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Cars > TomHughes’s Garage > Blog

 

TomHughes’s Profile Photo

TomHughes

M –53
Baltimore, Maryland
United States

 
 

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My Blogsite

By TomHughes

I'm blogging at corvairfleet.blogspot.com

If you want to read about the trials and tribulations of keeping a fleet of Chevy Corvairs on the road.

My BeaveRun Experience

By TomHughes

Got up early Friday to finish packing and hitch Lucy to the Suburban. Left work at noon, and after filling my two 5 gallon gas cans with cheaper MD gas, hit the road for PA. Met up with Jonathan Kendig and we caravanned the 240 miles to the host hotel getting there around 5. Quite a few ‘vairs were already there, so I visited until dinner. After a restless night of little sleep, I was up early and headed to the track. I mounted my spoiler, checked the air in the tires, marked the sidewalls, and emptied out Lucy all in preparation for the tech inspector that never came. At registration, we received a tech form that we filled out and signed and that was it. Next, it was the drivers’ meeting where the track layout and format for the day were explained. We had been divided into three groups and each group would get twenty minute sessions on the track until three, when the time trials would be run. The passing rules were also described – the two straightaways would be used and faster cars could only pass after receiving a point-by from the slower car’s driver. After the meeting’s conclusion ride-alongs were available for those who’d never driven the track before. I climbed into the back seat of one of BeaveRun’s school cars (an ex-cop car) driven by Chris (one of the track instructors). He drove three of us around the track and explained the proper line pointing out the cones that marked turn-ins, apex, and corner exits. All good info that jived with what I’d read and saw on the web. Then it was time for the first group to line up on the false grid. Once they’d entered the track, my group was called to line up. After a few minutes of standing around, I buckled in, donned my helmet, and got Lucy running to warm up. Suddenly, it was time to head out onto the track. We had been told there’d be two laps under caution before they turned us loose. Those two laps went by quickly. It’s funny how I had to run my caution laps almost full-out to keep up with everyone else’s caution speed. With the green flag out, it was time for me to let a few of the faster cars past me. I was able to stay ahead of a couple, so it wasn’t all embarrassment. I focused on hitting the marks and not pushing the brakes too hard. Street tires make it tough to carry lots of speed through the tight turns, but I was still having a blast. After about ten laps it was time to come in and park. Getting out of the car, I felt a little weak in the knees. The instructor that I did the ride-along with had offered to ride along with me if I wanted pointers, so I hunted him down and asked him to be ready to climb in the next time my group gridded. I had time to check the marks on the sidewalls before they announcement to head to the grid was made. Soon after Chris was buckled in, we got the signal to head out. It was great having a pro along. His advice was invaluable, urging me to brake later, pointing out other small corrections. There was only one mildly scary moment for us when I had to do some quick steering to keep Lucy on track. He calmly explained I should NEVER, EVER lift in the middle of a turn. I had missed the turn in point and had gone into the turn too hot. After that I felt so much smoother and felt like I was wringing the maximum out of Lucy’s tired, old engine and cheap, used tires. At the end of the session, he praised how much I was getting out of a 40-year old car with drum brakes. That made me feel good. I was able to get a couple more sessions in before lunch. During the last one, the first mechanical mishap occurred. I had come out of the hairpin in second gear and shifted into third at 5500 rpm. Almost immediately after I felt a pop under my right foot and I noticed the GEN/FAN light was illuminated. The fan belt had broken and hit the throttle linkage, so I shut off the ignition. At that point I had just passed the entrance to the pit, so I had to coast through turn 1 where right after there was a pull out area where I coasted off the track. The corner worker called the tow truck and with the session over, I came into the paddock on the end of a tow rope. I ate lunch and then attempted to install one of my spare belts. It was too short. It was one I’d bought at Advance Auto, and they’d mis-matched the length. I’d been able to get it on Ringo’s engine, but it wasn’t going on mine. Fortunately, I had a second spare that did fit. We had time to get two more sessions in after lunch, during which I was really pushing the car. I was able to get up to nearly 85 on the back stretch before late braking into the hairpin. The brakes and tires were really starting give up by the end of the last session, and then the replacement belt flipped off coming out of the same turn. I noticed it soon enough that I was able to get into the pits and coast to the paddock. I reinstalled the belt, this time a little tighter. It only had to make it four more laps of the time trials. We lined up on the false grid for our turn to be timed. The guy running the trials put two cars, staggered, onto the track at once. Each got a warm-up lap, two timed laps, and a cool-down lap. I was about eighth in line. Going through turn 4 on my first hot lap, I carried too much speed and as I hit the apex the rear end started coming around. I tried to keep my foot in it and catch it, but I overcorrected and she went all the way around. I ended up with the rear tires in the grass and the engine off. I was able to get her started and I pulled away. The rest of that lap and the next went off smoothly until I passed by the flag stand. I was expecting to see the checkered flag signifying my cool-down lap, but instead the flagman pointed me through. They were giving me another hot lap to make up for the one I’d lost with my spin. We were told to keep it floored through the flagstand because that’s where the timer was stopping the lap, so I kept my foot in it. As I let up to go into Turn 1, the belt came off again. Not wanting to hold up the show by pulling off and waiting for the tow truck, I decided to coast back to the paddock using the pit exit road. This is like the wrong way on a freeway on-ramp - typically bad things are going to happen. Since I knew they weren’t going to let anyone else on until my laps were done, I felt confident that I wasn’t going to cause any problem. After getting out of the car, one of the older guys came over and told me I needed to go see the coordinator and he was not happy. I walked up to Brian (whom I’ve had plenty of great conversations with) and he asked why I ignored the flagman. I explained that the belt had come off, and his demeanor immediately changed. “Okay, I needed to know why. If you want to, you can put another belt on and get back in line.” All’s good. I was out of that doghouse. I politely thanked him, but turned down his offer. I walked back to the car, feeling good about my one lap – all things considered. It only took about twenty minutes to remove the spoiler and attach Lucy to the Suburban. A five+ hour drive and I was home by 10:30.

Track Day At BeaveRun

By TomHughes

My '63 Corvair and I are ready for the track! The Northeast Corvair Council’s Time Trials at BeaveRun Motorsports Park are this Saturday, and I’ll be there. I wanted to get a few more things done, but ran out of time. The car’s in better condition for this event than it was last Fall for Summit Point. Last night I thoroughly cleaned the car, both the outside and the engine compartment. I’ve removed the bottom shrouds to improve air flow, and installed the harness on the passenger seat (already on the driver’s side). The projects I didn't get to, but eventually will, are changing to a dual master cylinder and swapping an alternator for the generator. Oh well, more improvements I can do before the next track day.

Front Suspension Swap

By TomHughes

About two weeks ago, I noticed a vibration coming from the front suspension of my ’63 Corvair. A quick wiggle of the left front wheel indicated I had a loose balljoint. This gave me the impetus to swap in the ’64 front suspension (with swaybar), that I’d been prepping for the last year with new bushings (a-arm and control-arm now have polyurethane bushings, while the strut rods and sway bar have new rubber bushings), and new balljoints on the control-arms (the upper’s were still tight). The swap went well, with no broken bolts. After cleaning and repacking the front bearings and installing the carbon-metallic brake shoes I bought from a fellow Corvair racer, it was time for the alignment. I borrowed a very nice Snap-On Camber/Caster gage and set the caster to 4 degrees positive and the camber to 0 degrees. I wanted 1 degree negative, but didn’t have enough shims. Finally, using a straight board, carpenter’s square, and tape measure, I set the toe-in to 1/8 inch. With the differences between the original front end and the swapped-in one, the steering wheel was off, so the last step was pulling the steering wheel and realigning.

Carburetor Jet Relocation

By TomHughes

I sent two carburetor bases to Wolf Enterprises and had him relocate the jets. In stock form, the jet in these 1-barrel carbs are located on the side wall. Under significant g-forces, the gas sloshes away from the jet and the engine is starved for fuel. That problem was a nuisance at Summit Point, but this fix should remedy that. An upside was these bases were in better shape than those previously on the car, so idling and drivability are improved.

Battery Relocation in my Corvair

By TomHughes

A month ago, I carved out the time to do the battery relocation project in my ’63 Corvair. I stripped out the seats and carpet and discovered some rust-through – nothing too significant thankfully. With fiberglass cloth over the holes, I applied a pint of POR-15 to the floors. Then I drilled holes, installed grommets, and ran the battery cable from the trunk through the hole high in the passenger footwell through the hole in the rear center of the interior and out to the starter. The battery box is located as far forward and to the right as possible. I ran the cable to the positive terminal and then tied the cable down at critical spots using nylon p-clips. I ran the pigtail off the terminal to the main supply wire in the harness under the dash and spliced it in. With the main cable in place, I reinstalled the carpet and seats. For the negative cable, I drilled a hole in a support near the battery, cleaned off the paint to get bare metal, and bolted on the end of the cable. Everything worked and the GEN light didn’t come on. Success is a beautiful thing.

An Update on Lucy (my '63 Chevy Corvair)

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I've been working on her on-and-off over the winter. Here's the highlights:

- Removed the spoiler since it rubbed a lot. I'll save it for the times I take her on the track.
- Installed dual exhaust using FlowTech Raptor Turbo Mufflers. I need to take some pictures and a video. She sounds great and revs more freely than with the single exhaust.
- Replaced the aluminum heater ducts with non-metallic. These warm up faster and don't lose heat to the cold outside air as much as the aluminum dryer vent ones did.
- Adjusted the camber limiting cables on the rear control arms. I tightened them to prevent the rear wheels from going into positive camber. I also covered them in vinyl to prevent any chafing on the brake hoses that run up near them.
- Installed an amp with a connector so I can play my iPod directly into the speakers. This bypasses the old cassette player that had blown out one of the stereo channels.
- Installed the 2-speed wiper motor and switch. This also got me the washer pump which I discovered didn't work. The best fix is to install a universal pump which I still need to buy.
-Pulled the carburetors and installed vent tubes. These prevent gas was sloshing out the vent holes under hard cornering. Plus they look racy. I really need to take more pictures and add them to my album.
- Bought a battery box that I'll install in the trunk to move some weight to the front.
- Spent an afternoon at Crazy Ray's Pick-a-part and pulled out a battery harness from a 5-series BMW. These cars have the battery under the backseat, so their harness is fairly long. For the battery relocation project I haven't yet started.

Old Truck Ads

By TomHughes

I recently updated my Saturday Evening Post Advertisements blog with a number of old commercial truck ads. Cool stuff. Check it out at: http://sepautoads.blogspot.com

Lucy's List

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I was going through car receipts the other night and found the one The Corvair Ranch wrote up when getting my '63 Corvar back on the road. I had towed her up there when my previous daily-driver was totalled by stop sign running dump truck. Here's the list right off the invoice:

fuel tank sealer
fill & vent hoses, clamps, & sock
new fuel sender, o-ring
5-16 fuel hose, clamps, and inline filter
5-32 vacuum haose
(2) #54 jets
(2) bronze "stone" filters
carb float
carb base gasket and insulator set
set spark plugs
accelerator pedal pivot & bushing
(2) rear brake hoses
(1) gallon gear oil
(1) gallon engine oil and filter
used pushrod, tube, and o-rings
(1) universal joint
driver door inside latch
Total $279.20
Labor $1275.00

That is a GREAT deal for work and parts that haven't given me any problems during the 10,000 miles since the car was put back into service. I had given them a couple of Corvair shells, so that was reflected in the great price he gave me. Regardless, their work is excellent.

Lucy Had the Shakes

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I bought three decent used tires (Goodyears, $80, mounted and balanced) last Saturday in preparation for the drive down to SC for Christmas. I figured driving 1000 miles at highway speeds on the tires that came from the junkyard with the 280ZX wheels wasn't smart.

The 280ZX wheels don't fit perfectly around the hubs of my Corvair, so I've been centering them by first installig two tapered lugnuts followed by two of the chrome shouldered lugnuts. Then I replace the tapered ones with the chrome ones and I've not had an vibrations. Saturday, I got lazy and installed the wheels without centering. I measured the runout and saw basically no runout, so I figured I was good-to-go. Not so. Yesterday morning as soon as I hit about 45, the front end tried to shake itself off the car.

Last night I redid the lugnuts using my centering technique and everything was smooth on the drive into work - 70+ mph.

It Takes Two to Fix a Flat

By TomHughes

I certainly had some heavenly help last night in the garage. My wife's car had an intermittent, slow leak in its right front tire. Three days ago, it was almost flat so I filled it with air. The next day, it was down 10 psi so I filled it again with the intent of finding and plugging the hole that evening. I went out that night and the tire was full, so with other more pressing chores I put it off one more night.

Last night I pulled the wheel and started looking for the offending nail. After three minutes of searching I couldn't find it. The tire was still near 32 psi, so I started thinking it was a valve thing that fixed itself. I remounted the wheel and lowered the car. As I went back with the torque wrench to put the finishing torque on the lug nuts, I heard air escaping. This with the stereo playing. I turned off the music and listened harder. The hiss was coming from area of the tire touching the ground. I marked the area and pulled the wheel off again. I put another 10 psi of air into the tire and I then could hear the hiss. I finally found the screw that had broken off below the tread surface. I pulled it out and plugged the hole and all is well.

I thank God that I happened to mount the wheel in the only orientation that would cause the leak to hiss and that I was able to hear it.

Junkyard Finds

By TomHughes

Last Saturday I took a trip to Crazy Ray's Pick-a-Part in Jessup, MD. I'd heard he'd got a couple of Corvairs recently, so I needed to check them out. I've updated my Crazy Ray's photo album with pictures of the two cars. Unfortunately, the Corvairs that were there the previous time are gone.

The only part I pulled from the Corvairs was a wiper switch. I checked for thermostats, but neither car had any that were usable. Additionally, I found a nice S10 pickup front spoiler that I bought and a Nardi steering wheel off a Jaguar that I couldn't leave behind.

A Little Annoyance - Nothing More

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Night before last I started up my '63 Corvair and heard a strange, new sound like a rattling exhaust. As soon as the engine came off idle it went away. Yesterday, in the daylight, I took a quick look-see under the engine lid and discovered the choke kick-down had broke. Second one in the last six months, but since the parts are forty-some years old, I'm not complaining. Last night I pulled a replacement part off a spare carb and swapped it with the bad one. All's good this morning - no bad noises. I guess that side wouldn't idle with the choke open and the engine cold.

A Few Comments

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Since I drive my ’63 Monza nearly every day, I get lots of comments. Here’s some that I remember.

One gentlemen came up to me and the car last night as I was about to drive away from the liquor store. He told me how he’d swapped a Corvair engine into a VW. “Went like stink.”

Another time, again in a liquor store parking lot (see a pattern?), a guy came up to me and launched into a story on how his girlfriend had to have some money to file a restraining order against her previous boyfriend, so he sold his ’62 Monza and gave her the money. A couple months later, she dumped him. He's been kicking himself ever since, and that was twenty years ago. "I'm glad I rarely see these on the road," he continued, "Since every time I do, I get really mad at myself."

One more. A guy I work with keeps bothering me about driving my old car every day. “You need to park it in a garage,” he says, but I tell him I’m having too much fun.

A Good Thanksgiving

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

I had prepared myself to do a Powerglide transmission swap on my eldest daughter's '64 Corvair, but that didn't have to happen. A couple weeks ago, she told me that her car didn't want to shift into gear when first started. She said she'd checked the fluid level and it was fine. When she got home for Thanksgiving break, I asked her how the car drove, and she replied that it didn't want to shift while going down the road either. I asked her how she'd checked the fluid level, and she told me, "with the engine running and the transmission in Neutral." I immediately went out and checked it in Drive and it was barely on the dipstick. I had a pint and a half of transmission conditoner on the shelf in the garage, so I poured the whole thing in. She's been driving now for a week, and all's good again.

With that crisis averted, I focused on finishing her car's back seat bottom reupholstery project. I got the rest of the cloth sewed onto the vinyl and the edge-wires cut, bent, and installed. After putting down the horsehair pad replacement and a couple layers of cottong batting, I installed the seatcover with daugther #3 crimping on the hog-rings. It turned out okay. I got it installed the night before Brianna left to go back to school. Her text message to me the next day was, "The backseat looks awesome! Thank you so much. It's so much quieter."

Dead Battery Issue Solved? – Hopefully!

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

One evening about a week ago, I went out to drive my ’63 Corvair for a run to the store. Turning the key only elicited the rrr-rrr-rrr of a slow-moving starter struggling to turn the engine. I hooked up the charger and was able to make it to the weekend without addressing the problem.

Ever since I got this car on the road, the GEN/FAN light would glow at low RPM, so I’d assume the generator needed rebuilding. Yesterday, armed with my voltmeter, I measured 14-15 Volts at the generator output – plenty I figured. I didn’t get the same level at the battery terminal, so I changed the voltage regulator with a used one. Lo and behold the voltage at the battery was higher and now the GEN/FAN light doesn’t come on. Problem solved? Only time will tell, but I’ve got the jumper cables handy just in case.

Another Corvair is Added to the Fleet

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Yesterday, my daughter, Victoria, and I retrieved her $1 1968 Corvair Model 500 2-door hardtop without issue. We arrived at the gentleman’s house around 2:30 and were back in our driveway before 5. We were able to get three of the tires to hold air from my 12V compressor, so we changed the fourth with one of the spares I’d brought. The driveway was slightly sloped the wrong way, so we had to hook the tow-bar up to the rear bumper and pull her out to the street before reversing the tow setup. I’m torn about saying the car’s in better shape that I’d expected. The paint's in great condition where the rust hasn’t caused it to fail, but there’s more rust than I’d have wanted. I’ll be taking some “before” pictures in the next week or so (no sooner since I don’t get home before dark anymore). The worst places are driver’s front fender just ahead of the gas filler, around the front and rear windows, and in the wheelwell openings. The color of the car is Tripoli Turquoise and Victoria loves it. The black interior is like new. The engine and compartment look extremely clean. The guy had started the engine less than two years ago, and had driven it less than five years ago. He replaced the entire brake system only eight years ago, so this car could be on the road with little work. It would be nice to make it drivable quickly so I can easily move it in and out of the garage when I need the space for working on another car.

Speaking of space in the garage, my youngest daughter, Mikhaila, and I spent about six hours together in the garage Saturday afternoon rearranging and throwing stuff away. We had a great time, and now there’s nothing on the floor along either side opening up a lot more space.

Corvair Catch-up - Epilogue

By TomHughes

I need to make some changes in the garage so I can put two cars in at once and be able to work on the second one!

A bigger garage would be even nicer.

Corvair Catch-up Part V

By TomHughes

Now onto the big news. At the last CORSA of Baltimore meeting I met a man who’d restored a ’68 2-dr back in the mid-80s. He’d driven it for at least ten years before losing interest. It’s been parked in his driveway ever since. He offered it to any club member for $1. I went home and asked Victoria if she’d be willing to settle for a 2-dr hardtop as our father-daughter project. Previously, I had given her free choice of any Corvair for our project, and she’d decided on a late-model (65-69) convertible. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a solid, affordable project for us. I told her that if a convertible came along in the future, we could change if she wanted. She agreed, so this Sunday she and I are taking the Suburban with a towbar, air compressor, and spare wheels/tires to the other side of Baltimore to tow home Corvair number five.

...to be continued...

Corvair Catch-up Part IV

By TomHughes

My ’66 2-dr free car (Betty) finally got some attention last weekend. My car buddy and his lovely wife came and visited us, so I drug him out to the garage. While he repaired the battery cabling, I drained some REALLY nasty old gas out of the tank. I pulled the destroyed sending unit and replaced it with a decent, used one from my stash. After pouring some new gas into the tank, we discovered a leak at the sender. The seal where the lead for the fuel level sender had popped out. Not wanting to waste his efforts, I cranked the engine with no spark until the TEMP/PRESS light went out, poured some gas down the carbs and she started right up. No knocking or rattling. Yeah. Once the fuel system is working right, I should be able to get the engine to run smoothly pretty quickly. Next will be the brakes before she’ll be roadworthy.

...to be continued...

Corvair Catch-up Part III

By TomHughes

My ’63 2-dr daily-driver (Lucy) is running wonderfully. I really need to get it up on jackstands and get the underside coated with POR-15 to stop the rust. Especially important with winter coming on, and the certainty of salt going onto the roadways. My only near-term plan for this car is the purchase of a lightweight fiberglass engine cover (hood) from a guy I met at the recent track day I was at. I’d also love to get a pair of cheap turbo mufflers so I can reinstall the dual exhaust system.

..to be continued...

Corvair Catch-up Part II

By TomHughes

Daughter #2’s ’61 2-dr (Ringo) is running reliably. Since she’s at school without it, I’ve been driving it occasionally making sure it stays roadworthy. Currently, its only issue is brake related – it pulls to the left when stopping. I’ve got to get it up on jackstands tonight and make the adjustments since Ariel will be home this weekend and wants to drive it down to visit her sister 90 miles away. The rear window STILL leaks, but it’s been spending a lot of time in the garage so that hasn’t been a big deal. Some day I will pull the window back out and reinstall it AGAIN taking more car than the last time to get the gasket installed properly. Many other priorities are in line before that, so I’m counting on the nice coat of POR-15 to prevent rust due to moisture.

...to be continued...

Corvair Catch-up

By TomHughes

Time to update my Corvair life, so in no particular order:

My eldest’s ’64 vert (Heidi) is still running fine although Brianna says that it doesn’t want to go into gear on cold days. She shifts it into D and the tranny won’t engage for a few seconds. I’m thinking the pump is failing. I don’t want to spend my Thanksgiving holiday swapping out the Powerglide, so we’ll try some tranny additive and keep our fingers crossed. I’ve been slowly working on the upholstery repair of the back seat bottom. The vinyl insert had failed and most of the cloth was shot. I’ve brushed and primed the frame and springs, removed all the old cloth and stitching, and now I’m in the midst of sewing on the replacement vinyl and cloth. I need to finish this project before the end of the Thanksgiving holiday.

..to be continued

Eight More Ads Added to the Sat. Eve. Post Ad Blog

By TomHughes

http://sepaut...blogspot.com/ Just added:
Cadillac, Cole, Mitchell, Nash, Oakland, Paige, GMC Truck, Liberty, and Koehler Truck. Enjoy.

Old Saturday Evening Post Advertisements

By TomHughes

http://sepaut...blogspot.com/

After purchasing a box of Saturday Evening Posts from the late 1910s and early 1920s, I decided to scan and post the automobile, truck, and related adverstisements from them. Each ad, unless otherwise specified, is for sale for $3.00 each plus postage. I will combine on postage for multiple ads purchased.

Getting the “Race” Car Back on the Road

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Sometime during the track day, my ’63 Corvair developed a fuel issue. It felt like something was clogging the carburetors. I made it home from Summit Point, but had to floor it to keep up to speed on any sort of hill. I got out to the garage Friday night and diagnosed that the right side of the engine was not up to power. I pulled apart that side’s carburetor and blew out all the passages and put it back together. After reassembly, the engine new run’s like a top again. Once out on the street, I noticed a grinding noise from the rear brakes. I put the car up on jackstands and pulled the rear hubs and found one of the shoes had lost most of its lining. I replaced the bad shoe and took the opportunity to replace the ’63 drums with the upgraded finned drums from the ’64 I parted out. After adjusting the star wheels to get the right clearance the brakes are good-to-go. With the car off the ground, I resinstalled the thermostats and bottom engine shrouds so I now have heat again.

Time to Have Heat

By TomHughes

As Fall returns full-force, the morning temperatures drop, and it's time the fleet of Corvairs have working heaters again. Since Corvairs are air-cooled, it's necessary to control the amount of air flow that crosses my engine fins. To accomplish this, GM designers put in sheetmetal that encloses the bottom of the two volumes that contain the engine's cylinder and head fins and added two thermostatically-controlled doors. The doors are closed when the engine is cold, thus restricting air flow, and once the engine is up to temp the thermostats expand opening the doors to allow air-flow.
The thermostats are quite expensive to replace, so many Corvair owners remove them and the associated sheetmetal during the warmer months when engine heat-up happens without restricting air flow. The heater in a Corvair works by ducting the heated air bottled up in the closed volumes and directing it into the passenger compartment. Therefore, without the sheetmetal, the heater is useless.
So, the re-installation of the thermostats has become a Fall ritual around our house. First, it was my oldest daughter’s ’64 a couple of weekends ago, followed by the ‘61’s last weekend. Finally, my ‘63 got hers installed yesterday.

My First Day at the Track

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

The day went as follows for me: I was the second person to arrive at the paddock after passing through the front gate at 7 AM sharp. The first hurdle was to pass tech inspection and I did. I had to really crank on the wingnuts of the battery hold-down and my rear shocks are marginal, but I got my sticker. The second hurdle was not wadding up the car which I succeeded in doing by staying on-track the entire day. Maybe I wasn’t driving hard enough, but I did have at least a half a dozen “exciting” moments where I was doing some extra steering and at least twice I used then entire track at the end of the main straightaway (suffice it to say I seriously missed my turn-in point). The way the track portion of the day went was as follows: 3 groups of ~13 cars each (divided by expected lap speed) each ran the track for 20 minutes; then open track until noon; 30 minute lunch break for the corner workers; open track until 1:30; 2 cars at a time (matched by speed) on the track for warmup and two timed hot laps; open track until 4:30; parade laps where anyone could drive around and take passengers. The organizers came by at the end of the day and told me they felt I was the driver that spent the most time out on the track. How did my car run? She drove to the track without issue. There were nineteen total turns, three of which are hairpins. After each hairpin she had a fuel starvation issue – I’d floor it and she’d bog down for a moment before coming up to full strength. That was annoying. By the afternoon (right before the timed laps), the fuel starvation was more of an issue – she was missing during the two straightaways as well. My two laps could have been better because of that, but I’m taking pride in the fact that there was only a half-second difference between the two. Out of the times that were posted when I checked that was most consistent pari of laps. I went out during the last open session and the miss was a little worse. Since I still had an hour-and-a-half drive home, I decided (very sadly) to call it a day. I did take Jonathan for a ride around the track during parade laps so he could locate his magnetic door number that had blown off on the main straightaway. Hurdle number three was making it home, and that wasn't pleasant because of the missing. I had to floor it to keep up to speed on any hill. I'm driving the '61 Monza to work.

A Couple Racing Mods

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Before taking my '63 Corvair to Summit Point Raceway, I was hoping to re-install the dual exhaust and some cables that limit the drop of the rear trailing arm. The latter modification prevents the rear wheels from going to positive camber on sharp turns. I ran out of time, so I decided to only get the cables installed. After drilling a hole in the rim of each rear spring perch, I threaded the cable through, then looped and clamped it with two cable clamps. As you can see in the attached picture of me at speed, I need to tighten the clamps.

More Catching Up

By TomHughes

Filed under: /blogs/browse/t/vehicle/v//p

Got the harnesses installed in the '63 Corvair with the help of my small-handed 11 year-old. I needed her to install hardware through a small access and then hold the wrench while I tightened nuts from the opposite side. That gave me square tubing on the inside package tray to attach chain to which I then attached the shoulder harness to. I'm now ready to hit the track. There are a couple more things I could do, but this makes me legal.
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Cars > TomHughes’s Garage > Blog

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