Monday, February 25, 2008

Still Plowing Forward

I had been working on the brakes when I discovered that the left front was not working properly. The brake cylinder seemed to be OK so the problem had to be in the hydraulic lines.

I had never been too happy with the setup on the brake lines. If they worked fine I was going to leave them, but I didn’t like the way they looked. The fittings seemed strange to me and the appearance of the whole deal looked sloppy. I know, the rule is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it“. I did it anyway. And regretted it later.

I went to NAPA an purchased a flaring tool, the brass fittings required and enough steel brake line to do the job. While I was at it I got a tubing bender as well.

We already had tubing cutters because we use them when building golf clubs. These are all small tools and not expensive.

With the car on the jack stands, I started striping out the old brake lines. It didn’t take long.

When I began to examine the old fittings I discovered the problem. With this type of fitting you had to have the passages lined up just so or they would not work. Some how one of them had be come twisted out of line and cut off the flow of brake fluid. Why anyone would use that type of fitting on a race car, which is subject to heavy vibration, escapes me.

I got busy and before long had a new set of lines run and all the brand new fittings snugged up tight. The job looked a lot neater I felt like I had accomplished something.

By this point the season was starting and I missed the first race.

Brian Kemp, who is managing the racing program this year, had established a new Formula First Class for us. It would be nice not having to compete against all other cars with much higher horse power knowing that we did not stand a chance of winning. Our problem was to get enough cars out to justify it.

Barry and Hugh were all set up to run the first and did.

Unfortunately about two laps into the race Barry’s engine froze up and he had to retire. Hugh went on to win the class. They gave him a nice plaque for his efforts.

Trying to be ready for the second race I got Hugh to help me bleed the brakes and clutch lines. We topped the all up and got ready to begin.

When The brake pedal went down we were flooded with brake fluid. Every damned one of the new fittings leaked.

I had purchased what was recommended but it was the wrong thing. Eventually I discovered which fittings would work and ordered enough to do the job.

I just couldn’t get my self to do it.

Maybe in any project you reach a point where you are ready to give up. For a while at least I had reached mine. I was temporarily burnt out. Even to the point of getting pissed off with Hugh when he teased me about how long it was taking to get this car on the track. So for a couple of months it just sat there.

I think maybe it was all the little things plus the growing realization that I may never be able to fit myself in this car. Oh sure, I could physically get in it and drive it but it would never be comfortable enough to really compete with. Not for me anyway. For a smaller driver it would be fine.

But Blind Mules are still blind mules. I wasn’t through yet.


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