Thursday, August 20, 2015

#becauseRoadKill

That's the hash tag for the HotRod magazine RoadKill webisode and I guess it's fitting. The web show, where David Freiburger and Mike Fennegan throw hot rods together and make a road trip out of it seems to strike a cord among the masses of gear heads around the states. I'm guessing it's backlash from those masses against the mega money built cars and trucks of today that we all think are cool but will never have the six figure pocketbook to build or own.

They definitely have a following and although I'm not always entertained by their builds or methods I do like how it seems to bring the fun back into hot rodding. Sure they are still sponsored and get freebies the rest of the rodding world can only dream about but they seem to end up making it feel like you could actually do some of that yourself... maybe.

With the RoadKill Takes America episode spending a couple days in Oklahoma and having enjoyed seeing and talking to Freiburger at Drag Week 2014 I couldn't resist taking a couple days off to see some of their builds on the Hallett road track, the Tulsa drag strip and follow along for a visit to the Hajek Motorsports Museum this summer. The produced version will not be online until December of 2015 and I can only hope that my face isn't in there somewhere but I figured it would be worth a little road trip.

In the spirit of #becauseRoadKill I decided to NOT take a daily driver and NOT take Interstates or Toll Roads to get there and back. I'm actually glad I did. Although more true along the RoadKill theme would to have been to take the recently running 69 Mustang, I am not THAT confident. Since the old 1988 TurboCoupe just turned over 200,000 miles I figured it would be close enough. Sure, it's a comfy car with cruise, AC, and lumbar seats but it does have a lot of miles, some scary squeaks and moans from the front end, the passenger window doesn't work and it smells like gasoline every time you park it due to a leaking fuel injector. RoadKill enough for me.

The events in Oklahoma included time at Hallett Raceway where it was supposed to be their Grandpa Charger vs the Vette Kart around the circuit. Although for the most part the cars were a bust with a wet track slowing the charger down and problems with the Vette Kart taking up the afternoon, the time with the crew was nice as there were only 30-40 spectators there. It was nice chatting with other RoadKill fans and fanatics as well with some of them following the crew from Michigan through to Ft Worth.

Next was drag strip night at Tulsa Raceway and spectators and RoadKill groupies could participate in this one so there was plenty of action on the strip from 20+ second hybrids to 8 and 9 second rockets. That was a good thing as Freiburger and Fennegan spent the whole evening doing #becauseRoadKill trying to fix the General Mayhem to get it track worthy. The 'big' event here was supposed to be the General Mayhem vs the Blasphemi blown hemi powered 55 of Fennegans. After getting the Mayhem driveable there was an attempt but Blasphemi wasn't playing and never made a full pass. The General did run a 10.666 once Freiburger ran a clean pass which is quit respectable with it's Hellcat transplanted power train.


The best part of the whole trip for me was the visit to the Hajek Motorsports Museum. Brent Hajek is a blast to be around and seems to have the back story for every one of the 48+ cars that were in the museum as well as the many others they have loaned out around the nation. Since Hajek is a big Ford partner, this history was mostly Ford which obviously works well for me. From Bob Glidden's Pinto Pro Stock to modern Cobra Jet Mustangs and all things in between it was very entertaining listening to Brent tell all. We even were able to hear the famous Ford GT-90 car start and rev up in the shop. You really don't hear too many concept cars run, let alone a 20 year old one. Nice.

I cant' say my little trip went without some drama myself but I did make it back in one piece and that's what matters. However, I'm going to have to do some debugging on the TC as once I got past the noisy passenger window, the double try 3-4 gear shift, the freezing up AC evaporator, and the general squirrelliness of worn out front end, I started getting dropping oil pressure and increasing temps on my way to Hajeks Museum. I know these are factory gauges and a guess at best but they have been stable in the past. First I thought it was low on oil as it does use it and I had driven 325 miles or so by then. When that wasn't the problem I just kept on keeping on and enjoyed the stay at the museum. On the way back, the problem persisted. Under constant load the oil pressure dropped down to the danger zone and temp inched up. Clutch it and coast and oil pressure goes up. Hmm...

Once I hit Guthrie on my back road way back home, I turned off the AC trying to see if that was the problem. Shortly thereafter the temp spiked up and she starting billowing blue smoke out the back. At that point I figured I had been "RoadKilled" and turned off on a side street to assess the damage and try to think who had a trailer and liked me enough to rescue me an hour and a half from home.

After letting it sit a few minutes I fired it back up and immediately noticed no radiator fans running. Ah yeah, I had bypassed the computer control at one point to have one fan always on. Quick check and the patched in "temporary" wire had lost connection. Pushed it back in and now we have fan. No more blue smoke either... kind of odd but I wasn't complaining. Maybe that fixed it.... Nope. Oil pressure still drops under constant load but temp was stable now. Limp mode home I guess.

My solution was to chug up the hills and watch the oil pressure drop and then clutch and coast down and watch the pressure rise. Got me home but I didn't make any friends of those following me for sure. Still a mystery as to what the problem is but hey, it wouldn't have been an adventure otherwise, I mean seriously, #becauseRoadKill.



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