Axles & Brakes
In the last update, I spoke of ordering new axles and brakes from Moser and then finding out that the Dana 60 on the car is an aftermarket Strange, with tube ends for Ford 3.15 bearings. Moser had also mis-measured and cut one axle 5/16″ too short. We negotiated that if I paid to send them back, Moser would remake the one too short with 3.15 bearings and mill the other one and install a 3.15 on it. They were sent back to Moser Monday and received Friday morning.
Taking the car to the track two weeks ago had the car launching real soft. There were many reasons for that, but a major one was the torsion bars. When you’d jack the car up from the center section of the Dana, the front would go crooked. No one makes/sells the lightweight small diameter torsion bars for the Sixes and Small Block V-8s. All of the aftermarket torsion bars now made are thick (even thicker than the big blocks) diameter for cornering/road racing. A friend of Jerry Hatch (who is currently down here for) the last two months, helping me work on these cars) had a set of low mileage bars that he sold me and shipped to Texas from Maine. These were installed and the car is right. One of the old bars was flat worn out compared to the other one.
In addition to the torsion bars hurting the launch, the ladder bars were also needing some attention. The shocks were set all of the way up on both rebound and compression. They were removed, tested, and cleaned before being reinstalled. They’re now adjusted midway and I’ll fine tune at the track. The rod ends on the ladder bars were beat to death and binding. They were replaced. The gears in the Dana were 4.88s. I guess they (the people I sold the car to and bought it back from) were looking to do 1/8-mile racing. The gears were replaced with 4.54 Pro Gears. The bottom ladder bar generally has a starting point as being parallel with the car. Mine had a sharp angle up in the front – having my “Instant Center” way back. They were removed, cleaned and painted with the Dana. While out the underside of the car was scraped, cleaned, scuffed and painted POR15 Silver on the sheet metal and chassis black on frame rails and sub connectors. The ladder bars and Dana was reinstalled at a more parallel position. There was something else fixed on them – but I’ll be dipped if I can remember what.
Transmission was Reinstalled
My new ATI 8″ converter arrived. The transmission I’ve run in the Vitamin C was a reverse manual valve body and a bolt-in sprag – but not a bullet front drum or rollerized. The transmission that was in the Thug is older and was once a transbrake tranny. I’d bought and installed a new CRT Transmission for the Thug and retired the one that came out Vitamin C as a spare. When I found I didn’t have a billet drum, the Thug’s spare transmission came out of a short retirement.
When installing the tranny, we learned that the cross-member didn’t have a rubber mount and was solid mounting the transmission. Jerry modified the crossmember to use a rubber mount. He also fabricated up a mount for the long Lokar dipstick, as there was no place to mount on the firewall without creating a bind. Jerry also reset the pinion angle since bottom ladder bad had been moved.
The bad news is that we now have a mysterious transmission leak. This transmission drove me nuts leaking in the Thug last year. We theorized that it had the wrong dipstick in it. Lokar uses the same dipstick exterior for both GM and Mopar, but the actual dipstick sliding into the tube is different because of the level marking. We drained 2 quarts out and it never again leaked – while working great. We’re starting to believe that there might be a crack in the case. The car hasn’t been started yet, as we are waiting on the axles. We’ll get back to the transmission after everything else us done. That transmission is the hardest of my cars to R&R.
I ordered a Fuelab’s fuel pump to replace the rusty Barry Grant currently in the car. It’s arrived and is on my to do list to install. Other inspections found little things like needing to repair the starter motor mounting and other this and thats. Eyes are wide open for anything wrong that can be fixed.
You can’t run a hood scoop on a 63 Plymouth in Super Stock, so I was on the lookout for a solution. A friend (Mark Buchannan) gave me a hood that was on his 63 Max Wedge Show car. The hood’s safety latch failed and opened while driving – creating a fold. The skeleton is great, but the fold will be a PITA to fix. Another friend (Randy Stansbury) has a good hood with the skeleton cut out that he’ll sell me. I’ll bring the car to him to make a good hood out of the two – and remove advertising and driver’s name.
So that pretty much brings everyone following, up to date on the Vitamin C’s conversion from NSS to SS.