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About BqUICK

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    Machine Designer

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  1. We will run at our local track, Empire Dragway, in May in another week or two. I am looking for volunteers to hold cameras and help out. My crew, of four sons, are mostly in college or out on their own. I'll have a better idea of a date after a few fixes are made to eliminate the relay issue.
  2. We were still trying to understand why the turbo pumps failed and the ignition simultaneously. All fuses were A Okay on the fuse block but the MSD box got its power and ground through the battery directly. When the fuses checked ok I checked wiring. Wiring checked out so I got a test light on the fuse block. Sure enough, one row was fine which powered the water pump, fans, etc; stuff You normally heard. The other was dead as the proverbial door nail. I removed the unit from its mountings and saw no burnt wiring, potentially from the high draw of the twin STS Turbo oil pumps. I pulled the relay and saw a shiny spot between its high output legs and atlast had the smoking gun. A new relay lit the whole system up like nothing had happened. Hmmm...the poem "for want of a nail". In my case it was for want of a tight idle screw. FOR WANT OF AN IDLE SCREW (A Buick racers lament) For want of a screw, good idle was lost. For want of good idle , clean plugs were lost. For want of clean plugs, easy starting was lost. For want of easy starting, the relay was over taxed and lost. For want of the relay, ignition was lost. For want of ignition, the Buick was lost. For want of Buick, The racer was lost ( And had to walk two miles.) For want of a racer, the race was lost. (Empire Drag-way no show) For want of a race, the big Electra record was lost (Temporarily) And all for want of a screw. Damn. BqUICK
  3. That is a nice idea!
  4. The MSD spark box failed and was the source of the problem, not low fuel. The MSD units are very sensitive to voltage fluctuations. This is the 3rd MSD box over the past 13 years, the last one persisted for only one year. I ordered a Mallory unit today. Mallory, by some accounts, does a better job. Mallory was recently acquired by MSD and I was concerned that the company has changed its spark box internals to MSD. This does not seem to be the case as the rev limiter and other controls are different. Keep your fingers crossed. Yesterday, Dave Machuga of Machuga Chassis Works, six time Dirt Modifieds Champion, and fabricator of our NASCAR CUP suspension; walked through the troubleshooting with me. We used my fancy digital multi-meter that was worthless. It showed 0 V where we had 11.99V. Power goes directly from the battery to the MSD to eliminate noise and other negative feedback, it was the last attempt to address the ongoing MSD problem. I have had it with MSD and will migrate to an HEI when I find out how to wire it into the FAST electronic fuel management system. The other mystery is that of why are the turbo pumps not working and why is oil leaking from the system? It is possible that the systems on two separate circuits have affected one another. Since we had no engine power and no crew, everyone was away but Blair, me, Deborah, and our grand daughter; we had to put the car in the garage back end first out of the trailer. That took about an hour all by itself. My youngest, Blair and I had to carefully guide the trailer in position on our narrow street angling to box squarely in front of the garage door. This sometimes takes 15 minutes to get right but I did it in 5 after 13 years of practice. The tough part was getting the trailer tongue high enough for Faithful Pursuit to be rolled back. The decline of my driveway made this too hard for us. This took a lot of blocking and tackling, literally. Disconnected from my truck, that was too low at the dip in the curb, I had to use blocks of wood under the trailer tongue. As Faithful Pursuit rolled back, the toungue came off the blocks and we had to stand on the tongue, wrap chain and secure it against moving wildly when 5,000 Faithful Pursuit's weight would no longer be on it. Naturally, the box moved around a bit and the FP's rear wheels got wedged between the trailer ramp and garage slab. I cut some 2x6 and we placed it under the ramp to good effect. We carefully guided the big Buick in and were "In like Flynn", (That's old school talk, in other words we had it made.)
  5. Friday was absolutely beautiful. I admired the greening acres of some early growing spring crop as I walked along the country road out of the tiny upstate NY town of Savona. It was about 80 degrees and sunny with just a few sparse clouds. I walked up to the railroad tracks and a school bus coming from the other direction stopped as the driver took her time to look both ways before crossing. She waved at me as she drove by, I was on her side of the road trying to stay on it and avoid the dirt drop off at the tracks. WHY am I telling you this? I had just been enjoying myself driving the Faithful Pursuit, her transmission shifting firmly having just left the tranny shop. After the rebuild last year she still shifted like a stock Electra, despite the aluminum drum race clutches and shift kit. She needed to have her internal pressure raised and a plate tranny fluid passages drilled. Norwalk's Buick, Olds, & Caddy event highlighted the need for tranny work. "Sound's like she's pushing through the transmission" was one comment. Now she shifted fine and I kept driving her out of town further than I should have, but it was so good. When she abruptly quit about 2 miles up that lonely road out of town, I was still smiling. We were running up a slight grade with a turn around just 300 yards or so ahead. I checked her tank, pushing my hand into her fuel cell past her foam anti-slosh innards and noted some fuel. I figured the grade didn't help matters. I jumped back inside, put her in neutral and coasted down 50 yards or so, a trick with the high back from the tall 30" slicks, to the trough in the road. Still no luck. Out of gas. Out of enough gas. I had left the trailer and truck at the shop with the keys in her just in case but when I called they didn't pick up. So, I hoofed it leaving her behind only looking back once. I has so paranoid about running out of gas that not even in the old days of the fuel crisis in the late 70's did I run out of fuel. Not in the past 39 years of owning that car did I ever have to walk! But it was a nice day and I felt good, despite knowing that my opportunity to take her tot he track that evening was slipping away fast. As I entered town the houses became more plentiful as open fields gave way to lawns, then sidewalks, people, and dogs that barked as I walked past. A man tending to his front yard said "Good day for a walk", I simply replied "yes". It was a good day. I got some things done at work despite a network glitch that took my computer off line. It was refreshing to walk about and see people and talk with them about things. No emails, just walk and talk with a couple of phone calls. Now in the afternoon sun I was enjoying it although there was tougher news to take in store for me. I made it back to the truck and fired up the mighty 7.3 turbo diesel "Mastadon" Excursion. I swung the 24' trailer onto the road out to where Faithful Pursuit lay hopefully unmolested, virtually in the middle of the right lane. I pumped about 4 gallons of 93 Octane into her, keeping an extra gallon in reserve, but no response upon start attempt. The FAST was dead, no fuel pressure either. She'd turn over but had no fuel and perhaps no spark either. I pulled in front of her and hooked the 12,000lb winch cable once everything was positioned as well as I could. The winch strained as nearly 5,000 lbs of Buick climbed the ramp, but it got periodic breaks from duty as I had to reposition the steering then trot back to the control on a short cord. "Should have sprung for the remote control unit" I thought. At one point I had to drive the truck forward about 5 feet to straighten out the car to better prepare her for the ramp climb to come. Finally the job was done and a lady in a lime green import of some kind stopped and asked if I was ok. "Doing fine, just had to pick this one up." I buttoned up the trailer and drove up the grade to a spot where a horse trailer and tractor trailer were sitting. The horse trailer moved and I pulled into the dirt area which had just enough room for me to manage a turn around. Otherwise, I'd be looking at many miles of lonely country road before I could get back to town. The car had been "loading up" and was hard to start and keep going. The problem was a loose idle screw that brought it down to 800 rpm while the EFI setting had her rich and flooding out. I set idle at 1200 and locked it tight. She ran great, but that was short lived, Now I just have to figure out what tripped the FAST EFI out.
  6. We are gearing up for the attempt on the ¼ mile record for the big Buick Electra. Our transmission shop will be firming up the shifts and Machuga Chassis will check my work on the 5 bar linkage over the next two weeks. Stall was bumped up to 3,500 and the big 72mm turbos swapped for 66mm units. I’m actually registering a tiny amount of + boost at 3 grand with the brakes on! I’m thinking about a local track, Empire Dragway, Mt. Morris, NY. Tom Wagner is not too far away and perhaps he can come up with his '69 Wildcat. The 4,200lb 455 big Buick Wilcat is a gorgeous black machine and at 11.0 in the 1/4 is the world's fastest Wildcat and probably the fastest of the big body cars although technically a "mid size" compared to the Electra 225. The Electra record stands at 11.7seconds @ 118mph with a 4,700lb car. I’d like to run head to head with him just to see two big Buicks go at it. Our 1969 Electra weighs about 4,800lbs so Tom's both lighter and faster but It would be a gas! Let me know who's up for the road trip in the late April/May time frame. It would be good to see my friends up at track together some Friday/Saturday. We'll target April 29th for some practice runs and keep everyone updated on the record attempt. Michael Joseph
  7. The weather took a positive turn from its usual dreary grey wetness so I fired up Faithful Pursuit for a drive. After putting my gloved hand into her fuel cell to check the level of last year's race gas, We drive off and I figured we could do 20 or so miles if necessary. I got my 19 year old son Blair and we rumbled off into the sunny Corning afternoon. Everything looked and sounded fine except for the brakes feeling a little soft and the steering in need of slight alignment. With each goose of the throttle you could hear the little 66mm Lety Turbonetics turbos whine as they spun up. It was a refreshing change from the gigantic P-72's they replaced, too laggy for this current application. As I approached the highway on-ramp I gave her half throttle, pushing us back in our seats, as I watched the boost gage climb quickly to 10psi and a deafening blast from the blow off valve venting off boost pressure. We just needed to go one exit to the Value hardware store and it was over too quickly. We got off the exit and idled to the traffic light and made a left onto the Value parking lot. All of a sudden she stumbled and quit as we coasted into our parking lot spot. A day ago, one of the boys, Blair revealed he had broken a window at the house and now I was looking for a 24" x 30" piece of soda lime window glass to apply my glazing skills. Actually, his mom found the perfectly clean area in his brothers room where the window was. With the storm window in place and our other son away at college we never noticed it was gone behind the heavy curtains. However, now I had bigger worries as the Faithful Pursuit just wouldn't restart. I put that out of my mind as I walked in the store and ordered the glass. A few minutes later the store manager and the young man who took our order stood around her, brown paper wrapped glass in hand, as we tried to restart her in vain. She was sputtering and bucking firing on a few cylinders, seeming to resist our every effort. I checked her wires and other connections but only saw where one of the MSD's had loosened a bit. I secured it but still no luck, The mighty beast would not move. We called in reinforcements and soon we had three of my four sons and my wife enlisted to trailer her out if needed. Well, after going home and filling our big red 7.3 diesel Excursion, the Mastadon, with tools leather work gloves and willing laborers we headed to pick up the trailer which was just a mile pass where the car was. I decided to stop by the car first before beginning the familiar game of musical chairs which would have us pulling the Riviera out off the garage to make room for the Grand National, now in the trailer, which would have to vacate so the racer could go in. The racer would then go to Machuga Racing Chassis for prep for the up coming assault on the big buick Electra 1/4 mile record. The full size record we've been after for the last few years. Just to be certain before setting us up for the musical cars game, I took my trusted 9/16 and gave the distributor a slight turn, a little nuge. She fired right up and I turned the distributor till she leveled out, same as I had been doing on BBB's for 40 years. Faithful Pursuit is now fuel injected and computerized so who knows which sensor wasnt happy. My youngest son Blair followed me home in the Mastadon as I drove Faithful Pursuit home, keeping my eyes on the guages for any hint of what happened previously. Can you imagine what was going through my head? Maybe I broke it or over heated it? Maybe hitting seven grand at Norwalk last year hurt the motor and she's finally had it!? All seemed well but I guess we'll see. She still gets to go to Steuben Auto for a transmission adjustment and Macuga's for some work on her five bar and brakes.
  8. We worked over the winter to enhance the performance of Faithful Pursuit and made the big step of changing out the turbos. We went from the huge 72mm Turbonetics monsters to 66mm units. The quandry was, is it better to risk not being able to spool up with a 500 rpm increase in stall, especially after having spent another $1,300 to replace the starboard 72mm turbo blown in the fall. I opted to replace both 9 year old units with new "Lety" 66mm Turbonetics units. I took FP for a mellow test drive and noticed right away that I could hear them spooling just driving around on the rain slicked road under mild acceleration. I could not do much with slicks on, I'd be like skating on ice on city streets. We still have some brake work to do but are pretty close to making our debut at the track in another few weeks.
  9. Mr. Earl, I attended some courses at the University of Georgia in Athens years ago while working for Johnson & Johnson in GA. Faithful Pursuit was in many pieces back in 1992 or so. As it is Santa would have come to the frigid north in NY! Happy New Year, BqUICK
  10. BLEW UP THE STARBOARD TURBO! Oil starved it, now considering replacing both Turbonetics with custom ported Garrett's.
  11. Merry Christmas All, Twas the Night Before Christmas.... 'Twas the night before Christmas and in the garage, No trace of Ford, Chevy, or even a Dodge. The presents were wrapped and the lights were all lit, So I figured I'd mess with the Buick a bit. I popped the release and I lifted the hood, When a deep voice behind me said "looks pretty good." Well, as you can imagine, I turned mighty quick, And there, by the workbench, stood good ole Saint Nick! We stood there a bit, not too sure what to say, Then he said "don't suppose that you'd trade for my sleigh? I said "no way, Santa" and started to grin, "But if you've got the time we could go for a spin!" His round little mouth, tied up like a bow, Turned into a smile and he said "hey! Let's go!!" So as not to disturb all the neighbors' retreat, We pushed the big Buick into the street, Then, taking our places to drift down the hill, I turned on the key and I let MSD spill. The sound that erupted took him by surprise; But he liked it a lot, you could tell from his eyes. With Pirelli’s a' crying and exhaust tips aglow, We headed on out where hot rodders go. And Santa's grin widened, approaching his ears, With every shift up as I went through the gears. Then he yelled "can't recall when I've felt so alive!" So I backed off the gas and said "wanna drive?" Ole Santa was stunned when I gave him the keys, When he walked past the headlights he shook at the knees! The big block exploded with the STAGE II sound! When he dropped the hammer, Electra shook the ground! Power shift into second, again into third! I sat there just watching, at loss for a word, St. Nick turned to me with a gleam in his eye, And said “Lets get TURBOs & then let’r Fly!” With a wave of his hand and a prayer to the Lord, There were twin Turbos & water Injection aboard! We passed Hemi’s, Cobra's and Veyron's that night, Punched over-drive and blasted from sight! St. Nick turned to me with a gleam in his eye, And said “Merry Christmas BqUICK!” and we took to the sky!!!" God Speed, BqUICK 2016 GSCA, North East Member #33
  12. Rivnut and Adam, Thanks for the insights. We originally began designing a set of stainless steel turbo headers. The flanges were about 3/8" thick and were lost in the mail, suspected to have burst out of the packaging. I then rethought the rear mount option which would allow us to use stock manifolds. Also, intake temperatures dropped 10 degrees. So we went with stock manifolds. I am not certain that a purely machined seal would do the job in a boosted application, especially if things got really hot. Rivnut, our first turbo heads were very special. Ceramic thermal coating were applied by Swain Technologies, near Rochester, NY. Exhaust runner, combustion chambers, underside, valve faces, springs, all received the special treatment. This is after they were fully rebuilt by Jake Harrington (Shaw Racing) and disassembled. The exhaust valves were Inconel and the intakes were SS. Valve diameters were STAGE-1 spec but the stems were Chevy diameter because Buick valves could not be had in Inconel. These heads did show evidence of heat stress related cracking but I suspect it was due to running at too high a boost pressure. That was 2009-2014. We went to 455 heads which work fine and look great at the last inspection. The current setup seems to be the winning combo. Just think, 12.31sec @ 116.6 with a doggy 2.1 60'!!! So, I had EDGE Racing Converters add 500 more RPM to the stall. With the manifolds sealed up tight we should be in the boost off the line. On the video you can count 3 seconds before the blow off hits! I didn't even get out of 3rd gear!!! My plan is to launch at some boost #1 the slicks can hold then boost #; I should be clear for 4th gear and we'll see what she does. The 11.7 @ 117 record has survived for 30 years because Scotty G's '70 Electra was the real deal and all steel at 4,700lbs. I must say that the 430 is an amazing motor especially with all the abuse its taken. Runs like a rocket under boost up to 7 grand! Scotty G. built my motor and as far I'm concerned he's the best there is.
  13. I began tearing down FP's engine and the first thing I found was the poor condition of the exhaust gaskets. A high degree of corrosion would seem to indicate air gaps. #1, 7, 8. Magnification shows a fracture at the upper right corner, which may have contributed to losses. At least two bolts were not at torque specification. This would appear to explain the long spool up time. I have ordered a set of high temperature exhaust gaskets from my friends at TA Performance after talking with Mike Tomaszewski. TA 1720 1,400 degree steel core with carbon graphite coating. Q: If this is the root cause of low launch power should I not bother splitting the torque converter to up the stall from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm? The smart answer is to put it back together and test my hypothesis. If 3Gs are enough then fine. The motor still has to come out anyway for an inspection and to address the oil leak issue however. I may as well send out the converter to get bumped up. New head gaskets should provide a better seal. I went with the Felpro blue to test things out. They are a good safety valve; I'll inspect them for burnt spots etc but compression was good. Now "Orange Crush" TA Performance gaskets are going in, TA 1723C.
  14. Friends, The major struggle here and now is whether I should take out the torque converter and have it cut and re calibrated for 4,000 rpm stall to engage the turbos sooner. This represents a significant investment in time and unraveling the complexity of wiring too. You can hear the wastegates open about 2.5-3 sec after launch as boost pressure is reached. The goal is to have the boost assist right at launch. This would practically assure us the big Buick Electra record in the 1/4 mile. Here is the alternative plan, cheaper and faster. I put in a balance tube and blocked the exhaust to one turbo to see if I could spool one turbo at launch. It sounds like i have more action from the turbo, I can hear it whistle, but there is zero boost registered at the current 3,000 rpm stall. We are close enough to the record set by Scotty Guadagno that the single turbo charger may be enough. One of our big turbos should be good for 800 hp, sufficient for a record setting run.
  15. Happy Sunday, Our event at the BOC meet last week was great! We set a new personal best far surpassing our previous 455 STAGE-1 time of 12.99sec. @ 103 mph by a wide margin. The new twin turbo 430 STAGE-2 ran 12.51@112.89 then it rained like heck. Run #2 12.32@116.62. It then poured again and we trailered her. Our launches were poor. Our 60ft times were 2.1 seconds and it took about 3 seconds for the turbos to spool. We will do some work to address the issues and get a decent 60' of 1.75 or better. Video of run.