We're almost there and although the deadline of February 28 has passed, we're still feeling
pretty good about how far we've gone in the past twelve days. Since tomorrow is a race day at
Willowbank (with Ken's Modified Dragster), we want to get the engine finished today and then look
at starting it up on Sunday. When we finally downed tools at 9:00 PM last night, the cylinder
heads were torqued down and it looked like fairly clear sailing at that point.
If you've been following our adventures over the years, you'll know that just when things
start looking up, they can reverse direction very suddenly. Barely an hour into the day, those
reverse gears engage and we're unable to set the valve lash. There's not only no clearance on
the exhaust side, we're into negative territory. This is not looking good. It's not quite panic
time, but getting close, so I pull the trigger and phone Tom Mohan (who's back in Vancouver) and
ask for some suggestions. "The cam must be in the wrong place; Once you get it dialed in CORRECTLY,
it should all fit."
An hour later we've established that the cam is indeed not in the right position; our desired
intake lobe centerline is 114.5 degrees and we've got 116.7. Hmm, not great, but the engine will
still run and the discrepancy can't have that much affect on the valve lash problem. Let's think
about this for a minute... or twenty. Vaguely remembering something in the T&D rocker arm
instruction sheet about shimming the rocker stands (but not having it with me - it's sitting on
my desk in Vancouver), we decide to fabricate a .060" shim to go under the entire rocker assembly
stand. Two hours later, we've got the pieces installed and get back to square one.
Things are proceeding well until we notice the lack of clearance for the pushrods (intakes
only, this time) about an inch down from the top of the cylinder heads. Of course we've got some
"big-ass" IRC (Walt Austin - International Racing Components) tapered pushrods that bulge out
from 3/8" to 7/16". Indestructible, but not totally B-1 friendly. Options to fix this latest
problem are the mill or the die grinder. It's already getting late and no one wants to start up
the CNC milling machine at this time of the evening (where has all the time gone today?), so we
default to the die grinder.
An hour of grinding, and another hour of removing the minute shards of aluminum from every
crevice in the heads and we're ready to try installing the heads and rockers again. Since it's
already way past dark, we're just going to fit up one pair of rockers and see what develops. Hmm,
there's clearance where we were interfering earlier, but now it looks like it's rubbing the inside
of the head further down. More grinding is on tap, but not tonight, as we've got a 5:30 AM wakeup
call tomorrow, as it's race day at Willowbank. Tune in again tomorrow for the next installment
in the continuing adventures of Wilson Racing's latest "road trip" downunder.