Thursday, 17 January 2019

117. I thought I was finished with all this LOL ???

Here we are in 2019 wow where did last year go? this is a quick update first of all I am going to have to say this I am really disappointed that there are only 3 non msa events this year, I can only thing that either the Pod want to get rid of the Outlaw classes or there just isn't enough race days free on the calendar? time will tell on that one. Luckily the dragster is still tagged and i have just found out that the race suit has another year to go, the only thing that the team have had to get is a new race helmet as the current one is too damaged to get through scrutineering. Luckily Steve has found one and it's on its way to Swindon.

This means that we should be able to enter a couple of MSA events this year budget allowing that is. We have another problem early this year we found the gearbox was damaged because it had come out of line with the axle in fact it was beyond repair we found another box but what we didn't think of was, could it have damaged the axle as well? the answer to that is yes. Steve took the axle off the car to check it out as he wasn't happy with it when he turned it over something went "jangle jangle" there shouldn't be any noise from the saxle so back to base and strip down time, what Steve found wasn't good....

Bearings collapsed  shafts scored etc, its a wonder it didn't cause a bigger problem. So rebuild on the way and hopefully all will e well for the first meeting of the year.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

116. The off season is also very busy

So as I am freeing here in the UK waiting for completion on my house sale so I can go join my wife in Spain I may as well do another update, seeing as the TV is already halfway to Valencia. We racer types don't just park our race cars up for the winter and put our feet up oh no! There is always lots to do usually bound with  trying to go faster. We had a reasonable year this year we got the car back into the 8 second zone and we got some sort of reliability and later in the year with Steve in the hot seat we even won some points!!! and Steve got the car down to 8.7 seconds which was brilliant. But not fast or quick enough oh no.

First things first the team had to return the borrowed flex plate back to its original owner, Mike Oates and here was some investigation required in the drive train so last weekend Steve and Dave and all made the trip on a rather wet weekend up to the storage unit near Bedford.

After a quick call to yours truly for the combination of one of the padlocks they were at it big time and  very quickly the body panels were off and all sorts of bit and pieces were laying on the floor of the trailer, now having mentioned the trailer there is not a lot of room in it but some how three guys got the car stripped in that confined space.

In no time the flex plates were swapped over and the axle was lying on the floor, he axle had grown a leak or two and needed some TLC so Steve is going to take it home with him and sort it out.

Then it was off to see a man about a camshaft, the cam shaft we have been running for the last 4 years has a very short duration so time for a better one after some serious Steve type research we now have a longer duration cam and a lighter flex plate which should help no end will be even better once the trans brake is sorted out, which All rewired for us while Steve and Dave ripped the mechanical stuff apart, Some other research b Steve has found that we should be running in the top end of the 7's with our set up but it looks like we need bigger heads we will see in the mean time we should be catching up with Mark the Ball-beaker team depending on how much work they have done over the close season of course...bring it on!!!

Monday, 17 September 2018

115. Hot Rod Drags

I honestly didn't think I would still be in the Country at this time but house sales are intrinsically  fickle things so we are now on our second offer on our home, the upshot is I get to attend the 2018 offering of the NSRA's hot Rod Drags which is at Santa Pod raceway for the first time.  So once more I was up with the Larks on Friday morning (around 3:30am) and on the road around 5 am trying to get over the Dartford Crossing before they start charging at 6am

On arrival it was time to unload and sort out the trailer, the car needed a little fettling which was carried out by Steve, re-adjusting the back lash and checking the timing, the valve clearances were all over the place and the timing had slipped back to 30 degrees so after sorting that little problem out Steve and I went over to Family Camping to put up his tent which was to be his accommodation for the weekend, this was not easy as one might suspect due to rather windy day. but after just a little swearing and bending of tent pegs we got her up.

We took the car for a couple of runs but to be honest the track was far too cold and even though it had been glued it still wasn't at its best and on both runs Steve spun the tyres up when shifting gear, so apart from some  60 foot numbers it really wasn't worth persevering for the rest of the day so we packed up, tidied up had a few drinks and then went to the entertainment tent to watch a rather decent band, were we had a few more drinks I will admit to being a wee bit tipsy but not as "Broken" as a newest member of the team our wonderful back up girl Diana I don't think I can remember anyone dancing for so long without collapsing!

Saturday morning eventually arrived I was up early and managed to see the sunrise! not something I get to see very often.

After finding some much needed coffee and waiting for an appropriate time to turn on our very noisy generator we noticed that Steve  hadn't turned up for work so a walk round to the camping area and a few loud "Mornings" and we were back in business, even with some serious delays and a lot of waiting around in the paring lanes we managed to get 4 runs in which may be a record for us and on top of that Diana turned up on time with seemingly little or no after effects of the night before, a real pro that one. All runs were between 9.3 and 9.1 which isn't bad but nowhere near where we wanted to be so some serious head scratching was called for.

So after another night of merriment race day dawned, now this was to be a day of frustration and joy, first of all my video camera's memory card threw a wobbly so I only managed to save one video of the day and fortunately that was the one when Diana decided to wear a colour matching Basque, but not only that but we had problems before every run, first run the throttle stuck wide open while in the pairing lanes good job the engine wasn't running but what a sight to see Steve and Dave trying to fix the problem while being towed down to the start line, next run we found a dropped cylinder with 15 minutes to go before we were supposed to be towed down fortunately we found the problem and it wasn't as bad as it could have been it was a blocked injector.

During this time the team managed to set fire to a battery charger and get the brake cleaner and petrol muddled up so for the last two runs the car was started on brake cleaner, Second run was against Craig Larman in the Ferret, And as Colin on commentary said "both second generation racers"  he then mentioned myself and asked me to stand up and wave in the grandstand hmmm red face moment, Steve pulled to the line staged hit the trans brake and the car lurched forward crossed the beams before the tree ran down I knew instantly what had happened problems with the trans brake again, so no time or speed recorded but he floored it all the same Craig PB'd and Steve stormed after him the car pulled like a train, before that run Steve adjusted the main fuel pil by 0,5 and that made the difference. So now it was all hands to the decks,

We only had 30 mins to turn the car around and also try and sort out yet another trans brake switch as we had burnt out another one, that was three for the weekend. Lee Hartnel to the rescue with a high amp switch which was fitted in super quick time and tested seconds before we were called. This time no problems for Steve the car ran great, the time and speed came up on the boards he had done it..8.7 at 152 mph smiles all round.

Last run of the year and we had managed to achieve what we had set out to do, such a great feeling of achievement but with a lot of help from a lot of people including my Brother Dave, our friend Mike Oates our   great back up girl Diana and loads of others including most of The Wild Bunch, as I have already mentioned this was probably my last time at the Pod but what a way to go out thanks to everyone who made it possible it's been a  blast. I got home Sunday evening only to be told by Lorni that our second purchasers have now withdrawn their offer..oh well!

Monday, 20 August 2018

114. Redline Rumble

Well our first house purchasers had the sale of their place fall through.....etc etc. so I'm still here in sunny what can I do? I know go drag racing! But before that we had a problem to solve, I did mention in the last post that we may have a gearbox problem as we seem to be having trouble with the transbrake and also a small leak. A couple of weeks back Steve went up to the trailer along with Dave and one of Steve's friends an they took the gearbox out which is a big job that requires the back axle to be removed and the under-tray, all in the confines of the trailer so not much room to work in.

Steve took the gearbox apart and found..well lots of problems, the tail piece has a bronze bush in it but for some reason the exit of the tail had elongated gone egg shaped and the bush had broken up and bits had got in everywhere including the pump the front bush wasn't looking too good either.

This was why we were having problems not enough line pressure, replacement parts are not cheap and it was looking like the team would be sitting out the rest of the season then Steve got a call informing him of a complete gearbox for sale that had all the right bits in it, So Steve purchased the item from Paul Marston, I had to collect it for Steve as Paul lived around 35 miles from me a lot nearer to me than Swindon. So as arranged I turned up at Paul's place on a miserable English summers day in Romford, Essex. Gearbox was then transported to my place until Dave picked it up the Thursday before the Redline Rumble.

Dave took the newly acquired Powerglide to the trailer where he and Steve set about installing the box the day before the event.

Once the gearbox was installed another problem reared it's head the drive train was out of alignment when the slicks were turned the prop shaft was turning in an elliptical motion which is what probably caused the initial problem, this was going to take some time to sort out so we were not going to the Rumble, then a little while later I got a call from Steve to let me know that he had managed to shim the gearbox up and that has sorted out the problem and we would be going to the Rumble! Ten minutes after that I got another call telling me that the Flex Plate (fly wheel) was bent and there was nothing we could do about it so we would not be going to the Rumble. Half an hour later another phone call, Steve had phoned Mike Oates our temporary / full time team member who said we could borrow the one from his engine for the time being so we would be going to the Rumble. A little while later Steve rang me to tell me that while putting the transmission shield on he had caught the gearbox inhibitor switch and broken it, this switch stops the engine from being started while in gear, so now we were not going to the Rumble.

I had a little think about it and phoned Steve back and managed to explain to him that we could in fact do without the switch for one meeting if we were careful so we were now defiantly going to the rumble. Thank god all that was sorted but!!!!! he then phoned me back to let me know that the oil pressure gauge wasn't working and nor was the transbrake and that he had just about had enough for the day and wanted to set fire to the car and we were now not going to the Rumble....again. Around about ten to eight passed and he phoned me back to say "Sod it" we were going and he would sort out the wiring at the Pod in the morning so the Rumble was back on and I was getting giddy. I then got another call to let me know that he couldn't get out of the storage depot as all the gates were now locked so I had to make a couple of calls to get him released.

A quick bath and some clothes packed and the alarm set for 4:30am I managed to get to bed for some well earned sleep. We met up at the storage depot to find the place was still locked up at 7:30am so we waited and then more people turned up and the gates were still locked so I phoned Graham the owner who was on Holiday!! he had to give me the codes over the phone so I could open the place up, we got to the Pod a little later than we had hoped for, Mike was already at the gates waiting for us, we unloaded the trailer and the team got to work sorting out the electrical gremlins. They found out the transbrake switch on the steering wheel was broken and so Steve borrowed one from the Brown twins, It was a good job our first run was not till lunchtime.

This was Steve's first meeting as a driver he took to it like he had been doing it all his life, we had four runs booked in for the Wild Bunch on Saturday the first run wasn't brilliant but it was Steve's first full pass in the car it got better from there on in. More fettling from Mike on the fuel system and Steve was getting the hang of it I was getting worried he would break into the 8's straight away and with the lovely Diana backing him up he got close, real close.

Saturdays Runs

We found another small problem, Steve was managing to get the car into Neutral on the burnout and on the run. There is supposed to be a "gate" to stop this but when the gearbox was installed and the linkage adjusted it moved the gear selector position, So on Sunday morning this was solved by Dave and then the backlash was checked and an oil change done and we were ready for the days competition.

Sundays Runs

To say I was impressed or even proud would be an understatement not only did Steve not get beat once but he even managed to pull a red light and his reaction times were more than impressive. beat me hands down, he ended up with a best time of 9.05 seconds on a 9.1 dial in on the last run but he also managed a best of 0.07 reaction time, he only went and finished 4th out of 22 original starters and got a trophy and...another trophy for best reaction time of the event...bloody nora.

Trophy boy

So all of this on his first meeting as a driver on a borrowed flex plate a borrowed transbrake switch no gearbox inhibitor switch, problems with the gear selector and reaching the throttle peddle properly, Two trophy's and unbeaten, that will do to start with!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

113. Dragstalgia 2018....what a blast! (the last one..maybe)

As usual Dragstalgia is the biggest event of the year for the team and if we could only attend one event per year this would be the one. Every year the event gets bigger and better, and every year we start Dragstalgia with a car in pieces, it's fast becoming a Slimline Racing tradition! This year like many others Dave and I were going to take the trailer up to the Pod and set up camp Thursday afternoon, but first I had to go to Finedon and pick up our repaired head, I told you we were cutting it fine again, I then met up with Dave at the trailer park hooked up and made our way to the Pod. Once we had gotten the car out and set up camp I phoned up Mile Oates who has been helping us out no end with the car, I couldn't get through so I drove out to Odell where I picked up our fuel system, injection system, fuel tank, filters etc  Mike has been through them all cleaned them all and re-piped some of it for us. So now we had nearly all the bits ready for the Steve and Dave and later on Mike to put it all together again.

To add to the workload we could only get 80 thou thick head gaskets instead of the 60 thou ones we were using which meant the other head had to come off as well, Steve turned up at around 7:30 am with my  youngest brother Andy, Dave had stayed at the Pod over night and they were off, spanners and bits and pieces flyng everywhere, the temperature was increasing all day and the heat was bloody well oppressive and we had no real shade. Mike turned up around lunchtime and between them all they performed a minor miracle and the car was fired up around 3:30  after some fettling with the timing she was ready for the scheduled Friday evening qualifying run.

Our first run we were up against our friend Terry Clifford in the Ratcatcher Resurrection slingshot, always good on the lights and always competitive, in fact Terry and team won the whole event! We both staged I hit the trans brake the lights went green and...I didn't move I let the revs drop touched the throttle slightly and she moved forward so I hit the throttle Terry was already at half track by now but wow the car pulled hard and just kept going we went through the lights at 9.5 sec it would have been a  much quicker run if I hadn't tripped the start line beams with the mucking around with the trans brake but.... we ran over 155 mph a new PB, so we now knew the car was running right. Back in the pits Steve found what we thought was the problem with the trans brake..low oil level, so this was rectified and the car put to bed ready for the next day.

photo courtesy of  Max Messenger

The next day on our first run we were lined up against our friends the Brown twins, I took the car into stage after the burnout waited for Wrath Child to stage then hit the trans brake the lights went green I released the trans brake and......nothing again!!! the car didn't move, I let the revs drop down from nearly 7000 rpm touched the throttle again, she moved so I floored it and she took off like a scalded cat and god did she pull all way past the Brown twins car and through the finish line at 9.18 secs at an amazing 153.16 mph a bloody shame I tripped the start beams again at the beginning. I also have to mention that we had a new back up girl for the day Diana Macrae who works for in fact Diana was also our BUG on Sunday.

Photo's courtesy of Andy Rogers

Back in the pits I made a decision not to use the trans brake again as we couldn't risk messing up another run and on top of this we found a small leak coming from what we thought was the gearbox overflow we weren't the only ones sprouting leaks we all thought it was down to the excessive temperatures. So after an oil change we were ready to be towed down again. This time we were paired with Phil James in Rampage another hard charging racer with good reaction times.

So on this run I was launching off the hand brake the lights ran down and I floored the throttle I was pushed back in the seat the front wheels came up and I knew it was a good run, When Steve came to pick me up at the top of the shut down area he told me that we were back in the 8's that put a smile on my face we had also  managed  our best ever 60 foot time of 1.24 secs. back in the pits we found a problem, the trans brake had stopped working altogether which meant I had no reverse now as well,  we didn't have any power getting to the trans brake solenoid also on the last run the chute had refused to open and the brakes were getting a little uhmmm jaded. the team did their best but we were called into the pairing lanes so we wrapped the car up and towed her down, with trans brake, no reverse, a chute that wouldn't open and dodgy brakes and maybe a gearbox problem that also had a little leak. Was I worried? of course not....much. I think I was the only member of the Wild Bunch that was not unhappy about being "bumped" that is our third run was cancelled due to a large oil down and lack of time left. Back in the pits the boys worked like demons found the fault and just about re-wired the whole car they finished around 11:30 miracle workers!

We towed down Sunday morning ready for our next run, even though the super team had fixed just about everything and we had checked the trans brake worked I still decided not to use it just in case, we would check it out properly at a RWYB event.

photo courtesy of Laura-Ann Caryl Peters

This time we were paired off with Dave Rowlands and the Destiny Angel altered conditions had changed a little and the team had taken a little fuel out of the car we still ran a stout 8.9 at 151 mph and a decent 60 foot of 1.27. Out last run was a bit of a disaster I could only get second gear and while trying to keep it in gear it jumped out a couple of times, probably driver error or maybe gearbox problems? anyway we only managed a 9.9 second run but we weren't too down hearted as for the first time in two years we finished an event made all the runs and came away with an engine in one piece.

This car of ours is awesome and I know she will get a lot quicker we know there is a 7 second run in her Steve and the team will be changing the rear end ratios soon and servicing and fixing the gearbox with a few mods!!!! I of course have now stepped down from the team, my life is going to take a different more relaxed direction. So I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Shakespeare County Raceway, Santa Pod Raceway, The amazing Wild Bunch and of course the lovely Claire and my son Steve and the rest of the super team Dave, Mike and all the other great people that have helped us over the years and lastly my wonderful wife Lorni without whose support none of this would have ever happened.

Photo courtesy of Mark Coulsell

I will try and pop over to the Pod from time to time and I will keep up to date with what's going on courtesy of the internet and I did tell Steve that if the car is running properly then I would like to take the seat for next years Dragstalgia, thanks for the brilliant memories it truly has been a blast!!!!!!!...................      Russ Heaven AKA  DangerRuss

Monday, 2 July 2018

112. Cutting it fine yet again!!!!!

We have only got 10 days before we are supposed to go and set up ready for Dragstalgia so as per usual we are far from ready, just like the previous years running up to our favourite meeting of the year we still have issues to solve and bits to put back together, Also bear in mind this is supposed to be my final fling in the car as already stated I relinquished my responsibility for the car some time ago but continue driving till this Dragstalgia as Steve will take over the main driving duties from then on. he has already proved to be more than capable of handling the car.

First off all the race car, Steve has arranged for the head to go to an old friend of his to be welded up and machined, the damaged portion of the head will be cut back a bit and welded with the correct hardness rods, but on top of that it looks like there is a fuel delivery problem on that cylinder as it seems to be running lean  on the one cylinder so another good friend of the team has taken the whole system away to be cleaned and checked and it looks like we need to put larger diameter supply fuel pipes on up from 6 mm to 8 mm to increase the fuel volume flow. I hope this works.

That was one problem, the other is the truck which is now in the capable hands of my son, it was due its annual MOT the regulations of which have changed dramatically this year, after a quick look round Steve found that most of the front suspension bits and pieces needed replacing along with a few other bits!!

 Bottom Ball Joint-1

Bottom Ball Joint-2

Exhaust Hanger

Also drop links knackered and off side wheel bearing which is part of the hub assembly and loads of rubber bushes so Steve ordered the new parts only took two days to arrive and off he went and fitted them all, it will be like driving a new car.

 New Parts

More New Parts

So looking forward to Dragstalgia now it will be a great family gathering and there at the moment 37 Wild Bunch cars entered, fingers crossed ours will be one of them.

Monday, 18 June 2018

111.. Oh no here we go again!!!!

The whole team had been looking forward to the Retro Show, we had the new Dizzie cap and rotor arm fitted as the old ones were pretty much destroyed, and we knew there was a hell of lot more left in the cars performance. The first problem of the day was getting to the trailer park I left my home at around 12:40 it took me nearly 5 hours to do 100 miles that was how bad the M25 and M1 were on that Friday, utter bloody disgrace the new Dartford crossing system is now slower than the old barrier booth system and the "Smart" motorway system is just an excuse to slow everyone down usually for no good reason, put the bloody hard shoulder back then we wouldn't have to be told to slow down to 50mph 10 miles before a bloody indecent and even after months of TV adverts telling everyone not to travel in a lane with a red X in it no one bothered telling any of our overseas friends this..grrr rant over!.

After arriving at the Pod around 6 in the evening we set up camp and settled in for the night or rather I did as Steve wasn't coming up till the morning and Dave went  home to his comfortable bed...swine LOL.

The following two days were going to be exciting, or so we thought? First of all we were going to fire the car up and make sure she works, then if everything is OK Steve was going to get his first ride in the car followed by a couple of runs by me then if the car was still in one piece and we had time we were going to try and get Dave a fire suit that fits and let him have a go..happy days so after a few Jack Daniels courtesy of the Ratchet Strap team it was time for bed.

I was up early in the morning nursing a thick head, grab wash kit and run over to the toilet block it then starting to rain dam! but luckily it was just a very light shower that cleared up quickly, not long  later Dave turned up followed by Steve then Mike, We started work on the car, now Steve wasn't happy how the car turned over but after firing her up she seemed ok. So Steve was sent off to sign on for the days racing big grin on his face showing off his entry wrist band.

So the car came off the stands and was roped up to the tow car, Steve went into the trailer and changed into the fire suit, I don't think I have ever seen Steve with such a big grin on his face.

Steve was strapped in tot he car only a helmet and gloves left to put on and  the car was then towed down to the pairing lanes ready for the run.

It was a really weird feeling seeing someone else in the driving seat but this moment was supposed to have come last year so can't complain too much, Steve seemed unbelievably calm, I had gone through with him all the procedures and he knew most of them anyway, so the car was fired up I went round tot he side f the track and filmed him as best I could as I couldn't see anything on the screen of the cam corder as the sun was so bright.

So at half track after a decent launch ad run Steve hit the big "Off" button, we all heard it and I think we all knew what had happened? I went to pick Steve up from the first exit and he was already out of the car looking at the engine, he looked at me he didn't need to say anything, we towed back tot he pits where the plugs were pulled on the middle two cylinders of the right hand bank and there was the tell-tale signs of aluminium dust all over them, so the head was pulled and there was an old friend visiting us again!!!!

The head torched again, so after a lot of discussion we think we know what to do, first we have to get the head welded up again and machined flat this time with the correct hardness welding rods then we have to go through our fuel system and see if there is any blockages if not then we are going to put bigger nozzles on those two ports, so all the bits were put into the trailer and loaded up and went home, Now the team have their work cut out to try and get everything ready for Dragstalgia, a race we can't afford to lose.