Kookie Monster '07

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Where’s Norm?  He’s inside the air-conditioned building while friends are working on the Kookie Monster.  If needed, they’d do it again. 


The Kookie Monster made the trip to Louisville with its 454 humming the whole time.  Once there it stumbled and did not want to recover.  The first thought was that the last gas stop introduced some “bad juice”.  One of the two tanks could not be used due to a failed fuel pump.  It was hoped that switching tanks would quickly solve the problem.


So the first step was to fix the fuel delivery issue.  The trip was made on one tank.  If it was bad gas, switching tanks should minimize if not eliminate the engine’s roughness.  Doc and Kerry spend much of Thursday on the problem.  Twin pumps are located under the van.  Each tank has its own pump.  Kerry was elected to handle the work under the chassis because he fit, barely. Feeding power directly to the pump did not generate any flow so a new pump was procured. 

The real fun began when Kerry removed the original and quickly installed the new pump.  In an ideal world a set of Vice Grips will pinch a rubber fuel line to minimize the lost fuel when servicing a fuel system.  Obviously this trip ventured outside the “ideal world” since in that zone vehicles don’t break down.  The lines are 3/8” so a pump with 3/8” fittings was ordered.  With the dexterity of a magician Kerry pulled one pump and installed the other.  The 5/16” fittings on the new pump slowed the rain of fuel but it continued down and all over Kerry.  Not too much in his face but it ran down both arms and onto his back.  He should have moved.  Remember, he fit, “barely”.  He tried to get out of the way but only succeeded in smacking his head on the frame and then the pavement.  The next three hours seemed like three days for a guy who just had a gas bath.  After another trip for parts the new pump was in and wired to a new switch.  Verdict with the good fuel, no change.   By the time Doc gets home he’ll have driven enough miles to have gone to Florida not Kentucky.  Good thing gas is cheap. 

Norm: "Thanks for all your help Doc.  Breakfast is on me!"

Doc: "Thanks for breakfast, but it's included with the room."


Friday was Jimmy Meyer’s turn.  Jimmy made a very smart decision to investigate carb issues.  If contaminated gas was in the system the carb might not respond to the gas form the second tank.  Jimmy removed and disassembled the carb.  Good call Jimmy, too bad there was no change in performance.  It was the logical step though.  Jimmy isolated the engine’s lazy cylinders.  Number two had a poor attitude and number four seemed to have motivational problems.  This engine has had a history of breaking valve springs.  Jimmy popped the valve covers and did an evaluation of valve function.  Working alone it was tough to crank the engine and view the valve motion but all looked normal.   

Working on the Kookie Monster in the Louisville heat took the smile off Jimmy Meyer’s face.  A few minutes out of the heat and Jimmy was back to normal.  He shared a few funny jokes but we’d better not repeat them here.



Next up to the plate was Harold Ehle of Windsor Fabrications.

After the results of the fuel and valve evaluations the distributor came under scrutiny.  With the clock running down it made sense to through a few parts at the problem.  Harold located replacement parts and installed everything but a new pick up in the distributor.  The engine seemed to like the new parts…for about 10 seconds then back to the same old miss. 




Saturday was Mike Bruns’ turn.

Mike had visited Norm’s place a few weeks earlier.  Hey Mike, see what happens when you say, “If there’s ever anything I can do for you”?  

Mike proceeded with the next logical steps.  New plugs and wires were available on site.  Some vehicles are relatively easy to service.  Not this one.


Does Mike look like he’s having fun?

It’s quite a Saturday when you wish for Monday to come along.  Mike reviewed as many potential trouble sources as possible but the song remained the same.



Some guys don’t know when to stay down.  Harold is one of those guys.

 Instead of using Saturday to escape this adventure he made plans to continue attacking the Monster’s problem.  He spent the morning deep in the engine.  With no improvement it was now time for plan “B”.


Norm evaluated his options.  Kerry had to do the same because he rode with Norm.  Kerry was supposed to ride with Norm to St. Louis and catch a plane to Canada the next day.  Ultimately Kerry passed on Doc’s offer of a “guaranteed to get there” ride to St. Louis.  He knows that it’s bad manors to abandon your ride simply because you might get stranded and miss an important business related flight.  Another guy who needs to learn when to stay down.



Back in the cool building, it’s common for people to ask Norm for a hug.  This time Norm asked Sandy for a hug.  She agreed but only if he would return Harold.  Looks like she got what she wanted.



Final decision was to try to get home on any cylinders willing to cooperate.  The motor was rough in neutral but it changed when Norm put it into gear to start the drive home.  It felt even worse.  To minimize strain on this wounded big block the a/c was not used for the drive.  The temperature inside the cab never exceeded 100 degrees.  The engines performance remained poor but steady all the way to St. Louis where the broiled travelers spent the night.  The next day Kerry caught his flight to Canada and Norm finished his drive home.  A lot of cell phones kept track of Norm’s progress.  The glass was definitely half full for Norm. If Parnelli had the Norm’s luck back in ’67, the turbine car would have won Indy.


What was wrong?  That is a good question.  Bets are on a head gasket.  For now it’s break time.  The results will make it into Normsnews when we have them.  

Here's the rest of the story.


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