The Staging
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project: stocker  
  • Project: Stocker

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  • Update: December 10, 1997

    It was the middle of November -- not a great time for racing here in the northeast, but it was time nonetheless. On Friday, Nov. 14, Billy Nees and I drove out to his shop in Kenvil, NJ and started the thrash to actually put the stocker together.

    While Billy insisted on doing 99.9% of the work, I guess I helped by providing a recepticle for various and inventive cursing at times when things weren't going just right. Ah, well... whatever makes the guy happy. ;) I was at least able to keep a sharp eye on every step of the way so I feel much more comfortable with working with the car. Interesting note: It was Thank God It's Zeppelin weekend for the local radio station. 24-hour continuous Led Zeppelin tunes all weekend long. I used to like Led Zeppelin a little... ;)

    To shorten the story, the thrashing took place on Friday and Saturday of the weekend. Everything was in and we started the engine for the first time Saturday night. Just for notes, we ended up getting a stock Turbo I converter for the car. Probably the biggest stumbling block was getting the MSD 6AL box to integrate with the Duster's system. We found that the '85 2.2L's had no ground for the reluctor in the distributor, so the MSD wouldn't fire unless we ran it through the car's computer, which we would rather have avoided, as we would prefer to have total control over the car's ignition and timing. We'll work it out.

    Sunday morning the weather turned nasty, and it turned out that Island Dragway was going to shut down. After some phone calls and a vigorous ice-scraping of Billy's trailer, we were off for Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Englishtown. It was my first trip to the place. Given the nasty cold weather, there wasn't much of a turnout, making the huge place look even more flat and desolate. Another oddity: E-town's trophy class runs an 1/8th mile, and their Heavy class is 10.00-15.99. Billy had brought his HF/SA four-banger Sunbird as well, so we had two cars running Heavy that couldn't cover the numbers. Our main concern was to get some runs on the cars.

    We arrived at the track late, but managed to get two back to back time runs, stopping in the pits just long enough to advance the cam. My first pass in the car, I left at about 2500 rpm (.496 red), shifted an easy 5000 rpm, and tripped the lights with a very high 17-sec pass. The Turbo I converter stalls at 3000 rpm by holding the brake on the line and just matting it to the floor, as before. Somehow, Billy and I managed to get paired first round, and due to a timing error we got to make a re-run -- free passes! 8) I lost second round, of course, since we couldn't cover the numbers. To make a long story short, the best run was a 17.53 @ 74 mph. This is roughly one second faster than last year's configuration, and one mph *slower*. We knew something was wrong.

    Back at the shop, we discovered that the secondaries weren't opening at all. Billy has since rebuilt the carb, and reports that there are several black streaks by his shop now. 8) He has also lowered the front end of the car to improve weight transfer (or the lack thereof!). Things still on our to-do list include putting a switch in the alternator, adding a collector to the header, putting the stock airbox back on, and adding an electric water pump, just to name a few things.

    We would like to announce that we have garnered some more sponsors for the project. Keystone Lubricants will be supplying the Synergyn line of synthetic lubricants for the car, and we will be using an electric water pump courtesy of Bill Shoquist at SHOGUN. Thanks to all of our sponsors!

    Special thanks to:

    Billy Nees
    Jim's Used Cars, Montandon, PA
    Keystone Lubricants
    Shogun Industries
    Excel Homes, Inc., Liverpool, PA
    BZ Motors, Lewisburg, PA
    Jim Bageant
    Jill Aurand
    Mike Sterling
    Neil Janashek
    Mark Shreckengast
    and of course the crew chief... Stephen G. Beard (aka Dad)

    - Michael Beard