So Many Derbies, So Little Time

In accordance with my last post, I have started a spreadsheet in Google Drive to keep track of all of the 4 Klein Derby Team (4KDT) derbies, results, and special notes. We are in the heart of derby season so I have not done as many projects and posts as I would like, but I have some in the pipeline and I have had a good couple derbies.

My dad and I had a silly idea to do two two-man team bonestock derbies in two weeks. If that was not enough two’s for you, we followed it up with two second places. This was a lot of work to get 4 cars ready to go in such a short span. Being honest, we would not have gotten all the cars ready if not for the time my littlest brother Justin spent working on them by himself during the week on his off days. In addition, my brother Adam ran the two-man team show in the modified class at Oakley.

In the first derby at Sylvan Grove I drove my pre-ran from last year, a 96 vic with a carbureted 87 (roller) 302 out of a Grand Marquis. I took a bad head on shot about 10 minutes in which took out my radiator, (my bumper was just a 3×3 tube and I had kicked the springs for height, but made my bumper sit too high. After that I took another hard shot to the front from another car that really nosed my car hard. Shortly after that, my driveshaft broke at the front u-joint. I learned that the ford driveshaft u-joints have a lot more clearance in one direction than the other, so grinding for additional clearance on the tight side is a good idea. Dad drove his 79 Cadi hard, and burnt up reverse in his transmission due to the fitting going into the radiator cooler leaking fluid. He insists the fittings were tight before the derby, but such is life. The car that got first broke his distributor cap on the last hit, and Dad couldn’t get backed up off the berm to make a winning hit. I have a Go-Pro video and after pics of these cars, but no before pictures.

In the second derby at Oakley I had a fresh 94 vic, running the stock 4.6, and dad had an 82 Buick with a stock 350/th350 setup. For this derby there was two on two heats to start off. We were the lucky draw to drive the first heat after the fire department had spent the better part of the afternoon watering the track. Steering was abysmal, and it made for a boring heat, but we managed to outlast our competition in about 12 minutes. After the first car quit running, the other car and I got hung up (nose to nose again, doh) and with dad still driving around we won the heat. Unfortunately, my lower core support got pushed in in the process, pinching a radiator hose, and the rear on Dad’s car did metric things and plowed. We had a healthy notch on it, but did not pre-bend it, and the first shot he took was a corner shot from the other cars front bumper sitting higher than dad’s. We spent the majority of the next day working our butts off in the sun on his trunk, my core support, and all the other piddly things we found wrong with the cars to try to give us our best shot at the cup.

Right off the bat in the feature I broke a drivers side tie rod. The failure point I believe to be uncommon in that the tie-rod did not bend or break, the ball joint part of it just popped out of the outer end. In a way, this took the pressure off my driving, but made it so that I could only turn right going forward, and back up somewhat straight. At two points in the derby I almost got put in the dirt from not being able to turn left. I managed to slip off the dirt somehow, and tried to make the hits count when I could. Luckily, there were few kamikazes in this feature plowing into my front end, so that helped me tremendously. At one point the car almost died, but after a few seconds the power came back and it ran fine. I’m guessing it was that point when my starter solenoid broke off, and it was shorting out the power to the ecm. Luckily it had just enough juice to keep running, because there was no restarting it at that point. Dad and I were the last duo still running, but another Cadillac was still laying the wood and in good shape. I have yet to diagnose whether dad’s engine had a carburetor issue, or potentially a camshaft timing issue, but it backfired and blew the rubber caps out of the intake vacuum ports, so his car was running terrible and he had used his back end to the point the c-pillars were essentially in his tires. I did not secure my relocated coil pack well enough to fuel inject rail (needs more than two zip ties apparently), and so at very end of derby was running on 4 cylinders. Dad ended up getting hung up on the 3rd place team car, and that left me to be the runner up this time to the winning car. In funny enough fashion, the winner’s front bumper fell off on the last tap he put on me. (I’d like to think I had a hand in helping that along, as I’d landed at least one corner shot to his front bumper with mine, bending it down) So we settled for silver again by the slimmest of errors #derbylife. I have a Go-Pro in car cam of this derby, as well as a trackside recording, and a few after pictures. I once again forgot to take before pictures, doh!

Oakley Aftermath

Adam and his teammate ended up 3rd in the modified class. They had the hardest fought two on two team heat and Adam’s car took a lot of magic to make it back for the feature. By all rights I believe they deserved 2nd place, but a healthy clock for another car stuck on the berm that eventually got knocked off did them in. Props to that driver for not breaking his stick.

Projects in the pipeline I hope to have posts about in the coming months:

  • Resurrecting a 20 year old pre ran 76 impala
  • Harbor freight alumiweld radiator repair
  • Attempting to run an engine on e40 without any major modifications to carburetor
  • My attempts to flip cars

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