CHEEZWIZ LUNCH BREAK: THAT BLOW’D UP REEL GOOD !
O.K. I’m being a little overly dramatic, Here’s the facts man… Last AUGUST I went to get my car to attend JIM MAYBERRY’S cookout/car show. As I was sitting at a stoplight I noticed the car was idling a little “flat”. About a mile later I heard four chirps , my first thought at that time was a water pump. I wasn’t far from my buddy JODY GURINO’s shop so I stopped there. JODY is a little more mechanically inclined than myself, his first words were ” When is the last time you adjusted the valves?” UUH UUH I dunno. We pulled the valve covers off. All of the valves were loose but one in particular was REEEEAL loose. I knew then I was had but we adjusted the valves and started the car. It sounded fine so I started for home. I got about a half of a block when I noticed the motor going “flat” again. I nursed it home and pulled the intake manifold. There it was, a roller on one of the lifters was pushed up into the lifter. I called another friend, BRIAN SEIDENSCHMIDT, he came over and was his usual calm, pleasant self. YOU’RE SCREWED !! He told me that he had some expensive small block in his garage with the same problem. When the lifter goes, it takes the whole motor ! GRRREEEAAATTT !!! I just quietly continued with my dismantling and didn’t stop until the car was in a million pieces. Here’s the thing, there is NEVER a good time for this sort of thing. DAMMIT, I was all caught up on my customer work and was attacking the ‘54 like a tornado, and now this ! Now, by nature, I’m one of those sickeningly positive individuals. My 496” 640hp pump gas motor that has been nothing but abused for 21, that’s TWENTY ONE YEARS has failed. SHUT UP WHINER !! As I was taking it apart I was thinking about all of the cool stuff I could do to it to make the car better. The type of stuff I’d loved to have done in the past but would never do. (If it aint broke…) Well , it IS broke. The first thing I did was call LINGENFELDTER PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING, they were the ones who created this mechanical marvel and they would be the ones to rebuild it. I told them I wanted EXACTLY what I had, no more, no less. It was perfect, it ran great, idled like something illegal, the spark plugs were tan in color (FINALLY!!) The converter was perfect for the motor. In short, the car was dialed in. I took the trans to MIKE TURNER for a rebuild as well, as it turned out the torque converter was also on it’s last legs. MIKE said one more launch and it probably would have exploded! So while the motor is being done ive been cleaning up, doing a little touch up and cleaning in areas I haven’t seen in years. The only “improvement” I’m making is the construction of a 3” stainless exhaust to replace the too small 2.5” it had. Same FLOWMASTERS. I’ve taken some pics of the refreshing and have them posted for your amusement. With a little luck this thing will be back together by CHRISTMAS!!