T&T Chapter 9   <  ^  >

Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 149

Date:         Wednesday, April 16, 2003 7:53 PM


It has been far too long since the last report.

First I want to apologize to the list for my silence and for the grumpy nature of the  few posts I have made in the last couple months..  What happened is that I took on a contract job with an unreasonable schedule and unforeseen difficulties.    I was desperate for the money and it was doing a friend a favor so I gave it my best shot.    But I am too old for the long hours and difficult (read impossible) deadlines and ended up sick as a dog from the stress..   My heart issues reared their ugly head for the first time in about three years and my arthritis took a serious turn for the worse..    But despite missing the first deadline (due to illness) I made the second one and am past 90 percent of the difficulty..   Whew..

I really got messed up..   Almost had to go to the Emergency room..    And then to add insult to injury the weather for the last month would have been more normal in February..   It has been unusually cold, windy, and rainy..  

Brr..     I am behind in everything..


I ended up with open ulcers on my feet.   (they are all twisted up from the arthritis and even a little bit of walking causes pressure sores..  Hell..)  Doctor Williams did a little surgery on them yesterday and I am supposed to stay in bed..    And not even sit at the computer..    So with my laptop out of service I am really out of it..

But enough whining..

We only had about 2 or 3 good days out of the last 7 weeks of miserable weather..   But I did manage to fool with Rustpuppy a little..  Took her to town last month and filled the tank with 92 octane Texaco (Shell).   It seems to be pretty good gas this time so I am looking forward to some racing and testing of the Drag Radials..    I did one 0-60 run on the old road.

Pulled a 5.12 second time despite wheelspin due to the dampness of the road..     I need dry roads for proper testing..   Damn..    It has rained every day for more than 5 weeks straight..     And it has been cold too..  

I did find out that without any obstruction of the exhaust the circulation through the crossover passage in the Performer manifold is poor and the hot spot never gets more than lukewarm till the motor is fully warmed up.

This is why I am stuck with the bogging problem..    But since the heat is not working but Goody performs flawlessly when up to operating temperature I expect to get good results from the Vic Jr manifold that is waiting for installation..  

Edelbrock has delayed shipping the special Q-Jet to single plane adaptor for over a month but I expect it any day now..  

During another momentary break in the weather (it was still too damp and windy for serious racing) I did manage to check the g-force readings on a reasonably dry stretch on the old road..      It was difficult as most of the time the cold bog interfered with a good reading..    Here is a batch of them..   0.75G, 0.72G, 0.73G, and one pretty good one at 0.80G..   So I am expecting good things when it is possible to race safely..

I took the cutout assemblies to town (in the Suburban) and showed them to Tim Harding and asked him how much it would cost to make the 4 cuts and welds to install them on Rustpuppy..    He said only 30 bucks!   I guess he pities me..  

I still have to do some under Rustpuppy work to move the emergency brake cable guide rod (replace it with a different design) so Rustpuppy is half way jacked up high enough for drilling some holes under there..   And it has rained and rained..

After establishing a baseline the cutouts go on (and the noise gets serious)..   And after testing of those the Vic Jr and special adaptor go on..    I have to get another Pyrometer going to verify the effects on mixture and fuel distribution as well..    So there is plenty of work pending on the Rustpuppy front..

I better go lie down for a while..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(sorry old basket case)




Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 150

Date:         Sunday, April 20, 2003 4:13 PM


It has been an extra wet spring..    Including winter weather..     In t&t150-a.jpg you can see the flats below Rustpuppy Run are flooded.    This picture was taken after most of the water drained away.    The whole flat was flooded on both sides of Highway 101..     A messy place to go off the road..




The mudhole in the top of the yard where I have been parking the Suburban reached critical levels with about 6 or 7 inches of bog..    Right to the limit of traction so I have been parking the Suburban up next to Yakima Sue and walking in to my hovel..  See t&t150-b.jpg.


Finally on Friday afternoon the rain stopped and the sun came out..   I was coming home from the pharmacy in Gold Beach when I took this welcome snapshot..  See t&t150-c.jpg..


Later that afternoon I went to take Rustpuppy for a ride and found that a damn little bird had found its way in and left its opinion of me on the steering wheel, dash, and windowsills. I don't get no respect.

See t&t150-d.jpg..


I did a couple 0- 60 runs but the roads were still soggy..    It had been raining just that morning..   Times were fair at 5.08 seconds and 4.89 seconds on the G-Tech..    And it was great fun..

The prediction for Saturday was for sunny and a high of 55-58 degrees..   I am hoping it will warm up in my shop enough to allow me to take care of the Ray Buck Axle Cover Project..      At 11:00 am I noticed that it was still too cold..     About 53 outside and 50 even in the shop..


I noticed that there was no wind at all..     Hmmm..     Maybe it is time to go out on Rustpuppy Run..      I did one G-force of launch test on the way and got a marginal 0.77g..


When I got to the highway I saw that there was no traffic and no wind..  And the road looked pretty dry..  Most excellent..      Since Goody was not up to operating temp I didn’t expect much from the first run..

It went smooth as silk..    Considerable bog right at launch but it only lasted a short time..   Then Rustpuppy took off with gratifying speed..  The shifts came up fast enough to indicate a reasonable run and the tracking with the Drag Radials was perfect..     Rustpuppy could be held to within an inch of planned track..   I stayed on the throttle past the end of the quarter mile to check out the high speed stability..      All the way up to about 5600 rpm in third   (about 112-115 mph) it was steady and solid..  Nothing at all like the squirmy, squirrelly ET Street wrinklewalls..  Well worth the money for those BFG Drag Radials..

The time was better than expected considering the big cold bog and Goody being pulled down below 2700 rpm by the cold converter..     It was 13.77@106.2 on the G-Tech..     And more fun than I have had in a long, long time..

I was hoping for enough warmth from the sunshine to get my shop up to workable temperature..  At about 3:00 pm I went out to do some work on  the axle cover..     It was about 57 degrees in the shop.

T&t150-3.jpg shows the setup on the Bridgeport to do the rough milling of the Summit logo..   

  It is mostly gone by t&t150-4.jpg..   

   And right at the time I took the shot of the first fine flycut the battery in the camcorder expired..    And since I had been out for an hour so did I..   See t&t150-5.jpg..


Today, Sunday, another cold front came through..   And it has been cold windy rain most of the day..   I am staying in and staying warm..

The prediction says rain and cold till next weekend..    Rats..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski



Subject:    Non Nova   Lilies for Easter

Date:         Tuesday, April 22, 2003 6:51 AM


Yesterday I noticed that the lilies have bloomed up at the top of the hill where I go to pray..

They were there for Easter Sunday..

See pictures..



Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 150 addendum 3

Date:         Tuesday, April 22, 2003 6:58 AM


I had promised (mostly to myself) that Ray’s axle cover would be in the mail on Monday..      So despite the cold and wet I pushed myself out into the shop yesterday morning..     It was only 47 inside but I knew that if I worked fast I could have it finished and ready to ship in just a few minutes..

The finishing of the aluminum casting turned out to be the quick part. Fooling around with the swivel-footed bolts took a little longer.    But the feet are in place, lubed, and peened so they will never fall off again..   See t&t150-6.jpg and t&t150-7,jpg..



Then after careful packing the box was ready to go back to Utah..  Delivered it to the Post Office at about 1:00 pm...


This weather is really getting on my nerves..


More to come.


Rick Draganowski







Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 151

Date:         Monday, May 05, 2003 8:08 AM


During a small break in the miserable spring weather last week I checked the air filter in Rustpuppy.    I noticed that the filter that fits into the PCV hose bracket had been blown out and stuck back in the narrow spot at the rear of the housing..    See (t&151-1a.jpg)

It must get damn windy in there at full throttle..  This issue preyed on my mind.   There had to be a more elegant solution.  The next time I was in town when I stopped at NAPA I noticed a new display of Mr.Gasket odds and ends..   Hanging there was a spiffy push-in filter for the valve cover PCV vent..    Much better..   (See t&151-2a.jpg)



The only problem was the fancy chrome plating..   Entirely out of place onGoody..     I attacked it with the die grinder armed with a small flap wheel..  (See t&151-3a.jpg and t&151.4b.jpg)   That ground the surface down to be rough enough for paint to adhere..



Then I painted it with the Oldsmobile Blue Engine paint from NAPA..    (See t&t151-5a.jpg)



Naturally I botched it and put too thick a coating and caused some unsightly runs..   Damn..    Will sand it off and try again when it stops raining..  If it stops raining..


And the stock hose system has to be removed and the hole in the housing covered..

More to come.

Rick Draganowski






Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 152

Date:         Monday, May 12, 2003 11:12 AM


In the last report I mentioned how I screwed up the Oldsmobile Blue engine paint on the Mr. Gasket PCV filter.   This time I ground the chrome completely off down to the bare steel.  See t&152-1.jpg.   

Then instead of being in a hurry and putting on one thick runny coat I put on three thin coats..   This is the secret of proper painting.  Never be in a hurry.   See t&152-2.jpg and t&152-3.jpg for the results.



Then it was time for a quick installation.   The grommet in the valve cover yielded eventually and when removed presented a smaller hole than I expected..  See t&152-4.jpg.  

Note the temporary installation of the tiny Edelbrock air cleaner.    The stock stud is too short so I have to install the top upside down.  In t&152-5.jpg you can see everything was ready.

I had been assured (by someone who should know) that the aftermarket filter (designed for a 1.25” hole) was proper for this application..    Well that advice was wrong.   In t&152-6.jpg, t&t152-7.jpg, and t&t152-8.jpg it is obvious that there is a serious mismatch.    




This is due to the diameter of the hole being less than an inch and the diameter of the rubber spigot being over 1.25”.

Rats, after all the work on the damn paint.   That is what I get for not checking it myself.

During this adventure I noticed some interesting data.   You can see in t&152-9.jpg and t&152-10.jpg clumps of rust crumbs collected at the bottom of the restriction in the rear of the air cleaner housing.     They must have been sucked into the snorkel during full throttle blasts..  Rustpuppy is always shedding bits and pieces..




Also notice the base of the air cleaner had a graphic indication of “reversion” of the intake.    It was installed before the paint was fully cured and the gasoline discolored the paint.    See t&152-12a,jpg and t&152-13a,jpg.  



Note that only the front two barrels have the marks.   This is because reversion is usually only present at low rpm when the overlap of the cam sends strong pressure pulses into the intake.   They actually make the carburetor work in reverse, blowing an air/fuel mixture out of the inlet.   At full throttle with the secondaries open the rpm induced inertial effects prevent reversion..

Back on the PCV filter.  In my shop left over from back in 1982 or so I had a new air filter for the Briggs and Stratton engine on a Sears lawnmower..  It looked like it could be adapted easily to a 1” hole.  Since I don’t want to force that stubborn grommet back in and replace the weenie stock pipe and air cleaner filter I decided on a temporary installation.   See t&152-14a.jpg.  

It will take a while to do the machining on the rubber spigot to get the Mr. Gasket part to fit.    

I need to do some modifications on the air cleaner housing.      It vibrates and flexes the thin metal of the housing.  Eventually it will cause fatigue cracking..  I am thinking of support struts attached to the wire loom brackets on the valve covers.

More to come.

Rick Draganowski


Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 153

Date:         Tuesday, May 13, 2003 9:37 AM


The endless story continues..     First a digression.   I am planning to rebuild and install a smogger Q-Jet on the Suburban in place of the good race Q-Jet.    Like all of my projects this one is backed up as well.   I had the carbs cluttering up the floor in my office/home and they were getting in the way.   What better place to store them to both get them out of the way and to constantly remind me to get busy on this project than this.  See t&153-1.jpg

Back to Rustpuppy.   I planned to use the Briggs and Stratton filter for a PCV filter but it looked shabby with light rust..    So the paint went on.  See t&153-2a.jpg

  While getting this done I refreshed the paint on the air cleaner top..   (t&153-3a.jpg)

As the list knows I am always seeking information.   I decided that this was a good time to make an adaptor to allow monitoring the vacuum conditions in the crankcase generated by the stock PCV system.    See t&153-4a.jpg and t&153-5.jpg   



The vacuum was about 5-6 inches of mercury at high idle and low throttle settings.   It dropped to zero after about 30-40 seconds when I blasted down the back road at full throttle trying to stay alive and watch the gauge at the same time..

Back to the filter.   In t&153-7.jpg you can see that the adaptor to fit it to the valve cover was just a piece of ” heater hose.

   T&153-8a.jpg and t&153-9a.jpg show the final result.



  Note the lanyard attached to the filter.   The fit from the heater hose to the valve cover was not very tight so I thought it would be a good idea to tether the filter so it wouldn’t be lost if it vibrated or blew out on the highway.

The last picture (t&153-10a.jpg)


shows the stock pipe and grommet, the fancy new filter, and some engineering notes about dimensions..    This is to remind me of another project that is waiting for attention.

More to come.

Rick Draganowski






Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 154

Date:         Thursday, May 15, 2003 11:58 AM


After getting into painting just a bit in the last report I noticed how shabby Rustpuppy’s core mount and cold air inlet were looking.    It only takes a few months in this location for stuff to start deteriorating.  See before pictures.   (t&154-1a.jpg, t&154-2a.jpg, t&154-3a.jpg, and t&154-4a.jpg)




Then breaking out the trusty old Rustoleum and the foam brush I got to work.  See after pictures.  (t&154-5a.jpg, t&154-6a,jpg, and t&154-7a.jpg)




With the top part of the front end done the lower part started to look shabbier..    But the bumper has to come off for that.

More to come.

Rick Draganowski



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 155

Date:         Thursday, May 15, 2003 1:44 PM


Making short work of taking the bumper off  (the bolts are clean an lubed hehehe) I pressed on with the balance of Rustoleumizing Rustpuppy’s front bits..  See before and after pictures attached..





Since the bumper was already off, even though the air cleaner wasn’t finished and the weenie Edelbrock mini-filter in place, perhaps it would be a good time to check the weather and traffic conditions?

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(it was a really good day)





Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 156

Date:         Thursday, May 15, 2003 8:09 PM


Now we are getting to the fun part.

After fooling with the painting under the front bumper. (now removed)  I was inspired and went ahead and lightened Rustpuppy as much as possible.    I took out my spiffy large dial Health-O-Meter scale and weighed stuff as I went.

Here is a list of the weights again.


1)     front bumper plus shock absorbers, tin panel, and nuts and bolts. Exactly 85 lbs..

2)     spare tire (old FR78-14 Michelin that almost matches the 235/60-15 Drag Radials in diameter)  40lbs

2)     bumper jack plus stock lug wrench and a large cross type lug wrench 15lbs

3)     premium 15 foot jumper cables from NAPA  7 lbs


I vacuumed the collection of gravel and dirt that had accumulated in the trunk through the large holes in the quarters.   Don’t know the exact weight but I bet it was at least 10 lbs..

Total removed from front 85 lbs

Total removed from rear 62 lbs

Grand Total removed fixed weight 147 lbs  (plus 10 lbs of gravel and dirt)

For a Super Grand Total of fixed weight removal at 157 lbs.

Plus I had run out half (11 gallons) of the full tank of gas I started with (had during last run) 66lbs

So Rustpuppy’s race weight was down the Super Duper Grand Total of 223 lbs..

(plus I have lost some lard as well)

It was late in the day, about 5:30pm so I knew the traffic may be heavier than normal due to our “rush hour”.  There was no wind at all.   It had been dry for two days..    Hoo haa!

I jumped in Rustpuppy and took off down the old road.    Doing full throttle bursts to speed up the warm-up. Down at the bottom of the hill I staged for a warm-up 0-60 time.    After long delays in getting out to race the process gets more intense.. Despite a slight initial bog the time was good at 4.71 seconds..   Oh boy..

Out to the entrance of Highway 101.    I was right about the traffic.   Cars were coming about 5 or 6 hundred feet apart..    Too cluttered for safe racing.. I cooled it and just backed Rustpuppy away from the highway to wait for a break in traffic without lurking right at the highway’s edge.

The break came and I blasted out on highway 101 trying to get to the southbound staging area as fast as possible..    I love driving Rustpuppy.. Staging area was dry and clear and there was no traffic in front or behind.

I tried to relax and just sit for a few seconds.    Then checked level and pushed the button on the G-Tech for a run.

At launch there was a small amount of wheelspin from the Drag Radials due to the lightening of the rear..      It was enough to bring the launch rpm above 3000 rpm..   This is good..    The run went great with Rustpuppy tracking on the windless highway like an arrow..   I stayed on the throttle a bit past the quarter mile since because of the sun glare I could not see the led display on the G-Tech..

Then I hit the brakes and pulled Rustpuppy down to a sedate 60 mph..   I shaded the G-Tech with my hand and could see the time of 13.39..    Good show.   And I haven’t even done any tuning for this season.   And Goody was pulling air through the teeny restrictive little Edelbrock air cleaner without the cold air inlet..    This is good.


At the second turnaround I sat for a while to relax and wrote down the whole time    It was 13.39@107.6..    Great fun.

I lurked along the highway and waited for a few cars to pass.    Then I blasted up 101 to get to the northbound staging area.   Without the cold air induction and with the extra salt spray on the highway at the south end I didn’t expect much..

I was right, the wheelspin (of the Drag Radials for goodness sake) was much more than optimum and some time was lost at the launch.    Everything else worked fine and it was a comfortable run.    I did notice that the sound of Goody seemed higher pitched and scratchy at high rpm’s.  This was probably due to the tiny air cleaner..     The run ended without incident and since I could see the led’s I got off the throttle quickly..    By the time I motored slowly back to the turnoff to my place traffic was coming both directions as far as I could see..   The time  for the northbound run was 13.47@107.2  on the G-Tech.

It is two days later but just writing this up has me worked up and I am shaking from excitement a bit..    It is a great cure for depression..

Now for some technical thoughts that have occurred to me over the last few months.. It has been puzzling me that the high speed tracking with the Drag Radials seems much better than the Radial T/A street tires.   Then it came to me. I had found that that optimum traction with the street tires called for a pressure of only 22 psi.   When I installed the Drag Radials I aired them up to 28psi.   This makes a significant difference.   And I like it a lot.. Just the opposite of the M/T ET Streets..

Stall at launch is a variable that is difficult to control.   The ideal situation would be to invest in a Midwest converter set for 3300-3400 rpm. Since I can’t afford that, setting things up for a slight wheelspin is the only way of getting a really good launch..    But it sure as hell is not repeatable enough to depend on..    Launch stall below 2800rpm really pulls Goody down too much..

It is still great fun and when the good runs happen it is a joy..

These were Rustpuppy Runs number 174 and 175..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(racing is good)




Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 157

Date:         Saturday, May 17, 2003 11:56 AM


I spent an hour or so (on the last warm day, Thursday) covering the hole  left by the stock valve cover breather gizmo. See t&157-1a.jpg, t&157-2a.jpg, t&157-3a.jpg, and t&157-4a.jpg    While I was at it I refreshed the paint.




The weather turned against me that evening with another damn cold front. (at least this one is cold and dry instead of cold and wet)   But I was out working on Rustpuppy Friday anyway.    There was a cold wind from the ocean and the temp never got much past 50 degrees.      Still cold today.    The simple little job described below took 5 hours..    Cold weather really slows me down..

Remember back in Test&Tune 152 I said this: “And I need to do some modifications on the air cleaner housing.      It vibrates and flexes the thin metal of the housing.  Eventually it will cause fatigue cracking..  I am thinking of support struts attached to the wire loom brackets on the valve covers.”

I wanted to get this done and get Rustpuppy’s cold air induction system back on for more racing.    First I just stood next to Rustpuppy with the hood up looking at the problem for a considerable length of time.     Then I got the idea of turning around the mounting bracket for the alternator and using that as an attachment point for a sturdy strut.

In t&157-5b.jpg you can see the attachment points I visualized in the red circles.


  I decided to fall back on an old standby of mine for this kind of thing.    Good old half inch thinwall conduit.    In a proper design it is a lot stronger than you think.    You just have to remember to grind the zinc off before welding it.    In t&157-6b.jpg you can see the chunk of conduit I am using has had it’s end flattened neatly in the Kurt AngLock vise on the Bridgeport.   (that thing squeezes harder than any other vise I have ever used)   I am getting ready to drill the 3/8” hole for the bolt to the bottom bracket.

I drilled the hole, then ground the end to a pleasing curve and did the preliminary install for the next stage.   See t&157-7b.jpg, t&157-8b.jpg, and t&157-9a.jpg,  




  Going to take a little tweaking.   Judicious bending of the conduit and repositioning of the bracket brought us to t&157-10a.jpg.

Marking and cutting to length took only a few minutes of hacksaw work. See t&157-11a.jpg.


Then I farted around measuring and marking the strut to be sure that when I flattened the upper end it would be at the correct angle to match the  snorkel.   I lucked out an got it right.  See t&157-12a.jpg..  

Then I drilled a ” hole for the top stud and wingnut I planned on using and then ground the end to a nice curve.    See t&157-13a.jpg.


Marking, drilling, and messing about with the location of the top stud took a lot more time than I expected.   Eventually I had to tweak the housing a dozen times or so with the peen end of my number 3 hammer to get the stud to mount at the right angle.    But it finally went together just as planned. See t&157-14a.jpg..  I am using stainless steel hardware for the top stud and wingnut.

Now I have to wait till the everlasting cold wind to die down for some more


More to come..

Cutouts are next..

Rick Draganowski

(old and cold, and slow)




Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 158

Date:         Sunday, May 18, 2003 11:36 AM


Yesterday afternoon I subjected myself to the bitter cold north wind to put the aluminum hose back on Rustpuppy’s snorkel.    The aluminum is starting to corrode so I plan on painting it soon.   When the damn wind stops.   See t&158-1b.jpg and t&158-2b,jpg for Goody’s current looks.



Getting Rustpuppy’s cold air induction system back together inspired me to take a little test ride.    I noticed immediately that the sound of Goody was back to normal with a deep growl instead of the tinny howl with the mini air cleaner..     Much more satisfying..     

I just went to the other end of Coy Creek Road to do a couple 0-60 times..    They went excellently well with a time for the first one at 4.71 seconds on the G-Tech.    Then I immediately backtracked and turned around in the middle of the road to make a second run from the exact same launch area.   It felt good, and the time was 4.70 seconds..    Nicely consistent when there is no wheelspin..    The asphalt I am launching from on the old road is weathered with the sharp gravel showing.   Abrasive but great traction..

Due to the lack of wheelspin and the cold weather keeping the ATF thick and cool so the stall speed is lower the launch times are slower than they would be on a warmer day, or with slightly less traction.

On the way home I set the G-Tech for g-force and did one launch on the newer pavement.    Slight wheelspin and a reading of 0.78g..    Someday I hope for consistent  0.83 - 0.84 g but probably not until I get a new torque converter.     Flash stall  on the 0-60 times was going only to about 2700-2750 rpm which is about 400-500 rpm too low for Goody.

One other note about the 0-60 times..   Since I am going fast on a narrow and bumpy old farm road (the area I use has no entrances or driveways) I must keep my attention on the road.  Between that and the sun glare it is impossible to see the signal for the 0-60 time from the G-Tech..   What I normally do is run to the shift light in first (about 48mph), shift, and then stay on it in second until I get the light for the 2-3 shift.  (about 78mph)   This is pretty damn fast to be going on a narrow bumpy road but Rustpuppy handles it beautifully.

After I got home I parked Rustpuppy next to Junkyard Dawg.     See t&158-3b.jpg  

  I mowed my acre of grass just 5 days ago and it almost needs mowing again..    I guess it is the sunshine.

This has been a strange several days as far as the weather is concerned. Down in the 30’s at night and clear and cold in the upper 40’s to lower 50’s in the daytime with a nasty wind out of the northwest to north..     A large dry cold air mass sits offshore making me miserable..

Hoping for warmer weather.

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(still cold, even indoors, from that damn wind)




Subject:    Timing and whining

Date:         Sunday, May 18, 2003 2:44 PM


The cold wind from the north persists.    The only thing I got done today  (so far) is check the timing on Goody.   Yup, still 12 degrees initial and 34 degrees total (centrifugal) advance at about 3300-3400 rpm,  Actually when I checked the TDC location on the cheap Proform 8” damper with my home made piston stop I found that the TDC is 1 degree off.   So the actual operational advance I figured out with trial and error (emphasis on the error)  is 11 initial and 33 total. (centrifugal) The MSD distributor is not only a work of art it is mechanical and electrical and electronic perfection..

But even this tiny job was difficult..    Since I planned on staying in due to the cold weather and do paperwork naturally I got a migraine (cluster) headache about noon.     Which made me blind for the most part with flashing lightshows in the center of my field of vision..    Damn..   And I was driving Rustpuppy to get Goody up to operating temp for the timing check.. At least I had my peripheral vision..    No racing and no funny business though.

These damn headaches leave me stupid and sick for about two days afterward..At least I can’t complain about it being age related as I have had them since I was 17 years old..

Whine, complain..    At least I can read now even if I feel like crap..

Even my eyes hurt..

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(have approximately the ambition of a snail that can sleep for two years)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 159

Date:         Tuesday, May 20, 2003 1:01 PM


Yesterday (Monday) I had business in town and an appointment back home at 1pm..   So instead of waiting till the sun did some good on warming the place up I went out about 10am..    I noticed as I headed for the Suburban that the wind that has been bugging me for the last week had stopped.

Delaying the trip to town I piled into Rustpuppy and blasted down the old road to get some runs in..    I was eager and didn’t do much warmup messing about..   I did do a dismal 0-60 at 5.73 seconds..     The bog was still pronounced and much time was spent waiting for it to end..     The highway looked clear..     I motored to the southbound launch area and got ready..

I was so eager I kept botching the level on the G-Tech and wasting time.. Before I got my stuff together (the word I am thinking as I write this is not stuff) an oncoming car appeared..  Damn..  I hoped to salvage the run so I started motoring slowly south waiting for the oncoming car to pass.. He finally did but I found myself on an area of Rustpuppy run that had never been used as a launch area..   Not knowing what to expect I went ahead with the run..   The Drag Radials grabbed the road and there was no wheelspin at all, no second gear chirp either..    Most excellent traction..    I stayed on it past the end of the quarter mile (I was so stoked that I went clear to 6000 rpm in 3rd) and probably was going about 119-120 when I let off..


Due to the excellent traction and the low converter stall the time was only average at 13.55@107.6..    Since the last few days have been the only decent weather we had since last fall,  every camper, RV, motor home, and old car with stuff tied on top have been on the road..    Since I need about a mile of traffic free highway it is almost impossible to make a run..     I went out on attempted runs about 3 or 4 times since and always was blocked..

I decided that the best solution for the above issues is to have patience, redo the battery box in the trunk, get the cutouts installed, get the aviation gas..   And take my time about this stuff..

Also it is nuts for me to be running around on the highway without a spare or a jack..     I messed around with the scale again and came up with this package that must go back into the trunk.   See t&159-1.jpg..  


  A small floor jack, cross wrench, and the 40 lb spare..   The bumper jack would not be much good on the front since Rustpuppy has no front bumper mounted..

The floor jack weighs 31 lbs

the cross wrench weights 4 lbs

the spare weighs 40 lbs

and the jumper cables weigh 7 lbs..


This means that I must put back 82 lbs of trunk junk..    Goody just needs more horsepower..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(lost in the vacation zone)




Subject:    [nova] Rustpuppy Test&Tune 160

Date:         Wednesday, May 28, 2003 10:04 AM


Rustpuppy has been jacked up  awaiting the cutout installation for a week

now.    (see t&160-1a.jpg and t&160-2a.jpg (note sturdy jackstands))





The weather finally cleared up and is going to continue to be good..    So

the story continues..  So far this project has been a comedy of errors, or at least poor planning.     I suspended the right cutoff directly under and touching the location that it will be spliced into the existing exhaust system.   See t&160-3b.jpg and t&160-4c.jpg.




Then using short pieces of 2 ” exhaust tubing I did a survey of possible problems with the location.   Naturally there was one.   And serious too..  Not actually interfering with the location but ending up solidly against the top of the cutout was the hat section underseat brace..    It is always something.   See t&160-5c.jpg and t&160-6a.jpg.



My first instinct to fix this was to cut the brace out (and the one on the other side)..   I thought about using the air powered cutoff tool.  (see t&160-7a.jpg, think oversized Dremel with over one horsepower.. )



I put the project on hold to attend to some needed outdoor work on the property..   Like all my projects I thought about it while doing other more routine things..    The more I thought the more the solution stank..  The major flaws were this.

First,  this brace is an important part of the unit body and removing it would not be a good thing.

Second, it would take an enormous amount of time and trouble to grind those thick tough pieces of steel out of there..

And third, I bought my air compressor in 1980 and has been online cycling since..   (due to small leaks it comes on about once or twice an hour)

This puts it considerably past the end of it’s useful life.    It has difficulty getting up to the 100psi cutoff setting and there is a strange and ominous hissing when it runs as the intake valves leak back..     The cutoff tool like all small high horsepower tools is an air pig and can get ahead of the compressor in about five minutes or less..   I would expect that this job would finish off the dying air compressor and leave me open to the expense of fixing or replacing it..    And the compressor I want is about 600 bux which I don’t have..    Rats.


So I had to come up with an alternate solution.

The first alternate solution was to modify the cutout assemblies to put a jog in it to avoid the braces.  After a day of consideration and thought this idea started to stink as well..

First, it would involve modifying my beautiful cutouts..     Cutting them up and gobbing welds on them really got on my nerves..  I don’t know if I could make myself clamp them in the Dewalt chopsaw and have at them..

Second, the changes needed would compromise flow.   Not much but enough to be discouraging..

Like a dead fish in the noonday sun, the more time went by the bigger the stink..    I had to come up with a reasonable third solution.

Yesterday I lay on the cardboard under Rustpuppy and tried to clear my mind of preconceptions.  I noticed the good job Tim had done on the exhaust system.    He had tucked it up as high as possible as is his style.   It was well above the bottom of the subframe..

Then the idea I should have started with came to me..    Since I was cutting each exhaust in two places It would be easy to rotate the parts to lower the area that the cutouts splice into a half inch.   And that was all the clearance I was looking for..   Simple and probably would have happened automatically if I had not measured and tested..    The bad assumption I had started with was that the existing route of the exhaust pipe would remain after modification.

This is a good outcome.    Today I will practice my Sawzall metal tubing cutting techniques (tricky with a single speed saw,  I may just saw them out with a manual hacksaw) and get started again..

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(sometimes less is more)





Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 161

Date:         Monday, June 02, 2003 9:19 AM


Naturally now that the weather has finally cleared up and I can take care of all of the backed up projects Chuck drops a bombshell on me on the 30th of May.

An invitation to meet him at Woodburn (by Portland) for some racing..    On the 29th of June..    So now I got a deadline..    I am worried that scheduling for surgery may interfere but I am planning on being there.  (276 miles)

So Rustpuppy has to be brought up to NHRA standards...     Easier said than done..   I am juggling so many projects that I lose track of too many things..    My short-term memory is fading fast so I am always looking for something I just had and set down somewhere.  Back to Rustpuppy.    Chuck and the rulebook sez that no more than three pieces of rubber fuel line can be used.    And I think the total length of rubber line is limited to 12” or less..

This boggles my mind as a stock disco Nova has three pieces of rubber hose and this is their lengths from the factory.

Tank pickup to rear subframe/body-- -  7”

Rear subframe/body to front subframe- 9”

Front subframe to fuel pump--------------10”


This is a total of 26” of rubber tubing from the factory.  Is there more to this than meets the eye?   What is going on??

Back to Rustpuppy again.   When I was out measuring the rubber lines. (you know how I am about details) I noticed that the rear one that goes to the tank pickup had deteriorated since the last time I inspected it.  Everything is slipping away from me..     It was obviously leaking and I bet it was sucking air and causing some of Goody’s high speed flatness..    And it don’t do much for mileage either..   See t&161-1a.jpg.



I took pictures of the other two pieces of stock rubber fuel line.    See t&161-2a.jpg for the middle one and t&161-3a.jpg for the front one..  




I swear that the last time I inspected the rear one it looked just like the middle one.    And I noticed that the fuel line is corroding in the area right in the wheelwell which has direct exposure to the ocean.


I spent what seems like hours getting the old hose off..    It had to be cut off carefully and the access between the tank and tailpipe and rear spring was difficult to work in..     The ends that were shielded from the sea air looked factory fresh..    See t&161-4a.jpg..  




This picture was taken with my little spycam..    It is a lot handier to use for the under-Rustpuppy

pictures.    And the pictures are pretty good for a 60 buck camera..


If I thought taking the old hose off was trouble putting the new one on was a nightmare..    I can’t believe that this dinky little job took me four hours of struggle.    I normally work slow but this is ridiculous.     Here is the picture of the new hose and the new hose with the Rustoleum (old formula) treatment on the corroded part of the lines..    (btw the nasty smaller line below the fuel line is the tank vent line..)   See t&161-5a,jpg and t&161-6a.jpg..




I have decided to replace the center hose as well..     I cut it in

preparation for removal and it was piddling gasoline..    I tied the ends

down pointing to the drip bucket and decided that I had enough of groveling on the ground struggling..     Tomorrow is another day.


I went back to the project of fine tuning the wheel alignment of the Suburban..   That found me groveling in a different place..    Sigh..  Finally I went back to the ramp project and at least got a little done on it..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 162

Date:         Wednesday, June 04, 2003 9:44 PM


A whole lot of good stuff happened yesterday..   I took the leaking hardline with me to NAPA and was asking the young people with good eyesight to look at it and tell me if they could see a defect..   They sure could.   There was a pit in the seat right at the weld line of the tubing and it had corroded through..    It dripped pretty good when Goody was running on the test stand..  (scary business when you are running an engine indoors on a wooden barnboard floor..)

Anyway I told of my plan to go back to a totally stock fuel line system..  I bought a filter that fits in the Q-Jet (after testing the amount of restriction, surprisingly small)   Got a couple of new filter springs as I have lost track of the one I took out of Goody’s carb.   I also picked up a couple of those neat nylon gaskets that seal the filter chamber cover/fuel line adaptor..  That gasket is damn important if you are running a Q-Jet..

I also picked up a 30” length of pre-flared 3/8th steel line to provide backup if all else fails..   But I dread having to bend it to fit..   For me, it is more than a day’s work..

Then the excellently good stuff started happening..   Archie Aldrich came in for some stuff..  It has been many months since I saw him.   Archie is the racer’s racer and the finest drag race car builder/mechanic/driver that I have ever met..    He actually has sponsors and makes money drag racing..  Can you believe that?

I told him of the possible road trip to Woodburn and my problems and questions..   Archie has run at Woodburn innumerable times and is familiar with their inspection system and attitude about us cheapjack Sportsman class goobers..

Archie had answers to practically all my questions and took a load of doubts off my mind..   Archie said as long as the stock fuel line system was in good condition they are not concerned about the intake run from the fuel pump to the gas tank..    I showed him the pictures of Rustpuppy’s fuel system and he said that the run from the pump to the carburetor was critical and was inspected..   No goobered up rubber line like I am running now.   I told Archie of my plan of going back to the stock hardline and he said that was all that Rustpuppy needed in this area to run at Woodburn..

That morning I had replaced the last old piece of rubber tubing in the inlet line.   The one from the front subframe to the rear subframe/body assembly..  See t&t162-1a.jpg for it’s status now.


Then Archie told me about what he had been up to..    He has sold the Monte Carlo and got rid of his hot rod pickup..   All for the most beautiful Chevelle I have ever seen..   And he did the paint and detailing..   And installed a cherry 454 big block..    What a beauty..  It looked pretty ratty when he first got it but now it is ready for a magazine spread..

And in his spare time he made another car trailer.  This one with part of a travel trailer built onto the front to provide a break area.    A fantastic job..    Archie is amazing..  

Then more good stuff happened.  He asked if I still had the almost virgin M/T ET Streets he sold me last year..   I had told him that they were too tall and that I was scared by their squirrelly street manners.   Turns out that he needs them for the big block Chevelle..    So I told him I would run them out to his house that evening..

Then I went home to my projects..   Got a good close-up of the rusty ceramic coated Dynomaxes.. (See t&t162-2a.jpg)

I had ordered some aluminum header paint from NAPA and I was planning on cleaning them up and painting the rusty parts..

Then it was time to crawl under and tend to the exhaust pipe cutting..   It is heavy gauge 304 stainless and I dreaded the physical pain it would cost..  I have been having a lot of problems with unexplained premature muscle fatigue, cramping and general malaise lately.  (good stuff about this later that evening)

I had considered all of the possibilities but it came down to a manual hacksaw with a premium fine tooth blade.   (32 tpi)    I could only make about 10 strokes of the hacksaw before I had to rest so this one cut took a damn long time..    But eventually I got through it..   See t&t162-3a.jpg and t&t162-4a.jpg..





I swear I was sweating, aching, and cursing under Rustpuppy for over an hour and a half just for this piddly cut.  In t&162-5a.jpg you can see the piece of exhaust that I am splicing the right cutout into..    It replaces that straight segment at the end..     You can also see the most excellent Victor Reinz Nitro-Seal header gasket.   Those expensive critters are in good shape and can be reused.



I quit early due to the effects of the sawing and rassled the ET Streets into the Suburban to take to Archie later..

Then I went in for a long break..   I called Jeg’s and ordered the helmet I need..  Only 99 bux (plus handling and stuff)  They have 132 of them in stock and it will be here on the 11th or 12th so that issue is covered..  

I was getting so discouraged about the suffering I had just had to pay for that tiny bit of progress on Rustpuppy  that I got on the internet and went to the medical diagnosis outfit I am signed up with to try to figure out what was going wrong with me..   After an hour of research it all came together..   A bunch of symptoms I am having matched against the side effects of the medications I am on combined with a little luck came up with a startling conclusion..

Unbelievably I had Hyponatremia..    A shortage of salt (sodium chloride) in my blood..   Damn..   The diet I am on combined with the medications and the warm sweaty weather was depleting the salt in my system.   This is serious shit, as it can cause your brain to swell and be damaged, It can make you nuts, and you could die from it..

The solution was simple, just add to my diet some of the salty foods that I used to scarf down by the ton..    This is so weird..

I headed into town to deliver the tires to Archie (and wound up talking with him for a couple hours) and afterwards stopped at the grocery store and bought a couple bags of premium Lay’s kettle chips..   I just had potato chips for dinner than night..   And by this morning most of my nasty Hyponatremia symptoms had disappeared..   Amazingly good news..  

My whole day today was taken up with a little begging on the Nova list and a medical roadtrip of a couple hundred miles..     On the way back I stopped and spent the afternoon with Cathy and Steve, the owners of South Coast Auto Wrecking..    I have known them since they took over the yard twenty years ago..   It was an enjoyable social event to spend a quiet afternoon, bench racing, tall story telling, and bringing an old friendship up to date..  I told Steve my troubles on the fuel line and he said that he would do his best to come up with one..     He will call if he can scrounge one up..  As I mentioned the vast majority of their business has been getting involved with “popular” cars and trucks. (mini imports mostly)  He feels the same way about them as I do but business is business..    Since this yard has been in operation since the 40’s there are thousands of tons of old iron that may have lots of wonderful things in it..   I have to get my health in shape to be able to spend a few days there..   (it would take months to do a through survey of the stuff)    Steve has come up with an electric golf card for the old geezers like me to use when junkyard diving..   The yard is narrow, (about 250 feet wide) but long  (about a half mile) so there is a lot of rough ground walking involved..

Travel really tires me out and I was amazed to see the cold salt fog had arrived at home before I did..  No work today, but a bit of time spent on the list..

Then another good thing happened..    I can’t believe what a great couple of days I have had..   This has to do with the battery cut-off switch..   I have the 20 buck switch from Jeg’s and the battery cable and terminals I need.   Hell, I bought them a couple years ago knowing I would need them..

But as far as the alternator cutoff besides running the BATT terminal wire all the way to the battery I came up with another idea..     Remember that I had mentioned that I would like a switch on the dash to kill the alternator

when racing..     Every little bit helps..     It eventually sank into my muddled old brain that this field switch is the solution to the alternator cutoff  and making the engine shut down when the battery cutoff switch is opened..  


 The dash switch would have two positions.   Street and Race..    In Race position the ignition is running directly from the battery with no alternator..    At the track it would be in Race and the battery cutoff switch would pass both the letter and spirit of the rule..    A nice cheap fix..   I like it..


Tomorrow is another day..

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(good things are happening)





Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 163

Date:         Saturday, June 07, 2003 9:41 AM


As you know from my whining the strange “coast effect”  has been fouling up my weather.   It has been cold and foggy with some light rain..    The weather service insists that it is sunny and over 70 here..     Yeah, right.


I waited patiently until yesterday afternoon hoping that the sun would show up..    But it didn’t.     This picture (MissingMountain.jpg) was taken about 2pm..  


  Note that almost all of Humbug mountain is missing (see regular picture from this spot, Mountain.jpg)..

   I live on the property in the approximate middle of the first picture.   You can see the blue roof of the Unit.   The maritime fogbank had lifted a few hundred feet but it was still cold and wet..      I stayed in and took it easy..


Then a stroke of good news from Steve at South Coast Auto Wrecking..    He

found a good looking fuel line in a cardboard box in their shop!     I went

and fetched it and noticed that it was all greasy with no external rust at all..    It looks like my problems are solved!


Closer examination  showed a large corrosion pit in the end that goes into the fuel pump..    It looks like it is almost as wide as the seat and turns this nice fuel line into junk..   See photomicrograph t&163-1.jpg.




Hoping to get something done this afternoon..

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(laid around and goofed off all day, went to bed early, and then woke up in the middle of the night with another damn migraine headache.. )




Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 164

Date:         Tuesday, June 24, 2003 9:25 AM


Due to the press of events (including killing my back) I have been long delayed in getting this report out.    I first jacked Rustpuppy up for the right cutout installation on the 21st of May..    Over a month ago.  

Just before that I did some testing on Rustpuppy.   The wind was way to rowdy for a Rustpuppy Run with random gusts of about 40 mph from the sea.  But I could fool around on the back road (old Oregon 9)

I did some testing of the shift points and here is the data.

1-2 shift 48 mph - RPM drops to 3100

2-3 shift 78 mpg - RPM drops to 3800


These are most excellent for the Goody’s torque curve and provides the nice strong pull in third gear.

I still have to contend with the extra traction of the Drag Radials pulling the launch rpm down to 2600-2700..    That Break-A-Way TCI converter is just not a good match for Goody with good traction..   Bah..   It is always something.

I did a launch G-Force next and got the fair reading of 0.78G.    With a little bit of wheelspin and the ET Streets Rustpuppy has hit 0.9G so you can see how much the converter is costing..

Then it was on to back-to-back 0-60 runs..    First one had the excellent time of 4.71 sec.   Second one was 4.70 seconds.

I think I have figured out the exact moment I blew the disk in my thoracic spine.    Naturally it is all my fault.   It happened on the 4th of June.  And it was hacksawing the tough stainless steel exhaust pipe under Rustpuppy that done it.    It came to me suddenly the other day when I cut the stainless pipe with my 14” DeWalt chopsaw.   I noticed that it was struggling to get through  the cut and was really laboring.   I brought back the miserable hours I had under Rustpuppy with a hacksaw.    Here are the details.

I was laying on my right side.   Since I couldn’t use my elbow to support raising the upper part of my trunk I was bending my spine into a U-shape to the left and holding myself up just by the back muscles on the left side.

Then in this unusual posture I operated the hacksaw.   This involved twisting my upper body to the left and back again as  the saw bit into the tough stainless.    The combination of heavy bending to the left and twisting did it..     The top one of my stack of 7 bad disks couldn’t take the strain and ruptured.    As the thick viscous core pushed out through the split the pressure on the nerve roots slowly increased over the next several days.   By the ninth of June it was as bad as it was going to get and I was really in trouble with this one.   Since those nerve roots feed abdominal organs and my breathing reflex if they were severed I would have to be on a respirator or die.    So my chances would be nil.   As my disk contents move down into the spinal canal and are slowly reabsorbed the pain and other symptoms started easing.    So by now it is about 70 to 80 percent reduced from the peak.    I expect with another month of conservative treatment I will be totally out of the woods on this one..    But I am getting sick of lying in bed when I should be working.

The most difficult part of this episode was missing Woodburn racing with the noble Chuck Butcher..    I wanted to whip his ass so bad.    Since his Nova is not running correctly I had a chance..

I have been stuck with relatively trivial low impact work while I recover and as a result progress is at a snail’s pace.    And I get so tired so quickly from the effects of the stress of the injury I am almost ashamed at how long it takes me to do anything.    I have to take  an hour break in bed about 3-4 times each day and that really cuts into production.

I ran into Archie Aldrich during one of my quests for steel fuel lines, at NAPA naturally.    I talked with him some more about racing at Coos Bay International Speedway (only about 60 miles away) and he seemed very eager and helpful.    He is getting his Chevelle in shape for some bracket racing and would like to have me along with old Rustpuppy.    (maybe to make his beautiful Chevelle look better?)   When I get back in shape and can whip Rustpuppy into NHRA spec I will swap the street tires on and commute to the racecourse..


At the end of one of my long days I took a hurried picture of the assembled header back assembly of the right cutout.    See t&164-duh.jpg.  



   That evening when I captured the picture for this report it just didn’t look right.   I was so tired it took me a few minutes to figure out what was wrong.     There were only two ways of assembling it so naturally I did it wrong..   (blame the engineer for assembly issues?)   See t&164-3.jpg for the correct assembly. 


Obvious errors are always the most fun..    Duh..


Next day I was taking it easy and all I did the whole blessed day was wash Rustpuppy’s right side (the one that faces the sea) and her rump..    You can see from the before shot (t&164-4.jpg) that Rustpuppy was a dirty dog..



  After shots looked much better.   See t&164-5.jpg and t&164-6.jpg.




Finally I spent a whole day wrestling around under Rustpuppy getting the first trial fitting of the right cutout.   (See results in t&164-7a.jpg)

So far it looks like it will work out exactly as designed..    That is a relief..

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(low impact working is my thing)





Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 165

Date:         Wednesday, July 02, 2003 7:27 AM


Things are still slow here.    The day after I got the right side cutout fitted (I thought) I made one little adjustment to the angle of the tailpipe and the front joint (which I thought was secure) fell apart.

Damn, I wrestled with it for about 2 hours putting it together.  (nothing ever fits exactly right)  But finally using my brains instead of my strength I really did get it fitted together.   And the unruly joint that kept falling apart despite the clamp was secured with a sheet metal screw.

Here is a panorama of the current situation.  See t&165-2.jpg, t&165-3.jpg, t&165-4.jpg, and t&164-5.jpg.   You can see how it is coming together.





The body reinforcement channel I thought was going to give me trouble turned out not to be an issue.   Even the stock rod that holds the parking brake cable could be used.   There is a minimum of ” clearance on all close points.   Looks good to me.  See t&165-6.jpg...



The exit to the cutout is in more of a straight line with the headers than the original exhaust pipe so I love the way it looks.   See t&165-d.jpg.



Since then, I have been taking care of numerous details unrelated to the cutouts including swamping out my shop so my attitude about the place would improve.    Tripping over stuff slows me down.   And makes me feel stupid..

I have been practicing welding (MIG) on a mockup of the system.   I want to make several secure short (about ”) welds on the joints to hold them together till I get the Pup to town and have Harding weld them on properly.  You need a lift to do this right..  (and he is about a million times better at welding than me)

Getting the shop organized (at least the front 20 feet of it) is the next big project and then it is on to the left side cutout installation.. 

Much more to come.

Rick Draganowski

(there are always hundreds of things going on that would make these reports into novels if I included them)





Subject:    Knocker

Date:         Thursday, July 03, 2003 8:36 AM



I started out with some more organization of my shop yesterday,  then when I got tired I sat down to do some more practice welds in preparation for the under Rustpuppy welding.

I started out cobbling up a jig to be able to simulate welding something higher than my head.    I noticed that my welding on the jig was absolute crap..   I puzzled over it for a few minutes and then realized that having the big door in my shop open was letting enough of the miserable wind in to disrupt the shield gas.    You need still air to MIG or TIG weld..   Damn.  It is the windy time of the year with 30-40 mph gusts all day, every day, and even at night..  Sigh..  It is always something.

Looks like I am going to enclose Rustpuppy in a tent to get this little job done..   More work for the old fart.

I didn’t want to shut up the shop for practice welding since it was such a beautiful day.   So I did a little more organizing and cleaning of the shop and suddenly decided to do something with Knocker.   She has been sitting neglected under a tarp and ignored since July of 2000..   I can’t believe it has been three years..   How time slips away..

I uncovered her and wiped off a little oily dirt.    See k-1a.jpg and k-2a.jpg.




This fine motor has given me so much real service.   She started life as a replacement motor for my old 77 white truck installed in 1979..   I and the west Texas previous owner pretty much used up the original motor.    (I donated it to a local rodder in Los Angeles)

I can remember so many trips and so many abuses for so many years of this motor.     One memory is blazing through the Mojave heading to Texas at over 100 mph at 2:00AM  listening to some fine Mexican Rock on a clear channel Mexican station.       Dragging the Airstream from Dallas to Gold Beach with a year interlude in the mountains at Frazier Park California.   (up the Grapevine and to the west a little)

She took me with the 1000 lb camper on her bed and flat towing the 3800 lb VW Westphalia Camper on the 800 mile commute to Los Angeles from here so many times that I have lost count..    8 or 10 I think..   And I wasn’t gentle with her..

Then she sat for three years after the white truck was junked (the driver’s door fell off)..     Some Marvel Mystery Oil and a little work and she was powering Rustpuppy at the beginning of her development into a race car..  With stock exhaust manifolds and cam and intake manifold she powered Rustpuppy to 16.4@87mph on the G-Tech.

Later with the Edelbrock Performer cam and intake manifold and some Flowtech headers she pushed old Rustpuppy to 15.02@97.7mph .   That was with a 3.08 axle and a stock truck TH350 with a 4200 rpm 1-2 and 4800 rpm 2-3 shift.

Then when I changed the governor to shift at 5400 she started knocking..  It was a sad December..


The following was written on Monday, December 20, 1999 at 11:53 AM.  

 Last night when I left the office to come in I did one more test on poor Rustpuppy and got some pretty convincing evidence.  The motor was stone cold and when I first fired it up the knocking rod was singing consistently for a second or so until the oil pressure came up and then it went quiet. After some thought during routine chores last night I have come up with a theory about exactly what happened. One important bit of evidence is the fact that Rustpuppy would warm up a lot whenever high rpm running was done.  The temp would go from 170 to about 210.  Here is what I think happened. 

When the original cam in the Target Master motor was destroying itself some of the bits of cast iron and steel (tiny but important) found their way to the connecting rod bearings.  Due to the luck of the assembly roulette one rod had smaller clearances than the others.  This rod (we will call it Gomer because it is a misfit) as a result of it’s tight clearances would run hotter than the others and was more likely to have minor metal to metal contacts during high rpm operation.  The metal to metal contacts combined with the tiny bits of metal caused the bits to embed in the bearing material of Gomer pushing up the surrounding metal and decreasing the clearance more.  Gomer’s bearing would get hotter, more metal to metal contact, more bits embedded, less clearance, more heat, etc.  Then at the maximum loading at 4800 rpm yesterday the cycle of destruction caused Gomer’s bearing to actually freeze momentarily to the crank. 

Naturally the motor kept going so the bearing material which seized was wiped out opening up the clearance.  Since I caught the disaster and nipped it in the bud by instantly getting off the throttle and featherfooting it back home the knocking is at a level which is confusing.  My past experiences have been more drastic and serious due to the driver staying on the throttle until the knock was really bad..  Gomer’s clearance now is way more than it should be so the boundary lubrication used during startup cannot prevent the knocking so Gomer knocks loudly.   Then when the oil pressure comes up and establishes the hydrodynamic lubrication the knocking stops.   The random little knocks at idle are due to the cam lope causing varying loads on Gomer which sometimes causes the knock.  All of the above ideas are just theoretical so far but I am almost willing to bet on them.


That is when I first started calling her “Knocker”..    Her real name is Cynthia..    A tribute to the Goddess of Work.  http://www.goddess-athena.org/Museum/Temples/Delos/index.htm Hephaestus and Athena were always my favorites from Greek mythology..

I spent some time examining her.   Note the clean internals..   See k-6a.jpg..


Then I started paying attention to her cylinder heads..    Interesting to note that the ports were nicely done and much better than I expected.  See k-7a.jpg and k-8a.jpg..



It is dark in there and difficult to get a decent picture.   But take my word for it, with bigger valves and a little port work and milling there is way over 350 horses in them.    And they are that fine grained high nickel Mexican premium cast iron..   It does say Hecho en Mexico on Cynthia.   See k-4a.jpg.

At this point I decided to stop using the uncomplimentary nickname of “Knocker” and go back to her proper name of Cynthia..

I then carefully rotated the engine stand to present the pan for removal and the internal inspection to begin.  Only 3 years late..   How slow I work..  It took an hour and a lot of muscle to safely rotate Cynthia due to the poor design and rusty bearings of the cheapie Harbor Freight engine stand.   See k-3a.jpg.


By then I was plum tuckered out and ready for dinner and early bedtime.   I have been getting up between 3 and 5 am and getting to bed at 7 to 9 pm..  Early to bed and early to rise was always my style before I got caught up in the years of the miserable black hole of clinical depression..     Modern medicine is a marvel...

Today Cynthia’s knocking mystery should be solved as the pan comes off and it is time to inspect the bearings..

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(In the Norse pantheon I think Loki is cool)



Subject:    Rustpuppy Test&Tune 166

Date:         Saturday, July 05, 2003 4:31 AM


Up early,  (up early every day in the summer) and out before 8am to see if the wind would be favorable for some outdoor MIG work..      It seemed to be.    A few more practice tacks on the unusual looking practice piece (see t&166-1a.jpg)



and then it was time to wrestle my old 175 amp 230 volt Italian MIG welder out to where Rustpuppy was..   See t&166-2a.jpg.



By the time I managed this in my slow and careful way the wind has started,  but just faintly.   I decided to press on regardless..   Naturally I made a pig’s ear out of it..     But I consider the job an outstanding success just because I didn’t set fire to myself.     Welding above yourself, while laying on your back, trapped under a jacked up car, is risky at best, downright stupid at worse..

Then I ground off the worse of the mess. (no pictures of that horrible mess) You can see the outer joints are a lot better since I didn’t have to be under them when they were done.   See t&166-4a.jpg, t&166-5a.jpg, t&166-6a.jpg, and t&166-7a.jpg.






There was a little problem with the tiny breeze but I found that it was only in gentle gusts with still periods between.

Now it is time to get poor Rustpuppy down from those ramps and jackstands were she has been since the 21st of May.   Damn, it takes me a long time to get little things done..    And naturally she goes back up on the ramps and stands but on the other side.

I will jack Rustpuppy up on the side away from the ocean so I could block the wind by just leaning plywood against her windward side.   If I had a brain I would have done the passenger’s side that way.

I hope it don’t take 6 weeks..   Sigh..

Then It was time to address the issues of Cynthia and Gomer..  (BTW a Gomer is the vessel or bowl that catches the blood from animal sacrifices in the early years of Jewish religious tradition.)

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(slow but unsteady)



Subject:    Cynthia and Gomer

Date:         Thursday, July 03, 2003 4:09 PM


We left off the story with Cynthia on her side ready to have her pan removed.    About 9 this morning it was done.   I gasped at the beauty of Cynthia’s underside.  It looked way better in there than I was expecting.  See cyn-1a.jpg, cyn-2a.jpg, cyn3a.jpg, and cyn4a.jpg..






The Edelbrock cam looked like jewelry and it was so clean and pretty.   You could see no wear or marks on the piston skirt that was exposed.   (minor thrust face of #2)

But now I digress, and we go back to a time long ago..

So based on this old theory I put on my leather gauntlets and went on a search for Gomer.    It didn’t take long.   Gomer was there, with a big end clearance worse than I expected, but with no signs of overheating..  It was number 5 rod.  All the others were fine..

At first I just made a tiny mark on Gomer and the crankshaft and then pushed to the other extreme of the play.   See cyn-5a.jpg and cyn-6a.jpg..



  It looked like a hell of a lot to me.   Over a millimeter..  I couldn’t hold myself back and within a few minutes had the dial indicator set up on Gomer


.  You can see the clearance is about 0.043..    That is a bunch..  (the dial indicator face was seriously overexposed so the pictures turned out crappy.)

By then it was close to noon and I felt exhausted..   I had spent an hour or so first thing farting around with the tack welding overhead practice.  I was encouraged that the wind was died down enough for good MIG work indoors with the big door open.   But by the time I finished the practice the wind outside had picked back up to the excessive normal..   Sigh.

Tomorrow we see Gomer’s bearing and crank journal..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(not very productive, but I keep plugging away..)



Subject:    Cynthia and Gomer Report 2

Date:         Saturday, July 05, 2003 3:24 AM


Started early as I was eager to get some work done and I was feeling pretty good.   First I spent most of the morning on Rustpuppy.  (written up in Test&Tune 166) And then it was time to open up Gomer.    Here you see the stage set with the nuts almost off.   See cyn-13a.jpg.  

  Then with the cap off I was surprised to see that the bearing in Gomer had spun.  You are actually looking at the back of the bearing insert, not the crank journal.  And the rod cap is sans bearing and shows serious wear..

  See cyn-14a.jpg, cyn-15a.jpg, and cyn-16a,jpg.. 



  A truly ugly sight.    I am amazed at how little this thing knocked.

After that inspection and photo shoot I decided to take another tour looking for loose rods.   Nothing like Gomer showed up but there was about twice normal play in number 1 rod big end.    I call this one Goober, Gomer’s little brother.   Opening Goober up showed a more normal bearing issue with metal embedded and scoring that we have all seen before.  The rod journal looked pretty good compared with the one that welded itself to Gomer’s bearing.

See cyn-17a.jpg, cyn-18a.jpg, cyn-19a.jpg, and cyn-20a.jpg





He was following in his brother’s footsteps and would have welded and spun as well..

The whole point of this story is that even though I knew better I went ahead and swapped cams and kept racing with Cynthia after she flattened her stock cam so badly.    I knew at some level that it was a mistake but I was in a hurry and took the risk.   Ha!   If the crankshaft and rod are beyond fixing it is an expensive error of judgment.   In a word..   Duh..

If the crank is shot it gives me an incentive to upgrade Cynthia to 383 status..    Hmm..   It could work out nicely..    But that is for the misty reaches of the future.



Subject:    Cynthia and Gomer Report 3

Date:         Sunday, July 06, 2003 5:53 AM


This will probably be the last report on Cynthia for a while.    There will be a long pause (I hope not another 3 years) while I concentrate on Rustpuppy and the shop project.   Also I may be picking up another contract job and that will tie me down with the miserable business of work for a few months.   With the new laptop it will be a pleasure compared to sitting at the big computer and having problems with my blood circulation..

Back to Cynthia and Gomer.   I brought the bearing shells and the rod cap into my office/lab/bedroom for photomicrographic analysis yesterday.   Here are the pictures.



This is the outside of the steel bearing shell.   It was spinning in the rod so there are a few scratches.




This is the inside of the bearing shell.   It looks pretty nasty.   The surface of the crankpin it was welded to looks damn nasty as well..




This is the quality steel bearing cap.   It held up best.   But this is still unreasonable abuse.   I am not sure it will clean up if resized.




And finally a macro shot of the parts in the photomicrographs to give you a scale indication.    This is an ugly business,  but it was my own fault and I don’t want anyone to make my mistake.

Flattening a cam is serious business, don’t ever think you can get away with just replacing the cam and lifters..

Back to more enjoyable reports as Rustpuppy goes for a ride today.   And I am trying to resist the temptation of opening the one partially-installed (tack welded in) cutout.

More to come.

Rick Draganowski

(where would be a good place to shop for a 383 kit??)




Subject:    A discouraging word about Cynthia

Date:         Monday, July 07, 2003 9:50 AM


One of the last things I did on Cynthia is measure the sorry crankpin that Gomer fouled up.  I just used the dial caliper.    I was discouraged to find that the rough surface measured between 2.073 and 2.078” and wasn’t round.    It is supposed to be 2.100 or 2.099..    I think the max undersize for crankpins is 0.030 and no way is that craters of the moon surface gonna clean up in 0.003..

See picture..



All of the other bearings and crank journals were normal for a 90,000 mile motor that had been in severe service towing and then racing..      If I only would have removed and did a cheap rebuild on Cynthia after the stock cam went flat..   It would have just been bearing inserts, ream the ridge, rings, and hand polish the crankshaft..

Gomer’s connecting rod is probably shot too..


Rick Draganowski

(and it would cost two large to do a proper 383..)


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