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Chapter 15: Finding the culprit, and the suspense of getting to Back to the 50’s a second time!

6/20/01  I’ve been fooling with the poor idle situation now for almost 2 months.  I tried plugging all sorts of little holes, and even mounted a brand new Edelbrock carb.  Adjusting the spring pressure on the rods in that didn’t change anything, and so last night I finally pulled the manifold for a closer look.  Given my experiments with squirts of starter fluid, I suspected that the gasket between the middle intake runner and the block was cock-eyed, or the manifold was warped enough to let air thru.  What I found was a slot in the base of the runner which I thought I had welded, but hadn’t!  I promptly welded it up as well as one other tiny hole.  I then also took the flanges to my belt sander and evened them out to within about 1/32″ of each other checked with a straight-edge.  Hopefully tonight I can bolt it back up and will get idle! 

Back to the 50’s is where we “debuted” last year.  It will again be very close, but I’m hoping to get there.  It is in 2 days and is about 80 miles away.  I know the car will cause a stir, since it did last year.  If things go well, I’ll drag over the Rod&Custom editors for a look at what a REAL backyard project is like…….  I now know that the old carb would probably work fine, and my project could have been entirely without aftermarket parts, but that new one is so shiny……. (and on sale, I practically Stole it…). If I have time, I’ll draw out a schematic for people to follow as they peer into the engine bay trying to figure out what the heck I did!  I have color coded most of the hoses.

6/25/01  For two years I’ve been developing the TurboStude and website with your help. This last weekend was the “Back to the 50’s” rod event at the Minnesota State fairgrounds in St. Paul. 11,000 cars of every shape and description, though I only saw my own with turbo in 3 days of looking around   2  3  4  5  6

  Most were “Street Rods” which is my way of saying that though they were pleasing to look at, they were not innovative or memorable. There were few that I would call “Hot Rods” which I define as innovative in some way, using blends of old and new tech to do something that may have not yet been done. These are never-finished “works-in-progress”. Here is a picture  of people crowded around the TurboStude like flys on a warm poop, totally ignoring cars which had many-many thousands of dollars applied to them. My wife says”when you going to paint that thing?” I say “When hell freezes over!” The point of the car being that the engine development is ALL and everything else is besides the point (or should I say besides the paint….). I proved to literally thousands this weekend that the blow-thru formula works. One month from now, any who saw the car will remember it. I parked Saturday at 7 am but couldn’t get away from the car more than 10 feet until 1 pm. By that time, I had made a diagram and poster to explain the car (taped them to the fender). Made it over to the Edelbrock van. Explaining my problems with the off idle transition, they gave me needles and springs, gratis!, to try to correct the situation. They are more than mildly interested in the car, and want updates on my (our) progress. Lets just say that a few more serious people will   from the midwest will consider turbocharging an option as a result of the outing. I have now had two individuals donate good turbos to me (free) just because they grooved on what they saw me doing with the car! Next, I gross out the purists at the Studebaker national rally in Redwing……

How does it go? Well, it idles a bit lumpy and transition to midrange is lean by my guess.  The “#3” springs and needles supplied by the Edelbrock guys helped some, but still, the plugs are not black.     When the engine gets up into the high midrange, it still occasionally will surge.  Wide open throttle is pretty sweet, and as acceleration takes off, the front of the car gets a bit fidgetty, and I get nervous about my braking, which grabs a bit.  No speedo right now, but I definately get up to v-8 cruising speed rapidly.   “Cruise” is high speed, high vacuum, and seemed a bit lean. They gave me some needles and jets for a “#19” calibration to try (results pending).

In the mean-time, I have needles springs and jets to play with trying to improve idle mix and transition off idle.  I will start fiddling with the variable runners, the boost control, the adjustable fuel pressure regulator, and last but not least important, the timing!  I have stumbled upon TWO Sun distributor testing machines which I plan to get running and capable of setting up the advance /retard necessary for the job at hand.

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