3/4/07 - It has been some time since I've been able to update my car or my website. This is mostly due to the fact that my wife and i had another daughter in January and have been preparing for her birth for some time. We're also working on expanding our house to make more room for the new rugrat.

Here's a picture of our daughters together.

3/4/07 - Ok, I am actually planning to install an electric fan in the Nova very soon so that I can idle for long periods of time without the car getting hot. When I go to the racetrack (Portland International Raceway) near gate opening time it often takes upwards of half an hour to get into the track. Idling for this long has often gotten the car up into the 220 to 230 range before forcing me to shut it off. I found this behavior unacceptable for this year. At cruising speeds the car has trouble maintaining 180 degrees, so it appears that my ridig fan isn't up to pulling enough air at idle to keep the car cool.

I bought a Zirgo 16" electric fan (part# ZFU16) last week and I'm working on designing a shroud for it to mount to so that it can draw from 100% of the radiator cooling surface. With a long water pump on my 67, there isn't much room between the radiator and the water pump hub, so a thin fan that could pull LOTS of CFM was necessary. I think that's what I found with the Zirgo fan. It's 3 7/8" thick and claims to draw 3985 CFM in the lab. This should be enough to cool my car at idle.

I'm working on the shroud drawing & mock-up now. Based on my measurements, the shroud can only be 3/8" deep (before pump hub clearance become a problem), 16.875" wide and 18" tall. The fan is 16" wide and 16.75" tall with its own plastic shrouding. The shroud as planned will only be 7/16" wider than the fan on each side and 5/8" taller than the fan on each side, but it'll cover 100% of the radiator fin surface. Without the shroud, the rad will only be ~72% covered. The extra 28% coverage will just add more cooling system insurance.

I'll have more updates and pictures as I get the shroud mocked up and installed in the car. Then I can play with wiring it up, which is the part I really love. 12V wiring is sorta fun for me.

3/4/07 - Well, I drew up the final version of my fan shroud plan and dropped it off at Race Tech Motorsports in Portland and waited a day or two for results after he said that he could have it done the next day. None of my follow-up email was responded to, but I did get a call on the following Sunday when the owner said to come pick it up. I showed up at the shop and got a blank look suggesting "Why are you here". He said it wasn't done yet after telling my explicitly to come pick it up. He said it'd be done in the afternoon, so I went home and waited two more days for a status update. I just gave up and told him to stuff it. All I lost was some time and a sheet of steel. Afterwards I heard that this sort of behavior isn't uncommon from this place, so I'd suggest you stay away.

I should have used by better judgement and just called Marty Stroud out in Cornelius, OR. See the next update for details of the shroud he built for me.

3/18/07- Marty Strode is awesome! Not only does he do great work (this is my second time using him), but he's great to talk to. Here's the shroud I had him build and it only took him 90 minutes, even with me standing in his shop BSing with him and a couple of other guys who were there too. We had to modify my plan a tiny bit because my design for the mounting flanges couldn't be done with his brake. Not a big deal because he just welded 90* flanges to replace what I had designed as bends.

Now it just needs a trial fit and a coat of paint.

3/18/07 - While doing a bit of testing of the cooling system getting ready for the electric fan upgrade, I decided to do some more in depth testing to see if I could figure out why I keep losing water in the radiator. I pulled out my trusty pressure tester and loaded up the cooling system with 20lbs of pressure and waited for leaks to sprout. After about 45 minutes I saw no signs of leaking water, but the pressure was dropping about 1-2 lbs every 15 minutes and I was losing water somewhere. I checked with the guys on Steve's site and they seem to think I have a head gasket leak...or a cracked head.

Great, just what I needed to hear. Oh well. My plan now is to do some more testing to see if I can find which cylinder is leaking. I'm going to pull plugs first and look for a "clean" one that might indicate it's being washed with steam in the combustion chamber. If I find one, I'm going to pressurize that cylinder with compressed air and see if I observe any pressure building in the cooling system. Hopefull it's the head gasket and that would support some other things I've been seeing. A new head gasket isn't an impossible task. If I have to pull a head...or two, I'm going to have them worked over a bit before I put them back on. I think I'll probably throw a new cam in while it's apart if I have to go that far.

Check back for more of my Nova saga.

4/7/07 - The custom shroud I had built for the new electric fan almost fit, but I didn't account for the fact that the pump's water pulley mounting flange has a locating pin on it....and a tall one at that, so the fan + shroud didn't even come close to fitting. OOPS!

So, I pulled the shroud off and test fit just the fan and now I have about 1/4" of clearance. There's absolutely no room for a shroud unless I switch to a short water pump. That'd cost about $300+ for a new short Stewart pump, short pump pulleys, and a new alternator bracket. That isn't gonna happen, so I've decided to just mount the fan flush to the radiator and give up the additional 28% coverage I calc'd that I'd gain with the shroud.

As you can see, there's no room to spare. Initially I thought I had about 3/4" to spare between the fan motor and water pump hub, so I figured my 3/8"tall shroud would have fit just fine. But I've actually got less than a 1/4" between them, so there's no chance it will fit.

Here's final test test fit picture showing the pump hub clearance without the shroud...and after a serious amount of cussing.

Here's a pic showing the uncovered area without the shroud. If I had a larger radiator, I'd probably consider switching to a short pump, but I think I'll be OK with this setup. I'm still a bit sick that the shroud's not going to work out.

Moral & lesson of the story to anyone thinking about putting a long water pump in an early Nova....DON'T unless you're willing to make some sacrifices! I wish I'd known this two years ago. I'd probably have a much better setup if I had used a short water pump, but at least this setup should work and keep things cool. Live and learn.

8/17/07 - Gawd, I feel like such a slacker on this car at the moment. Between two young children and a recent house remodel, my Nova has turned into the bastard step-child that no one wants to play with.

A couple of months ago, I decided that the setup pictured above wasn't going to work for me. It required me to take to many shortcuts that deviated too far from "doing it correctly." I finally decided that I'd had enough of trying to make a long water pump work in my car.

You can see in this pic just how much difference there is between the long and the short pumps. I think it's about 1.6 inches of clearance I gain by switching. That's a significant amount of space on these cars!!!

As you can see, I have purchased a replacment Stewart Stage II SHORT water pump along with a new set of pulleys, and a alternator brackets. I'm moving the alterator over to the driver's side of the motor where there is more room. Here's the new alternator bracket set that I'll be using. It's the original 66/67 factory setup.

Sometime very soon, I can start moving some of the wiring around in the engine bay so that I can move the alternator, and also clean up my first attempts at wiring the engine bay. While the wiring I have is functional, it really needs to be routed and setup a little bit differently. I have purchased some bus bars in order to make power distribution a bit simpler and have fewer connections directly to the battery.

More to come soon.

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