A week ago, Brian Wheeler (Brians70XL) and his wife, Cherie, drove up from Fort Worth, Texas to visit Robin & I for two reasons; to experience the Woodward Dream Cruise
and to pick up his 351Windsor engine that I built for his 1970 Ford XL (Brown Sugar).
Brian arrived Thursday 8-24-17 and it was action packed the entire time until they left on Sunday, to see the eclipse. If ever there was a marathon, this was it. The Woodward Dream Cruise actually starts a week in advance so that everyone from Florida to Canada and from NY to California and all over, can get here and set up. 1,200,000 people attended this year with more than 40,000 classic and muscle cars. Time, for us, was short. We cruised Woodward and A&W Drive-in, in our '59 Galaxie, ate at good restaurants and we even hit an ice cream parlor. But much of our time was focused on preparing the engine for a test run and to complete the test stand.
I built Brian's engine a year ago but he asked if I could hang on to it as his car body isn't quite ready for the engine. I have four engines in my garage but hey, what's another among friends, so I did. It remained on an engine stand until Brian arrived.
The initial start for any engine is a bit rough because all the hydraulic lifters are dry (not pumped up) so the valves don't work right until they are run. Yes, I always prime the oil pump before starting but that only fills the oil galleries, rocker shafts and bearing passages. Until the crank and cam turn, lifters don't get filled.
Click on Brian's picture to see this bad boy start up for the very first time:
The video goes into saturation because we have open exhaust manifolds. We're using common 10W-30 Shell oil because he is running a roller cam from Comp Cams. Oil pressure is 60-PSI when cold and slightly lower after warm-up. Compression is 9.2:1, heads and intake are Edelbrock aluminum and his new carburetor is a 650-CFM Edelbrock. The stock rocker arms (1.5:1) and shafts are original 1970 Ford. The timing chain set is a true roller, advanced 2-degrees, from Summit Racing. There are no coolant or oil leaks. The ignition points are original but timing is not set up at all. In short, this engine is built for Texas heat and it runs beautifully on regular pump gas.
I welded this test stand on wheels (two swivel and two stationary) for easy maneuverability. Most of it is 1" square 16-gauge tubing, to run the engine and to transport it in the bed of Brian's pickup truck. The engine is now safely back home in Fort Worth, Texas.
For those who don't know, Brian is Leonard Wheeler's brother. Both brothers are truly great guys that I am proud to know. Hopefully, they will come to future Woodward Dream Cruises as my guest. - Dave