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Typical summer highs here are mid to upper 90s. This time of year, that means Speedster drives start around 7am, and I like to be off the road by about 10.

'All-day' driving weather usually doesn't get here until late September.

Warmest weather I've done any extended Speedster driving in was about 95. The cooler handled that OK, with the temp needle just slightly above half-way (maybe 205-210 degrees). It 'controlled' to that temp - the needle stayed there, without continuing to rise, on some pretty steep grades in the mountains.

So I buttoned up the underpan, and tried the car again the other day with ambient temps around 90F. There were several complications including a leak in my Filter King fuel regulator on startup and the detachment of the coil wire while underway.

Bottom line: Oil temps reached 220 in about 50 minutes driving the same roads as before. 

I went ahead and rechecked the valve clearances (they were good) and pulled the cover off the oil cooler on the off chance there was an obstruction (nope, all clean). I carefully arranged the spark plug booty thingies over the holes in the fan shroud and drove the car again today for an hour in ambient 80F.

Temp rose very slowly this time and ended up around 210F.

Oil pressure is about 45 lbs at 3000 RPM at that temp. 

I've not yet allowed the oil temp to plateau or stabilize at whatever its max is going to be, but after an hour of stop and go driving I think my readings should be getting close to what they'd be. I think this means I'll need to take them down 20-25F to make the car right.

Plan now is a Mocal sandwich adaptor with a 180F thermostat, AN 10 connectors on braided steel hose and a Mesa 48 plate cooler in the right rear corner of the car, mounted between the trans crossmember and the rear crossmember. At 6x11 inches and 1.5 inches thick, that's about the max of what should fit there, and I may have to re-route the small shifter cable. Looking at a 7-inch low profile fan and a 190F thermostat to put on top, under/next to the spare tire. 

Looking at the stock oil cooler in the fan shroud I'm thinking the Mesa 48, arranged in that way, ought to do the trick.

As always, any advice/wisdom appreciated. 

Ed, consider using #8AN.  I recently ditched the doghouse shroud and internal oil cooler (it was dumping hot air on my AC condenser). I've been running totally on the external oil cooler (with thermostat and thermostatically controlled fan) with absolutely no temperature creep. All of that's plumbed with #8AN braided steel. I suspect it's a lot easier to squeeze into your limited space than #10.


Agreed. The only reason to run 10-AN is if you put the cooler all the way up front.

The temperature was controlled perfectly in my old system, 1.5 qt. sump, full flow, Gene Berg pressure relief cover, thermostat, and cooler in the back in the spare tire area.

Ed, I think you know I've got a dry sump now.

8-AN works perfectly in short runs(within the engine bay), it's what I have on the cooler side of things. Pump to thermostat to cooler to oil tank. It's also what I have on the pressure side of the system, pump to filter to main oil galley.

In the dry sump system, there are two paths and two separate pumps. You have a scavenge pump and a pressure pump, and an external oil tank instead of a sump.

Engine running, the engine sump is dry, my dipstick shows no oil. 

My engine temps run a bit cooler now, I think the cooler is more efficient since it is on the scavenge side, plus I've got my home-made sled tins exiting that hot air rearward instead of down.

OK ordered all the junk. Went with AN10s mainly because I just inventoried my stuff and have the hose and fittings in stock (I probably also have enough 8s but I didn't check).

Mocal Sandwich with 180F therm and two BST 1/2" to AN10 adapters

Mesa 48 pass cooler

2 NPT to AN10 adaptors

190F inline AN10 electric thermostat to actuate fan

6-inch universal fan

I'll probably need a shorter oil filter but we'll worry about that at install time. Other than that it should all fit fine and I guess we'll find out in a week or two.

In other news, I also received like 10 yards of seatbelt material, so I guess it's time to make the rear suspension limiting straps ala @DannyP

I'll get after those and make further small adjustments to the front end while awaiting my oil parts.

It totally makes sense to use what you've got already. The only savings is -8 is cheaper for the fittings and hose than -10.

Like I said before, the -10 makes sense and works better for longer runs. Pressure and flow losses would occur if running oil to the front and back to the engine. You'd have about 20 feet of line to the front versus about 10 with the rear-mounted cooler.

I'm using -10 from the sump plate to the scavenge side of the 1st pump stage, and also feeding the pump from the tank to the pressure side of the 2nd pump stage. All my other lines are 8AN.

The only other thing I'll recommend is using sweep fittings where possible for 45 and 90 degrees. Don't use restrictive plumbing-type angles.


Dripping carbs:

Did you ever measure the actual fuel pressure with the engine running by Tee-ing in a pressure gauge to the supply side of the carburetors?

The number I've always heard for Weber IDF's was 3 psi max, but Anthony tells me 2.5 psi is better.

Starting maybe a year ago, I started getting more raw gas smell than normal, starting about 15 minutes after shutting down. I never saw raw gas dripping, but the outside of the carbs had gradually gotten dirty from gas seeping down the outsides.

Diagnosis was worn needle valve seats, and a rebuild fixed that. What happens is pressure in the fuel line may overwhelm the needle valves a little while the engine is running, but the normal draw of fuel keeps the level in the float bowls under control.

Once you shut down, the pressure is still in the line, the bowls fill and overflow, gas gets up into the top of the carb where it's not supposed to be, and then overflows out through any available orifice. So, dripping gas doesn't necessarily mean any seals or gaskets in the carb are shot.

In my case, worn needle valve seats were causing the bowls to fill, but even if they're OK, too much pressure in the line can do the same thing.

The problem was worse on hotter days.

If you've got an electric fuel pump (I don't), you could try shutting that off to stop the engine (letting the engine draw the bowls dry) to see if that stops the carbs from dripping.


Project Matching Helmet is coming along.


The mid-50s crash helmets usually had detachable visors. As we have seen elsewhere, there's a guy in Costa Rica building painstaking replicas of those at an "Inquire" price point. 

Those are very, very nice but for both budget and practicality I decided to roll with a good, vented retro-looking bike helmet, repainted and modded for an extended visor or "rain visor." 

The one I chose has leather straps that could easily be used to frame the cloth ear and neck covering bits, and it even came with a carrying bag that feels like the right material. 


After wet sanding and a few more coats of clear, I'll take a bit of leftover leather and belt weave material and finish this off in the proper style.



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@Sacto Mitch posted:


Dripping carbs:

Did you ever measure the actual fuel pressure with the engine running by Tee-ing in a pressure gauge to the supply side of the carburetors?

The number I've always heard for Weber IDF's was 3 psi max, but Anthony tells me 2.5 psi is better.



Mitch, I service a local sand rail, just recently repaired the brakes on it. Several years ago(6 or 7?) I put dual 35 Solexes on it for him. Mechanical pump was putting out about 7 pounds! After adding 8(yes, 8) gaskets to the pump I got it down to 1.5 pounds.

But the point is, I measured it with a vacuum/pressure gauge. Auto Zone or whatever no-name store has them. I have two, a new one and my Dad's ancient one, and they concur. 

My self-regulating Carter pump at 3 lbs.? It actually outputs 3.5 engine off, about 3.25 running. So when I say I KNOW my fuel pressure, I do.

I'm not just setting a regulator to "3" or taking the manufacturer's word. Cause they lie.

Ed: I'll never wear a helmet unless I'm on track and it's currently SA-rated, but yours looks nice!

We just keep at it over here.



Fan tested good; I also have the 190F thermostat to put on the outlet side.

I also put the car up and measured ground clearance: 4 3/4 inches at both ends and all corners. Currently cranking up the front a half inch (or three-quarters?) to try to cure tire rub & will turn the rear adjusters to match.

Re-checked toe and it's back to being a half inch out, which I figured from driving it. You can totally feel it in the curves. So will correct that.

Pondering whether to try to redo my center sway bar brackets. They're about half made... Probably do it.


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Update: I finished my improved sway bar brackets to move the bushings out to the ends of the beam where they rightly belong. Being me of course I made a complicated hash of these out of box stock instead of doing the efficient thing (like Danny) and just welding angle iron to the shock towers. I have no excuse.

Here is me at the beginning of the process. I mocked it up on a spare beam I had in the shop:


At this point the box stock looks reasonable. It's near the edge of the beam and can be affixed with muffler U bolts. Much easier than clamping it up and trying to weld directly to the car...or so I thought.


Ah but. In this position, the brackets would make it impossible to get a grease gun on the zerks, so I had to slice/grind a section out of the box to fit it closer up against the shock towers. Also, the U bolts are too short to account for the swaybar bushing carriers (and no one makes 2 1/8 inch J bolts, so they had to be extended.


No U bolt on the bottom beam tube—won't fit with the frame gusset I already welded in. So just a bolt welded in as a stud for the carrier. And a bit of angle to fit up against the stock beam gusset on the frame, bolted through. Why am I not just welding this in place? I don't know! 



All test fitted. Center hole for the U bolt has reinforcement tubing to keep the cut box from deforming when the bushing carriers are tightened with "Chevy hands."

IMG_6197Studs are welded on the outside and the inside—same reason. Painted all the bare metal edges to discourage rust. In my defense: once these are installed all the ugliness of these cutaway edges will be invisible.


Still. This little interlude well illustrates why "building cars for money" will not—cannot—be my second act in my life's career. Chuck Beck I ain't. Not Carey Hines either. 

Alan Merklin is a damn genius and I don't have enough years remaining on this planet to develop a tenth of his skills and ability.

Meanwhile, my oil cooler bits came. I got Karen to help me take the back section off the car today and started test fitting that stuff. 


That little fan is going under the cooler as a puller. I need to make a bracket for the front of the cooler body, and cut and fold the aluminum underpan into a ductworks so all the fanned air gets pulled through the plates. 

I'll start on that tomorrow.


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Gordon I think you're looking at my spare tire mount/rear k-member. I made that three years ago out of some aluminized exhaust tubing. The oil cooler bracket is a bit more modest—if no less holy.IMG_6222

I did spend about 5 hours today finishing that part and cutting/forming the duct down and out the bottom of the car such that the fan will be drawing all it can through the oil cooler.

Getting the fan to lay down in there under that bracket was a trick. But we're down to a couple a speed nuts and some rivets now before moving on to plumbing. I also strung a wire through the holy tubing to run to the fan thermostat. I'll make that the hot lead with an inline fuse and take power right from the starter lug. 

Opening up that nice clean pan I put so many hours into took a deep breath.


Initial fitment was too tight...


Working it on the car like this was a bit fiddly as well. I ended up using a pry bar as a dolly to hammer the curve into the forward opening. Rough, but workable and good for airflow; I'll smooth it out later.


Cut the sides out.


Socked them in with screws for fitment...


Holes seem to line up OKIMG_6245IMG_6246

Generally speaking this installation will not be a focal point of the engine bay.



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UPDATE: Oil cooler is installed and tested good. I ran the car on the same road as before, 50 minutes at 82F ambient. The gauge took about 10-15 minutes to get to 80C and then it just stayed there, finally peaking at about 85C (185F) while I futzed with the idle stop screws in the driveway.

The fan came on and stayed on until about 2-3 minutes after I shut the car off (it's wired straight from the battery lead at the starter). IMG_6283

No leaks in the oil cooler/filter system but driver's side valve cover is dripping again and there's a drip from the front which may be the crank seal or could be from the oil pump. 

Install looks pretty subtle, I think.


With 5.5 inches ground clearance (about 3/4-inch more than last test drive) there is no rubbing of the front tires. The sway bar feels like it's working well. No body lean. Tracks straight. Very crisp changing direction still—enough so that I'm going to re-measure my toe and camber.


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Last edited by edsnova
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