T&T Chapter 4   <  ^  >

Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 48 addendum 2

Date:         Tuesday, July 31, 2001 10:00 PM


Better late than never..  Here is the MSD chart on tuning the distributor.

Rick Draganowski

(forgetful ol’ idiot)



Subject:    Non Nova boat stuff

Date:         Saturday, August 04, 2001 9:04 PM


I have been working hard on an important project.  Fabricating and installing a Pyrometer system in Tim Harding’s unlimited class jetboat.

Tim is the guy standing in the boat in the group picture of the crew..


It is a big block Merlin monster motor (640 cu in I think) with experimental raised port aluminum heads (raised 1 ”)  that makes just at 1000 horsepower.   Carbs and 100 octane race gas.    

And it does it for as long as an hour at a time..     What a monster..   In a boat that weighs about 1600 lbs..

Rick Draganowski

(very busy..)




Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 49

Date:         Sunday, August 05, 2001 11:57 PM


Confused myself, collected lots of data, and started on my new career as a Village Idiot over the last few days.

We left off last Wednesday with some teasing pictures of Rustpuppy wearing her new slicks and looking mean and agressive..   But no runs and no times reported..

Here is what happened after that..

The next day, Wednesday, late in the evening (just at dusk) traffic died down to nothing,  there was a hint of fog drifting in off the ocean and I got Rustpuppy down to Rustpuppy Run..

The first run was southbound and Rustpuppy was still pretty cold.  The time seemed slow and was slow at 13.82@102.9..     Rustpuppy seemed really off of her groove..

The next run northbound seemed faster but the time was still crappy at 13.83@105.5..    I was getting worried that Goody couldn’t pull the tall slicks..   Sigh...

Then I took off southbound for another run and got the dismal time of 14.05@105.5..   I delayed the shifts on this run to a hair past 6000rpm to no avail.   I was really getting bummed out now..

Then the final northbound run came in at 13.91@103.7...   On this run I pulled the shifts early at about 5600rpm..   Nothing felt or sounded right with these runs..   Damn...

Thinking all sorts of terrible scenarios (like cams flattening and worse..)

I started getting depressed about this situation..

So on  Thursday I pulled the slicks and put the old reliable (and short) BFG’s back on Rustpuppy..    And popped the Moons back on too..     The traffic was miserable all day with long lines of disgruntled motorists following endless slow moving motor homes from California..

But after several aborted attempts I managed to get one run in on the BFG’s..   It was miserable as well with the underwhelming time of 14.04@105.8..    Too long and too slow and Goody was not sounding or feeling right..

Hoping that it was something that I screwed up when I installed the MSD distributor I wracked my brains thinking about it..      This is where my village idiot aptitude started showing up.    Changing distributors and adding racing tires at the same time was a stupid approach to tuning..

I forgot to pay attention to THE RULE.   It is:   MAKE ONLY ONE CHANGE AT A TIME!

So with the street tires back on I considered the distributor issue..   I noticed that the advance curve came in much sooner the way I had the MSD set up with the two blue springs.  I came to the conclusion that the timing was advancing too quickly for Goody.  I was too busy Friday and Saturday to even look at ol’ Rustpuppy (booked up on the race boat project) but today I got a chance to fool around a bit..

Since the timing was getting in too agressively (according to my perhaps half baked theory) I thought that putting the heaviest springs (stock advance curve) would be a good test.  I did so and took Rustpuppy out for a run..   It was a good sign to see 13.77@106.3..   Whew..

By putting a timing light on Goody and watching the advance I could see that the curve was way slower than the curve in the old distributor..  Hmmm.....    Too fast   at first and now too slow..   I calculated around for a while and came up with a selection from the MSD chart half way between too fast and too slow..   It should be Just Right..  I hope..  Anyway the combination was one heavy silver spring and one light silver spring..

While I was sitting in Rustpuppy and drinking my coffee and letting Goody idle I detected a little miss..    What is this?    Like an overprotective mother listening to her child’s breathing I could sense that something was wrong..    It wasn’t continous but it was definitely a miss..

Thought that perhaps the extra voltage from the MSD distributor may be causing the plug wires to arc or something.  So I shut Goody off and let her cool off for an hour so I could fool around with the sparkplug wires without getting burned..

The first place I checked was around the number 6 boot.  It is the one I had lots of problems with in the past due to the closeness of the header pipe..  I could get my finger between the boot and the pipe and I could see that the boot was not burned but while fooling around with it I noticed that to boot felt too loose..  Something was not right here..

The metal clamp inside the boot was not on the end of the sparkplug!   It was arcing inside and causing a random hit and miss misfire..   How could I have fouled this up when I changed the plugs..     My only excuse is that my back and neck (and arms) were hurting bad and I may have rushed the job..  But it did qualify me for Village Idiot.

I was trembling a bit with supressed excitement as I took Rustpuppy out for another run with (I hope) everything straightened out..    I did a teeny 0-60 run and got a nice 4.93 seconds with Goody still cold..    When things were fouled up it was between 5 and 5.2 seconds on the 0-60’s.

Then out on Rustpuppy Run for a nice northbound run..    There was a tad too much wheelspin for best results but the launch was good otherwise..   Second gear came up fast with a nice long churrp..    I got to the end of the quarter and could see the G-Tech flashing but had to wait till I was off of the highway to read the numbers due to the sun on the display..

Whew!    Rustpuppy has got her groove back.  It was 13.64@107...

More to come...    I am sure that the timing is not optimum yet..   And then another test of the racing tires is in order..      I am hoping to get below 13.5 on the G-Tech..

Rick Draganowski

(Village Idiot)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 50

Date:         Sunday, August 12, 2001 3:11 PM


What a week I had..   Mostly grinding work getting the Pyrometer system into the race boat.  I put the company logo and my e-mail address on both the part that stays attached to the boat and the hand held display box..  Hoping to get some biz from the New Zealanders and other international racers..    (see pyrboat4.jpg)    

It is amazing that Harding’s jetboat puts 1000 horsepower into pumping water through a small nozzle..   I got a feeling that the pressures and velocities are incredible.   (pyrboat5.jpg)

But getting back to Rustpuppy.   On Thursday I found the time to put the slicks back on Rustpuppy for some more testing..   (the pyrometer installation was finished on Wednesday evening)   When I went out for the first test the traffic was too much for safety so I put it off till the evening..

Finally just at dusk (after 8 pm) the traffic was at a minimum and it was time to rock and roll..    Fog was just beginning to roll in..

First run was northbound at 13.76@104.1...

Second run was southbound at 13.85@102.5..

Third and last northbound at 13.93@102.3


Each one slower than the last..    The fog was rolling in and the humidity was 100% with about 56 degree temperature..   Not ideal racing conditions.

Next day I covered up the tranny cooler to get the fluid temp up so the stall speed would be higher.   And went out in the warmest and driest time of the day..   Managed to get one run in despite of the traffic..     Not too good at 13.97@104.8...  Goody was pulling as good as she has ever and with the hot fluid the stall speed was above 3000..   Enough to chirp the slicks on launch..  (never expected that)

But...   (another but..  damn..)

It really looks like the difference in diameter of the racing tires are hurting.   The effective rear gear ratio with the short 14” BFG’s is about 4.10 but with the extra tall slicks it is bumped down to less than 3.70 and Goody does not have the torque to do a proper job with them..

It is going to take different gears, better stall, or mebbe some torque enhancing mods on Goody to do the slicks justice..    I will take them to the strip though just in case there are traction issues..    But Rustpuppy right now is optimized for the street tires..

Then on Friday I got busy swapping the BFG’s back on Rustpuppy..    Had a terrible experience..    My yard is the side of a hill, my neighbor’s house is below (about 50 feet down and 300 feet out) and I was rolling one of Rustpuppy’s BFG tires and lost control of it..  It was moving just a teeny bit faster than my old cripple bod could and it went down the hill straight at the house below..   I prayed as there was nothing else I could do.  I visualized the 48lb wheel crashing through the picture window or even the wall..

But when it got to the bottom of the hill going about 30mph and bounced up high after hitting the driveway it came down right on the corner of a 6x6” post holding up the porch roof.   It left a big black mark but was deflected and did no damage and came to rest..    I went down in the Suburban and recovered it but when I knocked no one was home..   I went down yesterday and told Marie about the accident.   She said not to worry about it..  Whew...   Her daughter and son-in-law were there and they had not even noticed the mark yet..    I will be more careful in the future..   In 21 years of living here something like this has never happened before..

Saturday evening I took Rustpuppy out on the street tires to verify that things were still ok..   It was just at dusk again and quite cool..  About 55 degrees..   Summer gas just does not make sense here..   Anyway I made two runs on Rustpuppy Run..   The tranny cooler uncovered as the higher stall speed just hopelessly spins the BFG’s..

The first Southbound run Rustpuppy was still cold but pulled 13.82@105.7 and then the northbound run went better at 13.75@107.1..

I had filled the tank at Union 76 last Wednesday so the summer gas is in full swing here.  I am thinking of going to a lower octane gasoline than the 92 which I have been running..  I know the energy content of the lower octane gasoline is higher and the summer premium is doped up with tons of additives..     Goody has less than 9 to one compression (but not much less) so some testing is in order..

Still I am happy with the performance that I am getting out of Goody and Rustpuppy and I will be getting the lightened front bumper project back on track this week..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(more torque, hmmm...  a little whiff of nitrous?)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 51 (caution, explicit picture included)

Date:         Wednesday, August 15, 2001 1:30 PM


In the last report I talked about my stupid escapade with the out-of-control wheel.   Here is a couple of pictures taken with my little spy cam.

Loosewheel1.jpg is looking down the hill about where I lost control of the wheel.   You can just barely see my neighbors house between the trees..   It is a steep hill..    

Loosewheel.jpg shows the minor damage to the post that saved my butt..

I was a little depressed yesterday so I took Rustpuppy out for a run..  It is better than Prozac.     The wheelspin was a bit much so the time was mediocre at 13.82@106.9 but it was great fun..

Then I posed Rustpuppy at the end of a pair of burnout tracks I made last week...     More fun..   See _burn1.jpg...

Now for the explicit photo..   I have been growing some whiskers the last week or so..   I  got some negative feedback from the ladies at the bank about them..   I looked close in my big mirror yesterday and cannot decide if it is the butt-ugliest thing I have ever seen or not..  What do you think?    (_whisker.jpg)

More to come...

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 52

Date:         Monday, August 20, 2001 4:48 PM


Friday I went to town in the Suburban for an appointment with my cardiologist..   He pretty much agrees with my self-treatment of the heart arrhythmia problem but wants to do some more expensive testing before giving me clearance to get the neck operation I need..   Bummer, gotta make another roadtrip to Medford and stay overnight.   They will be doing nuclear medicine heart scan combined with a serious heart stress test..   The other alternative is cardiac catherization and that is a bigger bummer..

But fun good stuff happened later in town that same day..    I mentioned in a previous report how I had lost the 400 motor I have been planning on using in Junkyard Dawg..   Well,  Friday it came back home..    Excellent!

409-1,jpg shows it lurking in the back of the Suburban. 

In 409-2.jpg you can see the teeny little left over wear showing in the number one cylinder after it was bored 0.030 over..  It looks like this block has to be bored 0.040 over..  

But it is a nice straight block with very little core shift as shown by the centering of the cam bore in the bosses in 409-3.jpg in the rear of the block and 409-5.jpg in the front.


  409-4.jpg and 409-6.jpg are just some more pictures of the pretty thing..



I committed to buying another 400 motor from Tim Harding (the boat race guy) so there will be another one coming home later..   He only wanted 100 bux so I snapped up the deal.

On Saturday I went to town in Rustpuppy for a gasoline test idea that came to me..   I had used almost exactly of the tank full of 92 octane Union 76 gasoline in Rustpuppy.   The last time I filled the Suburban with the cheap 87 octane gas at Texaco I noticed that she ran very well..

My plan was this.   Fill the tank on Rustpuppy with the 87 octane regular from Texaco (which is a much higher energy content fuel than the 92)  which would wind up with a mixture at 89 octane..     I was sure that Goody would tolerate this with the 9 to 1 compression and fair sized cam..

I was right as there was not any pinging on climbing the hill coming home in 3rd gear with high vacuum..

So it was time to do some runs to test this configuration..

Later on Saturday the traffic seemed to ease so I got Rustpuppy out to the run..

I made 4 runs, south, then north, then south again and then north and home..

First run Rustpuppy was still cold and boggy so the run was soggy at 13.93@106.5.

Then on the next northbound run I was way off the good traction area and had a strange experience..   A long hit of wheelspin at launch and then another long stretch of wheelspin at the 1-2 shift..   There must have been something slippery on the road as this has never happened before on hwy 101..   It was pretty scary as directional stability went to hell at 45mph when the rear wheels were spinning..   This episode rattled me and I felt insecure the rest of the run with a miserable time of 14.04@105.3


Then another southbound run with too much wheelspin at launch (as the transmission heats up the stall speed on the converter goes up) for a time of 13.97@105.5.

Then a northbound run being sure of being in the correct launch location went well with a much better 13.76@106.3..      Still considerably off Rustpuppy’s best time of 13.55@107.9..

More testing and tuning is in order..    I am thinking that perhaps it may be a good idea to revisit the timing issue..    With the slower burning summer gas I bet that Goody needs more advance.

Then late Sunday evening (just after dark) I got it in my head to try a few more runs..   This is the first time I will be running at night at the speeds that Rustpuppy can make now..   Hmmm...

It was dry with no fog or condensation and the wind was completely still..  (about 8:25pm)

The first run was with Rustpuppy cold going southbound..  It went better than I expected at 13.78@105.3

Then a northbound run which felt much better but was only faster and not quicker at 13.78@107.1.     It was cold (about 52 degrees) and the oil cooler was keeping the transmission cool so I was getting pretty good launches..

The next southbound run was prevented by single car coming up the highway so I finished the night’s excitement with another northbound run.   It was 13.74@106.9 ....

The night runs were not as scary as I thought they would be..   With the 1 degrees of positive caster Rustpuppy tracks straight as can be and the complete lack of a crosswind was a good feeling..    Just the spell of second gear wheelspin unnerved me..   It was weird going over 100mph at night but not too bad at all..

So there is the baseline for the mixed summer gasoline..

Now it is time to fool with the timing..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(happy that the 400 is back home,   it will be 408.7 with the 0.040 overbore..)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 53

Date:         Friday, August 31, 2001 11:43 AM


Lots have happened over the last 11 days since the last report but not that much on the Nova business..    I managed to get the 400 motor out of the back of the Suburban and stowed safely in my office next to the workstation..   (want to keep it away from the rodents in the shop)  I had to get the Suburban ready for my third medical roadtrip to Medford.  (450miles round trip)

T&t53-1.jpg through t&t53-6a.jpg shows the painfully slow progress of the motor move..









  When I got the motor off of the little trailer I dragged it by the chain to get it to it’s final position next to workstation computer in my office..   Adds a certain something to the decor, don’t you think?

All of the testing and tuning on the mix of 92 and 87 octane tankful used half of it so I took Rustpuppy to town for groceries and a fill up of the mid grade 89 octane Texaco gasoline..   Everything seemed in order for some testing of the timing angle of getting more performance from the summer gasoline.    Setting the advance to 38 degrees gave two test runs showing more harm than good at 13.83@106.4 and 13.87@106.4.

So then I decided to try the medium thickness secondary rods in the Q-Jet and see if leaning the full throttle mixture would help..      I set the timing back to the baseline 34 degrees as adding more timing just doesn’t help Goody develop more power..

The results were equivocal..   Here are the runs with the leaner mixture..




(at this point I covered the cooler to get the transmission temps up and the

stall higher)


13.80@105.1  (against a stiff headwind)


Confusing isn’t it..   Duhh..

So then I decided to put the skinny secondary rods back in (I had verified the mixture being correct with the Pyrometer with these rods) and took the cover off of the transmission cooler..    It looks like the added heat transferred to the motor hurts the performance a bit..  With the cooler covered Rustpuppy runs at about 195-200 when racing and climbing hills and with the cooler uncovered the temperature drops to 185-190 in the same circumstances.   More confusing data..

The two day medical road trip to Medford came up at this point so there was a hiatus on flogging Rustpuppy down Rustpuppy Run..

Here is the report to Neil and Ray last evening when I got home..


Rick,   How did the trip go?   

You doing as well as can be expected?

I’m off to bed.  Catch your reply in the AM.


It went splendidly well..   The ol’ Suburban ran like a clock with her great 17+ milage and the tests were super high tech Star Trek Sick Bay fun..  Just like in the movies..    The pictures of my heart arteries look good too (I think) so it was a good trip all the way around..

Here is what I said when I was being scanned by the machine..


“The isotope is transmuting , releasing high energy photons, which are creating free radicals, that are making my blood fizz like Alka-Seltzer..    And this is

signaling the creation of...   “Radiation Man!”..   Cosmic Super Hero/Villain..    And he is corrupting the Test Lab staff with free Egg McMuffins”


Yesterday I was told to bring a lunch for today (had to eat for the testing) and when I mentioned that I would pick up a couple Egg McMuffins one of the pretty nurses said “Bring one for me”..   I politely said “Yes.” and everone laughed and joked..  But today I showed up with the extra Egg McMuffin and started the day with laughing and joking all around the Lab..   And the pretty nurse rewarded me with a big hug too..   Cool..

Thanks again for the call..

Rick Draganowski

(AKA “Radiation Man”)


P.S.  on the way home while passing alongside of “Roseburg Wood Products” in Dillard a loaded double log truck was coming the other way on highway 99..

Just as his flat windshield flashed a blinding light (reflection of the bright sun) into my eyes it hit a bump and made a heavy Crump! noise like close by exploding ordinance..   And the flash and bang were so close together that my reflexes took over and I hit the deck while driving the Suburban at 50mph..  It was exciting for a few seconds and really tested my heart rate response..   You know those old reflexes never go away...   

It must have looked like a runaway car for a few seconds till I peeked up over the dash...

While I was going down the last 50 miles of coast road to get home I noticed that the temperature was nice at 70 degrees, there was no wind, the Pacific was calm and blue, and it would be a great day for some racing..


The first thing I did (before anything else except for a restroom break) was pile into Rustpuppy for some fun..

It was a perfect day for racing (but with too much traffic to make it convenient) and the first southbound run was spoiled by wheelspin for a time of 13.93@106.7..   The pavement at the north end of Rustpuppy Run just doesn’t have the traction of the south end..

Then the northbound run went great with everything coming together for a time of 13.68@106.7..   And this is with a full tank of the 89 octane summer gas..

So now it is time to lighten Rustpuppy for the next series of tests..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 54

Date:         Tuesday, September 04, 2001 12:00 AM


I became convinced that the only ways to get to the next stage with Rustpuppy is to increase the power or reduce the weight..    Saturday I finished taking the front bumper from Yakima Sue completely apart.   

I weighed the pieces and here is what they are..

Outer chrome bumper skin..     30 lbs

Inner girder                                 29 lbs

trim panel and license holder   11 lbs

pair of shock mounts                 14 lbs


This is a grand total of 84 lbs hanging out in front of the Disco Nova.. (see t&t54-1.jpg for the bits..)


Saturday evening as I was getting ready to wash dishes I noticed that the wind and traffic had both died to nothing at about 8:00pm..

So it was time to get to Rustpuppy Run..

I did several practice starts to get Rustpuppy warmed up for some racing..  The 0-60 time at the end of the old road up the hill was a good one at 4.8 seconds..

Then It was time to blast southbound on Rustpuppy Run..    Rustpuppy was still cold and the fog had started to form on that end so the run was limited by wheelspin to 13.86@105.3..

The south end of the Run was still dry and the launch was much better for a nice time of 13.65@107.1   It was good to see the speed back up at that level..

Then this afternoon on Labor Day I labored on Rustpuppy..   The plan was to remove the front bumper  and fab some kind of spoiler to cut down on the front end lift.

T&t 54-2.jpg through t&t54-6.jpg shows the bumper being extracted..    It was actually fun fooling around and taking out the bolts..   Some from above and some from underneath..






It was just getting dark at about 8:15pm when the bumper removal ended..

So..   Without waiting for the spoiler fabrication...

It was pile in Rustpuppy and head out to the Run to see what happens without the 84 lbs hanging up front..   I only did one practice launch on the old road at the end for a 0-60 time of 4.77...   Cold and into the 4.7’s is good.

Then it was out on Rustpuppy Run.   The evening fog had already socked in the north end and there was a couple of tourists out so I just motored slowly to the turnaround on the south end..  After waiting for a minute the traffic was clear and it was time to boogie..  The south end of the Run was still dry so I picked the best launch spot and went..

The launch was perfect and everything went well.   I could tell that it was a good run,  I noticed that a lot of the front end lift was back above 90mph..   Then the blinking signaling the end of the quarter came and I got on the brakes and had Rustpuppy down to 60mph before entering the band of fog forming at the north end.

I waited till I got off the highway and stopped before reading the G-Tech..

Rejoice!   Here is what it said.   13.42@108.1  Happy happy, joy joy..

The 13.4’s  is what I had  calculated  Rustpuppy to be capable of..

By the time I got home and got the camera out it was dark but I went ahead and got pictures of that lovely sight anyway..   See t&t54-8.jpg and t&t54-7.jpg..


Now I am thinking of pulling the rear bumper and emptying the 75 lbs of junk out of the trunk to cut down on Rustpuppy’s weight by another 159 lbs to see what happens..  Without the weight in the rear the traction will probably evaporate and then it is time to get the slicks out..   Hmmm.....     Now I am fantasizing about the possibilities..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(13.42@108.1 is good)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 55

Date:         Thursday, September 06, 2001 1:34 PM


I pressed on with the “Lighten Rustpuppy Project”  yesterday with the removal of the rear bumper.   T&t55-2.jpg shows the bumper off and t&t55-4.jpg shows a closer look at the subframe..   It still has the original white paint from the factory..   No rust at all..




Then after tearing the roads up with wheelspinning excitement I pulled the 75lbs of junk out of the trunk to do some high speed testing..  (t&t55-5.jpg)

With the weight off the rear Rustpuppy is back level again as the rear came up about 1 inch as well..    She looks strange to me without the bumpers..   (t&t55-6.jpg)

The high speed runs went very well out on Rustpuppy Run..  The warm up 0-60 run was good because Goody was cold and the wheelspin wasn’t out of control yet.  It was 4.69 seconds..   Cool.


Then out on the Run,  the first southbound run had wheelspin throughout first gear for a poky time of 13.57@108.8.    The neat part was that the tracking was perfect and the front end lift had gone away..      BTW I verified the toe in yesterday before doing any fooling around.  It was just fine..

Back on Rustpuppy Run the northbound run had exactly the same e.t. at 13.57 but the speed was down 1mph at 107.8..    Strange..   There was a little wind from the north which may account for the speed differences..

The important thing was the high speed stability was back and Rustpuppy was a lot more fun to drive at speed..

Today I am going to put the racing tires on and then fool around till the wind dies down this evening and then we will see...

More to come..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 56

Date:         Thursday, September 06, 2001 7:32 PM


I struggled through the tire swap today and got the M/T ET Streets on Rustpuppy for the next phase of the testing..   I have her at her lightest with approximately 243 lbs trimmed off of her race weight..   This is good..

I have been feeling bad today so it took a couple hours to do the wheel swapping.   And I was extra special careful not to roll another one down on my innocent neighbor..    About the not feeling good thingie..    I got a discouraging word last Friday on my answering machine when I came home from a grocery and gasoline run..   My cardiologist Dr. Dienel cared enough to call twice to make sure the message got through.

The first part was that he was leaving town for a 6 week vacation in Italy..  Hmmm..  Just when I need him..   The second part was that I flunked my heart scan last week and have to come in for cardiac catherization and an angiogram..   It seems that my coronary arteries are bollixed up..   Damn..

The stress/torture test they gave me last Thursday seems to have left me in poor condition.. I get tired and out of breath with the least exertion..  Damn..   Anyway I gotta nother roadtrip to Medford scheduled for the 17th and have to stay there till I recover enough to drive myself back..   Rats..

Back on the Rustpuppy front.    After getting the racing tires on ol’ Rustpuppy I took her out for a little fooling around..  It is too windy with too much traffic for anything serious but I did do this..   First I made about 5 practice launches to get things heated up and when I got to the end of the old road I made one 0-60 run..    


Wow!  It was impressive..  No wheelspin and lotsa g’s..      I was amazed by the reading on the G-Tech.  (t&t56-1.jpg)

  It was 4.46 seconds..    Awesome..   Compared to the 4.69 run I did at the time  of the 13.42 quarter mile run it is a good sign..


Now if the wind and traffic would just settle down..   Doubt if I feel up to going out again tonight but tomorrow is another day..

And between the springs raising the rear from losing the weight and the difference in rolling radius between the BFG and M/T tires Rustpuppy has a proper nose-down stance and is aerodynamically stable..

I measured the radius of each of the tires and here is the official word..  The BFGoodrich tires are right at 11.5”  and the M/T racing tires are up at 12.625” giving an effective change in rear axle ratio of 9.8%..   But with the lightened load and the better gas I think that Goody will be able to pull them well..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(taking it easy..)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 57

Date:         Saturday, September 08, 2001 12:26 AM


Still too much wind and traffic for a clean shot at Rustpuppy Run with the racing tires but I did video several launches..    Attached is a composite of one of the launches showing the front end lift (and rear too) with the racing tires..   The front is going up about 5 inches and the rear 2 inches..

I did go out for one white knuckle run with Rustpuppy still too cold for proper performance and got a 13.51@107.1 after a 4.57 0-60 run..   It was much too windy for comfort and I decided not to follow it up..   Read “chickened out” on making any more runs today..

Tomorrow is another day..

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 58

Date:         Monday, September 10, 2001 12:50 AM


Yesterday I was all primed up in the morning for the testing of the lightened Rustpuppy with the racing tires but nature intervened..  While I was drinking my coffee in the morning a cold front swept in from the ocean and the sunshine vanished.  A miserable cold drippy fog took it’s place..  Bummer...

But...    Instead of hanging around for the whole weekend it started drying out today and was cloudy but dry by mid afternoon..

So it was time to get out on Rustpuppy run for some quality science..

After one 0-60 time with a fair time of 4.79 I circled the Run waiting for a break in the miserable traffic..    Where is everybody going??

Finally a break and I got a northbound run..  It felt really good..   And it was..

The time on the G-Tech was 13.39@108.1.

Excellent but not as good as I expected..   But I will take it..

Then next chance came up with a run of 13.48@107.2 followed by a 13.54@107.7..   As Goody heated up the times slowed down..   Hmmm...

No wheelspin at all with the tall slicks (M/T ET Street 28-11.5x15) but the much taller tire is not optimum for Rustpuppy’s setup..   Rats..   And even though there was very little wind the squirmey feeling and vague directional stability of the racing tires always make me nervous above 90mph..     There is just no comparision of the Radial T/A tires with stiff sidewalls  versus the paper thin sidewalls of the wrinkle-wall racing tires when it comes to directional stability.

It is just too nervewracking to use those racing tires on Rustpuppy Run..  I think it would be best to reserve them for the track and stick with the street tires on the narrow Run..

So then I struggled with swapping the BFGoodrich street tires back on ol’ Rustpuppy..  With the rear bumper off and the trunk junk out it will be impossible to get traction so I put about 60 lbs of the trunk junk back..  The bumper jack is pretty useless without bumpers so it don’t get to ride no more..

It was still in the early afternoon after I got the tires swapped and headed out to Rustpuppy run to see what the street tires would do without the rear bumper..

It was obvious from the test launches that wheelspin would be a big issue and during one 0-60 run the rear wheels broke loose spontaneously at the top of first gear at about 40mph..  A most unsettling experience..  And then second gear took a long time to hook up..   But the time was still pretty good at 4.8 seconds..   Go figure..

Traffic seemed to be heating up with endless lines of cars following California motor homes in both direction..     So I only got one run in..  I could only slowly roll on the throttle and had too much wheelspin anyway but the time was pretty good at 13.49@107.9..     At this point I gave up for the day..  Or thought I did..

But later after I finished washing the dishes...

It was after 7 and very quiet..   So..

Back into Rustpuppy and out on the Run...     This time I had plenty of setup time as the traffic was over for the day and I concentrated on getting a clean launch..   But I couldn’t quite get the exact balance of throttle needed and busted loose a bit..    So the time nearly matched the last run at 13.49@108.3 .

It looks like Chuck Butcher is correct that removing weight from the rear would do more harm than good so soon the rear bumper goes back on..

But remember...   All of these times is with the crappy summer gas which added over a tenth to the times Rustpuppy was running with the winter blend gasoline..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(13.39 is good)



Subject:    Rustpuppy  Test&Tune 59

Date:         Monday, September 17, 2001 8:57 AM


A most unsettling week with the stress of current events..

Back on the Rustpuppy front..   I noticed that with the 89  octane middle grade of Texaco gasoline that Rustpuppy has a little bit of dieseling when shut off hot..

I decided the try another shot at the 92 octane premium that was causing the severe power losses earlier this summer to see if the blend had improved..

So the last time I filled up (12.5 gal) I used the 92 octane..     The dieseling problem disappeared completely but I could tell that some power was lost..   Damn..

On the 12th late in the evening with the fog just coming in I took Rustpuppy out for a test run of the 92 octane..    I had done 3 or 4 practice launches on the old road to get her up to temperature and got the time of 13.61@107 in the only run I could get in..  (too much traffic for some strange reason)

This is a tenth off the normal times with the lower octane fuel..   Hmmm..

Then on Friday after  a most depressing week I decided to get out on Rustpuppy Run in the evening for some serious work..

The first run was stone cold without even a single practice launch..  There was considerable bog with the dismal time of 13.91@105.4 but the racing got Goody up to racing temperature in a jiffy..

The second run was about optimum with power available versus wheelspin balanced for a nice time of 13.54@108.2 on the G-Tech..    This run felt really good and if the gasoline was better would have easily been in range of Rustpuppy’s best street tire run of 13.42@108.1 .

Now with the operating temperatures all up the next run started losing control of traction with too much wheelspin..   Goody was pulling strong but the e.t. went up to 13.64@108.4 .

Having reached the point of diminishing returns I motored home with a welcome lift to my spirits..

All of this testing was done with both bumpers off, but the gas tank full and the trunk junk in place..    I am fooling around with getting the trailer hitch mounted on the rear bumper before replacing it..  I will write up a report with pictures of this issue next week.

This morning I am preparing for another damn road trip to Medford.   The Friday before Labor day I got two messages from my Cardiologist on my answering machine..  He said that he was leaving town to go to Italy for a vacation for six weeks and that I had flunked the heart tests done the previous week..   Damn..   This means I have to get the cardiac catheterization angiogram test..   Bummer..   Barbaric business..    I am scheduled to go into the hospital tomorrow morning so I gotta travel to Medford today..   And I have to stay there till I recover enough to drive myself home..    So I will be out of touch from later today till Friday or so..    No fun at all..   Wish me luck.


More to come..

Rick Draganowski





Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 60

Date:         Thursday, September 20, 2001 11:11 PM


The roadtrip to Medford (221 miles) went well Monday and I showed up on time to check into the hospital on Tuesday morning..  (without my coffee and hating it..)

The procedure went as well as can be expected with less comedy than usual..  The nurse did bust into my tiny room while I was disrobing and catch me dishabille but when she apologized I said “That’s OK, I don’t have any modesty.”   She laughed and said, “If you had any it would be gone by the time we get through with you.”

They did shave a considerable percentage of what I consider my private parts..   Sigh...  They were alarmingly public on Tuesday..   Then the IV went in and I requested serious “tranking out”..   But the nurse put me off saying,  Dr. Levy wants you to be clear headed for the procedure..  (probably wants to maximize my misery..  nuts..)

I got rolled on the Gurney/Hospital Bed gizmo clear to the other wing of the hospital where the operating theatre was..    A cool highly tech joint like the medical deck of the starship Enterprise..    And the temperature was cool to match..   Had me shivering after just a few minutes..

After laying under the x-ray camera listening to the staff joking and BS’ing for what seemed like a long time Dr. Levy showed up..  I started bitching about my arthritic neck and hip and the miserable pain I was in..   (what a whiner..)   He said that he would get through the procedure as quick as possible..   I am a big person and my femoral artery is big as a horse’s and easy to get to so it went quick as can be..

I could turn my head and see the bank of 20” monitors with the pictures from the x-ray camera so I kept my self occupied watching and  hoping not to see anything nasty..

It was neat to see the coronary arteries show up from the contrast material they were squirting directly into my heart..    To my unpracticed eye they looked damn good!  (it has been 29 years since I worked in medicine at Miami Heart Institute and was involved with cardiac catherization and angiograms..)

After less than 15 minutes of farting around Dr. Levy had the tech back the image recording up to check all the different views of the angiogram..

Then he came over to the head of the operating table (on the other side of the radiation shield) and told me this.    “Your coronary arteries are perfect!”

At that point I was happy with the whole thing..

The rest of the day was a miserable time with strictly enforced bed rest (with no moving) but I got through it with a light heart..  (in more ways than one, and a little morphine)   And when it came time for me to leave (about 7:30pm) they knew I was planning on driving myself to the place I was staying even though Dr. Levy forbid me to drive for 24 hours..   So the sneaky nurse called security and an earnest young guard escorted me out to his little Japanese security pickup truck and drove me to my motel..  Leaving my poor Suburban abandoned at the handicapped zone of the hospital parking lot..

Eventually I got better and dragged myself back home..  It is going to take a week or so to recover from this fun time..

It was good news though..   The dark spot on the nuclear medicine stress test scan must have been an artifact..   Good..

So this evening late I went out to do the dishes..    Started thinking..  It was late, about 9pm..  It was dark, no wind at all,  not much condensation and no fog.   Hmmm..

You guessed it..     I piled into Rustpuppy and headed out to Rustpuppy Run..   It has been a long time since I have done any night racing..   It always make the Run look narrower and more dangerous..     But I pressed on regardless..

I did one 0-60 run on the old road and when I got to the top of first gear and the shift light went on it totally blinded me..  Damn..  I had forgotten to put the plastic night cover over the light..   I am glad I didn’t run off the road while I was blind as a bat and going 44mph..    Stupid..    The run was mediocre at 4.89 seconds..  It started with a large bog..

Then out on Rustpuppy Run for the southbound run..     A small bog and not much wheelspin for a fair time of 13.57@107.4..

Then when I was staging for the northbound run I could see the tire marks from the last run when the traction was lost bigtime..   The parallel black Puppy tracks were about 30 feet long..   Fun...

The launch went really good with just a hint of wheelspin and a lot of lift up front..   I could tell that it was going to be a good run as Goody was pulling well..   Above 80mph Rustpuppy Run seemed damn narrow and I was

sliding over toward the middle of the road to maximize my options..   No traffic is good..    Then the quarter flashing started and I got on the brakes to get down to a legal speed..      I waited till I was off the Run before I read the G-Tech..    Great!    It was 13.44@108.2 .   (see t&t60-1.jpg and t&t60-2.jpg)





And this is with the poor performance 92 octane gas..    I gotta get them R44TS plugs ASAP and get Rustpuppy swapped over to the 89 octane middle grade gas.   Just think, if I can pick up a tenth from 13.44 that makes 13.34..   Too cool for words..

It was great fun to get out on the road with Rustpuppy when she is running so well..

I had a couple of flattering experiences with Rustpuppy within the last few weeks..  Earnest young Matt Metcalf (recent HS grad who is off to college) is selling his terrific K5 Blazer for 5500 bux to help with the college expenses and he offered to trade it even for old rusty Rustpuppy..  I politely refused..    He did sell the K5 for the 5500 and is off at college studying police science..  He probably will catch up to me someday..

Then just last week I gave one of the local rodders, Joe Ross, a ride in Rustpuppy..   Did a full first gear burnout in front of the Hunter Creek Tavern at his urging..  (I have no moral fiber..burned all through first and into second for about 50 feet of rubber on the road)    And after doing a quarter mile run on highway 101 I took him home..  He insisted that I give his son (about 17 years old) a ride too..    And he told his boy this, “It will be the fastest car you ever rode in.”..

It is great fun to impress your friends and acquaintances and the bunch of drunks down at the Hunter Creek Tavern..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(perfect coronary arteries is good)

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