Disaster Strikes Again Part 2

Anyone noticing a recurring theme of disaster?  I am.  As you may have noticed, there are brake lines on the car now.  Ramjet that I am, I decided to fill the master cylinder a while, I mean, why wait, amirite?  This picture is taken from the front of the car, showing the right edge of the master cylinder and brake booster and most importantly the proportioning valve.  I went to great lengths to fabricate a mount for the proportioning valve and to put it in a spot where it wouldn’t interfere with the fender mount.  I did not consider where the hood hinges and spring mechanism would land, hence the disaster (again).  I disconnected the line, plugged the master cylinder, dribbled brake fluid all over my paint, bent up new brake line, found a new place to mount the proportioning valve, etc.

Speaking of disaster, it was about this time that I started bleeding the brakes.  I didn’t take any pictures because who takes brake bleeding pictures?  No one, that’s who.  I started with my single person bleeder kit that I bought at Autozone years ago.  I pumped two whole master cylinders full of fluid through.  Fired up the engine, put it in gear, stepped on the brake, nothing.  i had my kid step on the brake while I spun the front tire, great brakes.  I spun the back tire and had junior hit the brakes and nothing.

I made junior pump the brake while I did a traditional bleed.  Still no brakes.  I borrowed Dad’s Mityvac and sucked fluid through the line.  I sucked on that brake line like a [insert joke about prom night here or three dollar prostitute here].  I pulled a whole bottle of brake fluid through the system and half of another.  In my fiddling around with all things brake I left the drum off the driver’s side rear and stomped on the pedal.  I started swearing as usual, imagining that I probably pushed the piston out of the wheel cylinder.  Imagine my surprise when I found that nothing had moved.  I grabbed a hunk of 2×3 and pushed on the pedal while watching the wheel cylinder–nothing.  I pulled the brake shoes off and stomped again, still nothing.  The damned wheel cylinders were seized.  A quick trip to the local Autozone remedied the situation to the tune of $7 or so each.  Brakes were now enjoyed by all.

CalTracs to the Rescue

Remember the whole “shock mounts are jammed into the tires because fat tires” problem?  After much Googling I decided CalTracs would save my bacon and give me some traction to boot.  CalTracs come with their own shock plate that doesn’t stick way out like the factory does.  They also require that you fabricate new shock mounts inside the subframe.

Anyway, here are the CalTracs in all their traction creating glory, enjoy.

Shifting Gears

I went with a B&M Pro Ratchet shifter.  There are lots of good reasons I could give you but you wouldn’t buy any of them and frankly, neither would I.  The real reason I bought it is because racecar.  I had big dreams of going down the track going BANG BANG BANG up through the gears like some huge sexy drag racing stud.  I had to fab up a little pedestal for the shifter out of 1/8″ plate and square tube.  My pedestal lands on the four factory shift mount boltholes.  It’s nice and solid and has a coat of my favorite paint, Rustoleum.


It is on this date, 9/12/17, that the Fireturd moved under its own power.  Naturally, disaster struck.  I backed it out of the driveway and turned it around.  It scraped.  Everywhere.  It dragged more than RuPaul on 90’s MTV.  It dragged exiting the driveway.  Heck, it scraped on the crown of the road as I three point turned in the middle.  The exhaust was hanging down like Gramp’s nutsack in the Florida heat.  The front right tire hit my surge tank and bent the mount.  It was an unmitigated disaster.  BUT…it moved under its own power.

If you’re looking closely, especially at the front, you’ll see my radiator is hanging low.  Real low.  I do things half-assed on the reg, but this was a little too half-assed even for me.  I pulled the car back in the garage and ripped the front end off.

Radiator Take 2

I don’t have any pictures for this one.  It’s depressing and therefore less picture-worthy when you are redoing work.  I ordered a shorter radiator from Griffin.  When it arrived I cut the bottom of the radiator mount off, ratchet-strapped the new radiator in place, tacked a new radiator support on, refilled with coolant, raised the front end, and danced a victory jig.

They see me rollin, they hatin

Rollin with the new radiator.  I rolled the turd down to the local Sheetz and filled up with 93 octane.  Car ran very well and everything stayed on.  Except the headlights.  I solved the headlights problem by unplugging the headlights and not driving in the dark anymore.  I “tested” the line lock on a back road, test successful.

You’ll see the pipes are still real low but the radiator isn’t hanging down anymore.


First official burnout

The reason for filling it up with gas was so that I could take it to the Adam’s Service Center for abuse and criticism.  I had babied it up to the shop to make sure it was going to make it in one piece.  I had decided that I was going to take it easy, you never know what could go wrong.  Then the honest guy got in for a ride and I couldn’t help myself.  The computer reported 10.6psi of boost (even though the wastegates are sprung at 8psi).  The resulting black marks are a testament to the fury of the Fireturd.  The honest guy was impressed by the power and blown away by the shittiness of the rest of the car and the workmanship that made it so shitty.

We returned to the shop and put it up on the lift and discovered that the Chinese lug nuts I bought had come loose on the left rear wheel.  The right CalTrac had come loose as well, the right exhaust hung up on the lift, and we were dripping oil out both turbo oil returns.  All the rest of the abuse didn’t matter–the turd had done a burnout and it is FAST.


All the driving I’d done so far was done without rear shocks.  Now was the time to remedy that.  You’d have thought that the car would ride like a buckboard without rear shocks but it was actually not too bad.  I even drove the car to my parent’s house, about 20 minutes away, without issues with the ride.  I had issues, but they weren’t ride related.  My issues were the oil leaking from the front cover turbo oil returns.  The oil leaked so bad that I needed to ‘borrow’ a couple quarts of oil to make it home.

I had an idea that I tested with hunks of hose.  I decided that I could land the top of the shock on the factory mount point and could mount the bottom of the shock inside the leaf spring.  I was told that you can’t do that by Viking, but I found a guy on the second generation f-body forum that said he did it.  I asked for pictures and he ghosted.  I get it though, I’ve been there.  I found a place on the internet that sells Viking shocks and takes returns and, after measuring (a lot), I ordered up a set of shocks.

I have a whiteboard in my garage.  I recommend it to everyone, it’s great.  I take notes all over it.  I didn’t draw the cat butthole though, that was my daughter.  She’s artsy and draws me little pictures all over my shop when I’m not looking.  When I find a new piece of art I take a picture and send it to her.  It’s a thing.  Anyway all the numbers all over the place were all the different Viking shock dimensions that had the right mountings and were close to the size I needed.

I slapped in the shocks and checked out where they landed, then I fabbed up some reinforced plates to land the shock bayonets on.  On the passenger’s side I cut about 1/4 of the bump stop away (vertically) to make space for the shock to pass.


Getting the Shaft

I had bought a set of these SpeedMaster79 shaft rockers early on.  I’ve always hated valve tap and have always seemed to be plagued by it.  LS style rockers don’t have an adjustment like the old-timey SBC rockers.  I bought this set because they have an adjuster on the tail that I can use to dial out the valve tap.  I still have tap, not sure where it’s coming from since I adjusted the valves twice.

I didn’t install these at first because when test fitting them I saw that they’d hit the valve covers.  I needed something to do in the cold so rockers, here we come.  I pulled the valve covers and yanked out all the drip tabs, baffles, etc., from the insides.  I ground off the knobs for the coil mounts.  I test fit again, the passenger’s side fit pretty well but the driver’s side was hitting on the ends where it is scooped.  I bought a set of 3/4″ valve cover spacers from ICT Billet to bring the valve covers up and they work great.  Cheaper than a set of fabricated valve covers and I don’t have to worry about them hitting the headers.