Blackhawk Classic 2014 (And its Aftermath)
Sometimes is seems it would be a lot easier to be running a Ford or a Chevy …
After some really good outings, the Blackhawk Classic was, shall we say, less than stellar. The weekend at Blackhawk Farms Raceway started out plagued with electrical gremlins of the worst king – intermittent. The car would run fine and then sputter and cut out, just dying. And then would not restart. Let it set for a while to cool off and we would be back in business. That usually sounds like a coil issue, but changing the coil did nothing. After lots of messing around all day Saturday with the distributor, former Volvo-now-MG racer Dale Schmidt wandered by and said “I have another Crane box and distributor in the trailer if you want it.”
Good times Friday night at the ice cream social. Ray Freiwald, Rick Kardos, Dale Schmidt, Alex Christopher and Joy Perry.
Kennedy Coryell came by with her brother Truman and dad Dean (Dean Coryell photo)
So in went a new Crane and distributor. This time it seemed like we were set to go. Driving around the paddock was successful, so we lined up at the back of the pack for Sunday’s feature race, as we had not qualified on Saturday.
Lots of good zoom zoom in that race, passing many slower cars and doing well enough to set a new . personal best Blackhawk lap. Unfortunately, my lap record was not the only thing I broke.
Periodically I have been having a hard time downshifting into 3rd gear. In the past, including during this race, I have been able to get it in eventually, but going into Turn 6 this time went it went in the rear wheels locked up and we went for a spin in the middle of the track. I was able to back up onto the grass and wait for the traffic to clear, but as soon as I started moving again, I knew we had some pretty significant problem with the transmission. After nursing it for a lap in 4th a downshift into 3 convinced me we were done for the day.
Here’s the video of the race — good, bad and ugly.
When I got into the paddock there was a stream of transmission fluid flowing out the bottom of the case.
Doug Senk had been our crew member for the weekend and came home with us to help remove the transmission. That started an odyssey of getting a new transmission from Sellholm Tuning AB in Sweden.
This included driving down to O’Hare to pick up it up (received 3 days after ordering), and especially learning why parts made in the U.S. of A. are a lot easier to deal with than anything that has to go through Customs. Had to hire a broker to fill out the paperwork because Customs inasmuch told me I would never be able to figure out their paperwork in the time I had.
One could never expect that this was going to be a bolt-up job, even if it was supposed to be. Because the new M4700 transmission is taller than the old M47, the rear transmission mount needed modification – thanks Dave Buettner for the quick welding job – and it’s an inch shorter than the M47, so it was either create a new driveshaft or a spacer. The spacer seemed like the more expedient idea given the amount of time I had to get ready for the West Coast trip. Sellholm sent an adapter and new flange, but between DHL and Customs, the delivery was delayed and I ended up going to Competition Specialists for help. Three hours later I had a new spacer and modified flange.
New M4700 on the bench
Output flange problems – M4700 on left, M47 on right
Sellholm M4700 vs. M47
Original rear transmission mount is too short for M4700
Installed M4700 with Buettner-modified rear mount
Competition Specialist’s solution to output flange problems
We were delayed three days in getting off, and as I type this, we are in North Dakota hoping everything works when we get to Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington.
Meanwhile, the M47 is trash. I had purchased another broken M47 form SCCA 1800 racer Rob Keller, so maybe – maybe – I can recreate one M47 using the case of a stock M47 I had purchased on the last trip to Oregon.
So, there were six Volvos at Blackhawk. Misery loves company. The only Volvo that seemed to make it through the Blackhawk weekend relatively trouble free was Joe Brabender.
I’m not ready to switch to a Ford or Chevy – yet.
P.S. The Contour cameras worked beautifully, thanks to a lot of effort on the part of Contour!