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Author Topic: East Texas Trans Am  (Read 4154 times)
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dickj
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« on: October 12, 2008, 06:59:50 PM »

Not that anybody outside of East Texas would really care, but if you're really bored, here's where I'm at and where I hope I'm going with my LSR plans. 
 
After nearly four years of building and de-bugging, I think the car is ready for some serious racing. Our 454 BBIC- powered 1977 Pontiac Trans Am started out to be a streetable USFRA 150 Club car, with all developmental testing being done close to home at the Texas Mile. The first time out yielded a fuel starvation probem limiting speed of about 130 mph.  After several changes to the fuel pump, fuel lines, fuel filter, fuel cell and carburetor, the car finally worked it's way up to a satisfying 163 mph in the mile. 
 
"Satisfying" is a relative term.  I had reached what should get me into the 150 club, but now I wanted more speed.  The Grumpy Jenkins Merlin heads were determined to be too small, but if I changed the heads, and wound the motor tighter, with more horsepower, then the pistons and crank would be a little on the stressed side.  A total rebuild was determined to be needed, and a little boring and stroking would get me closer to the 500 CID limit for A/CGC.  When my engine man started listing all the new stuff to build the motor up to that limit, it was determined that the only thing being re-used would be the block, timing chain, and new harmonic balancer I had just bought.  He suggested just building a new 496 from the bottom up, and maybe selling the old motor.
 
I told the engine man that my goal was to see 180 in the mile, and 200 at Bonneville.  He put the old motor on the dyno and found 541 HP.  From that he determined that 800 HP would be needed to reach my goals.  I could have more HP if I wanted - - - for a price!  Since I was already draining my savings to get the motor built to begin with, I told him the 800 ponies would be fine.
 
After five weeks of waiting, I got the call that the motor was finished and that a "dyno day" had been set.  Gail and I drove the three hundred miles to the shop outside of Baton Rouge, and were ready to show up at the shop (eight miles from where we were spending the night) at the appointed 9AM.  Much earlier than that, over a cup of coffee with our friends, my ears perked to what sounded  like the beginning of a NASCAR race.  My friend immediately stated that it was my motor.  The dyno session was starting early.  I couldn't believe it was my motor as we were  so far from the shop and separated by a busy interstate highway.  As we drove to the shop, with the windows down, and my ears continuously tuned to the sound, it proved to be true.  I'll bet that all those people who live closer to the shop than eight miles really appreciate that wonderful sound just as much as I did!
 
After a long, long dyno session, and time spent changing cams, the motor pegged with the promised horsepower.  We loaded it into the back of the truck and headed home.  After many hours and late nights, I finally had the car ready for it's maiden run with the new "A" motor, and started it for the first time in my own shop.  I was immediately greeted by a loud "humph" and a fireball the size of my camper trailer!  Long story short, the fuel regulator in the car was the wrong one, and the front two barrels got a full 19 lbs of fuel pressure.  Both on-board bottles and a CO2 bottle off the wall later and the fire was out. 
 
Needless to say, I was totally bummed.  I was invited to bring the whole car to the shop in Baton Rouge to let the "professionals" get it right for me.  We had already missed the Texas Mile, so we scheduled a day in October, with plans to drive on to Maxton for the maiden voyage of the new motor. Once at Maxton, I bumped the record three times and came home with a pleasing, tire-spinning, sliding, and hitting cones at the clocks,  183 mph record certificate. 
 
In March, we showed up at the Texas Mile intent on making a more controlled pass through a mile and hopefully bumping the speed up a little.  Unfortunately, unkown to me, the last run at Maxton had fried the transmission, and it had only one position - second gear.  We came home with a 171 mph certificate with the notation printed on it "in second gear".  Actually, it was a pretty impressive run, starting and finishing in the same gear, with no shifts for an entire mile.
 
I got back home, spent a long time on the phone with TCI, and they put together a replacement transmission that they promise will take the 800 HP and hold together at Bonneville.  I did have to install a high-quality transmission cooler with a dedicated fan, but the car is finally back together and ready to go. 
 
I'm going to take it to a local drag strip next weekend to be sure the tranny shifts through the gears (I'll have to short shift at about 4500 in order to make it into high gear on such a short run), but it should set my mind at ease that everything is ready to go before I take off for the Texas Mile on the 24th.
 
Assuming everything goes OK at the Texas Mile, we plan on trying the kilometer run at Pershing County, Nevada in May, and then World of Speed for my attempt at 200 mph in '09.

DickJ
In East Texas


* Cover_Bird.jpg (104.57 KB, 960x720 - viewed 283 times.)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2008, 10:02:43 PM by dickj » Logged
bvillercr
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 07:29:44 PM »

I think we would all agree that you need to post a picture.  Congrats on getting her done. cheers
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t russell
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 07:30:22 PM »

Good luck.I saw your Maxton runs I wish you more success
terry
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fredvance
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2008, 07:51:21 PM »

Ditto on the pics, I will be at Goliad and would like to look you up.  Fred
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dickj
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2008, 09:59:56 PM »

By all means, look me up.  I'd like to meet you.  Keep in mind that when I'm racing, I totally "zone out", so be sure and remind me who you are.  I often forget to eat, drink and sleep when I'm at the races.

I'll try to figure out how to post a picture.  Look for the black trans am with the gold eagle on the hood.

DickJ
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38Chevy454
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2008, 03:36:23 PM »

sounds like you have the power, now finding the next weaker link in the drivetrain with the trans.  Your new engine must turn pretty high rpms to do 171 in second gear, I assume you are running a T-400 or T-350?  Or you have a very high rearend ratio!

Good luck at the next race.
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2008, 07:56:03 PM »

Nice car!  What part of East Texas are you in?  I'm in Kilgore.
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SPARKY
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2008, 10:16:00 PM »

just past the Country Tavern on that cut off
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2008, 10:27:04 AM »

Wow, that is pretty close!
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jl222
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 04:03:18 PM »

Dickj

   You should move to west Texas. There use to be some Bville racers from west Texas that went like hell for their time because they ran on those long straights.
 Anybody remember those guys? I Think it was a Stude on gas.

                    JL222 shocked
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2008, 10:32:27 PM »

I used to enjoy "I-20 Speedway" when I was a bit younger.  Long wheelbase V8 sedans are fun.
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holland
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 08:58:45 PM »

    I'm wondering what success you had last year.
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