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Author Topic: TRACO Fans  (Read 23294 times)
OCTARD
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« on: February 18, 2012, 02:53:01 PM »

I saw this over on The Nostalgia Forum, and thought some folks here might also enjoy knowing about this book:

TRACO/Travers & Coon fans, a new self-published book by Gordon Chance entitled "Race Man, Jim Travers and the TRACO Dynasty" is available in hardcover for $60.00 U.S. directly from the author at:

www.tunerpublications.com
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2012, 01:43:02 AM »

Pretty cool, Chad. Thanks for posting that. Looks like another book that I'll have to add to the collection.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2012, 07:17:20 PM »

COOL indeed, a book is on its way.

THANKS Chad.

Robert
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Robert Lodewyk
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2012, 11:09:32 PM »

As soon as I saw the author's name it rang a bell with me.  Gordon Chance was a well known race engine builder in the Toronto area operating  "CRM" engines.  The 69 camaro that we bought from Alfie had a CRM engine.

I spoke to him at the Monterey Historics in 07 I think, for several minutes - sort of met him by "chance".  Had never met him before, and we had an interesting chat about his CRM days.

No idea if he was a Canadian or not.

Robert Barg
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 10:34:43 AM »

Jim Travers of Traco working on a 302 Trans-Am Camaro engine.

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Jon Mello
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 10:48:47 AM »

Traco article, courtesy of Craig Wheeldon. Thank you, Craig!






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Bruce302
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2012, 06:09:18 AM »

I got my copy of the Gordon Chance book yesterday. It looks like it will be a very neat book. A good history lesson for the hot rod industry in So Cal in the 50's 60's and 70's.
Recommended.
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Pigpen
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2012, 07:10:46 AM »

Hello TRACO fans. I'm Edward (Gene) Owen "Pigpen" from the old TRACO days. I too just got my copy of "Race Man" from Gordon "Teenage Tuner", and spoke with him (email) for the first time in 40+ years. He put a lot of time and effort into the book, it's an excellent work up of Jim's life. Jim and Frank were recently inducted into the Indy Hall of Fame, thanks to efforts by Roger Penske, something they very much deserved, unfortunately Frank passed away before seeing it, but Jim is still alive and well (Crabby as ever - LoL).

I've been out of racing for many years, but during the Pony Car days of the 60's and 70's, I built many of TRACO's Trans Am Engines, many for Penske, both Camero and Javlin. If anyone has questions, I'll try to stir up the old grey matter to answer. Some of the articles posted here are excellent and very detailed, but may miss some particular item, strictly engines, I didn't work on any other components.
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Sixteen Grand Sedan #56
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2012, 12:31:12 PM »

HELLO Gene, aka Pigpen, and thank you for making yourself available to us.

Thanks to Tom McIntyre I'm the owner of a 69 Traco block and one Lockerman head. I plan to us these in the restoration of the Gerry Gregory 69 Camaro built by Dick Guldstrand. Since Guldstrand's shop was next door to Traco you may remember seeing the car.

The block I have has the letters "CH" stamped on the front pad as well as "KS" in the main cap areas. My current guess is that the CH could be Carl Haas?
I'm also going to guess the KS would be the initials of someone that worked on this particular block.

THANK YOU again for joining our discussions.
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Robert Lodewyk
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2012, 03:17:42 PM »

Hi Robert,

Lots of good times with "Goldy", he actually let me drive one of his Pantera's on an LA Freeway, really impressive, the stuff dreams are made of - LoL !

I'm not sure about the CS & KS, but those could be factory stampings as TRACO requested special handling of the block and head castings, mainly just to make sure that they were cast properly to the print specs; e,g: Material, tempering, centering of the mold core pieces, etc. The factory must have had some way of keeping track. they were helpful in selecting castings for us. As with all production castings, core movement or placement is (was then) dependent upon the workers and how the mold was handled, there's always variations, we just ask for minimal variation from the design prints.

TRACO did not actually stamp the earlier blocks, later on we used a code stamp on the top front of the block, there is a small land on the block cylinder surface in front of the # 1 cylinder. The code contained a date and the engine CID as I remember.

Each main bearing cap is stamped with it's position number, as are all components in the assembly, heads were simply stamped 1 & 2 on the ends corresponding to cylinders 1 & 2 (so opposite ends). (EDIT) Later on the heads were stamped with each cylinder # on the exhaust port flanges (my memories are coming back - LoL).

Pigpen
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 03:38:08 PM by Pigpen » Logged
Jon Mello
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2012, 07:18:59 PM »

Hello Pigpen and thank you for signing up for our Trans-Am forum. There are more Traco engine articles at the link below if you click on it.

http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=7774.0;all

Do you recall if Lockerman Porting Services was the only supplier of ported heads to Traco or did Traco have a second (or third) source for ported heads?
Did Traco use others for head porting so they could primarily concentrate on the details of engine assembly or did Traco also do head porting "in house"?

What years were you working down there at Traco on Jefferson Blvd? I think they called that "Hot Rod Alley", right?
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2012, 09:58:10 PM »

Hi Jon,

I've been spending a little time reading through the forum, lots of information and lots of posts here.

Remembering back on the exact years is tough, but I started at TRACO shortly before Al Bartz left, so around 1963 to 1964. I was there when "Skipper", George Bolthoff started, in about 1965. I had little experience so I offered to do whatever they required, Frank Coon handed me a push broom and asked if I knew how to use it, I started sweeping the floor and he immediately said "let me show you how to do it properly", which he then did, after that I learned "the proper way" to do everything that Jim and Frank could teach a punk kid. I left TRACO for a year to set up Roy Woods engine shop, then returned and finally left for good in the early 70's. The last engines I built were for the Penske AMC Matador NASCAR project and the IROC chevys. Over that time frame I probably built and rebuilt 400+ Chevys, 75+ AMC's, a few dozen Fords, a few Pontiac's, a few Ferrari V-12's and countless sets of Chevy heads.

After I was there for a few months, the person building the heads left (he was named Willy I think) and I took over the job, after many months of training that is. I built the heads for a few years, along with other work as needed, always learning. Walking down the isle to the bathroom one day, covered in Cast Iron dust from grinding valve seats, Walter Howell "Davy Crocket" made some cutting remark about my appearance as I passed by his assembly area where he was oiling the cylinders on a block he'd just cleaned, so I walked up to him and jumped up in place once, the Cast Iron dust from my shop coat covered the area in a black cloud, the entire shop fell silent waiting for the punch, he stood there for a moment staring at his freshly cleaned and oiled block, now covered in dust, then pointed at me and yelled "PIGPEN", then everyone in the building laughingly yelled it as well, so it stuck.

To my knowledge, Lockerman's was the only Port and Polish shop that TRACO used, he was fast and did a very good job. We selected the new head castings, did some machining in the chambers, then scribed over blue die the outlines of the ports. Lockerman usually picked up a lot of 10 to 30 heads at a time and more would be ready when he delivered them. I never saw anyone at TRACO attempt to Port and Polish heads.

Edit: Missed the part about "Hot Rod Alley". That term was coined before I started there, TRACO, Hilborn, Narin , Iskenderian and probably more were located there. Across the alley was a large dirt parking lot for Hughes Aircraft, caused some problems for us when the wind blew, so we used it as a dumping ground for all our used oil, lots of oil, sort of cheap asphalt. I pitied the Hughes workers getting into their cars with all that mess.

Sorry if I'm rambling on some, it's been a lot of years and millions of miles on multiple continents ago, a lifetime ago, so I'm proding the old grey matter a lot.

Pigpen
« Last Edit: May 12, 2012, 10:16:34 PM by Pigpen » Logged
Jon Mello
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2012, 12:08:47 AM »

Thanks, Pigpen. Some great stories and recollections there. I was trying to think earlier about another porting company
name that I thought might have been used by Traco. That was Slover Porting. Do you remember that name now that
I mention it?

Were you guys a pretty tight group at Traco? Did you go to lunch together and maybe do things after work together?
Did you ever go to a race track on Traco business? Just curious.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 12:23:24 AM »

I recall reading on the Mondello website that they had done the heads for Traco.

However the only two names I have seen on Traco heads are Lockerman and Slover. I believe the Slover head was a mid 70's piece.
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Robert Lodewyk
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 07:53:09 AM »

I think I've heard the name Slover, to be honest I'm not sure, could have been around the time I left TRACO.

Like any workplace / shop, some employees were friendly, others mainly out for themselves. I was friendly with everyone, or tried to be, Bolthoff and I got along very well. The group was tight for Jim and Frank (TRACO), not necessarily for each other, but if it came down to it, we had each others backs and would do anything to assist. There were a lot of employees not mentioned in most articles, like me; Jonesy, Jack, Larry & more, besides the names I've seen in articles and mentioned here.

I spent many of my weekends at various tracks around the country, not the best thing for my marriage / family. In between the hours at the shop and the hours at the tracks, I had a minimal family life. Most of the time I spent at tracks was for Penske, with the Cameros, Javelins and then Matadors. I've been to so many tracks I can't even remember, they all sort of blur together.

Pigpen
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2012, 10:16:24 AM »

Thanks again, Pigpen. If you have any photos from Traco or from the track that you'd care to share, I know we would love to see them.

I know I have seen pictures of Jim and Frank at the track such as at Sebring in '68 and many other events but I didn't know if you other
guys at the shop were tagging along or not.
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2012, 11:53:57 AM »

The book "Race Man" is well done, kudos to Gordon, I got a copy a few weeks back, which is what led me to this forum in a round about way (the Google way).

One of my few photos at tracks or TRACO is in Race Man on page 136, at least the back of head and Gordon almost spelled my name right - LoL

I was young and figured (still do) that I owed Jim and Frank more than I could ever repay for all they taught me, so I worked my butt off from the shadows, both at the shop and at the tracks, very rarely being in front of a camera. I was not in the business for fame, that truly belonged to Jim and Frank and they deserved a lot more than they got.

I was on TV once, can't remember which track. I was standing over the hood of the Matador waiting for the engine start in the track line up, I looked up to see Mark (Donahue) with a huge ear to ear grin and while I was wondering if my fly was down or something, someone bumped into me from behind knocking me onto the hood of the car, I figured it was one of the other crew chiefs screwing around so I jumped up with a few choice words and turned around to find that I was face to face with a mountain of muscle and a TV camera. Granatelli was walking around with Mohammad Ali (Cassius Clay) and Ali had jokingly nudged me, I stood there dumb founded for a moment then we shook, I shook his fingers and he shook my arm, his hands and arms were huge. We bantered a minute or two about how the Matador was going to win this one, then they moved on, later I was told that it was broadcast on national TV, all except for my few choice words.

Whenever I was at a track with the Penske crews, I worked in and around the pits as an extra, usually passing drinks to the drivers and hosing down the radiator to cool the engine during the pit stop, so there are a lot of pictures of me out there, I just don't know where.

Kirby "To the victor go the spoils" Guyer (the TRACO office manager), once yelled out "Pigpen" to me in the Daytona infield, over a megaphone, and that was the only weekend when my moniker was known garage to garage. Richard (Petty) and Penske even walked over to ask "PIGPEN?Huh".

Pigpen
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2012, 12:34:38 PM »

Thanks for sharing your memories Pigpen. Please keep posting as you recall them. It's great to be able to put personal experiences with what we read.
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Bruce302
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2012, 03:08:43 PM »

I have a pair of Traco stamped heads, (angle plug) that also have "Slover Porting SV". I rang Charlie Slover a few years back and he told me that he supplied some heads to Traco when there was a supply shortage. Slovers did the heads for the Chaparral cars. maybe Jim Hall had a better parts line than some others.

Bruce.
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Pigpen
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2012, 08:40:40 PM »

Hi Bruce,

I remember that we started using the angle plug heads after they were available for some time. I mainly remember them used on the IROC engines, I think because they tested better at lower compression ratios, but I wasn't directly involved in any such tests.

The IROC engines were somewhat de-tuned from their normal TRACO CID equivalent, the whole concept was to test the drivers on as equal a basis as possible, so each engine was tuned to a pre-specified power output all were as close to the same as we could produce them.

I also remember Jim and Frank complaining some about the deal they had made concerning the IROC engines, not a lot of profit (if any), mainly just kept up a steady cash flow for the shop, but as was the TRACO way, those engines were treated exactly the same as all TRACO engines, no corners cut, always the best possible workmanship.

Different subject - Reading through some of the articles posted here about TRACO parts and assembly procedures, I didn't find one very important item; The factory crank shafts were very good, but after about 1967 all TRACO cranks had the bearing journals highly polished and flash hard Chromed, about a 0.0002 inch coating. That made a big difference in bearing life.

Pigpen
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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2012, 09:32:05 AM »

Thank everyone for all the input... Keep it coming, I love all this stuff. I always refered to that alley as THUNDER ALLY, still do when I drive by - my kids used to think I was nuts naming alleys.
   VT
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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2012, 10:53:54 PM »

Hello Pigpen,

Thanks so much for joining and contributing to this forum.

Can you tell us how TRACO made or otherwise sourced the degreed harmonic/torsional balancers like this Spring 1973 issue of Super Chevy shows?



All the best.

-Chad

« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 12:07:11 AM by OCTARD » Logged
Pigpen
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« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2012, 10:54:55 AM »

Hi Chad,

That's one job none of us could ever forget - LoL.

After a quick lathe job to clean up and make the outer surface round, the dampeners were mounted on a turntable on a Bridgeport vertical mill. A tool was ground and used like a shaping tool to cut each line, one at a time, simply puling the handle to bring the spindle down (not rotating), the mill was not on. It could have been done on a drill press stand as well, but the mill had easy to adjust stops, adjusted for line length.

When finished, the dampeners were held in a vise and hand stamped, hand sanded, cleaned, painted and hand rubbed with paint sticks.

A very time consuming job, but the result really looked great / professional and was a sort of TRACO trademark.

We all did them, as with just about all the required jobs, everyone shared the load. I remember having a sore arm for a day after cutting a group of 10 or so dampeners.

Pigpen
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OCTARD
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2012, 04:03:38 PM »

Outstanding feedback, Pigpen!  More detail than I could have expected... And it's neat to hear that you had enough faith in the factory part to begin with.

-Chad

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Pigpen
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2012, 09:55:27 PM »

Not all Chevy dampeners were designed as well. We built two 454 CID engines for a 40 foot "cigarette" boat Penske entered in a race out of Marina Del Rey, CA. Lots of torque to the props. About 30 mins into the race, the dampener on one engine exploded, luckily no one got hurt. The 454 CID dampener is not equally thick around its diameter, it's used as part of the balance weight for the crankshaft. Even though Edelbrock had balanced it mounted to the crankshaft, it couldn't withstand the harmonics. From then on TRACO stayed away from 454 Chevys.
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Jon Mello
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« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2012, 07:38:41 AM »

Thanks again for your input, Pigpen. I'm wondering what you remember about the intake manifolds. Were those sent out to get ported along with the heads or did you guys just do a port-match job at Traco? Did the manifolds get the Traco stamp like the block and heads did?
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« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2012, 12:47:48 PM »

Hi Jon,

It depended on the manifold's use. Just about all of the manifolds were port matched, there was one Edelbrock design, the "Torquer" which was purposefully not port matched, it was used on some street design engines.

The Weber and FI manifolds were polished as well, but tests showed that polishing manifolds where the carb was the restrictor, was useless. The runners were cleaned up some but not polished.

For single 4-BL carbs, the size of the plenum under the carb is more important than polished runners. I don't remember the numbers, but plenum size versus runner length helps determine the engines torque curve, also the area around the top of the carb is very important. Most TRACO 4-BL carbs had the "Choke Horn" machined off to increase the space / area for air intake.

Usually the manifolds were sent out for work, but I do remember a couple were done in house, perhaps just a rush thing.

Pigpen
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« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2012, 05:04:15 PM »

How about that picture of the Roy Woods AMC engine in '72.  DEFINITELY a 'Traco' top on the AMC intake?  Was this cast "in house" or elsewhere?  .....any info there would be greatly appreciated!!!

klvn8r
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Pigpen
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« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2012, 06:59:24 PM »

Hi klvn8r,

OG69Z messaged me about that manifold and I answered him with it's history, I mentioned that you asked about it also and asked him to post my answer here if he would, to save me writing it all again, as I didn't save a copy in my outbox, you know how us forum newbs are, takes 50 posts to figure things out - LoL.

The short answer is that it was cast to TRACO specs by an outside source, the design was predicated on what we learned testing and modifying a Chevy 2x4-BRL in-line factory prototype manifold.

Pigpen
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OCTARD
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« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2012, 07:55:53 PM »

Hello Pigpen,

Would it be safe to assume that your TRACO remote oil filter mount and block mount adapters were also made by the folks who made your intake bits? 

Though perhaps varying a bit from the period TRACO pieces, these cast pieces from AVIAID are at least helpful to explain the bits I speak of.

If you do remember the vendor, I'd enjoy hearing their name.  I have another old race car that was built in the area, with some one-off castings.  Knowing who you folks used might be helpful in sparking the memory of some of the folks in my car's past.

Thanks again for sharing your insight and knowledge of TRACO.  I know that many on this forum, myself included, are very big fans of all that you folks produced and built.

-Chad
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2012, 08:15:36 PM »

Hi all,

I'm getting the impression from some of the questions here on this forum and some other forums (especially AMC forums), that many people are not aware of TRACO's involvement with the Chevy and AMC factories. TRACO received a number of "gifts" from both factories, in return for testing and modification if necessary. Other racing groups and shops were also "gifted" in return for the same.

We received a couple of the first all Aluminum 427 Chevy blocks and heads, no cylinder linings, they used a special coating on the outside of the pistons, special rings and the cylinders were specially honed to leave the Silicon nodules from the special alloy, on the surface. The heads were fitted with Stelite valve seats which required an orbital valve seat grinder, and required a special coating in the water jackets to hold some heat in (kinda overused special there, but they really were).

A lot of people in the industry knew about the Aluminum Rat engines, but only a few knew about the Aluminum small blocks. The factory trusted TRACO to test things properly and supply all information back to them.

Trick rods, cranks, heads, cams and more, we performed a lot of side jobs for the factories. Picture an all aluminum 350 CID with a Flat Crank (180 Deg Opposed) and EFI mounted right above the intake valves.

The first group of AMC heads which had their cores "scratched" to permit larger valves, were accidentally ran through the factory assembly line before being caught, so there were 50 or so AMC stock engines with very expensive heads running around.

TRACO made a number of suggestions which the factories acted on, especially rod and crank treatment modifications, which led to significant reliability improvements.

I don't remember which Trans Am race it was after (or even which year), but when Penske's Cameros and Donahue won the majority of races one season, even though the Ford factory had pulled out all the stops and spared no expense, top drivers and dozens of spare engines each race... We were working the next day at the shop when a long limo pulled up in the alley out back, a young well dressed gentleman stepped up and over the chain which was draped across the large doorway at the rear, seriously pissing off Jim who was standing close by, as there was a "NO ADMITTANCE" sign attached to the chain, he walked up the shop isle like he owned the place and stated "I'm Edsel Ford II and I'm here to see just who managed to beat my Mustangs" (Edit: Oops, got his name wrong). Jim and Frank both had the biggest grins on their faces that I'd ever seen - LoL.

So TRACO was a privately owned and operated business, but the inside circle of the racing industry back then was very tight, there was a lot of shared "back scratching" going on behind the scenes.

Pigpen
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 09:32:43 PM by Pigpen » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2012, 08:28:05 PM »

Hi Chad,

Re: TRACO castings...

I'm sorry, I don't remember exactly who produced the cast Aluminum remote oil filter parts, that was set up before I started work there, but I think that it may have been the shop that produced the AMC 2x4-BRL mainfold for us, Don Narin's Speedway Patterns, that's just a guess.

Pigpen
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2012, 08:40:28 PM »

Thanks, Pigpen.  I appreciate the feedback, and the name of the pattern company used for at least some of the TRACO castings.

-Chad
 
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« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2012, 09:59:25 PM »

In regards to the TRACO AMC Trans-am intake manifold that I use, the following information was obtained from the very helpful Pigpen.


 

Hello Gene, aka Pigpen,
     First, I’d like to thank you for your time and efforts to share a part of your life with us on this forum. Your first hand experiences can and do lend a hand to the legendary name of Traco.
     Growing up in Southern California during Traco’s Trans-am days, I can attest to not only the “street” reputation, but also of the “mystic” that surrounded anything Traco’s name was on.
      I was fortunate in 2005, to acquire and restore a 1969 AMX that had been raced in the 70’s. When found, it was equipped with several Traco specific components. The unique Traco two four barrel intake manifold being the most prominent. Our forum has a brief description and history on the car and the Traco manifold. You can find it posted under entry #9 here:
http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=8069.msg66670;topicseen#msg66670

As posted, I feel fortunate to have received some great recollections from Stewart Van Dyne concerning Traco’s AMC program, and primarily the Traco intake.  I hope you may be able to add to the history of this special intake manifold.
     As I understand it, the intake was initially engineered for the Trans-am program. Photos of a similar intake with a single four barrel top have surfaced showing use on the Trans-am Javelins. I have not been able to find any clear photos of the Dual Four  being used on the Javelins though. Do you have any recollections of this Dual Four Intake?  Stewart remembered dyno times with the manifold, and believed it was tested or briefly used on a Javelin before the rule change. He also thought  it may have later been tried on the Matador, but I believe he was away from Traco by then.
     As stated in the forum post,  it’s a terrific running manifold.
      On another note, you might recall a Traco designed AMC lifter retainer. It shows typical Traco execution, beautifully formed of stainless steel. I am still using it in the AMX, and wouldn’t think of running an AMC without one.
        Again Gene, thank you in advance for any tales you may have concerning my intake, but most importantly, your contributions to this forum.
Best Regards,
Robert

Response from Pigpen:
Yes I was involved with the design and testing of that manifold along with many other people at TRACO. I'm surprised Stewart remembers it, he was up to his ears in Offys and had little time for anything else, he was TRACO's Offy expert, and later proved to be one of the foremost Offy experts in the industry.

A little background; Many of the earlier TRACO track engines were built using Weber carbs, 1 cylinder / 1 carburetor, easy to jet and tune, lots of breathing capacity.

The Chevy factory supplied TRACO with a dual in-line 4-barrel prototype manifold (not the Cross Ram) on which we spent a lot of time gluing in runners at the bottom of the plenum to equal out the flow, eventually the factory modified their pattern to match what we'd done and a number of the manifolds were produced. We also performed a similar series of tests for the Cross Ram, which Chevy used to make improvements.

From what we learned on the Chevy manifolds and our Weber experience, we designed the AMC manifold to mimic (as much as possible) a 1 cyl / 1 Carb design, but with a common plenum (rules is rules). That strange plenum design (you mentioned) was the result and worked quite well.

The 304 CID AMC Trans AM engines had been tuned to the maximum using a single 850 Holly (or was it 800), so when we attached the dual 4-B manifold, which allowed for a serious increase in breathing, we found that the added horsepower reduced the life expectancy of the engines from 1 to 2 races to about 1/4 race. They were fine for the drags, but the Cam and lifters would have to be changed for any serious track use. About that time, the rule about using 1 4-B was issued, pretty much ending the work on that project for Trans Am. The Matador, under NASCAR rules, could only have a 1 4-B set up.

What Stewart mentioned about the cam bearings was right on, the bearings were compressed and spun right out of their journals, welding themselves to the cam. We tried a few things and finally ended up using a special Aluminum Bronze alloy for the cam bearings.

I do remember the first time that manifold was dyno tested on a 304, The torque curve just kept climbing and climbing, everyone in the shop was cheering and yelling "Go Baby Go". I don't remember the exact horse output, but it easily broke the 1.7 horse per CID rule of thumb for a normally aspirated track engine.

Pigpen


 
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« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2012, 12:01:59 AM »

Jim Travers of Traco working on a 302 Trans-Am Camaro engine.



Hello again Mr. Pigpen

I'm curious about the added piece that can be seen inside the lower pulley in the above picture.

I believe it may be the same item listed in the Guldstrand catalog as "Traco pulley support plate (crank)".

Also did you use studs for the heads and mains or bolts?

THANK you very much for your time answering all our questions.

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« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2012, 06:55:57 AM »

Hi Robert,

The lower pulley had a bad habit of warping under load from the belt, so that (as you found) Pulley Support Plate was added.

Before Chevy came out with the Stainless stamped head gaskets, some of the engines used studs for the heads, mainly those for long duration track races. After the Stainless stamped gaskets, all engines used bolts. Properly installed with Aluminum particle paint, those Stainless gaskets required a lot of prying to get the heads off after the bolts were out and all head gasket failures ceased. All heads were "Hot Torqued" after a Dyno warm up.

Studs were used on all the Chevy small block mains.

Pigpen
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« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2012, 12:35:32 PM »

Thanks for the information on the intake manifolds, Pigpen. Regarding that lower pulley reinforcement, do you recall what that was made out of? Was is cast or machined? Do you have any floating around in your garage?  Wink
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« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2012, 03:30:33 PM »

Hi Jon,

It was machined from either 1/4 or 3/8 inch thick stock (1/4 is sufficient), I think Narin (next door) machined them for us, it's just 5k or 6k Aluminum alloy round stock with holes, I can't remember if it had a register on the center rear, I don't think so.

The lower pulley was a factory part, welded I think, the vibrations would crack the metal around the mounting holes and then break apart the welds.

I don't have any TRACO items, I live with 3 women, my wife, a daughter and my 92 year old mother, you can only imagine what my garage is full of - LoL.

The pulley reinforcer is not critical at all, just a method to keep the thin metal pulley assy from vibrating or warping, I suspect that large diameter / thick fender washers under the bolts might work, or simply someones aftermarket pulley. Be sure whatever you use is round or equally balanced for rotation.

Today we have excellent Loctight products, back then they were just starting up their business, so most of the bolts on TRACO engines were cross drilled and wire wrapped, talk about time consuming.

Pigpen
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« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2012, 12:20:39 AM »

Thanks again, Pigpen. I like your sense of humor and don't even want to think about what the women in your life have done to your poor garage. I know my wife feels the same way about what I have done to ours.

I did remember that I still had these Traco rocker arm clips that I bought on a visit to Guldstrand's shop back in the late '70s or early '80s. I had planned on using them but never did. Were these also made by Narin or was it somebody else?

For those that don't know what these are for, they clip onto the back part of the stock stamped steel
rocker am and deflect oil that travels up through the pushrod and direct it toward the rocker ball.








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« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2012, 07:19:15 AM »

Hi Jon,

I believe those were made by the same company that made our valve springs and I'm sorry but I don't remember their name.

We had a lot of problems with the original Chevy rocker arm design and applied a number of modifications to make them work, which are mentioned in articles here on the CRG forum. Roller rockers were the longterm solution.

Pigpen
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« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2012, 12:53:04 PM »

I seem to recall those oil deflector clips were originally made by Isky. I see they are still available down in Torrance, Ca at: http://www.rockerclips.com/index.html
I'm sure there is not much market for them, as most use rollers now.
 Hey Jon, I like the background  in your first rocker clip picture!
Robert
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« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2012, 03:57:19 PM »

Jon & Robert,

Isky did supply some components to TRACO and those rocker clips were probably from him.

I did remember the spring company which produced all of our valve and other springs - Century Spring Co.

Pigpen
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« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2012, 05:22:28 PM »

Great information from both of you. Thanks for sharing.

Pigpen, i have seen an advertisement from the '66 era showing Traco using Hedman headers. In '67 I have seen Bill Thomas headers used on the Penske Camaros and other Trans-Am cars. In '68, Jere Stahl sent some of his headers to Traco for dyno testing and they subsequently were used by Penske after that point. Do you recall if there was a certain header that Traco recommended to their customers or was that decision something they left up to the customer? I assume that when Traco prepped and sold an engine, it was complete from carb to oil pan (clutch and bellhousing too?) but no headers were supplied.
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« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2012, 09:55:13 PM »

Hi Jon,

Correct, TRACO did not supply any headers.

One of the Headman Headers group (again at a loss for a name) spent many hours with us on the dyno designing the 4-2-1 headers.

The final product was a large improvement over other systems at that time. Mid range torque was up 20+% without affecting the high end.

TRACO did not officially recommend anyones header systems (that I was aware of).

Pigpen
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« Reply #44 on: May 22, 2012, 08:30:48 AM »

Thanks for the great info, Pigpen.
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« Reply #45 on: May 23, 2012, 06:32:39 PM »

Hello Pigpen,

Great to have you with our gang.  Some questions for you - do you remember the HP and torque figures for those Penske T/A camaro engines?  Also, what redline did they use?  Were those engines only used for one race weekend and then sent back for a rebuild?

Did TRACO build "customer" camaro engines for other competitors (probably not to Penske specs)?

Did you take or keep any race photos from those T/A days?

Many thanks,

Robert Barg
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« Reply #46 on: May 23, 2012, 08:48:04 PM »

Hi Robert,

I'm sorry but it's been way too long for me to remember the torque curves for TRACO's T/A engines (or any for that matter), but 475-490 HP was a good number for the Chevys, on TRACO's dyno. We did occasionally rebuild engines originally built by some of the competition, and their Dyno HP was no better than ours, usually a little worse, some quite a bit worse. The AMC T/A engines were a little better, around 510-520 on the Dyno.

I know that some would question it, but TRACO engines were built the same for all customers. The only exceptions were special items that some customer got hold of, but all in all, Penske's engines from TRACO were duplicates of his competitors, those built by TRACO.

Penske did have some "pull" with the Chevy factory for Aluminum blocks and heads, not for T/A racing.

For the T/A series, Penske ran 2 cars, each with 3 engines; 1 in the car, 1 on the truck as backup and 1 being rebuilt at the shop, this was the same for both Camero and Javlin.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't personally have any photos, looking back now I wish I had, but I was young and dumb, with never a thought of the faaaaaaar future when I might actually enjoy reminiscing.

Pigpen
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« Reply #47 on: May 23, 2012, 09:53:59 PM »

Fantastic details, Pigpen.  Thanks for sharing all of this with the forum.

-Chad
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« Reply #48 on: May 23, 2012, 10:19:49 PM »

Wow - 475 to 490 HP! - that's way more than I ever heard mentioned - the figure I remember was about 440-450 HP.

I'm guessing a redline of  8,000 rpm?

Robert Barg
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« Reply #49 on: May 24, 2012, 07:14:34 AM »

Here's a dyno test performed by Traco for Roger Penske on Oct 2, 1967. This is a 1x4bbl engine
with Traco-ported heads, transistor ignition and an Engle cam. I've got some Traco dyno tests
from '69 that I'll have to locate and they are on one of the Penske 302s.

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« Reply #50 on: May 24, 2012, 09:45:39 AM »

Yep, 40 years is too long to remember HP stats, at least for me. The only thing I'm sure of is that the AMC engines put out a little more than the Chevys.

TRACO preferred the "Red Line" at 7200 I believe, but 7800 was more to most drivers liking.

I remember we worked on (rebuilt) a couple of 302 Fords and they were fairly comparable to the AMC's.

The Offys were spectacular on the dyno, separated by the cam cover, the exhaust was white hot and the intake frosting up so quickly that you could see the build up over a few seconds time frame. It was difficult with that old "Water Brake" dyno, as weights had to be added to the scale, a guessing game at first, and the Offys put out so much power that the water would steam off in the condenser faster than it was being replenished. Close to 1,000 HP at 10,000 RPM, using Nitro-Methane. It was scary being close by when running high RPM (for me anyway).

Pigpen
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« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2012, 09:18:41 AM »

Here's another dyno sheet, this time from December '68. It is part of a test using different headers.
The peak horsepower does seem a little low compared to the 440-475hp numbers that have generally
been tossed about for the 302 Chevy racing engines from that era but Traco engines were certainly up
there at the top of the food chain as far as results on the track go.


Courtesy of Jere Stahl
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« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2012, 10:51:22 AM »

Hi Jon,

If that's the test I remember with Cantwell there, they were testing the full car exhaust systems, not just the "Open Headers" that TRACO normally used on the dyno.
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« Reply #53 on: May 25, 2012, 01:54:45 PM »

Hello Pigpen,
  In an earlier post, a Chevrolet inline dual four barrel was mentioned.
"The Chevy factory supplied TRACO with a dual in-line 4-barrel prototype manifold (not the Cross Ram) on which we spent a lot of time gluing in runners at the bottom of the plenum to equal out the flow, eventually the factory modified their pattern to match what we'd done and a number of the manifolds were produced. We also performed a similar series of tests for the Cross Ram, which Chevy used to make improvements."
   I'm curious about the inline carbs used. Do you recall the type? Is it possible Webers were used, or maybe something GM prototyped?
   It sure would be interesting if the Chevy dual inline four barrel manifold surfaced.
Thanks for all of your contributions!
Robert
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« Reply #54 on: May 25, 2012, 02:49:50 PM »

I can't help but sit here and giggle wildly....."The only thing I'm sure of is that the AMC engines put out a little more than the Chevys.'  -as stated by a former Traco employee!!!   Cheesy Grin Cheesy Grin Cheesy Grin

klvn8r
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« Reply #55 on: May 25, 2012, 03:02:48 PM »

Everybody likes to have something to crow about and I can respect that, but how'd that '69 season go for you guys?  Lips Sealed
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« Reply #56 on: May 25, 2012, 04:21:22 PM »

Not so well.... Sad   But as a Rambler guy, I can live with 1970,  71 and 72!!  Heck, even 68 was pretty darn good!! Wink

klvn8r  (When you race Ramblers, you take ALL of the advantages that they will give ya!) 
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« Reply #57 on: May 25, 2012, 06:58:17 PM »

TRACO (Jim & Frank) didn't actually become famous because of Chevys or for that matter AMCs.

Yes the Javlin engines put out a little more than the same CID Chevys, but the early AMC track engines could not stand the corners without starving the oil pickup, so there were many not so spectacular blown engines.

There's a lot to be said about the compact design of the small block Chevy, the design facilitated oil return flow from the upper portion of the engine to the oil pan, and there were not a lot of places for the oil to get trapped.

Small block Fords and AMC's had a lot more room in the lifter valley and around the crank, so oil tended to get trapped. The ultimate answer for the AMC's was to run "Dry Sump".

Another interesting difference was the Cyl Head design, Chevy heads had better flow characteristics and required less valve lift than the AMC's, so Chevy cams took far less punishment.

For the bottom end though, the AMC's were very strong through the main bearing area, where Chevys were prone to main web cracking.

Each engine has goods and bads, the trick is enough power and lasting through the entire race.

Pigpen
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« Reply #58 on: May 25, 2012, 08:19:47 PM »

Hi Robert,

Concerning that Chevy in-line dual 4-BL.

I think that I remember the first configuration on that manifold was 4x2-BL's, but we had another top plate cast for the 2x4-BL set up. I don't remember all the reasoning behind the set up, but I remember many hours gluing in runners and testing cyl temperatures on the dyno. Where those manifolds ended up, I have no idea, perhaps in a Chevy factory trash bin, as the Cross Ram design was superior.

On occasion, one of us (TRACO employees) would have a need to ferret out some part up in the mezzanine storage area, and we'd accidentally run across some very strange goodies, that manifold was found just that way and when Jim & Frank saw it, they remembered that Chevy had asked them to evaluate it some time previously.

Pigpen
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« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2012, 06:54:46 PM »

Robert,

I just reread your question about the manifold and what carbs were used, sorry I missed that.

The original top plate supplied by Chevy was set up for 4x2-Brls, which we never had or used.

The top plate we had cast was for 2x4-Brls and as I remember the same carbs we used on most everything. I don't remember model numbers but they were either 800 or 850 CFM, geared so that all butterflys opened simultaneously and inwardly (front and rear opposite directions).

TRACO supplied a particular model of Holly 4-Brl carb for just about all uses, it had marine type floats, the choke horn machined off and some polishing in the throats. I think that earlier models were 800 CFM and later 850 CFM.

We didn't use Webers on any of the "Plenum" style manifolds, at least none that I remember.

There was also a dual 1,000 CFM Holly carb manifold we tested, used on Chevy 427's, I don't remember what the engine(s) were set up for. Someone else produced those manifolds and had done their homework to equal out the flow characteristics.

Reliable Mechanical then Electronic Fuel Injection came along and replaced most of the dual carb setups, eventually even the Webers (where possible).

Pigpen
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« Reply #60 on: June 03, 2012, 09:15:55 PM »

Pigpen,

Chevrolet had a Holley carburetor they recommended and listed for "off-highway use only" which was meant for the Trans-Am cars in the early '70s when they were restricted to running a single 4bbl. This was an 830cfm double-pumper, mechanical secondaries carb, GM part number 3965736, List-4788. As I remember, these got the nickname of "turkey-herder". Whether this was the same carburetor Traco was supplying, I wouldn't know for sure but it would make sense.
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« Reply #61 on: June 04, 2012, 09:32:35 PM »

Jon,

That 830 CFM Holly sounds about right, gear driven mechanical secondaries, dbl pump and designed for off road.

I don't remember "turkey-herder", I think we referred to them as designed for marine usage, where there was constant bouncing and jarring. The floats were made of rubber or some plastic and there were factory modifications inside the float chambers to reduce sloshing.

At one time, way back or early on, an engine was used to comparatively test a few equal (same model / mods) Holly carbs, the results showed a very minimal difference between them, suggesting that if there were any performance restriction, it was not due to an individual carb.

Pigpen
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« Reply #62 on: June 04, 2012, 11:21:26 PM »

Thanks for the follow up Pigpen.
 I suspect those early carbs may have been versions of the Holley 4224 and 4223S and possibly the 4543S. The first being the center squirt 660 cfm and the later two being an 850cfm configuration, also center squirters. These carbs were of the 1 to 1 primary and secondary throttle opening variety. They used a cam type linkage with the central 50cc accelerator pump to achieve a smooth opening of all throttle blades simultaneously, and inwardly as you suggested.

The 850 cfm versions were popular on the Big Blocks in a single 4V application, and also could be used in pairs on a potent Big Block. L88's were a common home for them.
The 660's may have been tried on the 302's.  The pair of 660's on my AMC Traco intake are setup  as you mentioned with the air horns machined off. The inward throttle blade opening is necessary for proper fuel distribution with the intake design. Also of note,the 4224 660's are the carbs listed in the SCCA Javelin Trans-Am Homologation papers. They are to be used in pairs.

I believe the Holley List 4778 is rated at a 700 cfm capacity, and has undergone several revisions.

The bottom line on these carbs with simultaneous opening secondaries is you better be positioned properly before putting your foot in it!
Robert
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« Reply #63 on: June 06, 2012, 08:38:55 AM »

Great info. Thanks, guys.
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« Reply #64 on: June 14, 2012, 10:01:26 PM »

Pigpen,  I don't want you to think you are forgotten!   
Do you recall Traco using any of the Crane ported heads talked about here:  http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=8984.0  I would think they may have been worth a try on the Dyno if nothing else, considering their pricing, and availability.
Robert 
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« Reply #65 on: June 16, 2012, 02:17:54 PM »

Robert,

Forgotten is the last thing I worry about, Fathers Day tomorrow and I have 4 children (grown) plus 5 grandchildren, even my parents are still alive at 93 and 92 years, so I have few moments to feel alone.

Happy Fathers Day to all of you so blessed !

This forum has brought back some good time memories, thank you all for putting up with an old farts reminiscing.

As I mentioned in a previous thread, Lockerman was the one Head Porter I remember during the time I had charge of the heads. If I remember right, Eddie Hansen took over after me and I honestly don't know who was used to port the heads. After a year or so of engine building, I started traveling to the various tracks, trouble shooting and basically just being there in case something happened where I would be needed. Jim and Frank were getting pretty tired after all the long hours they had invested, so Stewart (Van Dyne) and Eddie took on the major duties at the shop, also Gordon Chance came back for awhile to help out.

For a period of time, I must have traveled to practically every track in the USA and some in Canada, it's all a big blur, I can't even remember track names or States. My children grew up and I missed most of it, I regret that allot. When I wasn't traveling, I was in the shop building or rebuilding engines, 60 to 70 hour weeks were about all I knew.

Pigpen
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« Reply #66 on: June 16, 2012, 11:06:11 PM »

Pigpen,
     Thanks so much. Those long hours must have been tough for sure.  The travelling really takes its toll also.  I would suspect your children learned to appreciate you even more when you came home.  As far as that big blur, that's probably a blessing too.  We have a knack to forget life's unpleasant experiences.....  It's nice to hear you are enjoying the "good time memories". We are too!
      You have a Great Father's Day, and a special Father's Day greeting to your Dad!
Robert
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« Reply #67 on: June 17, 2012, 12:07:33 AM »

Enjoy Father's Day, Pigpen. I know we are all very grateful for your participation and the sharing of your memories from that great era. If I can ask, what is that you went off and did career-wise after you left Traco?
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« Reply #68 on: June 17, 2012, 07:52:42 PM »

Thank you for the Fathers Day wishes, I think I appreciate my (now grown) children more because of my traveling time.

I was offered a job with Roy Woods racing when he first set up with Kastner, a salary I found impossible to refuse to set up and run an engine shop for him. Jim and Frank understood, or at least wished me good luck, so I spent the next number of months putting in long hours to get the shop set up and their engines built up. I had a run in with someone they hired, a past acquaintance whom I had been warned was strictly self serving (no names). I had built up an Offy and had it on the Dyno to run in for 30 mins at minimal load before tearing it down for inspection, something I was told was required for new / first time run Offys, this person, who had the respect / friendship of Kastner, took over the Dyno and over my objections ran the engine up to 9000 RPM and full load, at which point it failed. He convinced Kastner that the engine was put together poorly and Woods believed the two of them, so I left, seeing that I was fighting a losing battle.

I returned to TRACO and asked for my job back, explaining what had occurred, both Jim and Frank reminded me that they had warned me about this person Kastner had hired and I think felt sorry for the situation, anyway they gave me another chance. I worked as previous for 3 or 4 months, but found that I could no longer support my family and the house I had purchased with the salary from Woods, so I told everyone that I needed to find other work and left on a pretty sour note.

I could have continued in the racing industry, but I was tired and fairly disillusioned. I worked part time and went back to school, ending up with degrees in engineering  for mechanical (primary) & optical (secondary). I went to work for a small optical emission spectrometer company there in LA, which was later sold to Baird Atomic and they offered me a position on the East Coast. I ended up as Service Manager for the America's, North and South, then they sold out to Thermo Instruments, at which point I left. I ended up doing R&D design work for J.E.O.L. (Japan Electro Optical Laboratories) before retiring. During my carrear I designed, built sold and serviced; Optical Emission equipment, Ion Beam Spectrometers, MASER satelite focusing systems, Abrams tank optical sighting systems and more, earning four patents. I traveled much of our little planet with over a million miles on Pan AM, unfortunately before the mileage incentives. I was offered a position at MIT Lincoln Labs working on the Airborne Laser system, but I found retirement far too enticing, so now I play the stock market (day trading) and lots of computer games.

I enjoyed my work, but always looked back to my TRACO days with fond memories, there's something about the sound of a well tuned, high performance engine that gets in one's blood.
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« Reply #69 on: June 18, 2012, 01:39:54 AM »

Pigpen, sounds like some bad bumps in the road initially but you persevered and did quite well for yourself. I'm happy to hear that. Thanks for taking the time to tell us that story.
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« Reply #70 on: June 19, 2012, 10:35:17 AM »

During my time working for TRACO I (like many others I’m sure) wondered what it would be like to drive a car on a track, I never did, but I was chauffeured around a few tracks by a couple drivers, at lower (non-racing) speeds, interesting but not the same.

One weekend in July (?? Year), I returned home to CA from some track just in time to light fireworks for the kids in the driveway, when Roy Woods called and said they were having problems with both Javelin engines at a track in New England, where they had rented practice time for a day or two, he said I needed to come and sort it out immediately as it was costing him a lot of $$, so I jumped on the first available midnight special.

Both engines were missing as if sabotaged, so I disassembled the ignition systems and the carbs, checking everything and replacing some components, nothing was wrong. George Follmer was Roy Woods co-driver then and he was really upset that the engines were causing problems, more so because I could not find the problem after a few hours searching. Follmer insisted that I ride the track with him and experience the problem first hand, so I donned a helmet and wormed my way into the role cage where the passenger seat would normally be. The engine was missing, just as it had been all day, not really any different than I could hear from the pit area, but I guess it made Follmer feel better.

Two laps, one of the regular pit crew mentioned that he broke the track speed record on both laps, which he may have said just to make me feel “better”. I remember his driving skills, amazing to watch, amazing what he could make that car do. I also remember a few of the really sharp turns and how scared I was seeing them coming up at those speeds, but one particular turn, a reverse camber right turn which ended in a short concrete tunnel (I say short as we were through it in no time flat), is forever burned in my memory, I was sure we were dead, twice, when I saw that tunnel wall coming up, absolutely no doubt.

When I exited the car, I’m sure I was “Green”. I had a new “Very high” respect for drivers and their extraordinary skills; I also knew that I’d never be a track driver.

The laps did have a good affect, they woke me up, as I hadn’t slept for a day or so. Being able to think for a minute or two I finally realized the common denominator for the problem; With a Chamois in a funnel and a few gas cans, we removed the water from the gas tanks of both cars, they had both been filled there at the track when they first pulled in. We removed about 10% (by volume) of water, which I would have thought impossible for an engine to run on.

So to all you drivers; I salute you and I’m truly impressed with your capabilities, now when I watch a race, I have a much better feel for what’s involved.

Pigpen
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« Reply #71 on: June 20, 2012, 09:41:21 AM »

Great story, Pigpen. That sounds like '72 to me. The Roy Woods thread has some '72 Javelin photos from the July 4, 1972
Trans-Am at Donnybrooke (Brainerd, MN) which is right around that timeframe you are talking about.

Below is an engine building article, courtesy of Mike K (Swede70), showing the buildup of an AMC 5-liter
engine by the Traco shop for the '68 season. I'm sure we would appreciate hearing any of the thoughts
that spring to mind as you review this old article.











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« Reply #72 on: June 20, 2012, 08:28:56 PM »

Jon,

"That sounds like '72 to me. The Roy Woods thread has some '72 Javelin photos from the July 4, 1972
Trans-Am at Donnybrooke (Brainerd, MN) which is right around that timeframe you are talking about."


I'm sure it was either New England or up state New York. I returned home the afternoon of July 4th from some track, then got the call from Woods, so I was at the track with them on July 5th. There was no one else at the track but Woods, Follmer & crew, I didn't even see any track personnel. It was a few months later when Woods made me the offer to set up his shop, I wish I could remember dates, but...

If anyone knows how to get in touch with George Bolthoff, "Skipper", I'd like to contact him and reminisce the old TRACO days, we were pretty tight back then. We both lived in the San Fernando Valley, so after work we'd ride / race our bikes (motorcycles) through the canyons to get home, flat out, peg to peg turns, lots of fun.

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« Reply #73 on: June 21, 2012, 07:25:13 AM »

Pigpen,

You were a brave man climbing into the roll cage with George Follmer!

I'm guessing you were at Watkins Glen? the only track in upstate NY, and if it was New England, it would have been either Bryar or Lime Rock, but I don't remember any "concrete tunnels" at either of those tracks.

Off camber right turn?  I'm scratching my head over that one - maybe that sharp right-hander leading onto the old front straight where the pits used to be? I remember the Glen as mostly high speed turns.

Like you, the memory has dimmed over the years.

Robert Barg
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« Reply #74 on: June 21, 2012, 09:44:25 AM »

The applicable contact details for George Bolthoff have been passed on to Pigpen.
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« Reply #75 on: June 21, 2012, 12:27:31 PM »

Hi Robert Barg,

At the time I got into that Javelin with Follmer, I was young and felt indestructible, I certainly wouldn't do it now. Follmer was highly agitated about the situation, arguing with Woods and some of the crew at the time, I think the laps were his way of coping with the problem.

Perhaps my "reverse camber" usage is not correct, the track at the right turn sloped from high right to low left in the direction of travel, so the outside of the turn was the low portion of the track.

I tried looking up the tracks you mentioned, pictures and videos of them, and could not find that turn into a tunnel, but it's forever burned into my memory so I know it exists or did exist at one point in time. It was a long time back, so perhaps changes have been made, it seemed like a really dangerous curve for a race track to me. It's possible that it was not a usual portion of the track, at the speed we were moving, I'm not sure if it was some form of pit or even an infield entrance off the track.

Pigpen
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« Reply #76 on: June 21, 2012, 05:02:46 PM »

Pigpen, I'm trying to visualize this tunnel a little better. How long would you say it was? Was it something like a bridge for cars to pass over from the outside to the inside of the track or would it have been wider (longer) than that?

I can certainly relate to your young and indestructible comments. I did a lot of stuff behind the wheel in the old days that I would not contemplate doing now. Well... not quite as readily.
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« Reply #77 on: June 21, 2012, 08:27:27 PM »

Hi Jon,

I believe the tunnel was for a road over the track, I don't remember how long but wider than a pedestrian walkway.

The cement wall leading into the tunnel really had my attention, the car would drift towards that wall while Follmer shifted down, then straighten up and shoot through the tunnel.

I rode bikes for years (motorcycles) and tight turns with the peg scraping were common, but I'd never been in a car drifting at that speed before, I didn't think it was  possible. Somehow he was able to use the changing weight distribution of the car to gain sufficient traction at the last moment, for me, really scary stuff.

I was able to get in touch with George Bolthoff and pointed him towards this thread, perhaps he'll post as well.

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« Reply #78 on: June 22, 2012, 10:30:03 AM »

Pigpen,
    I'm not familiar with any of those eastern tracks, but you sure gave a good visual for me! I feel my stomach turning with that wall coming up!

I have some more engine questions for you.
    In recent years, it has become common practice for engine builders to use a smaller rod journal size when available.The smaller journal reduces bearing speed, cuts some frictional loss and brings up the horsepower some.  The Chevy 302 started life in 1967 with a small journal rod size of 2.000". In 1968 all small block production went to the large journal design of 2.100" including the 302.  The large journal blocks also incorporated the four bolt mains which were not available in previous small blocks.
    Did Traco choose to use the 4bolt/ large journal blocks over the small journal variety? I wonder if any power differences were observed on the dyno or track between the two. I suppose they had the option of using the 4bolt/large journal blocks and turning down the large journal crank throws to the small journal size.
    In general, were you in search of these types of smaller horsepower gains?
Thanks again for your contributions,
Robert
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« Reply #79 on: June 22, 2012, 03:25:28 PM »

Robert,

In the 67' & 68' era, I had just started rebuilding (not building) engines, I was still mainly doing the heads.

I remember when the 4 bolt main block was introduced, it was needed badly as the 2 bolt main block was prone to cracking through the main webs. Also in that block chevy addressed a problem of cracking around the cylinders, through to the water jackets.

The earlier chevy rods were too weak and required a lot of massaging to last a race or two, the later (2.1 journal) rods were stronger. TRACO (when possible) used Carillo rods and Bartz used the 427 rods, both worked well.

I don't know of (or remember) a HP gain or loss related to the journal size, it stands to reason that friction and reciprocating weight would have an affect, but remember that TRACO minimized the reciprocating weight every way possible and used Hard Chrome plating on the bearing journals, which has about a 20% better slip coefficient.

As I remember it, TRACO always used the 4 bolt main block because it would take a lot more punishment, it's the old "You must finish to win" philosophy.

"In general, were you in search of these types of smaller horsepower gains?" Yes, but not if it significantly reduced the engine's reliability.

An engine's ability to "Breath" is a huge factor for HP, which is why modern engines have multi-valves per cylinder, requiring overhead cams. Large bore, short stroke, 4 or 5 valves per cylinder, direct port FI, individual cylinder timing and fuel control, allow some small 4 cylinder, normally aspirated engines to put out gobs of HP.

Pigpen
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« Reply #80 on: June 22, 2012, 05:18:05 PM »

Pigpen, that's great to hear you were able to contact George and thanks for mentioning this forum to him.

Here are a couple more Traco AMC articles, courtesy of Mike K (Swede70). We had several Traco Chevy
articles posted in this other thread previously.

I know aftermarket 4-bolt maincaps were available back in the '67 and earlier timeframe. Some had the
outer bolts splayed outward at an angle. Was there still a problem with the main web cracking on an
small journal block using these caps? I guess SCCA rules would not have allowed 4-bolt caps since they
weren't a stock or homolgated feature. It seems like Chevy could have homolgated these pieces much
like the AMC Edelbrock crossram or the fiberglass racing seat was done.





















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« Reply #81 on: June 22, 2012, 10:47:07 PM »

Jon,

So there actually was a photo at TRACO with me in it and they even got my name right, dang was I really that young.

We (TRACO) used / tried some of the after market 4 bolt main caps, those with outside bolts on an angle seemed to work best, but the main web cracking problem was not solved until Chevy beefed up the block portion of the webs, so the after market 4 bolt caps were only partially successful.

It's too bad that the "300 Below" treatment was not available back then, that probably would have saved a lot of parts, especially blocks and heads.

http://www.300below.com/

Pigpen
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« Reply #82 on: June 23, 2012, 10:13:31 AM »

Pigpen,
   It looks like there is also a photo of a "young" fellow doing some valve spring work here: http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=7774.0 under Reply#8. 
Very interesting info on the four bolt block, small journal/ large journal choices.  During that time frame, Traco apparently was "cutting edge" when it came to reciprocating weight. The stronger and  lighter weight Carillos must have made quite a difference in engine longevity.
   In the above article from Swede70, the AMC story from Jean Calvin, on page 171.  There is a photo of the valley of the AMC block. I see it has been modified for the single oil feed line that feeds additional oil to the gallery above the #4 main. I have also seen a Traco modified block that had four additional lines feeding that same gallery above each of the mains. As you know, the mains in the AMC's are fed after the lifters and cam bearings. These modifications generally help insure oil getting to the mains. Did Traco start off with the single line and ended up finding the need to use all four, or did you find the single line was sufficient?  I machined an oil log manifold in the valley for one of my AMC wet sump engines that feed the mains priority style and restrict oil to the lifters and top end.  I have had an engine failure with the single feed line in the past, but not 100% sure I can blame it on the oil feeds.
     As a side note, I also see in that same photo what appears to be the 1/4" studs in the valley to hold the special Traco AMC lifter retainer plate!
Robert
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« Reply #83 on: June 23, 2012, 09:09:44 PM »

Robert,

My memories of all the various things we tried with the AMC engines prior to using Dry Sumps, is vague. We tried so many things to maintain oil around the pickup and reduce the foaming, that they're all sort of jumbled together in my mind. As a guess, we probably tried 20 to 30 oil pan designs.

We ended up with 1 oil feed line in the valley, I don't remember multiple feed lines showing any improvement. The more space for foamed oil to get trapped, the worse the problem appeared to get. We even tried a number of products that helped prevent oil foaming, or broke up the foam quickly.

That plate in the valley (if I remember correctly), not only prevented lifters from getting loose, but also prevented hot oil from splashing up onto the bottom of the intake manifold plenum chamber.

I thought that photo of me leaning over the valve spring tester was the only photo taken at TRACO, I must have been camera shy -  Grin

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« Reply #84 on: June 24, 2012, 03:09:22 PM »

I would love to see a picture of the lifter retainer....wish I had some of those for my AMCs.  As for the oil 'manifold' supply....I recall seeing pics of those things (looked like a spider) in Pro Stock drag racing Fords....Clevelands, if I recall....

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« Reply #85 on: June 24, 2012, 03:35:18 PM »

A little more info on George Bolthoff can be found if you click here. The article below is from January 1971.
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« Reply #86 on: June 24, 2012, 06:02:50 PM »

That's some good "hands on" information Pigpen. Thank you.  The oiling issues will probably haunt AMC forever. That is a excellent suggestion about the Traco Lifter Retainer controlling the oil splash. As you are aware the Traco AMC intake has provisions for the stock rear PCV valve. The factory design is notorious for sucking oil up the PCV if a valley pan type gasket is not used. I don't use the pan type intake gaskets, and have never had an issue with oil being sucked into the PCV. I believe, as you have stated the Traco Lifter Retainer keeps the oil splash down and away from the intake. Just another example of the engineering that Traco is so famous for.
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« Reply #87 on: June 25, 2012, 12:24:57 AM »

Great history on George Bolthoff.  Good reading and period photos.
Thanks Jon and Robert Barg!
Robert
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« Reply #88 on: June 26, 2012, 07:24:47 AM »

Pigpen, here's a silly one but nonetheless one I have been curious about. Did you guys around the shop actually call Jim Travers by his nickname of Crabby?

I guess if I can add to that, did Frank Coon have a nickname? I've never seen one in print.
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« Reply #89 on: June 26, 2012, 11:41:14 AM »

Jon,

The only person who actually called Jim Crabby was Gordon Chance, even though everyone agreed. Maybe Howell called him that once or twice, but not usually.

Frank never had a moniker that I'm aware of.

They were both ex Air Force and served together in the Pacific, so the last thing you called either of them was "Sir", as to them, that's a cuss word.

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« Reply #90 on: June 26, 2012, 06:32:30 PM »

Thanks for the info, Pigpen. It was just a simple curiosity on my part.
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« Reply #91 on: June 26, 2012, 10:08:10 PM »

Jon,

Jim and Frank were almost perfect opposites, like being married. Jim was truly crabby and gruff, many times crude and rude, but had a soft heart. Frank came across smooth and nice, a good talker and friendly, but underneath he was the tough one of the two, the one you definitely did not want to get on the wrong side of.

If Jim ever had a family, he never mentioned it, I don't believe he did, he considered children a PITA. Frank had at least one son I know of, maybe more, he kept his family life separate from the unholy crew at the shop, can't say I blamed him, we were a pretty rowdy and raunchy bunch.

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« Reply #92 on: June 27, 2012, 12:12:54 PM »

Nice insight. Thanks, Pigpen.
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« Reply #93 on: June 29, 2012, 04:42:44 PM »

Courtesy of Mike K (Swede70), a photo of Peter Revson and Mark Donohue at Daytona in 1970. This is the Penske
team's first outing in the Javelin and we see that Jim "Crabby" Travers is on hand to lend whatever assistance might
be needed with regard to the engine. It is interesting to note that his Sunoco jacket says "Crabby" on it and not Jim.
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« Reply #94 on: June 29, 2012, 09:37:46 PM »

Interesting, Jim wearing a "Crabby" labeled jacket. I wonder who set that up, Gordon was the usual instigator for that, but I don't think he was around then, perhaps Mark had a hand in it. I never heard Penske call him that, so I doubt it was him. Jim never would have used that label himself, it had to be a setup. Great photo!
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« Reply #95 on: July 02, 2012, 09:59:13 PM »

I think there was a TRACO article in the July/Aug 2004 edition of Vintage Motorsport.  Travers said some pretty negative things in it about the AMC project, and I was persuaded to reply to the editor.  It showed up in the next edition.  :^)

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« Reply #96 on: July 02, 2012, 11:07:28 PM »

Found it!!  http://automotive.speedtv.com/article/vintage_speed_call_us_traco/P1
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« Reply #97 on: July 03, 2012, 12:26:56 AM »

Great read! Thanks for posting, Craig.
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« Reply #98 on: July 30, 2012, 12:23:01 AM »

Traco developed "Gran Prix" Rocker kit ad from early 1969.
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« Reply #99 on: August 25, 2012, 12:15:50 AM »

Another Traco article, this one from Corvette News, Vol. 11 No. 2, courtesy of Robert Lodewyk.











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« Reply #100 on: September 13, 2012, 09:59:58 AM »

While I was working in Japan some time back, I got a look at one possible automotive future, I signed an agreement so I can't say which company or specific details.

Picture a car with 4 electric motors, one mounted on each wheel roughly where the brake rotor is. A small battery which they're hoping to replace with the new Carbon Nano-Tube Capacitor (when it's ready). A small turbine geared directly to a generator or alternator, small like bread box size. The turbine is used only to run the generator. The generator puts out sufficient power to run the car, even if the battery is not charged. The turbine runs on any fuel over about 70 octane and automatically adjusts to the fuel. Emissions output is extremely low.
 
When you coast or use the brakes, the motors reverse current to help you stop and simultaneously recharge the battery.

4 wheel independent drive with smart traction control. No gears, direct drive.

They claimed it got 200+ MPG under normal conditions.

They had to put a governor (Smart traction control) system on to keep from burning the tires off the vehicle, as motors develop maximum torque just off zero RPM.

No discussion about price or when available, but I'm personally going to miss the sound of a well tuned engine.

Pigpen
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« Reply #101 on: September 13, 2012, 02:36:50 PM »

The technology's nice and we will need it to get off our dependence on imported oil.

I'm with you though, Pigpen. I will miss those glorious sounds. What I already miss is the lopey idle of a car with a performance cam in it. Some of these new cars are very fast but they're missing that element of the sound.
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« Reply #102 on: December 07, 2012, 09:49:51 AM »

1969 CP&A article on one-time Traco employee George Bolthoff. (Jon Mello Collection)









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« Reply #103 on: December 16, 2012, 12:16:14 PM »

A freshly completed Traco engine on the stand. The initials R. P. on the lid of the cross ram indicate it is for Roger Penske's Camaro team.
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« Reply #104 on: December 21, 2012, 06:47:07 PM »

Jon; That Chevy on the stand must be an earlier one (or not finished yet) as the Choke Horns are not machined off the carbs.
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« Reply #105 on: December 21, 2012, 08:40:58 PM »

I went and looked the Engine thread, http://www.camaros.org/forum/index.php?topic=8046.0;all, and all the carbs that
are visible still have the choke horns on them. I would assume then that they didn't allow milling them off until later.
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« Reply #106 on: December 22, 2012, 03:45:00 AM »

A freshly completed Traco engine on the stand. The initials R. P. on the lid of the cross ram indicate it is for Roger Penske's Camaro team.

Definitely looks 1969 in my opinion. The heads have the mounting holes on the end for the accessories unlike the 68 and earlier years.

The pictures in the Motorcade magazine of my Guldstrand built 69 clearly show the Traco built 302 with the choke horns there. The car only made it to the final four races of the season.

My understanding was the choke horns were removed in 67-8 to better facilitate air flow because of the thinner air cleaner assemblies that were used prior to the Super Scoop/cowl hood availability.
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« Reply #107 on: December 28, 2012, 01:14:56 PM »

1968 CP&A article on Bartz and Traco. (Jon Mello Collection)

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« Reply #108 on: January 01, 2013, 02:01:02 AM »

what kinda valve covers did traco run on the penske/chaparral camaros?
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« Reply #109 on: January 01, 2013, 02:20:42 AM »

I have seen the Penske Camaros use the Z28 finned aluminum valve covers and also the stock stamped steel valve covers painted Traco gray to match the rest of the engine. I think the stamped steel valve covers were used early in the season and the finned ones later on.

Jim Hall's Camaros used the Z28 finned aluminum valve covers. I've never seen photos of his engines running another type of valve cover although I guess its possible.
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« Reply #110 on: January 01, 2013, 10:02:17 AM »

I have seen the Penske Camaros use the Z28 finned aluminum valve covers and also the stock stamped steel valve covers painted Traco gray to match the rest of the engine. I think the stamped steel valve covers were used early in the season and the finned ones later on.

Jim Hall's Camaros used the Z28 finned aluminum valve covers. I've never seen photos of his engines running another type of valve cover although I guess its possible.

cool deal!......what color is TRACO grey?....is there any high temp paint out there that resembles it?
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« Reply #111 on: January 01, 2013, 01:21:21 PM »

The photo below, from the Tra-Co Engines website, shows the gray color.
I have never painted an engine that color and don't have a suggestion for
an off-the-shelf paint can to use but it shouldn't be hard to find something
suitable.

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« Reply #112 on: January 01, 2013, 03:13:14 PM »

They were in the Navy, Battleship grey I always assumed.
  VT
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« Reply #113 on: January 01, 2013, 05:11:03 PM »

The photo below, from the Tra-Co Engines website, shows the gray color.
I have never painted an engine that color and don't have a suggestion for
an off-the-shelf paint can to use but it shouldn't be hard to find something
suitable.



it almost resembles a white greyish...lookin at different colors...
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« Reply #114 on: January 01, 2013, 07:36:28 PM »

I bet Pigpen knows!
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« Reply #115 on: January 14, 2013, 02:21:10 PM »

Another question for Pigpen or Jon or anybody. What was the differance between the pre '67 5 liter Can-Am engine and the 302 TA engine? Vince Piggins has always been credited for brainstorming the 327 bore with the 283 stroke to create the 302 in late '66, It seems TRACO was already making these engines at that time.
   Victor
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« Reply #116 on: January 15, 2013, 03:55:22 PM »

There probably would not have been a whole lot of difference between a '67 302 Trans-Am Chevy engine and any earlier 302/5-liter used in a Can-Am/USRRC car other than the manifold and induction set-up. Vince Piggins did not brainstorm that bore/stroke combination and I don't recall it ever being written in those kinds of terms. It was a combination that was well known by Chevy drag racers for many years prior to the '67 Z-28. Going back to the old 283 blocks, you could actually bore them out .125" over to get to a full 4-inch bore and racers were happy to have the extra cubic inches. Vince had long known of that bore/stroke combination and recommended it to Pete Estes because that would put them just under the 5-liter limit of the Trans-Am class and give them a cubic inch advantage over the competition which were only offering 289s and 273s at the time.
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« Reply #117 on: January 15, 2013, 09:01:43 PM »

Jon,
 Thank's for the reply.
    VT
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« Reply #118 on: January 15, 2013, 11:27:23 PM »

You're welcome, VT.
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« Reply #119 on: January 16, 2013, 10:17:59 AM »

... It was a combination that was well known by Chevy drag racers for many years prior to the '67 Z-28. Going back to the old 283 blocks, you could actually bore them out .125" over to get to a full 4-inch bore and racers were happy to have the extra cubic inches. Vince had long known of that bore/stroke combination and recommended it to Pete Estes because that would put them just under the 5-liter limit of the Trans-Am class and give them a cubic inch advantage over the competition which were only offering 289s and 273s at the time.
back then.... we called those bored 283 engines '301' ci..   the actual displacement is 301.xx something.  Chevy rounded it up to 302.  A friend had one in a 51 Henry J when I was in school!   it was said among the racers that use of a 59 'Canadian block 283 had a bit more metal to allow the 1/8"  overbore without getting too close to the water jackets, but I have no idea if that was true or not.. Smiley    Anyone else ever heard that logic?
Chevy's use of the 327 block and 283 crank gave them an engine closely under the 5 liter limit, and use of the 327 block allowed them to slightly enlarge it to hit the 5 L mark on the head, and have a bit more metal around the water jackets than the old 301 engines.   But to be sure, 302, 302, or 305, they all rev and run like a scared rabbit..  Smiley

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« Reply #120 on: January 17, 2013, 09:23:28 AM »

My 57 Chevrolet had a 60 over 283 with Fuelie Heads and a "30/30" camshaft... same set up as my dad had in high school. 
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« Reply #121 on: January 17, 2013, 11:26:55 AM »

If my memory still serves (questionable), the 327 block with 4 bolt mains was the main reason for setting up with 4" bore x 3" stroke for the 5 liter engines. TRACO had a lot of problems with cracking around the main webs using the 2 bolt blocks, even some of the 4 bolt blocks cracked. As I mentioned before, if the 300 Below process had been available back then, a lot of blocks and heads might not have adorned the scrap pile.

I think the earlier stamped metal rocker covers were used a lot because of the oil bafflels welded into them. Chevy came up with hollow push rods where the oil was pumped through, then just about any rocker covers would suffice and style became more of an issue.

I don't remember the exact Grey paint used, but it was chosen by Jim & Frank and mixed to their spec. The cans were marked TRACO GREY by the supplier. One of the reasons for using it was the ability to easily see any sort of "Leak" on the engine.

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« Reply #122 on: January 17, 2013, 11:48:34 PM »

I don't remember the exact Grey paint used, but it was chosen by Jim & Frank and mixed to their spec. The cans were marked TRACO GREY by the supplier. One of the reasons for using it was the ability to easily see any sort of "Leak" on the engine.

Same reason for using it on the suspension and interior. Easy to see stress cracks.
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« Reply #123 on: January 18, 2013, 11:25:57 PM »

If my memory still serves (questionable), the 327 block with 4 bolt mains was the main reason for setting up with 4" bore x 3" stroke for the 5 liter engines. TRACO had a lot of problems with cracking around the main webs using the 2 bolt blocks, even some of the 4 bolt blocks cracked. As I mentioned before, if the 300 Below process had been available back then, a lot of blocks and heads might not have adorned the scrap pile.

I think the earlier stamped metal rocker covers were used a lot because of the oil bafflels welded into them. Chevy came up with hollow push rods where the oil was pumped through, then just about any rocker covers would suffice and style became more of an issue.

I don't remember the exact Grey paint used, but it was chosen by Jim & Frank and mixed to their spec. The cans were marked TRACO GREY by the supplier. One of the reasons for using it was the ability to easily see any sort of "Leak" on the engine.

Pigpen

Hello everyone.  I haven't been here for a while but I just found this TRACO thread and have been enjoying it for the last couple of ours.  I too am a HUGE fan of TRACO, actually owned the TRACO-built 427 out of the Roger Penske 66 Corvette Sebring winner a few years ago (the engine that was in the car when it was vintage raced in early 90's), but I sold it to Jim Mangione in CA.  I retired from Sherwin Williams a few years ago, but I have a friend who still works in the color lab and he has computer matched the TRACO grey using an original painted piece I had. Yeah, Sherwin Williams makes automotive paint too, not just house paint. The color is dead on and it is a urethane quality so it's very durable.  I'll see if he can get me the formula.

I still have a few parts that came from the TRACO shop.......a couple of the degreed balancers and some 0 - (0 dash) prototype parts, Can Am aluminum blocks, etc.

GREAT thread here !!!!!
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« Reply #124 on: January 19, 2013, 12:42:01 AM »

Rex, nice of you to check in with us again and I'm glad you have enjoyed this Traco thread. If you could post that color formula for the Traco grey when you get it, that would be terrific. I'd love to see some photos of your special parts too, if that is possible.
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« Reply #125 on: January 19, 2013, 11:52:04 AM »

I remember the first design 427 Aluminum blocks, the ones which were all Aluminum without cylinder sleeves. They required a special honing process for which Sunnen produced honing pads to accommodate. The process honed back the Aluminum but left the Silicon in place (trick and back then a secretive alloy), so the cylinders would not wear as rapidly. They also required special rings and coated pistons (Iron coatings).

TRACO had a small number of Aluminum 327 blocks as well, which required the same process (actually they were procurred by Penske)

The one "weight" item which I remember as having the largest effect for engine life, was Carbon Fiber push rods, with your hand out and eyes closed, a person could carefully place one in your hand and you would not notice it. Back in those days, before overhead cams and without roller bearing lifters, the weight of the push rods was a large factor in cam lobe life. TRACO tried to get the manufacturer interested in producing Push Rods and or Wrist Pins, but at that time, the cost was prohibitive as the process required a large and very expensive Autoclave, high pressure, high temperature, controlled atmosphere mold press / oven. Today I'm sure the process would be (is) a fairly common process.

The Aluminum Cyl Heads were another PITA, requiring a special coating in the water jackets to keep the heat in, heating the heads and freezing the valve seats to replace them, then a special orbital valve seat grinder. Lots of time and work getting those ready.
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« Reply #126 on: January 19, 2013, 12:50:55 PM »

Rex, nice of you to check in with us again and I'm glad you have enjoyed this Traco thread. If you could post that color formula for the Traco grey when you get it, that would be terrific. I'd love to see some photos of your special parts too, if that is possible.

Thanks Jon.  Nice to be here for a change rather than on that Corv.... site (LOL).  I'll try to post the TRACO grey formula as soon as I can get it from my buddy.  Per your request, here are some of my more unusual parts that I've been fortunate enough to add to my collection over the years.  Don't mean to sound boastful, but I hope everyone enjoys seeing them.

This is an original Reynolds aluminum big block that was designed to be run without liners.  I have another one that came from Smokey Yunick in the 80s that he had installed iron liners in along with bronze lifter bushings. He worked it over pretty good.



Reynolds block from Smokey's


These are original magnesium valve covers



This is a prototype dual pickup oil pump for big blocks



Here is a fully degreed small block blalncer from TRACO


This is a cast aluminum front cover for big blocks with integral scavenging pump for dry sump system.  This was designed by Smokey Yunick


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« Reply #127 on: January 19, 2013, 07:22:19 PM »

Rex, those are some really neat items. Are those Reynolds blocks not cast by the Winters Foundry then? I don't know enough about the ZL-1s. I love the experimental oil pump with the dual pick-ups and the balancer and front cover are terrific as well. Many thanks for sharing those. I think that's a collection of stuff that most of us here would love to own!
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« Reply #128 on: January 19, 2013, 07:50:33 PM »

Thanks for the kind words Jon.  I've been very fortunate to have been able to collect these items.  The first blocks were cast by Reynolds Metals (Massena NY foundry I believe), and they did not have the Winters snowflake whereas the later blocks were cast at the Chevrolet Tonawanda Engine Plant and they did have the snowflake.  As I recall, the first blocks all went to McLaren and Penske.  I also have another block that has the Winters snowflake and it was used in a real McLaren race car. It was built to 510 cubic inches.
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« Reply #129 on: January 19, 2013, 11:16:28 PM »

Great stuff...thanks for sharing with us!!
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« Reply #130 on: January 20, 2013, 09:34:47 AM »

Not mine nor do I have any relation to this seller, but I thought this was an interesting piece........................

http://www.ebay.com/itm/181061738167?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
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« Reply #131 on: January 20, 2013, 12:24:45 PM »

Rex, the "How to Hot Rod Small Block Chevys" book denotes that as a 830 CFM double-pump, mechanical secondaries carburetor with 1-11/16" throttle bores. This was a carburetor homologated by Chevy for use in the Trans-Am and supposedly was only available through the Chevy parts department. This carb in the auction has a much later service date however.
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« Reply #132 on: January 20, 2013, 02:31:22 PM »

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.......................don't know,  I jsut thought it was a neat piece since it was for the Trans Am series.

On another note, Mr. Pigpen, do you remember when TRACO changed the color of their decals from yellow to white?

Jon, does this forum have a "FOR SALE" section?

Thanks,
Rex


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« Reply #133 on: January 21, 2013, 12:45:15 AM »

Rex, we don't have a dedicated for sale section but have pointed out various ads for Camaro road race cars that are for sale and the occasional part here and there.
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« Reply #134 on: January 21, 2013, 04:15:40 PM »

DR L-88,

"On another note, Mr. Pigpen, do you remember when TRACO changed the color of their decals from yellow to white?"

Tells you how bad my memory is, I don't even remember those decals at all, either Yellow or White, they may have been used after I left TRACO.

I do remember an oval shaped Yellow TRACO thin metal emblem with a stylized T over E design, but I can't remember if it was ever actually attached to an engine component.

Most people recognized a TRACO engine from the color and the fully indexed Vibration Dampener (Balancer). Some of the intake manifolds had "TRACO" molded in.

----------

"This is an original Reynolds aluminum big block that was designed to be run without liners.  I have another one that came from Smokey Yunick in the 80s that he had installed iron liners in along with bronze lifter bushings. He worked it over pretty good."

That's what TRACO should have done to all the early Aluminum blocks (sleeves), but I think GM had an interest in experimenting with the sleeveless design, and it was probably part of the deal Penske made to get them, to use them without sleeves.

----------

Your use of "Mr. Pigpen" brought back some memories of Travers. One of his pet peeves was not to call him "Sir" or "Mr", he'd reply that from past military experience, both were synonymous with "As_hole" or "F_cking Idiot". - LoL

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« Reply #135 on: January 21, 2013, 10:38:13 PM »

Your use of "Mr. Pigpen" brought back some memories of Travers. One of his pet peeves was not to call him "Sir" or "Mr", he'd reply that from past military experience, both were synonymous with "As_hole" or "F_cking Idiot". - LoL

That's funny, I remember my drill sergeants favorite saying was "don't call me sir...I work for a living"
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« Reply #136 on: January 24, 2013, 11:52:50 AM »

This is the TRACO emblem I remember....

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« Reply #137 on: January 24, 2013, 11:14:47 PM »

I think that's the Traco logo from the 70's and 80's. I've got a little bit different version of that sticker somewhere. I'll have to see if I can find it over the weekend.
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« Reply #138 on: February 05, 2013, 11:20:03 AM »

I see there is a socket head cap screw in the balancer ring to keep it from "spinning" on the hub.
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« Reply #139 on: February 09, 2013, 12:26:22 AM »

I understand screwing the outer part of the balancer to the inner hub to keep it from coming off at sustained high speed but it would seem to be incapable of dampening any torsional vibrations from the crankshaft like that.
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« Reply #140 on: February 09, 2013, 09:25:54 AM »

If it were a locking down of the outer mass ring to the damper hub, I would agree with you Jon, but perhaps if there were a larger hole thru the outer ring than the screw inserted, leaving a vibrational gap region around the screw shaft, the screw could resist a total slippage, but could still allow the mass damper to damp out high freq vibrations and harmonics.
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« Reply #141 on: February 10, 2013, 03:27:16 PM »

Thanks for the thought, Gary. It doesn't look like there's any clearance around the head of the cap screw in the photo and it even looks like it's staked in place so as not to back itself out.
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« Reply #142 on: March 11, 2013, 06:41:25 PM »

I have no idea what that cap screw is doing there, but I agree with Jon that it would render the dampening action null.

I've never seen that before, it was not a TRACO practice to do that.

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« Reply #143 on: June 10, 2013, 11:22:41 AM »

An ebay auction (#151061102844) for a Racer Brown roller camshaft used by Traco in their 215 Olds race engines. Super rare item these days. Thanks to Robert Lodewyk for pointing this out.

Text from the auction reads as follows...

This is a very early steel billit roller cam and lifters ground by the original Racer Brown in Ca. for TRACO who built 215cu.in.aluminum Olds engines for Bruce McLaren's sports car racing.

The #55 grind is considered the slalom,road race cam. This has to be one of the earlyest roller set ups because of the unusual lifter and retention system.

This is collectable or usable in vintage road racing. This is a solid roller lifter.

Buy it now and get the CAR&DRIVER also
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« Reply #144 on: June 11, 2013, 12:51:15 PM »

With reference to reply # 70 and #71:
    I am pretty sure the track was Donnybrooke and Gene I remember quite well when you arrived because George finally turned his attention onto to you instead of us! Thank you for that! LOL. You solved the problem and we (the crew) were all rewarded, one at a time with one lap around the track. It was INCREDIBLE! I climbed into the car for my turn and laced my arms and legs through the roll cage and remember being thrown back and forth and side to side the whole lap. He did his best to scare the s--t of me - and he did! Roy Woods had a buddy visiting (we rented the track for the day) and Roy bet him (big bucks) he would not go around for a "second" lap. Gene, you probably remember George doing one lap and Roy's buddy walking straight to Roy and counting out the bills. It was quite a memorable day.
      Gene, it was a pleasure to meet you that day and each time after that when we went to the nearest airport to ship and pickup engines we thought of you.

                                                                         Ken Ulrich                               
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« Reply #145 on: June 13, 2013, 06:52:07 PM »

Off topic....

So life taught me another valuable lesson last week, never too old to learn (the hard way)!

One of our family cars blew a head gasket at 62,000 miles and naturally out of warranty (12 years old with a 10 year warranty). An embarrassing thing to happen to an old mechanic.

So I checked around to find out if this particular engine was prone to head gasket failure or if it was just a fluke.

Turns out that the "Green" (Tree Hugger) coolant being used in most of the newer engines, cars, trucks and larger diesel engines, becomes roughly 100 times more acidic than the older types of coolant used (if left unchanged or untreated) and tends to eat through the head gaskets (and other gaskets) in a fairly short period of time. The mechanic showed me the head gasket and how badly it was acid eaten, the one spot where it ate through was just the first of many places needing only a little more time.

This problem is not advertised as the "Tree Huggers" are lobbying hard to keep it quiet, because they previously lobbied so hard to get the government to force the new coolant onto the engine producers.

Ford has a couple of lawsuits pending against the government to stop using it, as Ford has had a lot of eaten through head gaskets over the past couple of years and it's very expensive for them to replace those under warranty. This is not just a Ford problem, all the manufactures are in the same boat, both domestic and foreign.

Most of the larger diesel engine manufactures now have a stipulation in their warranties, where if the coolant is not tested and certified for Ph level annually, the engine warranty will be void.

The coolant can be tested yearly and if necessary, a "Buffering Agent" can be used to control the Ph. Many of the dealerships are now performing this service, but most private shops are not. Preventative maintenance is not in the best economical interests of most non-dealership mechanics.

So beware and have your vehicles coolant Ph tested, it can be costly.

After a little more research, I found that the new "Green" coolant is no better for the environment than the previous coolants, it still contains Ethylene Glycol at dangerous to animals levels, plus some other (new) ingredients which cause environmental problems, but the "Tree Huggers" are not about to admit they made a mistake, one which is costing the vehicle producers and consumers millions of $$.

Sad, sad times we live in!

Pigpen
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« Reply #146 on: June 13, 2013, 11:36:52 PM »

'tree huggers' don't PASS the laws.. our government does, and WE let them.   If we make as much noise as the few tree huggers, we can keep this crap to a minimum... Most of the environmental laws and regs are born in ignorance.... and allowed to exist due to apathy.
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« Reply #147 on: June 27, 2013, 07:47:52 PM »

I understand screwing the outer part of the balancer to the inner hub to keep it from coming off at sustained high speed but it would seem to be incapable of dampening any torsional vibrations from the crankshaft like that.
pick up a "chevy power book" and it shows how to modify the damer with screws so the outer ring would not come off. did a lot of them back in the day. did you ever meet bill howell your days at traco ?? i went to the TA races thru GM and bill and i would spy on the ford camp by hanging around in their pits.
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« Reply #148 on: June 27, 2013, 07:53:30 PM »

An ebay auction (#151061102844) for a Racer Brown roller camshaft used by Traco in their 215 Olds race engines. Super rare item these days. Thanks to Robert Lodewyk for pointing this out.

Text from the auction reads as follows...

This is a very early steel billit roller cam and lifters ground by the original Racer Brown in Ca. for TRACO who built 215cu.in.aluminum Olds engines for Bruce McLaren's sports car racing.

The #55 grind is considered the slalom,road race cam. This has to be one of the earlyest roller set ups because of the unusual lifter and retention system.

This is collectable or usable in vintage road racing. This is a solid roller lifter.

Buy it now and get the CAR&DRIVER also

i have a isky 2 gear drive roller cam out of one of jim halls chaparral that i picked up thru GM and maybe i should try and sell it.   Cheesy
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« Reply #149 on: June 28, 2013, 07:24:59 AM »

The earlier chevy rods were too weak and required a lot of massaging to last a race or two, the later (2.1 journal) rods were stronger. TRACO (when possible) used Carillo rods and Bartz used the 427 rods, both worked well.  i built several Daytona 500 engines using the 427 rods in SBC but they also broke and we referred to them as vbince piggens peanut butter rods
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« Reply #150 on: June 28, 2013, 08:57:26 AM »

Thanks for the recollections. Pretty neat that you worked alongside Bill Howell in Vince's group. Certainly a wealth of technical know-how in that group. It does not seem logical to me to defeat the dampening properties of the harmonic balancer but obviously it was done.
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« Reply #151 on: June 28, 2013, 09:50:17 AM »

"did you ever meet bill howell your days at traco ?? i went to the TA races thru GM and bill and i would spy on the ford camp by hanging around in their pits."

Hi motorman,

I knew 2 people named Bill Howell; One was "Davy Crocket" at TRACO who left about a year after I started work there, he's the one who tagged me with "Pigpen". Last I saw him he was riding off on his Harley, never heard any more about him.

The other Bill Howell was the "go-to" person (engineer) for Chevy racing components at GM, he frequently stopped in at TRACO and many of the races, I met him numerous times but only had a conversation with him when I needed Aluminum 427 Heads and oversize valve seats while I was working for Roy Woods.
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« Reply #152 on: June 28, 2013, 02:12:53 PM »

bill was my go to guy at GM racing and katech. used to get care packages as the mrs called them from both back in the day.
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« Reply #153 on: June 28, 2013, 02:18:17 PM »

Thanks for the recollections. Pretty neat that you worked alongside Bill Howell in Vince's group. Certainly a wealth of technical know-how in that group. It does not seem logical to me to defeat the dampening properties of the harmonic balancer but obviously it was done.
the inter part of the damper where the 3 screws went thru was slotted so the outer ring could still move radially . the screws were there to keep the outer ring from coming off. I can't post pictures here so I can't show you
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« Reply #154 on: June 28, 2013, 04:49:45 PM »

OK, now that makes sense. Thanks for that extra information.
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« Reply #155 on: June 28, 2013, 09:18:33 PM »

OK, now that makes sense. Thanks for that extra information.
I sent you a email with the sketch
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« Reply #156 on: June 29, 2013, 12:01:16 AM »

Here it is. Thanks for sending it in.



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« Reply #157 on: June 29, 2013, 07:25:26 AM »

glad i was able to help out because some sites don't welcome my help.   Cheesy
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« Reply #158 on: June 29, 2013, 10:09:47 AM »

Well, you did good here so thanks for your participation.
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« Reply #159 on: July 04, 2013, 09:44:54 AM »

That dampener modification make a lot of sense, although I never saw any dampener problems on the small block or 427 chevys during the time I spent at TRACO, and we did not make that modification then (on any of the engines I remember).

The only engine I remember having a dampener problem, as I mentioned previously, was a 454 block Chevy, where the dampener and crankshaft had to be balanced together, the dampener had additional material added in one area. That 454 was 1 of 2 used in a cigarette boat for offshore racing, and subjected to extreme over rev conditions, when the boat left the water and the throttles could not be pulled back fast enough. The pilot said it failed during one of the over revs.

I mentioned the 2 Bill Howells I knew in a previous post, Bill Howell (Davy Crockett) at TRACO was actually Walter Howell, but everyone called him "Bill", I'm not sure why Bill and not Walt.

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« Reply #160 on: July 04, 2013, 10:05:51 AM »

Here's Bill Howell from GM standing next to Mark Donohue. This was taken at Marlboro Raceway after the '67 Trans-Am season was
over. I think it was December '67. Penske's team was testing Goodyear and Firestone tires and the new Holley double-pumper carbs.
Penske had been a Firestone tire distributor but switched to Goodyear after this. The crossram set-up would render the double-pumper
Holley irrelevant for the upcoming '68 Trans-Am season.
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« Reply #161 on: July 04, 2013, 10:27:23 AM »

i was at marlboro race track when mark was almost killed. the was practicing in a open wheel formula car when he spun coming up onto the oval. he was setting facing traffic when dr geo don't remember his last name drove his ferrari over the front of marks car and stopped several inches from marks head which was against the roll bar. i was there that day with ed lowther and he had been pushing SCCA to stop allowing the open wheel and the closed wheel car from practicing together. this stopped it
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« Reply #162 on: July 04, 2013, 10:33:09 AM »

here is bill's business now run by his son matt. http://howellefi.com/
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« Reply #163 on: July 04, 2013, 10:58:01 AM »

I found this old photo of Davy Crockett on the TRA-CO website under "Friends". I'm not sure when it was taken, it's marked 1984. He looks exactly as I remember him back in the late 60's.

Walter Howell III aka "Davy Crockett" 
© Jim Jones 1984

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« Reply #164 on: January 01, 2014, 11:03:07 AM »

Short SEMA "Heritage" article on Traco pointed out to me by Robert Lodewyk. Nice to see them still getting some recognition.

http://www.sema.org/sema-enews/2013/22/sema-heritage-chevy-small-block-and-traco-engineering
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