Friday, July 26, 2013

Ringo Leaving His Mark

When I returned from the convention, I was greeted by a large puddle emanating from Ringo’s rear end. My initial reaction was, since he had sat facing downhill, his previously patched shifter cable was failing even worse than before. It took about a quart of transmission fluid to top off the reservoir. I moved him so he was now parked facing uphill. The next day, however, there was another puddle. Irrrr. Wednesday evening I backed him up onto the ramps to investigate the leak source and saw fluid coming from the patch on the cable, but also from the front of the tranny near the pan-to-housing joint. I tightened all the bolts holding the pan on since they were barely tight. Then, I placed a drain pan underneath and left it for the night. Last night, I found a significant amount of fluid in the drain pan. I investigated more thoroughly and discovered the bolts I could reach at the front of the transmission (the lower front-facing ones that retain the front pump cover) were loose. Now, I am positive I torqued these bolts to the factory specs when I rebuilt this transmission. I guess I should’ve put some thread-locker on them. Fortunately, I could get a socket on these three bolts, so I snugged them down and crossed my fingers. When I checked for leaks an hour or so later, the cardboard I’d placed under the transaxle was dry. Now, either I staunched the flow or there wasn’t any fluid left in the reservoir. I’ll check again this evening and will, regardless, pull him out of the garage and park him on the street over a dry piece of asphalt.

I only bought one part while wandering the aisles of Clark’s setup at the convention. Ariel had been complaining that the current cracked driver's armrest pad was leaving dark stains on her elbow, so I bought a new to the tune of twenty-six dollars. Once installed I’m sure it’s gonna’ be one of those replace-one-interior-part-and-everything-else-looks-even-crappier-so-I’ve-got-to-replace-everything kind of thing. Well, that’ll just be one of those things we’ll need to live with although I know Ariel would also REALLY appreciate a new driver’s seat so she’s not sitting with her butt almost touching the floor having to peer through the steering wheel.

Last evening I also gave Glinda some attention. I swapped out the racing seat for her front bench. It took some fiddling to get the screws to go cleanly through the holes in the carpet and get started in the nuts welded to the floor, but I was finally successful. The seatbelts were also reinstalled. Now, for the first time in a VERY long time, Glinda was able to be pressed into daily-driver duty and did so this morning. Sadly, the bogging when flooring the go pedal still exists, and now the tranny is low on fluid so I've got to take it easy on the turns. I’ve left the awesome taped-on 2 in place because I’m sure it makes her faster.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rally Elaborated

I thought it would be fun to share the directions we followed while winning our class in the rally. I love typing the word “winning.” I don’t do it very often, so I’ve never tired of it. But, I digress. The following images are scans of the documents handed to us the day of the rally – the definitions were provided at the participant meeting, while the route instructions were in the envelope handed to us as we headed out from the host hotel parking lot. Click on each image to go to a legible, enlarged version.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

CORSA Convention 2013 Photos

Click on any of the photos or titles to view a set of photos on Flickr
Gingerman Raceway




Monday, July 22, 2013

Convention – Final Update

I’m back home again. Not sure how many miles I put on my truck, but I’m thinking it was nearly three thousand. The two events I participated in after attending the Concours (see previous posting) were the Rally and the Autocross.

The day of the rally, Thursday, started VERY early for Ariel, Victoria, and I with a 5:30 AM alarm. The schedule I had downloaded a couple weeks back said we needed to arrive at the host hotel by 7, so we left my sister's house at 6, and were right on time for the rally and econo-run participant’s meeting - only the meeting had been moved to 8. Arghh – should’ve looked at all the contents of my registration package. We found a Burger King and breakfast killed the hour. The first thing we found out once the meeting commenced was what kind of rally it would be. Last year’s was a Gimmick Rally with participants answering questions about sights along the prescribed route (the most right answers wins), while this year’s was a Continental Rally with only mileage for the three legs determining your score (don’t make any wrong turns and correct your mileage for the three legs based on the initial calibration leg). Because we were a team of three, we were assigned to the Touring group with the quip that, having extra people, is typically more harm than help when you’re trying to follow the route instructions. After a few questions were answered, we were sent to our cars to line up for the beginning.

With Ariel and Victoria directing, spotting street signs, and recording mileage readings we nailed it! We came close to missing a turn once, but I slammed on the brakes and we were able to stay on course. We saw a lot of lily-pad filled ponds, drove through cool, shady woods, and passed by LOTS of cornfields before arriving at the end of the event – a restaurant. I pulled up the calculator app in my phone and we corrected the miles for each leg using our calculated calibration value and turned in the paperwork. Since it was too early to eat, we headed back to my sister’s home via a stop at a Qdoba’s.

Click here to view a set of photos from the retaurant parking lot at the end of the rally.

That evening I double-checked the latest schedule and verified the autocross racer’s meeting was set for 7 the next morning, so I hitched Glinda back up to the truck in preparation for another early morning departure. I bid my good-byes that night before turning in early.

The next morning, I threw the last of my luggage in the bed of the truck and drove the 45 minutes to US 131 Raceway. I arrived and unhitched Glinda setting up next to a racer name Phil from, appropriately, Philadelphia. He was unloading a beautiful yellow Corsa off his car trailer. I had a nice chat with him and his wife while we prepared for the day’s event. Around 7:15, I started wondering why no one seemed interested in a driver’s meeting, so I asked Phil who responded that it had been moved to 8:30 with the tech inspection to occur the hour before the meeting. Irr. Then I was told by one of the tech inspectors that I didn’t need to be inspected since Glinda already had her green sticker of approval from Monday’s event. Double Irr. I could’ve had ninety more minutes of sleep if only I’d known. Oh well, that’s the price you pay for not staying at or near the host hotel.

The driver’s meeting started late, so I had plenty of time to walk the course and attempt to memorize all the twists and turns defined by the myriad of orange cones. I eventually found out I would be running in the last group of the day, meaning I probably couldn’t start my ten plus hour drive to Blacksburg until at least 4 PM. It was going to be a painfully long day. As soon as the meeting ended, the announcement went out for the first group to go get their cars and drive them over to the staging area. I immediately hunted down the event organizer and pleaded for him to let me into this group. After explaining the long drive I had ahead of me, he graciously allowed me to join the early group.

My three runs were nothing special (other than being an absolute blast to drive) – I’d just hoped to go faster each time around. The second run I missed a gate (it was one you had to pass through both entering and exiting a straight/hairpin/straight combination and I forgot to go through it as I left that portion) so my time didn’t count. My two usable times were (if memory serves) 97 and then 95 seconds. The fast time of the day was set by a racecar at 68 seconds. Glinda still had a bog whenever I floored the accelerator and I just left the transmission shifter in Drive the whole time, so both of those negatively affected my speed. The final results for all the cars haven’t been posted at the time of this writing.

Click here to view a set of the photos I took at the Autocross.

The final results for the rally, however, just came out, and …. wait for it …... WE WON OUR CLASS! I still get goose-bumps just typing it. Our final score was .05 miles from perfect. The second place team was only .02 miles behind us.

By the way, I promise I'll put pictures up tonight and share the link.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Convention Update - Concours

Tuesday was an off day for me so I spent it visiting the tourist sites of Holland,MI (my mom's birthplace) with my sister and part of her family.

Yesterday was Concours day and it was imperative the I take that in in the morning before the oven that is Kalamazoo reached broiling temperature. We were somewhat successful. I snapped quite a few photos with the camera, but currently have no way to get them onto the web - I'll do it once I'm back home. The photos here were taken of the camera's display. Anyway, the car's were, as expected, amazing.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Day at Gingerman Raceway

I arrived at the track around 7:30, unhitched the tow-bar and drove over to get in line for tech inspection. After re-securing the battery, the green dot of passing was applied to the top corner of my car's windshield. The driver's meeting went quickly, but thoroughly, and the first group (racers) were an the track on-time at 9.

I was in the third (last) group (stock and IS), so my three 20 minute practice sessions were at 40 past the hour. This was the first time on the track for my '68 (110/PG). I'd just finished up a total rebuild of the suspension and the alignment was done the day before departing for MI. Also, my only track experiences had been behind the wheel of an EM. Needless to say, driving a lowered,stiffened LM with quick-steer arms is a tremendously different experience. I could drive so much deeper into corners and felt like I was carrying far more speed than I could have in my '63. I never once felt like the rear was going to come around and the turn-in response was immediate.

During the lunch brake Seth led a group of cars for a few taste-of-the-track laps. Two of my daughters are with me this week, and, after a couple laps, I offered to let them drive. Only the 19 year old was willing, so we exited the track, and she and I traded places. She had an entirely too good of a time. I'm afraid she's going to be asking for a helmet for her next birthday.

The time trials started soon after with the groups lined up in the same fast to slow order. One of the first cars to go out sadly broke it's engine. I only got snippets of the story, so hopefully someone can fill in the details. From what I could tell, there were no fluids dropped on the track, so runs started again fairly quickly. Before I knew it I was gridded and then sent out for my four laps (warmup, 2 timed, cool down). My first hot lap went smoothly and I felt good. I pushed things a little harder on the second and ended up overcooking it a little going into the back hairpin. Had I been in my early, this would have been disastrous, but in the late I was able to wrestle the car around the corner. Missing the turn-in point killed me for entering the fastest stretch on the track.

I hung around for award's presentation. I missed out on the Fast and Shiftless award for cars with automatic trannies with a 140 powered LM's 2:19 beating my 2:20. For comparison the fast time of the day was 1:51.

it was a fantastic way to start my convention experience.

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Tom in Baltimore

Friday, July 12, 2013

Posting via Email

For the next week most of my posts will be made from my BlackBerry via email. We'll see how this goes. The photo in this post is from this morning's alignment of Glinda's four wheels. It took the mechanic a while, but he was able to get real close to the settings I got from the Corvair race, Dave Edsinger. The drive home was far nicer than one there since my alignment settings were pretty far off.

I'm not real happy, though, with the throttle response I experienced when I put my foot in it on the drive home. May need to make some adjustments once I'm in MI.
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Looks Like I’ll Be Ready

Last night was another thrash past midnight. I was able to get quite a few little jobs done, but it seemed like as soon as I thought I was done, I’d remember another task. I got the harness assembly squared away, the oil pressure and voltage gauges installed and hooked up, the oil and filter changed, the lower engine shrouds removed, the bolts replaced on the tie-rod sleeves, and the backlight inside trim reinstalled.

The most time-consuming job was finishing the gauges. I was amazed that Chevy had place two threaded holes in just the right spots to attach the mounting plate. I then had to wire up power to the lights in addition to the voltmeter and oil-filled tubing. Before hooking the latter, I ran the engine for a while to bleed all the air out of the tube. The engine, once warmed up, shows around 30 psi of oil pressure, while the voltmeter indicates I’ve got over 15 volts during off-idle running.

A really neat thing happened as I was moving around Glinda’s front seat (it’s been out of the car for a while so I could install the racing seat). I discovered the illusive build sheet tucked into the springs of the front seat bottom. Here’s a scan. I’ll get it decoded once I’m back from the convention. Too bad some of it is missing, but this is first time I’ve ever discovered one in one of the fleet. Very cool.

So, other than this morning’s alignment (more on that later), and swapping wheels with Luna, she’s ready to go. Now it’s my turn to pack.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Too Many Titles

I always try to put a little thought into the title that goes above each blog post, and this morning I have a number of relevant headings that I could not choose between. “Up The Creek, But Gary Threw Me a Paddle,” “The Eagle (ir, Glinda) Has Landed,” “She’s Low, But She Better Not Be Slow,” and “Hey, Five Hours Sleep is Plenty” all would work.

“Up the creek” is appropriate since in my post of yesterday, I stated how much trouble I’d be in if I couldn’t break loose the tie-rod adjustment sleeve. Well, it broke loose, but it also just plain broke. The spanner I was using, once popped with a hammer proceeded to break off a piece of the sleeves rendering the part unusable. A quick call to the local Corvair guru, Gary, confirmed he had a replacement, and I was back under the car installing the part within an hour.

The “landing” part refers to Glinda FINALLY (after exactly one month) sitting on solid ground again. Last night I was able to mount her wheels and lower her off the jackstands. The funny thing was I kept lowering the jack and lowering the jack before she finally settled on her cut-down springs. Needless to say, her underbody is MUCH closer to the ground than when I started this suspension upgrade. Standing next to her I think her roof is no higher than my chest, hence the “Low” title. With the suspension work complete, I moved on to the engine compartment. Job one was getting the carburetors synchronized. After pouring some gas down the carb throats, I cranked the engine and it started to raggedly run, but almost immediately the engine smoothed out as fuel filled the bowls. All was not well, however, as gas was geysering up through the left carb’s vent tubes – the needle was not seated. Off came the carb’s top and a quick check revealed just handling freed the stuck valve. A few minutes later, top was mated to bottom and the engine refired and settled into a nice idle. All my initial adjustments made while rebuilding the pair were close enough to optimum that it only took a few turn of the idle screws and linkage to ensure both were working in concert.

With fuel delivery set, I moved on to the engine’s electrical needs. I’d bought a new set of points, so I pulled out the old and bolted in the new. With a cursory adjustment of dwell, I popped the rotor, shield, and cap back into place and started the engine. The dwellmeter said I nailed the dwell at 32 degrees. The timing light said I needed to retard the timing from 16 down to 14 before-top-dead-center so I did.

The last task for the evening was hooking up the coil end of the tachometer wire. By that point, it was 1 AM and I was so very ready for bed. When I drug my butt off the sheets this morning at 6:30, I’d only gotten five hours of sleep. Now you know the inspiration for the last title.

I just made an appointment to get the alignment done tomorrow at the local Goodyear, so I’ll drop off the car tomorrow morning with the racer-provided specs for the Castor, Camber, and Toe-In. When I pick her up after work, I’ll have to add another $75 to the Pocketbook Status, but I’ll have a transformed LM Corvair.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Washer Arrived

With the last piece to the puzzle that is Glinda’s front suspension finally in hand, I could commence completing the last step in getting her back on the ground. After a nice dinner, I opened the garage door and went to work. Assembling the driver’s side control arms, spindle, spring, stabilizing rod, steering arm, and swaybar went fairly easily. The hardest task was getting the swaybar with its new bushings into place. Next was to clean and soak the tie-rod adjuster threads – both bolts and sleeve. Hopefully, they’ll be able to move tonight – they'd better or I’m up a creek. In hindsight I should have made sure I could loosen them before I even started tearing down the front suspension. Oh well, live and learn.

The new seat brackets and the exposed metal on Glinda’s underside got a coat of black paint. The last, long task of the day was finishing routing the wires and oil pressure tube into the engine compartment. I got the final screw that holds the front tunnel cover torqued in around 12:30 AM.

I’ve been praying off and on all day that I’m able to get the final tie-rod adjuster loose tonight. I’ll let y’all know tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Whittling Down the List

Before I got home from work yesterday I stopped by Carquest and bought a fuel filter and ordered a set of points and a distributor cap. While prepping Lucy for last summer’s convention, I completely forgot to do a tune-up and it was apparent when her engine wouldn’t pull beyond 5000 rpm during the autocross. With Glinda’s more limiting automatic transmission, getting good performance over a wider rpm range is important – especially in the autocross where it’s feasible I’ll never move her shifter from Low.

Last evening was fairly productive. I installed the aforementioned fuel filter, primed the seat brackets, tightened up the suspension bolts, poked new cotter pins through the right front balljoint bolts, mounted the stabilizing rods with new bushings in the rear, and routed about eighty percent of the two new wires and one new tiny tube for the as-yet-to-arrive gauge set. The latter task included adding flexible sheathing around the bundle in the span that’s exposed (between the tunnel and the engine compartment.

I’m still waiting impatiently for the arrival of the special washer. This maddening piece of metal better not be the cause of an all-nighter this Friday. I’m praying the package containing the precious piece is sitting on the floor beneath our mail slot right now. If so, the suspension can be completely installed by tonight’s end. Getting that milestone crossed off the list will be monumentous.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Will She Be Ready?

A brief post to update what I’ve accomplished since my last posting and what’s still left to do in the next four and a half days.

  • I’ve got three-quarters of the suspension assembled. That includes cutting a coil out of each heavy duty spring, koni shocks set at halfway between soft and firm, new ball joint boots, and new bushings throughout except for the ones in the rear trailing arms and the outer ones in the rear strut rods. I’m waiting for a special washer to arrive in today’s mail before I can finish the left front. The hardest task was removing the two large nuts on the stabilizing rods. I ended up cutting them off.
  • With help from the lovely Loriann and Mikhaila, the backlight was installed, sealed, and trim sticks snapped into place.
  • My new tachometer is installed to the steering column with a hose clamp. I first wrapped electrical tape around the column to protect it from scratches.
  • The modified carburetors have been rebuilt and installed onto the engine. I’ll need to balance them once the car is back on the ground.
  • Once I found out the old Sun oil pressure gauge I’d planned on installing had broke, I went online and bought a three-gauge set (oil pressure, voltage, and temperature) on Amazon. I’ll install the temperature sender somewhere in Glinda’s oil path and be able to monitor oil temp.
  • Using an idea I read on the CorvairCenter forum, I flipped down the rear seat back and pulled left side passenger seat belts up and over the seat back. I latched them which provided an anchor for the shoulder harness belts of my 5-point racing harness. I drilled a hole in front of the driver’s seat for the anti-submarine belt and then bolted the lap belts in using the stock weldnuts in the floor.
  • I spent a long time fiddling with the location of the racing seat. I wanted to make sure it was mounted so that, 1) I could get in and out of it, and 2) I could reach the shifter once I was firmly belted in. Once I set upon a location, I then figured out how to mount the seat. It took a trip to Home Depot and some more cogitating whilst standing in their Hardware aisle before I walked out with a piece of angle iron and a bunch of five-sixteenths fasteners. Once home, I cut bar to the measured lengths, drilled holes where I needed, and the mounting scheme was implemented. I still need to get some longer screws and paint the exterior bar before that item can be completely crossed off the to-do list.
Still to do:
  • Buy and install the aforementioned bolts to finish the racing seat installation.
  • Buy another chain link so I can lengthen the shoulder belts as necessary.
  • Buy and install a fuel filter.
  • Install and hookup the new gauge cluster.
  • Hook up the tachometer and finish routing the wires/tube.
  • Do a tune-up on Glinda’s engine and synchronize the carburetors.
  • Install the tubes that raise the air cleaner. This should be a cleaner installation than I attempted to affect on Lucy.
  • Adjust the throttle linkage to raise the transmission shift point.
  • Install the driver’s front suspension.
  • Break free that side’s tie-rod adjuster.
  • Find the best four stock-size tires.
  • Take the car in for an alignment.
  • Have the tire place reverse the tires to have blackwalls facing out.
Will I be thrashing Friday night or will I have this all done with packing time to spare?

Here are some recent photos.