Author Topic: August 28, 2011 - The Road to Drag Week 2011  (Read 5719 times)

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August 28, 2011 - The Road to Drag Week 2011
« on: August 28, 2011, 11:47:56 PM »
My epic, EPIC thrash continued this week with a whole bunch of progress on the car.  But there is still more to do, and it is not yet certain that I'll be ready for the event.  The test and tune is two weeks from today!  Yikes!!

This week a whole bunch of my friends piled in to help with the project.  Thinking back over the course of the week, I can count 45 hours total put in by my friends helping me with this car.  I put in close to 50 hours myself, in addition to working my normal 45 hours per week at work, so I was pretty much beat all week long.  But even if I could continue this pace indefinitely, it is very clear that without the help I'm getting, there is no way I'd have a chance to have the car done before Drag Week.  So again I have to thank my friends Joel, Kevin, BradFORD, JC, and Barry for helping me with the project. 

Starting on Monday this week I became a thorn in the side of the sales guys at Centerline Wheels.  I had ordered my special front wheel from them the last week of June, and they had told me 3-4 weeks.  I still don't have it, and I don't have any time left to be without it, so I began demanding some better answers from Centerline on Monday.  The run-around I got from them was nearly unbelievable, but this is pretty much the same thing they've been doing to me as I've been calling them once or twice a week over the last month.  This week I called at least four times a day, left messages with two different sales guys, and demanded answers about when the wheel would ship, where it was in the production process, etc.  By Friday they must have been sick of hearing from me, but on Friday afternoon they claimed that the wheel had shipped via UPS 2-day service.  They were not able to give me a tracking number, so I remain skeptical.  If that wheel isn't at my place Tuesday afternoon, I am really going to lay into those guys on Wednesday, and try to find a manager at Centerline to talk to about their crappy service.  My alternative if I don't get the wheel I ordered before Drag Week is to run a set of the Auto/Drag wheels on the front of the car, but I'd rather not do that if I can avoid it. 

With Centerline's delivery problems in the background, this week I continued working on the engine installation and wiring for the car.  I worked on machining the feet for the torque converter and getting the converter bolted up to the flywheel, building a transmission mount and bolting it in place, installing the driveshaft loop and the driveshaft, installing the headers, etc.  I also got the ignition switch and instrument panel wired and installed in the car.  Tuesday night Joel and Kevin came over to give me a hand, and spent most of the time on continuing the work on assembling the doors and the weatherstripping that goes around the door openings, installing the quarter windows, all the associated trim, etc.  Kevin and Joel were here on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, and still there is more work to do on the door area of the car to be finished, but the end is in sight.  The door and related trim assembly is a good example of something that I figured would take a few hours per side to complete, and ended up taking far longer.

Finally on Friday night we were ready to install the carpet in the car, and got it more or less fitted and trimmed to work with the non-stock gas pedal and shifter before calling it a night.  Saturday my friends Steve S and Jerry V were going to come over and give me a hand buffing the paint on the car, but they had to bail due to family obligations, so I was on my own.  I spent the morning finishing up the fitting of the carpet and installing the seat belts, and then getting the shifter cable installed on the transmission.  As usual, a custom bracket was required, so I had to take some time to fabricate that, but finally by noon I had the shifter working properly and was ready to move on.  Here's a photo of the interior of the car at this point:

Since I was by myself on Saturday I decided to tackle a job that I really had to do by myself, which was wiring the main under-dash panel.  I pulled the aluminum panel that I had previously installed under the dash, and arranged the electronics that the car requires on this panel, thinking about how to route the wires most efficiently, and also access to the components with the passenger side dash panel removed.  The electronics components I used include a Painless Performance Pro-Street fuse block assembly, the eMS-Pro EFI box, an Innovate Motorsports DL-32 datalogger and two Innovate Motorsports SSI-4 sensor interface boxes, the Gear Vendors Overdrive control box, two large MSD bypass capacitors to keep the power suppy at the electronics panel quiet, and four relay/circuit breaker combinations for running the EFI system and the electric fans.  Also on the board I mounted a main power stud that the batter cable from the trunk connects to, and a terminal strip for all the different grounds required by the EFI system and the datalogger.  Many of the components were mounted on rubber donuts of some sort in order to make them vibration resistant.  By 3:00 on Saturday I had all the components mounted on the panel; here's a photo:

I spent the rest of the day Saturday, until 1:00 AM Sunday, wiring this panel.  A lot of the wiring required for the car could be accomplished with wires running from one component to another on the panel, so I focused on this wiring and got most of it done on Saturday.  I made sure to solder all the connections; I don't like relying on crimp terminals, so when a terminal was required I pulled off the plastic, crimped the wire to the bare metal terminal, soldered it in place, and then used heat shrink over the solder joint.  I also had to splice a lot of wires together, so more soldering and heat shrinking was required in these cases.  I went to bed early Sunday morning not quite finished with wiring the panel, and thoroughly tired of my soldering gun.

Sunday morning I was back out to the shop by 8:00.  My friends JC and BradFORD were coming over to lend a hand, and I wanted to put together a list of things to do that they could work on while I continued to wire the panel.  JC arrived promptly at 9:00. and started working on getting the thermostat housing installed on the car and hooked up to the radiator.  This involved mounting it on the car so that a custom upper radiator hose would fit, and drilling and tapping the housing for the pipe threads required for the coolant lines, gauge line, and coolant temperature sensors that needed to be plugged in there.  I worked on the main wiring panel at the same time, and by noon we were both pretty much finished up.  Here's a photo of the wired electronics panel:

I sent JC off to Napa to pick up some parts we needed, and also to grab lunch, while I started thinking about getting the panel installed back in the car.  First I cut two holes in the firewall and installed some rubber grommets in the holes, to allow the wires that needed to come into the engine compartment to come through.  Next I started working on a blockoff plate under the dash for the big hole in the cowl sheet metal that the heater box normally draws its air from.  This hole would be a torrential leak if we encountered any rain, and I needed to block it and provide a drain so that any water that collected there would drain away through a tube and out the floor of the car.  As I started to get going on that Barry showed up.  Barry is one of JC's friends who lives in Canada, but he happened to be in town on his way to Ford Expo in Columbus, Ohio.  He usually stops by when he is in town, and apparently he had some time today so he was able to give us a hand.  JC came back shortly thereafter, and after lunch we got back to work.  Barry worked on running the -10 fuel lines from the rear of the car through the torque box and up to the engine compartment, and afterward clamping them in place.  JC started working on a lower radiator hose; we needed to trim the lower hose outlet on the aluminum radiator and use some mandrel bent aluminum tubing to fabricate a tube to fit in the confined space between the radiator and the vacuum pump.  I continued working on the blockoff plate under the dash.

BradFORD arrived around 2:00, and I got him working on the front brakes.  Over the course of the afternoon and early evening he installed the line lock and the brake light switch, and then routed all the lines from the left side master cylinder to the line lock and then on to the front wheels.  We worked together to figure out how to run the flexible brake line from the caliper to the frame on each side so that it would clear the brake and the headers at all the suspension points, and at the end of the night we got the brackets positioned and installed to hold the flexible lines in place.  Barry had also installed the coil packs on the frame tabs that JC installed last week, and JC got the -12 line built and installed to connect the two oil pan sumps together.  During the whole afternoon and early evening I installed the electronics panel in the car and began wiring it into place.  By the end of the night I had all the wires from the rear of the car connected into the panel, and was starting on the getting the instrument panel wires connected.  Two cables were fed through the firewall into the engine compartment, for connection later.  Here's a photo of the engine compartment:

The electronics panel is not yet in its final position; I have it pulled back and resting on the floor and the front roll cage crossbar in order to keep everything available for wiring.  Here is a picture of the panel as it is sitting now in the car's interior:

By 8:30 tonight a bunch of the items on my punch list had been accomplished thanks to JC, Barry, and BradFORD, and I had made a serious dent in the wiring of the car.  The garage, which I try to keep at least semi-organized, looks like a tornado went through.  When I write my hot rodder's dictionary, this is the photo I will put in under the entry "epic thrash":

We made lots of progress this week, but there is more to do.  Next weekend is Labor Day weekend, but unfortunately I have some family responsibilities that will take time away from the car.  Nevertheless I still think the chances are good I will finish the car to the point of driving it by Labor Day.  We will see; I'll post another update next week, but maybe not until Monday night.

Jay Brown
- 1969 Mach 1, Drag Week 2005 Winner NA/BB, 511" FE (10.60s @ 129); Drag Week 2007 Runner-Up PA/BB, 490" Supercharged FE (9.35 @ 151)
- 1964 Ford Galaxie, Drag Week 2009 Winner Modified NA (9.50s @ 143), 585" SOHC
- 1969 Shelby Clone, Drag Week 2015 Winner Modified NA (Average 8.98 @ 149), 585" SOHC



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Re: August 28, 2011 - The Road to Drag Week 2011
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 04:29:30 PM »
Keep it up, Jay!  We're pulling for ya.

Check out this article if you have time to read.  No real help, just thought you might be interested.  And maybe good for some hood scoop ideas.


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Re: August 28, 2011 - The Road to Drag Week 2011
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 05:16:45 PM »
Jay, it is amazing how the car is coming together! I'm glad that I can help a little bit.  Remember to get a clip for the drivers door that the armrest screws into.


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Re: August 28, 2011 - The Road to Drag Week 2011
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2011, 07:34:39 PM »
Good to see you are hanging in there on the shelby clone build, wish you the best of luck.  I know what those thrashs are like, they are no fun, but always seem to happen on our builds.  Im glad to see you have a good group of friends to help you, thats a great feeling to know you have friends willing to help you out.  I know I have a few good friends, we seem to bail each other from time to time.  Only wish I was closer to give you a helping hand. 

When you get home from winning Drag Week this year, are you going to sleep for a week :)
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Re: August 28, 2011 - The Road to Drag Week 2011
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 09:10:04 PM »
I have a pair of cragar street star wheels you could borrow. I only live 100 miles away. Sorry, lost your email addy.
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