FIRST DRIVE FIRST DRIVE FIRST DRIVE FIRST DRIVE FIRST DRIVE FIRST DRIVE
Finally it moves on its own power
I spent a VERY late night Friday finishing up the tidbits and whatz-its for the first drive. By Saturday morning, literally all I had left was to bleed the brakes. My dad came up to witness the awakening and helped with that task. To my shock and delight I didn't spring a single leak anywhere in th brakes. I am SOLD on AN3 single flare fittings. Simple and effective. The only place I had trouble sealing was on the mandatory 45° double flare American fitting that came off the clutch master cylinder. Could have predicted that I guess. I had to re-flare it to get it to seal.
We cleared a hole to get it out of the garage and lowered it off the stands. After almost 3 years there was still enough air in the tires I didn't even check the pressure.
We rolled it out and it BARKED to life after about 3 cranks. (after a momentary lapse in memory that I had to use the anti-theft clutch button to get it to turn over. I made it so hard to steal I can barely remember how to get it started myself!)
A disconcerting squeal quickly ensued. My mind of course immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion; no oil pressure and I have a block full of cam or journal bearings self-destructing. - So I quickly turned it off and checked the oil, no problem. I fired it back up and had my dad take a closer look. He noticed the alternator belt was loose. Yay!
My favorite repair of the whole build! 30 seconds later it was fixed.
Again, crank crank and BOOM it leaped to life. - and No squealy squealy.
It settled into a low rumbling idle. For blowing right out of the header it was surprisingly mellow. It didn't get raspy until I got on the throttle.
I wrapped it up a few times and checked the gauges, everything was a begging me to go!
Released the brake and backed it out slowly, snicked it in gear and let out the clutch. It’s a pretty abrupt engagement, I’ll drive it for a while but right now I’m thinking I may have overshot the clutch bore diameter by an 1/8th or so – It doesn’t trouble me now, small details…
There was no chirp in the tires (did I mention they’ve been sitting for almost 3 years?) just a smooth lunge forward.
Brake check… QUITE firm, but capable, again maybe overshot those diameters by an 1/8th as well, - TBD.
Steering? Check. Nothing clunking or scraping, full range of motion.
Cops? Nope, check.
Time for a spin around the block. Why go shyly? I’ve been waiting 3 years for this, right!?
First gear, BWAAAAHHHH!!! Second gear, BWAAAAAH, Oh… too fast for neighborhood streets..
Get on the brakes, crackling from the header, and a little complaining from the tires. Pure ecstasy. Zing around the corner. Repeat previous sentence. Zing around next corner, repeat. Yeah baby. I didn’t have to work hard at all to break the rear tires loose.
It was like a go-kart already but needs some (read a LOT) of tuning. I put a LOT of caster angle in, too much in-fact, and I don’t have near enough static negative camber, too much preload in the springs, the list goes on, but this wasn’t a tuning run, it was a maiden voyage. Mission accomplished.
I didn’t drive it long, but it was a blast, gratifying and rewarding beyond belief.
Thanks to EVERYONE who has been a part of making this day possible.
I still have A LOT to do, but I feel like I’ve finally eaten the elephant. I plan on sending an email out to the skeptics and nay-sayers as well as those eternal optimists who’ve been wondering just what in the world does that crazy guy think he’s doing???
- I’m having fun. That’s it. No more, no less. My own personal flavor of crazy, ambitious, raucous, delicious FUN.