8/6/06 - As part of my post-Caltrac install tuning, I decided to shim the leaf spring to get rid of the dead space above the leaf spring and the axle tube. The spring bolts that hold the leaf spring pack together sit above the top of the spring by a little less than 1/4", so I needed to fill this space wtih a piece of 1/4" steel bar with a 1/2" hole drilled in the center. This filled up the space nicely and should reduce the chance of breaking the spring pack bolt.
Here's the spring spacer. It's 2 7/8" wide and 5" long with a 1/2" hole drilled in it.
Here's a couple of pictures showing it mounted above the spring.
8/6/06 - Well, I finally got a new shifter installed after making a few really badly shifted passes at the dragstrip. It's finally mounted, but I made the mistake of making a few "assumptions" about the new shifter that delayed the install a bit.
I assumed, incorrectly, that the shifter cable bracket that mounts to the car pan would be the same between the two shifters. I was wrong. While the lever was the same, the cable mount was somewhat different and I didn't find this out until I was ready to adjust the cable. That took me a little while to fix.
I had to build a small spacer to raise the shifter up a tad to make it easier to reach. The new one sits quite a bit lower than the old one. My welding skills still need a bit of improvement (OK, a LOT), so it took a couple of tries to get them strong enough so that I could bend the tabs on the bracket I built. Then I had to paint it....twice due to broken and fixed welds.
While under the car, I found a small oil leak at the rear of my oil pan. It looks like the very lip of the one-piece seal got twisted a bit when I mounted it last. Oops. It's not leaking too badly, hardly at all, but I'll have to fix it soon anyway.
Oh yeah, I have to move my underdash gauges now too. The shifter sits farther forward than the old one, so my gauges are sorta in the way. I got lucky in that the shifter handle slides between the gauges when in park, but it needs to be fixed, as you can see in the pic. I can't decide how to fix it. Possibly a Covan's dash (vaguely possible), a custom console, or simply move them farther right (not a big fan of that). Two of those methods are a bunch of work, but ultimately the right way to do it correctly I think.
For now, I just need to clean up and route the wiring and she's good to run for next weekend's Cruizin' with the Cops show.
8/13/06 - Another modification to my original setup that I've done recently was the addition of a set of ET Street drag radials. This was done in an attempt to improve my
times at the dragstrip. It seems to have worked. Before throwing them on the car, my best 60ft time was a 2.1. After the tire upgrade, I got it down to a 1.89 and I think I can get it a bit lower with some more tuning & driving work.
These are 235/60-15 MT ET Street drag radials.
My ET dropped from a 13.1 to a 12.89 also. (big grin) There's a bit more to be gained with some tuning I think.
9/9/06 - Next on the rework list is adding a set of CPP disc brakes, a set of CPP upper and lower tubular control arms, new shocks all the way around, and a set of Moroso trick springs.
The disc brakes are to make driving this thing around town a bit safer due to the fact that everyone around me can stop much faster than I can. It makes me a bit nervous, even though I'm very comfortable with the stock drums. If all I had to worry about was myself, I'd just leave it alone.
The CPP control arms were just a present to myself after getting a nice bonus at work this year. They should help stabilize the car on the street and the strip and possibly lighten things up by a few pounds. The new springs will help weight transfer also. Someone at the track noticed that my car was acting strangely after launch due to some odd weight transfer characteristics. New shocks and springs should fix this. The new shocks are actually just a standard set of Monroe gas shocks that I have that I should have initially installed and didn't.
Here's the CPP lower kit. I'm still waiting on the upper kit. CPP is having production issues due to high demand.
As soon as I start tearing the car apart, I'll post more updates. Oh yeah, I've got a set of Scorpion roller rockers (full rollers) that I'm going to be installing soon too. (big, big grin)
9/26/06 - My CPP upper control arms showed up last week. They look fantastic. In a strange way, I'm sorta looking forward to tearing my newly rebuilt suspension apart again in order to mount this stuff.
10/1/06 - In preparation for a final round of testing at Portland Internation Raceway's dragstrip, I got my Scorpion Roller Rockers mounted. They were a cinch to install and I'm very pleased with them.
I think I under-adjusted them as my car slowed down at the strip when I took it for a few runs, even though the weather was perfect (cool temps) for racing. I've got more tuning work to do. Here are pics of the installed rockers on my Vortec heads.
This first shot shows how much better they look than the stamped OEM rockers:
Here's a full bank of the rockers installed.