As some may know we had a few difficulties just trying to get out of Topeka after the first day of Drag Week. One of those problems was a dead battery which at first appeared to be caused by a thrown alternator belt.
On the first pass in the late moring Monday we had tossed the 6-rib power steering belt which was shredded all over the place, but as it wasn't critcal we cut off the remaining bits and would run again without it. 10.64 The next pass wasn't much better, 10.52 still spinning. I decided to put some additional fuel (5 gal.) in the street tank to add some weight back in the back end on top of the 5 gallons in the race weight fuel cell.
By then It was about 1:30 in the afternoon of the first day of Drag Week and I was pretty frustrated as we had gone from two pretty much perfect 9.71 and 9.70 passes on Sunday to tire spinning, down on power, mid 10's on Monday when it counts.
With the extra Fuel I pulled back into lanes and tried to drive it out to get any kind of decent time.. I had noticed that it wasn't cooling down as well as it had before as I pulled up (I use the fan and electric pump to cool down in lanes with the engine off) and I was staginging at about 190* I managed a 10.30 and figured I'd hot lap around to get one more in, at this point it wouldn't start in the lanes after a short cool down and we got my jump box and managed to get it going. I put more heat in the drag radilals and managed a 10.19, but as i hit the turn off the car was bearly running without keeping my foot well into the throttle and and hit 230*. It died and I coasted into the pits.
We had to pack up the trailer and let it cool down while I turned in the time slip. So when I got back we tried to start it it was no go. Vince came by and we jumped it, it started and tehn died a minute after he pulled away. Radar came by and we tried again to jump it, no dice. We added Rob's jump box, as my Summit box was dead, and it started but it died again as soon as we disconnected the jump box and jumper cables.
So we figure the battery has been really killed, it was a brand new Optima Yellow top, and so we pull the hood off to check the alternator. Wow, there is no belt at all, nor any parts or peices. The belt can't just jump off as its captured by the oil pump/vaccuum pump belt. So WTF, but hey maybe a belt will fix the problem right? We put on the spare we get Radar and the box and jump it again it starts runs and then dies again after we disconnect things. At this point we notice that the fuel pump is running free so the main tank must be empty as we'd switch the lines from the little tank for the drive. We get some gas into it but it won't stay running on the battery and the voltage gauge shows maybe 8 v.
We connect the spare battery, yes we had lots of crap with us, but I forgot the spare alternator of course. We finally use jumper cables and Rob's good jump box to the dead battery and we fire and drive quick as we can on the spare battery with the jumper cables still connected and the box down to the closest gas station to fill up with 91. The engines hot cause we're trying not to run the Mark VIII fan while drivng it cause it pulls down the volatage and EMS doesn't like low voltage below 10V.
After getting gas it still won't start but Rob and Steve come to the rescue again with the jump box and we limp down to the O'Rielly auto parts store. We put the spare battery on their in store charging machine while we pull the MSD alternator to test it. Their alternator testing machine says its probably dead, but we can't be sure beacuse the test machine doesn't seem to like one wire alternators they tell us.
BTW T.C. the night Manager at O'Reily's is one of the cooolest parts store guys I've met in years especially because he put up with us for hours. the rest of the crew was cool too.
By now Walt Reynolds and his wife Judy have arrived to help us out and with the re-charged spare battery back in it we fire it up and it runs but we've got a flat 12V no alternator output, period. It turns out O'Riellys' only stocks 65 AMP GM one wire style alternators and my heap needs over 100 just to go down the road with the electric fan, wtare pump, fuel pump, igniton, EMS and lights cause its getting dark. Damn.
TC has a buddy who has a lightly used Chrome Powermaster 130 amp one wire deal he'll sell cheap becuase battery acid spilled on it, and we don't care so the guys drives across town and we buy it for $32. All we have to do now is find a way to mount it, re-do the brackets and get going. Meanwhile Chad and Daphne go buy us burgers cuase Chad can't help as he is media not a competitor.
We get on the road finally at 9 PM or so, we stop to help Waly who we are following because the ET streets are being cut by his fenders with the tongue weight on his r trailer and we help him swap to his spare tires. We finally leave topeka at 10:30 and then it still over heats and we throw in the towel and limp back to Topeka and send Walt off to Great Bend.
So the main questions is: did losing the magic disappearing belt kill the alternator probablly during the second to last pass before the hot lap pass when it wouldn't start or maybe before that; or, did the alternator die first somehow causing the belt to disappear?
We don't know.
ps after making two passes at Amarillo and going home by way of Vegas I found that external timing belt was worn down on its outside diameter and had ttransferred rubber to the idler/tensioner. I think either the powr steering belt or the magic disappearing alternator belt got into the works at some point and I dodged a bullet as the cam belt might have failed had kept racing and going more laps as we had orginally planned.