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2012 Vintage Race Season Blog
From Tucker's Tool Box

The 2012 Season For team Dirt
5/12

We started off the 2012 season with a thorough rebuild and investigation of the bottom end of the engine. The reason for the failure at Grattan last August was sudden loss of oil pressure, one of the more important ingredients of an engine. It turns out the failure was partially installed by the engine builder, me and a misalignment of the oil pump drive gear. I have to say that lady luck was on my side, even though the engine seized and I had to coast back to the pits, the engine was salvageable. When I disassembled it, the rod bearings, main bearings, and bottom end of the connecting rods were damaged. Fortunately the crankshaft was nitrided, an aftermarket surface hardening process and that's what saved the crank. After a thorough cleaning and polishing, it was on the money and the rods were salvageable as well. I took the time to diagnose, about 3 hours, to affect a cure for the oil pump drive. One more problem solved in a string of non-repeat failures.
After reassembling the engine and going through the car for the season, I found leaking rear seals in the rear axle bearings, cured that problem, cleaned up the car and got ready for the season. Went over the tow truck and trailer, loaded up Elva girl and headed to Gingerman in South Haven, MI. Off the trailer it was the best it's ever been, more power, better brakes, and handling. I was able to hang with cars that in the past would have passed me and had time to practice my race craft.
In the qualifying race, the car lost 3rd and 4th gears. NO! I was able to get the trans into 2nd gear and made it around to the pits. After some help of a friend, Garret and Tom Davis' crew we determined the mainshaft in the gearbox had broken between 2nd and 3rd gears, an extremely rare failure. I've since sourced a later improved shaft, modified to fit and it seems to be better, at least on the jack stands. In changing the differential to 3.9 ratio, I couldn't get the L. rear axle in, ending up having to take out the differential again to find the problem. After thinking about it, it's the rear end I used at Elkhart Lake in Sept. of 2010 when I broke the axle. I cleaned up the mess, reassembled the diff and got the axle to slide in easily as it should. The rest of day went downhill, starting out with spilling two qts. of rear end oil. After that everything I touched was sticky with oil, more things happened, ending up with me laughing at myself for being such a bozo in the confines of my own shop, yuk.
So now Elva Girl is ready once more to do battle at Mid Ohio, one of my favorite tracks. They ran a Grand Am race there a couple of weeks ago and there maybe some of their lines are left for me to copy and see how the big boys do it. I really hope most, if not all the gremlins have left and I can have a good rest of the season. After Mid Ohio is Grattan, MI, followed by the Pittsburgh Vintage Gran Prix, the only real street race left in N.A., Elkhart Lake, WI and finishing the season at Hallet Raceway near Tulsa, OK. A full season, to say the least. Stay tuned to get the results of Mid Ohio.
See you on the grid,
Tucker
Team Dirt, Dolan International Racing Team

Elva folks,
Well in my 5th year I've finally had a great weekend, no DNF's! I raced 7times in one weekend with no failures in any department.  Had the most fun I've ever had and on Sunday's main event I was able to play with the big dogs in VSCDA. For me it was a triumphant weekend after all these years. To be able to practice my race craft was a good feeling. I learned a lot about all kinds of things from car setup to driving better lines because I was able to concentrate on my driving rather than wondering if the car was going to let me down. I'm not in Kevin Micheal's class yet, but I'm getting there. I want to thank Charlie North for waking me up to use a limited slip, although he didn't tell me why, now I know and you should use one. I have a Quaffe and will build it up for Elkhart Lake and try it, apparently it's good for at least a second a lap. I've also ordered an in cockpit adjustable brake balance system, which should also help me. I ended up using about a half a quart of oil and a cup of water all weekend. I've had good weekends before, but never like this and am looking forward to Elkhart Lake, where I should be able to post some good times. Of course I need more power and have decided to build a 1600cc engine this winter which will drop me down a class, but should end up with more ponies than I have now. Then it'll be more in the handling department followed by more power. Let the games begin. I'll be at VIR for the Gold Cup in October for my last race for the season and hope to meet more Courier owners there as well. Have a great labor Day weekend and I'll see you on the grid.
Tucker