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Mikelly

Mike Kelly's Zcar Project

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Keith it was in my shop.  I was welding up a couple of patch panels to cover the old trans mount points.  The panels were underside of the car and the car was on the lift in the air... No way to get to it in time for it not to prevent damage.  I spent about 2 hours repairing wiring and then another 3 hours trying to clean fire extinguisher chemical powder out of everything.

Edited by Mikelly

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Sorry to hear that you keep having bad luck with the Z. I almost did the same thing when welding near the transmission tunnel. Nevertheless, I am sure you will have your car running strong around tracks all over the U.S. this season.  :) If nothing else, I have really enjoyed reading your build and I look forward to seeing more! :2thumbs:

 

Nick

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That sucks.  Glad it wasn't worse.  I know how bad it can get.

 

 Decades ago, my z was up on two fork lifts (no kidding, 1 from the front, 1 from the back).  We were in a door warehouse - on the wood door side of it.  I know, young and stupid.

 

We were underneath and my buddy, who still works at the same door warehouse, was underneath the car with me, as we were welding in some floorboards.

 

The interior wasn't completely stripped out, and we had the dash and all the glass and door mechanisms, weatherstripping still in the car.  The ratty stock seats were not there.

 

Interior started on fire.  We scrambled to put the forklifts down evenly (we did).  

 

All of the chemical fire extinguishers in the warehouse, except the farthest one from where we were working, were empty.  The one I brought was not fully charged.  We did get the fire out, and the interior was full of that dry chem powder.  Every nook and cranny were filled - to include up into the areas around the edge of the roof.  Dash and windshield destroyed.

 

A Z buddy had a parts car that I got all I needed out of (had fun getting the tan interior parts from it dyed black).  

 

It took a lot of work to fix all that.

 

Sounds like your fire and mess weren't as bad!  Glad to hear it!

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This list of things to get it ready for the dyno day is getting short... I need to adjust the "attitude" in the engine bay (straighten it) and burp the coolant system (T-stat wasn't cycliing) along with cleaning the rest of the chemical powder out of the car from the fire extinguisher "event".  Before the track weekend end of April I need to replace the front rotors and button up a handful of small things... Getting close to getting some solid data and solid video.  Then it'll be ready for the market...

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Total bust... The motor overheated while Matt Shue was doing part throttle tuning. We drained and checked the radiator and hoses and they checked out fine. We then checked the engine and could not find where the issue was. Matt was using a vacuum tool to test the components and we could not get the cooling system within the engine to draw vacuum at all... Here's the kicker... Zero oil in the water, and zero water in the oil. I'm perplexed at this point and more than a bit disappointed.

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Total bust... The motor overheated while Matt Shue was doing part throttle tuning. We drained and checked the radiator and hoses and they checked out fine. We then checked the engine and could not find where the issue was. Matt was using a vacuum tool to test the components and we could not get the cooling system within the engine to draw vacuum at all... Here's the kicker... Zero oil in the water, and zero water in the oil. I'm perplexed at this point and more than a bit disappointed.

 

Chemical test the coolant for combustion byproducts. Do a compression and leak-down check. Pop the radiator cap off and look for bubbles while checking leakdown.

 

I would have guessed that they were doing a poor job of cooling it while on the dyno but the cooling system not being able to hold vacuum is worrisome.

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The cap failed initially, which we fixed by swapping a cap from another car, but the bigger problem was it went from holding steady with no issues 190-198 to 234 fast when we shut it down.  Matt Shue caught it in time, but this doesn't appear to have been brought on by anything associated with the dyno.  Car didn't make a SINGLE W/O pass.  He was adjusting idle and had started working on part throttle drive-ability... as in like 5 minutes worth of driving on the dyno... MAX.

Edited by Mikelly

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Tuning part-throttle on the dyno can be very taxing on the cooling system if there isn't enough airflow available for the radiator. A WOT pull takes 6-10 seconds. You can be holding a load at part-throttle for as long as you want, the dyno cooling fan(s) must absolutely be up for it. I don't know who Matt Shue is and I'm not saying anything about his work. Just brainstorming based on my own experience here.

 

Like I said, if your cooling system isn't holding a vacuum, there is definitely a leak somewhere. It is not a dyno operator issue, or at least not anymore. Check compression and leak-down if there's nothing obvious.

Edited by Leon

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Chasing down a leak in the coolant system. Spent several hours over the last few days pressurizing the system. I'll continue tomorrow, but I think the motor is going to have to come appart. Ain't looking good.

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Update, We pulled vacuum after relocating the bleed tube for the steam fittings and the motor now has no air pockets. 

 

Also, as I suspected, pulled the trans and the crack at the rear oil galley plug Jamie fixed actually cracked on the back of the block as well.  Motor is strapped up inside the car and the car will go to Jamie Taylor to address this and a few other minor issues as well.  Pics on my FB wall at Mikes Hobby shop.

 

You guys who are scratching your heads should know a few things... The internet is filled with stories of LS aluminum blocks CRACKING.  That's number one.  Number two is that the area we have seen the damage on this, a BRAND NEW GM block is VERY common.  That Galley plug has a torque spec of 44# which is about 26# more than I set it to (18# with loctite thread sealer).  One of the more common ways to damage the block is improperly mounting the block to a stand (which we never did the whole time I had the engine due to the issues with the FIRST LS motor I had (See posts circa Feb 2015).  Another is by pulling the transmission into the motor with bolts with an improperly aligned transmission/bellhousing (if not factory)/Clutch kit or incorrect Pilot bearing.  Again, none of this applied to me.  Another, the more likely cause is that it was dropped at some point from the "manufacture process" to the "Mike received the block" process.  It never was dropped while in my possession.  So why did Mike get yet another block failure?  We're down to two things... GM blocks that did not pass the "factory production" line spec were pulled off line... I can't prove that the blocks were resold, but when I shared my serial number with someone in the know, the answer (off the record) wasn't good.  So buyer beware.  it's almost BETTER if you buy your engine out of a wreck and rebuild it, apparently.  The other of the two things... The rear of these blocks is fragile at the oil galley plug on the drivers side, and the starter mount base on the passenger side.  The casting on these blocks is rough, as you are all aware, so just be careful handling them.  I'm hoping this is the last of my issues and I'll actually get to turn some laps in my car by July/August.

 

Mike 

Edited by Mikelly

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Update, We pulled vacuum after relocating the bleed tube for the steam fittings and the motor now has no air pockets. 

 

Also, as I suspected, pulled the trans and the crack at the rear oil galley plug Jamie fixed actually cracked on the back of the block as well.  Motor is strapped up inside the car and the car will go to Jamie Taylor to address this and a few other minor issues as well.  Pics on my FB wall at Mikes Hobby shop.

 

You guys who are scratching your heads should know a few things... The internet is filled with stories of LS aluminum blocks CRACKING.  That's number one.  Number two is that the area we have seen the damage on this, a BRAND NEW GM block is VERY common.  That Galley plug has a torque spec of 44# which is about 26# more than I set it to (18# with loctite thread sealer).  One of the more common ways to damage the block is improperly mounting the block to a stand (which we never did the whole time I had the engine due to the issues with the FIRST LS motor I had (See posts circa Feb 2015).  Another is by pulling the transmission into the motor with bolts with an improperly aligned transmission/bellhousing (if not factory)/Clutch kit or incorrect Pilot bearing.  Again, none of this applied to me.  Another, the more likely cause is that it was dropped at some point from the "manufacture process" to the "Mike received the block" process.  It never was dropped while in my possession.  So why did Mike get yet another block failure?  We're down to two things... GM blocks that did not pass the "factory production" line spec were pulled off line... I can't prove that the blocks were resold, but when I shared my serial number with someone in the know, the answer (off the record) wasn't good.  So buyer beware.  it's almost BETTER if you buy your engine out of a wreck and rebuild it, apparently.  The other of the two things... The rear of these blocks is fragile at the oil galley plug on the drivers side, and the starter mount base on the passenger side.  The casting on these blocks is rough, as you are all aware, so just be careful handling them.  I'm hoping this is the last of my issues and I'll actually get to turn some laps in my car by July/August.

 

Mike 

Wow, Mike I am sorry to hear that. Your luck has been nothing short of amazing... amazingly terrible. 

I am extremely surprised that GM or a GM vendor would be so careless as to potentially let items that have failed QA make it out to the public.

 

You mentioned that incorrect mounting of a block to a stand can cause this issue, would you be so kind as to elaborate? What is correct vs. incorrect? 

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I am extremely surprised that GM or a GM vendor would be so careless as to potentially let items that have failed QA make it out to the public.

 

This topic has come up at a few companies that I've worked for when they put their 'QA FAILED' parts into the scrap bin, and get taken away to some mysterious destroying plant that no competitors or foreign nationals could possibly get their hands on to reverse engineer.... RIGHT. 

 

I had to break the news to them that scrap yards will gladly let you walk in off the street and purchase whatever scrap they have recieved at 2-10x the price they purchased it at.  I've gotten Fox Racing parts, along with a handful of other company's rejects or tooling for pennies on the dollar because they had a surface blem or some other minor issue.  

 

Doubtful that happend at GM, but what might also happen is that something like 'early blocks' were purchased by GM's aftermarket sales department, and in the meantime, GM production recognized a problem on the production blocks, fixed the design/mfg issue, but never revisited the 1000 blocks GM aftermarket had already purchased, had in storage etc.  Much easier to look the other way and ignore them.  Bummer that you got one of these though.

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Back in the 1980s when brake cleaner was chlorinated, you could have someone sit in the car on the lift as you welded on the floors and the brake cleaner would put out any fires that started.

 

Then in 1991, they changed the formulation to something that burns with great vigor.

 

This brought about the inevitable huge poof of flame accompanied with brake cleaner sprayer diving out of the car, falling six feet, and performing a ninja-like landing on his way for the fire extinguisher.

 

Of course, the original formula would release phosgene gas when superheated but it would instantly douse the fire.

Edited by HowlerMonkey

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It has a lot to do with the way you mount the back of the block to a four arm engine stand.  Stay away from mount holes near the BOTTOM of the block and make sure the bolts are appropriate METRIC size steel with appropriate length to penetrate the full depth of the hole and then take up the "space required with approprate steel flat washers so you don't bottom the bolts out in the holes.

 

Wow, Mike I am sorry to hear that. Your luck has been nothing short of amazing... amazingly terrible. 

I am extremely surprised that GM or a GM vendor would be so careless as to potentially let items that have failed QA make it out to the public.

 

You mentioned that incorrect mounting of a block to a stand can cause this issue, would you be so kind as to elaborate? What is correct vs. incorrect? 

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Sasha is back at home and doing well. We will reinstall the trans components and see how it goes. Hoever, I will be sidelined for a bit while we find out if there is something significant going on with my wife's health. Unfortunately, Donna had an unfavorable exam yesterday and we are going to start down the path of finding out if she has lung cancer or not, along with heart related issues. All the sudden cars and other things in life don't matter anymore.

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Journey slowly beginning to come to an end... I am starting to amass the data, software and build records for the buyer, a member of hybridz. I am glad it's going to a good home far away from my zipcode so I don't have to see her with another guy.

 

Mike

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