Posted by: nwracing | February 25, 2016

Progress at last…!

The engine block is now back with me and all looks well. Dave Milam after a lot of investigation identified that the culprit for our engine woes was a small piece of debris that had clung on to one of the oil gallery plugs from all the machining work. This is surprising given that I had cleaned out all the galleries and had used a pressure washer to get in to all the nooks and crannies or so I thought! If there is ever a lesson on clean once, clean twice, then clean again this is it. A sobering thought is that this little piece of swarf cost us the whole of the 2015 season! As usual Dave was a star and if you need engine work doing I would highly recommend him.

Big Block Chevy Oil Gallery Plug

The culprit for all our damage!


Also I have replaced the oil pump again! We can find nothing in the engine that provides any indication as to why we lost 20psi of oil pressure so as a precaution it has been changed. My only thought is that the oil we use has altered chemical composition so in order to test this we are going to use a different brand of oil.

I do get asked sometimes if we use cheap oil as we replace it so often. I have met racers in the past who do this but for me this is a false economy. If I had been using cheap oil when the engine let go the damage would have been significantly greater. This was confirmed when we looked at the bearing shells as you could still see clearly the marks made by the dial bore gauge from when I had clearanced the bearings. On the subject of bearings we are using the same Clevite H bearings which are slightly harder than the stock V bearings. They are supposed to be a little more wear and crush resistant. Some engine builders prefer to use the V bearings as they effectively form a sacrificial part. However our experience with the H bearings has been positive. So, if they’re good enough for NASCAR they are good enough for me!

Melling HV Oil Pump

New Melling Oil Pump

As you may remember we also suffered a gearbox failure and I decided that given my lack of knowledge on stripping down a Powerglide I would undertake this myself. I was surprised at how few parts there are in the gearbox and with the aid of my Powerglide book all of the internal components were inspected and checked for wear or other maladies. Other than the broken section at the back of the case the rest of the gearbox looks in rude health!

I decided that whilst I was happy with stripping the gearbox I lacked some of the special tools to rebuild and modify it for racing. So the whole lot has been shipped off to gearbox guru Andy Frost at Penn Autos for him to work his magic. I have used Andy for over 10 years and have always been impressed with work so it really was a no-brainer!

So that’s really it at the moment.  Everything seems to be coming together nicely and we are on schedule to be ready by April. I have just received the calendar for the 2016 season so once I have had time to digest this I will post the dates of the meetings we intend to compete in.


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