Filed under: 1989 Chevrolet Corvette (SmokeGray)

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As the first 2008 Corvette Challenge points race date March 29 gets closer, I still can't get last year out of my mind. I usually use our tax refund to try to add power to my Vette each year. The year before last I added a Crane cam to my L98. The engine didn't seem to respond with the power boost I expected. I finally decided that the valve springs needed to be replaced. That was done in February 2007 with a Crane spring set matched to my cam. At first everything seemed great on the first test run on the interstate, the low end performance was great and the top end was unbelievable compared to what it was with the old springs. Then it happened, I looked in the rear view mirror and I was streaming smoke like a crop duster. I pulled over and the smoke was coming from the engine, OK oil leak.Then I notice the oil pressure is 60 lbs and holding steady no matter the RPMs. I got home and found that the back of the manifold was leaking. The smoking was no big deal, but the oil pressure was, so a new pump. I get the engine back together and go for a ride the smoke is gone the oil pressure is perfect and then it hits 55 lbs and doesn't move. I pulled the sending unit and find that the oil was pushed through the unit by the bad oil pump. Then in no special the alternator, oil cooler leak, temp sensor, radiator hose, cracked valve cover, it just went on and on with a total of 18 problems happening one after another. The last was the best, everything was finally back together and the I start getting a miss. A compression test made it appear to be a blown head gasket, but while taking off the heads for a 3rd time I noticed there were 3 bent push rods. I now have to check the pistons and valves for damage, I'm lucky everything is fine. I can only guess that the old push rods just couldn't stand up to the new springs. I buy a new set of Crane push rods that match the cam and the springs. Now I finally have it back together and the test runs are great, no smoke, a lot more power at higher RPM and no more misses. I finally make it to my first race of the season in October after missing the first 9 races. The 2 time trials go great, times are good and the engine is running great. The first round a win and the car runs strong, a little smoke coming out the tail pipes. The 2nd run another round win and I'm really smoking now. The 3rd round the smoking is down to almost nothing again, but I loose. Now one more points race left and I have a smoking problem again. The first thing of course is pull the plugs, but they are clean, no oil residue. That means one thing, the new exhaust valve seals aren't working. I pull the heads again to replace the seals with a different type that are supposed to seal better. I miss the last race. I have had the car out, but it has been to cold to really see have the new seals will hold up. I'll know for sure if it's finally race ready on March 29. I can't wait, I've only been to the track that one day since November 2006 and that's just too long of a break. I was so frustrated last year that this year I didn't do any speed up grades, I bought wheels.