Author Topic: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012  (Read 7328 times)

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jayb

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August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« on: August 12, 2012, 09:51:05 PM »
Four weeks from today I hope to be sitting in my hotel in Tulsa, getting ready for the start of Drag Week.  Those plans took a hit this weekend, though, as things did not exactly go according to plan.  During the week everything went more or less as scheduled, and we all got together on Thursday night to get the Galaxie ready to race on Saturday.  The plan was to try to get as many license passes in as possible on Saturday, so that at least Steve, and possibly Joel and Brad, could make their license passes and get their licenses prior to the event.  Friday night I packed up all the stuff we would need for the track (fuel, tools, jack, etc.), and on Saturday morning at 6:00 AM we all met in the driveway and took off.  The track is about 120 miles from me, and opens at 8:00, so we wanted to get there when the gates opened so we could start running as soon as possible.  We had no problems on the drive, and got into the track, got the car off the trailer and teched, and were ready to go when they opened the lanes at 9:00 AM.  Steve, Joel, and Brad talked to the track manager about the licensing procedure, and got their paperwork squared away so they were ready.  The plan was for me to take the car down the track once  or twice to check it out with the new motor, and then hand it off to Steve so he could start his licensing passes. 

This track is not known for very good traction, and with the new engine I wasn't sure how the car would work, but it felt about the same as it did in 2009 doing the burnout and staging the car.  On the launch it was definitely not as violent as it used to be with the big SOHC, but part of that was probably the lack of traction; sixty foot time was only 1.51, and the car used to 60 foot pretty consistently at 1.35-1.39.  Anyway, I shifted it like I always did, getting out of first pretty fast, running to the shift light in second, and then letting it run out the back door while ignoring the shift light (which is set at 7100 RPM).  Just as I crossed the finish line, I heard the engine hit the rev limiter; this was kind of a surprise because its set at 8100 RPM.  Thinking about this later I figured that it was because the converter was not as well matched with the engine as it had been with the previous engine, so I was probably getting more converter slip than I used to.  Coming around to the tower I picked up the time slip, which was 9.97 at 136.  This was a little slower than I'd expected, but given the sixty foot time and what I figured was a non-optimal converter, it was OK.

I figured I didn't need to make any more passes, and we were trying to get everybody licensed, so I turned the car over to Steve so he could start.  He was supposed to make one easy pass, then three moderate passes, and then the two full passes for the license.  He took it easy on the first pass, but when he came back around he said he was having trouble with the shifter.  He hadn't been able to get the car to go into third on the pass.  I hadn't had any trouble on my pass, and I thought he might've gone from first to third (which is easy to do with the stock column shifter in the car), so I sent him out for another pass.  He ran a 12 second pass that time, and came back and said it seemed to be working that time.  On his third pass, which was an 11 second pass, he came back again with the same complaint, and also that he had hit the rev limiter at the end of the track.  Listening to the car go down the track, BradFORD said he wasn't sure if the car had ever made it into third gear.  We parked the car and I made a decision I came to regret just a little later; I set the rev limiter up from 8100 to 8300.  I figured the valvetrain and reciprocating assembly could take this if necessary.  Steve restarted and went down to the lanes where there was some delay, so I waited with him until the lanes opened up again.  I was leaning against the fence at the starting line when he started his pass.  I heard the 1-2 shift, then I heard the car hit the rev limiter, and stay there.  Moments later a big cloud of smoke came out from under the car, and I knew something very bad had happened.  I walked down to the end of the track with BradFORD and Joel where the car was, meeting Steve half way.  The news was not good; the track was oiled down, and there was hole in the oil pan of the engine.  After we got to the car we could see the bottom end was pretty much toast.  Apparently when the shift light came on in second, Steve had shifted but the car had not gone into third.  Rather than let off, he kept working the shifter trying to hit third gear while the engine hung off the rev limiter.  He said that when he finally let off he heard something bad happen, but the car started to smoke at half track, so it probably blew when it was on the rev limiter, before he let off, and he just didn't realize it.  The whole bottom of the car was coated with oil and water, and I was very thankful that it had gone straight back and not gone under the tires; who knows what may have happened in that scenario. 

Joel got the truck and trailer and we loaded the car on so we could have better access to the underside, then cleaned the bottom of the car off so it wouldn't be dripping oil, and checked it over.  The bracket that holds the shift cable to the floor was loose, but not disconnected or anything.  But it could definitely have contributed to Steve's problems getting the car to shift.  I had known about this issue previously, but it was just one of those things I hadn't  looked at prior to going to the track.  Since the car had shifted fine for me, I didn't think it was a problem.  The hole in the oil pan didn't have any shrapnel hanging out of it that I could see, but obviously there was some serious damage in there.  The oil/water mix had fogged up the window in the timing cover, so I couldn't see if the long timing chain was intact or not.  After this brief inspection, we left the track.  No more licensing passes, and I had to do some thinking about how to proceed.  I certainly didn't blame Steve for what happened; he wasn't familiar with the car, and I was the one who set the rev limiter up.  But I figured if I'd been driving this wouldn't have happened, because without the 2-3 shift happening I would have been off the throttle immediately.  So on the way home and for the rest of the afternoon on Saturday I re-thought my idea of having my friends drive my cars at the track.  I trust all of those guys implicitly, but losing an SOHC motor will get you thinking about that stuff.

Back at home, I decided to do a limited post mortem to see what I could learn in an hour or so.  I pulled the clear inspection cover off the timing cover.  The chain looked fine, but it was very loose.  I pulled the right side valve cover, and everything looked good; no issues.  Then I pulled the left side valve cover, and found that the two valves in the #6 cylinder appeared to be bent; they were showing about .100" of lash on each valve.  Number 6 was also about the spot where the hole in the oil pan was.  The other valves all looked fine.  I looked at the #6 spark plug, and it also appeared fine, so I think the heads of the valves are bent, but I don't think they broke off, or the plug gap would have closed up and the plug might have looked smashed.  Looking at the chain on the left side, I could see that the bolt that holds the idler gear for the chain on the left side of the engine was bent down; this was why the chain was loose.  Based on this information I think what happened was the number 6 rod let go and the piston hit the valves in that cylinder; the shock to the valvetrain probably bent the idler gear bolt.

With this damage there was no way the Galaxie was going to make it to Drag Week, or be licensable for the other guys.  I thought about it some more on Saturday night, and finally concluded that I still wanted to go with the other two cars.  If I get the email from Hot Rod that the Galaxie has made the event, I will either withdraw the Galaxie or maybe take the Ford GT in its place and run it in Daily Driver.  Joel can drive the Mach 1, and I'll drive the Shelby clone, provided we can get both cars ready and get Joel licensed between now and the event. 

I spent last night and today working on getting the big SOHC together for the Shelby clone.  There was a lot of prep work to do, including grinding on the bottom of the cylinder sleeves to clear the crank and connecting rods.  I also ran the CNC machine today to make a 1" spacer for the plenum of my high riser manifold, since I think there may be some power there.  Last week I took the manifold to a local place to get ceramic coated, along with the collectors for the Shelby clone; I should have the manifold back early next week.  BradFORD was also over today pulling the differential out of the Mach 1 and putting long wheel studs on the front of the Shelby clone, plus trimming the rear wheelwells for additional clearance to the slicks.  This coming week is critical for the remaining two Drag Week cars; I will be running the high riser again to try to get some more power out of it by sealing the crankcase leak and adding the spacer, and may go as far as changing the cam to try to get more power.  I also need to continue getting the big SOHC together, because next weekend the high riser has to come off the dyno and go in the Mach 1, and the big SOHC has to go on the dyno.  If I can get all that accomplished I will be in good shape to get to the track with the Mach 1 the following weekend, and also get the big SOHC installed in the Shelby clone.  Lots and lots of work to do, but I've got a lot of help from the other guys, and I still think its do-able.  We will see.  I will post another update next weekend - 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

   

WConley

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2012, 11:36:03 PM »
Wow Jay!  Sorry to hear about the mishap.  It indeed sounds like piston speed was the culprit as opposed to valvetrain control :-(

I hope the gods reward you with two solid cars and a bit of rest before DW2012!
A careful study of failure will yield the ingredients for success.

afret

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2012, 11:55:05 PM »
Dang, sorry to hear about the mishap.  Glad the car kept going straight though.  Your friend must be feeling pretty bad about blowing the engine.  Well, at least he didn't get hurt and the Galaxie stayed away from the wall.

Hope everything else goes smoothly and you get a couple more of those Drag Week winners jackets.  Good luck!

Kerry j

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2012, 01:51:19 PM »
What a downer.... Sheesh, what next?

machoneman

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2012, 03:53:00 PM »
Ouch! Sorry to hear that for sure. Hopefully the rest of the internals are o.k. once you get it all torn down.
Bob Maag

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 11:55:15 AM »
Jay, that's a bummer. I think we all forget how idiosyncratic our cars are; we can drive them in our sleep, but for everyone else there is a real learning curve.

For licensing, you guys may want to think about the Frank Hawley Drag Racing school alternative. That's what I had to do last year as the car was finished (sort of as it turned out) so late.

His cars are a clinic in terms of preparation as well as simplicity of operation. And the course itself was incredibly useful, I learned a lot.

I hope the damage is repairable at some point without too much expense and you all get to make the trip.


AlanCasida

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 02:05:14 PM »
Sorry to hear that, Jay. What a bummer. At least no one was hurt. My friend Brad also suffered a major set back last weekend with his Datsun. He had just loaded it on his trailer to take to the chassis dyno guy the next morning. He went to move the trailer forward a little but had forgotten to strap the car down and it was in neutral. The car rolled of the back of the trailer, minus ramps, and when the front tires left the trailer his high dollar($2200) custom radiator got hooked on the lip of the trailer and virtually ripped it out of the car. He took it to the shop that built it and they said it was a total loss. So, he has to have a new one built and the shop said they will do their best to get it done in time but they were swamped right now.   :(

jayb

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 05:09:46 PM »
Sorry to hear about that Alan, I was looking forward to seeing that car.  All part of the thrash to make Drag Week!
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

   

Royce

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 07:50:02 PM »
Wow the drag week participants are sure doing their part to stimulate the economy..

If I had lunched an SOHC or destroyed my one off radiator I would probably be curled up in a ball sucking my thumb..

Great perserverence  I hope both of you make the show
1955 Thunderbird Competition Coupe Altered Chassis "War Bird" 383 Lincoln Y block 520 hp
1955 Thunderbird 292 275 hp Y Block
1956 Ford Victoria 292 Y block
800hp 476 cu in Edsel MEL.. 2 time EMC winner
1957 Mercury 2dr Wagon "Battle Wagon" drag car  Currently engineless,  Boss 9 transplant coming soon.
1957 Thunderbird Glass body Tube Chassis drag car 333 cu in 500 hp Ford Y block
1961 Starliner 390/375 clone
1960 Starliner 352/360hp, real one
1966 Falcon Pro Touring project

jayb

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Re: August 12, 2012 - The Road to Drag Week 2012
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 09:10:04 PM »
Wow the drag week participants are sure doing their part to stimulate the economy..

LMAO Royce!  At least until I have to write the checks...
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