You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know…

By: Bob Goodson
August 7, 2023
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When it comes to cars I have MULTIPLE Achilles Heels.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as I can keep those things in check.  One thing in particular that can be a problem is that I see the potential in EVERYTHING.   It can be anything that is run down and rotten such as an old John Deere 60’s or 70’s lawn garden tractor, a pocket watch and many other things. The problem with that is when you have say…. 30 projects, none of them make swift progress. So I can easily spread myself too thin.
The second Achilles Heel is related to the above addiction problem.  Unlike some people who have to have a step by step drawing to explain the final look and details, I’m capable of seeing the end result and the process it takes to get to that realized idea in my head.  So the problem for me is seeing the desired results, we’ll call it “vision”, of the said project that I can see the potential in.  I know what I want it to be in the end but some details of how to get that result aren’t always clear.  I’m also “frugal” in my processes.  To the point of being cheap at times.  That can come back to bite later.
Originally on this race car my idea was to use an old bread box upper intake.  You can read about the switch to a Ford Motorsport GT40 Tubular Upper intake by tapping on the highlighted words here.  That change to the long runner intake created an issue.  Well… multiple issues.  The reason for changing is due to another project that I want to put that box upper intake on.  Thus confirming all that I’ve just previously typed.  See… I really do have a problem. Haha!! But it’s not that funny at times if you’re me.
So in switching to the long runner intake that created an issue with the valve covers I chose to use.  Let’s step back to that “vision” I was talking about earlier.  I WANT to use these valve covers.  Are there other options?  Absolutely. Are they better than these? Likely.  BUT, I want these on my race car… as they are.  Using them will create some challenges and my road racer buddies reading this will say “those are going to leak oil at those oil filler openings even with a catch can”.  Yes, that’s absolutely true. 100%.  But I don’t want to weld in an A/N fitting bung on them.  OR buy a set of valve covers with that fitting. That just ruins what I want. But… Bob… those will create a tight seal for the catch can.  Again… that’s true.  But it’s not fitting with my vision.  I also don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.  Haha!!!
So, my issue was two fold.  Hood clearance and the intake clearance on the breather fitting on the driver side front. I can’t use a taller spacer under a stock cowl height hood.  There’s already a 1/2″ spacer under the intake to help isolate heat from the engine. Going any thicker than that will cause clearance issues on a stock hood. But going higher would offer a solution to the breather fitting problem on the valve cover. You can see how close it is in the picture above.  And that was with a PCV breather unit from a first gen Ford Bronco which was the shortest one I could find.  When the intake is bolted down you can’t remove it.  So that’s money down the drain.
So given all my limitations and even parts scouring online buying something that doesn’t work I’m thinking “there HAS to be a solution… just has to be”.  So I walk away from the idea for a little bit.  Sometimes being too close to the fire of thought requires distance.  It can help create a new perspective.

A week or two later I came back to the idea and thought, what if there’s just a rubber grommet that would go into the cover.  I started searching and most of what came up was what I already had.  It was the O ring that goes into the screw in unit.  And then a deep scroll or two down on the Google search, there it was.  Shining bright in all its glory.  A simple solution to my problem.  And it wasn’t going to break the bank. 

THIS was the exact solution I needed.  It was first used back in the 1960’s.  It’s a twist in grommet that goes into the valve cover for a PCV valve to slip into.  With the right elbow fitting for a hose. This will connect directly to the catch can when I get it installed.  It’s a crazy winding path that sometimes ends up being so simple.  Now, on to the next thing on that list of all my projects. HA!!


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