White Flag Racing
 

Rumor Control


Jan 15th, 2014

   Been too long. I realize I have a responsibility to keep up with reporting on current events surrounding the shop, BUT…I’m not paid to hang around the keyboard and put forth my view. I’m barely paid to be productive, so pardon my tardiness.

   I don’t even know how many months it’s been. I should work my way chronologically backwards for a couple /few weeks from today, rather than the other way around. Today. 2003 4Runner thrust upon me after a local dealership failed to resolve the issue. Reminds me of a C5 that had a computer failure that I couldn’t overcome. Actually, I could and can. But the thing that truly messes with my conscience is costing. For some reason, I would rather shove the late model diagnostics over to a dealer than screw around with it. One reason? Contention. Fucking contention. Our preferred customers bring us project cars with issues, or cars unfinished, wanting them finished, fixed or improved upon. They WANT to spend money on them They WANT IFS, disc brakes, posi units, air bags, rack and pinion. They WANT a supercharger. I rarely get a hobby car or boat in where the customer is so thoroughly fed up and pissed off with another service shop that they come to ME. So, I voiced my concern and reluctance to bring this thing into the shop. The customer is already hot. And we all know, I’m not exactly one to put up with much chest pokin’. But, I’ll try. The dealer has already replaced the ECU, 4Wheel ECU, Actuator, 4wheel selector switch and threw their hands in the air. Great. Thanks. I’m diagnosing tomorrow.

  Monday, the 6th the 64 Ford that came in for major suspension upgrades finally left. Well, I’ll temper finally with, just left. It only took a couple weeks, but we pulled the nose, pulled the bed, added 4 link, IFS, air bags, disc brakes, power R&P, R&I the engine/trans and reassembled all. Very happy with outcome.
 

   The time before that was spent rigging a fishing boat that needed everything. Had twin small block Fords and we threw in a single vortec with an older duo prop. The boat left ready to run with a little more work, but that thing took 5 weeks to rig. These are fun projects that I like getting involved in. The Malibu is still hanging around and I am just about ready to pull the HO motor and install a different gen 6 Big Block and possibly inject it. Still have to negotiate the as delivered condition and price. Sale is pending.

    Before that was Finnegan’s Stainless Trailer. That was quite a ride. Came out nice and the boat will like the ride.

Sorry for the lack of enthusiasm, but we are full on flu here and have a house full of sickos.  






April 30th, 2013

What a great last week! I wonder when I am going to slip out of my optimistic outlook that so glaringly lacks validity. Soon, I hope.  Then I can get on with a personality of curmudgery more befitting my age.  Why you ask? Well, pull up a chair.  This will be one of the more enlightening Rumor Controls.

 

See, we fix things here at the shop. Well..let me clarify that statement. We attempt to fix things.  I have ranted of incorrect parts and the ass f@cking that invariably ensues.  But, this week was a doozy in that arena.  I get so worked up on quality and the general opinion that roughly equates to  “Good Nuff”.   People simply don’t do things correctly anymore.  The general shop just doesn’t give a flyin’ shit about your problem. 

 

I have a customer.  Brought us a present.  On a flatbed. A  C-5 auto convertible for a locked up steering wheel. It’s a dreaded problem.  One that is routinely talked about on C-5 forums as one of the most debilitating, aggravating problems one could ever hope to delve into.  I know it can turn into a RatShit and, well…this one did.  I told the customer it would be in the general vicinity of $500 to unlock his column and install a CLB (Column Lock Bypass).  Usually this wouldn’t be a big deal BUT I AM MFR and God likes telling Jesus, “Hey kid, watch this!  As he magically burns up the column lock motor, Body Control Module AND seizes the steering wheel to the column.  He chuckles and for good measure creates a Downpour on my miserable ass, while I am outside with the top down trying to remove the steering wheel. He either is laughing or farting as a thunder clap seals his latest edition of let me “F” with that guy for a while.

 

          I can either make $500 in an afternoon, or I can make the same amount of money over a two week period.  Maybe not even then.  This one went out to the dealer on a Flatbed.  Boy did that make me feel good.  I spent $400 on parts and tools, can’t charge the guy a f@cking cent and the dealer wants to charge the guy a couple grand to fix a factory recall.   F@ck My Life.

 

         God must have been in a particularly evil mood this week as he brought to me a ’70 Big Block Cuda convertible with a pinion leak.  I don’t know any better, I tell the guy, oh, around $150 for a seal, labor for the swap and you’ll be good to go.  I COULD HAVE DONE THAT.  But, as I pulled the pinion nut, it’s a Dana 60, yes, a CAR Dana 60.  Super rare, and expensive numbers matching unit.  The oil comes out and it’s full of metal.  I call the customer, tell him.  He says he just had the rear end installed and it was whining, plus the rear brakes were grabbing.  I pull the wheels and take a look at the shoes.  Wearing really weird.  Like a quarter of the shoe on top and bottom at a triangle.  Never have I seen this.  I put a stabila level on the axle to verify and a 90 degree on the axle flange.  The Flanges are out by a strong 12 degrees.  Great.  My $150 initial jumped to 2K and THEN with the bent ends and horrible looking perch welding (requiring removal, cutting the perches off, replacing the hubs) is looking more like 3K.  I contacted a guy that knows the shit out of Mopar rear ends and he slices the ends, replaces the hubs, TIG welds it all back together, with fabulous looking welds and Yes, I DO know what a Fabulous weld is.  I am a 13 year AWS CWI.  The gears are a stout 4.88:1 the car is an auto.  Needs more like a 3.55.  Requires a replacement carrier.  The closest Detroit locker is in California.  The car has been blocking one of my bay doors now for 6 days.  I work ALL day setting up the rear end after getting the housing back.

 

Now straight, and ready for install.  These Dana 60 rears can drag you down and pound you into the ground on set up.  I EARNED my $400 set up fee.  Got up this morning, ready for install, went to slip it in and the brake plates are interfering with the shock mounts. Oh, the rear end has been narrowed by one inch.  I struggle to fit the plates, bearings, and axles finally go in.  Install the brake drums and it all locks up.  This day sucks. 

 

I sand on Don’s dashboard for the next 7 hours.  Tomorrow, I reassemble Don’s trailer.  The Datsun is a nother whole ass F@cking.  Wrong parts, wrong parts and oh, did I mention…more wrong parts?

My problem is not financial.  My problem is the pile of stumbling blocks that come with almost every project that rolls through the door.  So, when I tell you, you get your project back when I’m done, that’s what I mean.  Otherwise, take that shit to Midas.




Mar 31st, 2013


It’s almost April. The sun has returned to the great wet north on a sporadic schedule. I’m somewhere between suicide and homicide. We have been working 7 days a week now for a couple months. Took a weekend off for my birthday celebration, or rather acknowledgment, because, there are absolutely no logical reasons to celebrate turning 50. I have fewer years left, than I have lived. Well, that’s a selfish cruel statement, since it implies I know when I’m leaving this life. Which, I do not. Neither do you.

We are busy. I don’t fully comprehend the reasoning yet, but I think it has something with the fact that I am a horrible keeper of time and rarely accurately account for all of the expenditures of a project and it is, it seems…always to the benefit of the customer. Recently, I was given a notepad, to keep track of WTF I am up to. Like I need that! Somewhere along the line, I went through, oh I don’t know, $6700 in parts for the month, and had less than 20 hours billable. You should have brought your project to me BEFORE the notebook! WOW!! Things are expensive! Have you seen the price of steel lately! Holy shit! Aluminum $4.00 a pound! That’s like a gallon of pump gas premium!
 
Speaking of premium, it seems that is what we are marketing; premium. Earlier, I lamented that we care and will only discharge superior service. That statement has landed me in hot water. It seems there may be a shortage of this commodity. I look at the shop. The projects that have landed. Rizzo’s 68 427 Camaro. In for fuel system, line lock, cooling system, engine install and dyno tune. Nitrous is in the shadows. Good project. Bitchin’ car, Full cage, Hoosiers, 4 link, Art Morrison R&P steering. Black, straight with a few chips. This car is a true street warrior and it flat kicked my dual quad 70 SS El Camino’s ass a few years back. Nice to have it here.

Then there’s the Top secret 240 Z in the shop. It’s a straight up beater. We are donating a huge portion of the build, to keep the budget where it needs to be. Think Draguar for a clue as to ownership. Donald Stevens. Reasonable Doubt. A 21 foot Daytona brought to us originally for one of the Air Ride trailers I tout as the next best thing since Sliced Bread. Well…they are, you know…actually better than sliced bread. Because, just between you and I, I would rather eat unsliced bread than reset a pump that had the shit kicked out of it from a buggy spring trailer. I shamed Donald into a full MFR dash layout! Who doesn’t like more gauges than you can comprehend in one quick glance at over a hundred miles an hour! Good thing he went for the redundant safety features along with the space shuttle instrumentation!

We will program his engine to go into limp mode in the event of oil pressure loss, hi water temp, low fuel pressure or hi water pressure, to give him a chance to react before catastrophic engine failure. In the past, I have wired for full shut down and folks have argued that in the event of shut down, you lose steering. I shout back, “With a seized engine, you lose steering AND your motor!!” I think the Digital 7 id going to be our new best friend. Maybe even knock sensors.

Corky Peterson’s 59 Vette is almost done. A few more hours and it will leave a great dependable driver. Lots of stuff done to that car. Lonnie Henderson’s T-bird left with disc brakes, full OEM exhaust, new fuel tank, 12 volt conversion. Super nice 312 stick car with O/D. Jan Timmerman and the A/C Cobra, that car came out quite nice. We redesigned the rear suspension, fabricated an additional crossmember, did an HP series mechanical secondary, added MSD dizzy and HVC coil. Woke that car up! Drives nice! He has a 2011 Grand Sport that desperately needs an Edelbrock E-Force supercharger!

Rambling down THAT road, Tom Brown, a referral from Jumbo Jeff’s place came to us with a Tattered undercarriage, a twisted up intercooler pump, out of cal MAF and MAP sensor situation. Brian Merritt came to the rescue, once again with his EFI live knowledge and his Dyno, tuned that 07 Vette to within a knat’s ass! Paddle shifted Auto. WHAT a handful to drive. You know what they say, six speeds impress the chicks, but Auto’s win races. I am a believer. To our up and coming friends of the next WFR cruise, I don’t want to stack up against this bruiser. You pull up next to a Blue 07 Vette in the Everett area, give it up. You already lost.
 
We took on a 78 GMC front wheel drive motorhome. I don’t know why, but Yvonne Taylor brought us this oversized Pacer. It needed a replacement propane tank. That turned not major, but into more than expected retrofit. These things have air ride! No Shit! Replaced the old worn out Neway ride valves. All the control system had been abandoned in place, the compressor was inactive, so in went in a Viair system with Haldex valves. Just like new? Hardly. The original system had a complex arrangement of valves to campsite level. I made it road level only. Tuned the 403 olds, replaced the engine water pump and a few other things. It’s gone. Kind if a cute motorhome. She swore to run with us to Dexter at least once. So be nice.

Ryan Mustoe’s Air ride street legal dolly trailer is an absolute work of art. Behind schedule and over budget, but WOW! Thank you for letting us to go overboard, Ryan! It will complement the new paint job and enclosed trailer for you!
All in all, it has been a successful few months. Taxes are sobering, to say the least. We have a couple potential projects in the wings. I will refrain from those unless they come to fruition. The house is well - healthy, humorous and balls out, 24/7. Kimberly bought Bud Everett’s Mustang, that is powered by a Nitrous sniffing small block that strolls in the 600 HP range with ease. Caged, Stalled, Fire extinguishers strapped to the roll bar, it is easily the fastest car at Kamiak High. There is a twinge of pride there.
 
I haven’t had a chance of working on the Habit. Darin is on the Green boat, like white on rice. My wife’s Vette still needs rear tires, from my last go’round at Will’s, the Bus needs a little work, The Wagon is actually getting Tunes installed courtesy Driving Sounds, Everett Mall way. Great guys, see Tony.
This rumor Control is brought to you from a somewhat tired, but content MFR.

Dec 4th, 2012

        It’s been a while. Like, prior to Bakersfield. There are lots of rumors to squash. I could sit here and write a control blog on a daily basis, but that would get old in a hurry and I’d have a hard time trying to remain relevant. Speaking of relevance, what is the definition of Relevance anyhow. It’s somewhere along the lines of having something to do with the subject at hand. A statement or some kind of input that has meaning connected to said subject. This goes hand in hand with importance. If you feel something is important, you may have something of relevance to say about it. At which point, it is presumed you are a person of adequate intelligence, possessing  the knowledge base to objectively state your view on this important subject. This leads us to this Rumor Control. Go pour yourself an Adult Beverage, I’m in one of THOSE moods…

 

       Let it be known, I am in the middle of my second such Beverage and the Importance of that does not justify any relevant statement. It is what it is.

       Importance. Wow. We all play important roles in life. What is important to one, may be completely irrelevant to another. Usually is. I look around all the time and wonder what the Hell all these idiots that I am surrounded by are thinking or doing. What the Fuck do they do, that is of relevance, or more accurately, Importance. We are all self important. What WE do is of more value and importance than that next guy at the stoplight, sitting in the rain. You can damn sure bet He is thinking the exact same thing about you. Or, in this case, Me. Sitting there in the rain, at a stoplight…Rumbling, in my Big Block Wagon. What a Nerd. Sitting in your electric car. Non Definable, Gray. No tint, hubcaps.  Wearing glasses…and a nametag. You Fag. Hurry up, you’re gonna be late, getting back to Target, from your lunch break that included a rushed trip to McQuackland for a Shitty microwaved fish sandwich, prepped and presented to you by your typical pissed off 18 Y.O. worker that thinks they have more important things to do. So your sandwich sucks. I can’t stand fast food. Fucking slop. Sometimes we are forced to consume. Well, not really…after all, this IS America. We could pretty easily bypass the Random fast food joint that is now stacked into and Married to every Chevron Station along I-5 North out of California. Fuck, whatever happened to a Godamned SERVICE STATION!! I would happily eat a Microwaved Freeze dried burger, without much of a gripe, if maybe during such dining experience, there was a MECHANIC on duty that would, I don’t know, maybe install a Blown out Airbag on our Tow Rig??!!

     We blew a helper spring on the Dually shortly after leaving Bakersfield. The ride wasn’t TORTURE, like riding a Camel across the Sahara, more like riding  a mildly irritated pack mule out of the Grand fucking Canyon. Combine that with the fact that the Godamned truck was blowing Freezing cold air on my Tootsies, I was a sleepless From Seattle, Pissed Off MoFo when it came time for me to take over the drive duties. We are somewhere in Oregon, it is Piss raining. We stop at a Chevron, the truck now smells strongly of Gear Lube and the right rear wheel is smoking. I’m Tired. Not in a humorous state. I see nothing funny about this. Why the Fuck are we still 10 hours from home, standing in the rain, on top of a mountain pass, with a smoking wheel and have a convenience store operator offering us a squishy? This is INSANE!! I don’t want a godamned Slurpy, I want a Mechanic!! Fix the Frickin’ heater! Knock out that seal and grab an airbag from your shelf, so I can do MY job, in at the very least a SAFE manner. Not to be. I snag a RedBull and slip behind the wheel. Darin is beat, Tracie along with Jessica Haavisto are in the back seat, all bundled up and  comfy. They have No Clue. I pull out and at the first attempt to slow the truck, the brake pedal goes ALL the way to the floor, tripping the proportioning valve and illuminating my Favorite light that resides in your dash at Three A.M. The Brake light. Godamnit! I have a Four thousand foot elevation drop to deal with. I know what the valve does and what that the light means. I’m pretty confident we can make it, so long as we don’t exceed 55 MPH on the downside. I can’t rely on the brakes though. So I gingerly accelerate the onramp and for good measure the Anti-Lock light comes on, just to show solidarity in the Middle Finger the truck is giving me about now.

     We run down the road and I give it my best to navigate the Hell Storm with 10 percent grades, zero visibility. Grabbing gears both up and down grades. It’s fairly important I don’t fail this task. Relevant? Oh, I don’t know. Important? Sure, on a small scale. Not like National security or anything. We deliver the Jessica to her home and head north to Washington. Bakersfield was a blast. The California crew has made it apparent that they intend to tolerate us Northerners. The Truck needs a few hundred in parts, big deal. At the time, though, WOW! It was a Big deal. Cold, stinky, downright scary at times. We don’t give up tho. It’s too Important!

 

     It’s not even two weeks and we are on a plane to Phoenix. Cuz, it’s important! World Finals! For the first time, I’m more along for the ride,  than in a supportive role. This means, I’m actually UNIMPORTANT! I feel like that guy in the Prius, sitting next to me, in the rain. Man, this is a long light! I’m THAT GUY!! We arrive and I casually stroll the pits, making small talk to the early crews showing up. In this unimportant role, I am smitten with the taste of Jack and Coke, which I consume with reckless abandon. I am tired, and the Alcohol is having an effect on me. We need food, so we hook up with some of the Cali guys and head to the nearest Outback. It’s great to have good food. The waiter completely fails us and screws up every inch of the bill, we are patient. I don’t think he knows…we are IMPORTANT…

     The sun is coming up and we are at the track. Jeff and Stephanie Conrad are our pitmates. Mike Finnegan is their chief. We are with Chris Starkweather. I am fueling, which is probably the most unimportant, yet dangerous job. Me and that guy, Blaze are trying not to spill a drop of fuel onto the still too hot to touch headers. I watch the fuel evaporate readily in the morning heat as it spills towards the big mouth funnel. Upper Explosive limits….Lower explosive limits, Energy absorbtion numbers in the change of state, ambient temp, flash point, vapor accumulation, all of these things are bombarding my hungover foggy brain. All of these things are wrong and we shouldn’t be doing what we are doing. I look around, Mike is talking to Jeff. Darin is going over data with Chris. Jordan is talking strategy with his crew. I’m starting to sweat. Things could go so wrong right now. But, after 35 seconds of fueling, Blaze is telling me to stop and we spin the cap on the tank and the boat is headed to the lanes.

     I go see Chip (AKA Skip) at his coach and get a beverage. Afterall, my roll is unimportant.








Oct 17, 2012
            It’s 8:25 A.M. the 17th of Oct. My eyes burn and my throat is scratchy. We are prepped in anticipation for the drive to Bakersfield today.  The previous weeks have been a cram of work, trying to get the shop set up amidst the customer load that is surprisingly heavy for this time of year. That’s good though. Better get the projects done now than wait till spring or early summer. We have the Roadster and I think I have a plan that is functional, affordable and is of sufficient strength that I will be able to sleep at night. The 59 Corvette with its long but minor list of fix-its is nearing the end of its stay with us. The T-Bird is gone, but not for long as we have ruined another perfectly good stock car and twisted the owner around to our way of thinking. It gets 4 wheel power disc brakes, sway bars and all new energy suspension components. That will be a fun car when done. Got a race trailer dropped off with a semi short list of mods and that will go quick. We received our order of T-5 lighting, so I will no longer be working in a dungeon. PSE allegedly is dropping a meter this week and the Wagon has a new stall converter being delivered in my absence.

      Time. It is already almost Halloween. That means it is almost Thanksgiving and that means, it is almost Christmas and of course that means it is almost 2013. The pressure of time is something we all struggle with. Just the other day, I went over to Will’s and picked up a 1” thick steel table I had fabbed up for Darin, but had no room for at the house shop. I’m always in a hurry, when it comes to our stuff (time issues).   We load the table onto our car trailer. I assure everyone that it is all under control and I need no help unloading the table. We have a forklift, well WE don’t actually HAVE a forklift, but we have ready access to a forklift. I’m kind of a stinker when it comes to scratches and dents and actually become kind of a prick when our shit comes back damaged. Usually, it’s either not mentioned or it is accompanied with a “Sorry Dude” and a shrug of the shoulders. I always wonder why it is acceptable to destroy your own stuff, but if someone else does it…Look out!!

      I have shit to do. It’s Sunday. I want to do some fabrication for a customer, offload the table, move it to the machine area and go home. It’s raining. I think it was the only wet day we have had in the last three months. I decide to remove the table first and fire the beast up. I get to the table, raise the forks and am a little short of center load. I can probably lift a little and lightly drag the far legs my way, repick and be fine. Well, it didn’t go that way.

      I have to raise the table to a