Old 2003 News

  3-25-2003 - It's been awhile since my last update. I have been in school, so I have had hardly any spare time. I should have been finished by now, too. It's too long a story, but, in short, the people doing the training has changed. I'm on the 4th professor now.  
  The carburetor in the '85 SS has been rebuilt, but the engine is still not running right. It will have to be pulled and broken down to determine what is wrong. The intake manifold will be changed. Fuel is puddling at the bottom of the runners because the inside of the manifold is too polished. The fuel cannot properly atomize. The camshaft will be changed, too. I am not sure yet what I will be putting in. The heads may be changed as well. The current setup does not feel it is pulling as hard as the old engine.  
  A lot of repairs have been made to the '86 lately. Some were major; others were minor. The two front tires were going bald on the edges. It turned out I needed new ball joints. I have never done them, and I could not afford to have the car off the road provided I could not finish the job. Tread Quarters did the work, and they did a good job. The front shocks were replaced, and the front springs were heated to lower the front end. It was sticking up higher than the back. It has a much better look, now. Soon I will have to replace the heater core and the windshield.  
  4-23-2003 - The heater core has been replaced in the '86 SS. It was fairly straight-forward, taking about three hours at a steady pace. I also rebuilt the old Rochester Quadrajet this past weekend. This is the first time I have rebuilt one, and it is the first time I rebuilt a carburetor without help. The hardest thing was finding out what the idle mixture screws should be set at. Beyond all the different statements (rebuild instructions, books, Internet), it seems best to set both at two turns, hook up a vacuum gauge, and slowly back them out until the needle reads its highest and is stable.  
  5-8-2003 - The '85 SS is back on the road! Well, almost. Two simple things were fixed. Two of the stall converter bolts were loose. The spark plug wires were in such bad shape they attributed to spark knock. I also replaced my intake manifold with a Holley Street Dominator. No sooner was that done that the power valve blew. It was so bad, fuel was pouring from the driver's-side throttle linkage.
  Now all that's left is some carburetor tuning. A friend suggested I run a groung wire from the starter to the frame to alleviate some of the drain on the system. This would help with having to replace it as often as I do.  
  I would probably have not assumed I needed to replace the engine if I had the time to work on it (which I have now). I have taken some new pictures of the '86 SS, and I will be taking some of the engine in the '85 SS soon. They will be posted when I get a chance.  
  There is a major car event coming up at Ocean City, Maryland the weekend after Memorial Day. If the '85 SS is running, I may sport it instead of the '86 SS. It's a really cool place: some 20 miles of 6-lane cruisin' at 35 MPH. Lots of malls, hotels, and beach.  
  5-17-2003 - Well, the '85 SS is back in for repairs. I took it to the track last night, and it appears I have spun a rod bearing. I won't know for sure until I pull the engine out. The heads don't flow very well; I only ran low 14s. But I did manage to do better with reaction times and 60-foot times. I managed a 1.93 60-foot at my best. The brakes have never held up to foot-braking because of the low vacuum my cam produces. So I stomped it off the line instead of a flash and stomp.  
  6-23-2003 - I have made some progress with the '85 SS. It turns out I bent and broke a pushrod on the #7 cylinder. If I recall, I don't believe I set the valve lash correctly when I put the new lifters in a few months ago. I bought a new set of pushrods and made sure I did the lash correctly this time. I also discovered two of the rocker arm half-sphere guide balls (I don't know what they are actually called) were chewed up from lack of proper oil flow.  
  Well, after all that effort, the engine has been dismantled. I am going back to the old-school setup of flat-top pistons and 305 HO heads. It should run pretty good this time around. I am doing some more port work, as the valves are being unshrouded. The new short block has .030-bored pistons. I also purchased an Engine Works .480 lift hydraulic cam. I did not like the Comp 292H.  
  9-14-2003 - Some changes have been made to the '85 SS. The short block has been swapped out, so, in essence, I have a new engine. It's a .030 350 with flat-top pistons and my old 305 heads. A compression test has not been performed yet, but I am imagining it's about 10:1, with the combustion chambers being about 64cc now. The motor feels much stronger than any I have had in the car thus far. Look at the engine buildup page to see what's changed. Pictures of it should be up soon.  
  The '86 SS was in the shop last week. I believe I blew out the front seal of the transmission. However, it seems to still be leaking. I may end up changing out the torque converter this weekend.  
  10-27-2003 - Well, I finally made it to Super Chevy this year. I only raced on Saturday, and, they were so packed, I only raced once. The '85 SS ran a 13.68 at only 96.25 MPH. It fell off at top end, and this could be due to a slipping 3rd gear or having too much stall. However, I did cut a 1.85 60-foot.  
  The radiator was replaced in the '86 SS last month, and the heater core in the '85 SS blew last week. Nothing like routine maintenance. I did perform some mild tuning to the carburetor on the '85 SS. The accelerator pump linkage was tightened a bit, and I switched the throttle linkage hookup from the top-most hole to the normal hookup point. Before, the carburetor would not fully open up at WOT. Perhaps this will help with my top-end performance.  
  I have posted some updated pictures of the '85 SS, the new engine, and the port work I did on the 305 heads. Appearance-wise, the engine has not really changed that much. A link has been provided for older '85 SS pictures in the Local Links section.  
  11-28-2003 - The transmission was swapped out this past weekend with another 200-4R. The old one was slipping between shifts, especially the 2-3 shift. It was discovered the TV cable was broke near the transmission. The new one has a shift kit, but I am considering putting in another B&M Transpak. This is effectively the first good transmission I have had in three years. I am anticipating a 1/2 second gain at the track. We'll see come next season.  
  Today I installed an electric fan. I also moved the power and accessory power buttons, along with the fan switch, onto the dash. They are appropriately located in the panel to the sides of the steering column. I will put up pictures when I get a chance.  
  12-19-2003 - I have wired in a remote starter solenoid and installed a starter with a heat shield. Because of the headers, I have had continous problems with my starter prematurely wearing out. More specifically, it is usually the solenoid that is getting too hot. Here is a link to the website that explains how to wire in the solenoid: Novasource: Remote Starter Solenoid  

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