Author Topic: Drag Week 2016, Day 3  (Read 2829 times)

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Drag Week 2016, Day 3
« on: September 16, 2016, 09:44:47 AM »
(Check the previous post for the update on days 1 and 2:

Wednesday morning we had a 25 mile drive to the track, so we were out of the hotel by 7:00 for the quick trip.  For some reason I felt better on Wednesday morning than I had all week; maybe passing out at the restaurant the night before had done me some good LOL!  In any case, Steve and I got on the road to the track, and both of us noticed about halfway through the drive that the engine sounded different.  I wasn't hearing well because of the cold in my head, but even I could hear that something wasn't right.  We decided that we would pull the valve covers when we got into the track and check everything out.

On the way up, we saw Jeff Lutz' Camaro on the side of the road.  Jeff was leading all competitors at Drag Week, running in the 6.10-6.20 range with that car, but it looked like he had some serious suspension or chassis problem because there were big black tire streaks leading up to him at the side of the road. 

The weather was quite overcast, and as we pulled into the pits it began to rain just a little bit.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us, because it turned out we needed the time for repairs.  After the rain let up Steve and I pulled the valve covers and found a real mess.  We had burned up one rocker on each side of the engine, and that rocker had taken out its respective camshaft.  Crap, we needed to replace both cams!

The rockers were #8 intake and #3 exhaust, seemingly random failures.  Later while thinking about this I figured that the long wait idling in the line to get on the freeway on Tuesday probably hurt the rockers.  The SOHC rocker arms have needle bearings in the roller wheel, and when those things give up, they get ground away to nothing and the lash opens up, and the roller wheel starts banging on the cam.  They do not have constant oiling like the pin oiling lifters that are available now; they rely on splash oiling.  Plus because of the design of the rockers it is difficult to get a squirt of oil in there towards the needles, so squirters on each rocker are probably not practical.  What is needed is an SOHC rocker that provides the pin oiling feature, just like a modern roller lifter.  Back in the day, before the pin oiling feature was available, I used to run roller lifters and we would be sure to rev the engine periodically at idle, to make sure there was plenty of oil splash available to oil the needle bearings.  But while I was waiting in line on Tuesday at the freeway entrance, the engine was very close to overheating, so I didn't want to keep revving the engine.  I was pretty sure that wait in line at idle had cost me.

Nothing to do but change out the parts.  I had a spare set of cams, and a bunch of spare rocker arms, so Steve and I got to work making the change.  The big concern was getting the cams timed correctly, but I had done that a few times ( ::)), and I had thought to bring my dial indicate with me, so it was not a big deal.  It took us about 2-1/2 hours, start to finish, to change the cams and reassemble the valve train with two new rockers.  After we got it torn down, Steve went fishing in the valvetrain area for shrapnel, and got this:

After fishing as much of this out as possible, we got the engine back together.  Unfortunately, after the work was nearly done, I started spinning all the roller wheels on the rocker arms, and found one other one that was questionable.  I decided we would run down the track with that one, then tear down the right side of the engine afterward to replace it before the drive.  Should have been checking all those as we went along, but in the rush to get this done I didn't think to do it until after most of the valvetrain was back together.

While I was working on the repair, Elana Scherr from Hot Rod came by and did a quick interview with me.  I haven't seen that one, or the one I did with Thom Taylor on Tuesday at Norwalk.  If anyone can post links with the time of the interviews for me so I could watch them, I'd appreciate it.

While we were working on the car, all the class cars ran, then the street machine eliminator cars ran for a while.  We were ready to run by the end of the street machine eliminator session, and I wanted to get a run in quickly, since I still had to replace another rocker before the drive.  I got to the line and made my usual pass, and ran a 9.10 @ 149.  Seemed like the car had lost a tenth with the cam change, which was entirely possible; maybe the cam timing was off somewhat, or maybe the lash was a little loose, whatever.  I was just happy that the car ran well down the track, and I could solidfy my hold on second place in the class.

Back in the pits I took a little time to relax; it had been a stressful day so far.  After a half hour or so I dug into the right side valve cover and changed the suspect rocker (#3 on the intake side), while Steve got the car ready for the road.  We had also taken the time earlier to try to address the oil leak issues up in the left front corner of the car, and it turned out that most of the leaking was coming from the oil filter; apparently the gasket was not sealing up well with the adapter.  We changed the filter and that resolved the issue.

By this time it was about 4:00, and we needed to get on the road again.  I turned in my time slip and got the directions to the next track.  Jeff was riding with me again on Wednesday, so we took off with Joel and Kevin in pursuit.  I noticed right away that I was down on oil pressure, compared to the previous drives.  With the engine up to temperature at 2500 RPM, the dry sump pump had been giving me 37-38 psi.  Now it was giving about six pounds less, 31-32.  But it was stable, and also this was the same pressure that I ran with last year, so I wasn't overly concerned.

Comparatively speaking, this drive was even easier than the previous one, and there were no long lines in traffic to deal with.  Joel sent us off on one wrong turn, but we got that figured out pretty quickly.  We also took a second wrong turn later in the drive, but Jeff's smartphone got us back on track.  At this point I'm thinking a smart phone with Google Maps is an essential tool for Drag Week.

On the way we ran along next to some pretty cool folks.  Three time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon is participating in Drag Week this year, driving his Nova which he has had since high school.  Here's a shot of him going down the road in front of us:

We also bumped into Mike Roy, a long time Drag Week competitor in the Pro Street Power Adder class, at this gas station in his Monte Carlo.  Mike ran a 7.67 on Wednesday:

Here's a couple of pictures showing Wednesday's checkpoints.  The first checkpoint was a restored Mobil gas station, with an old Galaxie police car in the parking lot!  Bet there's an FE under that hood...

We got into our hotel in Indy around 10:00.  Kevin, Steve and I ordered a pizza from Dominos while I spent a little time updating my blog post.  I hit the sack looking forward to going back to the historic Indy track on Thursday - Jay
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: Drag Week 2016, Day 3
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 10:19:00 AM »
Hi Jay,

Your interview was Day 3 at 5:55 on the youtube video  :0)
2005 Saleen S281 (427 SOHC 2 X 4 EFI swap), T56 Magnum XL 6 speed, 9" Currie rear with 3.89 Gears