All in Good Time

It’s been extremely busy over the last few weeks, with the holidays upon us and all of the rushing around I have been neglecting a lot of things including this blog site. We are now just a few weeks from Christmas, 2017. Halloween (my favorite holiday) and Thanksgiving seem to have simply shot past us now in what seems to be a blink. And just to make it a bit more fun, Phil called me the other week and wanted to know if I wanted to make a 24 hour trip to Cincinnati. At first I wasn’t too sure about it but now that it is behind us, I am glad that I did. It was an interesting trip and I met two amazing people. Both seem to have their life in order and are apparently making the very best of it.

The reason for our trip of course involved racing or to be more specific, a race car. Jeff, one of my new friends had for sale a tube frame chassis, 1963 Corvette bodied drag car. Phil had been looking at the car for awhile online and had talked to Jeff a couple of times about. The trip to Cincinnati was to either seal the deal or find out that the car would not be a good fit for us. There were a few things on the car that we would like to correct and Phil’s fitment in the car is one of the issues that will have to be addressed. We finally agreed on a price for the car and made arrangements to head back that way in a month or so to pick the car up. This is a Corvette Roadster that will allow us to enter just about any class we wish to run. Footbrake, Top ET, and Quick 8 fields are just a few. One of our small block engines will power the car and we expect that our ETs should be in the 5.50 range or quicker. This one should be on the track in early March.

So that kind of leaves our 12 year old Project Camaro sitting. Or does it? After some discussion on the subject, we decided to make some fitment adjustments to the car and put my youngest son Doug in the car this season. He’s been bracket racing his bike for the last two seasons, qualifying for the ET Finals both years and winning the final points event at Richmond Dragway. I am sure he will pull double duty running both his bike and the Camaro. I am looking forward to seeing his learning curve with the car.

Hope everyone has a Wonderful Christmas Season this year.

Top 25 Motor Oils – October, 2017

Here is the top 25 motor oils available.

This quarter, there are not many changes to the list. For those of you living in the United States, it looks like the very best oils to use assuming that a 5W30 is your oil weight of choice should be Valvoline, Mobil 1 or Pennzoil.

Please remember that not all of these oils are available in all areas. Also any racing oils listed are not intended for long-term street use. Using race oils in street cars equipped with catalytic converters can damage them.

1. 0W40 Mobil 1 “FS” European Car Formula
2. 0W20 Quaker State Ultimate Durability
3. 5W30 Valvoline Full Synthetic High
4. 5W30 Pentosin Pento Super Performance III
5. 5W20 Quaker State Ultimate Durability
6. 5W30 Mobil 1, Advanced Full Synthetic
7. 10W30 Mobil 1, Advanced Full Synthetic
8. 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra
9. 5W20 Valvoline MaxLife High Mileage
10. 5W30 Mobil 1 ESP
11. 5W30 Quaker State Ultimate
12. 5W30 Pennzoil Euro “AV” European Formula
13. 5W30 Motul 300V Ester Core 4T Racing Oil
14. 5W30 Mag 1, FMX, European Formula
15. 5W30 Oil Extreme Motor Oil
16. 5W40 Mag 1, FMX, European Formula
17. 5W30 Valvoline MaxLife High Mileage
18. 5W30 Castrol Edge Professional
19. 10W30 Lucas Racing Only
20. CFS 0W30 NT Millers Nanodrive Racing Oil
21. 5W30 Mobil 1, Advanced Full Synthetic
22. 5W30 NAPA Full Synthetic
23. 0W30 Amsoil Signature Series 25,000 miles
24. 5W30 Joe Gibbs Driven LS30 Performance Motor Oil
25. 10W30 Valvoline NSL (Not Street Legal) Conventional Racing Oil

And if you are looking for a mileage improvement, consider Pennzoil Platinum 5W30 Pure Synthetic. Working with my wife’s Nissan Versa Coupe, we have been able to verify a 2 mpg increase with this oil. The oil is made from natural gas so the base stock is cleaner – there must be something to it.

Tips & Tricks

Starting with this post, I will be placing little trinkets of information that I find out or simply discover in my day-to-day life around cars and their supporting cast. As I add a tip or trick or both in the future, I will update this post so that it appears fresh each time. In this way you will not be forced to search for it however I will be giving it a menu slot at the top of my site, so that you can go directly to it.

Tips & Tricks

2000 Ford F350 Reverse Wire for Backup Camera

My old 2000 Ford F350 is showing some serious signs of wear. One item that was about done was the factory radio/CD player. It honestly played just when it wanted too. For father’s day my family gave me a new Pioneer radio with all the latest bells and whistles plus a rear backup camera that connects to it. The tip here is for the lead connection for turning on the input of the camera when you place the truck in reverse. I spent a day plus chasing different pieces of information about where the connection lead in the truck was located. What works in a 2002 model will not work in my 2000 and I am not sure whether this will work for a 1999 or 2001 either. Apparently Ford kept making running changes to the wiring harnesses on these trucks. Under the hood next to the fuse box near the master cylinder, there is a smaller box that houses a pair of relays. The wiring going to these relays contains the black/pink stripe wire that has 12v on it when you place the shifter in reverse. The easiest way to get to this wiring is to pop the box containing the relays off of its mounting and flip it over. Once you have tapped into the wire, you can put everything back together.

Unstopping a Bathroom Sink Drain

We have one bathroom drain that constantly gets filled with junk and hair, which of course slows it down and backs up the water. It takes a few minutes but on most stoppers, you have the option of either having it physically connected to the rod that opens and closes it or you can have it sitting on top of that pivot piece. Once you have it like this, you can lift the stopper out anytime that you like. And with the stopper out of the way a regular old fast food restaurant soda straw will let you clear the gunk out of the down pipe which is where it normally gets stopped up at.

 

Racing & Death

Yep, this is the one that none of us that are involved with motorsports ever want to talk about – its a forbidden subject simply because its not going to happen to us. But it does, tragically it happens too often and more tragically still, there might have been some method of avoiding it.

Circumstances can get the better of any of us, it doesn’t matter what you are doing. You can be minding your own business, nothings wrong and you can just be in the wrong spot at the wrong time. All of us that give any thought to this understand this point. But what drives me a bit nuts is not taking the steps that you can to safe guard your own safety. Safety rules are there for a reason yet we all ignore them from time to time, I am guilty of this myself. I normally try to make sure that I do everything possible to give myself that extra chance when racing a car. Whether that is planning an escape from the cockpit or just going through a safety checklist on the car – all of it is important.

We lost another racer today at Maryland International Raceway. Details are sketchy at best and I am not going to venture any opinion about what happened or didn’t happen. All I can say is RIP racer, I did not know you but you had a lot of friends.

It is another reminder that while we enjoy our sport of racing, it is and always will be, a blood sport. Take all the precautions that you can and refuse the thought that “no one else does this – why should I?”. Wear your safety gear, use it properly, make sure your car is mechanically sound and if some thing goes wrong – get out of the accelerator pedal and don’t go back to it.

One last thought – if you car does not have an easy to hit kill switch for emergencies, put one in. It might just save your life.

Meet Elvira

Well, it’s March of 2017 now and I have made some progress on my race car. Per normal other things have come up that interrupt the work on it but I am not complaining. Some of this is money producing while other stuff is just a choice I make at the moment.

We took advantage of some good weather down south this year and took the Camaro to Coastal Plains, NC for their Valentine’s Day race. $2000 to win in the Mod class was looking pretty good to us as we worked our way down to the semi-finals with just three cars left. We lost a close match in the 7th round to end up finishing third for the night. But the car was consistent and we were able to dial it pretty well as the temperature, humidity and density altitude moved around on us all day long. Unfortunately, one of our other Richmond friends did not have the same luck and lost oil pressure on his second time trial run of the day. Sad to have to put that one in the trailer as we always enjoy getting down to the final rounds with him.

Our Camaro on a time trial shot at Coastal Plains, NC.


Back home, the dragster has a good part of its wiring figured out now as I made some additions that I hope will improve my consistency with the car. In bracket racing it’s not how fast or quick you are, it’s being able to repeat your runs on a given day that really matters. The engine is completed and with Phil’s help is now in the car along with the transmission. We did some maintenance work on the transmission, changing the filter to a Chrysler 727 type filter which is about 25-30% larger than the stock Powerglide one. We also installed a temperature sensor in the fluid pan and installed one of Moroso’s reusable silicone pan gaskets. We had used their gaskets on the valve covers before and they worked out really well.

The funny part of this day is the amount of blood-letting that occurred. I was seriously running out of band-aids at an incredible clip. So in honor of one of my favorite ladies who happens to be a vampiress, Elvira – Mistress of the Dark – I now have a name for my dragster, going forward she will be known as Elvira.

  Not sure if we will make the opener but we should be really close. Test and tunes were supposed to start a few weekends back but cold weather has kept all of the local tracks closed. I wanted to get some testing done before the season opened but that’s not looking like much of an option right now. At best we might try a few Friday night test sessions to sort things out and get reacquainted with my seat. Going back to old logbooks and with the previous combo, the last 3 good runs on the car were all 4.92’s @ 140 mph. My goal is to improve that to at least 4.80 numbers and pickup 3-4 mph.

RGMOI – Oil Ranking Results – Part 3

The Wear Protection reference categories are:

• Over 105,000 psi = INCREDIBLE wear protection

• 90,000 to 105,000 psi = OUTSTANDING wear protection

• 75,000 to 90,000 psi = GOOD wear protection

• 60,000 to 75,000 psi = MODEST wear protection

• Below 60,000 psi = UNDESIRABLE wear protection

The HIGHER the psi value, the BETTER the Wear Protection.

The “WEAR PROTECTION RANKING LIST” itself, begins here:

1. Prolong Engine Treatment added to 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SN synthetic = 136,658 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the Prolong Engine Treatment added to it, has a wear protection capability of 92,569 psi. With the recommended amount of Prolong added per qt, its wear protection capability “WENT UP 48%”.
The data here provides information on wear protection capability, but does NOT provide any information as to how compatible this product’s chlorine may be with a given oil’s additive package. Chlorine and additive package incompatibility has a possible risk of creating damaging bearing corrosion problems. There have been legal issues with this product that you can Google for yourself. Contact Prolong’s maker for more information on compatibility, to find out if it is safe to use in your application. The test data on Prolong is included in my Ranking List for informational purposes only, because of requests I have received about testing this product. But, I do not endorse nor recommend its use. It is always best to simply choose a highly ranked oil in the first place, and avoid using any aftermarket additives at all.
.
2. Prolong Engine Treatment added to 5W30 Castrol GTX, API SN conventional = 130,366 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the Prolong Engine Treatment added to it, has a wear protection capability of 95,392 psi. With the recommended amount of Prolong added per qt, its wear protection capability “WENT UP 37%”.
The data here provides information on wear protection capability, but does NOT provide any information as to how compatible this product’s chlorine may be with a given oil’s additive package. Chlorine and additive package incompatibility has a possible risk of creating damaging bearing corrosion problems. There have been legal issues with this product that you can Google for yourself. Contact Prolong’s maker for more information on compatibility, to find out if it is safe to use in your application. The test data on Prolong is included in my Ranking List for informational purposes only, because of requests I have received about testing this product. But, I do not endorse nor recommend its use. It is always best to simply choose a highly ranked oil in the first place, and avoid using any aftermarket additives at all.
.
3. 0W40 Mobil 1 “FS” European Car Formula, ACEA A3/B3, A3/B4, API SN, synthetic = 127,221 psi
This new oil replaces the older version called, 0W40 Mobil 1, European Formula, API SN, synthetic. See below for the older version’s ranking position.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This new “FS” version was tested in Summer 2016. This oil produced the highest psi value ever seen in my testing, from any motor oil just as it comes right out of the bottle, with no aftermarket additives. Very impressive.

I also went on to test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. This oil did have a 16% drop in capability. But, even at that elevated temperature, it produced an impressive 106,876 psi, which still kept this much hotter and thinner oil in the INCREDIBLE Wear Protection Category.

I also tested this oil to find out its onset of thermal breakdown, which was 280F.

4. 0W20 Quaker State Ultimate Durability, API SN, synthetic (gold bottle) = 124,393 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested in Spring 2016. The psi value of this oil, which came from testing it at the normal operating test temperature of 230*F, put it in the INCREDIBLE Wear Protection Category.

However, I went on to also test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. This oil did have a 14.7% drop in capability. But, even at that elevated temperature, it produced an impressive 106,163 psi, which still kept this much hotter and thinner oil in the INCREDIBLE Wear Protection Category.

5. 5W30 Pentosin Pento Super Performance III, for gas and diesel engines, API S”M”, ACEA C3, synthetic, made in Germany = 122,711 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested late 2016. For more information on this oil, see Tech Article 30.

6. 5W20 Quaker State Ultimate Durability, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved, synthetic (gold bottle) = 121,396 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Fall 2015. The psi value of this oil, which came from testing it at the normal operating test temperature of 230*F, put it in the INCREDIBLE Wear Protection Category.

However, I went on to also test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. And this oil did have a significant 23% drop in capability. However, even at that reduced value down to 92,893 psi, this much hotter and thinner oil was in the OUTSTANDING Wear Protection Category.

7. 5W30 Mobil 1, Advanced Full Synthetic, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved = 117,799 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This was the latest current version of this oil when tested at the end of 2015. This oil is used by a number of Auto Makers worldwide as factory fill oil in their High Performance cars. The psi value of this oil, which came from testing it at the normal operating test temperature of 230*F, put it in the INCREDIBLE Wear Protection Category.

However, I went on to also test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. And this oil did have a disappointing 36% drop in capability. At that reduced value down to 75,861 psi, this much hotter and thinner oil dropped down to the GOOD Wear Protection Category. You can avoid such a drop in capability by keeping the oil at a more reasonable cooler temperature.

8. Prolong Engine Treatment added to 5W30 Pennzoil, API SN conventional (yellow bottle) = 117,028 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the Prolong Engine Treatment added to it, has a wear protection capability of 76,989 psi. With the recommended amount of Prolong added per qt, its wear protection capability “WENT UP 52%”.

The data here provides information on wear protection capability, but does NOT provide any information as to how compatible this product’s chlorine may be with a given oil’s additive package. Chlorine and additive package incompatibility has a possible risk of creating damaging bearing corrosion problems. There have been legal issues with this product that you can Google for yourself. Contact Prolong’s maker for more information on compatibility, to find out if it is safe to use in your application. The test data on Prolong is included in my Ranking List for informational purposes only, because of requests I have received about testing this product. But, I do not endorse nor recommend its use. It is always best to simply choose a highly ranked oil in the first place, and avoid using any aftermarket additives at all.

9. 10W30 Mobil 1, Advanced Full Synthetic, API SN = 115,635 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested at the end of 2015.

10. 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM synthetic = 115,612 psi
zinc = 806 ppm
phosphorus = 812 ppm
moly = 66 ppm
calcium = 3,011 ppm
TBN = 10.3
This oil is no longer available and has been replaced by newer API “SN” versions a couple of times. See below for the current “SN” version’s ranking position.

11. 5W20 Valvoline MaxLife High Mileage, API SN, dexos 1 approved, synthetic blend (red bottle) = 114,125 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Spring 2016.

12. 5W30 Mobil 1 ESP Formula (Emission System Protection), for diesel and gas engines, ACEA C2, C3, API SN, synthetic = 113,836 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested late 2016. For more information on this oil, see Tech Article 30.

13. 5W30 Quaker State Ultimate Durability, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved, synthetic (gold bottle) = 113,377 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This was the latest current version of this oil when tested at the end of 2015. The psi value of this oil, which came from testing it at the normal operating test temperature of 230*F, put it in the INCREDIBLE Wear Protection Category.

However, I went on to also test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. But, this oil only had a very small 3.7% drop in capability. And even at that elevated temperature, it produced an extremely impressive 109,211 psi, which still kept this much hotter and thinner oil in the INCREDIBLE Wear Protection Category.

14. 5W30 Pennzoil Euro “AV” European Formula, for diesel and gas engines, ACEA C3, API SN, synthetic = 112,664 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested late 2016. For more information on this oil, see Tech Article 30.

15. 5W30 Motul 300V Ester Core 4T Racing Oil, synthetic = 112,464 psi
This Motorcycle Road Racing oil is from France and comes in liter bottles (slightly more than a quart). At the time this oil was tested in spring 2014, it cost $24.25 per bottle. And with the shipping cost added to that, the final cost was about $33.00 per bottle (shipping was all inside the U.S.), making it THE most expensive motor oil I’ve ever tested.
zinc = 1724 ppm
phosphorus = 1547 ppm
moly = 481 ppm
calcium = 3141 ppm
TBN = 7.4
This oil contains sufficient amounts of the components required (detergent, acid neutralizer, etc) for normal change intervals in street driven vehicles. But, it has way too much zinc/phos for use in cat equipped vehicles. However, it is well suited for Race Cars, Street Hotrods and Classic cars.

16. 5W30 Mag 1, FMX, European Formula, API S”M”, ACEA C3-08, synthetic, for gas and diesel cars and light trucks = 111,622 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Spring 2016.

However, I went on to also test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. And this oil did experience a 17.1% drop in capability. But, even at that elevated temperature, it produced 92,508 psi, which still put this much hotter and thinner oil in the OUTSTANDING Wear Protection Category.

I also tested this oil to find out its onset of thermal breakdown, which was at 280*F.

17. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM synthetic = 111,570 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of 115,612 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT DOWN 3.5%”.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus = TBD.
moly = TBD
calcium = TBD
TBN = TBD

18. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 10W30 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 semi-synthetic = 111,061psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 71,206 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT UP A BREATH TAKING 56%”.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus = TBD.
moly = TBD
calcium = TBD
TBN = TBD

19. 5W30 Oil Extreme Motor Oil, API SM synthetic (per the Oil Company, even though synthetic wording is not shown on the label) = 110,286 psi
The Company claims this oil contains their proprietary formula of calcium petroleum sulfontate EP (Extreme Pressure) technology that is NOT found in any other motor oil. They also claim that it will provide 5 to 7 more HP, 7 to 10% better fuel mileage, cut engine wear in half, and will extend drain intervals two or three times safely. This oil is endorsed and promoted by Tech Author David Vizard. And he was so impressed by this oil’s performance that he also became a share holder in the Company. The results from the “Dynamic Wear Testing Under Load” performed here, fully supports their claim regarding wear protection. So, their hype about that, turned out to be absolutely true. And since this oil beat nearly every high zinc oil I’ve ever tested, it also proved another one of their claims, that using zinc as the primary anti-wear component, is outdated technology.
zinc = 765 ppm
phosphorus = 624 ppm
moly = 52 ppm
calcium = 7,652 ppm
TBN = 23.2

20. 5W40 Mag 1, FMX, European Formula, API SN, ACEA A3/B4, synthetic, for gas and diesel cars and light trucks = 109,147 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Spring 2016.

21. 5W30 Valvoline MaxLife High Mileage, API SN, synthetic blend (red bottle) = 108,045 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus =TBD
moly = TBD
This is an earlier version that is no longer available. It has been replaced by a new formula version that now has GM dexos 1 approval. See below for the new version’s ranking position.

22. 5W30 Castrol Edge Professional “LL03”, for diesel engines, ACEA C3, gold bottle, synthetic = 107,067 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested late 2016. For more information on this oil, see Tech Article 30.

23. 10W30 Lucas Racing Only synthetic = 106,505 psi
zinc = 2642 ppm
phosphorus = 3489 ppm
moly = 1764 ppm
calcium = 2,929 ppm
TBN = 9.0
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

24. CFS 0W30 NT Millers Nanodrive Racing Oil, API SM synthetic = 105,907 psi
This oil is from England, comes in liter bottles (slightly more than a quart), and it uses a nanotechnology formulation. At the time this oil was tested in fall 2013, it cost $22.45 per bottle. And with the shipping cost added to that, the final cost was about $28.00 per bottle (shipping was all inside the U.S.), making it one of the most expensive oils I’ve ever tested.
zinc = TBD, but the maker claims it has approximately 1100 ppm ZDDP.
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
calcium = TBD
TBN = TBD

25. 5W30 Mobil 1, Advanced Full Synthetic, API SN = 105,875 psi
zinc = 801 ppm
phosphorus = 842 ppm
moly = 112 ppm
calcium = 799 ppm
TBN = 7.5
This is an earlier version that is no longer available. It has been replaced by a new formula version that now has GM dexos 1 approval. See above for the new version’s ranking position.

26. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 10W30 Lucas Hot Rod & Classic Hi-Performance Oil conventional = 105,758 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 62,538 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT UP A MIND BLOWING 69%”.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus = TBD
moly = TBD
calcium = TBD
TBN = TBD

27. 0W30 Amsoil Signature Series 25,000 miles, API SN synthetic = 105,008 psi
zinc = 824 ppm
phosphorus = 960 ppm
moly = 161 ppm
calcium = 3,354 ppm
TBN = 11.4

28. 5W30 Joe Gibbs Driven LS30 Performance Motor Oil, synthetic = 104,487 psi
The bottle says it is formulated specifically for high output GM LS engines, and that no ZDDP or additives required. This is by far, the best performing Joe Gibbs oil I’ve ever tested. It is at the very top of the OUTSTANDING wear protection category, and fell just short of the INCREDIBLE wear protection category.
zinc = 1610 ppm
phosphorus = 1496 ppm
moly = 0 ppm
calcium = 3515 ppm
TBN = 8.8
This oil contains sufficient amounts of the components required (detergent, acid neutralizer, etc) for normal change intervals in street driven vehicles. But, it has way too much zinc/phos for use in cat equipped vehicles. However, it is well suited for Race Cars, Street Hotrods and Classic cars.

29. 10W30 Valvoline NSL (Not Street Legal) Conventional Racing Oil = 103,846 psi
zinc = 1669 ppm
phosphorus = 1518 ppm
moly = 784 ppm
calcium = 1,607 ppm
TBN = 4.4
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use. Since this testing was performed, Valvoline has discontinued this oil.

30. 10W40 Valvoline MaxLife High Mileage, API SN, synthetic blend (red bottle) = 103,840 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested at the end of 2015. The psi value of this oil, which came from testing it at the normal operating test temperature of 230*F, put it in the OUTSTANDING Wear Protection Category.

However, I went on to also test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. And this oil did have a significant 25% drop in capability. At that reduced value down to 77,817 psi, this much hotter and thinner oil dropped to the GOOD Wear Protection Category.

31. 5W50 Motorcraft, API SN synthetic = 103,517 psi
zinc = 606 ppm
phosphorus = 742 ppm
moly = 28 ppm
calcium = 1,710 ppm
TBN = 6.7

32. 10W30 Valvoline VR1 Conventional Racing Oil (silver bottle) = 103,505 psi
zinc = 1472 ppm
phosphorus = 1544 ppm
moly = 3 ppm
calcium = 2,707 ppm
TBN = 7.6

33. 5W30 Amsoil Series 3000 Heavy Duty Diesel Oil synthetic, API CI-4 PLUS, CF, SL, ACEA A3/B3, E2, E3, E5, E7 = 102,642 psi.
This oil is Engineered for Diesel engines not equipped with Diesel particulate filters (DPF). Amsoil says this oil delivers better wear protection than other popular Diesel oils. And in this case, their hype is absolutely true. They also say it effectively reduces fuel consumption, with its advanced fuel efficient formula. This oil costs $11.15 per quart in the 2013 Amsoil Factory Direct Retail Catalog, which is 10% more than Amsoil’s 5W40 Premium Synthetic Diesel Oil. So, in this case, you pay only 10% more for the Amsoil Series 3000 Heavy Duty Diesel Oil, but you get a whopping 33% more wear protection than you get with the Amsoil’s 5W40 Premium Synthetic Diesel Oil. Money very well spent, if you run a Diesel oil intended for engines not equipped with Diesel particulate filters. This 5W30 Amsoil Series 3000 Heavy Duty Diesel Oil is one of the very best Diesel oils I have tested.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

34.  5W30 Pennzoil High Mileage Vehicle, API SN, conventional = 102,402 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phos =TBD
moly = TBD

35. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Mobil 1, API SN synthetic = 102,059 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of 105,875 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT DOWN 3.6%”.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus = TBD.
moly = TBD
calcium = TBD
TBN = TBD

36. 0W20 Toyota Motor Oil, API SN, synthetic = 101,460 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Spring 2016.

37. 5W40 Joe Gibbs DT40, synthetic = 101,265 psi
This oil claims to be formulated specifically for modern Sports Car engines, yet it has no API certifications at all, and claims to have a ZDDP anti-wear package, which would indicate that it does not have low enough zinc/phos levels to be safely used in modern cat equipped vehicles.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested at the end of 2015.
38. 10W30 Valvoline VR1 Synthetic Racing Oil, API SL (black bottle) = 101,139 psi
zinc = 1180 ppm
phosphorus = 1112 ppm
moly = 162 ppm
calcium = 2,664 ppm
TBN = 7.4

39. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Pennzoil, API SN conventional (yellow bottle) = 100,252 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 76,989 psi. But, with 1.5 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the bottle’s instruction for street driven vehicles, its wear protection capability “WENT UP A WHOPPING 30%”.
zinc = 970 ppm
phosphorus = 749 ppm, this value is 91 ppm lower than the basic oil because the concentrate has less phosphorus in it, which diluted the overall ppm count of the mixture.
moly = 285 ppm
calcium = 4,443 ppm
TBN = 18.8

40.  0W20 Mobil 1 Extended Performance, API SN, dexos 1 approved, synthetic = 100,229 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested in Spring 2016.

41. 5W30 Chevron Supreme, API SN conventional (blue bottle) = 100,011 psi
This oil only cost $4.29 per quart at an Auto Parts Store when I bought it.
zinc = 1018 ppm
phos = 728 ppm
moly = 161 ppm

42. 5W20 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN synthetic (gold bottle) = 99,983 psi
zinc = 1042 ppm
phos = 857 ppm
moly = 100 ppm
titanium = 49 ppm
This is an earlier version that is no longer available. It has been replaced by 5W20 Castrol Edge Extended Performance (gold bottle). See below for its ranking position.

43. 5W30 Pennzoil Platinum, API SN synthetic = 99,949 psi
This was the original API SN version, that was NOT made from natural gas.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

44. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Pennzoil, API SN conventional (yellow bottle) = 99,529 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 76,989 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT UP 29%”.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

45. 5W30 Pennzoil “Ultra” Platinum, Pure Plus Technology, made from pure natural gas, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved = 99,039 psi
This oil was introduced in 2014, and comes in a dark gray bottle with a blue vertical stripe on the label.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
The psi value of this oil, which came from testing it at the normal operating test temperature of 230*F, put it in the OUTSTANDING Wear Protection Category.

However, I went on to also test this oil late in 2015, at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. But, this oil had only an extremely small 2.7% drop in capability, the smallest drop I have seen. And at that reduced value down to 96,363 psi, this much hotter and thinner oil was still in the OUTSTANDING Wear Protection Category.
46. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Oil Extreme Motor Oil, API SM synthetic = 98,396 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of 110,286 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT DOWN 11%”.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

47. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Pennzoil, API SN conventional, yellow bottle = 97,651 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 76,989 psi. But, with 3.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, its wear protection capability “WENT UP 27%”.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

48. 10W40 Pennzoil High Mileage Vehicle, API SN, conventional = 97,419 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested at the end of 2015.

49. 10W30 Amsoil Dominator Racing Oil synthetic = 97,118 psi
zinc = 1613 ppm
phos = 1394 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

50. 5W30 Pennzoil Platinum Euro “L”, made from natural gas, for diesel and gas engines, ACEA C3, GM dexos “2” approved, API SN, synthetic = 97,051 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested late 2016. For more information on this oil, see Tech Article 30.

51. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Pennzoil, API SN conventional, yellow bottle = 96,739 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 76,989 psi. But, with 4.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, its wear protection capability “WENT UP 26%”.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

52. 20W50 Castrol GTX, API SN conventional = 96,514 psi
zinc = 610 ppm
phos = 754 ppm
moly = 94 ppm

53. 30 wt Red Line Race Oil synthetic = 96,470 psi
zinc = 2207 ppm
phos = 2052 ppm
moly = 1235 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

54. 0W20 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy, API SN synthetic = 96,364 psi
zinc = 742 ppm
phos = 677 ppm
moly = 81 ppm
This is an earlier version of this oil that did not have dexos 1 approval. See below for the later version of this oil that does have dexos 1 approval.

55. 5W30 Quaker State Ultimate Durability, API SN synthetic = 95,920 psi
zinc = 877 ppm
phos = 921 ppm
moly = 72 ppm
This is an earlier version that is no longer available. It has been replaced by a new formula version that now has GM dexos 1 approval. See above for the new version’s ranking position.

56. 5W30 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN synthetic (gold bottle) = 95,717 psi
zinc = 818 ppm
phos = 883 ppm
moly = 90 ppm
titanium = 44 ppm
This is an earlier version that is no longer available. It has been replaced by 5W30 Castrol Edge Extended Performance (gold bottle). See below for its ranking position.

57. 10W30 Joe Gibbs XP3 NASCAR Racing Oil synthetic = 95,543 psi
zinc = 743 ppm
phos = 802 ppm
moly = 1125 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

58. 5W20 Castrol GTX, API SN conventional = 95,543 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
NOTE: The two oils above were tested weeks apart, but due to the similarities in their wear scar sizes, their averages ended up the same.

59. 5W30 Castrol GTX, API SN conventional = 95,392 psi
zinc = 830 ppm
phos = 791 ppm
moly = 1 ppm

60. 10W30 Amsoil Z-Rod Oil synthetic = 95,360 psi
zinc = 1431 ppm
phos = 1441 ppm
moly = 52 ppm

61. 5W30 Havoline, API SN conventional = 95,098 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

62. 5W30 Valvoline SynPower, API SN synthetic = 94,942 psi
zinc = 969 ppm
phos = 761 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

63. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Chevron Supreme, API SN conventional = 94,864 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of 100,011 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT DOWN 5.1%”.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus = TBD.
moly = TBD

64. 5W30 Valvoline Premium Conventional, API SN = 94,744 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

65. 5W20 Mobil 1, Advanced Full Synthetic , API SN synthetic = 94,663 psi
zinc = 764 ppm
phos = 698 ppm
moly = 76 ppm
This is an earlier version that is no longer available. It has been replaced by 5W20 Mobil 1 that includes GM dexos 1 approval. See below for its ranking position.

66. 5W20 Valvoline SynPower, API SN synthetic = 94,460 psi
zinc = 1045 ppm
phos = 742 ppm
moly = 0 ppm
This is an earlier version that is no longer available. It has been replaced by 5W20 Valvoline SynPower that includes GM dexos 1 approval. See below for its ranking position.

67. 10W40 Mobil 1 Racing 4T, four stroke Motorcycle oil, synthetic = 93,661 psi
This oil claims to meet or exceed API SN.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

68. 5W30 Eneos, API SN, synthetic = 93,135 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

69.  5W40 High Performance Lubricants Racing Oil, synthetic = 92,693 psi
The bottle calls this oil, “Bad Ass”.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Summer 2016.

70. 5W30 Valvoline MaxLife High Mileage, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved, synthetic blend (red bottle) = 92,639 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phos =TBD
moly = TBD
This was the latest current version of this oil when tested at the end of 2015. The psi value of this oil, which came from testing it at the normal operating test temperature of 230*F, put it in the OUTSTANDING Wear Protection Category.

However, I went on to also test this oil at the much higher temperature of 275*F. At that elevated temperature, any hotter and thinner oil is expected to experience a drop in Wear Protection Capability. And this oil did have an 8.3% drop in capability. At that reduced value down to 84,928 psi, this much hotter and thinner oil dropped to the GOOD Wear Protection Category.
71. 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SN synthetic = 92,569 psi
This was the original API SN version, that was NOT made from natural gas.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
The older API “SM” version of this oil, produced a wear protection capability value of 115,612 psi.

72.  0W20 Pennzoil Platinum, Pure Plus Technology, made from Natural Gas, API SN, synthetic
(silver bottle with blue vertical stripe on the label) = 92,504 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested in Spring 2016.

73. 5W30 Lucas, API SN conventional = 92,073 psi
zinc = 992 ppm
phos = 760 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

74. 5W30 O’Reilly (house brand), API SN conventional = 91,433 psi
This oil only cost $3.99 per quart at an Auto Parts Store when I bought it.
zinc = 863 ppm
phos = 816 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

75.  5W30 Castrol GTX High Mileage, API SN, synthetic blend = 91,404 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phos =TBD
moly = TBD

76. 5W30 Maxima RS530 Synthetic Racing Oil = 91,162 psi
zinc = 2162 ppm
phos = 2294 ppm
moly = 181 ppm

77. 5W30 Red Line, API SN synthetic = 91,028 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

78.  0W20 Castrol Edge, Fluid Titanium Technology, API SN, dexos 1 approved, synthetic
(black bottle) = 90,745 psi
zinc = TBD
phos =TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested in Spring 2016.
79. 5W20 Royal Purple API SN synthetic = 90,434 psi
zinc = 964 ppm
phos = 892 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

80. 10W30 Quaker State Defy High Mileage, API SL semi-synthetic = 90,226 psi
Defy has always been a High Mileage oil since it was first introduced. But, “High Mileage” hasn’t always been prominently displayed on the front label. Newer bottles do now prominently display “High Mileage” on the front label. High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = 1221 ppm
phos = 955 ppm
moly = 99 ppm

81. 10W60 Castrol TWS Motorsport, API SJ conventional = 90,163 psi
This oil is manufactured in Europe and is sold in the US for BMW models M3, M5, M6, Z4M, and Z8.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

82. 5W20 Valvoline Premium Conventional, API SN = 90,144 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

83. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Castrol GTX, API SN conventional = 89,659 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of 95,392 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT DOWN 6%”.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus = TBD.
moly = TBD

84.  0W20 Valvoline SynPower, API SN, synthetic = 89,556 psi
zinc = TBD
phos =TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested in Spring 2016.

85. 5W30 Havoline, API SN synthetic = 89,406 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

86. 5W30 Penrite 10 Tenths Racing 5, synthetic = 88,992 psi
This oil comes from Australia in 1 liter bottles (slightly more than a quart), and can be ordered in the U.S. from Summit Racing Equipment. It claims low friction for max power, and says it is not suitable for motorcycles with wet clutches. It also claims to have a full zinc formula.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

87. 30 wt Castrol Heavy Duty, API SM conventional = 88,089 psi
zinc = 907 ppm
phos = 829 ppm
moly = 56 ppm

88.  5W30 Mobil 1 High Mileage, API SL, synthetic = 88,081 psi
High Mileage oils are formulated for older engines with over 75,000 miles on them. And High Mileage oils include “Seal Swell” chemicals to help reduce oil leakage in those older engines.
zinc = TBD
phos =TBD
moly = TBD

89. 20W50 LAT Synthetic Racing Oil, API SM = 87,930 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

90. 5W30 Valvoline Nextgen 50% Recycled Oil, API SN conventional = 87,563 psi
zinc = 947 ppm
phos = 778 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

91. 5W30 Pennzoil Platinum, Pure Plus Technology, made from pure natural gas, API SN = 87,241 psi
This oil was introduced in 2014, and comes in a silver bottle with a blue vertical stripe on the label.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

92. 5W50 Mobil 1, API SN, synthetic = 86,456 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

93. 10W30 Joe Gibbs HR4 Hotrod Oil synthetic = 86,270 psi
zinc = 1247 ppm
phos = 1137 ppm
moly = 24 ppm

94. 5W20 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM synthetic = 86,034 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

95. 5W20 Mobil 1, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved, synthetic = 85,893 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This was the latest current version of this oil when tested Fall 2015

96. 15W40 RED LINE Diesel Oil synthetic, API CJ-4/CI-4 PLUS/CI-4/CF/CH-4/CF-4/SM/SL/SH/EO-O = 85,663 psi
zinc = 1615 ppm
phos = 1551 ppm
moly = 173 ppm

97. 5W30 Castrol Edge w/Syntec, API SN synthetic (formerly Castrol Syntec), (black bottle) = 85,179 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

98. 20W50 Millers Classic Performance Oil, API SJ, conventional = 84,764 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
Claims high ZDDP level. It comes from England in 1 Liter bottles, which is slightly more than a quart, and is available in the U.S.

99. 5W30 Schaeffer’s Supreme 9000, API SN, synthetic = 84,118 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

100. 5W30 Royal Purple API SN synthetic = 84,009 psi
zinc = 942 ppm
phos = 817 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

101. 20W50 Royal Purple API SN synthetic = 83,487 psi
zinc = 588 ppm
phos = 697 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

102. 20W50 Kendall GT-1 High Performance with liquid titanium, API SN conventional = 83,365 psi
zinc = 991 ppm
phos = 1253 ppm
moly = 57 ppm
titanium = 84 ppm

103. 5W30 Mobil 1 Extended Performance 15,000 mile, API SN synthetic = 83,263 psi
zinc = 890 ppm
phos = 819 ppm
moly = 104 ppm

104. 0W20 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN synthetic (gold bottle) = 82,867 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

105. 0W40 Mobil 1, European Formula, API SN, made in the U.S., synthetic = 82,644 psi
This is an earlier version that has been replaced by 0W40 Mobil 1 “FS” European Car Formula. See above for the newer version’s ranking position.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

106. 0W40 Pennzoil Ultra, API SN, synthetic = 81,863 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

107. 5W30 LAT Synthetic Racing Oil, API SM = 81,800 psi
zinc = 1784 ppm
phos = 1539 ppm
moly = 598 ppm

108. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 5W30 Royal Purple XPR (extreme performance racing oil) synthetic = 81,723 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 74,860 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT UP 9%”.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

109. 0W30 Mobil 1, API SN, Advanced Fuel Economy, synthetic = 81,240 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD.
moly = TBD

110. 5W30 Peak, API SN synthetic = 80,716 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

111. 0W20 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy, API SN, dexos 1 approved, synthetic = 79,612
psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested in Spring 2016. At that time, this was the latest current version of this oil.

112. 5W30 Edelbrock “Cat-Safe”, API SM synthetic = 78,609 psi
This oil is made for Edelbrock by Torco
zinc = 924 ppm
phos = 659 ppm
moly = 28 ppm

113. 30wt Amsoil Break-In Oil conventional = 78,192 psi
zinc = 2051 ppm
phos = 1917 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

114. 20W50 Resolute Racing Oil, API SN conventional = 77,554 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil cost only $2.49 per quart when bought for this test. It is a Regional Oil from the Mid-Western U.S. farm country.

115. 5W40 Amsoil Premium Diesel Oil synthetic, API CJ-4, CI-4 PLUS, CF, SN, SM, ACEA E7, E9 = 77,207 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

116. 10W30 Renegade Pro Series Racing Oil, synthetic blend = 77,136 psi
zinc = TBD, but bottle claims over 3000 ppm
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

117. 15W40 ROYAL PURPLE Diesel Oil synthetic, API CJ-4 /SM, CI-4 PLUS, CH-4, CI-4 = 76,997 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

118. 5W30 Pennzoil, API SN conventional (yellow bottle) = 76,989 psi
zinc = 839 ppm
phos = 840 ppm
moly = 267 ppm

119. 10W40 Chevron Supreme, API SN conventional (blue bottle) = 76,806 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

120. 5W30 Lucas API SM synthetic = 76,584 psi
zinc = 1134 ppm
phos = 666 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

121. 5W30 GM’s AC Delco dexos 1 API SN semi-synthetic = 76,501 psi
zinc = 878 ppm
phos = 758 ppm
moly = 72 ppm

122. 10W30 Mobil Super 5000, API SN, conventional = 76,461 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested at the end of 2015.

123. 5W30 Motul 8100 X-clean, API SM, synthetic = 76,166 psi
This oil is made in France, and comes in a 1 liter bottle, which = 1.05 qts
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
For reference, 5W30 Motul 300V Ester Core 4T Racing Oil, synthetic, produced a wear protection capability of 112,464 psi

124. 20W50 Mobil 1 V-Twin 4 Cycle Motorcycle Oil, API SJ, synthetic = 75,855 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

125. 5W50 Castrol Edge with Syntec, API SN synthetic (formerly Castrol Syntec), (black bottle) = 75,409 psi
zinc = 1252 ppm
phos = 1197 ppm
moly = 71 ppm

126. 5W30 Castrol Edge Extended Performance, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved, synthetic (gold bottle) = 74,899 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This was the latest current version of this oil when tested Fall 2015.

127. “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to 10W30 Comp Cams Muscle Car & Street Rod Oil semi-synthetic = 74,874 psi
This oil on its own WITHOUT the “Oil Extreme concentrate” added to it, has a wear protection capability of only 60,413 psi. But, with 2.0 OZ of concentrate added per qt, which is the amount intended for racing, its wear protection capability “WENT UP AN IMPRESSIVE 24%”.
zinc = TBD
phosphorus = TBD.
moly = TBD

128. 5W30 Royal Purple XPR (Extreme Performance Racing) synthetic = 74,860 psi
zinc = 1421 ppm
phos = 1338 ppm
moly = 204 ppm

129. 15W40 Cenpeco (Central Petroleum Company) S-3 Diesel Oil, conventional, API CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF, CE, CD, SL, SJ, SH = 74,593 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

130. 5W40 MOBIL 1 TURBO DIESEL TRUCK synthetic, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4 and ACEA E7 = 74,312 psi
zinc = 1211 ppm
phos = 1168 ppm
moly = 2 ppm

131. 0W50 Mobil 1 Racing Oil = 73,811 psi
zinc = 1676 ppm
phos = 1637 ppm
moly = 1263 ppm

132. 5W30 Peak, API SN conventional = 73,690 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

133. 5W30 Mobil Super Synthetic, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved = 73,601 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

134. 5W30 Castrol GTX Magnatec, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved, synthetic blend = 73,566 psi
This oil claims to have molecules that cling to parts, forming an extra layer of protection during warm-up, reducing engine wear.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

135. 15W40 CHEVRON DELO 400LE Diesel Oil, conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CH-4, CF-4,CF/SM, = 73,520 psi
zinc = 1519 ppm
phos = 1139 ppm
moly = 80 ppm

136. 15W40 MOBIL DELVAC 1300 SUPER Diesel Oil conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4/SM, SL = 73,300 psi
zinc = 1297 ppm
phos = 1944 ppm
moly = 46 ppm

137. 15W40 Farm Rated Heavy Duty Performance Diesel Oil conventional CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF/SL, SJ = 73,176 psi
zinc = 1325ppm
phos = 1234 ppm
moly = 2 ppm

138. 5W30 Amalie Elixir Oil, API SN, synthetic = 72,825 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

139. 5W20 Valvoline SynPower, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved = 72,581 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This was the latest current version of this oil when tested Fall 2015.

140. 15W40 “NEW” SHELL ROTELLA T Diesel Oil conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CH-4, CF-4,CF/SM = 72,022 psi
zinc = 1454 ppm
phos = 1062 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

141. Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 Nitro 70 Racing Oil semi-synthetic = 72,003 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

142. 0W30 Mobil 1 Racing Oil = 71,923 psi
zinc = 1693 ppm
phos = 1667 ppm
moly = 1326 ppm

143. 0W20 Kendall GT-1, with liquid Titanium, API SN, synthetic = 71,385 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested in Spring 2016.

144. 0W30 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1, partial synthetic = 71,377 psi
zinc = 1621 ppm
phos = 1437 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

145. 15W40 “OLD” SHELL ROTELLA T Diesel Oil conventional, API CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4,CG-4,CF-4,CF,SL, SJ, SH = 71,214 psi
zinc = 1171 ppm
phos = 1186 ppm
moly = 0 ppm
Yes it’s true, the old Rotella actually has LESS zinc than the new Rotella.

146. 10W30 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1, partial synthetic = 71,206 psi
zinc = 1557 ppm
phos = 1651 ppm
moly = 3 ppm

147. 15W40 VALVOLINE PREMIUM BLUE HEAVY DUTY DIESEL Oil conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4, CF/SM = 70,869 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

148. 5W20 Castrol Edge Extended Performance, API SN, GM dexos 1 approved, synthetic (gold bottle) = 70,417 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This was the latest current version of this oil when tested Fall 2015.

149. 15W50 Mobil 1, API SN synthetic = 70,235 psi
zinc = 1,133 ppm
phos = 1,168 ppm
moly = 83 ppm

150. 10W40 Resolute All Season Motor Oil, API SN conventional = 69,709 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil cost $2.49 per quart when bought for this test. It is a Regional Oil from the Mid-Western U.S. farm country.

151. 5W40 CHEVRON DELO 400LE Diesel Oil synthetic, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, SL, SM = 69,631 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

152. 5W40 Liqui Moly Leichtlauf High Tech Oil, synthetic = 69,580 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil is made in Germany and is available in the U. S. It comes in 1 Liter bottles which is slightly more than a quart.

153. 0W40 Castrol Edge with Syntec, API SN, European Formula, made in Belgium and sold in the U.S., synthetic (black bottle) = 69,307 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

154. 0W30 Castrol Edge with Syntec, API SL, European Formula, made in Germany and sold in the U.S., synthetic (black bottle) = 69,302 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

155. 30wt Edelbrock Break-In Oil conventional = 69,160 psi
zinc = 1545 ppm
phos = 1465 ppm
moly = 4 ppm

156. 5W30 High Performance Lubricants Break-In Oil, synthetic = 69,097 psi
zinc = the bottle claims high zinc
phos = the bottle claims high phos
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Summer 2016.

157. 5W30 Motorcraft, API SN synthetic = 68,782 psi
zinc = 796 ppm
phos = 830 ppm
moly = 75 ppm

158. 10W40 Edelbrock synthetic = 68,603 psi
zinc = 1193 ppm
phos = 1146 ppm
moly = 121 ppm
This oil is manufactured for Edelbrock by Torco.

159. 5W30 Quaker State Advanced Durability, API SN, conventional = 68,581 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Fall 2015

160. 5W30 Toyota Motor Oil, API SN conventional = 68,069 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

161. 5W40 SHELL ROTELLA T6 Diesel Oil, synthetic, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, SM, SL = 67,804 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

162. 10W30 Champion Racing Oil, synthetic blend = 67,239 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

163. 10W30 ProHonda HP4S, 4 Stroke Motorcycle Oil, API SJ, synthetic = 66,852 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Fall 2015

164. 15W40 LUCAS MAGNUM Diesel Oil, conventional, API CI-4,CH-4, CG-4, CF-4, CF/SL = 66,476 psi
zinc = 1441 ppm
phos = 1234 ppm
moly = 76 ppm

165. 15W40 CASTROL GTX DIESEL Oil, conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4/SN = 66,323 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

166. 10W30 Royal Purple HPS (High Performance Street), synthetic = 66,211 psi
zinc = 1774 ppm
phos = 1347 ppm
moly = 189 ppm

167. 5W30 Schaeffer Supreme 7000 Synthetic Plus, API SN = 66,099 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil was tested Fall 2015

168. 10W40 Valvoline 4 Stroke Motorcycle Oil, API SJ, conventional = 65,553 psi
zinc = 1154 ppm
phos = 1075 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

169. 15W40 Swepco 306 Supreme Formula Engine Oil, with Dimonyl, conventional, API CI-4/SL, CF-2 = 65,185 psi
This oil is from Southwestern Petroleum Corporation.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

170. 5W30 Klotz Estorlin Racing Oil, API SL, synthetic = 64,175 psi
zinc = 1765 ppm
phos = 2468 ppm
moly = 339 ppm

171. “ZDDPlus” added to Royal Purple 20W50, API SN, synthetic = 63,595 psi
zinc = 2436 ppm (up 1848 ppm)
phos = 2053 ppm (up 1356 ppm)
moly = 2 ppm (up 2 ppm)
The amount of ZDDPlus added to the oil, was the exact amount the manufacturer called for on the bottle. And the resulting psi value here was 24% LOWER than this oil had BEFORE the ZDDPlus was added to it. Most major Oil Companies say to NEVER add anything to their oils, because adding anything will upset the carefully balanced additive package, and ruin the oil’s chemical composition. And that is precisely what we see here. Adding ZDDPlus SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED this oil’s wear prevention capability. Just the opposite of what was promised.

172. 5W30 PurOl Elite Series, synthetic = 63,282 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

173. Royal Purple 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional = 62,931 psi
zinc = 1170 ppm
phos = 1039 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

174. 10W40 Crane Cams Break-In Oil, conventional = 62,603 psi
zinc = TBD, but claims high zinc formula
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

175. 10W30 Lucas Hot Rod & Classic Hi-Performance Oil, conventional = 62,538 psi
zinc = 2116 ppm
phos = 1855 ppm
moly = 871 ppm

176. 5W30 Motul 8100 ECO-nergy, API SL, synthetic = 61,880 psi
This oil is made in France, and comes in a 1 liter bottle, which = 1.05 qts
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
For reference, 5W30 Motul 300V Ester Core 4T Racing Oil, synthetic, produced a wear protection capability of 112,464 psi

177. 0W20 Klotz Estorlin Racing Oil, API SL, synthetic = 60,941 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

178. 10W30 Comp Cams Muscle Car & Street Rod Oil, synthetic blend = 60,413 psi
zinc = 1673 ppm
phos = 1114 ppm
moly = 67 ppm
This oil is manufactured for Comp Cams by Endure.

179. 10W40 Torco TR-1 Racing Oil with MPZ, conventional = 59,905 psi
zinc = 1456 ppm
phos = 1150 ppm
moly = 227 ppm

180. 10W40 Summit Racing Premium Racing Oil, API SL = 59,483 psi
This oil is made for Summit by I.L.C.
zinc = 1764 ppm
phos = 1974 ppm
moly = 41 ppm
NOTE: This oil line was discontinued in Spring 2013.

181. 10W40 Edelbrock, conventional = 59,120 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
This oil is manufactured for Edelbrock by Torco.

182. 10W40 Spectro Motor-Guard High Performance Motorcycle Oil, API SL, conventional = 57,977 psi
zinc = 1800 ppm (claimed on bottle)
phos = 1800 ppm (claimed on bottle)
moly = TBD

183. 10W40 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1, partial synthetic = 57,864 psi
zinc = TBD, but the bottle claims high zinc
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

184. 0W20 LAT Synthetic Racing Oil, API SM = 57,228 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

185. “ZDDPlus” added to O’Reilly (house brand) 5W30, API SN, conventional = 56,728 psi
zinc = 2711 ppm (up 1848 ppm)
phos = 2172 ppm (up 1356 ppm)
moly = 2 ppm (up 2 ppm)
The amount of ZDDPlus added to the oil, was the exact amount the manufacturer called for on the bottle. And the resulting psi value here was 38% LOWER than this oil had BEFORE the ZDDPlus was added to it. Adding ZDDPlus SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED this oil’s wear prevention capability. Just the opposite of what was promised.
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186. “ZDDPlus” added to Motorcraft 5W30, API SN, synthetic = 56,243 psi
zinc = 2955 ppm (up 1848 ppm)
phos = 2114 ppm (up 1356 ppm)
moly = 76 ppm (up 2 ppm)

The amount of ZDDPlus added to the oil, was the exact amount the manufacturer called for on the bottle. And the resulting psi value here was 12% LOWER than this oil had BEFORE the ZDDPlus was added to it. Adding ZDDPlus SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED this oil’s wear prevention capability. Just the opposite of what was promised.

187. 30wt Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1, Break-In Oil, conventional = 56,020 psi
zinc = TBD, but the bottle claims high zinc
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

188. 0W Mobil 1 Racing Oil = 55,080 psi
zinc = 1952 ppm
phos = 1671 ppm
moly = 1743 ppm

189. “Edelbrock Zinc Additive” added to Royal Purple 5W30, API SN, synthetic = 54,044 psi
zinc = 1515 ppm (up 573 ppm)
phos = 1334 ppm (up 517 ppm)
moly = 15 ppm (up 15 ppm)
The amount of Edelbrock Zinc Additive added to the oil, was the exact amount the manufacturer called for on the bottle. And the resulting psi value here was a whopping 36% LOWER than this oil had BEFORE the Edelbrock Zinc Additive was added to it. Adding Edelbrock Zinc Additive SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED this oil’s wear prevention capability. Just the opposite of what was promised.
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190. 10W30 Comp Cams Break-In Oil, conventional = 51,749 psi
zinc = 3004 ppm
phos = 2613 ppm
moly = 180 ppm

191. “Edelbrock Zinc Additive” added to Lucas 5W30, API SN, conventional = 51,545 psi
zinc = 1565 ppm (up 573 ppm)
phos = 1277 ppm (up 517 ppm)
moly = 15 ppm (up 15 ppm)
The amount of Edelbrock Zinc Additive added to the oil, was the exact amount the manufacturer called for on the bottle. And the resulting psi value here was a “breath taking” 44% LOWER than this oil had BEFORE the Edelbrock Zinc Additive was added to it. Adding Edelbrock Zinc Additive SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED this oil’s wear prevention capability. Just the opposite of what was promised.

192. 15W50 Joe Gibbs Driven BR Break-In oil, conventional = 51,299 psi
NOTE: Total Seal also sells this Break-In Oil with their label on it.
zinc = TBD, but high levels are claimed on the bottle.
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

193. “Edelbrock Zinc Additive” added to Motorcraft 5W30, API SN, synthetic = 50,202 psi
zinc = 1680 ppm (up 573 ppm)
phos = 1275 ppm (up 517 ppm)
moly = 89 ppm (up 15 ppm)
The amount of Edelbrock Zinc Additive added to the oil, was the exact amount the manufacturer called for on the bottle. And the resulting psi value here was 22% LOWER than this oil had BEFORE the Edelbrock Zinc Additive was added to it. Adding Edelbrock Zinc Additive SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED this oil’s wear prevention capability. Just the opposite of what was promised.
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194. 30wt Lucas Break-In Oil, conventional = 49,455 psi
zinc = 4483 ppm
phos = 3660 ppm
moly = 3 ppm

195. 5W30 Joe Gibbs Driven BR30 Break-In Oil, conventional = 47,483 psi
NOTE: Total Seal also sells this Break-In Oil with their label on it.
zinc = TBD, but high levels are claimed on the bottle.
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

RGMOI – Part 2

Continuing with the motor oil information:

In recent years there have been entirely too many wiped cam lobes and ruined lifter failures in traditional American flat tappet engines, even though a variety of well respected brand name parts were typically used. These failures involved people using various high zinc oils, various high zinc Break-In oils, various Diesel oils, and various oils with aftermarket zinc additives added to the oil. They believed that any high zinc oil concoction is all they needed for wear protection during flat tappet engine break-in and after break-in. But, all of those failures have proven over and over again, that their belief in high zinc was nothing more than a MYTH, just as my test data has shown.

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A high level of zinc/phos is simply no guarantee of providing sufficient wear protection. And to make matters even worse, excessively high levels of zinc/phos can actually “cause” DAMAGE your engine, rather than “prevent” it. Motor Oil Industry testing has found that motor oils with more than 1,400 ppm ZDDP, INCREASED long-term wear. And it was also found that motor oils with more than 2,000 ppm ZDDP started attacking the grain boundaries in the iron, resulting in camshaft spalling (pitting and flaking). The ZDDP value is simply the average of the zinc and the phosphorus values, then rounded down to the nearest 100 ppm (parts per million).

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From those failures where I was able to find out what specific oils were used, it turned out that those were oils I had already performed my Engineering Wear Protection Capability tests on. And all those oils had only provided poor wear protection capability, meaning that if they had looked at my test data before using those oils, they would have known in advance that their engines would be at significant risk of failure with those oils. And that is just what happened.
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A number of people who have had those failures, and some had repeated failures, have contacted me, asking what they can do to prevent that failure in the future. I tell them to forget all that high zinc nonsense and look at my Wear Protection Ranking List. And to select any high ranking oil there, no matter how much zinc it has, because zinc quantity simply does NOT matter. The only thing that matters regarding wear protection, is the psi value each oil can produce in my testing. The higher the psi value, the better the wear protection. I recommend they use the SAME highly ranked oil for break-in and after break-in. It’s that simple.
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WHEN PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN THAT ADVICE, NOT ONE PERSON HAS EVER COME BACK TO ME TO REPORT THAT MY RANKING LIST DID NOT WORK FOR THEM. Since my ranking list has worked in every case to prevent wiped flat tappet lobes and lifters, it can also work for you to provide the best possible wear protection for your engine. My test data is the real deal, it exactly matches real world experience, and it is the best and most complete motor oil comparison data you will ever find anywhere.
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And for those people who have been able to use various high zinc oils without having trouble with their flat tappet engines, that only means that the oil they used had enough wear protection capability for the loads their engines saw at that time. It does not mean they were necessarily using a great oil. And it does not provide any information about how much reserve wear protection capability their oil provided, nor how their oil compares to other oils on the market.
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But, there are some high zinc oils that do provide excellent wear protection. And you can see which ones they are, by looking at my ranking list below.
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LOOKING AT PETROLEUM QUALITY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA (PQIA) INFORMATION, OR  SENDING OIL SAMPLES TO TYPICAL MOTOR OIL LABS LIKE “ALS TRIBOLOGY” OR “BLACKSTONE LABS” IS NOT SUFFICIENT

What many people don’t understand is, that looking at PQIA information, or sending oil samples in to a typical motor oil lab, does NOT tell us everything we need to know about how well a motor oil performs. Some people think that if they look at PQIA on-line, or get a lab printout of their motor oil, that they know everything they need to know. But, that is simply NOT true. Here’s why.

PQIA information might be interesting to look at, but it doesn’t really provide any truly significant or meaningful information beyond what the API certifications of “reputable brands”, already tells us. The wind-up is that API has already done all that for you by granting the appropriate certification to various oils. If an oil’s performance was far enough off to be a problem, it would not meet the requirements for the specific API certification it was being considered for. So, all the end user has to do is look at the bottle of a “reputable brand” for the certification the oil has, and to change the oil at reasonable intervals, which for most street driven vehicles is ideally 5,000 miles. Doing that will provide an engine with the protection it needs in terms of acid neutralization and deposit and/or sludge build-up prevention. But, looking at PQIA, will NOT give you any information at all, about how well a given motor oil can provide wear protection, which is THE most important thing any motor oil does.

Motor oil lab printouts will only provide information such as the amount of metals, the amount of contaminants, the amount of additive package components in the oil, and its viscosity rating in centistokes (cSt) at 100*C (212*F). And the cost for this test is usually around $30.00 US per sample sent in.

According to a Royal Purple Motor Oil Engineer I spoke with a few years ago, he said only people outside of the Motor Oil Industry, use the unprofessional terminology of calling new oil lab tests, virgin oil analysis (VOA), and used oil lab tests, used oil analysis (UOA). The VOA and UOA references are commonly used on Internet Forum discussions about motor oil, even though they are not legitimate names. Even so, in order for the most people to follow along, I’ll continue to use that wrong terminology for a moment here.

For a VOA, you will NOT get any information on absolutely THE most important thing any motor oil does for your engine, and that is PREVENT WEAR. Everything else a motor oil does for your engine, comes AFTER that. There is not one thing in that lab printout that will tell you how good that oil is at preventing wear. And looking at the zinc and phosphorus levels is completely worthless, because as you will see below, those levels DO NOT predict an oil’s wear protection capability, even though countless people have been brainwashed to believe it does. Therefore, you still have no idea if that oil is any good at performing job number one for your engine. So, you are left with guessing, believing Advertising hype, or Internet chatter, as to which oil you should choose for your engine. In other words, you wasted $30.00 for the lab test, plus the cost of shipping, and your time, all for nothing.

If you have a lab printout from when an oil was brand new, and then you get a UOA of that exact same oil, you can compare those two printouts to see how the oil has changed during that particular change interval. There is definitely some value to that, for indications of engine health, how much of the factory additive package has been depleted, etc. But, it still doesn’t provide any meaningful direct information about how that motor oil compares to other motor oils in terms of wear protection. And if you do see extra metal quantity in the used oil that might be of concern, it is too late, because you are looking at results after the fact. Wear and/or damage has already begun. That is like closing the barn door after the horse already got out. And you still wouldn’t know if the extra metal is because of a poor choice of motor oils  or because of a mechanical problem.

So, you need something FAR BETTER than looking at PQIA info or motor oil lab printouts for selecting the best motor oil for your engine, if you are interested in the best possible wear protection for it.

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That something FAR BETTER, is the independent and unbiased Engineering testing I perform at a representative OPERATING OIL TEMPERATURE to establish motor oil wear protection capability.

Motor oils are derived from base oil stocks, which is a generic oil base that is modified with an additive package to produce a lubricant with the desired properties. A base stock oil with no additive package would perform quite poorly. Base oil stocks are classified by the API (American Petroleum Institute) and fall into one of the categories below:

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• Group I and II – are conventional mineral oils derived from crude oil.

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• Group III – is a highly refined conventional mineral oil made through a process called hydrocracking. This group of oil is allowed to be called a synthetic oil in North America.

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• Group IV – are true synthetic oils, known as PAO (Polyalphaolefin).
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• Group V – are synthetic base stocks other than PAO’s, which include esters and other compounds.
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People on Internet discussions argue endlessly over the merits or lack thereof, of these oil Groups, to try and determine which oil type is best to use. But, with my Engineering tests, you can bypass all that debate, and go directly to the results of how oils you find on Auto Parts Store shelves, actually perform when put to the test. My testing is a dynamic friction test under load, similar to how an engine dyno test is a dynamic HP/Torque test under load. Both tests show how their subjects truly perform in the real world, no matter what Brand names are involved, no matter what outrageous claims may have been made, and no matter what their spec sheets say.

The resulting breakthrough data used in the Wear Protection Ranking List is NOT my opinion, and it is NOT my theory. The data is the result of the Physics and Chemistry involved in the testing. I am only the messenger. The Science is what tells us how these oils perform. And no one can argue with Physics and Chemistry.

You can see my entire 195 motor oil “Wear Protection Ranking List”, which EXACTLY matches real world severe over-heating experience, real world Track experience, real world flat tappet break-in experience, and real world High Performance Street experience (test data validation doesn’t get any better than this), along with additional motor oil tech FACTS, that CANNOT be found anywhere else, by reading below.

Really Good Motor Oil Information

There is a blog about motor oils that is simply second to none and I want to share that with you: https://540ratblog.wordpress.com/

The information itself is something that you have to read through, compare and comprehend to fully understand his testing methodology. I have been studying his information now for about a year and it has certainly helped me to understand that for all of the Madison Avenue hype on motor oils, (which if you noticed lately you don’t see the amount of advertising that you once did) a lot of the claims that they make are really bogus.

From “Tech Facts, Not Myths”

MOTOR OIL ENGINEERING TEST DATA

The date June 20, 2013 just above, is the date this Blog was first started, NOT the date of the information included. It is regularly updated with the latest information, as indicated by the date several paragraphs below.

NOTE: The motor oil wear protection test data included in this Blog is from performance testing of many different motor oils, which shows how they compare relative to each other. The focus is on the motor oils themselves. Therefore, the resulting comparison data applies to ANY engine that uses the oils included here, no matter if the engine is used for racing, daily driving, grocery getting, watercraft, or any other activity.

Before we get into motor oil tech, let’s briefly touch on a little background info. That way people will better understand who I am and where I’m coming from. Here are my credentials:

Mechanical Engineer

U.S. Patent Holder (Mechanical device designed for Military Jet Aircraft)

Member SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)

Member ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

Lifelong Gear Head, Mechanic, Hotrodder, Drag Racer, and Engine Builder

I’m a working Professional Degreed Mechanical Engineer, and Mechanical Design Engineering is what I do for a living. A Mechanical Engineer is clearly the most qualified Engineer to test motor oil that was formulated by Chemical Engineers, for wear protection capability between mechanical components under load. But, as you will see below, the following write-up is not intended to be a chapter out of an Engineering textbook. And the intended audience is not other Engineers. There are no formulas, equations, charts or graphs. The intended audience includes Mechanics, Automotive Enthusiasts, Gear Heads, Hotrodders, Racers and Engine builders. So, it is written in normal everyday spoken language, rather than overly technical jargon. That way, it will be the easiest to follow and understand by the widest possible audience. And some key points will be “intentionally” reiterated from time to time as the information presented here progresses, to emphasize those points.

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** This Blog now has over 255,000 “views” worldwide!! Surpassing the incredible quarter of a million views milestone, clearly shows how popular this Blog is all over the world.
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Its view count has been increasing by nearly 10,000 views per month. And the highest number of views on a single day took place on November 6, 2015 when 996 views were recorded. Of course simply listing the number of views by itself, is not intended to indicate validation of the test data (validation is shown throughout the Blog). But, indicating the number of views does show that an enormous number of people worldwide recognize the value, understand the importance, and make use of the motor oil test data FACTS included here, that cannot be found anywhere else. And as a result, they are posting and sharing links to this Blog, all over the world.

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!! THE INFO ON THIS BLOG WAS LAST UPDATED ON January 5, 2017 !!

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• The view count above, was updated.

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NOTE: All oils used in the testing here, were purchased in the U.S.A., unless otherwise specified.
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BRIEF TECH INTRO:
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The absolute MOST important capability of any motor oil, is to PREVENT WEAR!!! And that capability is determined by its proprietary additive package formulation which includes the extreme pressure anti-wear components. Everything else a motor oil does, comes AFTER that. And everything else a motor oil does, is in “back-up support” of preventing wear. For example, preventing acid formation, ultimately prevents wear. Preventing deposit build-up, maintains oil flow and lubrication, preventing wear. Preventing sludge build-up, maintains oil flow and lubrication, preventing wear. Minimizing air bubbles/foam, keeps the oil mostly liquid oil which is required for proper lubrication, preventing wear, etc, etc. You get the idea.

Motor oil exists in “TWO” forms inside an engine, under which it needs to protect against wear. They are as follows:

1. “Liquid oil” which can be defined as oil thick enough to drip, run, pour or flow.

2. An “oil film” can be defined as a coating of oil too thin to drip, run, pour or flow.

An example of oil in “liquid” form, is in the rod and main bearing clearance, where the incompressible hydrodynamic liquid oil wedge is formed between the crankshaft journals and its bearing shells, as the oil is pulled in by the rotating crankshaft. Oil pressure does not keep the parts separated. Oil pressure serves only to supply oil to be pulled in between the parts.

The fact is, liquids cannot be compressed to allow metal to metal contact, so parts are kept separated and no wear or damage can take place. In liquid form, it does not matter what the oil’s viscosity is, what brand it is, how hot it is, nor how much it costs. Because in the incompressible liquid form, all motor oils provide the same unsurpassed wear protection.

A mere “film of oil”, is the last line of defense against metal to metal contact, and the subsequent wear and/or damage that can follow. An example of an oil film is between non-roller flat tappet lifters and cam lobes of traditional pushrod American V-8 engines, or in DOHC engines between the cam lobes and non-roller type followers they may use. But, it is most critical in pushrod engines which typically use large single intake and single exhaust valves with stiff valve springs, compared to DOHC engines which often use two smaller intake and two smaller exhaust valves with lighter and smaller valve springs. In these locations, no incompressible hydrodynamic liquid oil wedge can be formed because of the wide open parts configuration. And the oil present is simply pushed aside, leaving only a film of oil between the parts with a very thin, highly loaded “line contact” between the parts.

Since “all liquid oils” are incompressible and thus provide unsurpassed wear protection, there is nothing to test for comparisons between different oils in liquid form. My Engineering Tests evaluate the much more critical oil film strength/load carrying capability/shear resistance, which as mentioned above, is the last line of defense before metal to metal contact takes place.

No reliable comprehensive information had been available for this capability comparison, until I began my dynamic motor oil testing, under load, at a representative operating temperature. I perform those Engineering Wear Protection Tests to find out where the motor oil film strength, load carrying capability, shear resistance “limits” are for each individual motor oil. That’s what we compare. The higher the limit, given in PSI, the better the wear protection.

“Film strength, load carrying capability, shear resistance” performance is where motor oil wear protection capability VARIES WIDELY depending on a given oil’s proprietary formulation. And it is at the film strength level, where oils can be evaluated and compared, for those different wear protection capabilities. This is where good oils are separated from not so good oils.

Only dynamic wear testing under load, at a normal operating temperature, can reveal how the various motor oils truly compare regarding wear protection. So, that is precisely what I do to discover the facts. And that is why merely looking at an oil’s spec sheet is worthless. A spec sheet cannot show you an oil’s wear protection capability, because Engineering tests and real world experience have proven over and over again, that the zinc level does NOT matter. That is only a MYTH that has been repeated a million times until people just assume is true, which it is not. Only the psi value from my test data will actually show us how motor oils truly perform regarding wear protection.

My test data EXACTLY matches real world severe over-heating experience, real world Track experience, real world flat tappet break-in experience, and real world High Performance Street experience. Test data validation doesn’t get any better than this.

Bottom Line: You simply cannot find better information anywhere else, on “THE” most critical motor oil capability, which is wear protection. For all the comparison data, see my Wear Protection Ranking List below in this Blog.

But, there could be some confusion for people who do not actually read my entire Blog. My test data on wear protection is generally aimed at High Performance and Racing engines that are capable of pushing motor oils near their limits. So, knowing how capable various oils truly are, can be critical. It is of course also for people who simply want to know what oils will provide the best possible wear protection for their engines, even if they don’t technically push their motor oil near its limit.

However, for ordinary daily driver vehicles, the oil used is nowhere near as critical as it is for High Performance and Racing engines. So, a normal daily driver vehicle may operate just fine for the life of the engine on say a low performing 60,000 psi motor oil. But, a High Performance or Racing engine may require a high performing 90,000 psi or higher motor oil, to avoid wear and/or damage. It just depends on how much loading the engine puts on its motor oil.

And the better performing the oil, the higher the reserve wear protection capability, also called margin of safety, which means capability beyond what is actually required. If you have a problem at some point, say an engine component starts to fail, or the oil level gets low, or there is an overheating condition, or you increase the power level dramatically, etc, etc, then extra reserve wear protection capability could save your engine. So, people have to decide for themselves how much wear protection capability they feel comfortable with for any given engine build. And since you have to buy oil anyway, why not select a better performing motor oil while you are at it?
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Additional motor oil technical info:
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Oil is not the same temperature throughout a running engine, the highest oil temps will typically be found in the incompressible “liquid” oil wedge formed as the oil is pulled into the clearance of the rod and main bearings. That is because, the oil at those locations is being heavily loaded on the power stroke, while at the same time, being sheared. Oil at these locations can be 50* to 90* hotter than sump temperatures.
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During the very brief time interval that oil is flowing through the rod and main bearings, most oils will momentarily reach and exceed their thermal breakdown points. And the cooler the oil starts out, the lower the max temp it reaches there. This is where oils with a higher onset of thermal breakdown point, offer some benefit. Because the less often an oil reaches its breakdown point, and the lower the max temp reached above that point, the longer its capability will remain near new oil level. This means that oils with higher onset of thermal breakdown points, can go longer between oil changes, with regard to thermal deterioration. However, oils with more modest thermal breakdown points can also be used without issue, as long as reasonable oil change intervals are followed, to stay ahead of any significant thermal deterioration.
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The oil on the cylinder walls is not subjected to the burning combustion temperatures as some might think, because very nearly all oil has been scrapped off the cylinder walls by the oil rings, and is not present during combustion. If any significant amount of oil was still on the cylinder walls during combustion, the exhaust pipes would be blowing blue smoke.
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When the piston is at TDC, the cylinder walls are coated with oil from all the oil spraying and flying around inside the crankcase. But, as the piston moves downward, the piston skirt scrapes off excess bulk oil, and the lower oil ring of a multi-piece oil ring, scrapes additional oil off the cylinder wall like a squeegee scraping water off a windshield. So, there is a layer of liquid oil between the piston skirt and the cylinder wall (its thickness depends on the piston to cylinder clearance), not just merely an oil film like you would see between a non-roller flat tappet lifter and its cam lobe. And any oil the lower oil ring doesn’t scrape off, the top oil ring of the multi-piece oil ring, will scrape off, directing it through the oil ring expander/spreader and through the oil holes in the piston.

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Piston ring spring tension against the cylinder walls is NOT what seals the rings against combustion, like most people think. There is no possible way that a mere few pounds of ring spring tension alone, could keep the rings in proper contact with the cylinder walls during the high pressure of combustion. The fact is, rings are kept in contact with the cylinder walls during combustion primarily by the tremendous combustion pressure itself, which is typically well over 1,000 psi, depending on the particular engine. The rings’ spring tension does keep the rings in contact with the cylinder walls enough to direct the high combustion pressure through the ring side clearance above, and then on behind the rings’, to their inside diameter back clearance. And it is this force “behind the rings” that presses the rings out against the cylinder wall with enough force to seal the combustion pressure during the power stroke (some racing pistons have gas ports behind the rings just for this purpose). That is why proper ring side clearance and back clearance are very important, as is free ring movement in the pistons’ ring grooves. To ensure free ring movement and make sure that they don’t get gummed up and stuck in the piston ring groves, it is important to use quality fuel and to change the oil at reasonable intervals.
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And remember, cylinder walls are in direct contact with the coolant on their outer surface. So, the cylinders are the most directly cooled parts of an engine, meaning the oil side of the cylinder walls are not anywhere near as hot as many people might think.
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An ideal oil sump temperature range is between 215*F and 250*F. If your sump temperature runs hotter than this range, you should add an oil cooler, or upgrade your oil cooler, if you already have one. This range is hot enough to quickly boil off the normal condensation that always forms during cold engine start-up, before that water dilutes the oil.
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And that range is cool enough to do three things:
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1. It is cool enough to keep the oil’s wear protection capability at the highest level achievable by that oil.
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2. It is cool enough to provide critical cooling for engine components, which of course are directly oil cooled. Remember, engine components are only indirectly water cooled.
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3. It is cool enough to keep most oils below their onset of thermal breakdown point.
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But, motor oils do NOT stop working the instant they reach their onset of thermal breakdown point. However, it is not a good idea to run oil above its thermal breakdown point for extended periods of time. Because that will degrade its capability more and more as time/mileage goes on.

New Year – Same Stuff

Well the new year arrived a few days ago, Ms. Carey made a mess of it and did the typical thing – lets blame someone else so since Dick Clark isn’t around to defend himself anymore lets pick on his business. Sound familiar?

Moving on, with the jeep project completed and delivered we again started freeing up space in my very busy garage. For the first day or two after getting it cleared out, I almost regretted putting anything back in it. My dragster made it out of the box finally and into the smaller garage stall. It barely fits, has to be angled a bit and the rear wheels removed but it’s in there. So this will let me get two things done. One I can get back to finishing up all the little details in the enclosed trailer and two, put the dragster back together. Weather of course is going to play a part of this winter time game but today it’s nice, sun is out and the temperatures are up. This weekend they call for snow but we’ll see if it really gets here.

The dragster needs to have it’s engine and transmission reinstalled, some changes made to the electrical wiring and the panels painted. I started on the engine just before the holidays and I received a really nice gift from my wife for the engine – a new Moroso billet aluminum oil pump! Now, how many people do you know that actually get excited about an engine oil pump? Right. But if you knew that big block Chevy engines especially mounted in dragsters have a knack for breaking the stock style oil pump, which leads to other really bad, bad things – you would be excited too. So the oil pan that I just installed has to come back off but that’s okay. I can deal with it. A couple of other things that had to be done was getting the mandrel for the vacuum pump machined correctly and some work on the Brodix intake manifold to match up with the new carburetor spacer that I want to use this year. I am about 50% finished with that work. Other stuff was installing the valve train which included the new cam roller lifters, pushrods and the installation of the Jesel rocker arm assemblies. My son Phil spent a day with me to get all of that done. We also took some time to take the Camaro out to the New Year’s Eve race at Richmond Dragway. A couple of 1st round wins (entered both classes) were a great way to start the new year but 2nd round didn’t treat us as well. Oh well, on to the new season and I am looking forward to having my own car out there again.

On the Road Again – Jeep Part 4

img_1004 With the Jeep unloaded and parked in John’s garage, I wanted to take a little time and do some fine tuning. The carburetor was still being a bit of a pill and I think it was due to the normally aggressive nature of Holley units. This model series having started it’s life back in the late 50’s as a racing carburetor for the NASCAR boys probably has a lot to do with it too. We knew that the timing was off a bit, that the lifters were making a bit of noise and that we also had a minor exhaust leak going on. The leak in the exhaust tubing was quickly found but there appears to be an exhaust header gasket that might have given up too. We adjusted the timing and made some carb adjustments that seemed to help the idle quality but left a little bit to be desired just off idle. We also had a problem with the idle speed climbing as the engine warmed up, having to manually adjust it down. Mind you these were not major changes but just a little worrisome. The next thing to tackle was the lifter adjustment. When I built the engine and installed the valve train, I went through the firing order cylinder by cylinder adjusting the lifters by rotating the pushrod until it would not do so, then giving the adjustment an additional 1/2 turn. My thought was that I must have been a little light on one or two as I could detect some tapping. To adjust the lifters this time, I wanted to do it with the engine warmed up and running. We made up some cardboard to keep the oil from splashing on the headers and went through each one loosening it until it clattered then tightening it down until it was quiet and giving it an additional 3/4 of a turn. With the valve covers back on, we fired it up again and I was stunned that I could still hear some tapping but very minor in nature. But, when we dropped it in gear, the tapping became far more pronounced. Trying this a few more times, we thought the sound was coming from the lower back of the engine. We shut it off and checked underneath to make sure nothing was hitting anything but that was not the problem.

img_0995We decided that it could possibly be an issue related to one cylinder so we disconnected the number 8 plug wire as that cylinder is the rearmost one and tried it again. Other than the misfire you would expect, the sound was gone. We reconnected the plug wire and sure enough the sound came back. Whatever the problem was, it was the number 8 cylinder. After some quick work to find a set of rod bearings and some gasket material, we proceeded to dump the oil and remove the oil pan. Surveying the engine’s internals we could not see anything wrong with the rod or the bottom of the piston – that was a huge relief. Removing the number 8 rod cap and looking at the bearing, you could see that the witness marks showed that there was something going on at the top of the rotation and the bottom of it. Basically it was the instances where the piston is stopped at the top and bottom of the connecting rod throw. For some reason, the rod was actually moving up and down, however slightly on the rod journal. This is normally referred to as rod knock. I didn’t have any measuring tools with me and the rod journal itself looked to be in good condition. All I could do at this point was install a new bearing set and hope that it would take care of the issue. We put everything back together, letting it sit overnight so that the sealant around the oil pan could dry. The next morning was the moment of truth. We fired up the Jeep, tested the number 8 cylinder again and the noise was gone. I have to admit that I was very relieved that this was the case. I think overnight all I could think about was having to take the Jeep back home, pull the engine and go through it again.

I have lost count of the number of engines I have assembled over the years. I have now learned a new lesson and that is to make sure and check every bearing clearance twice. This is something that I do on every one of the race engines, but on a basic rebuild I would normally just check a couple of rod bearings and main bearings. The reason being is that I normally know the condition of the crank as to whether it is standard size or not and obviously would be putting in bearings that matched that size. I have never had a bearing set that was machined wrong as this one was. It now appears that this rod bearing set was marked as a standard size but was actually about .010 undersized which allowed the rod to move at the top and bottom of its stroke. Just to be fair, this one was not the fault of the Chinese. This bearing set was manufactured in Turkey.

Our next issue was really one of engine manners. The Holley carb was simply not the right piece for this build and while we got it a little bit better, we felt that switching to a carburetor more suited for the street would be a positive thing to do. So we picked up a 600 CFM Edelbrock carb and installed it the next day. Purchasing the carb was definitely a three-ring circus as it seems that Advance Auto refused to honor their so-called 10% off everything Black Friday sale.  I see it as false advertising but apparently they don’t care. Between this and the problems I had with the solenoids, I think my days in Advance Auto Parts are about done. Anyway to install the new carb, I had to manufacture a new retention device for the throttle cable and move some vacuum lines but tuning wise it only took a few minor adjustments to get the carb to where it was very well mannered. We took the Jeep out for a test run and my only concern was the timing again. The new distributor which was a GM HEI unit was providing too much advance via the vacuum control unit. I decided for the time being to remove the vacuum source to the control unit and just rely on the timing setting and the additional mechanical advance provided by the distributor. An additional test drive indicates that this was the right move to make.

This wraps up the Jeep Project, at least for now. And like most projects I learned a few different lessons along the way. If I were to ever do something like this again, there are a few things I would do differently like pulling the transmission out and setting up the engine/adapter/transmission in a dry run. There were painful issues with the adapter although it all eventually worked out but mocking it all up where I could get to it would have helped a lot. I would also make sure to check every part, especially anything electric or electronic right after it arrives. I lost too much time to chasing bad parts on this build and that added to the frustration. And lastly as much as I like and understand Holley carbs, sometimes they’re just not the right piece. The Edelbrock carb was a snap to setup and I am sure it will provide excellent service.

Overall though, I think the Jeep Project turned out pretty good. It’s a neat little hot rod now.

 

The Road to Success – Jeep Part 3

This was turning into some kind of Chess match, myself versus the Chinese.

In today’s global economy it has become very difficult to purchase American made automotive parts. Most of that work has been shipped off-shore due to the lower cost of personnel. I dare say if you walked into any of the major parts chain stores with a list of 50 automotive items, 90% or better would be manufactured outside of this country. The real downside to that is the quality or lack thereof that comes with those parts. This actually becomes a hidden expense in wasted installation time and the time spent obtaining the part in the first place. So far on this project, I had lost out to a starter solenoid and a defective ignition distributor. There was more to come.

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Standard Ford 4-Pole Starter Solenoid

In my part of the country the UPS is now handing off packages to the US Postal System for delivery. Not all packages but quite a few are coming this way now. As the days dragged on, I kept watching the Big Brown Truck drive right by my garage, no delivery. In fact I started to think the driver was just screwing around with me, the package was on the truck but he just wasn’t going to deliver it. I was running out of time. Our schedule called for us to be on the road the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving Day heading to Florida. Along on that trip was supposed to be an open trailer carrying a Jeep. There were now 4 days left before leaving and I had a Jeep that wasn’t running. I checked on the shipment of the distributor and yes it was on it’s way but there was no indication of when it would arrive.

The following day as I watched the UPS truck drive by once again, I noticed there was something leaning against the mailbox post. I went to check and sure enough, it was the distributor and it had been delivered sometime that day by the postal service. They just put the delivery at the mailbox, it could have sat out there all evening long. Anyway, I was anxious to get it put in and see if the engine would fire up okay. And it did, it was a little rough as I noticed I had some issues going on with the hydraulic valve lifters so I wanted to be sure and check those clearances again. But the engine wouldn’t shut off, not until we stuffed enough rags on the carburetor to gag it. We looked around, we checked wiring and couldn’t detect anything that seemed to be in error. So we started it again and the same sequence occurred, I now had an engine that would start and run but wouldn’t shut off. So we got out the light probe again and started breaking the problem down. The first thing that we noticed was that with the ignition in the on position, the wiring harness leading back to the cabin was getting extremely hot. To the point where the ignition wire going to the solenoid was not touchable. So we cut the harness open looking for something that was causing the problem. We traced it all the way back to where it enters the cabin and goes into the steering wheel shaft. It didn’t make any sense, this had not been a problem with the old engine and certainly if something was crossed up before, the wiring harness would have melted and possibly burned. Finally we narrowed the problem down to the starter solenoid – again. While this one would at least operate and allow the engine to be started, apparently something inside it was not releasing plus keeping a high resistance on the ignition wire. I really did not want to go get a third Chinese solenoid. I had one option on this, I had a real American built starter solenoid that I had purchased about 10-11 years ago and it was part of my spare racing parts stash. I did not want to let it go, who knows if I can ever find another good one? My son finally convinced me that we had to at least try it and see if that was causing the problem. So after installing this solenoid, the ignition wire going back to the switch remained cool to the touch, the Chinese had won another round. But after we started the engine again, we were still faced with the same problem – it wouldn’t shut off! So here we go again, breaking the problem down and trying to figure out where the ignition was getting power from after the key was turned off. After making a number of test hits, it turned out to be feedback from the alternator field wiring. With the alternator spinning, it was producing enough voltage to power the distributor and in turn keep the engine firing, even without a connection to the battery in place. I had to take apart the wiring harness going to the alternator and place a diode in the circuit that would allow us to “energize” the alternator to get it working but keep the voltage from feeding back to the distributor. With that in place, the engine would now shut off as it should.

img_0795I now had a little over one day left to sort out any remaining issues. I could still hear something in the engine but decided that I would be better off getting all of the systems topped off with fluids, other items dressed and tucked away plus re-taping a major portion of the wiring harnesses. I also had to get the Jeep loaded on the trailer so I really needed to take it for a short drive. That was done without much of an issue although the lifter noise was starting to be bothersome and I also had too much ignition lead. I loaded up the Jeep and then put some additional tools in the truck that I felt I would need to resolve the remaining issues. I would be in Florida with the Jeep for almost a week – certainly enough time to correct a few minor tuning issues. Ha, shows what I know.

Next: Who’s knocking?

 

 

 

The Big Freeze – Jeep Part 2

Time, that’s all we need is more time.

I had reached an interesting point in the project where the engine was in, some of the accessories were bolted into place and I was faced with a lot of wiring decisions to make and execute. Usually on a car project you can start feeling pretty darn good at this time as once wiring is done, its usually only a few more steps to firing the beast up and sealing the deal.

img_1217Anyone that was in the mid-Eastern United States from about the end of July to late September can tell you that this was a brutally hot and humid weather period. On a normal summer day, I might go through a couple of t-shirts but this time around 4-5 was more the norm than not. And anyone can tell you that it takes a ton out of you just to bend down and check the air pressure in a tire when the temperatures and humidity are staying that high too. So things slowed down a bit. I tried my best to either work on the Jeep early in the day or sometimes late at night, but that didn’t always work out.

But the real show stopper was another project. This one has been in the works for a very long time and is an upstairs area that was a walk-up attic. I started putting walls up, finishing flooring, installing electrical and insulation years ago but with other things taking a higher priority it was always a situation of working on it when I had some time or was just in the mood to mess with it. The finished area is about 750 sf and has a central room, dropped bedroom area and a small storage closet.

One of the things that was needed was finishing off the wallboard for the ceilings and the bedroom area. We had an opportunity to hire some people to take care of that and the snowball effect kind of took over. Unfortunately the people we hired were not very good at the actual finish work and while I am not great at it, it had to be done. There were endless days of putting mud on and sanding it off trying to get everything straight. Then more time for painting and finishing up a few electrical outlets. Next it had to be trimmed out along with getting that trim painted so that the carpet could be installed. Overall and pretty much right in the middle of this crazy weather, we spent about 8 weeks getting it to the carpet stage. This was also 8 weeks that the jeep project didn’t make progress.

So we fast-forward back to the Jeep and it’s a mad dash to figure out the new wiring that had to integrate with the old stuff. A lot of wire tracing and probing with a light tool was going on with sometimes the results just not making any sense. I finally reached the point where everything “seemed” to be ready to go, so our initial test was just spinning the engine over – and it did, continuously. The Chinese had struck again, a brand new starter solenoid sourced from Advance Auto Parts would engage, but not release. Each time I tried it the starter stayed engaged until I pulled the battery cable. So it was back to the store to exchange it for another one. The new one worked and I moved on to attempting to get the engine started. I filled the carb bowls with fuel, gave it a few squirts and hit the key, nothing. No pop, spit or any kind of attempt to fire up. Okay, we need fuel, air, compression and spark – that’s it and I was sure of the first three. So I took the number one spark plug wire and connected to my little homemade spark tester (an old spark plug welded to a ground clamp), spun the engine over and nothing. No spark – brand new Pertronix distributor out of the box. I decided maybe the coil was the issue, it too was a Pertronix piece to match the distributor. I borrowed a known good MSD coil and still – nothing. So I marked the distributor where I had it installed to make it easier to line it back up and pulled it out. I went through the wiring on it to see if anything had been knocked loose but no luck with that either. I then decided to set it up on the bench and test it there to see if I had made a wiring error but that didn’t produce any spark either. So it was arrange for the return of the defective one and obtain a new one. Round Two to the Chinese.

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While waiting for the distributor to show up I moved on to finishing up the new gauge installation. I installed mechanical oil pressure and water temperature gauges replacing the factory supplied electric units that were basically non-functional. I also had the exhaust system to install. The engine was equipped with a set of Hedman Headers for the engine conversion and I obtained a 2″ exhaust kit from Speedway Motors and Turbo style mufflers from Jegs Automotive. There was some cutting and welding to be done getting things lined up and in place but overall the worst of if was finding room along the transaxle on the passenger side. It’s tight even for a two inch piece of pipe. The next piece that had to be reworked was the shifter mechanism. With the additional width of the V-8 engine, the original piece that translates the movement of the shifter to the transmission was about 5-6 inches wide. I cut it down to about 3 inches and welded it back together plus made a plate to hold the lever for the engine side.

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At this point, everything that needed to be done was done – I just didn’t have any way to fire the engine.

Next: Where is that UPS guy??

 

And There was This Jeep

img_0795It all started as a bit of a lark really. I was helping my son-in-law John with an oil leakage problem on his new toy a few years ago, an older CJ5 Jeep. Looking at the engine compartment, I mentioned that what we really should do is just give up on the straight six cylinder and put a small block Chevy in it. Nothing much came of it at the time. We did what we could for the oil leak, but the carburetor on it was worn out as were the piston rings. The cloud of oil smoke coming out of the valve cover filler hole was evidence to that fact. The engine either needed a complete rebuild which from certain witness marks appeared to have already been done at least once in its life or it needed to be replaced. Jump forward a couple of years and we talked again about what could be done engine wise for the Jeep. We originally talked about finding another suitable 6 cylinder engine to rebuild and then swap the refresh for the worn-out and call it good. Then we moved as every hot rodder does to something a little more fun. I went back to my suggestion of a small block Chevy motor and now I had the perfect candidate sitting on an engine stand at home. The Monza had come to us with a, well what was supposed to be a .030 over Chevy 350 “roller motor”. Now let me explain some of the terminology in that description. “.030 over” would mean that the cylinders had been cut 30 thousandths of an inch larger in size and doing the math should result in a new engine size of 355 cubic inches. “Roller Motor” in drag racing parlance means that the engine is equipped with a roller type camshaft and roller lifters. These items normally add substantial power to an engine as the valves can be lifted higher and longer. Modern factory hi-performance cars over the last 12-15 years have used this roller technology. Well, as it sometimes goes, the engine wasn’t exactly what we were told it was. It turned out that the engine was actually cut .060 over making it a 358 cubic inch engine and it didn’t have the roller camshaft and lifters. We were disappointed of course but the engine had served its purpose for us and had been replaced with a fresh power unit.

img_1003John agreed that this was the route we would take and on a visit in the spring, I loaded up the Jeep and brought it to Virginia from Florida. I started out the initial work by getting the block, rods and crankshaft over to my machinist friend, Chester Houghtaling. If you ever need precise, on the button machine work, a racing engine or just a rebuilt engine for your favorite ride, he’s the guy to see. (Contact me for his contact information) Right off the bat we had a problem, the crankshaft was junk, shot, done – finished. We had to find another one and something on the cheap to keep the project within the budget. It took a few weeks but we finally something that would work for us. It cleaned up with just a polishing so we were able to use standard sized bearings but it did have to be balanced to match our rod/piston combination. Next on the list was the top of the engine. I had already sold the Vortec heads that came on the engine along with the racing intake manifold. I didn’t have a carburetor either. I was also going to need things like a pulley for the water pump and another one for the power steering pump. We also needed an adapter to connect the Chevrolet engine to the Chrysler transmission that Jeep had installed at the factory. I needed a new radiator to match the Chevy engine, the radiator hoses and an electric fan for cooling as I did not want to mess with an engine mounted fan. We also needed a method of getting rid of the exhaust from the engine. The parts list became almost endless. I scored parts from Chester for a few items, RacingJunk.com for some and most everything else save for a few pieces I had on hand to toss at it came from catalogs or local parts stores.

Where we ended up was with a 358 cubic inch engine that might be a touch larger than that as we had the cylinders honed to clean them up. We used flat top rebuild type pistons with oversized rings that I hand cut to help keep the compression up, stock factory rods equipped with ARP bolts to keep the big-end together and another 350 crankshaft that was balanced to match them. The heads were mid-80’s units with a new valve job that measured 76cc to get the compression where we could run regular fuel. The camshaft is a mild hydraulic performance cam that is maybe a touch better that the old 350/350hp camshaft from Chevrolet.  The rest of the valve train was stock 80’s stuff, as are the valve covers. The oil pan came from some previous project but fit perfectly and it covers a new Melling oil pump and pickup. On the initial fire-up we were looking at a nice 60 pounds of oil pressure using 10w-30 weight oil. With some heat in the oil we should be around 42-45 pounds – again perfect. The intake manifold is a mid-60’s Edlebrock dual plane unit that is fitted with a completely rebuilt and reworked Holley 650 CFM carburetor. Our first shot at the ignition was a Pertronix unit – later on we will tell you why to never, ever purchase one of their parts – but our second shot was a fantastic HEI unit, and more on that one later too.

With the engine built, it was time to address the Jeep and its 6 cylinder engine. One of the things that we wanted to do was to get rid of this engine. Now, I do have a local trash recycling facility that allows us to drop things like engine blocks and such, but you do have to make sure it is clear of any oil or coolant. You also have to have some method of getting it off the back of your truck and into the metal dumpster that is about 4-5 foot from your truck. I took a chance on the easy option here and ran an ad in Craigslist for the 6 cylinder engine. A couple of hundred for a complete, rebuildable engine that you could hear start up and run. I was shocked that it only took two days for someone to show up and take a look at it. They bought it on a Friday and I promised them that they could pick it up Monday afternoon, which meant I spent a good part of that weekend snatching the engine out of a Jeep.

With the engine gone, I took a little bit of time and tried to clean up the firewall and chassis area some. I say some because after a number of cans of foamy engine cleaner it really didn’t look like I was making much progress. Anyway, I wiped things down with some heavy duty degreaser, sprayed off the mess and let it dry. The first order of business was fitting the new adapter plate from Advance Adapters to the Chrysler transmission. Ha-ha, what fun we had with this one. The instructions are clear but there were several areas due to a lack of firewall clearance that made it more than difficult to mount the adapter and get it bolted up cleanly. I finally managed it but what I thought would be a 15-20 minute job turned into something that took several hours. I had to take the adapter off more than a few times to just slightly open a hole here and there to allow the bolt that they supplied to actually fit. There is also an adapter for the torque convertor that only goes on one way and with four bolt holes that have to be lined up perfectly, the challenge was that at any given point 3 of the 4 would but not that 4th bolt. But as you try each available combination you finally get it right and all 4 bolts fit the way they should.

img_1021Next up was actually installing the fresh engine. This is where I would love to say it fell into place, I bolted it up and everything was done. Nope. I struggled getting the back of the engine to even line up correctly with the adapter plate and when I finally got them mated, getting them bolted together was an absolute nightmare. I ended up making a couple of changes to the adapter plate just to make it a little easier to get a couple of the bolts in and then I found out that with the engine placed in a level position I discovered that the adapter was running into the driveshaft for the front wheel drive. Luckily there was plenty of adapter metal there and I was able to trim off a good sized chunk of it to provide clearance. My next task was setting up and welding in the side engine mounts. Pretty simple affairs that actually use the mounting biscuits designed for a 1932 Ford on a large angle piece of iron plate. Before welding though, I need to fit the exhaust headers and make sure I had clearance room for them. It would have been a real pain to weld those puppies in only to find out that the headers would not clear! With the welding completed, I now had the engine mounted to the chassis. Next things on the list were to start making brackets for the alternator and power steering pump. Basically nothing stock was going to work and all of these parts either had to be hand built or at least modified to work. It took several days to come up with brackets that would do the job and allow the belts to line up properly on the pulleys, then there was the multiple runs to the parts store trying to get the correct length belts to fit those pulleys. Somewhere at some point I think I said hot rodding was fun – I may yet live to retract those words.

img_1024Next time – a major delay

 

 

Car Enthusiasts Forums

Over a long period of time, I have read and posted on a lot of different forum groups. All of them have been car related and either in the category of trying to provide someone help from my own knowledge or obtaining information about something that I am working on. There can be a wealth of information on some of them but others sometimes make you wonder where the car hobby is actually headed. It is the latter that has me really concerned.

Small Block Chevy – Jeep CJ5

Bad information is sometimes worse than no information at all, especially if it leads someone down an expensive path of mistakes with their own project. But like most things in this world, it seems that if you repeat it often enough and long enough then somewhere it becomes truth. Trying to challenge these “truths” can be quite the undertaking, almost to point of being Quixote in nature. I do try however whenever I can to gently and nicely straighten out someone’s misinformed mindset. Maybe if I just save one? I am never really sure that I am successful but at least I get an “E” for effort I suppose. As an example, one of the more entertaining rants followed another forum poster’s extremely well done installation of a remote filter and oil cooler installation. I have actually used this information to provide this upgrade to my own JDM (Japanese Domestic Manufacturer) vehicle along with two others. Uninformed individuals swore up and down that this upgrade would destroy the engine, that the engine’s oil pump would break and that the cooler oil would wreck havoc upon the engine. Overall, a lot of nonsense. Anyone that has a sports model of these vehicles, one that has an oil temperature gauge (whoa, wait a minute – the manufacturer thought that an oil temperature gauge was important on a sports model – maybe there is something to this?) understands that keeping the oil temperature within a certain range is important to the life of the engine. It doesn’t take but a small amount of vigorous driving to push the oil temperature upward very quickly. Hotter oil is thinner and therefore more at risk of allowing that dreaded metal-to-metal contact that is so detrimental to the internals of an engine. But according to those other individuals, the pump was never designed to push oil through lines and coolers and such, it would surely snap the oil pump’s driveshaft at the worse possible moment. But did any of them notice that the factory offers a kit to do the same exact thing? That the factory does not offer a bigger, heavier oil pump? Maybe we can put two and two together? Nope – doesn’t happen. This information about the install was posted about 5 years ago and to this day still gets negative posts in response.

And that leads me to the next thing in this hobby. While I certainly understand some hesitation in trying something for the first time or the thought that if this messes up, it’s going to be expensive to fix – I don’t see a lot of people venturing into the unknown. And I am starting to see this as a cultural thing. I don’t want to buy that aftermarket hot rod part without being completely convinced that it is going to fit perfectly without me having to do anything else. This appears to be the mantra of the new style hot rodder. Even the ones that should know better have suddenly picked this up recently. A post I just read last night was along the lines of, “I want to put a Chevrolet LS engine in my classic mid-50’s Chevrolet, but I don’t want any problems and I see that no one makes the pre-bent fuel supply lines now.” “What do I do now?”  Well, I guess your quest for a late model powered mid-50’s vehicle just came to a screaming halt. To me, there is something wrong here but I am often reminded that this is “okay”. And I guess it is in the general sense of things. Inside, I am sorry this person cannot proceed however maybe it’s better that they didn’t bother too. I don’t have the answer, I am just happy that I am not that type of person.

 

End in Sight?

Well after more months than I care to count, the Monza is just about ready to go out the door finally. Sure, there are a few bits to take care of but the list is getting shorter and doing so rather quickly. At this point, I am really waiting on other people more than just facing a pile of parts and work.

Over the last few weeks the bodywork was finished, a coat of Petty blue paint was applied, all of the connections for the engine were completed such as radiator, hoses, fuel lines, vacuum lines and even spark plug wires. The transmission had to be backed off so that we could install the flexplate, convertor and the starter. Most of it went okay but we found that with this aftermarket block and the smaller 153 tooth flexplate, the starter had to be ground a bit to clear the block. Nothing huge but again it’s the details that matter.

We also had our first attempt at building the headers for the engine and I must say that they turned out pretty good. They are not equal length but after doing some reading, I found out that equal length headers are actually pretty rare birds. I believe we are within a couple of inches so I am satisfied with that and hopefully they will make good power. Our next task was grinding out the header plates to match the exhaust ports and moving some of the brake lines on the left front of the car at the master cylinder to keep them away from the header heat.

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Lexan was cut for new windows except for the windshield. I outlined each one about an inch around the perimeter with black paint and mounted them with stainless steel button head screws. The rest of the interior was installed along with a new electric shifter arrangement and RPM switch for selecting the shift point.

One of our friends is helping out with doing some TIG welding on the wheelie bars and track locator bar. I had to mock up the wheelie bars to figure out where the mounts go on the rear housing, then pull it back out and do the finish welding on that. With that accomplished I was able to finish up the brake connections at the rear, put lube in the rear finally and then get the brakes bled out. One of the changes I made when doing the bodywork was filling in the old vent area in front of the windshield. While that turned out good, it also meant I had to find a new way to fill the master cylinder. There is a firewall of course in the car that has a top plate that sits under the aluminum dashboard. So I cut a hole in the top of this to access the master cylinder and made up a plate to screw back in place to cover the hole. With the brakes finished, I then put the aluminum dashboard back in and the interior is complete.

One item that I have to figure out is getting the hood scoop sealed to the carburetor. There are a couple of options, one is to put a plate on the carb and seal it with foam to the scoop or build a plate that mounts to the bottom of the hood and sits down on the carburetor. Either way the hood scoop doesn’t do much good without being sealed to the carburetor.

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Update – I wrote the above back around the first of June. This is now the middle of July and the car has been finished and made a couple of trips to the drag strip. Our first two shots were less than spectacular and it’s a long story but I failed to read the camshaft card information that was given to me. Messing up the firing order of the engine will definitely cut the power output but as it turns out, maybe that was a good thing. We only picked up about .40 over the runs with the previous engine in place and as you have read there have been a ton of changes made to the car so that was certainly disappointing. But once we figured out the camshaft information, we had an entirely new animal to deal with and the chassis of the car became the center of our attention. We next attempted to try the car out with a test and tune at Coastal Plains dragway located in Jacksonville, NC. As it turns out this is more a street event for them and the track preparation is minimal at best – this along with a lot of new horsepower was not the ideal situation for us. We had problems right off the bat with the carb being gummed up with a gel and trying to get it to idle or just drive around the pits was tough. We lucked out in being able to borrow a carb from the Camaro and while it was rich, it did get us going. Initial launches of the car had us going for the fence almost immediately and even reducing launch RPM did not seem to have much impact. We finally decided that our best plan was just to try and get to the 60 foot mark with the car and not go any further under power. This allowed us to make a couple of adjustments to the ladder bars that finally allowed the car to launch straight. Unfortunately, on the last launch the driver decided to run it through – kind of a bad mistake as the car went to the right, then left, right and finally into the left lane of the track. We discovered that we had a leaking overflow bottle that was putting down some water under the right side of the car. I also believe that we need to make a front spring change as the car has zero rotation front to rear and the rear shocks are positioned too far down and need to be raised.

Currently we are not sure when our next session will be as we want to make these changes and with the current weather situation, we either are getting rained out or the heat is so oppressive that tracks are cancelling events.

Quick Performance – Too Many Issues

It’s a long story and they resolved some of it but we’re still having issues.

Someone else on the Tri-Chevy.com forum said something about not bashing a vendor and I do get that but damn it they are very willing to take your cash for the product so they do have a responsibility to at least provide what they sold you. Anything else if not corrected is simply fraud.

I can only say at this point is that if you do not have a machine shop at your disposal you will be hurting. Forget timelines and understand that the odds of anything fitting correctly the first, second or third time is seemingly unlikely.

We ordered a narrowed 9″ housing, aftermarket axles (Moser), 3rd member with spool/pro gears/billet pinion support and flange, and a universal disc brake kit.

The 3rd member was assembled and came in a Loews bucket. I guess the idea was to protect the 3rd member without supplying the cost of an actual enclosure for it. Remember, a Ford 9″ 3rd member assembled weighs about 70-80 pounds. The plastic bucket was destroyed in transit and we had to spend some time with an airgun and a can of brake cleaner to rid it of hundreds of tiny bits of plastic. The axles were not drilled for the dual wheel pattern we requested or the correct sized lugs and had to be corrected. The discs supplied in the kit were not drilled for the correct pattern nor the correct size lugs (1/2″), those also had to be returned. The second set of discs sent were not the optional drilled and slotted as requested and paid for so those had to be returned too. I have spoke with the owner a couple of times and been assured that things would be taken care of but I sit here now waiting on some minor hardware parts that were supposed to be supplied and have never been shipped. I have called back since then, spoke with a representative that told me someone would call me – that hasn’t happened yet either.

The universal brake kit needs to be cut off the rear as I mistakenly welded it in place without realizing that it allows the GM calipers to mount too far out from the discs which ends up using only about 65% of the pad surface. So much for water-jet cut brake mounting pieces as you have to modify them yourself to get them fitted correctly. There were no instructions included with the kit either but we had installed a similar kit on the Camaro when we built it and did not have these problems.

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We placed this order in December, 2015 thinking we would have plenty of time to make this swap and have the car out for our first points event this season. Car still sits in the garage yet to turn a wheel this year – 4 points races have come and gone now. I guess the standard statement here is that you get what you pay for – well I think we paid rather dearly for this rear end. I can tell you that we have only had to check the rear in the Camaro a couple of times over the 10 years we have raced it, I can also tell you that I will probably pull the rear from the Monza next off season to verify that everything is okay with it.

I am actually not mad about this either as most of the issues were eventually resolved but how a company can stay in business having to rework order after order is beyond me.

Long Rides, Racing and Tough Days

Not too sure of the mileage traveled but the first few months of 2016 have definitely been busy so far. We made the run from central Virginia to Jacksonville, Florida to visit with my daughter and her family for an extended week. Certainly had some fun and enjoyed ourselves. We then made a quick run down and across Florida to St. Petersburg to visit with my wife’s aunt. She recently turned 90 and is doing well. Coming back we stopped off at Ormond Beach to check out the town and look around at some real estate. I guess our beach town of Surf City has spoiled me because Ormond was way, way too busy for my taste.

One of the things that we planned was bringing back the Jeep that we will be swapping a fresh small block Chevy motor in over the next couple of months. As we were heading back up Interstate 295, there was a sudden rumble and as I checked the mirror I knew we had a tire that just exploded. The next question on my mind was whether it was my truck or the trailer? As it turned out, the front right trailer tire had let go, making a mess of the fender, destroying the marker light and leaving us in a lurch. There was an exit just a few hundred yards away and lucked out when we were informed at a drive-in that a tire store was just a few miles down the road. So, four trailer tires, a little over an hour of time and $400 later we were back on the road headed to Virginia.

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Back home again, I dived back into the Monza again. I finished up the new brackets front and rear for the ladder bars, got the rear spring mounts fitted and was ready to put the new rear disc brakes in place. Bam, dead stop. The discs were supposed to come with dual axle patterns for 1/2 inch racing studs. No luck the discs were single pattern and of course not the one we were running and the holes were not drilled for 1/2 inch studs. On the phone, the tech at the place we purchased the rear from is telling me that they don’t sell any single pattern discs. Right – and then tells me that he will call me back in an hour. So later that day I end up calling them back again and I am told that new discs are being shipped out to me. Okay – that takes care of the problem. In the interim we put together a portable paint booth made up from PVC tubing and plastic sheeting. My main objective here is to try and keep dust from the garage off of the fresh paint I shoot. My shop is an “everything” deal so a perfectly clean paint booth it is not. I also start reassembling the interior of the car getting just about all of the interior sheetmetal back in place, the seat, safety belts and other bits and pieces. Moving the car to the center of the shop, I then started working on straightening out the sheetmetal and fiberglass. This has turned out to be a very long process as the body in various ways is far from being straight. A constant series of priming, guide coating, blocking and then more bondo putty as  needed seemed to be the drill for several days. Finally, the steel shell was relatively straight and I could start the process on the fiberglass parts.

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Towards the end of the following week we take the Camaro and venture down to the Racer Appreciation Race at Rockingham Dragway, NC. An interesting way to start the season, this is a free entry race for both days and there is $2000 for footbrake racers each day. Saturday starts out a little ominous as the 40 degree weather is making it really difficult to get the engine fired up. We try our usual bag of tricks but still no luck and time trials are well underway. I opt to try a little bit of the fuel that we use for the generator and get myself into some trouble. As I am adding a douse of fuel to the carb, I forget to check and make sure that there is no heat coming from the carburetor venturi. Alcohol burns clear and it can be difficult to tell that you have a small fire going on. So I end up making a big mistake, the fuel flashes and with my gloved hand on fire, I drop the small cup of fuel down the left side of the engine. Phil pulls the extinguisher from the car and between that and smothering the flames with rags we get the fire out. Now we have a carb that has a pretty good dose of powder in it so it has to come off and we stay busy for a bit cleaning up the engine compartment. We go to our backup carb and start trying to get the engine fired again, which it does after making a few adjustments to the idle mixture screws. The car is running fairly well staying within about .001 of it’s dial but a late reaction time in the 4th round ends our evening. The next morning, it’s a little warmer and we get the engine fired up okay. There is no time trial so the plan is to re-enter if we miss our dial for 1st round. The burnout is good, the car launches and then about half-track I don’t hear anything but see Phil move to the right of the lane – something is wrong. After doing what checking we can, we find that we have an engine issue and our day is finished.

Since I was close to our beach house – a little less than 3 hours – I headed in that direction while Phil took the rig home. My plan was to spend a couple of days there with my wife Debbie, get a few odd ball things done, pickup Enzo and Theo – our Yorkies and head back home.  Getting back to my shop, it was time to get back on the Monza again. Besides fitting the new rear hatch in place, I gave the main body of the car a good overall sanding and then starting taping off the interior portion of the car. I also used some cardboard to keep excess paint off of the underside of the car. I needed to keep working on the one-piece front end of the car as the fenders did not match up very well with the new ‘glass doors. The back edge of the fenders has to be extended and then matched to the contour of the doors. The front end will need quite a bit of work to get it ready for paint too. Next up was making up a batch of epoxy primer and giving the main portion of the body a really good solid coat. I sprayed about two wet coats then waited a 5 minute flash time before applying two more. I did this once more and the body is fairly well sealed up at this point. The idea behind the epoxy primer is to seal any old paint and exposed metal plus provide a solid base for subsequent body work.

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At this point, the rear brake rotors had still not showed up so the rear still sits on the table waiting. BTW, we are now at day 12 and counting since I was informed that new ones had been shipped to me. Back to the body, between removing paint and some of the old bondo work, the body was wavy at best. So it was time to start leveling out the body with bondo and hammer work as needed, block sanding it down, spraying on a filler primer and then blocking again. I only had to repeat this for three days before I was actually happy with the body and I still have a few spots to work on the roof and cowl areas.

The brake rotors finally showed up so I was all set to install the brakes on the rear. Oops, dead stop again. Seems the discs that they sent were the plain Jane models and not the upgraded slotted and drilled units that I had originally ordered and paid for back in December. So back on the phone again, this time with the guy that took my original order. He apologizes and says he can get the replacement discs out overnight to me – good, problem solved – again. The new discs arrive and they are the right ones. But, before I break out the welder and go to work we have now ordered wheelie bars for the car and those brackets have to be added to the rear end too. So after all of this, I am now waiting for that order to show up and hopefully I will have a completed rear that I can put under the car in the next few days – we will see how that works out.

Next up was picking up the completed engine from Progressive Performance, without revealing too many details let’s just say that we have a very stout small block, in fact according to the shop it is the best one that they have ever had for this cubic inch size. We touched up the bare block with a few coats of clear paint, made sure that everything was tight and proceeded to mount the engine between the frame rails. Everything fit well except for having to grind off an 1/8″ from the bottom of the MSD crank trigger mount to clear the front crossmember. When we mocked up the front engine plate late last year we had lowered and leveled the engine in comparison to the original side mounting of the engine. In fact the old mounts had the engine pointing skyward so we had some anguish as to whether the Hamburger racing pan was going to clear everything, including the ground. As it turned out, all was good and looks just about perfect to us. Our next work item will be making the headers and probably moving some of the brake pieces to provide room for them.

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We had hoped to make the first points race at Richmond Dragway this season but hopefully we will be out with the car before the second meet comes up in about 4 weeks. We expect the performance to be strong somewhere in the mid 5’s or better for starters.

 

 

 

 

Downtime?

Ah, a little bit of downtime – thought I would try and get an update posted before the next bell rings and all hell breaks loose again.

I am currently sitting in a Micky D’s in a strange city – but they have free WiFi so what’s not to like? Before I left the nice comfy climate of home with it’s up and down weather patterns where one day you have two feet of snow and the next it’s 60-plus degrees I was able to accomplish a few things.

The Monza project has taken on a new life as we go from just replacing a few bits and pieces to very seriously rebuilding the car again. Honestly, I have most of the work I did last year on the car around this time completely tore apart. Of course the upside is that I know how it goes back together but I am not sure that really makes me feel that much better about it. The body is getting massaged and repaired as needed with the addition of new fiberglass doors, hood, scoop and rear hatch cover. All of these parts take a tremendous amount of time to sand, primer, sand, primer and so on to get them straight enough to shoot paint on. Oh yes, there is shooting paint too plus coming up with some new graphics to make the monotone paint job stand out. We have also elected to replace the 12 bolt GM rear in the car with a 9 bolt Ford piece, a little bit lower gear ratio, new front ladder bar adjustments, new rear disc brakes and I still have a set of headers to build for the new engine. And race day is less than a month from now – gonna be burning a lot of propane heat to get this done.

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My dragster has patiently waited for the last 3 years to make it’s way back to the track and I am itching to get back in the driver’s seat myself. Most of the dragster is actually together – thank goodness – but it too needs a paint job along with a nice list of to-do’s just to button it up and get it going again. The last season I raced it, it was in grey primer – I vowed that I would not return looking like that again so I am really hopeful that once the Monza is all squared away, I can slide some body panels into the paint booth and get them done. I am also looking lighten up the front a little bit and the new power we have found should make for a fun ride.

The 350GT – yes I renamed it to the JDM model instead of the US designation is getting sanded down for paint. Of course just to throw me for a loop I moved the car to a different parking spot before the holidays and then went to move it in the garage a couple of weeks ago and it wouldn’t start. After a few minutes of “listening” and diagnosing the problem, I figured out that the original fuel pump had given up the ghost just sitting there. How that happened is well beyond me but there we go in 30 degree weather, snow on the ground and slush everywhere taking out the backseat and replacing the fuel pump with a new higher performance model. Oh and no one tells you that the new one doesn’t fit the freaking stock fuel pump holder! So it’s get the Dremel tool out and go to work making it a little bit larger so that it will fit the new, larger fuel pump. Aren’t performance parts just wonderful? And then me being me, I realize that while I have the rear seat out, hey I can pull those side interior pieces, re-glue the leather trim that is coming off and replace those lousy speakers with a new set of Alpines to match the rest of the car. And that’s how I end up with a GT350 that looks like it’s hiding from a wrecking yard with an interior that is in a million pieces. Maybe this summer we get red paint on it and the interior back together along with a new flywheel/clutch and a few other fun parts. Who knows- stranger things have happened.

And now you probably think I am going to talk about the Mustang or the ’55 – right? Nope, while those two projects are making some forward progress we will talk details about those two on the next post. What we have this time around is a Jeep project. This one belongs to my son-in-law John down in Florida. And what we are going to do, and I promised I would do this, is to document all of the steps we take to convert the Jeep from a straight 6 cylinder to a Small Block Chevy engine. We think there are some readers out there that might enjoy this series and it will also allow John to follow along as the work progresses. The swap is going to entail removing the current engine along with the radiator and attending support pieces for it. The Chevy engine will be connected to the current Torqueflite 404 transmission with an adapter kit, installed with custom motor mounts, a new radiator, headers/exhaust system and a few high performance pieces to make the engine perform and look better. Budget for this one is reasonable and one that most anyone could duplicate. One of the goals for the Jeep is to have something that fires right up, idles nice and performs nicely. We’re not building a drag car here or a mud-bogger, but something that will have some decent street manners and still be fun to drive. The old 6 cylinder has apparently been rebuilt in the past and is currently suffering a few maladies that while possibly fixable just don’t equal the fun value of adding the additional power and performance of a V-8 engine.

So that’s our update this time and darn it there goes the bell – gotta go but stay in touch!

 

LeMans

I just finished watching a documentary on Steve McQueen and the making of his movie – LeMans. The name of this is Steve McQueen & LeMans.

As anyone who is familiar with the movie would know, I paraphrase one of the most moving lines in the movie as the tag line for my site ~

“racing is life, everything else is just waiting….”

 

During the documentary, Steve’s wife of the time Neile Adams makes a comment that during the making of the movie, Steve lost everything…..  maybe so. Steve never raced again, the desire to do so was gone and without that you endanger not only yourself but others around you, so I respect him greatly for that decision.

What he might have never known and I wish there was a way to tell him, was that he created a legion of men who understand, who understand that “When you’re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.….”

I attended the movie “LeMans” the very first weekend it was shown in 1971, the movie and Steve changed the way I thought and felt about motor racing. My career, what there was of it, my family and friends, all the things that make me – me ~ all move to a little place somewhere else in my psyche when I step into my racing car. At that moment and until I step out, it is only man and machine. It always has been and it always will be like that for me.

Thank you Steve.

 

Just Something Free – Hot Rod T-Bucket Chassis Plans

The Internet can still be a cool place to be sometimes. While browsing around, I found these free T-Bucket chassis plans. They were last updated around 2008 and some of the information such as part numbers might not be correct but the idea is that they give you a good basis to get started if this is something you are interested in doing. And even if a T-Bucket isn’t your cup of tea, the ideas presented might still help you out with your project.

Click the link below for your own free copy.

Free – Hot Rod T-Bucket Chassis Plans

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Holidays are here?!

Wow – the holidays are here and we are down to Christmas already. It’s amazing how this time of year just seems to fly by unless you’re 5-10 years old and are just dying for Christmas Day to get here now!

When we last left here I was working on my racing trailer, the Monza was back for some updates, the Camaro got some work done and I think it was late October – see what I mean, It’s already mid-December without a new post on the site. But there has also been some big changes underneath and one that I have found to be very interesting. About a month ago, my hosting service (HostGator) announced that they were increasing the monthly price – again. Now I have been with them about 7-8 years and of course when I started it was a really good bargain, something like $4.00 a month. The latest increase has them at $12.00 per month and if I remember correctly, this is a $4.00 increase in just the last 24 months. Like everyone else, I try to cap the monthly expenses as best I can and for something like this which I consider to be “fun”, each increase hurts a little bit. So, I was off to find a new hosting service and I actually experimented with four different ones until I found one that fit my criteria – and then there is a certain amount of pain in moving your website to a new hosting service – no matter what they tell you in the cool, splashy ads that they have on their sites – so you really want to make sure of the new service before performing the work. Obviously price was a huge consideration but I needed a CPanel interface, a good amount of bandwidth and a reasonable amount of server space to place my website. I also looked at other things such as their TOS policy, cancellation policy and their ability to stay upright over the long haul. I ended up at Web Host Pro with a monthly bill of just over $4.00. And I have to say I only needed to contact their tech support one time to clear up a question I had during my move. Without going into crazy details, the move took me about a week of work, which included moving all of the site files, databases, email account plus testing everything before making it “live” again. Unless you happened to catch my site during the actual move, I doubt if you would have known. Now, the one interesting piece that I have noticed is the amount of spam mail to my email account has been cut to almost nothing. I mean I am talking a drop in spam from several hundred messages everyday to about 3-5. I would love it if it would stay that way but I am sure as time goes by, things will change. It also tells me that email spammers don’t actually target individual email accounts as much as they target hosting email servers. Overall, I hope I don’t have to move again anytime soon but we will see what happens. I have one more change coming for the site but I am going to hold off on that one until after the holidays.

Some quick updates – The Trailer

The trailer project continues with a couple of the aluminum storage area bins mounted again. I changed things around and mounted my oil/fluid/spray can rack on the right side wall when you are facing the workbench. The shop rag container went back where it was between the rack just mentioned and the side door. On the other wall, I mounted my helmet and racing suit rack. By doing this it allows me to make full use of the countertop work area that had to be shorted. Underneath the helmet rack and to the side of the tool boxes, I had about 20″ of floor space so I built a storage unit out of a piece of 2×6’s and 1/2 plywood. I came up with a three-sided box, 6 inches high that with the open side facing the rear of the trailer, it allows my car jack to be pushed in. A small strip of wood near the front of the box lets the front wheel go over it and prevents it from rolling back out. On top of this where the 1/2″ plywood is mounted, I used some 1″ inch wood to frame out a location for the two jackstands. A short piece of chain and a quick connect keeps the jackstands in place. To the left of this, I mounted a piece of 2″ PVC pipe about 25″ long using a PVC cap along with a bolt, washer and nut arrangement. This is for holding the jack handle. I painted the box with some of the same grey paint that I had used on the floor of the trailer and mounted it securely to the floor with a number of wood screws. I now have all of my lifting equipment in one convenient spot. The last thing that I was able to do was get the doors on the one wood floor cabinet that I kept working correctly. I ended up having to replace 3 of the 4 hinges and then put a slide bar clasp on the front to keep the doors closed. I am now in the process of taking some of my bits & pieces that have been in boxes for months on end and putting them away.

The Monza

The Monza is back for some serious updates and the longer it sits here, the longer the list grows. At this point we have built and welded in place new front engine mounts, removed the old side mounts, re-worked and corrected the rear engine/transmission mounts. Next was getting the issues with the steering corrected. When we did the steering last year, there were compromises that we had to accept and those left us with a steering that worked but was not as solid as we liked it to be. Basically, I started over cutting out some of the previous work and coming up with a solution that is much better and cleaner. To get the angle we wanted inside the car and get it connected to the rack and pinion, it requires two u-joints. But to make this better, I incorporated a support joint that is welded to the frame – this removes any side to side play that existed due to the double u-joints. I was also able to provide additional clearance for the new headers that will be built for the new engine. We also have determined that a new rear was on the list and have removed the old 12 bolt in favor of a Ford 9 inch unit. Along with that, disc brakes will be added to the rear. Replacement fiberglass doors are being mounted along with new lexan windows on the sides and rear. A new hood with a different scoop is going on and of course a new paint job. We have also finished re-working the brake lines on the front of the car and are in the process of installing a new shifter cable. The old one was getting really tight and binding up some.

The Camaro

The Camaro in contrast was rather easy – pull out the previous engine and put a new one in. But we also plan on putting the new Wilwood front brake kit in during the off-season. And maybe getting around to color-sanding the paint job which hasn’t been done yet. Anyway, passes on the new engine put us in the solid 5.90 range although we were hoping to be in the 5.75-5.80 area. So far our adjustments to timing and fuel have not netted us any additional ET reduction but it’s always about the combination and we just need to find it for this new motor. We are also discussing moving to a slightly larger tire to try and reduce the RPM level going through the traps. At least this coming season we will be able to spend most of our time with the car refining the combination. That’s a good thing.

The Mustang

The Mustang project is somewhat on hold as parts are being gathered for it. This is a true low-dollar effort but we expect some great runs from it. Craigslist, eBay and the local trader paper are definitely our friends here for good, used pieces. We will put in new stuff where it’s needed but a lot of times a good used part is perfectly fine. Heck, everything is used as soon as you take it out of the box.

The G35

Maybe this year? I sure hope so as mostly all I have done for it lately is to keep the battery charged. It’s made it’s way into the garage a couple of times but it never gets to stay long – there’s always something else that has to be taken care of right away.

Trailer Project – Round 4

A quick update on the trailer project.

With good weather in the forecast, I was able to make some plans for the trailer and stick to them finally. As I previously mentioned, everything that sits in the trailer has to be placed outside so that I can work on the interior. Then when I am done for the time being, I load it all back in again. So it was everything out and after going through and plugging all of the various holes in the flooring with caulk, a good sweeping and in some cases a little bit of scrubbing, the floor was ready for it’s new coat of paint. Admittedly I did not use the more expensive rollers to paint the walls or floors but let’s call them medium-grade. I think the two of them cost me about $5 total. On the walls, I used one with a lower nap that is intended for smooth surfaces but for the floor, I got the heavier nap so that all of the rough surface area would be well coated with paint. This is after all just your basic 3/4″ sheathing plywood. The paint went on really well and I was happy with the coverage it provided. Front to back and with a heavy coating, the floor took about 2/3 of a gallon. I have enough leftover to coat the ramp door area and for multiple touch-ups.


“As I moved things back into the trailer, I positioned a lot of it along one wall so that I could keep the front work area clear,”


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The air temperature was in the mid 70’s and the drying time for the paint was just about an hour. I let it sit for about 4 hours before walking on it and there was no problems. As I moved things back into the trailer, I positioned a lot of it along one wall so that I could keep the front work area clear, this will allow me to get that area finished up without having to move a lot of stuff around. In that area, I am working on two items. One is getting the pegboard in place and the other is getting all of the new wiring done. I found some short pieces of 1/4 x 2 inch wood that I  mounted for the pegboard to attach to and allow the peg hooks to fit properly. I also pulled new 110v cable in for all of the connections. Taking measurements I needed to cut the pegboard down to 42″x95″ for it to fit correctly. With that done and about 20 sheetrock screws it was in place. Now I have a place for some often used tools and small parts packages. Back to the wiring, with moving the cabinet to the front of the trailer it necessitated re-thinking how the electrical system in the trailer was going to be powered. I ran cable from the breaker box down to make the connection with the box where we plug in the generator power. Then I had to run two circuits from the breaker box to the new switch/outlet box which will control the light over the workbench and feed the rest of the lights and outlets in the trailer. I am using the peel and stick wire molding along with a couple of new outlet boxes. I don’t really trust the sticky side to stay in place, so a few more sheetrock screws on the inside of the molding will keep it where I want it. A double outlet box was mounted on the pegboard and the wiring from the breaker box was cut down to the outlet and switch. From the top of the outlet box the wiring runs up to the workbench light fixture, then over to the side wall and back to the original trailer wiring. With everything connected that finishes the 110v wiring part of the project.

Next on the list is getting the carpeting on the sidewalls and then the forward part of the trailer. I will be using a spray glue on the sidewalls along with some small carpeting staples. The carpeting on the floor will be stapled along the edges to keep it in place and of course I will re-use the aluminum trim strip where the carpeting ends. There are also 1″ angle strips that run along the edges between the walls and floor that keep the sides tidy. I also have some 2″ inch strips of vinyl that will be put at the rear of the trailer where the main door is, these should hold up to the weather better along with covering up some of the areas in the wall where the vinyl covering has come loose. One area that had me stumped for a bit was the lower part of the cabinet and the support box I built for the toolboxes. I think I am going to take a left over scrap of carpet and cover that area to give it a uniform look.

IMG_1193Putting the carpet on the walls required finding a special trim piece to cap the carpet for a finished look. I found this in 8 foot strips at E-trailer.com, and the stuff arrived in a round shipping tube complete with fasteners. I am going to go about 47-48″ up from the floor, make a couple of marks and then run a line of 1″ masking tape to used as a guide for mounting the trim strips straight. The carpet is 12′ wide so I will cut 4′ pieces and glue/staple them in place. I will probably need to come up with another piece of trim to cover where the carpet joins together, unless I get a really nice fit.


That’s about it for this time. I have a bit more to do with getting a couple of the cabinet doors working correctly, putting in the radio/speaker system and figuring out where a few items are going to be located. It’s coming along nicely and I think I will be happy with the finished trailer when it’s done.

 

 

Trailer Project – Round 3

Ah, the fun of torrential downpours or actually just non-stop rain. Unless you are under the proverbial rock, you know that the southeast coast has been hammered by rain, floods, high winds and the hurricane out in the Atlantic never really got that close to us.

In the middle of this very little happened with my trailer project. Since it still houses the dragster along with a large assortment of items that no longer have a home, I have to put stuff outside on the ground to actually do any work on the interior. What I did find out is that I messed up on measuring my countertop area and my old top is about 6-8 inches short of working. Last time I mentioned going with a 3/4″ sheet of plywood to replace the old top. But then I thought that as I still have the top toolbox to mount, I might as well put it back on the old bottom chest and cut the old top shorter to fit across the old cabinet and the new bottom chest. This does reduce the work area however that should be just fine as it’s really more of a convenience to have somewhere to pull a carb apart or lay parts on while working.

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The down time also allowed me to pickup a couple of things that should help out in the pits too. A lot of the newer trailers have light boxes mounted on the sides that contain those 500 watt work lights. I am sure those are great but I have one already mounted on a home made mount to the side door which provides plenty of side light. What I needed was someway to get light to where I needed it. In my garage I have a couple of trouble-light reels – the ones that you tug on the wire and it winds itself back up. I picked up one of those from Harbor Freight – with a 20% coupon, it cost a whopping $10. I haven’t decided where to mount it yet – I have a high mounted 110v plug at the back door of the trailer so I am thinking that’s where it will end up. And with the work area moved to the front of the trailer, I needed some light there too. I picked up a 4 foot, 2 bulb florescent fixture that uses the newer T-8 bulbs. Along with that I found some of the leftover electrical plastic duct work for running the wiring along with a couple of 110v outlets and cover plates. I need a couple of plastic boxes for the outlets but I am going to look through my stuff again and make sure I don’t have some of those too.

Speaking of wiring, I drew up a new wiring plan for the trailer as some of the original wiring has to be removed where it entered the cabinet that was mounted on the side. I have two breaker circuits, one for lights and the other for the outlets. The remaining old cabinet will house the breaker box, so the connection wiring will enter at that point. Another wiring issue is one for speakers – I am thinking about finding a radio, maybe a 12v one from a car and mounting it somewhere in the work area with a couple of speakers. Along with some tunes, a lot of tracks broadcast over a FM signal and it beats trying to hear what they are saying over the public announcement system.

Lastly, I am still figuring out where to put stuff. The front work area is laid out for the most part. Facing that and to your right is my helmet and driving suit storage rack. It holds two helmets, gloves, balaclava, extra helmet shields and my driving suit. I am thinking of adding a couple of small aluminum hangers to the bottom of it to hang my driving boots on. That way everything will be in one place. Also on the right side and right next to the side door is the rack that holds my throw away shop towels box. Very convenient place for it as you can grab a quick rag standing outside the trailer if you need it.

To the left side and immediately above the area that will house the jack and safety stands is where the oil/fluid/filter rack will be placed. Underneath that will be another homemade aluminum hanger that will hold the extension cords and air line. I have some space directly behind the combination tool box and if it fits, I have an aluminum tray that can hold spray cans of carb and brake cleaner, lube, etc. Next is finding a location for the trailer spare tire and plastic trailer jack, fuel cans and my bike. On the bike I am thinking about two possibilities. One is to simply strap the bike  in front of the work area and that will be the first thing I remove from the trailer when I setup the pit. The other is to put it along one of the walls.

And the last piece that needs to be figured out is the winch. Right now that is going to get mounted next to  the door. An eye-bolt will be put in the floor dead center of the trailer and just in front of one of the bottom tool chests. A snap with a pulley will be attached to the eye-bolt whenever I need to winch a car into the trailer. Wiring for the wench is rather heavy duty and will be connected directly to the battery mounted in the front trailer compartment.

I think that’s about it for the trailer – now all I need to do is make it happen. Also in my spare time, the G35 is slowly getting sanded down and prepped for primer. It’s been one panel at a time but it’s probably the best way to do it. An assortment of other projects have been going on too, mostly minor stuff but the Little Monza is coming back for some major updates including a new engine, the Camaro will get new lite weight front brakes in the off-season along with a new engine too. In fact all four of the race cars will have fresh engines for the upcoming season. I have a couple of Powerglide transmissions to update and rebuild plus I am thinking about lowering the gear ratio in the dragster. Wow – I think I had better get busy!

Not All Browsers are Equal

Most of us that have been on the Internet for the ages realize that we have had “browser wars” in the past and that currently there are a number of different browsers that you can use to view visual and text information for the Web. Most of these browsers will interpret the coding of a webpage based on their normal settings or if they have been modified, then obviously the coding is modified accordingly. And – most people have a favorite browser that they use simply because they are familiar with it and know how to use it.

So, my wife comes home the other day and informs me that my website looks really, really bad. I am stunned slightly because while I code for Firefox browsers, I do take the time to look at my site with several others including Internet Explorer, Chrome and Opera. The other browsers will move things around a bit but nothing that I want to complain about and WordPerfect does a pretty good job of allowing for the idiosyncrasies of the two major browsers – Firefox and Internet Explorer. Anyway, I jumped on her laptop and pulled up my site – I didn’t really see anything that badly out of whack so my suspicion is that she viewed it from a browser that was either a really old version or someone had put in their own preferences which over-writes the coding.

Just to help out a little here, I am displaying a few screen shots below of how a couple of pages on my site should look  -if your view is quite different, I would love to see a screenshot of it. Please email it to charles.rutherford@rutherfordms.com. ~ Thanks!

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Trailer Project – Round 2

Continuing the work on the enclosed trailer, I found that the peel and stick tiles that I used 16 years ago really did stick. Talk about a pain getting them off the plywood flooring! I had to take a wide putty knife, a little bit of heat and a whole lot of muscle work to finally clear all of them off. Very few of them came up in one piece and then there was the glue residue left behind. The only thing that I found that would remove it was lacquer thinner. I tried acetone, mineral spirits and alcohol but none of those did as good a job as the lacquer thinner. Bad news is that I went through about 3 gallons of the stuff and in one instance I messed up a bit and absorbed way too much of it through my hands. It actually made me sick to my stomach. After that I made sure I wore plastic gloves but those would only last a short time and had to be replaced a few times to continue the work. After wiping the floor down multiple times, I finally got it to the point where it is only slightly sticky – I never could get it completely cleaned off. But I did find out after testing a small area that the new coat of porch paint will cover it up and be just fine. And a plus was that I found out that the porch paint that was already tinted darker wasn’t nearly dark enough for me – so back to the store to have it re-tinted.

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New panel in place

I worked on the side door next. It basically amounted to removing the work/storage table and pulling the old piece of paneling out. I then took measurements from that panel and transferred them to a piece of vinyl pebble surface paneling that can never rot. I will remount the work table and put some new door seals in place – as soon as I find something suitable. I tried some stuff made for windows in the past and it was a bear to get off plus it had broken down and allowed the previous panel to get wet and rot out at the bottom.

 

 

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Painted test area

My next challenge was doing something with the interior walls – I finally decided that I wanted to carpet the bottom half to limit the damage that just seems to happen and paint the upper part of the walls.  The bottom 4 feet of the trailer walls will be covered with carpeting that matches the floor carpet. I found aluminum trim strips from eTrailer.com that add a nice touch to the top of the carpeting on the walls. I decided to also leave the ceiling in it’s original white although I did some cleaning of it with a water/bleach solution to remove the dirt and mold that had accumulated. I finished coating the upper part of the interior walls with two coats of interior paint with an eggshell finish. I went with a very light beige color instead of white and it looks pretty good. One mistake that I made in my haste was getting some of the paint on the ceiling edging. That is not going to come off easily so I may end going back and painting the edging too just to get a nice even line with trailer ceiling. There’s my OCD coming out that I try to keep hidden. Some of the silicone caulking needs to be replaced along the trim too.

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New paint really helps the look

At the front of the trailer I have positioned the one old cabinet that I retained along with building a foundation platform for the two tool box chests to bring them level with the cabinet. I originally said that I was going to keep two of the floor cabinets but I came across a Craftsman bottom tool box that was damaged for a good price and it matches the one that I bought for the trailer years ago. The weight of the tool box is probably a third of the cabinet so off to the dump went the cabinet. Anyway this gives me about 7 feet of top bench space with the old cabinet and the tool boxes lined up and I am looking at 3/4 finished plywood for the making the top. I think I will have the store cut about 3-4 inches off of one side of the plywood and use that as a backsplash. Above this will be a piece of pegboard that can be used to store some tools and parts.

I have to pull out the old carpeting but that should only take a few minutes. I may trim that up some and save it as a work mat for outside. The trailer floor will be covered with gray porch paint and then the new carpet will be installed. The carpet will cover the front 20 feet of the trailer leaving about 8 feet at the rear with just a paint coating and the 4×2 aluminum plates that I have for the tires to rest on. As of yet I have not decided whether I will cover the wheel boxes with carpet or just repaint them.

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Loose stuff everywhere

Back to the front, the one cabinet that I kept will contain the breaker box for the trailer along with providing a place for the air compressor. I need to come up with a new way to keep the two drawers closed but I think some clips that are used on RV cabinets might work. I also have some 110v wiring to change adding some lighting and outlets above the work bench. Another addition as I have about 20 inches of room along the side of the cabinets is building a two-story box that will house the jack and the jackstands on top of it.

It’s not perfect by any measure but so far I think it is going to be a lot better than it was. In addition, I have probably already shed about 300-400 pounds of weight just getting the old cabinets out. That will help fuel mileage and takes some wear and tear off of the trailer tires.

 

 

The Importance of Automotive Grounds

Whether it is a racecar, the RV or your daily ride, the grounding system is as important, if not more important than the positive side of the battery. In fact if we go back to the 40’s, 50’s and early sixties, we would find that some production cars used the idea of positive grounds but it actually doesn’t have any impact on how the car operated. The ground still needed to be good and solid.

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My first encounter with a defective battery ground cable in a vehicle was a 1989 Ford truck. I came out of work only to find that the engine would turn over but very slowly and not enough to fire it up. After breaking out the volt-ohm meter and doing some checks, I finally realized that the ground cable connection had loosened at the engine block and corrosion had built up between it and the metal of the block. Doing a quick cleanup with a screwdriver got enough of a ground to start the truck and once I was home, I did a better job of correcting the issue.

Not starting is certainly one of the major warnings that you have a problem going on, but even as the problem is building to that point, you might experience some poor performance that is so minor that’s it is hardly noticeable. In today’s cars, if you take a closer look – grounds are everywhere. The electronics require extremely good grounds but as in all systems, they can be improved. Anything that you do to provide an additional ground path or improved grounding of the current path is a huge benefit. And if the grounding was starting to fail, you might actually see an increase in performance or mileage.

RVs are especially prone to poor grounding of the various systems. Understanding that when an RV is built, you have a chassis that is supplied to the RV builder that is basically a running chassis with a steering column. The RV builder then adds the RV package to this chassis and of course the quicker you build it and get it out the door, the faster you see your money. For an eye-opener, just check the grounding that you are going to find on the connections to your headlights, fog lamps and taillights as these are commonly part of the RV package. Now you might understand why the headlights on your RV are not exactly the brightest and heaven help you if you decided to upgrade your lamp wattage. If you haven’t suffered some melted wiring, you probably will and the main reason is the poor grounding.

Race cars, especially those that are built at home are another source of poor grounding practices. The bottom line here is that a lot of hot rodders know how to make it go and stop pretty good, but ask them about the wiring on the car and more than likely they paid someone to wire it or a good friend wired it for them. Wiring is a mystery to most of them. And the grounding of some of the systems that are used can get downright complicated if not done correctly.

So – how to properly ground something? Well, first off let us always remember one very important fact. If we decide due to the item that we are wiring that we need a 14 gauge wire to connect the battery or positive side, then we need a 14 gauge ground wire too. Will it operate with a 16, 18 or even 20 gauge wire? Yes it will, but will we get all of the performance from it that we expect – no we will not. Try to think of the wiring in a circuit in it’s basic form. We need a complete circuit or loop – like traveling from our home to the grocery store – we also will need to travel from the grocery store to our home. We have to be able to return, completing the loop. As we travel to the store, we have a roadway that is more than adequate in size for us to travel, but what if the roadway was only half the size on our return trip home? Our return path will slow us down. So again if we want the best performance from any item or device we power, we need to have a corresponding ground of the same size. Our grounds need to made to a solid return path to the ground side of the battery. In our vehicles, we normally use the metal chassis as a ground plane – connecting to it and in turn the negative side of the battery. But there are cases where we should consider nothing less than a solid return to the battery itself or at least a specialized extension piece connected to the negative side of the battery. Our connections should be clean of any residue, rust or corrosion. In areas that are exposed to road conditions, we should consider applying a no-ox type compound once all of the connections to that ground point are made. No-Ox compounds can be normally found in the electrical departments of the big box stores or an electrical supply house. Grounds need to be checked from time to time to ensure that they remain clean and tight. At the first sign of performance degradation – check your grounds first!

RV Roofs – The # 1 Failure of Owners

I wrote this article a little over a year ago and as I had just checked out my own RV roof recently, I thought it would be a good idea to bring this post back again.

 

Well, I think my headline says it all. The number one failure of most RV owners is a failure to inspect the roof of their rig on a regular basis. That is all it takes to prevent major water leak damage. And believe me, water can quietly do some unbelievable damage to our rigs.

RV Roof

Lets start by understanding a couple of things up front, no matter whether you bought a base-line level travel trailer or a top of the line Class A Motorhome, they are all built with the same basic materials. Unfortunately the good stuff from Mars has yet to arrive so we are stuck with materials derived from Mother Earth. Most RVs have some type of metal structure that serves as the base frame of the unit, upon this will normally be flooring consisting of plywood or waferboard material. Either is strong stuff until it comes in contact with water, then all bets are off. Enough water and you end up with something on the level of wet bread. The sides of the RV will be constructed of a lighter weight metal framing with some type of luan covering, sometimes a plywood derived paneling might be in place too. The roof is also constructed of this lighter weight metal framing and covered with luan again. Now, over all of these wood surfaces and depending on where it is used, you will have carpeting, wood/tile flooring, the walls will have some type of wallpaper type covering and the roof will be covered with either a plastic, fiberglass or rubber type of material. The interior or ceiling can have something like the wallcovering or a plastic headliner. So what this really ends up being is a unique situation where water can actually enter the RV unnoticed. It can work it’s way through outside cracks to wick its way into ceiling, walls or flooring. Normally, you don’t really notice until either the outer wall covering deteriorates and starts peeling or you notice a soft spot in the ceiling, wall or floor. By that time, you have some serious damage and don’t kid yourself. While it is repairable it will also be expensive and if it is bad enough it might just be the death of your RV.

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So back to the roof. About every 6 months you need to walk the roof of your RV (and please take all proper precautions) and take a good look at the seams, the condition of the roof, check the vents, caps and A/C covers – any of this plastic stuff can “look” okay but touch it and it can fall apart. Most of the plastics will last about 5-6 years in the sun before becoming junk. If you find damage, first thing is to get it covered up to stop any additional water damage. Cover it with a cheap tarp, plastic or something to stop water. And get it repaired as quickly as possible. Different sealing materials have to be used on different roofs, so identify what you have and get the correct sealant from your RV outlet. If you are doing the repairs yourself, make sure that you seal any work that you do at least as well as the original  – do not skimp on this! If you have any cracks that appear to be structural in nature – such as a major separation or splitting, you not only need to cover it but get the help of a RV specialist. You may have something else going on that needs attention.

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So, just by some simple checking and attention to preventing water damage, you will add years and years to your rig, plus the value of your RV will be enhanced. Anyone looking to buy a second hand unit normally knows to check it out for previous water problems. And if yours doesn’t have any, that can be a big plus at selling time.

 

 

You Don’t Race a Trailer – Or do you?

That question is one that is on-going among sportsman racers of all types. Trailers of course come in all sizes and styles with your imagination and pocketbook sometimes being the only controlling factors regarding them. And you can just about customize one anyway you like it from any trailer manufacturer for a reasonable amount of money. Of course what one thinks is reasonable is probably highway robbery to another. But back to that headline – there has always been a conversation about trailers or rather “how much” trailer is needed to race.  Again, it really comes down to what you want or at least think you need to get the job done.

My enclosed trailer was built in Indiana in the summer of 1999. I purchased it through a trailer broker and customized it a bit spending what I could at the time. It is a 28 foot box with a foot of extra height, 48 inch side door, finished interior, 12v lighting and 5200 lb torsion axles. After getting it home, I was able to obtain some used but really heavy cabinets to use as storage for spare parts and other racetrack items plus I picked up a Sears toolbox. At this time I was waiting for the delivery of my dragster, so I set the trailer up to accommodate a dragster and not much else. The trailer is now 16 years old and in need of some TLC for the next racing season or even this one if I can get my act together.

Over time, I had added 120v outlets and light fixtures to the trailer along with vent covers to keep out the rain and junk yet allow the trailer to be ventilated. Various changes were made to carry fuel cans, a small moped, racing helmets and jackets, plus the usual assortment of spray cleaners, oil, filters and etc. But now I want to be able to carry a regular car and not just the dragster. I also want to get rid of some stuff that I put in there, thinking I would need it yet never really did. I also want to cut out some of the cabinets, again these were extremely heavy and removing whatever weight I can will certainly help – plus again I simply don’t need all of the storage space that I originally thought I would. I honestly know a few guys that could rebuild their entire car in the pits with what they carry in their trailer. That’s just not my deal anymore, I would rather pack it up and deal with it back in the garage.

So over the last couple of days, I have started on a trailer re-do of sorts. I am tearing everything out of the trailer except for 2 wall cabinets that I have on one side – and if the car doesn’t clear those, they’ll be gone too. I have some new indoor/outdoor carpet to replace the worn out stuff I put in 16 years ago, although I will not carpet the entire floor. Right now the trailer is about 70/30 on carpet and some vinyl tile squares. The tile is going and will be replaced with grey porch paint – something that I can touch up when it needs it. There were three wall cabinets on the other side, and four floor cabinets plus the tool box. The toolbox is staying and just 2 of the floor cabinets. All of this is being placed at the front of the trailer now. I haven’t quite figured out where I am putting some of the other stuff just yet but I would like to keep most of it near the front.

The interior walls are in sad shape in some places, this is a vinyl or plastic coated luan 4×8 sheeting and so far I have not found the same thing in a home improvement store. The 48″ side door also has a piece of this that is ruined from rain water getting to it which was due to some door seal leakage. The door seal will be replaced of course and I am looking at a 4×8 vinyl, pebble surface sheet to replace the interior piece. One thing that I like in some of the newer trailers is the carpeted side walls. They will carpet them with indoor/outdoor carpet about 4 foot up from the floor and cap it with a piece of aluminum trim. This would be one way to eliminate some of the damage that has occurred to the side walls. Other bits and pieces of trim have come loose or fallen off completely. And while I have vent covers, the actual plastic vents are dry-rotted and crumbling so those need to be replaced as well.

I also started on the outside of the trailer. First off was to replace the 16 year old tires. Out of the 4, two of them were actually in decent shape. I kept one as a spare and gave the other to the guy doing the tire changes for me – he needed a spare for his race trailer too. While getting the tires changed, I repaired some damage to the electrical connectors on 3 of the 4 brakes and I also adjusted the brakes. I had never adjusted them and while I know they would slow the trailer down, it’s questionable as to how effective they were doing so. I pulled the fiberglass fenders off, cleaned them up and shot them with several coats of white Rustoleum thinned down about 25% with paint thinner. I also painted and coated the wheel boxes with a spray-on rubber undercoating. Next will be washing the entire trailer to get rid of the dirt and skin of faded paint. Most of the screws are rusted and I plan on replacing them all with a 3/16″ aluminum rivet. That is a long-term project as it is panel by panel. I am looking for a really good stainless steel screw to replace those that hold the trim in place – but so far I haven’t found what I am looking for yet. And I forgot, but late last fall I cleaned up the roof and resealed all of the edges with a Dicor Lap Sealant. My trailer has a one piece aluminum roof on it – which is great – so I only have to worry about the edges and where the vents go through the roof. I also picked up a cheap trailer tongue box from Harbor Freight. And yes it was cheap to buy and it is cheap in looks. I think before I mount it I am going to go ahead and paint it. What paint it has looks more like a primer coat. P0001235

I don’t have much in the way of pictures but I will take a few as I get things done. This picture is the open trailer after the last paint job sitting in front of the enclosed trailer that I am working on.

 

Mustang – Left Turn, no maybe the Right Turn?

Progress on this Mustang project is slow, well maybe slow is not the exact word – almost at a halt would probably be far more accurate. Recently my son decided to move to another house which meant we needed to pack up everything and that included the Mustang of course. Good news is that we were able to finally drag a lot of the leftover stuff to the curb and dispose of it, bad news was it was a real pain to get the car moved from one location to another – and it was only about 2 miles between them.

Just to keep it short, it took us three attempts to finally rent one of those small tow dolly deals to even start getting the car moved. Our first two shots at it and both of the dollys were broken and could not be used, then we had to wait a few days which meant we had to borrow a pickup from a good friend. Then all the tires on the car were flat so it was a nice little drill to remove, inflate and replace them. Getting it ON the dolly was an experience that I do not want to repeat, nor was getting it off the dolly and into it’s new home. But at the end of the day or week – it was finally there.

So, left turn, right turn? In the last post on this project I talked about switching the 302 from fuel injection to carburetor. That still left us with the stock Ford AOD mess of a transmission, so after some searching around a GM Powerglide can be used by installing an adapter plate – okay. But then it was kind of why stop there, we were already talking about stroking the little 302 to get more cubes out of it but we were still short of a normal 350 Chevy engine without all of the extra work. So – and here is where the Ford purists will start screaming – I decided to go the whole deal – a small block Chevy and Powerglide transmission – no adapter plate required. Yes, motor mounts have to be built – not a biggie and a transmission mount too – again, no biggie. Bottomline is that I can build a stout little Chevy in my sleep at this point, we have spare stuff and it allows us to share information among all four of the race cars. I also have the small block Chevy – complete motor – so the costs just went down significantly.

Early hot rodders used to swap powerplants to gain an advantage over the competition. I am not sure we are really doing that here but it makes sense to me to stick with something we know and have on hand. Plus I believe we have just made a major leap forward in the progress on this project.

hot-rod-engine-swap-liftThis picture courtesy of Hot Rod Magazine shows a ’50s rodder swapping a Cadillac engine into his fairly new 1956 Chevy.

The Ultimate Carburetor Tool?

While EFI is the new fascination of young hot rodders given that most vehicles have had some variation of EFI on them since around 1985 or so – if you stroll the pits at any drag race this weekend, you will find that about 85% of the vehicles running have some version of the Holley Four Barrel Carburetor.

Holley carburetors have been in their current basic form going back to the early ’60s. And over the last 15 years a number of different outfits have offered their version of the carburetor – either a “blueprinted” Holley unit or a manufactured unit that can use Holley replacement parts. In our case, we have several cars now and they run either Holley or QuickFuel units.

Tuning one of these carbs is either simple or complicated with that mostly dependent on your understanding of what adjustments do what to the carb in question. Everything from jet changes to fuel pump shooters and air bleed screws are changeable items on the latest versions. As in most cases, more options can end up sending you into a deep mess but that is a subject for another time.

What I have found to be the ultimate Holley or Holley type carburetor tool is just as close as your favorite home d-i-y store, in my area of the country that is mostly Home Depot or Loews Home Improvement stores. The tool itself is available for less than $7 and it allows you to tune just about every item on the carb. The tool I am talking about is a multifunction screwdriver like this one from Home Depot.

6c69a27c-4607-4800-bf1e-ed1eb96b31db_400Home Depot calls this a 6-in-1 Reversible Screwdriver. I own several of these, keeping one in the truck, shop and race trailer. I have yet to figure out the “reversible” part but this is the one that fits the bill as an ultimate carburetor tool. It comes with two removable tips that have  large and small straight & Phillips screwdriver blades. You can remove the tips and you have a 1/4″ or 5/16″ nut-driver – perfect for removing the newer style fuel bowl screws on the Holleys. The barrel that holds the tips is about 3/8″ in diameter and is the correct size for setting the fuel bowl float levels. Bonus is that the tips and nut-drivers are made of good material, I haven’t had any issues with rounding off screws or bolt heads.

What I really like about this tool is that for one it doesn’t take up much space and secondly it’s self-storing – as long as you remember to put it back together, it will be ready for the next tuning job.

And Once Again the G35

After looking through the posts that I have made on this car, I am starting to feel really sorry for it. It seems that each time I manage to get it back in the garage, something else comes along and derails it. And I am sure it is going to happen this time too but I will keep trying!

The other afternoon I spent a good portion of it cleaning up the mess, putting away tools, parts, junk, etc that somehow accumulate during one of these work thrashes – the latest being the new paint job on the Camaro. What you didn’t see was changing out the rear power switch or adding a new front tie-down or fixing the engine issue we had at the last race. No, it doesn’t all make the blog – not by a long shot. But all of this leads to having some space again. So I rolled the G35 back in again, started stripping the passenger door of it’s parts and did some sanding on the body.

I have a bad window motor in the passenger side that needs to be replaced before I can remove the final piece of trim from the door. The window has to be in the down position to get that molding off so that is where things stopped. I have the new motor – I simply didn’t have the gumption to start the repair process. I have done this repair multiple times over the years with this car and finally decided that new window SUNP0003motors were the way to go as the rebuilt ones seem to be circumspect. The driver side has a new motor that I put in when I stripped that door down and it works flawlessly. So that’s my next piece of work.

My plans for the car have changed a little bit over the last year while other projects have been in the way. The list of items that will be changed or replaced has grown a bit but nothing too crazy.

Outside, we have new front and rear covers that will change the styling of the car to something more aggressive. The side panels are still in the thought process as I have not found any that I like that were reasonably priced plus I want some functionality and not just looks. I am leaning towards doing some modification at the rear of them that will help provide cooling air to the rear brakes. It really just depends on how deep the mods would have to go to accomplish this and whether I think it’s worth the work or not. We have new headlights that I am seriously thinking of coating with 2k urethane before I even put them in. The rear lamps willSUNP0009 be slightly tinted but nothing that will hinder the state inspection. One idea that I am seriously thinking about but need to experiment with is tinting the side windows but not with the normal plastic tint media. I am keeping the stock rear wing as it is, I like the look of it although the NISMO wing does tug at me some. Should one come up like free or something, that could change my mind about it. Inside, besides changing the replacement speakers in the rear shelf, repairing the CD changer and some repairs to the side panels, the only real change will be a new short shifter. I like the stock look of the car and like to keep it that way. I might add some USB chargers but if I do they will look stock. The interior panels have their fabric inserts coming off again so I need to remove them, mask off the panels and then spray them with a good adhesive so they will stay in place. I tried once to just touch them up a little and it made a mess that took me hours to clean up again.

Under the car is where most of the mods will happen. I have a new clutch and clutch line to install, spacers for the wheels, a new trick to lower the rear another 1/2″. I decided to use a new System One engine filter that I had bought for the dragster but never used. This filter allows you to pull just the screen to monitor any engine issues plus when you do change the oil you just clean this one and reinstall it. I can’t remember what I paid for it but they go for between $50 & $100 used. Figure at an average of $5 per filter, at 20 changes it’s paid for and that lowers my oil change cost again. I have frame stiffeners to put in along with some updated steering components for the front end. I am playing with moving the battery back to the trunk area, as a lot of guys have reported that it makes a nice difference in the handling. I am also looking at upgrading the fuel pump to something stronger, then I can look at re-mapping the engine for additional power. Some better pipes and a change in the inlet system will finish it up. SUNP0006 SUNP0008

 

 

 

 

 

Quite a list but that’s what happens when you have a project sitting this long. You keep dreaming up stuff and then you provide validation for it by saying, “well I am already in there doing that so why not do this too”?

I am not sure how far I will make it this time before something interrupts it again but I really would like to get this finished so I can enjoy DRIVING it again. Enough work already – time to have some fun!

 

 

 

 

Take Off the Ugly

So, right in the middle of the new racing season we decide that new fiberglass doors and fenders would be neat to add to the car. Over a long weekend, we pulled the metal ones and replaced them. Wow, that sounds so simple. And except for having to do a little math work to figure out where and how to mount the new hinges along with the new door handles it actually went fairly well. We started Friday afternoon and by Saturday evening we had the new parts installed. Putting the new lexan windows in place was a different story all together. That little project took a couple of days to get done and we’re still not sure we like the results.

IMG_0949So if you remember, the car was a dark gray color with burgundy scoop and bottom trim pieces. That paint job was just flat ugly. It was my first attempt – and probably my last with a single stage urethane. On top of that my skill with a spray gun is nowhere near the level needed to spray a metallic paint. I hated it when I finished it and was glad to have the chance to remove it. Even if the new paint wasn’t perfect, something, anything was better than the current paint job.

So while I took off to do some work and help my youngest son Douglas move in Las Vegas, Phil started the fun task of stripping the paint off of the rest of the car. Now think about it, we already replaced the doors and front fenders so just front nose, hood and remaining body needed to be stripped. Yep – right, 3 gallons of aircraft stripper, a king’s ransom in sandpaper and well, 90% of it was off the car. That last 10%? Oh wow, it took hours upon hours upon hours. Oh and then we needed to try and straighten the body too. So here it is in the middle of June and I finally get to lay the basecoat on the car. Overall, it looked pretty dang good but I also know that putting the clear on is going to reveal every little mistake we made but as people kept saying – hey, it’s not a show car, it’s a racecar. Sure hope they remember that one. I would say that the car needs at least another 100 hours – yes 100 hours of priming and blocking to get the body right. Even in the basecoat I can see things that we missed – with clear these will be magnified a 1000 times over.

The color combination this time around is back to our original white but with blue bottom trim. I had originally thought about painting the hood scoop blue too but since we changed to a different scoop and I bonded this one to the hood rather than bolting it on, I decided I had enough work on my hands just making it white. So a little different that our original but we both agree that the car looks a ton better already. Upside for me is that this is another paint job done and I have learned some new things that should help me on my next paint job – you know, yep the G35 that once again sits patiently waiting to be finished.

I mentioned that I bonded the scoop and hood together, that’s really nothing new as I did the same on my old Chevelle years ago. Actually, I like working with fiberglass – it’s an easy medium to work in and you can do some really neat work with it but it does take some planning. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s really simple. In fact somewhere during the body work on the Camaro, we managed to whack a corner of the hood – cracked off about a 1/2 inch of it. But with some tape, cardboard and fiberglass mix, I had it fixed pronto. Heck of a lot easier than grinding, welding and filling sheetmetal – that’s for sure.

IMG_0936So a few pictures of the work, not exactly in any order mind you but you can see where we added the new doors and fenders, then got started on trying to straighten out the body. The doors and fenders had come with depressions where the door handle and marker lamp would mount so those had to be filled with fiberglass, then glass putty and then finally a coat of poly to finish them out. There was a lot of sanding, blocking, poly putty, more blocking and more poly. The roof was a mess and even though we worked on it a lot, we still missed some spots. Around the fender-wheels it was uneven and rough too. I also had to straighten out the body line on the left rear corner and it actually looks like a Camaro now.

 

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So with all this work you would think that the paint job would have been the easy part. So did I really. I have a new gun, a Devilbiss FLG-5 that I bought from an English supplier. Very impressive service, ordered it Saturday night and had the gun here by Wednesday morning. And the gun is fantastic – sprays extremely well, in fact another gun I had that I thought was really good is now the primer gun. A good gun makes a big difference! The weather also plays a huge role in my painting experience and the high heat and humidity meant that I had to look for windows of opportunity. I had a few days where I just had to sit and look at the car, any attempt at painting would have been an disaster.  I also had a problem with the final clear coats, getting a little too close and getting more than a few runs in the paint. Most of these I was able to level out and re-coat, but I can still see a few that I did not get leveled out completely. I am hoping that when we color-sand and rub out the finish in 30 days that most of those blemishes will be taken care of.

IMG_0988I will have a few more pictures of the finished product once I get everything reassembled on the car, but here’s a look at the new layout with the Championship White paint, complimented with a Dark Blue trim kit color. The front foglight blanks and grill were shot with a semi-gloss black. The new hoodscoop is one that I picked up years ago and was huge. I actually tried to sell it for $20 and could not get any takers. So I took it and cut about 5 inches off the bottom to get the proportions right and bonded it to the hood. I think it turned out nice.

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Project Camaro – Vintage – Part VII

Another week, more parts, more work. Starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day around here. Good progress this week though, managed to get a few pieces bolted in place, a few others welded in and generally didn’t have any major setbacks. Guess you could call that success. We actually started off this weekend by hitting the racetrack. Unfortunately it wasn’t to race our car, we made the trip to have the dragster’s chassis certified for NHRA racing. Our local track switched sanctioning bodies over the winter so we had a few things to take care of. Like, join NHRA – it costs money, re-certify the chassis – it costs money, have to make license passes – it costs money….are you starting to see a pattern here?

Let’s take a look at what we did to the Camaro this week.

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As you can see here, we have that new piece of sheetmetal welded in place with the first coat of fiber-reinforced body filler spread into place. Looking a heck of a lot better already and as mentioned before probably saved us hours of hammer and dolly work. We’ll grind down this first coat of filler, then apply a second to level up the surface before moving on to the lite weight bondo. Just like all of the body work on the car, it’s really not that complicated, but it does take a bit of patience, plus tons of sanding. And when you think you have the sanding finished, just sand some more. You’ll get there eventually.

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We got the first part of the rollbar assembly installed with the main hoop now welded in place and the back braces welded to their support plates. On these unibody cars, you always weld to a plate which in turn is welded to the sheetmetal. The rules require it, but what you are trying to do is spread out the load on the sheetmetal as you do not have a real frame to attach anything too. Looking at this picture, I was really surprised at how quickly the welds oxidize. The welding was finished just an hour or so before these pictures were taken.

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Phil installed new front disc rotors along with fresh caliper pads, new bearings, seals and the long Moroso wheel studs required by the rulebook. The rules state that you must have at least the diameter of the stud protruding through the end of the lugnut. We checked out the stock lugs with the new Weld Pro Star wheels and they weren’t going to cut it. So, back to the store again. Actually, I rather enjoy my visits to the speedshop, as it reminds me of my youthful days looking at the racks and racks of nice clean speed parts all wrapped up in their vacumn packaging that I simply couldn’t afford. Things really haven’t changed that much after all, I still can’t afford that stuff!

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Anyway, he also got the new master cylinder from Strange Engineering installed. This is a really nice piece, converting the car from that ugly power brake mess to a much simpler and far lighter manual brake setup. This unit along with the other braking components will do a great job in slowing the car down safely and under control. We do have a mismatch in rotor sizes on the car, so a proportioning valve is also going to be added to allow us to keep the car from swapping ends

Project Camaro – Vintage – Part VI

The work that we have been doing lately really takes it’s toll on you. Not only is it physically demanding to a certain extent, but when you’re dealing with sharp objects and high voltages, you need to pay some attention to the safety aspects. We always wear eye and hand protection when working on any part of the project. If you have ever had to have a small piece of metal removed from your eye, you’ll not want to do it again. Welding involves being cautious not only with the electrical power but also the high heat that is generated. Play it safe, this whole car crafting deal isn’t worth a bean if you’re 6 feet under!

One of the things that I try to do is not get caught up in working on one part of the car continuously, it gets boring to me and sometimes you have the tendency to rush things. I like to move around the car and it’s different parts working on bits of it at a time. As we finished up the other day, we squared away our distributor for the engine. It started out as an older points style unit that was in good shape. We removed everything, stripping it down completely and then putting it back together with just the parts that we needed. The unit now will be perfect for getting the spark from the coil to the plugs – just what we wanted it to do. Plus, finishing an item like this helps recharge the batteries a bit, you get the feeling that yes – you really can complete this massive project if you just break it down to smaller pieces.

[Update – 2015 – The distributor lasted about 5 years before it started showing serious signs of it’s age. While it still handled firing the engine, a new MSD unit was installed with the latest engine refresh.]

We have started to pull apart the 355 Chevy engine that is going to power this car. We built this engine a long time ago for another project, but never used it. The block is a 4-bolt main unit with a good GM forged steel crankshaft. The rods are stock units that were re-worked and fitted with ARP bolts along with a set of flat top pistons. We’re not using them in this motor so keep checking eBay as some of this stuff is going to end up there and it’s in great shape. As we are now building a high-compression, roller cam engine, we need to pull the motor down completely and start over from scratch. But that’s okay, we need the diversion from the other car work.

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We only had Saturday of this weekend to do any work on the car, although I plan on doing a few things during the upcoming week to catch us up a little. We did manage to get the engine completely torn down to the bare block, so the next work on it will be a bit of clean up grinding, some work on the oil passages and main saddles, plus a hot soapy wash. We will follow that up with compressed air to get all of the water out and wiping down the critical areas with WD-40 to stop any rust from forming.

We installed new control arm bushings in the a-arms and then Phillip installed them on the car, but we got hung up a bit trying to get the Moroso Trick Springs back in place. Without something to compress them, they simply aren’t going to go back into place easily and that’s after we took the advice of some other racers with these cars and shortened them one coil. We need to make up a tool to get the springs compressed to a shorter length and didn’t have the raw materials on hand in the garage.

Grinding and sanding body filler definitely makes one heck of a mess. We also applied another coat of filler to the gas tank door area, but it still needs just a little more to finish it out. The lower section that we have been working on got a second look and our thinking now is that we might be ahead of the game if we just cut the panel out and weld in a replacement one. It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but that area has a lot of highs and lows that are going to take a lot more hammering to get leveled out.

We cut out a small area in the trunk recess to drop the 5 Gallon Jaz fuel cell into, but the metal strapping that we picked up to make the mounts for it ended up being about a sixteen to large to work correctly, so it’s back to the store again for something that will work. We had a lot of this going on this week, everything we did seemed to reach a certain point and then had to be stopped due to some part not working or not having the right pieces to finish it up with. Just part of car crafting, but still a royal pain in the butt!

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For additional articles on Project Camaro, please check the category titled “Camaro”.

Project Camaro – Vintage – Part V

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This looks kind of simple, but with just a bit of work with a cutoff tool we shed a few more ounces off of the brake pedal assembly. We also cleaned it and gave it a new coat of paint. The face of the pedal will receive a peel and stick non-slip surface. If you need to know why, just ask Phil, he can tell you the story on that one.

Everything on this car that is removed and then going back is going to get the same type of treatment. No reason to have a shabby looking racecar and it makes it a lot more fun to work on later too.

This week we continued to put parts back in the car, which is obviously a good move on our part. Wouldn’t be much of a racecar without parts now would it?

We began with trying to figure out the installation of the roll-bar assembly and after a lot of measuring and fitting, weld tacking and un-tacking – we still got it slightly wrong. Somehow we managed to get off our marks a bit, but the net effect is that we will still have an effective cage structure to protect our driver. The main hoop and rearward support bars are now welded together along with one mounting plate on the driver’s side of the car. We still need to install the other mounting plates and the bars running to the front, across the back of the hoop and the smaller support bars.  Other items that will be added are the connector for the shoulder harness and the seatback support brace.

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We filled the firewall in with sheetmetal trimmed and welded into place. The rules require that any open holes be covered to keep the possibility of fire from reaching the driver. Over top of the sheetmetal we have our initial coat of filler. This filler is a fiberglass reinforced one that prevents the metal underneath from rusting. If any of you are working on an old car project and replacing sheetmetal, you want to use this type of filler for your first application. This will be ground down smooth and then a coat of liteweight body filler will go on. Once everything is nice and smooth, we shot a coat of primer and paint on the firewall, inner fenderpanels, frame and radiator support area.

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For additional articles on Project Camaro, please check the category titled “Camaro”.

Little Monza – Quick Update

Little Monza has made it out for two test & tune sessions as the east coast seems to stay mostly wet this Spring. Our first go didn’t have the results we were looking for as we had a serious misfire situation that was a strange mystery to us. Other than clean things up a bit, put in some new plugs, coil and cap we had not really changed anything on the engine during our cleanup work. The engine ran fine during our only other runs with the car last fall. We also had some strange electrical issues with the lighting on the car, as suddenly our two-way toggle switch to control the tail lamps and headlights no longer worked properly.

Back in the shop we pulled the switch panel to check the situation and found that the diode on the switch had shorted out. But we also noticed that one of the screws on the ignition switch had fallen out too. That explained the misfire problem we were having! The wire was making normal contact, but when Jeremiah attempted to bring the RPM level up, the vibrations were cutting the ignition on and off – rapidly. With these issues squared away we were ready to take another test shot with the car.

Last fall, with Phil in the car we were able to get a 6.92 in the 1/8 mile from the car. On Jeremiah’s first full pass last night at Richmond Dragway, we were rewarded with a 7.00. For an updated car and new driver – rather impressive! We ended up getting in a number of runs last night although as the evening went on, the cooler air had an affect on the hook the track provided and our last two runs were with a pretty loose race car. But prior to that and with a crowd that I would estimate at about 175 – 200 cars racing last night, we recorded a 6.81 then backed that up with a 6.77 and just short of 102 mph!!

And for those of you more familiar with quarter mile times, that converts to 10.67 @ 125 mph.

I am very proud of the efforts that everyone has put into this and with some tuning changes that we will make, we are confident that the 6.50/.40 area will be our next target for the car.

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G35 Project – Reboot?

Yesterday was eventful, I finally cleared space in my garage to pull my baby back in and start doing some work on it again. I did a little bit of metal work on the right front fender leading edge that was bent over from the headlight being destroyed. I have two little dings in the reveal line around the right rear tire and one tiny little spot on the leading edge of the roof line that was a nice gouge from a rock sometime in the past. Other than those things, the body is in very good condition. I am seeing some depression in the edges of the doors where the hinges are and it is bending the metal – most people would not notice it but I worked in a body shop for a while and learned to “see” the body of the car using the light reflections so it jumps out at me. My next assignment is to strip down the right door of it’s moldings and weather seals. The driver door is already completed. I am removing everything that I can possibly take off without damage. And let me tell you the rear wing is a p-i-t-a. Nissan must have thought these cars were going to do 200 mph. Besides the bolts, there are multiple plastic ball & socket connectors plus about $5 worth of double-sided 3m tape. Between plastic molding tools – A must have for any new car work – and a heat gun set on low – it only took about 90 minutes to separate the wing from the trunk lid. The wing will be painted separately and I will use just the 3m tape and bolts to rejoin it to the trunk lid – the connectors are an absolute over-kill here. I am also looking at replacing the third brake light bulbs with LEDs if I can find something that matches up and is an easy upgrade. They are just about impossible to get too with the wing in place so it would be a good time to make the switch.

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On a different note, we have the Indianapolis 500 coming up next month and I happened to run across a picture of Andy Granattelli’s STP Turbine car from 1967.  In fact, this Hot Rod magazine pictured below was the first one that I ever bought off the newstand myself at a People’s Drug Store. One of the arguments that we had at school leading up to the race that year was whether the tires would hold up to the turbine power. As it went, a $7.00 seal stopped the car just short of winning the race and the next year they had changed the rules for turbine cars to the point that they were uncompetitive.

So why am I bringing all of this up? Well, I have always been a huge fan of car magazines. They were instrumental in teaching me and opening up an entire new world when I was a kid. From the pages of magazines, I learned how to troubleshoot problems, to give consideration to the vast number of inputs that any single outcome might possibly have – in fact sometimes I wince when somebody says my car is doing “this”, what causes “that”? There is rarely one single answer to that question. But I also found that the troubleshooting skills were invaluable during my 30+ years working at the phone company. They also taught me that I didn’t have to spend a lot of money to accomplish something, that in fact sometimes it was challenging and fun to come up with a way to get the result I wanted, yet do so as cheaply as possible.

Today – most of the car magazines that I have read for years are now gone. Earlier this year a major change occurred in the magazine publishing world and most of the titles simply vanished. And while I understand that more and more people no longer want to actually read, I seriously wonder where the kids of today are going to get their inspiration to try and fix something, to try and make something maybe a little bit different, to try and do something that they thought was impossible for them. I give the car magazines that I read for all of those years a lot of credit for what I know how to do today.

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Okay – This is not a test

Nor is this a new project either but I can’t help posting the newest automotive member of the family. This little number runs great, has about 90k on the clock, corners like a slot car and actually gets close to 40 mpg if you keep your foot out of it. This is a 2001 Toyota MR2 and was Toyota’s attempt at a knock-off of the Porsche Boxer.

IMG_0891Like any of the rides around here, this one needs a little bit of care and it’s got it’s dings and scratches. Other than trying to get all the dog or car hair out of the carpeting, I think a quick buff and wax plus cleaning up the headlights and wheels on this one is going to be it. Everything works now after a little lubrication and cleaning – things were just dirty and stuck. Oil & filter appear to be recent and the brakes are good for another 20-25k miles. Tires have about that much life left in them too.

This one is just going to be for fun – hanging out at the Dairy Queen at the beach with the top down is where I am headed.

Little Monza – Almost Done

This is the post that I have been waiting to write – in one sort of way that is. All at once I am happy to be just about done with the Monza and at the same moment a little sad that another build is over with again. I hate to admit it sometimes but for all of the burns, cuts, frozen fingers, parts that were wrong and totally alarmed at some of the work done on this car in the past – I really enjoy doing this stuff!

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Yep, it’s outside the shop finally. I rolled it out Sunday and cleaned up the mess that I had made. It’s amazing how much junk you can generate doing something like this. The only things left at this point is mounting the rear bulk head aluminum to protect the driver from the fuel tank and putting a couple of Dzus tabs at the bottom of the front fenders. The current setup has them underneath the fender which works but means you have to get down on your knees to even see where the quarter-turn fastener is located. I am going to put them on the lower sides of the front fender so you can get to them. And last is putting the lexan windshield back in the car – that should take all of 10 minutes.

 

SUNP0057 SUNP0055 SUNP0053 SUNP0052 SUNP0051 SUNP0050The engine fired up without too much effort although we had a little mix up on two plug wires. No leaks at all in any of the systems, always a nice thing. A lot of the car just fell together here at the end of things. But that was due to the fact that most of it had been mocked up so many times, it was just a matter of actually tightening the bolts down this time.

I guess out of all of it, I was really happy with the way most of the interior metal turned out and the mount for the radiator is just perfect. For now just to get it fired up and going, I decided to put the 650 cfm carburetor back on. I still plan on re-building the 750 unit and doing a video on that work.

 

IMG_1474 IMG_1473 IMG_1477Just for a little fun, the last 3 photos are a look back about 6 months ago and what I started out with – quite a difference isn’t it? I know some guys at the drag strip were shaking their heads looking at this mess of a car. Hopefully those looks will be a bit more approving when we get back there. With more bad weather coming this weekend, it looks like all 3 of the test and tune sessions at our drag strip have now been wiped out. I was really hoping to get the car to at least two of them before the season started but now we just have to try and rely on a few money races to get the car sorted out. Our Camaro will be out for the St. Patty’s Day race at VMP on March 21 & 22 and the driver for the Monza is out of state right now, so maybe March 28 is looking like our first available shot with the Little Monza. We will post the results when we have them – wish us luck!