Its getting even CLOSER! BIG, HUGE, CAN’T EVEN PUT INTO WORDS THANKS to David Johnston of Johnston Body Works and Bikes and Dan Parker at Parker Chassis. I’m really excited! Its getting so very close now!
We’re getting closer…..
And I’m getting really excited!
My A460 Trick Flow cylinder heads are done now, thanks to Chuck Ford and the guys over at CFH. They took the bare castings, worked their magic, and assembled them for me, so they’re all ready to head over to Mr. Moody to put on the new Horsepower & Heels bullet… a stronger, more powerful engine program than the last outing.
The car is currently over at Johnston Bikes and Body Works getting prepped and painted by David Johnston. He’s an incredibly talented painter, and had the tough chore of sorting out all the body work that had to be done to the car around the turbos, etc. Not an easy task for sure!
Once its done there, its final assembly time and then down to the PRI show to represent for Brisk USA! I’m so happy things are FINALLY coming together! I think 2009 will be an exciting year for Horsepower & Heels! New engine program, new look…. back with some attitude this time! Its been a long time coming, and hopefully it will prove worth the wait to all that have followed in the past 2 years wondering if I’d EVER race again.
In episode 4 of Horsepower & Heels TV, Erica talks about some of the obstacles they have faced while building the new Mustang for Pro Mod.
Episode 2: Watch the Horsepower & Heels team as they work on their new Twin Turbo Mustang Pro Mod.
This weekend I drove down to Columbus, GA to help with my car. The car is back down at Parker Chassis getting finished up and painted. Among the tasks were filling the cut outs for the door handles and extending the door edges to match/meet the body line. We also made templates around the turbo holes to get them fiberglassed and fitting correctly, so I could take the bare cylinder heads home to get assembled and over to Mr. Moody for the engine assembly.
Today, I went to Mr. Moody’s shop to help him work on the motor. This was probably moreso for my benefit than his aid, but I wanted to learn and wanted to be able to contribute, so Mr. Moody humored me. What I learned, is that people vastly underestimate the potential of factory ford parts… as evidence of my recent performances.
We have had no problems with the motor after approximately 70+passes, save for the small lifter incident on the first test outing in February of this year. That’s 70+ passes on a stock block, cast crank, and under 24 psi of hairdryer pressure. I don’t know what I was expecting to find as I dropped the oil pan (literally, all over the floor… sorry, Mr. Moody!), but I was pleasantly surprised to find…. NOTHING. Nope, nada, zilch. The rod bearings were good as new, the cylinders all showed way rich conditions, and everything was intact and looked as though it had just been put together. (Save for the outside, which was covered in gunk from that pesky leaking valve cover)
So, Mr. Moody will be replacing the cast crank with a better unit, and buttoning it back up for the Bristol FFW race coming August 4th-6th. Mr. Moody assures me I can now up the power, and expects that we will be able to hit in the 50’s with the stock block before the end of the season. He’s not often wrong… after all, he guessed the cast crank performance to a T. In Bristol, we will attempt to combat the thinner mountain air by turning up the boost a little in our typical sneak-up-to-it style.
Maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to hang onto my #2 rank in the points… (John Gullett has plenty to say about that I’m sure… don’t worry Johnny, I”ll save you a parking spot next to me!) But for now, I’ll just focus on getting down the track consistently and working hard with what we have!
We all know they exsist. We all know that they are inevitable. Then WHY are new car bugs such a pain, and still come so unexpected?
Maybe I should have expected them, or maybe I should have known better, but somehow, just as I think I’m done and ready to go, something sets me back. This weekend was no exception. After the disappointment of missing the Orlando race due to a starter mis-alignment problem, I was happy that the fix wasn’t nearly as expensive nor as complicated as I originally feared. Fixed and ready to go by Thursday of this past week, I was very excited to have Dennis Lugo (Excessive Engineering) coming up on Saturday to help me get the car dialed in and tuned. As he was traveling up to Phenix City from Orlando, I decided to meet him at the track to have the car unloaded out of the school bus (yes, the SCHOOL BUS. Don’t ask, the trailer was INOP) and situated before he arrived around 3pm. Now, earlier during the week the car would start when cold, but would not re-start after some heat was in the motor, or would crank but not stay running when warm. Figuring that it was in the start-up programming, I assumed that it was one of the issues that could be resolved once Dennis arrived. So, I started the car up at Phenix City and drove (as in cruised) the car down the track to get used to the Bruno. After stopping briefly at the top end, the car would not go back into high gear on the return road trip. Back in the pits, Dan looked at me skeptical as to why, thinking I had forgotten to eat my Wheaties again. Wrong, one snatch against the shifter, and it snapped the base of the shifter in two places. Something was wrong with high gear. Dan went back to the shop to weld together the shifter mounting assembly, adding a strengthening plate to the back and we re-installed the shifter. By this point, Dennis is almost to Phenix City, so I finished bolting up the wheelie bars until he arrived.
As soon as Dennis gets there, we plug up the computer and get to work. Cranked it up (with some fuel injected into the throttle body elbow, blower-style) warms up, and Dennis begins his magic. For those that are not aware, Dennis can tune nearly every system out there, he has been tuning since the early days of DFI, and has already been using the Big Stuff 3 system (the system on the T-Bird) since last year. After a few minutes, we shut down the car to make some changes in the program. When to crank it up again, and… NOTHING. Squirted fuel in the motor, it started for a few seconds and then cut off. “Yep, that is what it was doing. And then we can’t make it start again.” I told him. So, we started troubleshooting. Ignition firing? Check. Enough fuel at start up? Double Check. Timing right? Check. Firing order correct? Check. All cylinders firing? Check. We pulled the plugs and replaced the blackened plugs with fresh ones. Still nothing. Dennis changed the map. Nothing. Start up maps. Nothing. Every imaginable component. Nope, nada, nothing. I have never in my years of knowing Dennis, seen him stumped like this…. and I’m worried.
By now, its getting dark, and the test session is over. So, we loaded the bird back into the bus, and headed to the shop. After a bite to eat, Dennis, Josh and I continued to try and diagnose the problem. Dennis continued with the map. Finally we pull the plugs again. #1 is soaked with fuel, while the rest are dry. Dennis determines that the #1 fuel injector must be stuck. By this time, its 12 am. So we wake up Walt to get the number to the owner of the only set of 160# injectors we know of in town. Thankfully, Kelvin makes a call, and we are on our way to Smith Station, AL to a set of brand new injectors.
Back at the shop, Dennis replaces the injector in question, and I hit the starter button again. Vrooom! Started up clean, but all of a sudden I look up to see the intake valley ON FIRE. We rush around trying to throw water on it before resorting to the powder fire extinguisher to put it out. One puff, and the fire is out, but now we have a wonderful powdery mess to clean up. Apparently, when we left to get the injector, I forgot to plug back in the #3 spark plug wire. It arc’d and ignited the fuel in the intake valley. Big whoops on my part. luckily nothing was damaged in the fire. So, at 1 am, we open the bay doors, push the car out, and wash all of the powder out of the engine compartment. After drying everything out, and making sure everything was plugged up correctly, we tried again. It fired, ran for a few minutes, and then quit again. Hmmmm. Checked the plug, and it was not soaked as it was last time. We figured now that the injectors were running correctly, we’d have to rework the map to keep it running smoothly, since we had been trying to compensate in the map for the bad injector. Seeing how it was almost 2 am, we called it a night.
This morning, we started off bright and early again. Got to the shop around 8am, and got back to work. We were ready to set the timing, and adjusted the crank trigger again (after some adjustments last night). But the car started acting up. Now, it wouldn’t crank at all. A few more hours of trying, and finally Dennis started unplugging injectors. Sure enough, with 2 injectors unplugged, the car started right up. He switched injectors, and unplugged another 2. Fired again. So it wasn’t related to a single bad injector, it was something within the computer. Dennis determined that there was an injector driver problem within the box, and with that our day was done.
So, the computer has been sent back and the injectors sent off to be cleaned. It’ll be next week or so before we try again. At least we figured out one of the problems. GOTTA LOVE NEW CAR BUGS!
Made it back from Orlando in one piece, tired as all get out, but tan as only the Florida sun can do. As usual, the World Street Nationals were ever the impressive show that it always is. Being from Orlando originally, I get somewhat complacent about its significance… the size, the speeds, and the straight up competition. 400 cars competing to get into a 32 car field in 4 of the fastest run-whatcha-brung classes. Race Rock was a little lame this year, but with the turnout and the people crowding the streets (wait, yes, that includes me) its probably a little understandable that they forbid burnouts. ::groans::
The class that I would have entered in Orlando was Pro Street: full tube chassis cars, any power adder-any cubic inch, weighing in around 2700 lbs. Annette Summer took the pole with a stout 6.40 pass and posted top mph of 227 during the weekend. That’s sporty on a track that’s considered tricky because of the hot/humid/rainy climate in Orlando. The bump to the 32 car field ended up being in the 7.0 range I believe. Pretty quick… but definately feasible with my car, which is hopeful for next year.
So back at the shop this evening, we have the time to re-evaluate the starter/flywheel problem. Turns out that the starter was not fully engaging the flywheel at all… (thanks Mike Herring and Mr. Moody for the dead on troubleshoot) So Chris took the starter gear off and replaced it, and then machined material off the starter to get it closer to the flywheel and fully engaging against the teeth. Spun the motor over and flipped the ignition, and VROOOM! Started right up. I of course feel a little silly about not checking for that to begin with, but at least its fixed and running and ready to get tuned/tested in Phenix City this weekend.
We also took a minute to weigh the car… with a cast filled block, fiberglass front end, the lenco/bruno, the intercooler, and considering it is a steel roof/quarters car, we were SHOCKED when we found that it came in under the minimum for FFW… 2550. That’s WITH me in it. And the distribtion front to rear is good too. So, I lost that $50 bet. Dan ate Red Lobster tonight because I had guessed it to be 2600-2700 lbs. Oh well, I believe I owed him that at least for sure.
So tomorrow, I’ll reassemble the trans tunnel sheetmetal and finish off the little details that were left behind in the thrashing of last week. Phenix City has an open Pro Mod race on Sunday that I just found out is a 16 car field, and not the typical quick 8 format. Possibility of me sneaking into the back of that field…
Did I mention that my racecar is running?!? heh… reality has not yet sunk in.