Putting the Vega in the “Double-Duty” Mode

By Jok Nicholson

his is something we are doing not exactly by choice but because the 572 in the “Project 4-Link” is out having some repair done to it. It is necessary if Andy wants to race right now. There was a little extra prep we did to be able to run two brackets with the same car but nothing major.

The first thing we had to do was look for any weak links that might give us problems later. The first thing we looked at was the cooling system for the engine and especially the transmission. The only thing we did to the engine was to put a restrictor in the thermostat housing. It has a 7/8” hole in it. This does a couple of things for us. It holds the water in the block a little longer with the pump running and this means the water can absorb more heat. On the other side of this is the fact that the water is in the aluminum radiator longer and it has more time to cool off. If you are having problems keeping your engine cool or cooling it between rounds, try to slow the water down. You might be circulating it so fast it doesn’t have time to absorb any heat from the block and heads. We also installed a Shogun “Tik-Tok” switch. This switch alternates the water pump and fan. It actually cooled us down faster and saved the batteries because both units weren’t running at the same time. Do NOT use the Tik-Tok during a run, just for cooling down between rounds.

This is the Hurst Quarter Stick and components. Top quality piece that work for us for years.

Second we have been having problems with our old, old Hurst Quarter-Stick shifter. It was old enough that replacement cables did not attach properly and we had welded, brazed and epoxied it several times. I felt like double-duty could do it in. We made a call to Mr. Gasket ‘Hurst Shifters and we procured (begged and pleaded) a new Quarter Stick shifter. I did learn they can be used for both the two-speed Powerglides and three-speed transmissions. The shifter came with all of the correct brackets, fasteners and a heavy duty cable—a nice piece for about $150.


Installation was a snap. It took me about one hour and that included taking the old shifter out of the Vega. Adjustment was simple as well. I put the trans lever in neutral and the shifter in neutral and simply adjusted the threaded coupler on the end of the cable until it slid into the hole on the shifter arm. I plugged in the neutral safety switch wires from the old shifter and it was ready to go. Be sure to check the neutral safety switch operation. The starter should only spin if the shifter is in neutral or in park. Adjusting this is easy but mine worked great right out of the box. That is one more thing I am beginning to like about Chevrolet products, they fit the first time!

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