by Andy

My Mom has always told me that if you are stressed out about something, you should write it down. Doing so will give me perspective on the situation and make it more manageable. So that is what this Post entry is going to be.

I do NOT want to DNF before the entire team has had a chance to get behind the wheel. We have 6 drivers, so that is 6 hours of abuse on this old car. The guy I bought it from claimed that the engine only has 34k on it. But this is the same guy that neglected to tell me about the 20lbs of wet silt still inhabiting the trunk, underneath the carpet..

The transmission has unknown mileage, but it does have a new clutch and flywheel, so that should be good. I will be marinating the syncros in Lucas Oil 75w-90, which should hold things together. I hope. There is also the front, center and rear diffs to worry about. I have no idea how much abuse they have seen. Hopefully not enough.

Then there is the engine. Oh the engine! It leaks oil from somewhere, but I have no idea where. Cylinders 2 and 4 are low on compression, but I pressurized the cylinders, and ran the car with the radiator cap off. No bubbles in the water, no water in the oil, and no oil in the water. So I guess its rings? It does smoke a little. To minimize the chance of failure, I am going to run Royal Purple 10w-40. At $9 a quart, and a good reputation, that should help, right? Oh and I have an external oil cooler with a auxiliary fan, and an oversize oil filter. Sounds like a reliable set up right? I better bring a standard oil filter in case the oil cooler gets punctured. This post is helpful already…

What have I done on the car exactly? How much work have I put into it? How many hours? It occurred to me the other day that ChumpCar racers probably put more time into their cars than top level race teams. They have the luxury of working with new, clean, well engineered parts. Us Chumps work with junk yard specials and cars that have all kinds of grit and rust that you would expect from a car with more than 200k miles. WD-40 is your friend. Better bring some of that too. And duct tape, and zip ties. And a set of locking pliers. And maybe even a BFH.

So anyway, what work have a done on the car…

- gutted the interior completely, removed all sound dampening material and the aforementioned 20lbs of wet silt
- replaced the clutch, flywheel, pilot bearing, throwout bearing, and rear main seal.
- removed the complete A/C system
- replaced the struts, springs and tophats.
- replaced the cat-back exhaust
- swapped out the single piston front calipers and rear drum brakes, in favor of two piston fronts and discs in the rear.
- replaced the steering rack bushings and power steering pump.
- removed the airbags, seatbelts, radio, speakers and dashboard.
- removed all of the windows.
- learned how to weld
- bought a pre-bent roll cage and measured the tubing, notched it, and welded it. Welded base plates. Removed the roof. Welded. Welded. Grinded. Welded. Caught stuff on fire. Burned my skin, got a welding “sun-burn” and welded some more.
- installed a new steering wheel, racing seat, harnesses, roll cage padding, window net and fire extinguisher.
- trimmed the dash to reinstall.
- replaced the power steering pump, again.
- replaced the power steering rack.
- replaced the cat-back exhaust, again.
- troubleshot the hesitation issue by replacing the TPS, IAVCS, MAF, and air filter.
- replaced the brake pads and rotors
- acquired 10 wheels, and spent hours researching the best possible tires before ordering them.
- changed the timing belt
- painted wheels, found that one was bent, so I painted another.
- applied stickers

Some of these bullet points are really short, but the work involved in completing the task is often far more complicated. When I look back at this blog, I can’t believe how much I have accomplished. I am proud to say that this is by far the largest project I have ever tackled, and it has extended FAR beyond my typical attention span.

There really isn’t much left to do but race. I need to remind myself of that. I have done all that I can. I have worked on this car for a YEAR. Wow.

It is important to note, by the way, that I use the word “I” loosely, because it’s really WE. We, as in my father and brother, who have spent countless hours helping me with this car, and never once complained.

Now, lets go RACING!!

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