LeMons Ranchero Update: One Week to Go, All Fired Up and Surprisingly Few Things Left

glowing headersNext weekend we’ll return to Sonoma Raceway with a somewhat improved (but still genuinely terrible) Ranchero in search of two full days or racing. I don’t remember what we did/didn’t have done the weekend before our last race, but two weeks out we’d started it for the first time in months. As of this past weekend:

  • Header installed
  • Second exhaust pipe installed
  • Two barrel carb tuned further
  • Carb adapter throat opened all the way up to 1.75″ bore
  • Front springs cut for a 2″ drop
  • Front end aligned with actual proper camber, caster and toe
  • Rear fenders opened up even more
  • New (well, handed down from the Falcon) windshield installed to replace the scratched, delaminating old one
  • The absence of rain from the forecast means no need to actually wire up those wipers. (BTW, I think that was actually the wrong diagram according to this post)

We took it for a drive (it’s insured and technically (marginally) street legal) and it’s clearly significantly less gutless than before.

However, a few issues and tasks remain:

  • We have a mystery noise coming from the bottom-rear of the motor. When the motor’s decelerating without load, here’s a rattle as it passes through 1,000 rpm. Most googling of the symptoms points to a loose timing chain…except this car is OHV and the noise is at the back. We thought it might be some part of the clutch-flywheel assembly, but the noise is unchanged whether the clutch is engaged or not, which suggests it’s elsewhere. Maybe in the pan? Maybe oil pump? Maybe #6 small end bearing?
  • In response to this, we’re making sure the spare engine is as close to ready-to-go as possible. Also have a few craigslist motors bookmarked for quick buying.
  • Based on those headers, we’re probably running a little lean on the mix and/or retarded on the timing. New jets are en-route and I’ll slap a light on it again.
  • At some point our fire extinguisher spontaneously expelled its contents. We need a recharge.
  • Gotta get the anchors for our new NexGen Rev head-and-neck restraint mounted on our helmets.


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