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2024 Summer Update: Car Show, AvGas, Catastrophe! And a whole lot more...



In late June, I pulled the old Ford into the garage to get a few things done.


My apologies for the delay in posting an article to the website blog. I endeavor to post twice a month, but my effort to adjust to live and church ministry in California has been quite the challenge! To be frank I have much more material that could be posted on a regular basis. Quite a bit has taken place since the latest post on the Summit carburetor (which is doing quite well, by the way) so allow me to give a rundown. Some of the items in this post will have to be separated out in the coming weeks so that each one can be given its own space, but if you have the time to sift through the content I am confident you will find something beneficial.


HotRodReverend Online Store

Many of you have been asking for parts and other items that I have in inventory. Later this summer, I do plan to bring the store back into operation here on HotRodReverend.com. Over the past few years I had linked my eBay store to the website, making it pretty simple to manage inventory, ship parts, and to have the benefit of thousands of potential buyers view the listings. However, about a year ago I made the decision to abandon eBay as a seller. The fees just simply got out of hand. I can recall several years back when eBay began taking a percentage of SHIPPING FEES that we sellers were paying to carriers. About a decade ago I was able to literally ship a set of heads (in separate cardboard boxes) to customers. Buyers would pay roughly $65 a head to go USPS parcel post. Ebay never collected a percentage of that price. Now, the online “auction” company takes a cut over 10%... just on shipping! (The percentage on selling the item itself is often higher.) When these fees were coupled with what PayPal took as another percentage of the overall payment, there were times I went below breaking even on sales.


The second reason to expand the store beyond my FoMoCo Manual Download is because of demand. Just about every other day it seems, I am getting request for various parts from subscribers and visitors. Many of you are looking for carburetor parts, rebuilt assemblies, or an outright rebuilding service. Next month, listings will be available that reflect the requests I have been receiving over the past year. I do plan to get more serious in the carb rebuilding arena once I can get a Y Block engine on a test stand. The overall plan would be to finish the 312 engine that has been woefully long overdue and using my current 292 in my 1955 Ford Club Sedan on a test stand so that carburetors can be run and given an initial tune before being sent out.


The third reason to expand the store would be the repeated requests I have had to publish the Y Block Magazine. If you are a relatively new subscriber, you can read through previous blog posts to see the backstory on this from the past couple of years. The magazine has been in print since the early 90's, and the current owner/editor Bruce Young has announced that he is publishing his final issue. I have been tinkering with the idea of publishing a quarterly, digital version of something like the Y Block Magazine. I am not aware of who will be taking the magazine from Mr. Young and certainly would not want to cross up the good work the magazine has been to thousands of us. However, it is 2024. Most of what takes place in the Y Block world with this current generation happens online or on social media. If you would have interest in something like this, scroll to the bottom of the post and leave a comment concerning your interest. Of course, I would need need a different name other than "Y Block Magazine" for the digital publication.



Enough preliminary work has been done that a digital publication may be feasible.


HotRodReverend on YouTube

If you are not a subscriber to my YouTube channel, you ought to be! Over the past few months both the view count and subscriber numbers have increased. Of course, the links to many of those videos on my channel are given here in the blog posts since we have the ability to embed them into each article.



My most recent video concerns a review of an adjustable, digital timing light. The 292 Ford was double-checked on both its initial timing and the limit on the mechanical advance. Future plans are to show differences among Ford's versions of distributors and ignition set ups. The most notable would be the difference from the Load-a-matic 1954-56 models (vacuum advance ONLY, matched specifically to each carburetor) and the 1957-64 versions that included mechanical advance. Novice owners of mid-50's Y Block powered cars and trucks continue to make the mistake of running a later model carburetor with a vacuum-advance-only distributor. The ensuing problems are monumental to sluggish performance, gas mileage, and serious problems. The mismatch will NEVER run correctly! (More on all of this later in a separate article.) I do have a TSP distributor with a HEI setup that will be installed in the 312 when it is put on an engine test stand.

 

Father’s Day

I did not have the opportunity to say much about it earlier this month, but just like last year, our church held a small car show just after the Sunday morning services. The 1955 Ford was out with the rest of them this year along with a venerable Mercury Comet that one of the church members had recently finished. The block is a 390 FE that has been bored and stroked to 428. The Comet has all the goodies with a built C-4, Detroit locker rear end, a Mickey Thompson intake holding FOUR 500 cfm Holley’s, and a very good camshaft with a profile to make this door-slammer drag car move out! The owner, who is also one of my friends, have me drive it out on the street a few times. That FE really has the power!



In the collage above you may be wondering what the deal is with the song leader on the church platform and a (cough!) 1955 Chevrolet on the screen behind him. The guys on our graphics team thought they would pull a quick one on me. To help welcome people for Father's Day during the church services, they made a graphic for our screens. And, to make a little rib at me the team took a clip art file of a 1955 Chevrolet and turned it tutone red and white. "That looks like your car up there," many people said.


"Um, no, that is NOT my car - I drive a Ford!" I said as kindly as I knew how. Anyway, we all had a good laugh over the joke. You can view the service by clicking this link on the YouTube channel.



Our church graphics team enjoyed this little joke at the expense of my Ford!


Oil Pan Gasket and Rear Main Seal Retainer



The photos above give an inkling as to what is taking the place in the shop at the current moment. The oil pan gasket at the rear of the 292 started leaking. It has been over 3 years since I replaced the gasket when I did some work to straighten the oil pan rails, install a new gasket for the oil pump, etc. When I crawled under the car, I discovered that one of the nuts (there are two studs on the rear main seal retainer for the oil pan) was literally loose. I do not know how this could have happened, and it certainly seemed quite odd. I checked on the other nut and without thinking gave it a turn with my ratchet – it just spun as the stud stripped out in the aluminum retainer. Now what?


Frustrated, I decided that the oil pan had to be pulled, the retainer needed to be repaired, and a new gasket installed. The detail and work that is going into this otherwise “small” project deserves its own article, so you can expect a dedicated blog post and video to boot. Suffice to say, I have already ordered a specialty stud – Dorman part number 695-097 that is 3/8-16 on one end and 5/16-24 on the other.


Concerning the oil pan gasket, I have quite the inventory of engine, transmission, and rear end gaskets. However, over on the Y-BlocksForever.com forum there are photos of Real Gaskets Tennessee (RGT Gaskets) manufacturing a prototype silicone oil pan gasket, and none other than my friend Ted Eaton was asked to put the new gasket into a test phase. Early reports are that the gasket fit extremely well, and that over the past couple of months there have been no leaks. Ted also stated that he liked the area of the gasket at the rear of the pan. While I will not have my hands on one of these gaskets before my article is posted and the car is put back on the road, I will certainly keep us all posted as this is a wonderful development in the Y Block world.



Another part of this scenario is that recently my oil pressure, with the engine at operating temperature, has dropped to 20 psi at idle. Since 2007 when I installed this 292 it has always been at 30 psi. I realize that is 18 years ago but still... I noticed as well that the gauge reads 50 psi when cold and really never goes over that when driving uniless I wind it up to 5,000 rpm. When the tachometer hits that number, the psi is pushing 60. While the basic rule of thumb is 10 psi per 1,000 rpm, I would like to see this number a little higher. I run 10w40 in the 292 and have never experienced any problems. With several thousand miles on the engine, it’s time to pull a main cap and a rod cap or two to see how the bearings look. I do know that the top end looked very good back in 2022 when I did the E4 camshaft swap.


Video Work

Over the last several weeks I have been experimenting with camera angles, uncommon shots, and even a new microphone system. There was much talk in different forums and social media groups about my GoPro camera footage when I installed the leaf springs and shocks on the car.



Lately, I have been testing angles and lighting under the hood while the car is moving, in-car camera angles of driving around town, shots of the tachometer winding up, shifting gears, etc. While much of this will end up being B-roll for future videos, I was able to get a great, in-focus close up of the crankshaft damper and timing mark for the video when the timing light was reviewed. Shots like these certainly help people see aspects you try to explain. My favorite part in these videos has got to be winding up the 292 to 5 grand or so on the tachometer and shifting to the next gear. It is always refreshing to drive a car that is in good tune!



Experimenting with Fuel

Out here in California, pure gas (gasoline without ethanol) is extremely difficult to find. I have made at least one trip to Willow Springs racetrack to fill up 5 gallon jerry cans with 91 octane “racing” gasoline. Most recently, I stopped at an outfit called Southern County Lubricants and picked up 10 gallons of aviation gasoline. Yep, avgas my friends! You can expect my testing of these fuels to be a part of an upcoming video and a blog post. I will have to mention that the high octane of avgas makes achieving a low idle with the 292 very much possible. With regular, 89 octane, ethanol-free gasoline, I could not get the 292 to idle below 700 rpm with the Summit carburetor, E4 Isky camshaft, and the stock distributor that has the ACCEL 2020 points eliminator kit. The only other thing that I will add is that while the spark plugs show that the fuel is burning well in the cylinders, the exhaust smell is rather “peculiar”.



Late this summer, we will give an update on running avgas in the 1955 Ford!


Catastrophe in the Shop!



Just awful! While working on the Summit carburetor in the shop on a hot day (and a hot engine), the driver's side fender cover blew off the fender when a breeze came through. And of course it landed on the header. I scratched my head for quite some time trying to figure out what I was going to do on this one. Watch the brief video below to see how this all got cleaned up.



New Timing Light

Most of us who turn wrenches in the garage know our way around an inductive timing light. Setting a Y Block's initial ignition time using the factory timing pointer is not all that difficult to do. The degree indications from 10 degrees to TDC are well marked on the crankshaft damper. There are some later Y Blocks in the 60's in the US that had only TDC marked on the damper and a matching timing pointer stamped with a graduated degree scale. At any rate, you certainly get the idea.


Early this month I purchased a digital timing light from Harbor Freight. Historically, this company has been known for imitation, low-quality tools. Lately, the popluar chain has increased their standards somewhat in a few product lines. After receiving a 25% off coupon in my email inbox I decided to purchase an adjustable, digital timing light and give it a review. The video link is below, but you can expect bonus footage and other details when I post the article and videos on Y Block ignition. Needless to say, I do like the timing light, and it does come in a very handy carrying case for tool protection.



Notable News

I was just informed that Y Block legend Karol Miller has passed away at the age of 95. Karol made international headlines in 1956 when he drove his 1956 Ford Victoria to the Bonneville salt flats and set a record of approximately 140 mph. In 1957, he continued the Y Block exploits by heading to Daytona and setting a record there on the beaches during the annual land speed racing event. You can read more about those stories and other notable feats by visiting this link: http://yblockguy.com/articles/KarolMillerStory.html



Karol Miller and his Y Block-powered 1956 Ford Victoria at the Bonneville salt flats!


I never had the opportunity to meet Karol, but I do have a few friends across the country that have been able to spend some time with him over the past decade or more. He leaves behind a great legacy of DIY performance engineering, land speed racing, and from what I understand a great host of friends. Where he is headed in the after-life I do not know. My hope is that in this life on earth Karol prepared himself for what lay ahead by trusting the Lord Jesus as Savior. What about it, my friend? All that we have in this life we cannot take with us. We will leave it all behind. Are you prepared for eternity? You can be! Please take a few moments to read this life-changing message here on the website.


The Hot Rod Reverend

8 Comments


dave.stone
Jul 08

Dan, great update... I always enjoy your stories. We miss having you in Cincinnati.


-Dave

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Daniel Jessup
Daniel Jessup
4 days ago
Replying to

I miss the people and the places in Cincy! Thanks for stopping by Dave.

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B G
B G
Jul 06

Dan,

Welcome to crazy California! I have followed you work on the 55 for years. I also appreciate your comments on the y-block forum. I am resurrecting my 56 Fairlane from long term storage so I have referred to many of your past posts. I have read whatever I could find on Karol Miller. He is a Y-block legend of what racing used to be. Thank you for posting the link.

Av gas is great but keep in mind it does not include road tax. Possibly legal for off road use? Not sure. Anyways, I know a guy who knows a guy that uses 101LL aviation fuel in his high compression 60's cars and even gets the hint of white…

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Daniel Jessup
Daniel Jessup
4 days ago
Replying to

Bob - great to hear from you! Just about everything is taxed out here in California. I was taxed when I bought the AVgas, it was not from an airport but a local supplier - Southern County Lubricants.

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yelmsters
Jul 03

Reverend, I was just amazed at the accomplishments and mechanical genius of Karol Miller. In 1956 I was a 12 year old roaming my Dads wrecking yard sitting in the old Fords pretending to be driving. I was a Ford Guy from the beginning and by 16 I was building flathead v8s and then moved on to Y Blocks. My favorite car to this day was a 312 I built up and put into a 54 Ford Mainline. What I cant understand is how I never read or heard of Karol's record breaking Y blocks back then! Just being able to glean some of the mods he did sure would made my old Ford even faster. He would have been…

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Daniel Jessup
Daniel Jessup
Jul 03
Replying to

It's never too late to build a Y Block! Thanks for visiting the site and commenting on the post. Karol Miller could probably be justified with having his own biography. If someone could also get access to archival photos from yesteryear it would certainly be a wonderful read!

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Chuck Cline
Chuck Cline
Jul 01

Dan, just a thought but I was wondering if a cel phone connected bore camera could be rigged to get those tight close up shots like the timing marks and other things? Also I've always marked my damper with chalk at the timing advance mark I want to achieve. Usually from under the car. Also if you are working on the damper of that area I've used paint to highlight TDC and the advance. I'm sure you must be aware of this. Main thought was the bore camera, they have a pretty good resolution and are handy for other odd things like looking in the bore! :)


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Daniel Jessup
Daniel Jessup
Jul 03
Replying to

Chuck - my Sony camera ended up being the ticket since it has a very nice zoom lens. I actually have a separate zoom lens that goes 100X. I do have one of those scopes and have used them with success in the bores. It sounds like I need to do some more experimenting with that setup though!

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