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Chapter 24: 7/1/02 Back to the 50’s and beyond

6/22/02  Well, one more little victory for the Blow-thru turbo cause this weekend.  Spent quite a bit of time explaining myself to the masses at TurboStude’s third Back to the 50’s event.  This time there were over 11,000 cars on the fairgrounds, and I had a prime spot for the first day of the event. I drove down from St. Cloud uneventfully enough, and registered at the official hotel.  The car still smokes, and I am convinced it is the seal in the turbo, as the plugs look fine.  The car always starts right up now.  I had changed the primary jets and needles to get a bit leaner.  I think I lost my O2 sensor along the way.  The static advance I set at about 12 degrees, and when I get into it, I just hear a bit of detonation.  The car judders on start in first when the clutch is hot, and as you may know, fairground driving is notoriously slow.  I came in on Friday morning in a blinding rainstorm, with water standing in the streets……..and no hood other than the front half which I hacked off an extra “beater” hood to mount my “hood ornament” which is a large brass Italian ashtray shaped like a fly (Not a complaint from the distributor living under the trash bag)….. The wings hinge up to expose the ashtray.  I told people that putting the wings up is to decrease frontal down-force at speeds over 140mph…. I always find people around the car like “flys on a warm poop”, so I bolted a fly to the turd I don’t polish….
Anyways, I did get some very interested people asking serious technical questions as well as the usual “You have too much time on your hands!”.  Got offered another turbo or two…
   How did it run? Well, once past the initial shudder from the clutch, it takes off making a wide variety of sounds from what I think are gasses passing pistons rocking and valves clattering.  Beneath it all is the pure sweet sound of that turbo, and the sensation of rapidly gathering momentum.  I have to baby 1st gear on instructions from the tranny builder.  I shift into 2nd and we really start to rock and roll.  Everything gets cooking, the fuel pressure starts to rise with the boost pressure, and if I stay on it past 4000 rpm, the fuel pressure goes off the gauge (beyond the 15 pound scale) as the boost heads easily to 12 pounds.  I have set the pop-off valve for 15# and the boost control is now set for low boost. The car cruises at about 65 mph at about 2800 rpm and has plenty of poop for passing.  I haven’t gotten the overdrive to kick in yet, but I can only imagine what it will be like when it is working.
   I came in on Saturday in nicer weather and parked in a less ideal location, however as I talked to people thru-out the day, they all managed to see the car in its “hiding place”.  I was about to pull out Saturday afternoon when a fellow walked up, introduced himself and told me how he had been keeping track of my project for some time and was going to start a blown Stude-motor project (I think in a deuce) himself.  I made him promise to keep in touch.  Other guys saw the car at the Stude nationals last year or BTT50’s last year, and noted mods that I had made.
  What is next?  I suppose sort out the clutch judder, more tuning on the timing and maybe swap over to a different turbo which doesn’t leak oil.  I now go fast enough and stop well enough that the play in the front end
is getting a bit more noticeable.  Better fix that.  These projects won’t keep me from attending local cruise nights.  Bonneville is coming up, and I think I should at least get the engine runnable on the 53′.  Maybe I’ll report on that too….

6/30/02  Just a P.S. for now:  I was moving the car around the block and decided to drop the clutch.  It did a rather credible burnout and then the fuel pressure gauge went to zero and the engine puttered out of gas.  I hotwired my oil pressure switch which is in line with the fuel pump, and the electric pump turned back on (it had been off because the engine stopped, out of gas) and the engine could be started again.  Now, hotwired, the engine really ran well, proved by another burnout which, though it caused a temporary depression in fuel pressure, recovered.  I think some fiddling with the regulator, the larger fuel bowl needles and maybe sensing off the regulator to another spot may make a difference.  Also, I found a junk Thermoquad carb at the swap meet for $10 which contained some floats which could be modified with my squished float pivots to become indestructable AFB floats.

This is a mod that Ted Harbit showed me:

 First, I cut the Thermoquad float brackets  just beyond the pre-drilled hole (that’s convienient!) they seem to all have.  I hung the AFB floats on a wire and heated the joint where the bracket is soldered to the float body until they separated.  Next, using a marker, I marked the location for a small hole to be drilled in the AFB bracket, holding it up against the TQ float, center-punched it and drilled a little hole which would grasp a sheet metal screw sent thru the TQ hole.  The AFB bracket may require a bit of carefull bending to get it flush against the TQ float.  Once you get the screw in, you can cut the excess screw off , peen the stub down, and epoxy over the works.  This should last forever.  The float weights are different, so some experimentation is in order, or, you could weigh the AFB float at your corner pharmacy (or hospital lab) and screw sheet metal screws into the float (or carve some off the float) until you are happy with the results.

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