Monday, March 8, 2021

Happy Days

Wow, it's been a while.  Happily, there's nothing to report but good news.

Let's see... I got my recalibrated speedo drive late last year, and my speedometer now reads within 2% of actual as measured by GPS.  That's better than my Mini ever was.  The only slightly annoying thing is that the needle bounces between 60 and 70, which is of course right in the spot I want it to be steady on the highway...

Highway driving is such a dream with the 5 speed and the 3.9 diff.  I'm running about 3200RPM at 65MPH as my rebuilt and calibrated tachometer indicates.  The conversion has turned a frenetic outing into a true pleasure.  I've got enough power to accelerate in top gear that I can keep up with and pass traffic without needing to downshift.  It's not the rush of a supercharged motor, but it's fun.  And it's also fun to see all these high end sports car drivers give me thumbs up as they whizz by.  (Arizona's got some places with money, so it isn't that unusual to see a Lamborghini or an Audi R8 winging its way along the roads here.)

Speaking of power... I've been battling with this persistent ticking noise ever since the rebuild.  It started at about 2500 and went away at about 4000RPM.  I thought it was the valve train, and I even went so far as to replace all the rockers and valve springs, to no real effect.  The engine ran well and I figured I would just live with it, though I didn't like it.

But back to the power aspect. I was running a '3' needle since I've done some extensive work to the HS2s to flow better, and I'm moving more volume through the engine overall.  (The standard needle is an AN, and the 'rich' is the H6; the '3' is the next step up.)  The only thing was, I could either get a good idle but the engine felt choked off at the top end, or good top end power with a lumpy, low idle that revealed itself to be a rich idle.  So I struck a balance that wasn't great, but worked.  

I also had the '4' needle (yes, the next step up) that I had tried with poor results.  I figured, what the heck.  I had nothing better to do on a Friday evening (because I'm old now) and I wanted to play around.  So I swapped the '3's with the '4's, and turned the mix down a couple of flats to get that good idle.  Lo and behold, she ran great!  So off I went on a test drive, and I had really smooth and strong power delivery with a perfect idle.  But now I could hear some pinking, likely revealed because I had a bit more fuel coming in now.

I dialed back the advance a couple of degrees and took off again.  The pinking was reduced... and so was the ticking noise!  I stopped again, backed the timing down another degree, and both the pinking and the ticking were gone!  My ticking noise was really a regular detonation.  It makes sense because 2500 to 4000 is the powerband for my engine.  As a test, I advanced the timing about a degree and went for a quick drive, and the ticking was back (a little).  At least now I know what to listen for.  I can just baaaarely hear something like it, but I think that's actually a normal sound.

The next day I took a drive from my home out to Fountain Hills, which is about a 40 mile drive.  It was joyous.  Every run up from idle to 5500RPM sounded exactly as it should, and with the twin tip Sebring exhaust it's a throaty, slightly angry sound.  The power is phenomenal compared to the original 1098.  The 5 speed lets me cruise at 70 all day long, and I get about 25MPG to boot.  I want some curvy roads up and down hills to have some fun.  I'd have no problem with a run up to Prescott or even Flagstaff now (though it would be a real challenge, given the grade and the 7000ft elevation).  I might do that this year.  I'd love to get some dyno time to see what I am producing out of this engine.

Now I just need to figure out those squeaking brakes... maybe a big brake conversion a la Creative Spridgets will be the solution.  (He's still working on it.)  But the brakes work great with good pedal feel, and I can lock up the front brakes at full application.  It's hard to complain at this point, but there's always perfection...

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