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Author Topic: TRACO Fans  (Read 31190 times)
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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Jon Mello
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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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Jon Mello
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Pigpen
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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.

Pigpen
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OG69Z
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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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Pigpen
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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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Jon Mello
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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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Jon Mello
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Pigpen
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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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OG69Z
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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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Pigpen
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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

Pigpen
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klvn8r
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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....

klvn8r
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Jon Mello
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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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Jon Mello
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OG69Z
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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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OG69Z
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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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Jon Mello
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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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Jon Mello
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Pigpen
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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.

Pigpen
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