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Author Topic: 1990-1993 (FORMERLY 4 YEARS- NOW CONDENSED TO 3)  (Read 52829 times)
Jim Ratto
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« Reply #270 on: November 18, 2017, 00:20:32 AM »

Sorry it's been awhile since I've been here. We've moved, and really aside from working and sleeping, there hasn't been time for much else.

My last post had me with a change of clothes under my arm and a wad of cash in my shorts pocket. I was bored, at home (parents' house still) on a miserable, cold, dark and wet Sunday with nothing to do, and had been looking at that same old California map. My VW was awaiting the install of the new heads I found in the back room at work, and for Jimmy at the head shop next door, to match port my IDF manifolds. On days like this it was easy to self-punish and find all that I saw wrong with my 20 year old life. I had completely screwed myself in a matter of months, when it came to community college. Cold thoughts of the ex-girlfriend still bit and snarled at me, all the time (running into mutual friends will do that). Work had given me a 5 day vacation and, honestly, all I wanted to do was work. The excitement of the 2-liter, during those first few weeks of it running, and the trip to Phoenix, was wearing off. And this "getting used to" curse was going to be an ongoing fight within me, that still beats me on the head, still today.

So there was the map, unfolded, on my bedroom floor. In the extreme east corner of CA, was a shaded area, with very little geographical references in it or around it, except a few, like "Funeral Mountains" or "Saline Valley" or "Zabriskie Point"... which really rang a bell. That shared the title with the weirdo, obscure, hard to find Pink Floyd CD I had purchased the night we were raising hell on Hesperian Blvd in Hayward. The lure of it all was too much. I had nothing to do. So into the little Fiat, and out onto the wet highway.

The route was not based on any sort of efficiency, as far as time or fuel went. Some of the route was determined by a new limitation the Fiat had gifted me with- the windshield wipers' lack of performance (They would swipe very slowly and labored, and sometimes just stop). The winter of 1990-91 in Northern (and Central) California was pretty bad, as far as rain. I remember weeks went by with very little letup, and the volume was remarkable. The new issue with the wipers meant not only trying to dodge cloudburst, but also to try to stay away from cars in front of me, spraying my windshield with grimy water. Interstate 5 was out of the question, though it probably would have been the quickest way, to get south. Instead- I took a chain of little known roads, some just one lane, that linked together in the Diablo Range, and delivered me in the far western badlands of Fresno County. This was a very strange area, coming down out of Hollister, along highway 25, which is sort of defined by the infamous San Andreas Fault, and then heading east, into some pretty unknown and uncharted area. The road was unmarked, no line to designate lanes, or shoulders. Free cattle just wandered as if the road was theirs, unbounded by any fence. Signs only mentioned forest roads, not with names, but with code like references of random and letters. And not another person for hours. Stopping to look at the map, I saw there was nothing for probably a radius of 2-3" on the map, except a few places, one that looked really hidden away high in the hills near my location "New Idria". Never heard of it? Neither had I. On the map one trail went to it, and that was it. End of the line. Pretty weird. I didn't dare go there (though in a few years, I would).
I continued eastward, on this unnamed, unmarked, un-laned antique road. Still the wipers struggled with the incessant rain, but for the most part, I was able to see. After a few switchbacks around these weird grey-green rock outcrops, the car and I were shot into this very bleak, sepia-colored landscape, as flat as can be off in the distance, with absolutely no signs of life anywhere. And no I had not made it to Death Valley yet! It was still a good 400+ miles away!

More next time.
'
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #271 on: December 22, 2017, 20:25:44 PM »

The trip into, and around and back out of Death Valley- now looking back almost 26 years ago, was a couple of days that were simply there to again, figure out, where in the hell I was headed at twenty years old. I had been graced with a 6 day span of time off from work and my car was waiting on a set of match-ported IDF manifolds to bolt to my new Pauter 40 x 35 heads. Months earlier I had wasted away the last few efforts I was going to throw at junior college. And as far as anything to do with a chick to spend time with, at that point, I wanted none of it. So I was left meandering around in a creaky Fiat X19 in the northern end of what was then Death Valley National Monument. All the features here had these grim names, like Funeral Mountains and Bad Water and Last Chance Range. It was really unnerving and irresistible to see these on a map and NOT go see them for myself. And after a few weaving days along slough roads, and along cotton fields, and under the shadows of almond trees and amidst the scents of industry, trash burning and rain-soak asphalt, I got there and found my "other" calling in life and also found that these places were really just names. In March, there was nothing sinister going on in the desert. The alluvial fans that spread out at the base of the various mountain ranges took away the abrupt contrast between the desert floor and the upright peaks. The sand dunes were soft and silent and aside from sidewinder tracks I came across, were not scary in the least. It was a comfortable 70F or so out, with an occasional gust. I drove from mappoint to mappoint, checking them off, in a sort of "I've been here now" kind of way. All brand new stuff to see that day, with the targa top stowed away, T-shirt, and a few cassettes of whatever I was listening to at the time:

The Doors; their first album and also Waiting for the Sun album. (Favorites were The End and Not to Touch the Earth)
Sonic Youth; The Goo, Sister and Daydream Nation albums
Jane's Addiction Nothing's Shocking
Pink Floyd; Soundtrack from the film More and Animals album.

I had hiked deep into the sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells and the sun began to sink in the west. It was time to go. I had figured with a more direct effort, I could make it back to Bay Area in one drive. The wind from the west was now blowing harder and had a real chill, but I was so ignorant. In my dumb brain, all of California had the same weather. I didn't even bother putting the targa top back on. In my mind it would be a balmy drive back home, as all that rain from days earlier was gone. It was going to be like that Eagle's song Hotel California.

It was going to have to be, as I was down to just a few dollars, and when is a twenty year old ever correctly prepared for anything?

The trip south from junction of 190 and 395, past Pearsonville and the turn off for China Lake and all was just a bumpy drive, fighting some crosswinds in the little Fiat. I threw on a flannel but was still just in shorts and a Buggy House T shirt. But in an hour or so, as I reached CA 58 west, near Mojave, things had changed. It had become fiercely cold. And it began to snow. And then it began to snow harder. And the winds really let loose. It was now dark and it was hell to see through a fogged up Fiat windshield that had snow dragging the (already weak) wipers to an almost complete stop. Since the targa top was still in the front trunk, and I now had snow on my lap and entering my sleeves and on my head, it was time to pull off and clip it back on. Big rigs were sliding in between lanes and struggling up the grade. I pulled back onto 58 and, for the first time ever in the X19, lost traction under power.
Ahead a sign announced there was a town ahead, Tehachapi. Now big rigs were leaving the highway. This was a problem now, as I  had been using their lights as guides in the poor visibility and had been using their tracks in the slush to gain better traction.

For those reading this, bored by the lack of any VW-talk, my apologies. We'll get back to the shop and the parts and the cars soon. This dumb little trip does somehow fit into all this trying to figure things out theme of this era.

More next time. Merry Christmas to everybody.

Jim
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Neil Davies
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« Reply #272 on: December 23, 2017, 01:20:26 AM »

Merry Christmas to you too, Jim. VW-content or not, still an entertaining read! A bit different to my "bought a bug at 17, crashed it, fixed it, went to loads of shows and got really drunk" formative years!
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2007cc, 48IDFs, street car. 14.45@93 on pump fuel, treads, muffler and fanbelt. October 2017!
Brian Rogers
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« Reply #273 on: December 23, 2017, 03:53:10 AM »

Thanks Jim! Needed this return to our youth stories. Snow is always fun for California noobs. My 1st snow day expierience was in a ‘67 Chevy Van. 6 Banger 3 on the tree and L60/15” BFGs on the rear. Not a snow tire. You can all imagine the fun with all the weight on the front axel. Miss that old van
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Nico86
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Turnip engine.


« Reply #274 on: December 24, 2017, 00:33:20 AM »

Merry Christmas Jim and to all of you guys!
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #275 on: December 27, 2017, 19:47:59 PM »

I ended up wheelspinning my way through downtown Tehachapi in the X19, now after dark and with windshield wipers firmly lodged under accumulated snow and mud. I found a small motel that looked to be open, and the lot was mostly empty.
I had $17 in my pocket, and walked into lobby. An older lady came to the desk to greet me. Predicament explained, she not only let me stay in a room for $17 but also gave me a bag of chips and a paper plate with some green grapes on it. Also told me to move my "sport car" out from under the eave, unless I wanted it buried by snow from roof in the morning.
The next day I gingerly made my way back to the Bay Area on the fuel I had topped off with in Mojave (the fuel gauge in the Fiat did nothing after 1/2-tank), and using wipers selectively in the hard rain going up Interstate 5. Now, when using wipers, the coolant temperature gauge would quickly go into the hot zone and beyond. Not only that, but the engine actually lost a discernible amount of power after turning them on. Only a Fiat could provide its driver with the convenience of ineffective wipers and an overheating motor during a late winter storm.

Once back in town, and with 3 vacation days left to burn up, I decided to call up Hannan's Machine and check on my Weber manifolds. I had walked my IDF manifolds and a (rough approximation of) template of the Pauter oval intake port layout over about a month ago. This time Jimmy said they were ready, and the bill was $40. I ran out to Hayward, paid my bill and took them home. Jimmy had even run a bead around the base and about an inch up the lower neck of each runner. Now it was time to get to work.

Prior to vacation, I had Rob in the back shop @ Buggy House "cc" my new heads with the shop graduated cylinder. After finishing he scrawled on each head "48cc" in blue felt marker. My old heads were 53cc. I knew that meant something was going to change. Rob and I found the old Berg book and did the math on the office adding machine. My compression ratio had now jumped to 8.8:1.
By cc-ing the heads we also discovered I was going to need to find "Kawasaki" plugs, as these new heads had different threads than my old 044's. Rob had an old plug stashed he used for cc-ing, but BH didn't stock this thread size.
Off to the Kawasaki dealer...

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« Reply #276 on: December 28, 2017, 20:52:51 PM »

Merry Christmas to you and family, and thanks for the always entertaining read  Wink
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #277 on: December 29, 2017, 00:30:12 AM »

We'll get back in the fast lane of the hard core segments of VW-hot-rod learning via the school of hard knocks now. It was during these spring months of 1991 that I really began to develop a sense of, I don't know if it was intuition or some kind of sixth or seventh sense of voodoo or what, but I know I started noticing stuff, and a lot of that stuff wasn't in any books that I had read (and in some case, still haven't). A new sensitivity to how minute changes to a "system" would affect how the car reacted began to slowly develop at this time. In all seriousness, almost all of my spare time was going into screwing things on to my car and then driving the wheels off of it to determine what, if any discernible effect any of it had.
I had started collecting technically minded books, not really specific to the Volkswagen, though some touched on using the VW air-cooled engine in competition. One really good book, though now outdated (but still a great reference) is by Philip H Smith, from Bentley Publishers, titled The Design and Tuning of Competition Engines. A medium sized hardcover book, that to the everyday guy, was probably less interesting than watching white paint dry on a wall. But this was, at the time, the best thing, by far, that I had found to read and try to understand and (better yet) apply to what I was trying to do.

Here's the problem:  I had no real disciplined single idea of what it was I was trying to do.

I had been to the VW drags @ Baylands Raceway in Fremont CA a few years earlier and had my mind blown, as I mentioned in one of the first entries about 10 pages back in this thread. Seeing cars like Dragonslayer and Dave Perkins' turbo car and then the R&R Machine sedan do what they did, yes it was all pretty amazing, but it was all over in 9-11 seconds and to me all this work I had been through in the previous months making this street motor live, it didn't seem to me that running a car for a few seconds every couple of months was worth it.
I had also, in the year or two prior, so 1988-89 or so, became aware of the Porsche Carrera 4 cam engine, and its use in the various 356 street cars. The idea of a wolf motor hidden in the sheep's clothing of the 356 really appealed to me. The fact that the engine was basically a race-tune Spyder motor that had been tucked into the 356 was super cool to me. I had a VHS tape when I was 17-18 that featured some in-car footage of a 904GTS and a 356 GT Speedster Carrera. Of the two, the 356 made the angrier noise and sounded more in tune. That engine coming on cam, made this unique, nasal snarl-howl sound that actually burned itself its own little corner in my brain. I know because I haven't had that VHS tape in 20+ years but can still remember that sound.
So it seemed, what I wanted was the thrill and exotica of the Carrera motor, but for the cost of VW parts. The 2054 that I had put in the car in fall of 1990, with its 125 Engle and ported 40 x 35 heads and 44 IDF's seemed to me that it came pretty close to what I imagined a Carrera to run like. And had I not started to read stuff, and read more and start assuming I could do better and better and get sharper response from the motor, and more top end, and more torque and more crispness from the Webers, and had just left it damn well alone, the last 26-27 years may have been much easier. Or had I said "I want my car to be street legal, 100% and run 12.40's all day" things would have been easier too. But I was trying to navigate this blurred line.

The Pauter machine heads represent the first effort in reaching this VW-nirvana, I guess.

About a week after my trip to Death Valley was over, I brought our shop engine man, Rob, home with me one night. My motor was on the stand, with original heads off. There it hung, with the AN8 oil lines bleeding cold green Kendal oil on the garage floor. I assumed, we'd bolt the heads on, button up rockers, dress it with cylinder covers and fan shroud and shove it back in the car-  that night. This was a big part of my problem- the ignorance is bliss syndrome. To me, a VW head was a VW head, was a VW head. Sure the new heads had these bigger, shiny ports and different valve springs but otherwise nothing else seemed different enough to cause more uproar in my 20 year old life.
Like I mentioned earlier, the heads were about 6-7 CC less than the heads coming off. Yep, guess what- it was due to a deeper flycut. We had the heads bolted on, slid the 8 chromoly pushrods into place and went to bolt rockers on. Not only was there no lash, but many of the vales were being held open by a good amount. Here again, young and not having been through this before, it was easy to just get pissed off.
Good thing Rob was there. He told me this always happened. He prevented me from taking the dumb, easy way out and "just shimming the rockers out." Instead he said he's come back the next night with a dial indicator, and a test pushrod and we'd redo rocker geometry. Ok whatever that means.

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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #278 on: December 30, 2017, 01:18:04 AM »

While my motor was getting use, but was awaiting the new heads, another new employee was building a 94 x 69 for his '64 Bug. This was a really cool kid from Alameda, Javier. He had started at the shop a few months after me. I think we were roughly same age. He was way more disciplined when it came to life overall. He was attending classes regularly at Chabot College near the shop. He seemed to be a little more grounded when it came to spending his earnings too. At this point, I think he was driving a stock dual port in his '64, which was dark grey primer, lowered up front and had 5-1/2" chrome wheels with Wolfsburg hubcaps.
He was having Rob, our engine guy, build his engine. I doubt that it wasn't that Javier could build it, I just think he was really tied up for time, between working, college and his family life. The engine was very typical for a Buggy House "off the shelf" engine at that time:

good, used dual relief case, I think his was Brazilian AS41
welded 69mm counterweight we were buying through IAP and then sending to Ashland Grinding to be balanced
Rimco Super Rods
Engle W110 with Scat lifters (yes you could use them back then, without question)
Melling iron oil pump with Bugpack full flow cover, Parker PushLok lines and fittings, HP1 filter
12lb flywheel, 1700lb Kennedy, and brass weave disc
041 out of the box heads, but Jerry would go through and install single HD springs, and grind the keepers
VW 1.1:1 rockers on Bugpack solid shafts and Bugpack Courier feet adjusters
Bosch 094 new distributor, W8AP plugs, Taylor wires and Blue coil
Brand new set, identical to mine, of Weber 44IDF from Redline
And a merged Phoenix 1-1/2" header with dual quiets

At about the time I was getting my manifolds back from Jimmy next door, Javier was getting used to his 1914, and realized he wanted more out of it. So it was decided he would pull his motor out and he and Rob were going to have my 044 CB heads gone through by Jimmy and replace the 110 cam with a 125.

Back to my garage. Rob had me bring one of my Pauter heads to work the next day so we could install a light "hardware store" spring in place of one of the real valve springs. He told me this was going to make it easier to check geometry and setup a new set of pushrods to make. I was still really lost, though I wanted to understand, somewhat. But not enough to pay attention and see that what Rob was doing, really wasn't that complicated. It just was a few levels above just "bolting the right parts on", which in many ways, I wasn't even very good at.
That night he followed me in the Fiat, in his primer gray '69, out to my folks. We mocked up the head with the little spring on it, onto the motor and he then bolted a flat oil pump cover to one of the exhaust studs. I was already confused, but still tried to figure out what was going on here. The dial indicator was attached to a series of adjustable arms and this attached to this massive cube of metal with a dial on it. The dial looked to activate some kind of magnet? He stuck this contraption to the oil pump cover and engaged the magnet. He then swung the dial indicator part of this over to the one valve sprung by the test spring, and zeroed the gauge.
From there it was him turning the crank pulley around and around and stopping at checking the dial gauge and looking at the rockers and then would turn the crank more. I watched and couldn't make out what was going on. I knew that 2 year earlier, on my first ever engine, my 1641 with the Engle VZ25, I destroyed a valve adjuster because I "didn't know the first goddamn thing about setting rocker geometry" (Jerry's words at the time, when I had to admit defeat, as his customer, and bring my wounded engine to him). Best to keep my mouth shut and let the expert do his thing now.
After another half hour, Rob had checked geometry and established the new pushrod length, with the two-piece pushrod he brought with him. He told me the next day at the shop he'd cut me a new set on the lathe, and I should be good to go.

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JezWest
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« Reply #279 on: December 30, 2017, 18:58:54 PM »

Just wanted to say that I love reading these posts. Really interesting to see how that unique knowledge gets built up over time. Can't wait for the next installment.

Have a great New Years!
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Brian Rogers
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« Reply #280 on: January 01, 2018, 06:31:56 AM »

Thank you Jim!
Happy New Year!
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #281 on: January 13, 2018, 01:31:35 AM »

Over the next few nights, after getting home from work, I screwed the cylinder covers, exhaust system and fan housing assembly onto the engine, and got it ready to go back into the car. While the engine was out, I had located another decent original 1971- VW doghouse shroud, to take the place of the aftermarket 36-hp style that was on the motor. A quick run through the parts washer at work and a simple coat of satin black rattle can and it was ready for business. I covered up a dent in the face of it, with a Bosch Spark Plug decal (though the motor now had NGK D7EA's in the new heads).
I also replaced the tinny, flimsy air filter housings that came with the Redline dual IDF kit, with some really nice K&N assemblies, that weren't cheap, but felt like they weighed twice as much as the Redline ones.

Here's an overview of the old vs the new in Spring 1991

Bore:     94mm
Stroke:  74mm
Case:    Mexico universal
Cam:     Engle W125
Heads:   Old- CB Performance 40 x 35.5 044 Magnum (1989 version) New- Pauter Machine 40 x 35.5 with oval ported intake, larger exhaust port, and 12mm plugs
Carbs:    Dual Weber 44IDF now with welded and ported intakes and K&N filters
Exhaust: 4-Tuned 1-1/2" merged with dual QP
Ignition: Bosch 094

I also added a GB 1-1/2 quart deep sump.

Though only the heads and a few details changed, the difference in the engine's personality was evident as soon as it first fired to life.  Both the mufflers and the carburetors had a much more pronounced sound to them, even just at a dead cold idle. The exhaust had taken on this tone of anger, the pipes like two chrome cannons, doing their best to silence the engines new "problem child" attitude. The pair of carburetors, like the exhaust, were now making the world know, that this engine was put on the planet to raise hell. Whereas before, the carbs emitted a rhythmically even purr, they now had a nervous growl, even just at idle. After going through the drama of setting the mixture, air bleeds and synchronization, I connected the linkage up and zapped the throttle a few times. With no delay, the engine answered back with a immediate WHOOOOP and would settle right back down to its 1150 rpm idle. Much like the night back in fall of 1990, when this motor first came to life (with the old heads), I was hell bent on getting the car out in the night air and getting some initial impressions.

And, in the 27 years or whatever it's been since this all started, still today- nothing can really top that obsessive feeling of wanting to go out and find out if all that work, and waiting and cost.... was it all worth it? What will that first impression be, once the oil is up to temp and the road in front of you has cleared and you dig deep into the throttle. To me, that first impression kind of tells you all, right away, if you've done it right or if it all was for not.


Here's the motor on the stand in my parents' garage, before the header was back on.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 02:00:20 AM by Jim Ratto » Logged

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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #282 on: January 13, 2018, 02:04:08 AM »

actually, that picture has to be from a later date, as the exhaust ports show the motor had been run. I know when this picture is from, a few weeks into the future. I will get caught up to it soon.

Jim
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andrewlandon67
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« Reply #283 on: February 12, 2018, 20:40:52 PM »

Any updates ready for us, Jim? I'm sure you've been busy with all of the other parts of your life and I certainly don't want to hurry you, but I'm certainly excited to hear how those old Pauter heads ran in the car! And you're definitely right, the anticipation of taking a new engine out for a ride is second to few other things.
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #284 on: February 19, 2018, 22:18:39 PM »

I'll have to start off by saying, this was one of the engines I should have been smart enough to just leave alone. The combination of the short stroke, increased compression and the 125 Engle, thorugh the new ported heads, was a recipe that was for all intents and purposes "Just Right." But more about my mistakes of NOT leaving well enough alone, later.
I did end up taking the car out that night, like always, gently around my parents neighborhood, just letting the rpm tiptoe into where things started to happen. Right away, it was obvious the motor wasn't playing kids' games, and it meant business. Off the bottom it was the increased compression, giving every nuance of the motor a more grizzled edge to it. Now possible to lay down some tire marks by goosing the throttle in 2nd, and then, once the cam got on board, it was hell bent on going for broke. The old warbly tone of the Webers with the old heads and lower compression was now replaced by this rabid bark, that as the revs climbed, took on an almost feral scream. The Porsche 914 tach was hopeless. In first and second the engine would outrun the bouncing needle, so I was shifting now when the power fell off, at an unknown RPM. My route this time, late at night took me out to Stanley Blvd, a reasonably long 4 lane straight arrow between Pleasanton and Livemore, adjacent to a regional park and some gravel quarries. (About two years earlier, on this very stretch of road, I rode helpless in a 1964 primered Bug, seated on a plank of plywood where the rear seat should be. No seat belts, door panels or carpeting. Behind me hammered away a 92 x 82 with 44IDFs and 041 heads at full song. The car was almost airborne, 4 aboard, well above 100mph, when all of the sudden the driver needed the brakes, badly, but there was nothing beyond the limp pedal. We rolled at 70+ mph, and all walked away from it. Me climbing out where the quarter window once was). I turned right, heading east on Stanley, and now with oil up to temp, belt buckled, and the road to myself, I stomped the throttle. Protest from the tires, countersteering to keep the car straight, now with traction.. then up to second, again audible loss of traction, as the streetlamps blurred past me. Up into third, now on better side of 80mph and no let up.
Was the waiting, the work and the metal effort all worth it? I was now into fourth gear, firmly in the speed range that would have sent me to jail, and yes, it was all definitely worth it. At this new level, this new version, I doubted I was going to "get used" to the new found power and frenzy. Everytime I squeezed on the throttle, I found I'd actually feel worked over, like this was now work. It took on a new aspect of fear. I had read and heard many times "the heads make all the difference when it comes to power", and now I had to admit, it was true.

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redwagon
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« Reply #285 on: February 20, 2018, 18:48:55 PM »

I had a 914 tach in my '67 for a few weeks. That bouncy needle drove me insane.
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karl h
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« Reply #286 on: February 20, 2018, 21:52:45 PM »

if the needle bounces the dampener inside doesnt work. common problem with old tachs
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andrewlandon67
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« Reply #287 on: February 22, 2018, 18:20:09 PM »

Man Jim, that sounds quite a bit like how I felt the first time I took my car out with the second version of my 1914, in that the car took on an attitude that I didn't think was possible in a car that drinks pump gas. Still thoroughly enjoying your stories, and waiting patiently for the next installment!
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #288 on: February 22, 2018, 20:54:41 PM »

I had a 914 tach in my '67 for a few weeks. That bouncy needle drove me insane.

A guy we knew had a bunch of free VW and 914 junk he was throwing away, this tach was in the pile. Up until that point I had a Suntune tach down on tunnel, in front of shifter, in a small  box I made and was upholstered in blue vinyl by my Mom. Wish I still had that actually.
The 914 tach went in speedometer hole. One night, before any of this 1990 story started, Frank and I got nailed for speeding in San Ramon. When the cop approached my window, it was the first thing he asked me about ,"What in the hell kind of speedometer is THAT?"
Didn't go over too well.
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Ron Greiner
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« Reply #289 on: February 24, 2018, 01:17:05 AM »

914  & 911 tachometers had a lot of bounce in them, that was stock,
I sent mine out and had it redampened and it took the bounce out.
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andrewlandon67
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« Reply #290 on: March 12, 2018, 20:44:01 PM »

I have kind of an odd question for you, that I think relates to this same time period. When did your car get the PGSNZEN license plate, and what, exactly, does it mean?
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« Reply #291 on: March 15, 2018, 23:31:11 PM »

1989. It's a Jane's Addiction song from '86 or so, I think first released on their XXX live album. Used to follow them pretty heavily at the time. Still enjoy their old stuff from back then.
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andrewlandon67
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« Reply #292 on: March 19, 2018, 02:27:29 AM »

That's pretty rad! I gave it a few listens, definitely a good song from a really unique band. I feel like they're one of the better examples of the style of music that bridged the gap, so to speak, between the earlier '80s hardcore, and the heavier, slower grunge movement, sort of a heavier, trippier R.K.L.
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« Reply #293 on: March 19, 2018, 21:49:00 PM »

That's pretty rad! I gave it a few listens, definitely a good song from a really unique band. I feel like they're one of the better examples of the style of music that bridged the gap, so to speak, between the earlier '80s hardcore, and the heavier, slower grunge movement, sort of a heavier, trippier R.K.L.

For me and the few VW hard core weirdoes that made our little group of misfits at the time, Jane's Addiction even usurped the Ramones as the "go to" band that just was anti-everything. Or, not really "anti-" but apart from everything. In the 1980's, at least up north, the cool kids would never waste their time poking around under a VW trying to make it fast. We were the bottom rung of the social ladder, trust me. A familiar environment for me back then. As an elementary school aged kid, I couldn't do anything that involved a ball. I was resigned to sitting off in the corner reading my old man's hand me down Road and Track magazines and listening to AC/DC. Junior high, while the masses flocked to the arcades and to navigate the malls, I was building Tamiya car models and drafting engine designs and hiking on day long excursions up into unknown, private properties east of our neighborhoods. Old Ozzy Black Sabbath seemed to be the choice at that time. And once I got behind the wheel of the most looked down upon car in our high school parking lot, I was already comfortable as the outcast. Actually preferred it. I think it was senior year I had first seen the insides of my own VW engine, and began to really think about how to really piss off the Chevy crowd. No talking, all action.
Jane's Addiction was only sort of talked about amongst the music people at high school, I'm thinking 1988 or so. I remember a SPIN magazine with Perry Farrell on the cover, he looked pretty way out there. I read some of the article and the band just seemed unlike anything else that was going on, at least that we were aware of. It really was a mish mash kind of mess of different music genres that had been thrown together to make something new and actually genuinely unique. And it had exponentially more "gusto" than anything else anybody else was playing. And man, was it loud.
That first studio album, "Nothing's Shocking", it just bristled with power and originality. To me it was the rock and roll equivalent to what a no bullshit hot-rod VW was, at the time.
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andrewlandon67
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« Reply #294 on: March 28, 2018, 21:10:51 PM »

Again, that sounds about right for what that era looks like in my mind. I decided to give N.S. a listen the other morning, it's really good music to zone out to a bit, and you're right, really LOUD! Thanks for putting up with stupid questions from someone who hadn't even been born when this was going on! You got any story updates ready for us? This new motor's sounding pretty exciting so far!
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« Reply #295 on: March 28, 2018, 21:23:32 PM »

I'll try and find some pics from our epic road trip (with my 68 in tow) from Van city down to LA around that time and see what year it was exactly.
And of course we tried seeing some bands while there. Black Flag was a no-show, which was a bummer. (we listened to some Minutemen on the trip) A guy outside asked us if we were ready to do some 'slammin' at that show whatever that was Smiley Then tried to get in to a Pandoras show but our driver-dude was 'too scared' to go in with some gangstas at the door. Pussy!
There was another show we did get into (can't remember the names) which was hella fun!
Here at home, more recently, I went to see the Angry Samoans in 2012, and woah! I was not ready for that onslaught as my iPhone flew out of my hands after getting nailed from the side. Great band with lots of energy still !!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Samoans
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 22:46:39 PM by Martin S. » Logged

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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #296 on: March 29, 2018, 16:30:00 PM »

Again, that sounds about right for what that era looks like in my mind. I decided to give N.S. a listen the other morning, it's really good music to zone out to a bit, and you're right, really LOUD! Thanks for putting up with stupid questions from someone who hadn't even been born when this was going on! You got any story updates ready for us? This new motor's sounding pretty exciting so far!

Frank lived on a cattle ranch in no-man's land between Pleasanton and Livermore (in the 1980's-90's this area resembled parts of the Midwest). The long, straight, 2-lane road leading to the ranch was private. It became our "killing field" once we realized what was at our disposal....

If you get my drift.

More later.

Jim
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andrewlandon67
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« Reply #297 on: April 10, 2018, 18:11:13 PM »

Sounds pretty damn exciting Shocked just waiting on an update when you have the time!
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« Reply #298 on: April 17, 2018, 00:17:39 AM »

Roughly April 1991...

One of my bosses' kid was a year or two younger than I, and was into VW's too (not hard to figure out when his Dad owned THE VW shop best known in Bay Area). His pride and joy was a really nice Squareback, I think a 1967, painted a color that always reminded my of the almond milk or something. It was like a burnt off white, with San Bernardino Glass one-piece windows and panel type rear glass, match painted fake Empi 8 spokes and a heavy lowering job at all four corners. The motor was a mild 1776, 041 heads, Engle 110, 36DRLA's and full flow. This was the proven, "safe" engine recipe that BH made at the time. Safe, but not fast. And it seemed this kid had no intentions of making his Squareback fast, so he started working on a Pontiac Tempest. It was white, and I know he and my boss built some engine for it. I don't know Pontiacs, or how people make them fast, so I can't say what was done to it, but I know it was:
a. larger than its original displacement
b. loud
c. tuned to sound fast and maybe go fast

He'd been working on this car over the winter and early spring months. I had no interest in it, whatsoever, I just would see it at BH, moved from one place in the yard out back to another. And I'd hear him and Jerry arguing and getting frustrated. One day they dropped the motor in and a few days later, it fired to life, with the sound I had hated so much in high school... that "rumputta rumputta" idle that populated the school parking lot. All the kids that had taken Easy Street and had V8 confidence under their right foot, unlike me and the other dorks with VW's and the like.

As the spring weather made its transition from cold to balmy, it became very apparent to Frank and I, that on most any night of the week, we had his private "driveway" at our disposal, as a test track. Pleasanton police were notoriously extreme when it came to street racing, exhibition of speed, non-original exhausts, etc. Trust me, I had been marked, and had ran out of rope. Learning to jet Weber 44 IDF's and read spark plugs didn't fly as an excuse with them. Even in the most remote, deserted industrial parks, the cops were looming in wait. So Frank's road was a real gift. I had a pile of Ziploc sandwich bags with all kinds of Weber main and air jets, and this was how most nights would unfold. I'd get off work, and head to community college. Within 10-15 minutes, I had glazed over and tuned out... completely losing any comprehension of what was going on in class. So I'd leave. Frank's ranch was just an exit down the freeway. I kept my jet bags in the glovebox and in the driver's door panel map-pocket. I'd roll up to his place around 8pm, just as the sun had set and he'd grab his Casio digital watch (for stopwatch purposes) and we'd head out to the road. At some point, we had odometer-guessed off a 1/4 mile mark and spray painted marks at either end. The system was to change jets and I'd go lay into it, while Frank timed me off. If the time decreased, I'd write down what worked. And so on.
Soon my boss' son heard about the nightly speed-carnival out at Frank's and wanted to get his Tempest out there and try out whatever he was doing to his Holley or Carter or whatever he had. We were perfectly fine with it, really, since we were dumb, and young and never considered that the more cars that showed up and the more black tire marks left, would obviously lead to some kind of problem.
And hey since you're going to be there with your car, and I'm going to be there with my car..... well, here it was.... two dumb young kids, each at the wheel of some crudely hot-rodded mess on four wheels.

Can you guess what the outcome was next time we all met out there?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 00:29:44 AM by Jim Ratto » Logged

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wolfswest
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« Reply #299 on: April 25, 2018, 10:33:04 AM »

 Cool hahahaah  looking forward to the next night!
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