CRG Discussion Forum
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 21, 2014, 11:08:03 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the CRG Discussion Forum!
Forum registration problems: Make sure you enter your email correctly and you check your spam box first. *Then* email KurtS2@gmail for help.
104621 Posts in 12242 Topics by 4719 Members
Latest Member: Baconcks
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  CRG Discussion Forum
|-+  Model Specific Discussions
| |-+  Trans-Am Camaros
| | |-+  TRACO Fans
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 11  All Print
Author Topic: TRACO Fans  (Read 30457 times)
Pigpen
Member
***
Posts: 47


Ex-TRACO Engine builder - Now a Retired Old Fart


View Profile Email
« 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
Pigpen
Member
***
Posts: 47


Ex-TRACO Engine builder - Now a Retired Old Fart


View Profile Email
« 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
Logged
OCTARD
Member
***
Posts: 264


View Profile
« 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
 
Logged
OG69Z
Member
***
Posts: 113



View Profile
« 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


 
Logged
Sixteen Grand Sedan #56
Member
***
Posts: 73



View Profile
« 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.

Logged

Robert Lodewyk
Pigpen
Member
***
Posts: 47


Ex-TRACO Engine builder - Now a Retired Old Fart


View Profile Email
« 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
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3210



View Profile
« 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
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Pigpen
Member
***
Posts: 47


Ex-TRACO Engine builder - Now a Retired Old Fart


View Profile Email
« 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
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3210



View Profile
« 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.








Jon Mello Collection
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Pigpen
Member
***
Posts: 47


Ex-TRACO Engine builder - Now a Retired Old Fart


View Profile Email
« 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
Logged
OG69Z
Member
***
Posts: 113



View Profile
« 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
Logged
Pigpen
Member
***
Posts: 47


Ex-TRACO Engine builder - Now a Retired Old Fart


View Profile Email
« 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
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3210



View Profile
« 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.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Pigpen
Member
***
Posts: 47


Ex-TRACO Engine builder - Now a Retired Old Fart


View Profile Email
« 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
Logged
Jon Mello
CRG Member
*****
Posts: 3210



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

Thanks for the great info, Pigpen.
Logged

Jon Mello
CRG
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 11  All Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.104 seconds with 18 queries.