Table of Contents DRO Store Classifieds Speed Connections Archives & Search Contact DRO

Project Muscrate

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 work.

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.


Copyright 1999-2005, Drag Racing Online and Autographix