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November has been a busy month so far. On the 3rd, I left for Wendover UT to attend the USFRA Awards Banquet held at the Rainbow Inn on Saturday the 4th. The occasion was to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Organization and the 20th running of the World of Speed. It was an very enjoyable event. During the festivities, I received an award for being the only entry to have participated at every World of Speed and Mary West, our driver this year, received the "Fastest Lady of the Year" award. I enjoyed taking part in the party and getting to know some of the members a bit better.
The weekend of the 11th & 12th, found us at the El Mirage Dry Lake for the last meet of the year. Jeff, Barry and I arrived on the lake bed early Saturday morning, put the car through inspection and readied it for our first pass. While we were waiting for our group of numbers to be called, the wind came up and caused the meet to be put on hold after running about 30 cars. We spent our time waiting on the conditions to improve until 4 PM when it was decided to call the meet for the day. Hopefully, Sunday would bring better conditions.
Sunday was a better day and cars were being run down the course before 8 AM. We got our chance to make a run at 10:30 AM. The wind was coming up again, this time blowing toward the starting line at about 45 degrees from the left side of the course. Barry made a good run posting a speed of 200.835 mph against a 211.085 mph record. The good news is that the fuel system problem appears to have been corrected. We had been fighting a lean condition in high gear all year. This run gave us fuel pressure readings that appear normal. The bad news is that Barry still has not qualified for the "Dirty 2" Club.
I believed that we could make up the difference by adding 10% nitro, if we could get another run in. However, we had to be out of our motel by 2 PM and the officials say that they are going to move the course after all the first round cars have run. Then, because of our high starting number and the fact that the wind conditions are not improving, it seems wise to load up and go home.
We left for home with mixed emotions. It was certainly a plus to have verified that the changes we made corrected the fuel pressure problems. It rids us of the worry while waiting out the off season. We can prepare for next season with more hope. But, of course, Barry will have to wait for another opportunity to chase the record at El Mirage.
All things considered, 2006 has been a great year. We did get to compete in two meets at Bonneville, although the World of Speed was shortened due to rain. Still Mary West did get her "A" License and is qualified to put the "pedal to the metal" next year. Although we struggled with fuel pressure problems all year, the problem is fixed and we have learned some good lessons. I think that we can look forward to next year with confidence...we may even get to use the nitrous which can be a real boost in our speed.
MEET CANCELED...What a bummer...a couple of storms came through the area Friday (7th) and Saturday (8th) morning leaving an inch or so of water over the whole race course. Of course that means that the salt flat racing is over for 2006. Naturally, I am disappointed. I believe that we have corrected the fuel delivery problem, but we now have to wait for the November Lakes Meet to find out. Oh well! That's racing...Go to Top
While replacing the piston we burned our last run at Speedweek, I saw that a couple of rod bearings had picked up some aluminum. I checked the main bearings and found them in good shape, so I replaced all the rod bearings to be on the safe side. In an attempt to pin down the fuel problem, I sent the fuel; pump and nozzles to Kinsler to be flowed. The fuel pump was a bit low on output so they massaged it to bring it back to specs. I set the fuel system up as simple as possible to rule out avenues of failure. Just the nozzles and a single by-pass jet was the only path for reduction of the fuel pressure.
Margaret and I left Redding at 1 PM on Monday the 11th and stopped in Lovelock NV for the night. Next morning we got an early start and arrived in Wendover at a bit after noon Utah time. Jeff and Barry flew in and landed at almost the same time. After checking into the hotel and grabbing some lunch, we all went out to the salt, unloaded the car, set up our pits and took the car through inspection.
I hoped that we had corrected
the fuel delivery problem, but my confidence had been shaken. Since I
was not in the mood to burn more pistons we were not going to run past
the three mile for at least a couple of passes, therefore, it seemed
prudent to put Mary in the car to finish her licensing and gather info
on the fuel pressures while doing that.
Mary had made a couple of runs at Speedweek, but her second run, 150-175 mph, was just over 150, so we set her up to run on the 175 again. She did a perfect job posting a 171 mph ¼ and a 175 mph mile. The fuel pressures had not improved significantly. We went a step richer and sent her off on her 200 mph attempt. I told her she could go to the four-mile if she wanted. She posted a 186 mph ¼, a 193 mph mile and 204 mph in the second mile. She now had qualified for her “A” License. If the car was running properly, she could go for the record. It is not! She next took a hard run and posted a 204 mph 1/4 and a 211 mph mile.
Our problem has been low fuel pressure
in top gear. Low and second pressures are reasonable, but high gear is
still 10-20 psi low. I came prepared to replace the suction hose, which
I did. I then made a run myself to check it out. I ran a 212 mph ¼, a
219 mph mile, and exited at 228 mph (by the computer) at the three mile.
The problem was still there. Tom Burkland and Rex Svoboda stopped by and
we were mentally analyzing the problem. Tom asked if I had a three way
shut-off valve If so, it might be leaking. I do run a shut-off that
by-pass fuel to the tank when shut off. I capped the return to the tank
and let Mary make a hard run to the three. She ran a 198 mph ¼ and a
204 mph mile. Evidently there was some leakage through the by-pass…the
pressure was up in low and second gear, but still not much improvement
in high gear. Actually the pressure was oscillating, varying about 10 psi up and down throughout high gear.
I planned to richen the mixture next
morning and see what happened, but it was not to be. A storm came
through during the night and lots of water on the course and in the
pits. We loaded up and headed home without real answers to the problem.
The week was still a success, however. In two days we had made six runs,
Mary had her “A” License and the car was not broken.
After I got home and cleaned up the
equipment, I went to work on the fuel system. The only thing that had
been changed from 2004 when it was running great to the beginning of
this season was the suction hose. I found that the hose was lying
against one of the water lines from the water pump to the engine. I
thought that might be the problem. Also when I installed the nitrous
system at the beginning of 2005, I added a 45 degree fitting in the
suction at the tank to clear the nitrous bottle. Although the tech at
Kinsler did not believe the 45 fitting was a problem, I decided to
correct both issues that might have an effect on the suction. I removed
the fuel tank and reinstalled it with the suction outlet facing the
driver’s side of the car. This allowed the use of straight fittings at
both ends of the hose and the hose now rose from the tank in a gentle
three-foot loop to the pump. I installed a bracket that keeps the
suction hose from making contact with the water hose. I also installed a
larger rollover valve in the vent system. If this doesn’t correct the
problems, I am really in trouble.
At present, there is a good race course for the World Finals. If the weather is favorable our questions should be answered soon. The car is ready to go and I am anxious to find out. The events of the past two meets have been very frustrating.
After the usual thrash to get ready, Margaret and I left for the salt on Wednesday August 9 about 2 PM and drove to Lovelock, NV where we stayed the night. Next morning we continued on to Wendover arriving there about 2 PM Mountain time.
Friday morning we went out to the salt about 7 AM to get the pit set up and get the car in line for inspection. This year was the largest meet ever considering the car count. The inspection line was very long and it was mid afternoon before we were able to return to the pits. During the wait in line, I visited with many of my friends that appear on site each year and a few that were there for the first time or were recently addicted to "salt fever". Although I go to race the car, I thoroughly enjoy my trek to the salt each year in large part because of the fellowship with fellow racers. It seems that each year a face from the distant past appears and challenges my memory to come up with a name to match. But it seems that after a few minutes of talking, everything begins to come into focus and the years that have separated us disappear.
Our sons, Jeff and Barry, flew in a bit after noon on Friday. Margaret left me with the car in the inspection line and went to Wendover to pick them up. Dan and wife, Shirley arrived mid afternoon on Saturday and brother Gary came in Saturday evening. My nephew Ken and his son William also arrived on Saturday.
I made our first run Saturday afternoon resulting in a 228 MPH speed in the middle mile and a holed piston as a bonus. Here we are with the whole week ahead of us with a broken car. Since I had not intended to be working on the car, I didn’t bring any spare pistons with me. It was decided that Jeff and I would fly back to Redding and pick up the needed parts while the rest of the crew disassembled the engine for repairs. We made it a one day deal arriving back in Wendover Sunday evening about 8 PM.
During the tear-down, Dan had looked at the suction hose and disassemble the fuel pump and checked it for damage and found none. On Tuesday, after the reassembling, I richened the jet by .008, and Barry made a 3 mile run. The fuel pressure was still erratic and about 30 psi low in top gear. We took the car to the pits and changed the fuel pump. A third run to the three mile netted the same results. I checked the tank vent for obstruction and found none. Now I am really scratching my head!
I decided that the car was running well enough for Mary West to make some licensing passes, so off to the short course. Mary made her first pass in the under 150 mph bracket and posted a time of 146 in the quarter and 149 in the mile. About as good as you can do! The next run, going for 175 mph, was not as perfect... she posted a 154 quarter mile speed, the car started to move around on her, she backed out of it received a 151 mile.
Mary had had enough for one day so we quickly lined up on the long course and Barry tried a full course pass. This was a decent run, topping out a 226 mph, but the fuel pressure was still about 10 -15 psi low and the water temp went to 260 deg F. Everything was still pointing to an extremely lean mixture. Our plan was to richen the mixture and try another run next morning.
On Friday, Barry made our next run at about 11 AM. It was a short one burning a piston before the 2 mile. I had richened the mixture by .008 and the engine was leaner than before. Man this is humiliating. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. Oh well, this is how it goes at Bonneville. We had three great years and now two in a row when nothing is going right. This place has a way of keeping a person humble. That is good I suppose.
We loaded up and headed to Wendover. About 4 PM we hit the road for home, driving straight through and arriving in Redding a bit after 3 AM. On Saturday. after washing the salt off the tow truck, trailer and race car, I began tearing the engine apart for repairs. Still wondering what had gone wrong, I began dissecting the fuel system. When disassembling the Dial-a-Jet box, I found that when I selected the richer jet, it was actually set between two jets, .052 & .056 allowing fuel to flow through both jets. This gave us an actual .102 jet instead of the .052 that I had selected for our last run. Further investigation found that one of the jet box detent pawls was stuck in up position and not functioning, allowing a less positive positioning of the valve. One question is answered! To get more answers, I shipped the fuel pump and nozzles to Kinsler for flow testing. They found that the pump was low on output which could have been part of the problem.
At this point, August 30, the top part of the engine is back together, I still have to replace the rod bearing (they picked up some aluminum in the piston losses). The fuel pump and nozzle have not arrived back from Kinsler as yet, but they should be here tomorrow. I have been running the Dial-a-Jet box and a Range Jet in the system which complicates things a bit. I am putting the fuel system together as simple a possible to eliminate all the areas of problems that I can. I have to find what is going on with the fuel deliver.
Our next race is the World of Speed September 13th through the 16th. Our plan is to have Mary West driving the car. She has to finish her licensing and then, if I can find and correct our fuel problems, she will be trying to raise the record in D/FCC (244.260 mph) for entry into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.
After our November 2005 Lakes Meet. We corrected the problems we found and was anxious to give it another try at the lakes. With the stupidity of 2005 behind us, we decided to make the May 6th & 7th meet. Margaret, Dan and I attended the Pepperdine lectures in Malibu the 2nd through the 5th and along with Dan's son Tim went on to Lancaster Friday evening and was met there by Jeff and Barry who had brought the car down from Redding.
Saturday morning we proceeded to El Mirage for a day in the dirt. Since we only ran once last year, our starting position number was high so we had plenty of time to get inspected and make the necessary preparations to run. When we finally made it to the starting line, everything seemed in order and we pushed off. Barry posted a 202.724 against a 211.085 record that I had set in 1995. This wasn't what we were looking for, but at least it was a decent run. During the thrash at the starting line, we neglected to set the computer to gather the much needed information. The cooling system lost a little water, so it appeared the the engine was a bit lean. Being one to respond with "over-kill" , I richened the mixture by two steps and we retired the car for the day since it was obvious that we would not get a second run until Sunday.
When we finally got to the line on Sunday, Barry made his second run, again not getting the computer set, and ran a miserable 187 mph. Too rich! We had to be out of the motel by 2 pm, so we packed it in and headed for home.
The weekend was fruitful. We certified that the car was again in a performing mode and this gives us hope for Speedweek. I checked the Oberg oil filter and found it to be free of any troubling debris. So it is my assumption that the engine is ready. We are proceeding with body clean up and hope to have a car that is both fast and pretty for Speedweek. Mary West will be making her licensing runs and attempting to qualify. If she is successful, she too has an opportunity to join the Bonneville 200 MPH Club.Go to Top
Last Updated: 09/09/2010