If a battery goes dead after only a few days, there may be a short circuit. For a quick test, disconnect either battery cable and connect the clip from a test light. Touch the battery terminal with the test end. If there's current flow, the test light will light. To find the bad circuit, disconnect various main circuits until the light goes out.
Two Will Do
Are four-bolt main caps really necessary for your hot rod? Several companies have done some serious dyno testing on the subject. Seems the magic number for a big-block Chevy is 600 hp. Below that figure, the factory two-bolt equipment will do just fine. But add monster power and four-bolt caps are mandatory.
The Plate Ran Away With...
Keep your license plates! Just attach a nut to the backside of the retaining screws. Thieves seldom carry a screwdriver and a wrench and will go someplace easier if you make it tough.
Squirt It Out
A carbon-fouled engine can be cleaned by spraying water down the carburetor while the engine is running. Run the engine at a fast idle and squirt a fine mist of water down the primaries. The water turns to steam during the combustion process and helps remove carbon from the combustion chamber and piston tops.
Here Kitty, Kitty
Of course, if you forget the tip above, you may want to keep a bag of kitty litter around. It's highly absorbent and creates fewer problems than using the good bath towels to soak up the spill. Dispose of the used litter at a recycling center.
In a Clutch
A clutch-type fan works with a heat-sensitive spring letting the fan turn freely until reaching a certain temperature, then it engages the clutch and fan to help cool. A good clutch fan should turn freely by hand when the engine is off and cool. If the engine is hot, try to turn the fan by hand (with the engine off!). If the clutch is good, the fan should still be engaged and hard to turn.
Boys & the Hood
If you have to remove the hood, run a strip of masking tape over where the hinges attach to the hood. Then, slit the tape with a razor blade and remove the portion on the hinge. Presto! The remaining tape now provides a perfect alignment line for reinstalling the hood. Oh yeah, remember to do it on both sides.
While the negative battery cable may provide enough ground to run the lights and radio, it isn't always sufficient to provide proper ground and peak efficiency for things like hot, high-voltage ignition systems and other items. Make sure you have a good ground strap running from the engine to the body of the car. Braided wire is best.
The Acid Test
You can easily prevent acid buildup on your battery terminals. Clean the terminals with baking soda and water and a fine wire brush. After they're dry, coat the terminals with Permatex Aviation Form-A-Gasket. Just brush it on and let it dry, and it does the rest.
Getting the Juice
If you're using a GM HEI ignition and have poor performance, it may be caused by inadequate power to the HEI unit, which requires a full 12 volts to perform properly. Sometimes they're mistakenly hooked up to the existing resistance wire in older cars. With less than 12 volts available, the HEI barely gets the job done. To ensure proper operation, make sure it's connected to a full 12 volts from the ignition switch.