Sunday, August 31, 2008

End of Season

Alexander Steam show pull was Friday night; the track was extremely wet down a couple feet. The top looked good but it was spongy, when the equipment went drove on the track it would dip down for several feet around the wheels, and then pop back up after the equipment passed. They had to use an articulated John Deere tractor to help pull the sled back.

The Super Farms and LSS ran first, each tractor succeeding tractor went a little farther down the track. The next class should have been the TWD but the track officials decided to run the Mods. Don Telack had a nice run down the left side of the track, the new motor from Jim Sieranga on the back really made a difference with the tractor.

John Duggan was 2nd hook he had a nice run going until the tractor hooked right.

I was the next hook; I pulled all the weights off the front. During the week I had done some work and changes to stop the right front engine coupler from coming on done, and also had found that the clutch damage done at Fergus had caused the throw out bearing to hit the cross shaft. I am not sure why after several years but something changed in the clutch, so I removed the cross shaft. So I had high hopes for a turn around in what had been going on since mid season. I came out easy, felt the tractor “hook up” then open the throttle as the track allowed. The hook up felt front pickup felt smooth and momentum was good. At about 100 ft, I was thinking this feels really good, tractor is going perfectly straight not drifting at all, no hopping or bouncing. Just after that I noticed some smoke from the left side of the back engine, for a “brief” second I considered not shutting down but I did. By that time, there was a lot of oil and I knew I had a problem, so I just shut off the kill switches rather than shutting off the fuel.

Jeff Lucky the photographer handed me a push rod off the track, so I would imagine the block is badly damaged. I loaded up and came home.

I left the tractor on the truck and left for Watkins Glen Saturday morning for my daughters wedding. Sunday was beautiful not a cloud in the sky, she was married on the balcony of the pavilion in Watkins Glen.

Monday morning we will head home, I will pull the motor and see what it looks like inside. I will send it up to Billy Leverentz at Oddy’s; he does beautiful work on his repairs at a reasonable price.

I have a spare motor setting home and Chaffee is next weekend. I missed a hook at Holly on Sunday so Chaffee will not have any affect on my points finish so I will not change motors and go to Holly.

The Chassis has been working really good, the engines have been running strong, if I had not had an issue with the coupler on the right engine mid season I think the season would have been outstanding!

The positive side is there is next year.

Mid Season Review 2008

This has been an "interesting" year. We started out real strong, finishing 2nd at Dansville, after analyzing the track I decided I needed to take some weight off the front, which provide to be a good decision.
We then went to Canandaigua, what a nice pull that was for a first year, nice level pits, and pits were close to the track. Rockefeller Agency had a hospitality tent there that worked out very well. I got a lot of positive feed back and it sounded like everyone had a great time. I was first hook, my first run the tractor wanted to go out of bounds to the left really hard, as a lot of tractors did in the class. I was able to hold the tractor in bounds by some very hard use of the brakes and just got it out. Sharon Everman also got a full pull.
When I came back for the pull off, I made some adjustments to compensate; I did not have any problem with the boundary line. As a result I went 318 feet, almost 18 ft further than my first hook. Sharon was not able to come back for the pull off.
At the end of the pull off run, I found I had broken a motor. On disassembly of the right front motor found that a piston had broken. There were a lot of broken parts inside.

On to Morilla, the rain became an issue, first we were pulling, then we weren't, then were weren't and then it down poured as the mod class was going out on the track for their class and we all got soaked, then went home.

Next pull was Alexander, the first night we did not finish so well, the 2nd night we won for our 2nd win of the year. We were on a roll! I went 297ft 9", and then I remembered the $1,000 bonus to the winner only applied to a full pull.

From there we went on to Penn Yan, after the first class we got a big rain. The track was covered but since it runs down hill, the rain ran under the plastic. Note for next year; ditch the upper end of the track at the beginning of the plastic. The track crew did a good job of "saving" the track, the scraped it off with a bull dozer. The class was then started less the top 8" of the track. After watching Fintak brothers get totally out of shape and it appeared there was not much grip on the track. I made the necessary adjustments and made an acceptable run under the circumstances and finished 2nd to Ferry brothers by 9".

Next stop was Troy, both Fintak's and I got a full pull. I blew a lot of oil out of the left motor and the oil pressure light came on. When Dale asked me if I was coming back for a pull off, I told him yes, knowing I could only run 2 motors. In the pull off, Fintak's made a good run. I had told the officials I would make a run, consequently I did with 2 motors knowing I did not have a chance at winning, Fintak's went 303 I went 268.

We had another 2nd, the point’s race was going well, and at that point I believe our lead was 15 or 18 points over Sharon, and more over Fintak's & Durfee.

The next stop was Fergus Ontario and we got to see how the Tech officials could effect and change the end of season points.
The first night Thumper II made a nice run of approximately 280 ft, I hooked 2nd and went approximately 290. When I stopped I noticed the right motor had huge amounts of liquid coming out of the pipes. At first I thought it was a burnt piston, but since it was all the cylinders I was not sure what the issue was. I also knew I had some kind of problem with a clutch, as I could not easily shift gears and back up to the sled to un hook. I then was towed back to the trailer. I noticed it had been a long time with out hearing the next tractor going down the track. I then heard the announcer ask me to come back to the starting line.

When I got back to the track I found they were having a meeting, seems that the next tractor had not updated their tractor per the rules! It basically boiled down to a couple years ago the sleds went to a larger chain, which necessitated a bigger hook for the chain. As a result the rule came out that the hole in the draw bar had to be enlarged from 3" round to 3x3.5". It seems that 3 of the tractors had not followed the rules and changed the hole in their hitch. Their is no allowance in the rule book for changing the rules because some tractors do not meet the rule book. But, in this case the tech officials decided they should change sleds and restart the class, because those tractors would not be able to hook, rather than get a torch out and cut out the draw bars as they did for the next class of SS. So the decision was to sacrifice one tractor so they could gain 2 tractors and punish the legal tractors!

There was not enough time to research and correct the problems. When I got back to the track, I found that the large tow tractor and dragged my tractor back to the track with the left brake locked and burnt up the brake pads! The rear motor starts with a starter and starts the other two, for the first time in 14 years the starter would not start the motor so I had to tow start the tractor. I came out of the hole very well, but as I was going down the track I could tell the mechanical issues were not good. I did not feel that breaking $10,000 or more parts was the smart thing to do, so I shut down at 200 ft and finished 6th.

I found that the barrel valve arm had come off the right motor consequently the motor was getting all the fuel available. The left motor the clutch can bearing had come loose allowing the out put shaft to slide back and drop off clutch plates from the front. I had also pushed out the intake manifold gasket. As a result the clutch would not lock up.

I would not have been able to correct these problems with the limited time between the re-hook! Ben Clark and Al VanOstrand worked with me a lot of the night to correct the problems & again the next morning.

When we went to hook the 2nd night hook, the tractor bounced very badly, as a result of burning up the clutches on the 2nd run the day before!

So returning from Fergus we had gone from an 18 point lead to a 3 way tie with Sharon & Fintak's.

I adjusted the 2 front clutches, and found they had worn excessively as a result of the 2nd hook at Fergus the first night.

Next pull was a 2 hook pull at Langford. The first hook the tractor did not seem to go well; it seemed tire speed was not what I expected. We came back in the evening, I made some adjustments for the track, and had what felt like a good run, the tractor was pulling to the side line, I had brought it back with the brake when at about 200 ft I thought I heard engine RPM pick up I shut down before hurting anything. The sled slid around behind the tractor, and it looked worse than it actually was.

My friend Wayne Longnecker had accepted my invitation to come from Iowa with his Griffin Powered tractor, it was great to see him. He made some nice runs and the Griffin is impressive.

We came home and pulled things a part looking for problems with out success, maybe I was just imagining that I heard an engines RPM go up. BUT, the fact was still there, the boost pressure had gone up high, or at least that is what the gauge told me.

Next we went to Caledonia; the track was very rough about 175 feet on from the
TWD when the mods got to it. Wayne was first hook, he did not run a high enough gear to load his engine, and as a result he made an exciting fire show from his headers. He shut down and dropped. The tractors in front of me all ran right down the center and bounced bad. I lined up the sled to the right side line. When I came off the line the tractor hooked up good, again about 200 ft the rear motor broke up, so I shut it down.

When I got back to the trailer, I found that the boost gauge showed an unusually high reading again and the crank blower pulley had sheared off all the bolts.

I did not have time to find the problem and get it fixed to go to Pike; since it rained at Pike I lost the hook points.

When I got home I started to disassemble the top motor, looking for anything that might give me an idea of what was going on, ignition, clutch, fly wheel, gear box! I think I have finally found it, something changed with the clutch on Friday night in Fergus when I had to make that second run, either the other clutches not locking up, or tow starting the tractor, but the throw out bearing is hitting the clutch forks at the cross shaft. Everything is fine until a big load gets on the clutch, and the RPM’s are up. Then the clutch slips, I am shutting it down quick enough that it is not burning up the clutch. I had adjusted the clutch pack so it was tight. So I pulled out the cross shaft and fingers for the rest of the year and I will try to figure out what happened this winter.

So we went into Fergus leading by 18 points, and because of a “re-looks” we are lost 67 points to the current leader and are 49 points out of the lead!

June 14th

the rebuild for the 2007 season has become a real challenge. Between not being able to get parts, parts being lost in shipping and then not fitting when they arrived it has made for a lot of hours spent.
I missed the first pull at Dansville, but we should be ready for Holly. The new configuration has a lot of promise for the 2007 season.
All that is left is making another fuel pump adapter, fuel system and wiring. ALLLL! that sounds like enough.

Biggest challenge was getting the motors to line up with the gear box with out drive shafts, after i made new mounts, but after much work everything is lined up.

I made a couple of changes to the frame, I am a little apprehensive about doing that. The tractor went straight 98% of the time. What I am looking for is it to hook a little better.

New fenders would be really nice, that might be next winters project.

getting ready for the season

If you would have asked me in November when I was going to be ready to go racing my answer would have been March. Now I am thinking August!!!!!!
Finally have my gear box together with the gears from True Gear & Spline, they look great, price was excellent, delivery time was acceptable.
Need to make some new mounts for it, making some miner changes to the mounts for the engines and gear box.
Found another cracked liner in the Arias Century block, got that installed and have started assembly of the motor. New rods from Brooks and new rings.

Dustin has got a good start on installing the new generator with ac/heat on the road tractor. that will be nice when it is finished.

I would like to be ready to go to the Buck for a test run in May but things are not looking good unless things start falling together, which could happen! :-)

Tomorrow I will put the crank in the Arias and pistons.

Blast from the past

ck for larger view

DOT info

This information is what I have gathered from the DOT & NYS Motor Vehicle Department. I do not warrant it to be correct nor that using this information will make you legal.
These are the pages from DOT manual, that most DOT Inspectors and Police Officers do not know about, (sounds like an informational doesn't it) showing tractor pulling is exempt from DOT regulations if Corporate sponsorship is not involved! The important thing here is that the corporate sponsorship not be involved and the income is declared as ordinary income on your income taxes.
The following is what a DOT inspector told me who is also a truck puller.
They may question the corporate stickers on your vehicle. I was told to tell the inspector that I receive no money for having the stickers and that they are required of the sanctioning organization.
One of the pages is regarding carrying of alcohol , the easiest way is in 8 gallon containers, securely fastened. The maximum amount is, 440 lbs.
NOTE it is VARY important that if you get stopped to declare the alcohol as "material of Trade". It will not automatically be granted or mentioned, if you do not do this you will need to have shipping papers and if over the limit the vehicle will need to be placarded.
If you do not have your alcohol in 8 gallon containers you will need shipping papers. If you have over 1000# of alcohol the vehicle is required to be placarded and possibly other measures I am not aware of.
Document 1 Document 2 Document 3

Registering a RV in New York.

Each state has their own regulations about what is required to be an RV. I got a copy last week from NYS DMV tech services in Albany .

106.3 Passenger registration.
(e) motor home. A self-propelled vehicle designed as a traveling place
of abode. To qualify as a motor home, a vehicle must have a least four of the following facilities:

(1) cooking with an on-board power source;

(2) a gas or electric refrigerator;

(3) a toilet with exterior evacuation;

(4) heating or air conditioning or both from an on-board power source
separate from the vehicle engine;

(5) a potable water supply system including a faucet, sink and a water
tank with an exterior service connection; and

(6) a 110-125 volt power supply separate from the vehicle engine.

From the NYS DMV web site


A CDL is required if you operate any of the following CMV's . . .

* A vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of
more than 26,000 lbs.
* A vehicle towing a unit with a manufacturer's GVWR of more than 10,000
lbs. when the GCWR exceeds 26,000 lbs.
* A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more persons (including the
operator) or any vehicle carrying children to or from school and home
regularly for compensation.
* A vehicle of any size that carries hazardous materials in amounts
requiring placarding.


Yes, a few . . .

* Active Duty Military . . . with military licenses operating military
* Firefighters . . . meeting approved training standards and operating
authorized emergency vehicles.
* Farmers . . . in certain cases.
* Individuals ....operating motor homes or other vehicles used
exclusively to transport personal possessions or family members, for
nonbusiness purposes.


*Hawk Frame & Axle*
*Marro's Equipment & Truck*
*Pearl Technologies*

Tractor specs

Modified Pulling Tractor

Engines: 3 x 526 KB Oldsmobile Aluminum Blocks, Big M heads, Kobelco Blowers, MSD 20 Pro Mag ignitions, Veney injectors

Est. Horsepower: 5400

Max RPM: 7000

Weight: 7500 lbs

Chassis: Design by R. Rockefeller, built by John Birosh

Rearend: Rockwell SQHD

Transmission: Kipply 3 spd

Tires: Firestone Puller 2000


My brother Bill Rockefeller originally got me interested in tractor pulling. He had pulled Super Stocks for 16 years before I started in 1986. This picture of him & his JD 4010 SS is from a news paper article in 1976.

Another picture of my brother Bill Rockefeller from the 1970 era.

This is my first tractor.
The year was 1986. It was a single Allison with turbo chargers and Hilborn fuel injection. 4 plate 12.5' Crower Glide clutch, Kippley Transmission (which I still have in my tractor today), Rockwell rear end and Michigan planetary. The wheels were made by Doug Drussel as the waist gates also were.

This picture was taken in 1988 in Illinois after I rebuilt my original tractor. I spent 3 weeks pulling in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa on my way out to visit Wayne Longnecker. I had picked up sponsor ship from Hawk Frame & Axle and they had painted the new frame rails and fenders. While at Wayne Longneckers I added MSD ignition to the motor.

This is a picture of the twin allison Policy Peddler the first time it was rolled out of the shop!

This is a picture taken at Louisville. in 1991. I finished 4th, 3rd & 2nd at Louisville with that tractor. I also went to Bowling Green and finished near the top. From 1987 with the single Allison through about 1995 I traveled all over the country Pulling indoors during the winter with TNT, USHRA & NTPA. That was a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of very nice pullers. We pulled at Daytona Beach, Rosemont in Chicago, Capital Center out side of Washington DC, New York City, Toronto in the Sky Dome and others.
In the Sky Dome they had 2 pulling tracks, 2 mud racing tracks to run side by side races, plus a "thrill track" down the center where they were jumping a car off of a ramp smashing it into 6 or 8 cars piled on top of one another.

This picture is of the Policy Peddler with a blown Donovan Chevy in place of the second Allison. Approximately 1991 New York/NTPA voted in the 3 engine rule. At that time the rule was interpreted that the 2 Allison's on Alcohol and 8.1 super chargers could not use injection and had to use carburetors. The first year the rule might have been we had to run gas I do not remember for sure. I knew I did not want to run the alcohol through the super chargers. I had seen enough of the broken super charger housings from back firing so I added the Chevy. The Allison turned between 4-4500 rpm's and the Chevy approximately 6000 rpm's. The Chevy was built along the same lines as the Allison. It had a 4.75" crank so it had a lot of low end torque and did not want to turn a lot of rpm's.

This was Louisville in 1996. Well Ralph Banter was correct. I had changed over to Chevy's. I had designed a frame over the previous year then had John Birosh build the new frame from Chrome molly tubing. John was building DIRT stock cars at the time. I had a hard time convincing him to build the frame. He was afraid that it would offend the stock car guys that he was working on my tractor and not their stock cars. The frame turned out beautiful. John went on to be crew chief on a NASCAR Bush Team for a couple years and is now building "show car street rods". I at this time had 2 Rodecks and 1 Donovan. The Rodecks were built with used Crower Billet cranks and pistons. There were new rods in the motor. There was something there that the motors did not like. One motor ran for about 15 runs before it threw a rod out of both sides of the block. About a year later the other motor did the same. It happened at night neither time did I know anything happened and I went on down the track. The motors set there and idled after the run with no rods on one of the crank throws. That was the only mechanical problem I have had with the Chevy's since building the tractor.

When I switched to Chevy's I had used a Engler gear box. Specifically I had purchased the one from Fred Freeman's Mean Mistreater, which Kenny Angel had purchased. Toward the end of the first year the gears had broken so I had the box re-build. The next year I won the points race her in NY with ESP. That winter I was re-building the tractor getting ready for Louisville. A couple weeks before going I had the gear box out and decided to have the gears magna-fluxed "just in case" even though I knew the gears were only a year old. There were several cracked teeth. I was not sure why I continued to have a problem with "that" gear box, I knew I did not want it to continue so I called SCS and Mike Sage built the current gear box I have with the engines facing forward