Well, after my last post way back in Oct I suffered a major set back with the car which is why I haven't posted anything here in a while. Here's the sad, sad tale.
After I figured out the coil issue the car was running well again and the time was fast approaching for the Musclecar challenge where I always try for a new best time every year. In preparation I changed the oil and as a safety measure I cut the old filter open to inspect it. Much to my chagrin I found metal particles in the filter and the oil looked like a metallic paint job.
It ran great and had good oil pressure. It also seemed to be getting good oil up top. Advice from others ranged from change the oil and keep an eye on it to you'd better tear it down. I changed the oil and took it on a few local jaunts then cut the filter open again and more metal so I knew it had to come apart.
It wasn't until the holidays that I got the time and I tore into it still in the car to find what I suspected all along. Bad cam bearings. I had some concern when I put the motor together that the front bearing was too tight but after 2000 miles I thought I was out of the woods. Not so.
So what now? I contacted Wildcat Performance in south GA. I had heard of them through other Buick owners one of which has a '70 GS running 10s through a 750 cfm q-jet and exhaust manifolds. I pulled the motor and delivered it to him 2nd week of Jan. Unfortunately for me he had taken in 30 jobs since the first of the year so it was going to take a while to get to mine. I spoke to him last week and he said he's getting caught up and should be setting up to do a run of big block buicks in the next couple of weeks. I hope so. Its killing me not having the car to drive.
I plan on making some other upgrades to the motor while its out so I'll fill you in when work on it commences. I'll also cover how the bearing issue was addressed for those who care. In the mean time here's some pics. 1st two of the front bearing and the scored up thrust surface and the last is Wildcat's shop. Clean and neat huh?
Just a quick post about my prolonged high rpm issues. Over a year ago I pulled out of the gas station and jumped on it only to have it fall apart when it hit 4000 rpms. I chased this for a long time going through the fuel system and the ignition. Every time I thought I had it fixed it would come back.
Turns out it was a bad coil. The coil was only 2 years old and I had replaced it with the coil off my Sportwagon but the problem persisted. What I eventually learned that the coil that I got when I had the dist converted to hei was a heavy duty NAPA coil that provided a hotter spark for the hei converted dist. The stock points coil from the Sportwagon didn't have enough spark to fire the hei at high rpms. So basically I had replaced the faulty heavy duty coil with an insufficiant coil.
I went to NAPA and bought another High output coil and bam, problem solved. The Napa coil part # IC12 is actually the same coil as the MSD 8200 and the Crane PS20. I just hope this one lasts longer than the first one but at least I learned something new. Again!
Ok, so a few weeks after the PassTime thing I went to an 1/8 mile track that was having a nostalgia weekend show and racing. When changing to the drag radials I found an axle seal leaking. I had less than 700 miles on the 12 bolt so it was kind of a drag to have to open up the rear.
The next week end I drained the rear and opened it up to pull the c-clips and axle. When I tried to remove the pin I had a hell of a time getting it out. When I did I saw that the pin was galled and so were the spiders. I couldn't see any reason for this and the weird this was that the scratches on the pin were only on one side. Not all the way around.
So, I called the company I bought the Eaton carrier from ( Sadler powertrain) and discussed it with them as it was still under warranty. I asked if they could just send me a new pin and spiders but they said Eaton had to have the whole carrier back. Eaton was also baulking about replacing it as they claimed only extreme abuse could've done this. Of course this did not please me but Nate Sadler @ Sadler Powertrain was so cool about it. He said, "send it to us and as soon as we get it we'll send you a knew one and then we'll deal with Eaton". Wow! So I did and true to their word, I had a new one a little over a week .
I kept the shims in the order they came out and hoped I could just install the new carrier with the same set-up but no luck. So I had to buy a new shim pack and some marking compound and set the back lash and wear pattern again. I set up my dial gauge from my cam degreeing kit to measure the backlash. I checked the Mark Williams and Richmonds gear sites for the correct backlash. One said between .005 and .010 and the other said between .006 and .012 so I would shoot for .007 to .008. The shims aren't marked for their thickness and I didn't have a micrometer to measure them so again I set up my dial indicator on my work bench and used that to measure the shims.
After some work I finally got the backlash right then put some dope on the gears and checked the pattern which still looked good so I buttoned it back up. I've got about another 300 miles on it now with no problems so far.
In the end I was out a couple of weeks and about $100 for grease, posi lube, shims and having the carrier bearings pressed but had the axle seal not gone out in the first place I wouldn't have found out until the rear locked up and caused major damage. I also can not say enough about the folks at Sadler Powertrain. Look them up on the net. They are a big rig parts supplier that started selling car stuff on e-bay and I got my Eaton unit for $50 less than I could find it anywhere else. They were great to deal with and bent over backwards to help with the problem.
Next up I finally figure out the high rpm misfire that's been plaging me for a year.
Alright, so problems and solutions. Lets start in April. There's a show on the Speed channel called "Pass Time" where contestants have to guess how fast a given car will run the 1/4 mile. I decided to try to get my car on the show and made the 3 hr drive down to Montgomery AL and back. This was the first long trip I've taken since fixing the vibration and I found out that at anything over 2800 rpms the engine temp started to climb and wouldn't stop until I reduced the rpms again. I also found that even with the aluminum rad the temp would creep up in traffic and forget running the air.
So follow the well known dictum that if it over heats at speed its a coolant flow problem and if it over heats in traffic its an air flow problem I replaced the stock 180* thermostat with a Mr. Gasket hi-flow 160* stat and I also replaced the stock fan clutch with a severe duty big block Chevy Suburban fan clutch. It seems to have done the trick. Last week I drove 40 miles to a cruise night with the A/C on and it never got higher than 190* traffic or freeway.
The Mr. Gasket part # is 4363 and is available at any parts retailer. The fan clutch # is Hayden 2797.
Now for the fun part. I made the cut for the Pass Time show. Here's the link for my appearance on the show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zRVkZkM8e0
Next, when should you be happy that your new axle seal went out?