Clutching To The Past cont...
by "Animal Jim" Feurer
RTE was very Tuff!
One of my clutch secrets with the Big Animal was using a softer Pressure Plate (a street and strip Savage) and the best (Hayes Pro Stock) type organic solid hub disc. It slipped just right allowing smoother power shifts. The disc would wear a bit every run. The air gap would need attention every few runs. After 25 or so runs, a new disc would be installed. The second time for a disc, a new pressure plate would also be needed. I called it a "poor man's slider."
The other thing I did was use a heavy flywheel for that huge Merc. I also altered the bell crank on the clutch linkage for a quicker release. I repositioned the bell crank arms and used a Mr. Gasket adjustable clutch peddle stop to accomplish this. Effective pedal travel is less than an inch with .035 air gap, measured with long feeler gauges through a 3/8 hole on bottom of the Lakewood.
In much later years while racing my Zephyr Zeke, 1987 was the brink of the Outlaw Pro Stock days. (Outlaw Pro Stock was thanks to my very good friend, Mr. 200 Wild Bill Kuhlmann. Of course we all know, what we outlaws did in 87-89, became Pro Modified in 1990.) Another good friend and former rival, AHRA Pro Stock Champion Chuck Aronson introduced me to duel disc clutches. Chuck sent me a , like new McCloud duel disc 10.5 clutch set up, with a note. "Hey Animal, Try this some time. For baseline, call Red at McCloud."
Sometime finally came. I was in need and put that thing in and called Red and got a base setup. Wow! What a revelation. I called Ram who was my clutch sponsor and told them they needed a duel disc like this. At first they replied the set up was too heavy. I answered, "Not this one!" When time came to freshen the McCloud, after a whole season, and winning races and a UDRA championship, Pat at Ram said ,"Hey, send me that thing." The Mc-Ram duel disc clutch was born. Ram then did their own from scratch and kept me in duel disc clutches for years.
For 89, after Rick Jones did some updates to my Zephyr "Zeke" including that huge adjustable spoiler, I had my clutch management so tuned that we could raise that huge spoiler up a hole and the clutch thought we took counter weight off.
Picture a cool , night at Kaukauna ,Wis after a 90 degree day-- at midnight, with dew dripping a pattern around the car. After a burnout the windows would fog over. ( I conquered that with "Treatment" paste wax) Now you had more HP but a damp marginal track.
Those cars back then with a 4 speed Lenco, third gear was the pinnacle if you were going to shake, get loose, or both. We would put that wing up a click and that Zephyr would go right down that marginal track. That was also true of all my future cars. The Probe and two Super Coupe Birds.
Wing and clutch. Kind of like "Words and Music."
However in more extreme cases we would need to go in the can and change static and counter weight. Those old duel disc clutches did not need ground all the time.
There are other secrets to The Big Animal that gave me an edge. One major one had to do with the front suspension. My competition sometimes would run right on their dial, and I would win running .005 slower than my dial in. Of course it had to do with reaction time. We did not have progressive et slips then. All we got was ET, MPH, and who won.
The way my front suspension worked on The Big Animal when leaving the line, allowed me to let the clutch out between the last two yellows of the 5. Several times we had to rerun, because my side had the red and green on together. Couple times, the tree went blank. Or my competition would whine, the clocks were wrong, and, as always, I would have to beat them a second time. (Try whining to get a rerun today! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Look at pictures of Big with the radical positive camber and toe in when wheels are up. When down, just the opposite. Critics would "whoopee doo and yippy doo" criticizing my severe camber and toe change, that my car was screwed up, not realizing they were looking at my big edge. which is perfectly legal.
What I loved, when it was someone I was constantly beating, criticized my front wheel alignment.
If you would like to know how that is done send me a case of good Zambooka. I'm easy. LOL!!
Animal Jim Racing
128 N. Main St -- or POB 16
Lacon, Il. 61540
Thanks for reading my stuff. And the feedback. www.animaljimracing.com
Animal Jim Feurer
Nostalgia Drag World - by Animal Jim Feurer - photos courtesy of AJ
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