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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:35 pm 
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Turbo EFI
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Drove the Dart in the 24 Hours of Lemons at MSR Houston last weekend. Unlike most Lemons races, this one actually was 24 hours straight. Since we spent so much time working on the new car (more on that later), we were kinda last-minute prepping the Dart and missed a few things. Lost a little time early in the race because the car was running so hot; stopped to actually check and adjust initial timing for the first time, and it was sitting at almost 30°!

Lost about an hour later looking at a driveline vibration. This has been a standing issue which vastly improved when we had our driveshaft rebalanced but was definitely getting worse again. Turns out the cheap aftermarket straps holding the rear U-joint to the differential yoke have gotten too loose, and the caps could actually slide back and forth a bit in the yoke. Too keep it going for the race, I wrapped both caps with a couple layers of aluminum tape... good enough!

Also lost a little time when the car wouldn't restart after a driver change. Quickly determined we had no spark. After Bob went through and diagnosed the entire HEI system, we decided to clean what looked like just a little bit of corrosion off the rotor and cap terminals... engine fired right up. We've been running the same cap and rotor for years now, so it's probably about time to replace them and make a nice long-tip rotor per that huge cap and rotor testing thread that was in the Engine section a while back.

We knew we wouldn't be very competitive with a stock engine, so we weren't too bothered by all this. We were able to succeed in our one goal for the car, which was to beat some of our friendly rivals from Austin called "The Resistance." They normally race older Hondas, and did bring their 70-something Civic Wagon to this race, but they also showed up with a huge surprise for us... a '63 Dart 2-door they'd been working on in secret for over a year, with a Soviet space program theme to match our NASA-themed '64 Dart.

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The judges put us back in Class C (the slow class) so we could compete head to head, but they gave our well-seasoned racecar a 20-lap deficit to make up. Even with the issues we had, we made that up pretty easily. Our friends stayed on track most of the race, but they had typical new-car teething problems and were significantly slower with a 1-barrel carb and stock suspension. Anyway, it was a lot of fun "beating the Commies back to the Moon," and it meant a lot to my team that they went through so much effort to parody us. There were a number of little details in the car (like copying our gratuitous "NO STEP" stencils but in Russian), and a few of their team members actually went out of their way to dress like me and Bob. It was awesome. We took home the challenge trophy they put together out of random slant six and Dart parts, and they won the "Judge's Choice" trophy for their car.

Then there was all the excitement about the new car we also brought to race, a 1941 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 98. Which is a different story that I think I'll post about when I have more time. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:54 pm 
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Congrats on a fun race weekend! Must have been a little different doing a true 24 hour event. How was it racing at night, like a lot of glare from headlights or anything else? The spring CMP race is going to be a true 24 hour event next year, and I would love to get in on that!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:12 pm 
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Very cool! Thanks for sharing! Man, I want to do more Lemons stuff!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:31 pm 
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Man, that sounds like a ton of fun!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:01 am 
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Sounds like a wonderful time, Frank. So cool about the "space race" Darts! Thanks for the rundown. Would love to run with you guys sometime...

Lou

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:24 pm 
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Turbo EFI
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The plan is to bring the Dart to Barber in February with a few more lingering issues fixed and a new big-valve "race head" installed. Lou, if the Valiant doesn't make it I'd love to have you on our team. It'll just depend on how many of our regular crew signs up.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:08 pm 
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Great. I do not know the status of our Valiant and will get with Jason sometime soon. Would love to run on your team sometime. Will bring tools and my diagnostic wrenchin' hats...

Lou

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:06 pm 
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I spoke with Charlie Schmidt on the phone today; he said his computer is having problems and he can only browse the forums on his tablet right now. Unfortunately it's too much of a hassle to actually type out posts with it.

Anyway, he saw what I wrote about our driveline vibration and loose U-joint straps on the diff yoke. He mentioned that there are actually two sizes of Mopar U-joints with two corresponding strap sizes, but they use the same bolt spacing and are so close in diameter that they're hard to tell apart. So I might be using the large size strap on a small U-joint. I think I bought these straps off the Dorman rack at Autozone, and I never actually checked them that closely against the old ones when we swapped rear ends years ago. Does anyone know offhand if there's an available part number for the different U-joint straps?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:05 am 
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SpaceFrank wrote:
The plan is to bring the Dart to Barber in February with a few more lingering issues fixed and a new big-valve "race head" installed. Lou, if the Valiant doesn't make it I'd love to have you on our team. It'll just depend on how many of our regular crew signs up.


Adam and I are planning on attending Barber. We will either be watching or looking for somewhere to jump in. Not sure if the '64 Valiant will make it or not. It will be cool if it does.

Will the Soviet Dart be at Barber? Wouldn't that be a hoot to have THREE Slant 6 A Bodies at the same Lemons race!

Adam and I are starting on the '62 Valiant Saturday. If my math is right, that would add up to FIVE Slant 6 A bodies running Lemons at the same time! :shock:
62 Valiant
63 Valiant
63 Dart
64 Dart
64 Valiant

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:32 am 
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UPDATE: Jason just texted me and said the application for the #225 car was accepted! Here we go!! :D :D

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:14 am 
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Nice! It'll be good to have some more slanters at the race. Not sure where we'll be set up yet (I've never been to Barber), but we shouldn't be hard to find. Good luck with the '62 build!

It'll be nice to race against the Valiant again, too. Unfortunately, the Soviet Dart team doesn't have enough people available to make it to Barber. They said their next race with it will be NOLA at the end of March.

To answer Brian's question from earlier in the thread (which I totally missed, sorry): Yeah, the night racing added additional challenges. The lighting setup on both our cars was pretty decent, but some of the other cars really should've been black flagged for blinding people. Those big, cheap LED light bars are the worst; they're bright as hell, but they don't focus the light anywhere. To make matters worse, the flag stands at MSR aren't well lit at all, so it was hard for drivers to see the flags. It was even harder for the flaggers to see car numbers, so they couldn't effectively black flag cars for the gratuitous 4-offs and passing under yellow that happened at night.

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