Friday, April 27, 2012

Winter Work 2

Winter Work 2
December became January, January became February with intense work on the new home of P and B Motorsports  …
Lo and behold the Crew Chief Dave was expressing to the Chief Torque Wrencher Joy his concern that I might not have the car back together in time for May’s opener. Never mind that Crew Chief is sitting on a golf course in sunny Florida while I’m shovelin’ driveways.
One of the little things about race cars is that there are no little things. There are only complications.
For example, “Guess I should replace the clutch disc while the tranny is out.” A trip to Pegasus with said disc in hand was greeted with “They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.” Literally. But we got one custom made. Better put in a new pressure plate too. Kaching ($). Let’s check the cover plate fingers…
The water pump on new motor (Motor B) needed modification from stock to accept the ANC fitting that’s not part of a stock setup. That required a trip back to Competition Specialists to tap out the aluminum.
Water pump modifications
On along about February I decided I might need a tranny for 2012, so I started calling Pat to see what had happened.  Taking care of automatics is their bread and butter but he invited me to come on down and help take it apart.
I’ve got an M47 Volvo tranny, but it’s not like it came from Volvo! This baby had been to Sweden where Sellholm had made it into a racing piece that could withstand some pretty heavy duty. Of course that meant I could not truck down to Enterprise Motorcars in Appleton for parts. I did find a gasket set in Chicago.  
I grimaced a lot when I watched the boys disassemble this transmission without Volvo Special Service Tools. It was not pretty. And as it turned out we probably could have gotten along with the tranny the way it was for another year, or maybe a decade. The only wear to be found was on “slippers” on one shift yoke. But whatcha gonna do? It sure is clean and pretty!
Slightly worn ‘slippers’ and shift yokes
With new parts in hand, I started looking at the really nifty flywheel with the really nifty heat scored friction insert. Call Tilton. “We don’t carry those anymore. Call _____.” Called ____ “You have what???”
Well, it turns out that the source of that flywheel and its insert was not Tilton, but Bhp (aka Bob Griffith. Master Volvo Race Guru) in Bethlehem, PA. So off the flywheel goes to Bethlehem under the Star, only to find out Bob needs to make new blanks. The clock is ticking.
The right front hub needs something, a new stud to replace the one that got stripped when the Chief Torque Wrencher was working on one of the many ‘is it going to rain, no, let’s put different tires on’ (3X) last October. Pegasus does not have those studs, so we’re off to find a source of Moroso studs. At least I got to use my neat new Harbor Freight Two Ton press to get the old one out.
Recall that little issue we had with the spider gears at the Koehler International Challenge? That limited slip 4.10 needs repair so let’s send it off to Steve at Triple E. Well, the long and the short of it is that much of that differential was toast and Duane Matejka was kind enough to send Steve a stock differential he had in the parts loft. I think this may have been September. Time drags on, and when you learn that Steve’s wife is fighting for her life (successfully, I am happy to add) you don’t get your dander up about delays.
So … we went to visit the Crew Chief and the Ms. in mid-March and he impressed on me that I needed to get my butt in gear. We had the great fortune of meeting up with Duane Matejka and sponsor Rollie Stephenson (Faith Technology/Zero to 60) while we were there; the car talk got pretty thick.
Duane gets a spin in Rollie’s Cobra in Naples
A couple weeks ago I futzed around trying to get the motor back in with the transmission attached. In the process I (re) learned that Motor A was metric and Motor B is not, so I need to run around looking for a few specialty items in non-metric sizes.
With the tranny finally mated to the block I’m ready to go.
It won’t work this way, folks!
No way Jose’.  So off it comes, but separating the tranny from the block, even on the floor, is not so easy and the pilot bearing comes out of the back of the crankshaft. Figuring I better do it right, I need to now remove the clutch again and tap the pilot bearing back in place. When reattaching the clutch cover I … well, let’s just say I am now waiting for another small part.
Meanwhile, Race Engineer David Farrington has convinced me to part with more cash by adding a video synchronizer to our data acquisition system, so we can determine if there is a reasonable explanation for significant difference in segment times  of different laps. “Might as well add a brake signal as well as long as you have yourself wedged under the dash. And, oh, check out the steering angle pot too.”  Geez, it never frickin’ ends.
But progress has been made.  Putting in the tranny alone gave me an excuse to buy a Harbor transmission jack – been wanting one anyway. Even at that, you know how it is the first time you do something on a car?
When it came time to reconnect the clutch slave cylinder I found it leaking. Off it came and my next quest was to figure out what the heck it came off of (Duane to the rescue -- 740 Volvo), and how to get repair parts. It would take another entire post to tell the story of finding parts, but suffice it to say that what I might have gotten from Volvo (had I beaten a Parts Manager over the head with a non-computerized parts manual) for $66 I got for $0.00 from Appleton Hydraulic. 
$66 from Volvo for the seal. Forget it!

As of today things are looking like we're pretty near first start up. But one NEVER knows.
Next up, Winter (Spring) Work 3, the end of the line ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Winter Work 1

Following the October outing at Watkins Glen, we put the car asleep for the winter. In all honesty, I was ready for it. 2011 had been a great experience but I was ready for a break from car work and wanted to spend time grouse hunting and doing so training with our new German shorthaired pointer, Sharp Shooters Doppler Effect.
Doppler with his first ruffed grouse
Before Crew Chief Dave Buettner changed into his snowbird outfit we took the motor out so it could be freshened as the backup for the 2012 season. The new motor from Competition Specialists was due to be installed while the original (now dubbed “Motor A”) got the once over from Steve Blom and the guys at CS Racing Engines.
Winter 2011-12.  No. 1 asleep.
Dave suggested that while we had the time, we should clean up the bottom of the car and maybe do a little painting on the engine compartment. Oh, and let’s have Pat at Automatic Rebuilding take a look at the transmission, just in case.
We had a couple heads that needed some significant attention, so they went off to Indy Cylinder Head to seal up the exhaust port cracks.
Motor A about to go off to Competition Specialists

The lead up to the “winter work” sort of follows the lyric of one of Warren Nelson’s songs about his stints at Patsy’s Bar in Washburn WI, which goes “… One more and I gotta go. One more and I gotta go. One more and I gotta go…”
November became December, with a trip to PA to visit Duane at R Sport Engineering, NJ to pick up a couple blocks and heads from Sharon Heaton, and RI to visit the Farringtons. (Doppler and I bonded on that trip.) December became January, January became February with intense work on the new car shop...

Rhode Island, we have arrived! Car parts and a nice visit with the Farringtons
Stay tuned for Winter Work 2 coming soon…