Chevy Performance Tech Q&A - July 2014

Kevin McClelland May 9, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Macland Speed Shop

It's been a busy month around the old homestead. Several new projects have landed squarely on the Mac house. Our good friend Jody Lang needed a place to park his motorhome and stacker trailer between races down here in Southern California. Jody lives in Seattle and towing home, one way, is about $1,200 in diesel fuel. I was more than happy to save him the money, and it gave him an opportunity to swap out the rear brakes on his Super Stock Malibu. He's only been wanting to do this for the past seven years. You wouldn't want to rush into anything!

Well, the best drag-racing brakes on the market are from Lamb Components, based right down the road in Upland, California. How tough could it be to swap over the rear discs to Roger Lamb's units? Let's just put it this way, one thing led to the next. First, there was taking apart the rear brakes and finding different offsets in the rear axles. Then Jody was bringing home the brake kit (very sweet parts) and the hats wouldn't fit over the outer flange of the Moser axles. Next, out came the axles and back over to Lamb's shop to turn down the od of the axle flange approximately 1/8 inch. They chucked them up in the lathe, and the first axle had over 0.010-inch of flange runout from a bent axle. No wonder Jody has had a long pedal all these years, as the runout pushes the pistons back into the calipers. Well, this put a stop to the quick brake upgrade while he ordered a set of Strange gun-drilled axles. Out came the housing and it's now over at Lamb getting new axle bearing retainers installed. Between the new axles and bearing retainers, this will resolve the axle offset issues we'd found at the beginning of the project. Everything should be done in the next couple of weeks and Jody will come back down for reassembly. At least this will be two weeks before the next race. Hopefully, we've found all the little issues and it will be a painless reassembly.

I'm sure, if you follow my edit very closely, you'll remember that Daniel and I dragged home a '87 RX-7 about a year and a half ago to build a track-day car to play road racer. Well, Daniel changes projects like he changes socks. He parted out all the goodies from the RX-7 and made about $1,000 profit in the process. Since we're getting our dragstrip back, he wanted to build a Sportsman/foot-brake car that we could drive back and forth to the track. Also, wanting to keep it pre-'75 and out of the Smog Police's hands here in California, we've brought home another car to build. The RX-7 left, and a '74 Vega GT wagon took its place! Over the next couple of months we're going to install the LT4 that used to power our Malibu wagon into the mid-11s, and the Stock Eliminator-prepped TH350 trans into the Vega. Our good friends at Don Hardy Race Cars still make the original Twister V-8 Vega swap kit with engine mounts and headers. We're going to upgrade the rearend with an 8.5-inch 10-bolt. It should be a fun little racer that will go way too fast for Sportsman's 12-second limit. We'll play with restrictor plates or very small carburetors.

Finally, our buddy Greg Ventura dropped off two engines that we're going to help build and teach him the finer points of engine building. We'll report on our progress over the next couple of months and fill you in on these very cool engine builds. That's all for now from Macland Speed Shop. Now you go out and find something to work on!


Squeeze Me!

Q I am working on my project '85 Camaro Sport Coupe, which currently has the original 305 small-block and a 700-R4 transmission, along with an open 3.08:1 rear and disc brakes. I have a 350 that's bored 0.060-inch over with four-valve-relief flat-top pistons that add 5 cc. The cam is an Elgin E920 with a 0.480/0.480-inch max lift, 288/288 advertised duration, 230/230 duration at 0.050-inch lift, and is ground on a 109 LSA. I'm running Edelbrock E-210 heads (PN 5085) with a 64cc combustion chamber and 0.041-inch Fel-Pro head gaskets. Right now my pistons have 0.044-inch of deck clearance, and I was looking to deck the block to try and zero the pistons out, but I still want to run pump gas. Here in Wisconsin we still have regular access to ethanol-free 91- and 93-octane gas. If I deck the block 0.035 to 0.040 inch, I should run the compression to about 10.25 to 10.40:1. Will this be an issue with my situation, or can I completely deck it to zero?

Also, I have the stock torque converter in the 700-R4. What kind of converter should I run with a budget in mind? I will mostly be driving this car on the street or autocross but occasionally to the local dragstrip.

Lastly, I found a rearend on Craigslist from an '87 F-body with an open 3.42:1 gear with drum brakes for dirt cheap. Would this be a viable option to do a low-budget swap into my '85? I'd like to ditch my 3.08 in favor of a posi and lower gearing, but the 3.42 was only available with the V-6 F-bodies. Is there any difference in the strength between the '87 V-6 rear and my '85 V-8 3.08? I also want to keep my factory disc brakes. Would it be easier to swap the 3.42 gear into my original rear or build up the '87 rear? They are both the 7.5-inch 10-bolts. I'm looking for the easiest way to do this with the least amount of downtime on the car. Thanks for your time and advice!

Kory Schultz
Via email

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