengers side.  (t&t37-1.jpg)

   The cooler is mounted on three pieces of heater hose with the plastic ties supplied by TCI.  See t&t37-2.jpg and t&t37-3.jpg.  This involved just drilling three ” holes for the ties in the core mount.


I checked early on to be sure that the hood didn’t interfere with the cooler.  (t&t37-4)

Then it was time to hook up the hoses.  I plumbed the cooler into the transmission out line (bottom fitting on radiator) to cool the hot transmission fluid before it is circulated in the radiator intercooler.  The routing is from the transmission to the bottom of the cooler then from the top cooler outlet to the bottom inlet on the radiator. The large hole for the parking light in the core mount provided easy routing for the lines.  (t&t37-5.jpg and t&t37-6.jpg)


Saturday I managed to get one tiny thing done.  I got the fire extinguisher mounted on the transmission tunnel.   (t&t37-7.jpg)  I wanted it to be reachable from the drivers seat with the seat belt on..   (just in case)

The final picture shows the completed cooler installation..   (t&t37-8.jpg) Checking the transmission fluid showed it to be about a quart low..   From the added volume of the hoses and tubing in the cooler I hope..    The TCI directions mention that the fluid level should be checked and adjusted..

The winds are still too strong for any serious racing but I took Rustpuppy out for some back road 0-60 blasts..     I did some careful testing of the area where I have done most of the 0-60 times and discovered that there is a problem.

I have been thinking that the great 0-60 times I have been getting were too good to be true so I did some back to back tests of the area in both directions.   The findings were interesting.   Even though the road looks level it is not and the slight grade is enough to distort the G-Tech times..  The error that crept into the data was somewhat over 0.1 seconds.   So the normal 4.71 and 4.73 best times should be corrected to about 4.85 or so..  Still, 4.8’s is good times..   I do not know where the fluky 4.58 time fits in but I would say that it was more like 4.7..   It was an amazing run with the best launch that Rustpuppy has ever done..

It is frustrating living on this volcanic mountain as there is practically no level surfaces anywhere around..   Just setting up the suspension on Rustpuppy involves driving a couple of miles to find level pavement.

A follow-up on the oil leak problem generated on the Brookings trip last week.   I have been racing Rustpuppy and then parking on a cardboard sheet to determine if the leaking is continuing..  So far it has just been a few random drips as the oil soaked underside of Rustpuppy slowly drips off.  It must have been the loose bolts on the pan..  I hope.

More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 38

Date:         Friday, June 29, 2001 1:33 PM


I have been laying low and staying off the list with my verbose posts due to the high traffic generated by the most excellent G01.

Now it is time to catch up.

Way back last week.   (seems like a long time ago)  The young Craig Hauber had an emergency job in Portland Oregon so he came up Interstate 5 in his rented Ford minivan driving straight through from Ventura (over 900 miles)..  It is good to be young and healthy.

After getting the customer in Portland fixed he came back on the coast and stopped at Gold Beach Thursday.   Friday morning I called the motel early and woke him up. (he claimed that he needed 1 more hours to get ready for breakfast)

So later I cruised to town in Rustpuppy and we had breakfast.

It was a very small gathering but it was great fun.  I put Craig to work on the Suburban (I am to fat and crippled to crawl into the engine compartment.  After that successful project we worked on the Bobcat..

We even had time to make fun of the Ford minivan..

Thanks for coming by Craig.

Due to the excitement of the moment naturally I overextended myself and was feeling low the next day (Saturday) and I get a call from Zimmerman..   (my UPS driver wanting to pick up the 400 motor..)  Damn!

So I creaked and groaned out that afternoon and we rassled the 400 motor out of the corner of the shop where it had be lurking for over a year and loaded it into his Blazer..

I am really ground down and a little depressed from losing the 400..   So naturally that night a cold front with rain shows up and finishes the job..

Sunday it still is cold foggy drizzle in the morning but hope and the sun shows up in the afternoon..   The miserable wind that has prevented any racing for the last two weeks is no more and the roads are drying rapidly..  I am still a little depressed but I know that racing is a great tonic.

By 7:30pm the road is reasonably dry and I take Rustpuppy out for some running..

The first pass was off due to the residual moisture on Rustpuppy Run causing

traction problems at launch.   13.81@107.7

Everything clicked on the second pass (on a different patch of asphalt for

launch) with a nice time of 13.64@106.3

I could feel my depression evaporating..  Cool.

Next I fooled around with trying to lighten Rustpuppy by taking out the 75 lbs of trunk stuff.  (spare, floor jack, bumper jack, tire iron, cross wrench)

Traction went  away at that point with the following two passes.

14.00@107.8 and 13.94@107.6

The traction issues with the BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires are balanced on a point.  It looks like any real improvement is going to require better tires and a much more aggressive launch style.    Still I am pretty proud of the performance I was able to wring out of these street tires and bet that not many have done better.

The next day (Monday) the wind was still light and the roads were completely dry so I took Rustpuppy out for one confirming run.  Junk back in the trunk..    Just picking a random launch spot she did a nice 13.63@107 on the G-Tech.

I have been carefully studying Goody’s performance and paying close attention to every detail.   I have been noticing that she flattens out above about 5600rpm.   The XE268 cam should still be pulling well at that rpm so I suspect that the poor overworked stock HEI distributor was not up to the chore.   Even with the high voltage coil it is still the old 1977 truck distributor..    With the original module..

So yesterday morning I Rushed right out in a Buying Frenzy and called Jeg’s.  I ordered the MSD Pro Billet HEI for Goody.   Expensive but good.   And highly recommended by folks I respect.    That frenzy put $338.73 on the credit card..   But I consider it an investment.

More to come...

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune report 39

Date:         Thursday, July 12, 2001 1:10 AM


Back in report 37 I mentioned the smoking and oil leaks.   Naturally they got worse.  Much worse.   I have spent a couple weeks troubleshooting and guessing and fixing and scratching my head and guessing wrong and fighting the damn oil leaks.

This report concentrates on the motor oil leakage.   After tightening the pan bolts, removing the flywheel cover and checking the rear seal, and fooling with the rocker covers, distributor gasket, and any other place that may leak I was stumped.  And the leak was really bad and causing a cloud of smoke from the right header.  In t&t39-1.jpg you can see Rustpuppy back in the old familiar position. 

  T&t39-2.jpg and t&t39-3.jpg shows some of the nasty oil all over the nice undersides..



My friend and fellow rodder Archie found the problem!   It seems that Goody is set up for both the normal left side and later right side oil dipstick tubes.  The right side was sealed with a gasket between the pan and the block and with a plastic plug.   Well the cork gasket ruptured and the plastic plug blew out and oil was spraying on the inside of the right side headers..   If you rest your chin on the fender and peek down between the header tubes you can see the 3/8” bolt that Archie plugged the hole with.  (has a little masking tape on it too) See t&t39-4.jpg for a peek at it.

While having the flywheel cover off during the troubleshooting I got a chance to paint it nice..    Really red..   t&t39-5.jpg..

More leaks to come though.   The transmission was pissing pink Ford juice everywhere Rustpuppy parked..

Happy to have the motor leak fixed.   It was frustrating..

Rick Draganowski

(still a little sick from breathing oil smoke)





Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune report 40

Date:         Thursday, July 12, 2001 10:01 AM


While in the midst of the “Oil Leak” war another front opened with the transmission pissing pink Ford juice in an alarming way.

I figured after tightening the pan bolts (which were loose) and seeing the leak get worse I needed to take drastic steps.

So the opening of another access hole in the transmission tunnel began.  T&t40-1,jpg, t&t40-2.jpg, t&t40-3.jpg and t&t40-4.jpg show the gruesome details.



The main, incredibly copious, leak was quickly apparent.  In the inspection mirror you can see that the filler tube is out of its hole enough to show the o-ring.   This is not good.


What happened is this.   As some may remember the bracket which is welded to the tube and bolts to the top bell housing bolt is broken off and held with a hoseclamp.   When Brett swapped transmissions the hoseclamp must have been loosened so the filler pipe slowly worked it’s way out..    Easy to fix by just loosening the clamp a bit and putting the pipe back in place and then tightening it..

More testing and crazy driving showed that the transmission was still leaking just a little.  Damn!  Is there no end to this?     By the way one of the stunts during testing of the leak fixes was to do a full quarter mile run up the back road to my place.   The last half of the quarter mile was a steep grade but ol’ Rustpuppy still could pull 14@99 on the G-Tech..   A really amazing stunt but probably not very wise or safe..

The penultimate (I hope) leak was traced to the detent cable..   After replacing it with a “Universal Detent Cable” which does not work correctly yet as it is only a direct replacement for the “Universal” car and Rustpuppy is a Nova.   It was easy to replace the cable  because of the nice hole complete with rubber grommet.  (t&t40-6.jpg)  

But I was too messed up to do the job so Archie did it for me as a favor.   While I was there I bought something good..    You will see what in a later post.

See the reason for the leak in old 1977 truck detent cable in t&t40-7.jpg..

Much more to come..

Rick Draganowski

(now I have to make a cover for “The Second Hole”, and modify the detent cable)


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune report 41

Date:         Thursday, July 12, 2001 11:13 AM


While I was at Archies place I had some kind of fit and  bought the used Mickey Thompson ET Street racing tires that he used on the now sold Olds 455 powered TransAm..

200 bux complete with tubes and the little rubber tits are still on the tread in some places.   They have only had about 8 quarter mile runs and have never been driven on the street.  I bet that they will give Rustpuppy some real traction for the first time in her life.

They are the 28 x 11.5 - 15 size and here is the comparison with the 245/60-14’s on Rustpuppy now.

Tread width,       MT-8.6”    BFG-8.0”

Section width,     MT-10.9”   BFG-9.8”

Diameter,          MT-27.5”   BFG-25.6”


The 1.9” difference in diameter is the biggest change.   The effective gear ratio changes by about 7.5% with these tires.    It will be interesting to see what the performance will be.

Attached are some nice pictures..   T&t41-1.jpg  and t&t41-2.jpg and t&t41-3.jpg.


If I bought these tires new from Jeg’s and the tubes locally the cost would have been about 370 bucks so the 200 bucks is a pretty good deal..

Now I need wheels..    But there is magic going on with wheels..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(racing tires is good)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune report 42

Date:         Friday, July 13, 2001 8:56 AM


A minor problem showed up with the exhaust system on Rustpuppy.   When I was at Archie’s place getting the detent cable replaced I snagged one of the extended tailpipes just a little while backing out of his yard.   The bracket that holds the flattened rubber doughnut that suspends the tailpipe lost it’s tenuous grip via minimal spot welds and popped loose.  So for the next couple of days it sounded like the “hammers of hell” driving Rustpuppy due to the left exhaust pipe hitting on the driveshaft loop almost continously..   Attracted some curious stares in town..    Hehehe...

Instead of welding I just drilled some holes and put two 3/8” bolts with washers in the bracket and it is better than new..   The banging was even getting on my nerves..

Now that the “Oil Leak War” has been won I took Rustpuppy out for a little test drive..  Conditions were good so I did a quarter on Rustpuppy Run..

The State of Oregon has been doing road repair and repaving on 101 so the damn oil that they put down before the asphalt is all over..    It looks like the contamination is fouling up the traction on Rustpuppy Run because the good traction spots are not working well.

The run started with a lot of wheelspin from the contamination but Goody was pulling great up to about 5500rpm for a time of 13.86@107.7 on the G-Tech..  (corrected time would be about 13.75@103.7)

The next big tuning change is transplanting the almost stock old 77 truck HEI in Goody with the fantastic new MSD job which came last week..    It is a thing of beauty and I almost do not want to put it where it will get all dirty and oily..    The spark intensity graph on the box is interesting and encouraging.

See the pictures..  t&t42-1.jpg through t&t42-5.jpg..



$338.73  seemed to be a lot of dough for a distributor but after seeing it in real life it is obvious that it is worth every penny..     It is like a work of fine art and I bet it is a good lifetime investment..   It even has ball bearings..    Too cool..    Having credit cards is good...

The testing and tuning of Rustpuppy is disrupted by the damn road contamination but it will be interesting to see the difference the MSD makes...

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(with no oil leaks..)




Subject:    Non Nova Medical Road Trip

Date:         Thursday, July 12, 2001 1:32 AM


I had to get to an appointment with a neurologist/spine surgeon in Medford Oregon.   220 miles of roadtrip each way.   Left Monday afternoon after getting the exhaust system fixed on my old Suburban.   The trip was difficult in my present condition but I made it.  Stayed at a motel and got to the appointment 4 hours early the next day.   They took pity on me and I got in after just an hour of waiting.   Doc says I am a “complicated case” and I have to go back next week Tuesday..   Damn..   But the neck problem is important.  As well as the ruptured disc in my lower back..

Attached are a couple of the nasty pics from the MRI of my neck bones..


Dem bones, dem bones, dem old bones..

Gnarly, eh?

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

( medical care is good )


p.s.  got 19 miles to the gallon in the Suburban on the way over to Medford.  the wind was behind me and blowing strong the whole trip.   On the way back it was against the wind all the way and only got 15.8 mpg..    17.6mph average..   Pretty good for a 350 v8 with a four barrel carb pushing 6000 lbs of iron with the aerodynamics of a barn door..   700R4 is good...

Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 43

Date:         Monday, July 16, 2001 6:50 PM


With the new Universal detent cable the downshift function in Rustpuppy went away.   I fabbed up a little brackety thingie out of aluminum to effectively shorten the cable so it would actually do something.   (See t&t43-1.jpg and t&t43-3,jpg  -2 was fuzzy)


Close but no cigar.   I had downshift but with the adjustment all the way on short the tranny was upshifting at 4400 rpm instead of 5400 rpm like before..    The cable has to pull the detent valve completely open at full throttle or the governor shift points will not be met.  I was just a teeny bit off  (less than 1/8”) and out of adjustment..   Sigh..

The next step was to insert another little screw to space the brackety thingie further back so the adjustment would be functional..    See t&t43-4.jpg..

  This went a bit far the other way as you can see by the adjustment setting at t&t43-5.jpg...

     And it still is not perfect as the shift point only went up to 5000 instead of 5400..    More twiddling with it soon..


I have been pretty sick with my heart over the weekend but did manage to get the second hole covered up..   Looks gnarly..   See t&t43-6.jpg..

I took Rustpuppy into town on Saturday to celebrate winning the Leak War just a little with another splendid pizza from Spada’s..    Got gas in town and the latest milage for Rustpuppy is 11..   Probably because of the bad behavior which follows..

On the way back I noticed that even though it was windy (about 30mph wind from the North) the wind was directly ahead so Rustpuppy was stable as could be..

Hmmm..   This gave me an idea..    Give the hot pizza on the passengers seat a little ride..

I got to Rustpuppy Run and conditions were good except for the strong wind..  The run felt perfect but the wind was slowing her down..   The G-Tech showed 13.81@104.7...    The front end lift was there just a little bit at the end of the run due to the airspeed being over 130 but Rustpuppy is running very well..

Now for the MSD distributor test..

I got nothing done today as I started the day so sick that I wound up spending the afternoon at the Emergency Room at our local hospital..    What a revolting development that was..

I am supposed to drive to Medford tomorrow (450 mile  round trip)for the second appointment with the spine specialist doctor..    I hope I am up to it..

Wish me luck..

More to come...

Rick Draganowski




Subject:    Medical Road Trip and Rustpuppy thoughts

Date:         Wednesday, July 18, 2001 3:08 PM


Monday I had a really bad time with my heart arrhythmia and took myself to the emergency room at the hospital early in the afternoon..    I was pretty sick and they went through all of the normal chest pain diagnostic tests..  I got some good ekg strips of the arrhythmia for my file.   The best news was that the pain was just cramping of the heart muscle and not damage.  The heart enzyme test was negative and the 12 lead ekg showed normal patterns when I had a good heartbeat..     It was an unsettling experience but on balance a positive one.   The situation was not immediately life-threatening and that is good.

Yesterday I had to get to Medford again for the second appointment with my neurologist/spine doctor..    I did the whole thing in one day this time..  450 miserable miles in the loyal old Suburban.  (17mpg this time)  I was dragging low from the excitement on Monday but pressed on regardless..

The latest word about my back and neck problems is this..   Got to live with the fouled up back as there is no reasonable repair since the damage is so extensive..   Bummer, but I can handle it..

On the neck problems it is serious.  Dr. Kirkpatrick wants to operate as the nerves to both of my arms are being screwed up by bone spurs sticking into them..  Ouch..

But,   (why is there always a but?) with my heart problems he is concerned that the anesthesia would probably put my lights out permanently..     Not good.

I got home just at dusk, about 9pm.   It was cool, about 56 degrees and there was no wind..   Hmmm..

So I took Rustpuppy out for a run..   (I was a bit depressed by the news)

The run went good but Rustpuppy was not as eager and responsive as usual with a semi-bog coming off the line that lasted for some time..   The time was off too by quite a lot at 13.97@106.4..    Just after I finished the run I got a bit of a scare as two State Police rollers zoomed past southbound with lights on in pursuit just as I quietly motored off of 101..   But they were chasing a minivan and not me..    Whew...

Back on the run issues..   Several details were noticed.   The flash stall on the TCI Break-a-way converter was only 2750 instead of 2950..  Interesting..    And Rustpuppy’s exhaust smelled funny...     And this was the first run after filling up.  I put two and two together and came up with this theory..

The inland weather has been over 100 degrees for some time and the oil companies have switched to the low volatility summer blend.   Nasty oily funny smelling stuff and not worth a shit on a 56 degree day..   Bummer..  Goody’s low speed mixture atomization and vaporization is screwed up and there is a prolonged soft bog up to about 3500rpm..  Even though there is never a reason to use this crappy gas on the coast we are a small market and have to put up with what is popular back in the “Interstate World”.

Oh, well..

The racing was still fun..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 44

Date:         Thursday, July 26, 2001 8:10 PM


This report is a motley bunch of odds and ends that have built up.  As you know from some time ago the new “Universal” detent cable even with the neat modification was still a teeny bit too long.   Adding another stainless machine screw to the modification shortened it enough to provide plenty of adjustment.   See t&t44-1.jpg  and t&t44-2.jpg.


Next the “Hole II” opened up on the passengers side of the transmission tunnel had to be covered.   It was a bit of a struggle to get it together due to the location up under the dash but the result is good.   T&t44-3.jpg shows the cover before the cleanup, rtv gasket, and nice gray primer coat was added..     Looks great now.



I realize now as I assemble the messages into this chapter that I duplicated the above three pictures;   The heart problem makes me pretty sick and I get forgetful..   Sorry..    (holes in my memory)


I started another background project.   (as if I didn’t have enough projects,  duh...)   I really think that lightening the front of Rustpuppy will pay off.   So I rassled the front bumper from under Yakima Sue and set it under the shade tree for disassembly and eventual modification..   I figure that if I make lightweight brackets to replace the inner bumper and shock mounts I can trim over 50 lbs off the front.    The bumper and shock mounts weigh over 90 lbs as is so there is plenty of room for improvement..  (t&t44-4.jpg)

Finally the issue of the tank full of bad gasoline in Rustpuppy causing her to lose her groove..    What a revolting development this was.   The torque and hp was way down and the exhaust smelled bad too.   Rounding up all of my gas cans (plastics) I siphoned out 99 percent of the junk to use in the mower and Bobcat..  

Then I went to town and got 5 bux each of Union 76 and Exxon 92 octane gas for testing.   After running Rustpuppy completely out of gas I tried the Union 76 first..   I like that station, good service and it is where I have all my local tire work done..

The Union 76 gas was way better than the crap I got from Texaco (California summer gas from Redding I bet) but still not up to the winter blend good stuff..    Oh well..

Rustpuppy can pull the converter stall up to about 2850 or 2900 with the Union 76 gas but still has lost some of the edge she had..   With the good gas and good traction 2950 or a hair more was consistently possible on launch..     With the MTBE special from Texaco she could barely pull above 2700..     Big difference..


More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 45

Date:         Friday, July 27, 2001 8:54 PM


As you remember from Test&Tune 41 racing tires for Rustpuppy are lurking in the shop.  But no wheels..  I mentioned that there was magic happening on the wheels and it came to pass this week.

Good old Ray Buck sent two splendid Monte Carlo SS 15x7 rims from the Asylum in Utah..     The width is a bit small at 7” (Archie had these tires on 7 inch rims and they worked fine even though M/T sez 7.5” is the minumum) and the backspacing is about ” less than optimum but I can make them work on Rustpuppy by just pounding the fender flanges up..

The 3 7/8” backspacing is close to the 4 inch backspacing Archie was using on the TransAm (Camaro body) and Archie didn’t even have to make any changes at all to get them to work..

The excitement started when I saw the nice U-Haul box sitting inside the door to the shop. Opening it was a little like Christmas..   Fun to see the unusual to me Monte Rally wheels. (t&t45-1.jpg and t&t45-2)   


I was expecting 8” wide wheels but a quick measure showed only 7..  (t&t45-3.jpg)

   There was some confusion about width and backspacing but it was really neat to have wheels “fall from the sky” like this..

The wheels were packed in racing newspapers from the NHRA  and the packing material will be fun to read..     Very thoughtful Ray..   And there is a 2001 rulebook hidden in there too..  (t&t45-4.jpg)

I got busy measuring like crazy (t&t45-5.jpg) on the tight side of Rustpuppy and figured that the sidewalls of the racing tires on the new wheels will be almost exactly 1” farther out than the BFG street tires..    Since there  is 1” of clearance on the drivers side but only 5/8” of clearance on the passengers side to the fender flanges they have to be modified..   Should wind up with ” clearance on the tight side that is only needed when a big bump is hit..

I got three little note cards covered with cryptic notes and numbers from the excessive measuring..

The next day I scrubbed the wheels down to get them clean enough to start sanding on.  The exposed edges of the wheels were rusted like they have been exposed to salted roads or something..    T&t45-6.jpg shows the wheel workshop under the shade tree I set up.

The angle grinder with the flap disk made short work of the rusty edges.. (t&t45-7.jpg)

And my favorite self etching gray primer went on in a jiffy..  (t&t45-8.jpg and t&t45-9.jpg)  I  will be putting a couple coats of black enamel on them tomorrow and it will be time to get them down to the Union 76 station with the racing tires and get those babies mounted!




Then what will I do...   Hmm...

On another subject entirely..    I have been a little down about losing the 400 motor which has been in the long range plan for Junkyard Dawg..    Well during the time I was writing this letter I called Mark Zimmerman (my UPS driver and owner of the 400 motor now) about another subject and he asked me if I wanted it back..   Unbelievable!    For good and important reasons he wanted me to take the motor back (less the crankshaft, long story) and I jumped at the chance..    I traded a set of Proform full roller rockers and Wysco aluminum valve covers for the 400 and it is mine again!!   Just fell out of the sky..

This is happy news..


More to come..


Rick Draganowski

(lotsa small blocks laying around here..)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 45 addendum 2

Date:         Friday, July 27, 2001 8:59 PM


Wonder if I should try them tires out on Rustpuppy Run?

I talked to Ray yesterday on the phone and he is having kittens waiting to hear of news about the wheels and tires together..

Rick Draganowski



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 46

Date:         Sunday, July 29, 2001 10:10 PM


Saturday was the tail end of the sunny clear weather and I got the finish coats of black enamel on the wheels for the racing tires.   They go to town to get the tires mounted soon as possible.

Then I decided to struggle through Goody’s first sparkplug replacement.  About 2800 pretty hard miles on them..   The Dynomax headers make the project a miserable thing which mostly has to be done with an open end wrench..   I am going to fabricate a special spark plug wrench before they have to come out next time..

The next order of business is testing the new MSD ProBillet distributor and I needed a current baseline of performance with the summer gasoline from Union 76..

So when I woke up early this morning (real early at 4:30am) the baseline tests were in my mind.   With the clear sunny weather comes unreasonable winds from the Northwest that have prevented any quarter mile runs.   They have been gusting above 40mph every day for weeks..

But I noticed that it was perfectly still as first light showed the trees stationary at about 5:30..     My morning coffee was done and I scrambled into my clothes and got Rustpuppy on the road to Rustpuppy Run at 5:50am..

There was no traffic at all..  Cool..   The first run was southbound and Rustpuppy was still not up to racing temperature so there was a little bog.. But the time was reasonable at 13.74@106.5..     Then the northbound run went about as good as they get with the nice time of 13.67@106.6..     The mph was down from the best times with the good winter gasoline but still reasonable..

Then by the time I got Rustpuppy turned around for the next southbound run a little fog bank started creeping in from the sea..   The added moisture and the fact that Rustpuppy was fully up to temperature made the traction issues show up.   So the time was way slow due to wheelspin at 13.97@105.7..  Even the next northbound run on the best traction I have found on Hwy 101 had too much wheelspin and was 13.78@105.9.

It was all over in just 15 minutes and I was back home by quarter after 6..

Time for another cup of coffee..     What fun...

Back to the subject of sparkplugs.   Number 8 was discolored with a gray metallic coating on the insulator.   The pictures do not show it up well but since the threads were wet it must have been misfiring..   Metallic looking substances usually conduct electricity when heated so the plug was not working correctly.   I also noticed some strange deposits on number 5 as well..  It has to be from the gasoline additives..

T&t46-1.jpg is number 8 and t&t46-2.jpg is number 7..


  T&t46-3.jpg shows the set and t&t46-4.jpg is the incredible clutter building up in my lab..





About 10am the drizzle started and it rained most of the day..    Oh well, tomorrow is another day..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 47

Date:         Tuesday, July 31, 2001 12:10 AM


I had business in town today so I got the ET Streets mounted on the spiffy Monte Carlo wheels from the generous Ray Buck..

They looked really big compared to the teeny 245/60-14s on Rustpuppy.   See the contrast in t&t47-1.jpg..

But the wheelwells in the Disco Novas is big and they popped right on..  Even though the backspacing was a little low at 3 7/8” instead of the natural 4 3/8” They fit  well enough for a test drive before I even bent up the fender flanges..

It was a strange feeling to have all the traction needed for ol’ Rustpuppy..

I checked the g-force on launch now using the G-Tech and it was 0.85g..  The BFG tires would bust loose at .7g most of the time..    Never saw .85g before..

And the second gear chirp is gone.  Replaced by a second gear slam in the back..  Neat.

T&t47-2.jpg through t&t47-4.jpg show what the racing tires look like on Rustpuppy.





More to come..


Rick Draganowski




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