The engine wasn't right, obviously. It had a knock in the front of the engine since the day the engine builder did the initial run-in of the new build. $1500 and a whole race season lost netted me a rebuilt engine with no power and an ominous knock. Gee, thanks man! I was determined to race this year and wasn't in any hurry to give up. I ran the engine once out of shear frustration with having missed the year before. The knock didn't improve or worsen. I figured a rebuild was the worst I would have to face and was rolling the dice.
I spent time after that last race to go over the car and look for what might be causing the lack of power and the odd knocking that had been present at the front of the engine since I got it back from the engine builder.
I ran a compression check and one cylinder was higher than the rest by 30psi. Loss of compression is one thing, but increased compression? What the hell? I had the carbs running both even and balanced. Timing seemed stable. Valves were adjusted and checked at the track last time. Just the knock, compression imbalance and lack of power. I took off the bottom end and checked everything I could see. I took off the timing cover and checked the chain and tensioner. All looked fine. I decided to forego the PIR race and get ready for the very fun ORP races.
I started a new job on 6/1, but was sure to arrange being off Friday the 18th for the HDPE at ORP to test the car before the race. All I needed was the car to be right.
I asked a new friend from the track to come by and look over the car and help me see the problem that the car had... I couldn't see the problem having stared and prodded over it for so long. The extra set of eyes, and more importantly experience, would be a great help.
After messing with the timing it didn't seem to improve anything. He called his friend and we came to the conclusion it had to be the valves. We rechecked them, and sure enough, one was very loose. We readjusted it, checked the compression, and all 4 were spot on. Yeah!
I'm going to ORP.