We can rebuild it!
We have the technology!
Aahh! The Muscrate at work! It’s a good start anyway!
My wife Amy is
learning that trick photography better all the time!
Words and photos by Jay Roeder
Wow! What an “off season”!
I am SO glad to be back at it with Muscrate. Since the last
article I have restored a house, relocated my business (Roeder
Performance Machine) to my dad’s former body shop, and
actually managed to get some work done on ol’ Muscrate.
I apologize for the delay to my loyal reader(s)…
When we last visited I had been to the track in late October
to race at a United Sportsman Association Stock/Super Stock
shootout and was intending on doing some back to back testing
on new headers and “merge” collectors. But all
I ended up accomplishing was offending the “save the
ozone“ people by smoking out my area of the pits! As
it turned out, none of us experienced bench racers at the
track were right in our pre-autopsy diagnosis. The best guess
as it turns out was mine as I had purposed a broken ring was
to blame. Well, something was broke all right!
Poor Muscrate was relegated
to storage in the racecar trailer over the winter, also known
as COLD storage, and I was finally able to get to work in
late April. The first thing I did was remove the broken Hemi-Eater
from the chassis and fasten it to a stand. I removed the valve
covers and did a preliminary inspection and didn’t see
anything askew. So, I hooked up the cylinder leak down tester
to see which hole was the culprit and cylinder #1 looked ok
for five months of cold storage at 6 percent leakage.
Next, cylinder #2 and “Houston, we have a problem."
Try 95 percent leakage! After picking myself up off the floor,
I tested the remaining cylinders just for giggles and all
but #6 were between 3 and 8 percent. Number 6 had 88 percent
leakage! For you non-Ford types, these two cylinders are across
from each other and are the second holes back from the front
of the block. Something was amiss and this was too much of
a coincidence. So, it was time for a teardown and I went to
When I removed # 2 and # 6 pistons the cause of the massive
leakage was apparent but the cause of the problem was not
immediately clear. The rings were absolutely stuck in the
piston grooves and were obviously not going to seal anything.
What I couldn’t figure out was why? At first I thought
maybe I had gone “over the edge” on the smoothness
of the cylinder walls and simply starved the rings of oil
and got them hot, and stuck! But, if that was the case why
didn’t the rest of them show any signs of distress?
By now the block was bare except for the spindly 302 crankshaft
and the Comp Cams roller bump stick. The crank turned over
easily but I did notice a very slight more amount of drag
when it would rotate to a certain spot on every rotation.
I looked into the block with a flashlight to see if I could
spot anything goofy and I spotted the number 2 cam bearing
was about halfway out of its bore. I was sensing a trend.
I thought “Crap, I spun a cam bearing. That sucks.”
Well, maybe I would be able to get an oversized o.d. bearing
and fix the block. There’s always hope.