Friday, May 30, 2014

Can a Small Block Chevy Be Built for Economy? Part 1

Can a Small Block Chevy Be Built for Economy? Part 1
Al Ritter 

I have been the owner of a 1965 El Camino for over 10 years, and to be honest it’s become dated. The original hi-compression (11 to 1) over cammed engine has become finicky and almost impossible to tune with today’s gas, and the iron heads certainly have promoted detonation. The M-20 4 speed trans and the 3:73 rear axle have teamed up with the engine to return a miserable 11 MPG with a light right foot on the highway and an even more miserable 8MPG around town. If all my modifications work the way I intend them to, I expect my fuel mileage to increase to 25MPG. 
Engine bay painted and awaiting new engine

In today’s demands for economy and performance this is unacceptable. What can be done with a typical small block that most consider a poor candidate some two engine series ago? There is no doubt that a better candidate would have been an LT-1 to LT-4 series or better still an LS series engine complete with fuel injection. 

What do you do when all your surplus parts revolve around the basic 350 engine? Do you discard all those parts and go with an updated engine assembly, or do you update and refine a tried and true engine combo? My answer was simple, apply todays technologies to the old tried and true 350, and I’ll tell you about my path and part selection as we go along.  

To begin with today’s cars rely on lighter weight materials to create a more gas mileage friendly package. Although I could swap parts of the El Camino for fiberglass or carbon fiber, the return of gas savings vs cost of purchase doesn’t make that a viable option. The weight of the El Camino is -------- and although that is no light weight, it rivals most mid-size cars today. Another problem is aerodynamic drag and the front end of a 1965 El Camino is certainly no 2014 Corvette! Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about that other than maybe add a front spoiler, but we will handle that at a later point in time as we fine tune the combo. 

Full CNC ported
The engine a 040 over 350 will displace 357 cu in. It has a factory forged crank and will house Mahle slightly dished pistons (approx. 9 to 1) that will have a low drag coated skirt and thin rings. This will allow me to run 87 octane fuel another target of mine. I will also be using a 6.0 rod. AFR heads will promote a swirl port design (65 cc) and will have a small high velocity runner 180cc part number #916. This head features a straight plug design to be used with the existing cast iron manifolds that I had extrude honed years ago and work very well. I will be using a state of the art hydraulic roller camshaft from Comp Cams. No standard on the shelf design has a primary intent to give high miles per gallon so a custom grind had to be made, and these are the specifications, .500 on both the intake and exhaust with the 1.6 rockers, duration is 194 degrees on the intake and 206 on the exhaust, and the overlap is 110 degrees. The heads will be ordered direct from AFR with lower weight beehive type LS valve springs set at 125lb. seat pressure. Everything that is low friction will be utilized including bearings and rings and things like a Moroso oil pan with a built in windage tray. While initial break in will be done with a high zinc motor oil, it will be later changed to a full synthetic. 

 FAST EZ EFI kit and my manifold (not supplied in kit)
Filter and Pump
I will be using a factory dual plane 1969 Z-28 302 intake with a state of the art FAST EZ EFI fuel injection retrofit system. This system is an easy to install closed loop throttle body to replace the carburetor. Most of the electronics and sensors are hidden nicely within the design and are well hidden. It comes with a hand held programming screen that will have me up and running with minimal programming effort. Once running the system will be self-learning to maximize the ability to run with performance and fuel economy in mind. Once that system has learned the car, final micro tuning can be done to hit an exact A/F ratio set by the owner, perfect for my aim as an econo-machine! Although emissions aren’t considered in my state for a vehicle this old, I’m sure with the addition of catalytic convertors it would fall within acceptable parameters. Installation isn’t especially hard, just involved. The fuel system is supplied with the kit, 3/8 fuel injection compliant rubber hose with an assortment of press lock AN fittings. Luckily the car had a sump welded into the tank by a previous owner so the line kit could be easily setup from that point. The pump and filter is a simple affair and was attached to the gas tank crossmember.
pickup and pump
original fuel line used as return
A return line had to be used so the old feed line was used after a quick blow with an air gun to remove the nylon screen from the end in the tank. 
The wiring harness has rather bulky connectors on both ends and FAST supplies you with a HUGE grommet for the firewall requiring a 2 1/8” hole to be drilled! Once the harness has been fed into the grommet you are left with ¾” of conduit in a 2” hole…..a tad much to “caulk.” I chose rather to buy a smaller grommet and feed all the connectors through the firewall individually to the underhood connections so I have less area to caulk.

  This certainly challenged my patience, but made for a much cleaner installation in an area that would be seen by the general public. Mounting the handheld controller for the unit proved difficult because of the curved dash for the 65 Chevelle. Although not required for daily operation, constant real time monitoring is a welcome relief to the idiot lights that was original equipment on the Chevelle. The controller has two cables, one for the telemetry and the other for power through a cigarette lighter. I have cut the lighter connection off and hard wired it into the fuse box. The controller will be mounted via Velcro to the bottom of the dash and a/c unit. Initial indications of self-learning were apparent right off the bat as the idle air controller took over and settled the engine speed to the preset idle rpm.

 A fitting for the oxygen sensor had to be drilled and welded into the head pipe after following the instructions for distance and angle, this seemed to be the best out of the way place for the installation. 

After almost 3 hours run time I had noticed that the cold start portion of the program left a lot to be desired, so I called the FAST tech number and explained the problem. He told me that the instructions needed rewriting concerning the adjustment for the throttle body blade adjustment. He wanted me to run the engine until hot and oxygen sensor was active. Then go to the live data section and observe the IAC count. He told me that if I had originally used the instructions to adjust them the count would be in the 30-40 range (which it was.) He told me to use the IAC count to adjust the throttle blades to somewhere in the 15-20 range. That seemed to help the cold start problems immensely. 
The idea is to build a high torque, low drag engine that will in all likelihood FEEL more powerful than the original engine. All these improvements will mean nothing if the final drive stays the same. As the car stands now the cruise RPM @ 60 MPH is close to 3000 RPM! That needs to be reduced, and to do that the M-20 4-speed is being replaced with a TKO 5 speed from American Powertrain. TKO builds these transmissions in either a 500 (500 ft. lb. of torque), and a 600 (600 ft. lb. of torque), because the transmissions come in close and wide ratio variations, I will be using the “600”, as it has a 2.87/1.89/1.28/1.00/.64 gear set. The “500” has a 3.27/1.98/1.34/1.00/.68 gear set, more appropriate to be used with axle gears nearer to 3:08’s.  I am purchasing a complete 10 ½”clutch system from American powertrains’ sister company “The Driven Man.” Another advantage is that it has a standard bell housing bolt pattern, so I can use it with my original bell housing and manual clutch linkage. Their final gear calculator shows a reduction of 32% in rpm @ 60 MPH giving me a final RPM of 1800, getting me far closer to my final goal. My wheels will be updated eventually and replaced to give me a taller tire than I presently have, and that in turn will lower my final RPM even further! 

Other companies had told me that the TKO Tremec transmission wouldn’t fit into the “A” body GM car without major floor modifications. American Powertrain informed me that because of their factory approved transmission case streamlining program the modifications would be minimal at worst. I installed the transmission and bellhousing onto the engine to be installed as one unit. Because of additional length of the transmission this made the combined installation tricky to say the least. Even with my state of the art tilting engine crane the entire assembly had to be swung sideways to make it into the body combo. Once the transmission was in the tunnel things improved. Only one bolt touched inside the tunnel and the additional clearance was accomplished with a simple bottle jack and a piece of 5/8” round bar stock. The shifter is pretty cool and offers 16 different possible combinations to accommodate almost any body style.
The shifter (a short handled Hurst style clone) fit right into my existing factory style hole. The transmission requires a GM equivalent fluid to properly break in the synchronizer set, and 2 quarts were added to be later changed after proper break in procedure with an approved Mobil 1 synthetic. A custom driveshaft and yoke was supplied as part of the kit and after a few simple measurements, one arrived at my door within 3 days! A work of advice when ordering the driveshaft according to the instructions supplied with the kit…..subtract an inch from your final measurement as my driveshaft is a bit too long.

Poly Transmission mount
A custom polyurethane trans mount was supplied with the kit and after finding two non-supplied metric Allen headed fasteners the install was simple. The crossmember frame mounts had to be redrilled to accommodate the longer length of the transmission, but no big deal. The supplied clutch seems to have a bit more chatter than I’d prefer but it has a 200 mile break in period so I’ll wait until that period has passed before making my final judgment. The reverse light switch was faulty from the factory and a replacement had to be ordered. As it turns out the reverse light switch wasn’t bad. There were two electrical connections on the transmission, one on the end of the transmission tailshaft that had a harness attached and one farther up in the middle of the driver’s side that had no harness. The instructions never really said which one was the reverse light switch, and I had assumed that the one on the tailshaft was the reverse light switch, well you know what they say about the word “assume.” I now know it was the one in the middle of the trans on the driver’s side…… have been warned! 

Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires will replace the original setup originally purchased 14 years ago. Michelins were picked for their longevity, rolling resistance and traction ratings on both dry and wet surfaces. 225 45R x 18 for the front and 245 45R x 18’s for the rear.

You Tube video:


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dear Patriots:

Dear Patriots:
William G Burmer

America, after defeating the British forces and driving them from the colonies, became a singular powerful influence in the world over a relatively short time. Powerful in terms of economy, industry, and, militarily. Such influence can only be attributed to it Declaration Of Independence from England July 4th, 1776, and its Constitution of September 17th, 1787

Unfortunately “We the People” have over the past 120 years lost control of our government, by allowing it to become too large; Its legislators have created too many laws, too many regulations, and worst of all a collectivistic, even cancerous dependence by much of the proletariat for their personal existence.

When our founders created our nations laws (contained within the Constitution) they did so using principles written in the holy scripture and common sense. Termed “natural law” because it was attributed to God. Sadly, however natural law and common sense have been replaced by a plethora of vapid codes, statutes, and regulations which are entirely void of comprehension by the average citizen. Left to lawyers and politicians the average person has lost interest and has become indifferent, disinterested in government, and thus, in large part, stealthily manipulated dependents of government. .

Today most sources of employment come from the government: federal, state, county, city, and municipal. Much of what we have become dependent upon from them could very well be administered by the private sector for less expense, and with much more efficiency, America has demonstrated that private enterprise, individuals, capitalists if you will, are the genuine creators of real wealth and jobs.

Government on the other hand must spend our money in order to keep inflation down. As a result waste becomes a necessary evil as we have discovered under the Obama administration. Taxes in general are sapping the energy, enthusiasm and soul from those who work hard to pay them.

Mr. Bernard Baruch, at the age of 93, upon presenting his papers to Princeton University, as printed in The New York Times on, May 11, 1964 wrote 50 years ago this month, “The role of government and its relationship to the individual has been changed so radically that today government is involved in almost every aspect of our lives.

“Political, economic and racial forces have developed which we have not yet learned to understand or control. If we are ever to master these forces, make certain that government will belong to the people, not the people to the government, and provide for the future better than the past, we must somehow learn from the experiences of the past.” AND now, the present!

It is a true fact of life that we have become numb to the reality that government is a consumer of wealth: government produces no wealth. As we go to the poles in June and November this year THINK, seriously! Do you really want the status quo? God help us, You know, He will.

Monday, May 26, 2014



Al Ritter 

Eric Holder seems to think he’s in the driver seat lately as a federally funded project expounds why America should harbor animosity towards “whites.” This is race baiting pure and simple. Let’s just for a minute assume he is right and whites and blacks share an equal distribution population wise in America. Is this a good thing to spend our money on? 

Divisiveness in America between races has now reached an all-time high because of two distinct reasons…Eric Holder Head of the Department of Justice, and Barack Obama our President. They are pushing an agenda of white Christian hatred and have been doing so for the last 5 ½ years. If the population of America was split 50/50 this would be bad enough but in actuality the population is 86/14% white to black. If we as citizens had seen the “White Entertainment Channel” or the “White Miss America” contest, or white children expounding “White Power” with a school as a back drop, African Americans would be livid. Yet every day we see racism shown by the black community and yet nothing is done about it. Why is that Mr. Holder? Does your personal position as an African American Secretary of Justice taint your view of the world? Has it tainted your view of cases that should have actually been prosecuted but weren’t? 

Let’s view the term “prejudice” to pre judge. In my twenties I think I had a pretty open view of the term, in fact I was a Democrat back then. Yes I know that surprises you….but I was! I viewed the world through rose colored glasses and ignored reality. Over the years we judge people on their past performance of their actions, and there are quite a few people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions that I view differently. I see this as “postjudice” not prejudice, and I’ll give you a few examples. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are two that I see in the same light. They both play the race card, and earn a living from it. They have both lied and cheated in the public eye, and neither has graduated from Divinity College, yet both claim the title of “Reverend.” I have NO respect for either one based entirely on their past actions that reflect a one way philosophy on race. 

Therefore my opinion of both these individuals is based on postjudice rather than prejudice. I see Muslims as the most likely religion to strike fear in the hearts of the Christian world because of some 15,000 attacks since 9/11 on nations that both coddle to their needs and others with abhor them. Their religion in my eyes had spawned hatred since the Munich Games, but of course that was just MY enlightening as attacks have been going on since the 4th century. Is this prejudice on my part or postjudice? 

Because the illegal immigration has been going on for decades, we can’t lay the blame at any one administration’s feet, but…….. Barack Obama has chosen to take the path of ignoring the law on many fronts not just this segment. He keeps taking about immigration reform when the real issue should be enforcement of existing immigration law. Our country will never be safe until we can reign in our borders and bring those law breakers to justice. I must admit I can’t place the blame on illegals; they are only doing what they are allowed to do under our law. The 14th amendment to our Constitution was originally enacted to give slaves citizenship. Yet the democrats have construed and twisted its meaning to allow “anchor babies” into this country causing immeasurable damage to the family units of Latina families. I understand this predicament but on the other hand I DON’T see the 14th amendment as being the gateway to allowing such a travesty to occur. If this amendment had not been twisted in this way and allowed for anchor babies, we would NOT be in the situation we are in now. The anchor baby idea was passed under the Johnson Administration in 1965……Babies born to illegal alien mothers within U.S. borders are called anchor babies because under the 1965 immigration Act, they act as an anchor that pulls the illegal alien mother and eventually a host of other relatives into permanent U.S. residency. If I have to place a postjudice on this action I’d have to place it on President Johnson who signed the law into action. Now Illegals who continue over the border now only share a small portion of responsibility because President Obama could stop this porous border problem in the stroke of his pen but chooses not to. 

Prejudice, it’s s strong word, it’s a divisive word, and more to the point it’s an incendiary word. It sparks hatred and anger, but just be aware America, look up the word racism in the dictionary. Nowhere does it claim who is the victim, it works both ways! Let's have a discussion on Race, but let's not have it a one sided discussion like it is now!


Friday, May 23, 2014

You Might Be Politically Stupid

You Might Be Politically Stupid
Kevin Bryant

Are you a target of the Big Central Power Government Hungry Politicians? If you are politically stupid, then the answer is a resounding “Yes”. How does one know if they are or not? This simple test might help you: 

If you think it’s good for the country if government stops farmers in California from growing food because we might hurt a few 3 in fish in the process, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you were one of the countless millions joining Al Gore in declaring global warming would cause the polar ice caps to completely melt away by 2013, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe fracking causes earthquakes, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe in reelecting the same person over and over because that is the only name you recognize, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe that the government only has your best interest at heart, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe the government shut down all the national parks in 2013 because they didn’t have money to keep them open, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe a socialist utopian nation would be wonderful and is actually achievable, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe the rich are rich because they don’t pay taxes, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe children are better off in public schools than private schools, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe speech should be limited and monitored, not only are you a Nazi, but, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you believe all politicians are honest, You Might Be Politically Stupid. 

If you voted for Obama twice, believe being a woman is qualification enough for Hillary to become president, believe John Boehner is a conservative or think 4 people in Benghazi died because of a YouTube video, then you just flat out are Politically Stupid and beyond help.  

So, how did you do?


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

“Three Years and So What”

“Three Years and So What”
Al Ritter 

It’s been three years since Obama declared, “Osama Bin Laden has finally been brought to justice.”  He declared so to reaffirm his war on terror without formally declaring so. It’s a sad state of affairs when our own President can’t formally declare the Muslim world as our enemy. He continually defends the Islamic nations and vilifies the Christian world as the enemy. 

We have to wonder what our President’s allegiance actually is. Although he claimed that “he” killed Osama Bin Laden when it was actually the heroes from Seal Team Six. The records of the secrecy of all special ops teams are sealed, so we will NEVER know how many team members there were, but we do know however that at least 16 members were killed after the attack on Bin Laden’s liar in Pakistan. Certain pundits declare that it was Joe Biden who was directly responsible for the deaths of the members of Seal Team Six because of the announcement of the transport of seal team members in a slow moving Chinook helicopter in a war torn country. 

The facts remain………Osama Bin Laden is dead, but not because of Barack Obama, he never raised a weapon, he only gave the final command to kill him, much to the consternation of many of his compatriots. But three years after the much lauded “killing,” the fact remains that most of, (we can only assume that 90% of those responsible for Osama Bin Laden’s death” are now deceased themselves. 

The biggest question is why?