Preparation for 2004 starts NOW

just wanted to remind some racers that get all carried with the Holiday seasons and silly things like your job, that there is a lot to do before the race cars can really "rest" for the Winter. Here is a quick checklist I try to follow and I hope it might remind you of something you forgot to do. After this I will get into the first steps of getting "Project 4-Link" out of the 8.90 Super class wars and into Top Dragster and Quick 16 events.

1. Drain the fuel out of EVERYTHING. I start with my portable generators all the way through the fuel cell on the racecars. I mix five gallons of unleaded gas with a pint of Sta-bil. I then fill up the small engines with this mixture and run them for about 15 minutes. The racecar is drained (methanol in my cars) and I discard the old fuel into a waste barrel. I drain and blow the lines as dry as I can get them. The race carb and fuel pump get drained and sprayed inside and out with WD-40. Use caution when draining fuel especially if you have a portable heater on.

2. Unhook the battery cables on everything. Clean them and the battery posts. I have my batteries hooked up to a Battery Tender all winter.

3. I pull the spark plugs and crank the engine over while spraying a LOT of WD-40 into the intake to coat the cylinders and valves to prevent rust over the winter months. I then back off the rocker arms so the valves are all shut.

4. I raise the car and put it on jack stands so the suspension is hanging and the springs are unloaded. If you do not have a heated garage I would take the slicks into the basement to keep them a constant temperature.

5. Drain the coolant or check the anti-freeze if your climate requires it. Even with a furnace be prepared in case the furnace fails. A cracked cylinder is a lot more expensive than a couple gallons of good antifreeze.

6. The most important thing to do right now is to take a good close look at everything. Brakes, brake lines, door hinges and latches, rod ends, are the shocks leaking? Are the steering components tight? Look for any cracked welds or loose bolts. What about those rod ends on the ladder bars or four-link? Check them close, if the ball is loose or pitted, replace it. It is the only thing between you and the guardrail.

7. Trailer: All I do is go through the trailer and look for stuff that needs to be replaced or fixed for the next season. I always park the trailer on wood planks and cover the tires with tire covers to protect them from our nasty climate. That is about it from the list. It takes me about two weekends to get everything done right. I rest easier knowing when it hits -25 degrees here none of my race stuff will break!

Now a little about the updates we are planning for Project 4-Link over the winter. This is a major project and I know it. The first thing Andy and I did was to remove the engine and transmission and start cleaning the chassis and looking for any problem areas. Jim Pulliam built me a top-notch dragster. It has about 900 runs on it and the frame is still perfect. All we need to do is get the new helmet bars welded in so we can get certified. If you have a dragster and do not have the 1" helmet bars welded around your roll cage you NEED to get it done. You cannot certify without them anymore.

Our first real project was the engine. I took it to good friend and horsepower guru, Jay Roeder. His shop, Roeder Performance and Machine, in Waverly, IA, has built top quality race engines for a few years and his engines are known for longevity and high horsepower. We delivered it with the heads removed and everything else intact.

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