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Author Topic: Second Wind: the 200mph Merkur  (Read 56218 times)
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4-barrel Mike
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« on: February 07, 2012, 10:00:06 PM »

In December, I purchased the 1986 Merkur XR4Ti built and raced by Rick Byrnes and then raced by Bob "Grib" Gribble.

I hope (if money holds out  afro ) to have the car at Speedweek, pass tech and make some shakedown runs, then go all out in 2014. 

I'm planning on more or less duplicating the 2.3T set-up that Rick ran through 1998, using many of the parts that he used then (thanks, Rick!).  I feel that I'll have several things going for me to make more horsepower than Rick did: 1) there's a million 2.3 engines out there running mini-stock and there have been some advances in head porting, 2) Rick ran a really small cam and advices a lot more lift, and 3) computerized engine management is greatly advanced over what was available in 1998.

I plan on running F/BGC, using an Esslinger "tall deck" block as an engine swap (ruled to be a legal engine swap by the powers-that-be and not legal for production classes). 

First, some history of the car (much abbreviated):

1988 Rick Byrnes purchased 1986 Merkur XR4Ti body
1990 construction completed
1991 Bonneville – F/PS record 174 (for one day)
1992 Bonneville – F/PS record 182
1993 Bonneville – F/PS spin
1994 Bonneville – F/PS fastest 200.3, record 199 (?)
1995 Maxton April – F/PS record 174 (still standing)
1995 Bonneville – F/PS record 199.036 (?)
1996 off
1997 Bonneville – F/PS ignition problems, rain out
1998 Bonneville – F/PS fastest 208 – record 204 (red hat)
1999 Bonneville – F/GC qualified, pulled from impound, broke trying to requalify
2000 Bonneville – F/FALT record 176
2001 sold to Bob “Grib” Gribble
2003 Maxton April – Turbo Buick V-6 D/BGCC record 172
2003 Maxton May – Turbo Buick V-6 B/BGCC record 184 (still standing)
2003 Maxton June – Turbo Buick V-6 C/BGC record 168
2003 Bonneville – Yates NASCAR V-8 C/GALT – looking for 2003 run log
2003 Maxton Sept – Yates NASCAR V-8 C/GALT record 203 (still standing)
2008 Maxton Sept – “Return after long hiatus.”  Last time at Maxton?


1991 - ran 11.3 in LSR trim - F/PS


1997 with the paint that everyone remembers - F/PS


2000 F/FALT (compare the front lower wheel opening to the picture below)


2003 Grib - C/GALT (with Dan Warner approved wheel opening)

Additional info:

Rick's great story on getting his read hat in 1998: http://www.merkurencyclopedia.com/Merkur_misc/Byrnes_1998.html

Rick's "For sale" write-up, lots of good info: http://www.davecompton.com/RBMForSale.htm

The bar has been set really high by the previous owners.  Whatever the future holds, it's gonna be fun!

Mike
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Mike Kelly - PROUD owner of the V4F that powered the #1931 VGC to a 82.803 mph record in 2008!
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2012, 10:35:21 PM »

Mike, looks like you bought a great winning platform to build from!

I wish you the same great success that Rick had, and more! cheers
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4-barrel Mike
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 09:49:49 PM »

I've been fighting a really bad cold; as soon as I think I'm better I try to do something in the shop and end up worse.  sad

After a few days of crawling in and out and under the car, I came up with a short (for the moment) list of things that I have to fix:

1.  Larger washers in the heim joints
2.  Reinforce crouch belt mount
3.  Fill a couple of newer holes in the firewall
4.  Replace battery boxes to fit rules
5.  Add gussets to roll cage (what year did they become mandatory?)
6.  Reinforce front roll cage bars at A-pillars

However, I felt one of the first things I should do would be to get the containment seat positioned so that I can easily reach all of the controls and switches.

The cockpit when the car arrived:




Grib last ran the car with a Yates NASCAR V-8 and a Tex T101, so he had enlarged the transmission tunnel, particularly around the throttle and especially where the shifter was, which wouldn't allow the seat to go quite as far forward as I wanted.  So I decide to remove part of what he had changed.

But, under the carpet and heat shield I discovered some (mostly) mild surface rust, so I took out all of Grib's work.  So after grinding and drilling out a bunch aluminum rivets, I ended up with:





The passenger side has some fairly bad rust in the floor around where the roll cage mount pad is welded, which can be easily repaired.



The cage was built in 1990 and last inspected in 2003.  The mount pads are slightly under 4" x 4", which is too small (see #6, above). 

Since I don't much care for the cage welded just sheetmetal, I plan on cutting out the rusted areas, trimming the mount pads down as small as possible, then running a 2"x4"x.120" stringer from the heavily reinforced inboard subframe to where the cage can be welded to it.  It will be welded to the floor and probably fish-plated at the subframe.

Note: the only problem is with the forward A-pillar bars. The other six bars are welded securely to reinforced (or added-in) subframe members.

More when I'm feeling better.

Mike
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Mike Kelly - PROUD owner of the V4F that powered the #1931 VGC to a 82.803 mph record in 2008!
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 10:22:53 PM »

Sounds like a fun project Mike. The F/BGC record is over 200, you might want to remove the window glass as you plan on moving up the speed range... Better now than later.   cheers
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4-barrel Mike
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2012, 10:33:02 PM »

LOL!  I left out the obvious (to me) big changes needed; changing out the glass (a smallish plastics shop about three miles from home does Lexan front, rear, and side for local drag racers);  the needed head supports/restraints; etc.

Thanks for the prod!

Mike

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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2012, 11:39:04 PM »

If Mike L is prodding you from afar, That will help when Adam and I prod you in person... evil evil It looks like Saturday Feb 25, as early as you can stand it, will be our visit..... grin
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4-barrel Mike
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 12:31:39 AM »

as early as you can stand it, will be our visit..... grin

I'm usually up about 5:30, automatic coffee machine has done it's thing by then.  Come on by!  evil

Or if a little later would suit you, I can have some heat in the shop for you.

Mike
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Mike Kelly - PROUD owner of the V4F that powered the #1931 VGC to a 82.803 mph record in 2008!
4-barrel Mike
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 08:37:04 PM »

So, at Gearhead breakfast on Friday morning, everyone is whining and moaning about not working on their cars.  "The wife" this and "the honeydo list" that.

Finally there is silence.

"I didn't get home till really late the other evening," say me.  "Had to drive across town and back to pick up  the new transmission for the race car."

Dead silence.  I can see that they're wondering what that had to do with the subject they just exhausted.

So I told them where I was storing it.

V




V




V





V





V





They figured it out.   grin

Mike
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 10:32:19 PM »

Mike, You are a very brave man!  If I did that, I would be living in my car and showering at the gym.  shocked  Tony
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 07:33:23 AM »

  And what ever you do, don't try to bring a core engine in the house to clean it up a little.
    Doug cheers cheers cheers


* 00 01 01_0732.JPG (423.65 KB, 1600x1200 - viewed 247 times.)
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 09:45:03 AM »

Mike, don't feel bad, we LIVE in our shop. The only thing that bugs Carla is the grinder smell.
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4-barrel Mike
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 01:03:32 PM »

Some progress: cleaned off the hood (now to fill the hole) and pulled all of the glass to take to the plastics shop.

Mike


* Hood 02.jpg (186.05 KB, 1000x571 - viewed 170 times.)

* No glass.jpg (279.8 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 236 times.)
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Mike Kelly - PROUD owner of the V4F that powered the #1931 VGC to a 82.803 mph record in 2008!
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 02:14:15 PM »

Way to go, Mike.  I'm happy that you are making "chips."

Thank for coming to the banquet.

FREUD
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4-barrel Mike
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2012, 09:52:25 PM »

Adam Rogers and Kiwi Paul came by to look at the car and advise Saturday morning.  It went well and was educational as well as thought-provoking.

Best of all, as he was leaving, Kiwi Paul said, "It's much better than I expected."  smiley

They thought that my plan to run 2"x4"x.120" stringers out from the subframe to support the front of the cage (now supported by rusty sheetmetal) would work well.

Adam strongly suggested some added bars to the roll cage:



An added bar between the door and the driver, with an extension across the top to the passenger's side and a short loop from the new cross bar down to the diagonal cross bar behind the driver to hang the right-side head restraint to.

Another point that I wasn't familiar with was that the ignition, fuel pump, and starter switches on the left of the dash wouldn't be within reach with the necessary arm restraint.  So, I'll move those and some of those on the right also.



A third point was that the material used to cover the painted surfaces was also covering seams that might need to be resealed, or that perhaps had never been totally sealed at all.  So, I've pulled all of that material.  I found that, especially around the fuel cell, I'll need to do some work to get everything sealed.  There are also a few miscellaneous unused bolt (and other) holes that will get welded up or covered over with metal.



Note: I've unbolted and removed most of the the fuel cell cover.  Most of the rust-looking areas are dirty glue from the material.

I also pulled out the water tank from between the rollcage and the rear end and found a lot of missing paint and light rust.  More wire brushing and painting.

Mike
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 10:58:25 PM »


Nice....a Merkur is on my "to do list" for running on the salt.

If all goes well ....maybe next year.


Jon
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