All cracked up!

Some of you that follow me on Social Media (https://www.facebook.com/CaptainJackMoody) know that I have been chasing this mystery trans leak on the 71 car. The thing would go for days and weeks and not leak a drop unless I parked it for a week. This is after the car sat for two weeks. It dumped the bulk of the trans fluid onto the garage floor. I have looked it over front to back and could not find a real source of this issue. Some forum guys said it was the TQ converter draining down while parked and overflowing to the vent.

 

Soooo… since we have the new 408 engine in work and the swap to a five speed, I pulled the engine and trans out and this is what I saw once the pressure was off the transmission:

The case was cracked about 90% of the way around! It split almost on the pump line. With the engine against the trans, it most likely kept the crack from opening up. The bell housing was so loose I could nearly break it off by hand. With the new NV3500, I have to fabricate a mount so I am hoping to eliminate the torsion issues by a longitudinal pivot style mount.

 

Here’s hoping!

 

BTW, the initial test fit of the new trans went very well!

The more I listen to this guy….

I have an hour and fifteen commute each day to my wonderful job as an airline tech specialist. It’s an almost straight shot from my house in Daytona to the Orlando airport. I get bored quickly, so I will throw on YouTube and let it play. Yeah, yeah. I listen to it ok. I have become a fan of a lot of the classic car and car guy channels but one stands out above the rest. Uncle Tony.

The more I listen to him, the more I realize this is me. Well, minus the fantastic mullet and smoking habit.

Seriously though, Tony embodies everything that is old school hot rod. While I have never been a drag race guy, I can appreciate the philosophy of build it rather than buy it. Nothing like building a carbureted engine with points ignition that eats up new cars at the track. It gave me some new inspiration for a build you will be hearing about soon! Guaranteed it will have a points distributor and a Holley carb!

I’ve watched most every video on his channel. Don’t discount him and his knowledge. He presents it in a way that even my ex wife can understand.

For the love of &^$%*@%^

Headed home from Darlington, somewhere just past the Hardeeville exit it happened. Running 90 in the outside lane I hear a bang and then a vibration so hard I though the car was coming apart. The exhaust got noticeably louder as well so I really thought I had blown the damn motor. Racing home, trying to beat the beginnings of the hurricane and here I was on the side of the road in low country South Carolina.

Walk around… nothing. Open the hood…nothing. WTF?! Looked under the car..nothing right off till I saw the rear U joint had exploded. I am guessing all of the parade burnouts and shenanigans were too much for it. Luckily for me Progressive has an awesome road side assistance program. I was too far south for any of my Street Legal Stock Car folks to come rescue me. I popped out my car show camp chair and set down in the woods off the road and waited on a ride.

They tried to take me on to a Dodge dealer. Um no! Took me like a minute on Google to find a good old South Carolina shop. J&C Auto in Hardeeville are seriously the best folks I have ran into in quite a while. They were busy as hell, and actually ended up just loaning me their car to go grab the part and loaning me a jack to get under the car. This place was packed with cars and you can tell the locals loved them. I can’t say enough praise for the shop.

 

 

Between looking for the parts and what not, it took about six hours to get back on the road. All in all, it worked out just fine and I beat the hurricane home. It’s all part of the adventure.

 

Racing in the “I’ve lost my damn mind 500” … a Darlington road trip.

I was invited to bring the 71 car up to Darlington, SC for the 2019 NASCAR Hauler Parade. What? Oh hell yes! One problem. I don’t have a car hauler yet. What to do? Well, jump in a 1970’s NASCAR replica and drive 350 miles from Daytona to Darlington, SC to meet up with the rest of the Street Legal Stock Car group from Facebook. Had I lost my damn mind? Well anyway, the parade was on the 29th, so I headed out on the morning of the 28th. After a week of looking the car over and making it the best I could, packing up a bunch of tools, some spare parts, and a few qts of oil, off I went!

First gas stop, in somewhere Georgia. The car was running like a beast. No issues at all, not even the gas mileage was alarming. Yep, the trans still has a leak somewhere, but who the hell cares. A quick pit stop and I was back on the road. The weather was perfect and it wasn’t even that hot as long as I was moving. Did I need better ear plugs?

Second gas stop was just an hour south of Darlington in Santee, South Carolina. All was well. Added a qt of oil, filled the tank and took a much needed leg stretching walk around the car. Now… about those ear plugs! OMG I was going deaf! I was running about 85 for most of the second leg, which was turning near 4,000 rpm. Holy shit was this thing loud. I pressed on!

I rolled into Florence, SC with plenty of daylight left. Let me tell you, the Super 8 there is decent. Cheap, no frills, and did the trick for under $50 a night. That’s Preacher Franklin’s bad ass 17 car parked next to mine. and… I am deaf. My freaking ears were ringing so bad I could not even hear the TV  in the motel room! The poor waitress at Quincy’s had to wonder while I was yelling at her! All I wanted after that meal was to go sit quietly in the motel room for a few hours!

Now let’s get on to the fun stuff! The next morning I was up, and Preacher and I headed out to get some ear plugs for the ride home! We grabbed our cars and headed over to the Florence Convention Center to meet up with the rest of the crew. Little did I know that the first part of the day would be reminiscent of the old  race car days with swapping out a transmission right there in the parking lot! (Hey, at least it wasn’t MY transmission!) It was good to hang out with gear heads l like me. Guy who weren’t afraid to get dirty, and know their car like the back of their hand. JB had the trans swap done in a few hours. Now imagine… that far from home and a few phone calls and he had a new four speed and clutch ready to go. All from a fellow racer in SC!

Jim Boyle drove this thing from WAY up north, like Connecticut north. Now I don’t feel nearly as nuts for my part in this weekend! The trans swap was on, a little tune up on the #9 Ford Thunderbird belonging to Chad and we were off to lunch. We showed back up around three for the start of the big show. Please do not let anyone tell you that NASCAR is dead in the south!

(Photo Credit Thomas Blackstone)
NASCAR is certainly not dead in South Carolina. I am guessing I had 100 kids, and a handful of grown women crawling in and out of this car for photos over the hours we were set up on display. I mean, that’s what the heck I built this thing for any way! The towns of Florence and Darlington came together in a way that made me homesick for the Carolinas for a bit. No racism, no BS, just out and out NASCAR fans coming to see their favorite driver’s rigs and take in some cool race cars.

Photo Credit: Thomas Blackstone
I can’t even begin to accurately describe the amount of money sitting in this parking lot and what an honor it was to be asked to be a part of it. I am ready to do it again next year! ow we haven’t even got to talk about the parade yet!

Stay tuned for part 2 coming up soon!

Feeling like the luckiest guy on earth!

All I have to do is look at these photos and I realize I am one of the luckiest guys alive! Racing at Daytona had been a dream of mine since I was a kid. While the SCCA track Night isn’t technically racing, except against my own best lap time, I am still driving the most famous speedway ever! I’ve gone 145 mph on the most famous speedway ever! I’ve challenged my car to its limit now. This means that I can spend the rest of the year working on a new motor, getting the new five speed set up, and making it all ready to do this again next year.

I don’t take a second of this for granted! I know that I am lucky to have the skill to build a car like this, the time and money to get to the track, and a wife that somehow understands the addiction.

 

As blessed as one can be!

Ok, so this will be my third run at Daytona. My second in the Charger. I almost backed out because I haven’t had the chance to get the new transmission in, and the new motor just went to the machine shop. BUT, who in the heck can pass up the chance to go play on the most famous speedway in the world?? I can’t say enough about the SCCA, TireRack, and Grass Roots Motorsports for putting on such an awesome event. Everything ran smooth as could be. As usual, a few who get a bit carried away on track, but it is to be expected. (Something about being at the most famous Speedway in the world)!

 

Great shot from the GRM Honda! Thanks guys!

 

This was the first session. Later on the night, second gear started going away on me. I also made a dumb rookie mistake and left the vacuum advance hooked up on the distributor so I had some misfire issues for a bit. Easy fix! Last session, I was told I neared 145! Plenty fast trying to stop this behemoth! The new EBC brake pads helped immensely and I had to dial in way more rear brake bias that I ever expected to use. Every lap seemed to get more and more fun. Don’t forget your point by guys! I am not ashamed!

 

This was pretty cool to see as well. Chris caught up to us and was able to shoot some video following us for a lap or two. Man, I never knew this car sounded so cool from the outside. I can hardly wait to keep perfecting it!

 

 

Enjoy the ride and don’t forget to check out the SCCA Track Night in America!

Engine carnage

So I recently bought a batch of 5.9 (360) engines to rebuild. With the pending purchase of another car and the need to swap the engine out of the 71 when I do the 5 speed install, I thought it would be a good time to gather some stock for the builds.

I made a deal with a guy local to us who has a barn full of motors. I ended up with two complete long blocks and one bottom end. As luck would have it, the first teardown was a bust. The motor looked brand new on the outside. The paint was still shiny black. I have no idea exactly what happened, but I was told that the oil filter reportedly came off of the motor and the person kept running it. In my 35 years of working on cars, I have never seen one this bad that didn’t fly into a hundred pieces!

I guess the fact that it would not spin at all should have been a hint! The #3 bearing spun and the bock was black as could be right there. The piston pins were welded to the rods! I managed to be able to save three of the 8 rods. Get a look at the rod bearings!

So, good news is the supplier is going to bring some more cores by so I can continue with my original plan of a three engine build.  may keep this block and build it later as a low RPM truck motor or something. The crank is beyond repair. I may make some funky yard art out of it.

With that, I was happy to see that the heads looked like brand new, so I ordered a set of springs and retainers from Hughes Engines so we can at least get some top end action going!

 

Spending a day with true legends!

On July 5th, we were invited to bring the 71 car to a fund raising event for the Living Legends of Auto Racing museum in Daytona. What an awesome time! We met Bobby and Donny Allison as well as Linda Vaughn! We also had the opportunity to meet several other local legends and view some of the most beautiful classic race cars that I have seen. It was great to be able to help out the museum and we know we will certainly be attending more events with the museum. If you are local or just visiting, be sure to stop the museum at 2400 S Ridgewood Ave #36, South Daytona, FL, and let them know we sent you that way!

 

 

 

Roll your own…….HEI that is

Ok, well here we go! Done, and done! New HEI system is all installed and she runs great!

 

Yes, you too can do this! It may be blasphemy to some, but I can tell you that this is 100 times more reliable and the spark hotter than a Mopar or Direct Connection box. While not as fancy as a full MSD or Mallory setup, it comes at a fraction of the cost! All you need is a stock Mopar distributor, GM HEI module, and a coil. No more ballast resistor!

Here is a great article from Elizabeth Puckett at Power and Performance Magazine about how she did it.

Here is how it’s wired.  Don’t forget the heat sink paste on the module and mount it to aluminum for cooling.

One note is on the distributor cap. The older (late 80’s to around 92 had a clip down cap, where later ones had the screw down cap. The later cap has HEI Male terminals, where the older one had standard female wire sockets. I did find a cap at Mancini racing that had the male HEI terminals with the clip mount cap, and it was $48!! I have seen some on eBay but as of now haven’t tested them.

And here we have the first firing. Timing was not set yet, but she sounded pretty mean for a cold start!

 

Feel free to email me: nick@excopllc.com or hit me up on Facebook if you want help setting up your own!

And here we go …again!

Remember me talking about Chinese junk a few posts ago? That awesome HEI distributor? Well, here we go again! Took the car from a cruise and on the way home it died like the switch was turned off. At first, I thought it’s almost 100 degrees out, so maybe vapor lock. Nope. I noticed when it shut down that the tach died immediately and pegged at zero. I managed to limp it home by cycles of driving and cooling, driving and cooling. That was fun!

I started checking things over. While letting the engine idle I noticed the weirdest thing! The damned distributor cap was wobbling around while the engine was running. Turns out out wasn’t the cap, but the entire base plate! I opened it up to have a look and the entire base was full of oil! Pic below was after I had spilled some of the oil. The stator was full of oil as well. Absolute JUNK!

UGH!! Soooo… off to my scrap bin and picked out a Mopar distributor. Now I am back to rolling my own ignition module and coil setup the way that I want it. I’ll update that as soon as I get it fired up!

On a really good note, JEGS was more than happy to refund the money for the purchase even though I told them they were getting a box of parts back.