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Thread: K-It-Forward (v.ECR)

  1. #1
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    K-It-Forward (v.ECR)

    I only get one day a week off work, and I spent it picking up a free race car.

    It was dark when I collected my Big Effin' Van from my shop in south Oklahoma City. I had prepped BEV the night before for the 15 hour drive she was facing, mostly by cleaning the loose crap out of the back and hanging the trailer on her. Like many teams that thrive in The 24 Hours of LeMons, I operate on a very shoestring budget. My towpig of choice is a 2006 Dodge Sprinter long wheelbase hightop that had over a quarter of a million miles on it when I bought it. It offers reasonable fuel ecomony, good enough towing capacity, and enough inside space to function as an all weather workshop, camping facility, and a Paddock-In-A-Box (tm) when race duty calls.

    After collecting BEV, I swung back by my humble abode to collect my lovely fiancee, since she'd decided to accompany me on this foolhardy quest. This required negotiating a 22 foot long van pulling a 22 foot long trailer through the narrow streets of a 1930s historic neighborhood on OKCs near north side. To add to the complication, OKC's Memorial Marathon runs down my street, a first quarter mile marker lives in my yard. Though the race wasn't scheduled to start for another half hour, I had to try to attempt to not run over the eager beavers who had evidently started their running two hours early. They were randomly spaced across the entire 20 foot width of the street, and my 8 and a half foot wide trailer kinda caught a couple of them off guard even with the clatter of a diesel engine idling down the street behind them. So much for an official schedule of street closings. I finally wormed my way out of the Marathon by driving through the 21st mile to get to the interstate.

    Once on the open road, BEV stretched out and ran a fairly solid 75 mph for 6 hours into a bit of a headwind averaging 15.5 miles per gallon, she even pulled most of the hills in southwest Missouri without dropping too much speed or getting hot. After covering 400 miles or so, we found ourselves in the Lowe's parking lot in Rolla, Missouri. We were scheduled to meet NMF racing at 1:00 after their successful K-Car showing at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. Since we had a couple minutes to spare, we stepped inside to collect some bits and pieces I'd need for the Eagles Canyon race. Of course, by leaving the van, we caused Albert to appear with the K-Car. Had we sat in the van waiting, I'm sure he would have had some sort of trouble that would have put him behind five hours or something.

    We hastily made our purchases and ventured out to see my new car.

    I might have the honor of being the first K-racer that's actually seen the car before taking possession of it. NSF racing debuted it at the 2012 season ender at ECR last December. It was fairly terrible then, and it's oddly differently terrible now. Albert unloaded it from his U-Haul trailer, and we parked it and got some pictures of the key handoff for posterity. I've signed titles, I've handwritten bills of sale on a receipt in the rain, but I've never bought a car merely by accepting a single key living on a black zip tie.




    We loaded the K up on my trailer, strapped it down, and set off for home.



    We stopped in Springfield, Missouri because the iPhone thinks there is a Dairy Queen downtown. Like DQs in Oklahoma, there used to be one there, but it's gone now. We did find a decent little pizza place, so we stopped there to eat. Only one problem, where to park this rolling circus? It took some doing, but I managed to find a couple street side parallel parking spaces i could cram over 40 feet of LeMons rig into, lengthwise, at least....



    i'm sure the BMW owner was happy to see this about a foot and a half from their bumper when they attempted to leave.


    With our bellies full (there is a new DQ further south), we once again hit the open road. Dragging a ton of American Majesty was a little more taxing on BEV, but she just raised her temps a bit, and dropped her mileage down to 15 mpg to show her disapproval. We did have one more photo stop to make, because you can't NOT take a picture here when the opportunity arises.



    See the USA, in a Reliant K.



    The drive home was uneventful. We stowed the rig at my shop, and got back to the house fourteen hours after we left.. Today after work, I'll unload it and figure what needs to be done (and what can be done) between now and friday morning when we load it all back up and head off to ECR.



    Thanks again to NSF racing for making this whole thing possible, and the NMF racing for getting it this far. Hope to see you guys again somewhere down the road!



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  2. #2
    dis hipster high y'all HighFlyin''s Avatar
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  3. #3
    I bought a Ferd LowFlyin''s Avatar
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    w00t. K and R. We like letters in the alphabet.

  4. #4
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    Day 2:

    When last we spoke, my fiancee and I had just gotten home after a grueling 14 hour drive following the route of Historic Route 66. Or, we drove up I-44 for six hours, turned around, and came home. It kinda depends on which one of us you talk to.

    Today, i see just what I've gotten into.





    yup...it's still a K-Car wearing American flag livery.

    I backed the trailer into the nearest ditch to unload it (short trailer ramps, lowered car, questionable exhaust mounting), and it fired up and backed off without much complaint. It's loud, it smokes, it's exactly as nice as it looks. Once I got the van put away I did a little walk around.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUGnLcrioDE

    As you can see from the video, it runs, some of the lights work, and it's imminently comfortable inside. The livery is hand painted with great care, and the signatures of the teammates of this adventure are Sharpie'd on the hood and sealed with clear spray paint. The car's original number is 20, though I think team sputnik added the 4 for the Monticello race. I crawled back into the car and decided to take it on a first...um....drive?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F72VrSYrrcA

    It runs almost as well as it idles. Then again, it does run and drive, and I've paid more for less capable cars.

    My mental list of plans is starting to form.

    First up, make the Celica wheels I bought work on the car. The car came equipped with at least two sets of 14" wheels and a random assortment of tires; all seasons of varying size, quality, and life expectancy. The 2000 Celica uses 15" wheels which will allow for a better selection of race appropriate tires, however, Toyota and Chrysler didn't get together to sort out hub bores. When making this sort of move, you know there are two ways it can go; either the new bore is larger than the old bore, and you'll be set....or you'll be putting Celica wheels on a Reliant.

    I first tried to hang the Celica wheels on the car, only to find the bore was too small. So I made a template out of masking tape of the Reliant bore:



    Then I transferred that template to a Celica wheel:



    Then i broke out my trusty plasma cutter and solved the problem:



    Success!




    While under the rear of the car, I noticed the LeMons Grade Anti-Roll suspension system:



    If you are thinking...."is that a piece of chain welded to the chassis and the spring perch?" Yes. Yes it is. Before CAD drawings and 3-D printing, there was ingenuity. If you had a car that was too tall AND too willing to list when turning, you fashioned limiting straps out of chain. Think of it as a sway bar that has a radical spring curve. If the body wants to roll now, it's going to have to take the inside end of the axle with it.

    Of course, into every good plan, some failure must fall:



    Failing to take the entire axle “with it”, the body is attempting to make off with a portion of the spring perch.

    My mental To-Do list is getting longer.

    Now that I’ve gotten the wheels on the car, it’s time to start making it a race car. To that end, I decided to remove everything that would not be racing with us. First and foremost, the spare motor and transmission that were living in the spare tire well and rear seat floor, respectively. The transmission is not light, and the motor is evidently made of lead, gold, and depleted uranium. All of that squat in the trailer pictures is due to the motor in the back. Once relieved of the cargo, the rear end of the car came up to a reasonable height, which also put tension on those chains. At the Gingerman race, the car became somewhat of a wishing well, and that resulted in the car collecting about ten or fifteen bucks in pennies, which can be seen in the bottom of my shop vac:



    Those pennies made it into the pizza delivery roof topper that has been repurposed as a piggy bank for Alex’s Lemonaid Stand. The topper will be left with the car to collect money around the country, and upon the car’s demise, will be added to the scrap value of the chassis.

    Now that the interior is approaching livable, it was time to tackle making the car drivable. I knew the oil pan was slightly bent, and it was covered in blue RTV, so I figured I would pound it out and reweld any cracks that delvoped.

    Slightly bent:


    Slightly less bent:


    A new gasket and some RTV in the corners and I’ve added at least a quart and a half of capacity. The pickup is still where the crushed pan left it, but I’m thinking it’s been like that for a while now, so I’m leaving it. As it happens, the oil pan is seemingly more lead than anything else, so it beat out without cracking. Aspiring bodymen take note, if you have a solid backing (garage floor) and you can keep hitting the high spots squarely, you can push many folding bends out before they become creases.

    The previous owners alerted me to a cut oxygen sensor wire, and indeed, it was cut. I scrounged around in the tubs of extras that came with the car and found a replacement wire in a random harness. I spliced in the new wire, and happened to run across an injector plug that wasn’t attached to anything. I reattached it and tried starting the car to see if it made any difference. It did. It still runs poorly, but it’s a different sort of poorly, and I’m calling that progress. At least now, I should be able to diagnose between things that aren’t working, and things that aren’t hooked up.

    Your engine porn shot of the day:


    If you’ll recall from the walk around, the exhaust exited on the driver’s side just in front of the rear wheel. The exhaust system was a collection of OE rust and crush-bent pipe with the world’s littlest glass pack living at the end…where it was getting crushed between the ground and the driver’s side trailing arm. I didn’t get a picture of its glory once I cut it off the car, but I did reuse most of it putting a slightly more reasonable system under the car. The little glass pack made a nice step up adaptor for a much bigger glass pack, and the under car pipe was rerouted to be the side exit. It’s still going to need some work, but it’s slightly less annoying and much better protected than the version I started with.




    So, that’s where Day 1 ended. I took a little test drive to [s]celebrate[/s] add to the To-Do list

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eblnDK2KxEw



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  5. #5
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    Day 3:

    Day 2 ended with a test drive that suggested fuel issues. Through email, facebook, and carrier pigeon, Team Tetanus and Team Anton pointed me at the MAF. A little internet research of my own turned up www.minimopar.net and www.chryslerkcar.com, two sites that could only exist in the age of internet hipsterism. I printed off all the [s]check engine[/s] Power Loss light information I could and after work I dug into the car.

    I turned the car on at the master switch and cycled the key a couple times to get the CEL codes out of the Power Loss light. Several flashing lights later, I had codes 11 and 12, so I looked them up. Did you know that killing the main power to the ECU (say, to clear codes) will throw codes? Now you do. Not only does ECU power loss create a code, the only way to clear THOSE codes is to cycle the key 15 times. I think I’m developing carpal tunnel. Once I cleared those codes, I started the car to create some new codes. Sure enough, the Power Loss light confirmed that the ECU and I agreed, something was wrong. This time it was codes 13 and 31, MAP sensor and purge solenoid. The purge was easy to diagnose, it’s not there anymore. There is an empty socket and a bare pipe where the purge solenoid used to be. According to the Internets, this is a non-fatal code, it won’t even pop the PL light, so I’ll continue ignoring it. The MAP code was for a bad reading not a dead sensor (code 14), so I started trying to solve that issue.

    Chrysler uses a fairly standard setup on this car for early fuel injection. The throttle body has two injectors, and the ECU determines how much fuel to flow based on several sensors. One of those sensors is a type of MAP sensor which basically tells the ECU how much air is getting into the motor; again, not very interesting. The interesting part, to me at least, is where this sensor lives. Some put it directly on the intake manifold or the throttle body, others hang it on the firewall and run a short vacuum line to the manifold, Chrysler puts it in the ECU...in the passenger side kick panel and runs a 6 foot long vacuum hose to it…because 6 feet of copper wire is more fragile than 6 feet of rubber hose.

    At some point is this car's history, that hose got broken off its bung and left for dead in the passenger side of the engine compartment. The MAP reads no vacuum, the ECU thinks we are WOT, and the car runs pig rich. To that end, it might be just as well that the second injector was disconnected; pig rich is only piglet rich when half the injectors are out of the loop.

    After getting those issues resolved, I took the car on a test drive to get some more bits and pieces. I didn’t film it, mostly because I was too busy watching for cops, and trying to make sure the car was always in a pushable location. After picking up new spark plugs, a chrome turn down for the exhaust, and a blue panoramic mirror, I went to America’s Drive In for 44 ounces of high fructose corn syrup, ‘cherry’ flavoring, and FDA approved coloring. Why? ‘cuz this is ‘murrica, not New York.

    The drive back to the shop was pretty uneventful, gladly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1IiPszUux4

    Back at the ranch I changed spark plugs, installed my mirror and blinging exhaust tip, and then rolled to the nearest car wash to de-slime the car a little before I set fire to the underside. This car loses a lot of oil, and I’m not sure anything I’ve done will stop that.



    It’s not just shiny, it’s also hot and sharp!


    After hosing down the inside and outside, I backed the car in to get after the rear suspension.

    First on the agenda was fixing the chain limits. A few minutes with a plasma cutter got the chains loose, and a few more minutes with a pair of 15mm (srsly?) sockets got the shocks out. The trailing axle design in this car is pretty common, actually, and the shocks are the stock limiters. The chains pulled the static ride height down about a half an inch, and stopped droop a good five inches short of the shocks’ limits. I pried the springs out and hammered the torn right rear spring perch back into something closer to stock. I rewelded the perch, and hacked 1 and 3/4 wraps off the bottom of the springs. It sounds like a lot, but the last half wrap was a dead zone, so it’s not really too bad. I’ll be installing 6 inch shorter shocks to limit droop and to keep the rear from wanting to chuck its springs. Due to space constraints, I couldn’t get a good before and after view of the drop, but it now sits empty about where it was sitting with a trunk full of motor. I’ll fashion some spring spacers to jack the car up when it’s hauling its spare drivetrain.


    The perch as I found it.


    Torn spring perch. It’s just not willing to handle that stress. ECR is full of left hand turns, so I’m sure the other side would look just like this by Sunday.


    Rewelded spring perch.


    Stock rear spring


    Custom rear spring. I actually trimmed another wrap off after I test fit this.

    And a walk around for the end of the day:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPf9QyBDQDM


    an aside:
    If you want to discuss the merits and dangers of cutting coil springs, find me at ECR when I’m not busy. Many of my friends can tell you that I’ll be happy to entertain that discussion until one of us dies of exhaustion (….this also holds true for most political and tax theory discussions). Please make sure you are coming from a position of actual practice, not theory. I can invalidate conventional coil spring theory in about three minutes using nothing more than a chunk of copper wire and a beer can.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  6. #6
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    Day 4:

    With the engine issues sorted, the rear suspension un-broked, brake plans made for friday, and time running out, I decided to do what I do best (and honestly, that's probably a bigger testament to how many things I suck at doing).

    I popped into my local independent parts house and demanded to see the Monroe book I knew they had stashed somewhere behind the counter. With a wary look, the counter jockey dug it out, dusted it off and flipped to the section I wanted.



    While you can theoretically do this online, there is a certain feeling to touching the pages.

    I looked up the original shock fitment for the car, and determined what ends they had. I then scanned the following pages to find shocks with the same ends (10mm x 1 5/8") and the extended length I wanted. When that turned up nothing, I dug for 7/16" x 1 5/8" shocks. Still finding nothing workable, I budged up to 12mm x 1 5.8". Jackpot! Oversized ends can be bushed if neccessary and the shocks being six inches too short will keep the newly hacked springs from trying to escape. I ordered the sensa-trac version, convinced that the gas-matic would be too damned stiff. Counter guy got them coming and after work I picked them up.

    I bounced the rear end a couple last times, just for fun, then I installed the shocks and went for a test drive. The car actually feels planted and finds the limits of the travel with the progressiveness only found in rubber saturated in oil.

    I rolled back into the shop and measured for level, expecting to be tail down. As it was, it came out just barely under flat, so I attacked the front end.



    Ronman's struts are newish, no reason to fool with them.



    The springs, however, are old...and there's lots of reasons to fool with them.

    I only wanted a little drop in the front, so I only hacked off 1/4 of a wrap with my plasma cutter. If I were keeping the car, I'd have gone further, but that's because I'm an idiot. I reassembled the front suspension and declared the ride height "acceptable".

    Now, we all know that the most important feature of any race car is its stance. It doesn't matter how great a car runs, drives, or handles if it doesn't look good doing it. In today's world, Stance is king, and stance means camber.

    I'm used to building racy Hondas and Miatas with upper control arms. The only Dodge I've ever owned is my Sprinter, and the only things Dodge on it are the badges. McPherson struts are not foreign to me, they just aren't my normal cup of tea. However, building minitrucks, lowriders, frame draggers and other wildly adjustable suspensions IS my background, and in that world camber is of utmost importance.






    You can't do things like this if you don't know where the wheels are going to be when you get there.


    So I took this:


    Drew this:


    Cut this:


    And made this:


    Which measured to be this:


    There is some adjustment in the knuckle to strut interface that I've not totally exploited, but I'll play with that while it's on the alignment rack today.

    Expecting global warming to attack overnight and possibly dump a couple inches of oppressive sunlight and heat today, I welded up the holes in the roof that were made in last December's ECR race (and I wanted to finish off the bottle of welding gas before I exchanged it for the weekend).

    Buttoned up, I drove home. I maintained normal highway speeds, the car felt at least as stable and planted as my normal daily driver (04 Accord) if not also slower, a lot louder and less comfortable. I drove it to work this morning and it is currently embarrassing my fellow employees' cars.




    Thus far, I'm about 20 hours and $200 into this car (excluding transport time and fuel). The alignment will add another hour or so and the tire swap will use the tires our oft-broken Spec Pinata didn't finish using at the 24HoECR lat year.



    It's the closest thing to a momentum car as I know how to build in the 4 work days I had (taking into account that I work ten hours days in my real life). It'll probably want to rotate, since I didn't have the time to build camber into the rear axle. It will either be great, or it will be terrible. In either event, there's a month to fix it before the High Plains race.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  7. #7
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    Awesome, sounds like this thing has been a fun journey thus far.

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    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    Day 5:

    Dark and early friday morning, my fiancee, my van and I headed off to Eagles Canyon. About 9:00, we rolled in. I got the car unloaded, met up with DC Doug (who had staked out some paddock spots with jack stands, luggage, and other assorted oddities for the myriad of teams who were comprising the K-Car & Friends festival) and started unloading the Paddock-In-A-Box (tm). My teammates from OK-Speed got the TapeR unloaded, and we set up our paddock spaces.

    I finished off the abbreviated bribe for Judge Phil, tried to clean up the oil from the K, and got the numbers taped on in true TapeR fashion. It ran, it drove, I went thru tech, and I was just kinda waiting for Tetanus to arrive with the new pads and calipers for the front. Tetanus had an issue with their tow rig that put them several hours behind, so I decided to buy a test and tune day and shake the car down properly. I went out for four or five laps and felt a thunking noise in the right front (ECR is full of big left hand turns) that was probably a bearing. I came in to glance at the tires to make sure i wasn't rolling them over, and we noticed a lot of oil on the ground under the motor. i went back to the paddock and discovered the motor was absolutely flooding the air cleaner box with oil from the valve cover vent, to the point that it was actually pushing oil up the intake hose and flooding the air box behind the driver's headlight as well. I fashioned a plug for that vent and went back out for a test. I was black flagged one half lap in for oil loss. The pressure in the motor had blown out the cam cap on the end of the head. coating the entire engine compartment, underside, and track in oil.

    Bob and Anton and Doug and I mulled it over and basically decided the current motor was unusable and that the spare motor couldn't be any worse. it turned over, it had compression, it wasn't blowing air out of the ports, and it was only blowing a little air out of the seal around the oil pan. we chalked that up to old dry rings and surmised that with a little ATF and some turning, the motor would be fine.

    I disassembled the suspension with the help of OK-Speed captain LowFlyin (who had just installed the back up motor in the TapeR after losing oil pressure on the intended motor), and started yanking the motor. I live in a world of hondas, and most of the guys helping me at RWD american car guys. the motor swaps at CMP involved pulling the motor off the tranny, and then putting it back in. i felt it might be easier to yank the whole drivetrain, split it, and replace the motor. of course, when pulled that way, the motor comes out the bottom, which is easy when you a have a lift..it's less easy without one. a little head scratching later, and we picked the drivetrain up on jacks, pulled the mounts, lowered the drivetrain, then lifted the front of the car up, and slid the drivetrain out from under the car. anton yanked the manifolds (and assorted studs) for the new motor, I pulled the transmission and front bits off the motor, and a couple hours later, we had a complete motor and tranny sitting in front of the car to reinstall on race day.


    I cannot thank DC Doug, Anton, LowFlyin, or Bob enough for the help they gave me friday night, the car likely would not have seen the track this weekend if not for their help, advice, and encouragement.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  9. #9
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    Day 6:

    After a brief respite, team OK-Speed left the hotel and got to ECR around 8am. Everything K was where i'd left it, so we got to work sticking the drivertrain back into the car. Pushing here, shoving there, lifting that, and lowering this finally got everything in place to stab the mounts. We took a break to attend the driver's meeting, then got back into the slog. Bob, Anton, and I hooked up all the stuff we had disconnected the night before, and I reassembled the suspension. With the motor hung, I lined up the torque converter and flywheel all four ways until I found the one that let me install all four bolts. There was a moment that I was afraid the TC wasn't going to agree with the flywheel which would have meant starting all over. Once we thought we were done, we kicked it over. IT STARTS!!. (there is a certain quality of relief that i cannot explain when something that is totally unknown becomes known...unless you've been there, i don't think you can understand it).

    Everything was reassembled by 11:00 and I took the K out for its test run (i'm not one to tempt fate and come home on the hook). I drove up the hill to visit Sensory Assault and hear from the horse's mouth about the FD troubles (the LeMons rumor mill is often inaccurate). After offering a possible cause and something to look for when they reassembled the beast, I headed to HQ to top off the radiator. I brought the K back to the paddock, started a small fire, made sure nothing had fallen off, and got dressed for racing, while Bob and LowFlyin re-installed the hood.

    I hit the track around 11:30 and drove around for about an hour. Nothing terribly foolish, just looking for the limits of the chassis. I did find those limits on the track out of 5, carrying far too much speed thru 4. I almost had it reeled in, but it understeered to a stop into the gravel for a 1.5 off. I humbly accepted my black flag and visited Judge Phil for my penance. He accepted my apology for trying to find the most momentum this car had in it, and allowed me to return to the track. After I'd caught my limit of fun (and run the fuel tank to near empty), I came back to the paddock. We loaded Katie up in the car, and Chris Champion loaded the car up with gas. We sent her on her way, and I trudged up the hill to watch some of the race. Katie ran cleanly, and an hour later Anton installed himself into the car. Anton went out and ran the car's fastest lap, then got black flagged for dragging a tow chain. He brought the car in, we fixed the tow chain, and we put Chris Champion in the car. Chris did his time and I think tetanus's Brett (brent?) took a turn. The German journalist got a stint as well, tho i can't remember the exact order, most of the afternoon sorta runs together and is coated in a light film of 15w50.

    In any event, the car ran all day. It would fuel starve at half a tank (or more if you really pushed it), the tranny hunted for gears, and it had developed a nice clunk in the front end whenever you loaded it side to side. I got in the car with a little over an hour to go and started trying to diagnose the clunk while maintaining a decent pace. Sub 3 minute laps were good enough for me, and I think I kept that pace fairly well.

    The checkers flew at 7:00 and we managed to get OK-Speed, K-Car, and Tetanus to roll thru the pit lane together, mostly by luck, I think.

    I decided the front end was either a loose rack, loose subframe, or something cracked and flexing. I also decided i could fix it in the morning. My fiancee and I ran to get some dinner and to make a walmart run for pit needs. After all the fun we had, the hotel beckoned.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  10. #10
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    Day 7:

    We rolled into the track about 8:00 again and started sorting the clunk. While i jacked the nose up, Doug got Kim (of LeMons offical scoring fame) belted into the car. The fixed seat and difficult to adjust belts required several pillows and pads to get her safe and comfortable. I started hosing down the underside with brake cleaner looking for the loose/broken part. I finally found my way to the passenger lower ball joint. On the K, the lower joints are pressed into the lower control arm from the underside. The knuckle then clamps over the stud from from the top side, no taper fits, no castle nuts. During racing the day before, the ball joint had pushed its way back out of the LCA. we got it set back in its hole, and I tried hammering the arm down on it to fix it in place. To test it, I stood on the hub and felt it pop right back out. I then pushed it back home, broke out my welder, and welded the joint's case to the control arm. Not hot enough to melt all the packing grease, but enough to keep it in place. I reassembled the corner, and put the car on the ground just as Kim got all her ducks in a row for diving.

    We gassed her up, I gave her a bit of a pep talk / run down of known problems, and we sent her out about 9:30 or so. An hour later, we put Bob from Escape Velocity Racing into the car (he's getting it for Houston in September). He got out an hour later complaining of a wicked backfire when he jumped off the throttle. That was a new story for us, so we chalked it up to his driving style (with the annoying transmission) and/or an exhaust leak and too rich condition. Chris Champion took another turn at the wheel (he might be a glutton for punishment) and an hour later he came back. We popped the hood to check the fluids, and noticed the motor was moving more than a lot in the compartment as the car rocked back and forth in park. Starting the motor confirmed the motor's desire to escape, so we drove the car onto some ramps to get to the root of the problem.

    Evidently, at some point in this car's past, not all the bolts had made it back into the engine/transmission interface. They hadn't be there when I separated them friday night, and they hadn't appeared during the rebuild, so they didn't go back in the car. one of those bolts also attaches the front mount to the assembly. While [s]beating on[/s] racing the car, we'd successfully backed one of the remaining mount bolts out and torn the mount nicely. The motor and tranny were trying to come apart at the bottom, as well. Lacking the correct bolts, and knowing that there were almost no other non-metrics in the paddock, I got a couple too small bolts from EVR and thru bolted them thru the motor and tranny holes. This pulled the motor and transmission back together and stabilized the front mount. We started the car back up, and it made a serious racket from the bottom end. I assumed it was the rods waiting to let go, but when I put it in gear to back it down the ramps, it got quiet.

    This lead Champion to guess the TC bolts were loose, so I drove it back up the ramps. Sure enough, all four were loose, two loose enough to be hitting the block as they went around. I tightened them back down as best I could and with a little over an hour and a half left in the race, I rejoined the party under a full course yellow.

    I drove around for several laps, the car getting weaker and weaker under me. Sputtering out of every corner, tranny fighting every shift. We went back to green flag racing, and my lap times didn't really improve noticeably. Knowing that i really wanted to take the checkers, i left the track about 1:45. I drove around the pits and paddock, drove up the hill to see how SA was doing, ventured out to the spectator's area to sit with my teammates for a while. At 2:15 I reentered the track and drove the last five laps to see the checkered flag. I was the last car off the track, mostly because i had to wave people by as we exited the corners.

    I parked the car in the gravel, because i was tired of picking up oil off concrete. I went back to our paddock and started cleaning/packing. I joined the k-car contingent at the awards ceremony and picked up a special regional Lost Cause trophy for my efforts. We took some team photos with the car, I discussed with brandon what all he wanted of the pile, and we left the K in the gravel of the paddock, awaiting brandon's three week chapter before his run at High Plains.


    I am happy I did it. I can't thank everyone who lended me a hand enough. after watching the struggles all around me this weekend (TARP, OK-SPEED, and EVR chief among them) I have a greater appreciation for the heroic fixes and i got screweds that teams truly earn. I don't know if i can make the houston race yet....but (as noted above) I intend to have a C-Class car ready for the next ECR race.



    thanks again to everyone who made all this possible.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  11. #11
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    handling....we has it.


    power? not so much



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  12. #12
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    ECR in December:


    ECR in May:



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  13. #13
    dis hipster high y'all HighFlyin''s Avatar
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    Was going to say needs more rear sway, then I saw the 2nd pic. :o
    -- This post approved by the department of approving things.



  14. #14
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    it has no rear sway at the moment, but it's a trailing beam axle, so i'm not sure rear sway would help it much anyway. it'd probably just start wanting to tripod.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  15. #15
    I bought a Ferd LowFlyin''s Avatar
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    Looks much more composed in the now.

  16. #16
    MazdaMP3842
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    Quote Originally Posted by psychoboy View Post
    it has no rear sway at the moment, but it's a trailing beam axle, so i'm not sure rear sway would help it much anyway. it'd probably just start wanting to tripod.

    tripodding a car is the only time ive ever truly wished I owned cars with less electronic assists. The MSP and the evo both go absolutely haywire in the event of a wheel leaving the ground.
    2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX SE
    Tuned by Evolution Dynamics




  17. #17
    Venture Brothers
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35thannivss View Post
    tripodding a car is the only time ive ever truly wished I owned cars with less electronic assists. The MSP and the evo both go absolutely haywire in the event of a wheel leaving the ground.
    Turn off the driver assists?

  18. #18
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    one of those is probably ABS...and ABS can rarely be turned off.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

  19. #19
    dis hipster high y'all HighFlyin''s Avatar
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    There is a strong possibility I may be driving this a little over two weeks from now. Have to discus it with the spousal unit first though.
    -- This post approved by the department of approving things.



  20. #20
    MazdaMP3842
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowsnuker View Post
    Turn off the driver assists?

    Nothing on the evo can be turned off (ABS, AYC, ACD). The MSP only had ABS and Elec brake force distribution, niether could be turned off without pulling fuses.
    2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX SE
    Tuned by Evolution Dynamics




  21. #21
    Owner/Operator Mental's Avatar
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    Thats goverment nannying. All cars are required to have Vehicle Stability systems and they cannot be turned off. Even when they are off, they aren't really off. My E36 BMW would go completely analog, but the E46, no way.



  22. #22
    Prelude CRay-Xee psychoboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ButtSluri View Post
    There is a strong possibility I may be driving this a little over two weeks from now. Have to discus it with the spousal unit first though.
    you'll be getting the v6 m/t version...and it should be glorious.



    the philosophy of the 24 Hours of LeMons:
    "Racing is an investment in life. You trade money for awesome"

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