learning the hard way



learning the hard way

Postby grumpyvette » July 23rd, 2011, 10:00 pm

I got asked recently, about how I was so sure that a certain combo a guy was putting together was not going to run correctly?I frequently see guys building engines or modifying their cars that don,t seem to have any understanding of basic theory or concepts or any idea why certain parts match or don,t match an application..
you need to step back and take a few deep breaths, if theres one thing Ive learned over 45 plus years building cars and engines,its that,the truth is that even if you give excellent advice on a well known , and frequently tested,drive train and engine combo, few people will follow your advice.
Ive built or helped build dozens of cars and well over a 150 engines and most of those engines are still running years later, but almost every time Im asked for advice or post a well known combo , I find that few of the guys asking follow thru and buy and install all the components listed, because theres a very strong tendency to either use what they currently have or buy parts their buddy can get at a (DEAL OR GREAT PRICE)
now thats understandable and most of us work on a budget,
but if asked whats the best or whats a decent combo, and I listed a certain,displacement, rotating assembly,roller cam, part number, compression, ratio,cylinder heads, head port work, intake,part number,port work, carb size,header brand and part number, rear gear ratio, converter stall , transmission mods etc. and if the guy asking goes out and buys a random assortment of parts he got at bargain prices that (ARE JUST ABOUT THE SAME THING AS LISTED) hes NOT going to get the same results.
I just grinned and said," been there, and done that 40 years ago!"
surely you don,t think I spent the last 45 years building and tuning engines and watching other guys build and tune their engines and building their cars ,without seeing and learning from the hundreds of both successful and hundreds of miserable failures, and even occasionally being the cause off a few major screw-ups along the way???
I doubt there many guys that have not failed to carefully checked clearances or install a cam that was to large of duration , or wiped a cam at some time in their early career, due to making mistakes, or guys that installed parts that didn,t work correctly with their engine combo, or got a deal on a part only to find it was junk later.
its a fact, no one in this hobby gets by without being involved in or even occasionally causing something to screw up,
the secret is in LEARNING FROM AND NOT REPEATING THOSE SCREW-UPS!
when your buddy's screw up you can learn from the experience without having to repeat or being the first guy to do something wrong, and you can avoid a great deal of mistakes by researching how things are supposed to work, why they work, and what are the common mistakes guys make.
you vastly increase your chance of being successful by duplicating a known successful combo of components, and by asking questions if you don,t understand why or how somethings done or why certain parts are used. you significantly DECREASE your odds of having a good combo if you randomly start slapping together parts you got a good price on
look, in almost all cases your hardly the first guy to think of doing something ,nor are you likely to be the first guy to screw it up!
the skill comes in , in most cases where you learn not to follow and repeat costly mistakes, by asking questions and not taking advice on your engine build ups without doing at least minimal research to see if the advice is valid.
we ALL screw up and to make matters worse theres plenty of incompetent morons working in machine shops and speed shops and guys who are very willing to sell defective used parts at great prices to guys who are basically clueless about what they are buying or how its supposed to work.
EXAMPLE, only a total moron would buy a used electronic ignition control box at a flea market or swap shop unless the price was so low he could accept the very likely chance that its useless and defective , which its likely to be, in at least 30% of the cases.
its unfortunate but there are guys that screw up parts and then dump them on the unwary, new guys to recoup at least some of their investment knowing full well they are selling useless junk.
I was at a machine shop several years ago and the machinist was talking to a guy , on a speaker phone while I was there,that had dropped off an engine block to be checked out, hot tanked , etc, the machinist was calling him to tell him the main lifter gallery was cracked, the guy told him to clean it anyway, and install new cam bearings and brass freeze plugs, as he would just put it up for sale after painting it.
I looked at the machinist and he looked at me and the machinist grinned and just told the guy he could come pick up the block just like he dropped it off, as the machinist wanted zero to do with the guy after that, but Im sure there would be dozens of machine shops, in this country, that would have cleaned and put in the bearings and freeze plugs, and charged the guy knowing the block was total junk, because they got to make some money doing so.


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IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: learning the hard way

Postby grumpyvette » July 23rd, 2012, 1:51 pm

If you constantly work on engines you'll soon realize finding a good HONEST and COMPETENT STAFFED machine shop is rather difficult, Ive had several times when I or my friends got screwed ROYALLY
the first time was when I was about 20, a friend had a BOSS 302 mustang that he over reved and busted some valve train components bent a valve , busted springs, etc, we dropped off the heads for a valve job, got a receipt that said we gave him 2 ford sbf heads for a valve job, two weeks latter we call for the 4-5 time and he says the heads are ready, we get their and he tries to give us two 289 for heads (TOTALLY DIFFERENT HEAD DESIGN) then when we say those are not our heads he swears that what we gave him
(out right theft) he his buddy probably needed a set of the very expensive heads, my friend sued him but could not prove in court that the heads he dropped off were the BOSS HEADS.

DIFFERENT machine shop
buddy dropped off some big block aluminum heads for a valve job, the next day the owner called to tell him that a new employee had dropped them in the CAUSTIC SODA BATH to soak over night, to get them clean , they were severely acid dissolved to the point that they were barely recognizable as heads , all machined surfaces were VERY deeply pitted , the heads were totally useless, the owner purchased brand new heads from chevy, but the $600 in previous port work, and the roller rockers, and aluminum retainers costing more money, were lost in the process


DIFFERENT machine shop
I dropped off a 2 bolt 350 block to have splayed main caps installed with a written quote of $670, when the block was done the price was $1100 , I had foolishly paid in full ,up front, so I could not economically tell him at that point to stuff it up his $%%^^ I should have just walked away and sued him, and got a DART block., his excuse was that it took a good deal longer to machine than expected. being about 22 at that time I was stupid and paid.

youll constantly hear similar stories so it pays to do some serious research before dropping off any parts

http://forum.grumpysperformance.com/viewtopic.php?f=87&t=4786&p=12990&hilit=machine+shop+written#p12990

http://forum.grumpysperformance.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=321&p=3007&hilit=machine+shop+written#p3007
IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Re: learning the hard way

Postby mathd » July 23rd, 2012, 4:36 pm

Yeah, i had a quad engine gone to a guy (home) shop for a bottom end rebuild about 10 years ago when i was 14, quoted no more that 600$.. it ended costing about 1900$, we where flat broke at the time.. he said it was more work because we dropped the engine with the top end disassembled(yeah lol).. paid for it and walked away(there where no way to sue him and he would not let us take the engine without paying in full), sure did not give good feedback when people where asking about him.
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Re: learning the hard way

Postby grumpyvette » August 4th, 2012, 10:14 am

Id bet 70% or more of the guys selecting performance cams for the first engine combo they build ,do so a bit like one of my friends (larry) always did in the 1960s, he would call ISKY, CRANE and CROWER get the tech guys to tell him the cam specs from each manufacturer after telling them about his car and then select the cam with the most duration and lift after comparing the cams from each manufacturer, that would have been BAD ENOUGH, but he also tended to tell the tech guys he had expensive aftermarket components he read about in magazine articles that he "INTENDED TO BUY LATER" not what he truly had on hand currently, the result was that I gained a great deal of experience learning about correcting valve train problems when either parts failed or the car ran like crap!
the truth is that the vast majority of guys select a performance cam for the 5% of the time they may race the car rather than the 95% of the time they spend driving the car, then wonder why it never seems to run correctly

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IF YOU CAN,T SMOKE THE TIRES AT WILL,FROM A 60 MPH ROLLING START YOUR ENGINE NEEDS MORE WORK!!"!
IF YOU CAN , YOU NEED BETTER TIRES AND YOUR SUSPENSION NEEDS MORE WORK!!
grumpyvette

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Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14105
Joined: September 14th, 2008, 1:40 pm
Location: florida


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