View Full Version : 1994 Newsletter Archive

10-02-2004, 09:08 AM


Do you have some favorite "best parts"? Would you share your opinion with your fellow AS racers, so we can make more AS cars into reliable finishers?

The following list of favorite parts for the AS Camaro was sent by Jay Morris, the 1993 PCRRC winner in AS: (Thanks, Jay!)
Best header gasket Mr. Gasket #150 (Must be trimmed slightly, but nothing fits better, unfortunately)Best header boldColeman 317-38 (Has 5/16 hex size for clearance)Best radiator
Griffin Aluminum GM 272 (31 x 19)
Best throttle linkage bracket
Mr. Gasket #6038
Best throttle bushing set
Mr. Gasket #6026
Best throttle return spring set
Mr. Gasket #19
Best transmission mount
Energy suspension#3-1108
Best intake gaskets
Fel Pro #1205
Best engine oil
Motul 10/40 3000VCompetition (after extensive testing)
Best gearbox oil
RedLine 75W90 and RedLineMTL (50%-50% mixture)
Best differential lube
RedLine 80W/140 Non-limitedslip
Best brake fluid
Ford C6AZ-19542-AA
Everyone has their favorite parts, so here are a few Charlie Richardson recommendations:Throttle return spring kitMoroso #64295 (nice double spring design)Brake fluidWilwood 570Exhaust system - since everyone who sees my car wants to know where I got my oval-pipe exhaust system, look at page 40 in the 1993 BSR Racing Products catalog (phone 704-547-0901). Your choice of kits for double left side exit, or left and right exit. Made by Boyce.
Racing seats - Last issue I wrote at great length about the ButlerBuilt seats. Let me add here that whatever seat you choose, you should definitely stay away from the fiberglass racing seats, and stick with a metal (aluminum) structure seat, preferably double-walled for strength like the ButlerBuilt.

Seatbelts - Pull-up or pull-down adjusters? This often-argued question is usually settled by simple personal preference. I know that after two seasons of using a pull down, I am going back to pull-up adjusters on my next set of belts (this winter). For those of you that like the classic latch-type buckle, Simpson has recently started to sell a smaller buckle design.

THE "HITCH HOIST" At the January '94 Miller Motorports show at King of Prussia, PA, I saw an interesting new device called the "Hitch Hoist". This is a standard design engine hoist that is designed to plug into the receiver hitch on your tow vehicle. It has a 1500 lb capacity, breaks down into two pieces for easy storage. If you ever needed to pull an engine or lift something heavy at the race track, this looks like a handy item. Only $249 from DRC Race Car Products, 620 Brunswick Pike, Lambertville, NJ 08530. Phone 609-397-4455 for a photo sheet and description.

ANOTHER IDEA FROM DRC DRC Race Car Products also had some other items at the show, one of which seem to be particularly make good sense, although I have not tried a set yet. They sell extra-long bellhousing dowel pins that are a full two inches long and supposedly greatly aid in the job of lining up the transmission bellhousing on the back of the motor. The part number is #1003, but at this point I don't know how they would work with the Lakewood Explosion Proof Bellhousing that many of us use.

THE "WHISTLER" How can a tech inspector quickly and non-invasively check if an AS car in impound has legal pistons and cylinder head thickness? There is an answer! Katech Inc. makes a device called the "Whistler" which is quite impressive. It is so accurate in determining compression ratio that the American Speed Association (ASA) has certified it for all the ASA 9:1 stock car racing classes. All you do is remove one sparkplug and attach the Whistler adapter in its place. Put the piston at TDC and it tells you accurately what the residual volume is. Knowing what the displacement of the cylinder is, either from spec or "pumping" the motor, voila! - you have the compression ratio. Purchase contact is the developing engineer (Gregg Reber) at Katech Inc. 313-791-4120. Cost is $1811.50 shipped Blue Label. Expensive for personal use, but getting very popular with engine builders and tech inspection teams.

CARBURETOR SPACER RULE You may have heard about some controversy last summer at the Topeka IT/AS Festival races. Part of the controversy was about spacers and gaskets used between the spec Holley carburetor and the spec Edelbrock manifold. To make the rule clear, the 1994 AS rules specify the only spacer/insulator that can be used. At the bottom of each car's specification page (pages 247-251), you will notice the listing for the only authorized carb insulator - the Holley #108-12. That means, under the current rules, if you have any other gasket or spacer in between the carburetor and intake manifold, you better get it off before someone makes a fuss. If you are using some other spacer/insulator, you are open to protest.

(Thanks to Paul Costas, 11500 Heubner #105, San Antonio, TX 78230 for this important tip. I know personally that this may finally solve this problem for me!!)
"Since building the car we have had to solve many problems, some more major than others. One very annoying problem was the power steering leak. Our car has the PS cooler that consists of the steel line running back and forth behind the radiator. It seems to hold enough volume, but when we filled it to the "fill" mark, it spit back out during the practice/qualifying/race. The solution is to buy GM Part# 7834183. It is a cap that has a rubber diaphragm midway down the "dipstick". This prevents the slosh from coming up through the cap's vent. Cheap fix."

FUEL CELL DETERIORATION? Does it occur? I have heard of folks periodically changing the foam inside their fuel cells due to some kind of supposed "deterioration". I have also heard from others that say this is foolish and not required. Besides, it is VERY dangerous to be pulling that foam out of the cell, as any spark will set fire to the whole thing. I have been told that ATL and other fuel cell manufacturers make a blanket recommendation of simply replacing the entire fuel cell every 5 years. Anyone out there with experience in this area? Please let me know.

SEATBELTS Last issue, I discussed the importance of replacing your seat belts every two years for safety. Dennis Dean, the outgoing National Administrator of Scrutineers, sent me this note: "I agree with your position on seatbelts. One facet that you didn't point out is that the real killer for the webbing is the UV in sunlight. That's why we see more problems with open cars than closed cars. A good test is to feel the webbing. If it retains its original soft, flexible feeling, it's probably in good shape. When it starts to "stiffen", it is a sign that the UV is starting to weaken the webbing. We find some that are stiff as a board!"

(from Dennis Dean) "My nomination (for 'how stupid can people be') comes from Sears Point in the midst of the gas crisis, when the SSC Rabbit was dragged in after rolling itself up into a real ball at Turn 10. We stuck it in our accident investigation area and started poking around inside to see what the damage was. When we popped open the back end -- what to our wondering eyes should appear? -- but two full five gallon gas tanks unsecured in any way and separated from the driver by only the flimsy little parcel tray under the back window. In response to the obvious question to the driver -- uhhhh, geeeee, you dumb****, what is the gas doing in the back of the car -- he said that he had come by himself (drove the racecar) and was afraid someone would steal his gas while he was on the track! That, sports fans, is stupid!"

TORQUE ARM INCIDENT AT HOLTVILLE An interesting and instructional (but somewhat catastrophic) incident recently occurred during an SCCA race at the San Diego Region racetrack at Holtville. I have personally had the front mount of my Camaro's torque arm fail twice, both times involving the top bolt which is threaded into the transmission case. In both cases, the bolt vibrated loose and was lost, causing the front of the torque arm to fall down. Fortunately for me, in both cases, the front end of the toque arm fell onto the crossover for the exhaust system and resulting symptoms allowed me to come to a stop before disastrous results. That top bolt which retains the front torque arm mounting has threads in the aluminum transmission case, making serious torque on the bolt impossible, since the threads can be stripped quite easily. I have now converted the bolt to a large stud put into replacement threads in the transmission case. But it is certainly a weak link on the Camaro/Firebird and deserves your attention. At a minimum, set the torque carefully, use loctite, and check it often. Maybe you can figure out how to safety wire it on. It is a real shame that we are required to race with the stock torque arm, since replacements (like the one from Herb Adams) have no such attachment to the transmission case, AND allow for easy installation of a nice cirumferential driveshaft safety loop, like is required by many other racing organizations.

As for the incident at Holtville International Raceway (HAIR), I will quote the description of the incident here with permission of the author (originally posted on the Internet by Leo Baker, Chief of Emergency for San Diego SCCA Region):
"I will make this as short and informative as possible. Drivers/owners of late GM products with torque arm rear suspension, please check the front mount of the torque arm and use the best pieces that the GCR allows. Why you ask would the C.O.E. care what I run in my car? Well this past weekend at HAIR, a Camaro had the front part of the torque arm break/come unbolted/? from the transmission under braking from the fastest part of the course and go between two concrete pads (old airport course with lots of 10x20 ft. by 12 in. thick pads), an unknown amount went under one of concrete pads and about 24 inches was left sticking out of the runway before breaking off at the differential end; the sequence of events seems to be, the torque arm rotated 90 degrees before breaking off at the diff., the rear U-joint is now pointing straight down, needless to say the drive shaft failed at the rear joint. Both shocks broke at the lower mounts, the panhard bar (a custom piece) limited the travel of the rear end, which also broke, the brake calipers where at 90 degrees to one another, the left axle tube taking most of the twist.

No one was hurt and no one hit the piece sticking out of the runway. After 30 minutes of working with the tow truck, hurst tool and breaking two chains trying to get the broken piece out, I finally had to borrow a cutting torch from a competitor and cut it off just below ground level.

I did not see the Camaro going around after the arm broke but the tow crew did and said that the back was three feet in the air when the torque arm let go and two feet when the drive shaft let go. Then spinning on the rear U joint and front tires, 4 or 5 "360"s making ungodly sounds as the pinion shaft shortened itself." (From Leo Baker - Internet: leo@pwa.acusd.edu).

(Note: Other messages which appeared on the Internet about this incident were posted by both corner workers and other participants in the racing session. The torque arm stuck in the pavement was very hard to see by the other racers, and the flurry of standard SCCA flags that were thrown by the corner workers called attention to a certain problem in the area; but after all, what flag would you throw at the corner for such an incident? A waving yellow is often interpreted by the drivers as a racecar hazard on the track, like a spinout. A debris flag is often interpreted by the drivers as slippery fluids only. There simply isn't any flag means "hazardous car parts stuck in the macadam". Fortunately the session was stopped shortly thereafter. A tough situation with no further casualties, thanks to good luck and worker flags).

TECH TIP FOR VALVE ADJUSTMENTS Brent Olsen reminded me to get the word out on the number one easy way to adjust your valve lash. Since we are racing with solid lifters, it is very important to adjust your valves carefully and often. I recommend before every race weekend, and again after practice/qualifying and before the race. How to make it easy`? Use a "starter bumper" switch mounted on the firewall or elsewhere in the engine compartment for bumping (turning) the engine in small increments for checking valve lash. Turning the motor by using the 5/8" bolt in the middle of the crank pulley is dangerous for routine use, since stripping that bolt would be a real problem. If you haven't already done it, consider a starter bumper button within reach.

TECH TIP - VALVE SPRING REPLACEMENT TOOL Brent Olsen also sent me photos of a nice valve spring replacement tool he made for himself. If you see him at a West Coast race, you may ask him to show it to you. He says: "To use the tool, you must have the stock rocker ball available. I use the adjusting nut off my roller rocker to locate the tool on the rocker stud. To keep the valve from falling into the cylinder when the spring is compressed, I screw in a hose from a tank I carry to the track. You only need to supply about 5 psi to keep the valve seated."

TECH TIP - FORD MUSTANGS Chuck Newman, after a disastrous weekend at the ARRC with a broken crankshaft in his Mustang offers this advice: "Pay close attention to the condition of your crankshaft. The engine in our car was the original street motor with minor freshening. Since returning home, I have had extensive conversati0ons with several Ford engine builders, and their advice is this: Abandon the 302 firing order by using the 351 Windsor cams and the associated firing order. This stops the consecutive firing on the front crank journal. (Guess where ours broke). We ran our car for almost two seasons in World Challenge B trim, using the stock cam. The general consensus is that that stressed the crank, and then we changed the firing order and broke it. I guess the lesson learned is not to use a 302 HO crank, and build your motor to '85 specs. (If you race a Mustang and want more information on his important lessons learned from this unfortunate incident, contact Chuck at 122 Colonial Ct., LaGrange, GA 30240; (706)-845-1160 days, (706)-845-7708 nights).

CAMARO SELECTION ADVICE Jay Morris of Ground Control Suspensions has helped prepare several Camaros for A/S and has the following very useful advice in picking which year Camaro to start with your A/S project: "If anything makes a difference, the 82/83 have several advantages over the later cars. First and foremost is the mechanical clutch linkage with more room for headers, the Z28 will have the fiberglass hood, but the aluminum bumper only seemed to come on loaded (T-top) cars. I even think the early car cools better with the Z28 nose. Advantages to later cars, 88 up, you can use the engine, trans and rearend (for awhile) and they sort of look better. However I don't think the price difference is worth it in terms of useable parts. There is no reason to buy an 84/86 because you have to throw away more than an 82/83, and the 87 os okay because you can at least use the block, but you don't get the good tranny."

FORD 9" REARS If you are considering the upgrade to a Ford 9" rear, here are a few tips. First, remember that the center section must be ferrous according to rules, so don't order an aluminum center section. That rule is probably sensible for the racers budget, since the aluminum center sections reportedly distort, and require replacement during the season. The nodular iron center sections can be willed to your children.

Two popular sources of rear axles are Moser Engineering and Currie Enterprises. Moser sells a huge number of heavy duty axles, and can probably upgrade your axles reliability no matter what rear you are running (stock, Dana 44, or Ford 9"). Currie Enterprises has bolt-in Ford 9" non-floater rears for Camaro/Firebirds for similar prices to the Dana 44. A bolt-in source for floater rears has not been found yet (there are lots of sources for floater housings, however). For mine, I simply had all the brackets cut off my stock axle and welded to my new axle. Be sure that the welder who does this knows what he is doing, because you don't want stressors to be built into your new axle. Remember also that the rules require use of the stock torque arm, so the torque arm attachment must also be added. Moser and Currie both have those. You also pay a weight penalty if you go with the floater design, as the floater is heavier than the non-floater. Both will add a considerable margin of safety, since heavy-duty axle shafts are available for both. The only advantage of the floater that if you still somehow break an axle, the wheel can't come off of the car, as has been seen in SSGT racing. I recommend that A/S racers upgrade their axle shafts from stock, regardless of what rear is chosen. Moser and Currie can provide upgraded axle shafts for all rears, and the few hundred they cost could keep your car from being wrecked.

Once again, be careful of the welding on your rear axle attachments. Have it done by an expert. These attachments can fail, with bad consequences. Brent Olsen is one of several folks that have experienced failure of the panhard rod mount. There are tremendous forces being exerted on those attachments, so keep that in mind when welding is done.