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The day has finally come, to take the Omega out to the drag racing track in Gimli and see what she can do now, with all the new changes made in the past year. Been planning to attend a 'Test & Tune' day at the track since it's opening May long weekend, but it seemed something ALWAYS came up and we were unable to go.

A couple of days before going, I spend a few hours going over things on the car, double checking, triple checking some thing. I can't wait !!

I'm eger to see what the car will run. When driving and playing around in the car, it feels strong. It's got pickup, it's got power and it feels somewhat faster then the nova. Altho we can't base anything on the feel of the car, the track will show us what kind of car we will have. I'm hoping for 14's, 14.5 would be nice. I don't think it's a 13 second car .... not yet! :)

So the night before, we get everytime ready and packed in the car. Tires, tools, camera, batteries ... :)

Once we're out at the track, we installed the BFG G-Force T/A (Drag Radials) and go thru 'Tech' and away down the track we go.

The Omega shatters it's old best ET of 16.89 by over 2 seconds with it's first run of 14.70 @ 92MPH. Plagued by a few small issues, the car runs strong. With the drag slicks, the car launches REAL nice with no spin and hooks beautifully.

The issues plaguing the car is the bogging or loss of power that happens between shifts. Pretty sure it's carb related. We try various metering rods, metering rod hangers and play with the secondaires with no luck. We also played with the timing and tried a few things to see if we could squeeze a few hundredths off, with no success.

My dad has a chance to take the car down the track a few times and is very pleased. He's not concerned about the 'bogging' between shifts and finds the issue to be very minor. Altho he is not too concerned with it and feels the car runs fine, I am not happy and need to solve this issue.

The Omega's best run of the day was 14.58 @ 93MPH, driven by myself.

Gimli Drag Racing - Aug. 21st

So we had out again to Gimli on the September long weekend, to run the car after a few minor changes.

While going through the car after our first outting, I noticed the metal fuel line looked a little collapsed toward the top end at a few of the bends in the line. Having some spare lines around, I just replaced it. I also added a Accel SuperCoil to the distributor, and set the timing based on where I had it set on my nova when it had the 350 with a similar cam.

It was much cooler this time, and the car was running constant 14.7/14.8's. Inbetween runs, I noticed my throttle cable bracket was bent. So I straighten it and went down again. After that pass, it was bent again. With some help from my dad, he depressed the pedal all the way as I watched under the hood at the cable. Turns out the detent/kickdown cable from the transmission was preventing FULL throttle and bending the bracket at the same time. Disconnected the kickdown cable, the Omega broke into the 14.5 and lower.

My dad took the car for a few passes, and beat the previous best of 14.58 with 14.4199. After I surpassed him again with a time of 14.4179, things started to get personal.

Realizing we could never compete with the big boys at the track ... it's become abit of a Father/Son battle, friendly of course. Dad shattered my best of 14.4179 with a 14.21. I came as close as 14.27, but I could not catch the old man, and he is sure enjoying being the 'big dog'. I am now refered to as 'No.2' and our conversations usually start with 'hey loser' ... LOL - harmless fun!

Gimli Drag Racing - Sept. 4th

We had out to Gimli again 2 weeks later on September 18th, to run the Omega. Joining us today is my good friend Shelly and she brought out her 73 Chevelle SS. It's a fairly cool day, nice breeze blowing ... should be a good day to run the cars!

Since our last outting, no changes were made to the car.

Get your hands off my time slip old man!!I start off the day running some low 14s. First pass was a 14.26 to which my Dad informs me how close, yet how far I was away from the best time. On my 3rd or 4th run, I did it!! I not only beat my dad's time of 14.21, I SMASHED it with a 14.08, 14.02 and best time of the day 14.00 @ 98MPH. SO CLOSE TO 13s !!

It's Dad's turn to run the car for a few passes and he tells me to take notes on how to break into the high 13s. I went and sat in the stands with some friends, cheered my dad on. As long as it didn't beat my time, I was cheering him on. Dad then ran a 14.07 and I started to get nervous, but that was as close as he got to beating my time, the NEW BEST time of 14.0096@98mph. Dad's best time of the day was 14.08. (hahah - loser!).

The car was running so well, I could FEEL a 13 coming, but then the troubles started. I hear some strange noise from the car but thought maybe I was hearing things as I couldn't really hear it. Dad takes the car down the track for another timing. On his way back, the car is making a scrapping noise. I ran out to the staging lines to wave him into the pit area.

Opening the hood, I noticed the power steering pump is on a weird angle, the belt was still attached. Upon closer inspection, I lost one of the bolts which holds the pump onto the bracket and the second one was only in by a couple of threads. Using some quick thinking, and not being prepared with extra bolts, I grab one of the bolts from the lower alternator bracket and use it to secure the pump to the bracket. SWEET!!, started up the car, didn't hear anymore weird sounds so off to the staging lane.

Well waiting in the staging lane, the track was shut down for a quick minutes to clean up something. I got out of my car and went to sit in Shelly's chevelle in the next lane over. As we were chatting, Shelly pointed out that the Omega was smoking. I told her it was no big deal, as some power steering fluid leaked out when I was man-handling the pump, trying to fix it. Some 10 minutes later as the track was getting ready to open again, I exited Shelly's car and notice the Omega was still smoking. After opening the hood, it seems while I was fixing the power-steering, an oily rag fell down and was laying against a manifold and was starting to burn. Quickly grabbing it and throwing it outside the car, we extinguish the ambers and a potiently serious incident is avoided. (C'mon Dave, gotta be careful!!)

Ok, we're good now .... right?

It's our turn at the tree, all staged up and ready to go and we're off. As the rpm's climbed, I felt a loss of power, or thought I did, shifted and kept going. After the pass was over, the car felt powerless and heading back down the return lane, I hear something .... again.

Applying a little bit of load to the motor and I hear a low-bottom end knocking. 'RRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr' .... NOT GOOD!. I was hoping it meant of been the car infront of me, but it was not. As I got closer to our pit area, I shut off the car and coasted into my spot. Taking a closer look or listening to the car, it had to be something in the bottom end that let go, our day is over. As I walk towards the stands, and ran into my dad and let him know the bad news. We walk back to the car, where he opened the hood. I started it up and put it under a bit of a load and 'RRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrr', then shut it down again.

We stayed for the rest of the day cause Shelly was still racing, making pass after pass. She was running consistant 13.2's. As I sit in the stands watching, I get on the phone calling around to see how I was gonna get the Omega home which was some 90+ kilometers away.

I called up my friend Justin (who is also the guy whom built the motor), told him what happenned and asked him if he would be able to come get me. Without hesitation, Justin tells me he would make a few calls and get back to me.

Unable to acquire a tow-truck, Justin tells me he needs some time to finish fixing his truck, then he'll go get a trailer and come get me. 'NO PROBLEM!, take all the time you need ...', I was just thankful that he was coming for me. As the day wound down, my dad and Shelly stayed behind to keep me company while we waited for Justin.

Later on I found out, Justin not only had to finish fixing his truck, he went out to buy a trailer hitch assembly and then installed it on his truck. From there, he drove to work to find their race trailer was being used in South Dakota. Using the old trailer, he found out a wheel was seized. He had to fix the trailer, repack the bearings and finally made his way out to Gimli. 6 hours later, my way home arrives and I was happy to see Justin! I didn't mind waiting at all, I knew he was going out of his way to help me out.

We haul 'Slomega' back home and headed out for a bite to eat and (of course), filled up Justin's truck with gas for all the running around he did.

A HUGE THANK YOU to you Justin ... can't express enough my gratitude for all your help, but we're not done yet. Now, it's time to tear down the motor and see what went wrong. As Justin was the engine builder, he requested that he be present when we begin the tear down.

Gimli Drag Racing - Sept. 18th

The tear-down of the 355 begins right away. By the weekend, the motor was ready to pull and at Justin's request, we waited until he had time to come by and find out why the motor failed. Upon removing the oil pan, you could see bits of bearing material ALL OVER the place. Pulling off the valve covers and intake also revealed alot of debris. In one of the heads, we found a piece of what looked like some kind of spring material. There was more of this 'spring' material in the oil pan and even some wedge in the oil pickup. Turned out the spring material was the spring inside the 1-piece rear main and it somehow came out of the seal and ended up inside the motor.

Pulling off the main caps revealed alot of bearing wear. I believed the motor was starved of oil, as it had a high-volume oil pump and it probably sucked the pan dry at the high rpms while I was racing. Justin had some ideas of what might of lead to the failure too. One factor that was discussed was that I was running 10W30 oil, and I've been told by many others that that probably didn't help. I was told I should of been running 15W40.

In NO WAY is the engine failure a result of Justin's build or how it was built. I ran this motor hard and beated on this car without mercy for a GOOD year before it failed. It's just one of those things that happens, shit breaks!.

Upon further inspection of the block, Justin discovered that the block wasn't machine properly and one side of the block was higher then the other side. We pulled out the frost plugs, cam bearings and sent the bare block in for inspection, cleaning and some machining.

Justin was kind enough to price out some parts and builds for me. Just over a week later, Justin returned with the block, freshly cleaned and painted. Justin had some ideas on how we should rebuild this motor. Being that I have limited knowledge and going on from past experiences, I hesitated on some of the purposed builds/ideas. As the snow began to fall, the rebuild would be put on hold over the winter, to give me some time to think and do some research. I needed to figure out how I wanted to build the new motor and maybe save up some money to pay for it!

The 355 Rebuild

As Spring 2011 was fast approaching, I started to get the itch to get the car going. I set out to talk to some friends for advice and what my options are. Dan Klim, a good friend of mine who has helped me time and time again with my Nova and Glenn Evans, the man & brains behind Project: MEANGREEN! (73 Nova). After some research and discussions, I decided on what I wanted and spoke with Dan. Dan came up with a list of what to get, what I would need to get this motor built. I had some parts already, thanks to Justin who before breaking for the winter, ordered a Scat Crank, rod & cam bearings and some piston rings.

While everything was apart, I figured now would be a good time to do some upgrading. One thing I was wanting to do even before the breakdown was go with a bigger cam. With my list of parts in hand, I went out over to Motion Performance where my buddy Shawn & Chris hooked me up. Ordered a CompCam Xtreme Energy Cam (XE274), CompCam hydrualic lifter set, CompCam Cam button, CompCam Double Roller Timing Chain and a Meiling Standard Volume Oil pump.

As we were approaching the end of May, it was time to call up Dan and see what his schedule was like to assemble/build the motor. My dining room table was consumed by a growing number of new parts, waiting for the build. Took a week off work, hid in my garage and helped Dan and put this motor together. Watching Dan assemble the engine is an art. Granted I can slap parts together and bolt everything, but Dan knows how to assemble and just know by the way it's going or how parts are going in ... if theres any problems or not.

The motor went together beautifully, Dan did a REAL nice job getting things together!

Over the next few days, and with some help of my parents (hahaha, yeah .. even my mom came to help!), we bolted the motor and transmission in together and lowered it into the car. This time around, we're installing some headers (kindly given to me, thanks to Glenn Alexis!!). Glenn gave the set to me when we first put the 355 into the Omega back in 2009, however while trying to save some cost, I never installed them as I didn't have the money to change the exhaust hookups.

Had some issues again with lining up the motor mounts and it just so happens my friend Glenn Alexis was stopping by. When he arrived, we put him to work helping to get things lined up. After a few hours, the engine/transmission was in and bolted, now for the accessories!

Slowly but surely, we get everything together and set the stage to call Dan again and arrange the Cam BreakIn gathering. Monday rolls around and everything is ready to go.

As Dan watches on, I start the car or try too. Ended up wasting some time trying to get the car going due to starter & dead battery problems. Had to make a few trips to Piston Ring and Canadian Tire for parts. After getting the problems sorting out, we attempt it again.

Ok, another quick check the engine and we're ready to go!

VVRRRROOOOOOOOOOOMM, 'Slomega' roars to life, in the garage with open headers ........ hahahaha - YES!! Dan controls the idle from the outside as I read out the rpms and watch the time. After 15 minutes, we shut things down (Carb popped and it stalled). I'm told the next stage of the game is to let to engine COMPLETELY cool down.

Few days later, I head out to DUALS EXHAUST to get the headers hooked up to the pipes. I take the back roads to avoid any attention, but wouldn't you know it ... speed trap ahead. I sped up alittle to check out to a hydro service truck and drive along side it to avoid being seen. WORKED!

Arrived at Duals, and after a brief wait ... the Omega is on the hoist, pipes are welded. I can't wait for this next part, what will the Omega sound like now.

The Omega is sounding SEXY!, bit of a lumpy cam sounding to it. I am overwhelm with excitement, I can't wait to hit the streets and take the Omega for a drive.

Over the next few days, I changed out the Q-Jets for a NEW Holley 650 Double-Pumper, as well as the stock GM distributor for an MSD StreetFire HEI distributor. I wanted to wait till after we got things running, cause atleast I know the carb and distributor were setup for the engine and wouldn't have to worry about new stuff failing during the cam break-in. The upgrades are done with ease.

Carefully over the next few weeks, I take some trip to properly break-in the motor. Couple highway trips to neighboring towns and back and after 1000 miles, I think we are ready to go!

It's the middle of June, and a BEAUTIFUL day in Gimli as Slomega bursts into the High-13s with it's NEW setup. 13.80 on my first pass!! and it only got better from there. My second pass, I touched the 100 mph mark!!. Words could NOT express my gratitude to Dan Klim for building an OUTSTANDING motor.

The Omega had a strong 13-second day!! I had a best time of 13.55 @ 100.44 MPH and my dad had a couple of passes running 13.59's @ 99.xx mph. (Couldn't quite hit the 100mph mark, eh? old man? - hahaha)

Our day ended early when the fan belt twisted on us. We must of ran the car like that a few times, cause the belt was a mess. PROBLEM HERE, where is my spare belt ?? Thinking this could be a sign, we packed up abit early and headed home.

I was beyond excited at the results of the day, but yet sadden as it seems my 'beater' Omega is faster then my 73 Nova. My Novas' best ET was 13.65 @ 100.89MPH.

Gimli Drag Racing - June 18th

On our next outing in July, Dad wanted to try making a few passes in 'DRIVE', as he has some issues with the column shifter. He wonder if he drove in DRIVE, how constant would the car be. Dad was hoping he could be constant enough to par-take in the 'Gamblers Race'. While he made the passes in drive, the car still runs high-13s, low-14s times.

Gimli Drag Racing - July 1st

In the morning, under the hot sun and the muggy-hot air, the car wasn't running so good. Times were off abit, but my MPH was still constant. The car ran better later on in the day, with a mild breeze helping to cool down the car to the 180 area. Now we're back into the mid-13s and 100 MPH range.

We took the rest of July & August off, and didn't made it out again in September when I decided to take the Nova out for a lashing.

After having some success with some parts used in the Omega upgrade, I upgraded the distributor and carb with the same MSD Streetfire Distribtor and Holley 650 Double Pumper. I noticed an immediate difference, and secondly ... my 'messing' problem seemed to have disappeared. BONUS!! (Only been fighting with that for 8-some years).

On my second pass with the Nova, I passed the Omega BEST ET, but by only .03 seconds on street trim. Once I switched to the drag radials, the Omega couldn't touch the Nova.

The Omega had some GREAT outings, Dad & I had ALOT of fun and we finished the season strong. Most importantly, the car is still running :)

Gimli Drag Racing - Sept. 24th

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