Locating and restoring his last, long-lost Top Fueler has led to occasional firing the engine at cackle events, which first reminded him of things he missed not one bit since quitting in 1965 to meet demand for Lakewood bell housings. “A job I never liked was standing over the engine with a breaker bar, clearing the cylinders, second guessing whether the kill switch is in the off position”.
XCERPTS from Dave Wallace’s feature story In Hot Rod Deluxe – Dec.2016
My belief is that my Twin Spin starting system is by far the safer and simple method for starting a nitro fueled engine. However, I did sell a system that included my block plate and flywheel but the buyer only wanted the C.W. starter. The block plate did have the holes to mount the second C.C.W. reverse rotation starter for clearing the engine and could be added at any time.
I remember being suited up and waiting my turn to fire-up at a four car cackle event and while waiting, I was distressed to see what was occurring before my very eyes. The first car to start was having a problem. The man on the aircraft starter cranked the engine while next to him another man squeezed a clear flex bottle full of starter fluid into the engine. As the engine turned over, it backfired. I saw it belch fire from the blower through the injector. I watched as the bottle of starting fluid caught fire and I thought, Oh No.
Now this could have been a really bad seen, but as it turned out, the man holding the squeeze bottle of gasoline took about six steps toward an open space and calmly set the burning bottle down on the ground while his crew put out the fire which included his hand.
Perhaps a man of lesser experience would have panicked and thrown the bottle, thinking only of their burning hand. The fiery bottle could have ended up in the crowd. My experienced college acted with calm, under fire experience and I was so proud of him.
When it came my turn to fire up, I first pressed a button that sent the starter fluid into the engine with no one squeezing a bottle. One more operation that is not always the safest-eliminated.
Also eliminated are the big batteries with long cables, the heavy aircraft starters, the large alky bottle along side the warm-up, the man with the long breaker bar for backing the engine off and the squeeze bottle of primer fluid.
Joe designed a trick tow bar that backs the car out of its box with a golf cart, then dutifully follows him everywhere; second driver not required. Come cackle time, he disconnects and parks the cart, climbs in, reverse-rotates the 392 Chrysler to evacuate any leftover fuel, fires on alcohol, switches to nitro for nine gallons of fiery fun, then shuts off smoothly—all from inside the car. Loading requires towing the rail up the ramp with the golf cart (which remains attached on the ride home). Oh, and then there’s the latest, an A-Frame that bolts inside the trailer, keeping the engine weight stabilized so as not to destroy the chassis on the trip.
Having observed this process at two different events, we had to wonder—and ask, finally—why such a successful septuagenarian in such great health isn’t spending his remaining weekends on some exotic beach. “The beach is fine,” he replied. “But I so often wake up at 4 in the morning with new product ideas running through my head, so I decided, why not make some of those products.”
But for the signage, there’s no clue to the accessory systems unique to this famous fueler (not for long; Schubeck Racing recently sold its first retail Twin Spin package).
A busy dashboard is the last thing we’d expect to find inside such vintage pipe. Besides a traditional mag switch
and fuel shutoff, the driver operates a Lenco reverser (black T-handle) and individual pushbuttons that
rotate the engine in reverse, prime the blower with pure methanol, then spins the engine normally for starting. His dual-purpose shut-off valve (lower T-handle) also switches flow from methanol to 100 percent “pop.”
A small-diameter ring gear enables the dual starter’s pinion gears to clear any bell housing even with a large 11-inch clutch flywheel. Joe runs a Vintage, first-generation version of the Lakewood scattershield that changed the former chassis-builder’s life in 1965.Schubeck modifies some of starters to run the engine in the opposite direction only for clearing the engine of any nitro that may have been left over from previous running. This function allows the unwanted nitro to escape out the exhaust without the heat build-up from compression. Both starters are firmly located with dowels and bolts that thread into the aluminum block plate. The plate also incorporates steel thread inserts for the starter bolts. Only the snout with the exposed pinion gear protrude through a firewall. “The engine will start on 12 volts,” Joe explains, “but I use 24 volts to spin it extra-fast.”
Everything is out of sight—figuratively and literally. The polished aluminum starters are powered by two 12-volt Odyssey motorcycle batteries hidden under the differential.
Dual fill caps and fuel lines hint that this oversized tank is sectioned to separate the methanol “starting fluid” (1.9 gal.) from pure nitromethane (8.6 gal.).
Joe grabbed your reporter’s notebook to illustrate the partitioned dual-fuel tank and its separate outlets.
With the main fuel shut off lever in the closed position, the black lever is shown (above photo) holding the red micro switch in the go position for alcohol to flow. A tiny electric fuel pump with half its vanes removed gets the Gentleman Joe Show going with a burst of alky from a three second button push by the driver. Once the engine fires, vacuum continues to suck alky past the electric pump, now in the off position. Alcohol will continue to fuel the engines warm-up until the driver mechanically switches to nitro by pushing forward on the main shut off lever above the differential. This action employs the conventional racing fuel system and it also releases the red micro switch shown in the lower photo which stops all functions for delivering alky to the engine.